Christ is Coming: Are You Ready?
2 Peter 3:1-14
What do most of us think of when we hear the word apocalypse. Today its always Zombies; I don't know why but that seems to be the default in today’s world.
It’s always great horror followed by some level of despair.
What fascinates me is just how consistently we think in pop culture that we are heading for doom.
Now the pop culture is not far of the money if you look at the world news; Ebola, Putin, planes being shot out of the sky. Generally its a great time to be alive!
I saw a poster recently which said Born too early too discover the stars, born too late to discover the world, born just in time for world war thee...Awesome!
But I don’t want to talk about gloom and doom tonight because the word apocalypse actually means revealing; and the “terrible” apocalypse we await is in fact a revealing of Jesus Christ.
This is what we hope for this is what we long for as Christians.
The question I want to ask tonight is are you ready.
Christ is coming; are you ready?
I ask this because we are continuing through the book of 2 Peter and Peter in 2 Peter 3:1-14 asks this same question.
He is continuing from where he stopped the last time we went through 2 Peter in making the church aware that there are false teachers out there trying to trip up the church. He now poses the question are we the church ready for Christ’s coming.
What is important about this passage is where Peter speaks to the church and reminds them that Christ is coming!
You might not hear many Sermons anymore about the end, mostly because the ones who talk about it the most are a little left of sane.
Most of us when we think of the end is nigh picture a hobo on a box in a busy city crying out that God’s judgment is coming.
Well I’m going to get on my soapbox this evening to remind you that it is biblical to say Jesus is coming soon!
The reality is that even though it is soon we don’t know when.
No one knows the hour
The reality is that we simply do not know when this will happen. There are two dangers
The two dangers:
a) Living like not going to happen
b)Living like theres no tomorrow
a) Living like its not going to happen
Peter warns the church there are scoffers who will say everyone is getting old and life is going on, stop this nonsense about Jesus coming back and simply live your life. Stop bothering about all the end talk stuff.
The problem with this thinking is it is simply not what Jesus told us; for he told us to expect His coming with eagerness.
Also it is not what the New Testament teaches; which is rather to live with the realisation that Jesus will come suddenly and unexpectedly.
Thirdly it is not our reality; because Jesus could come unexpectedly, but closer to home we could go to Jesus unexpectedly.
Life is fickle and could be taken from us in the blink of an eye I see that more and more the older I get.
Living like Jesus isn’t coming, forces us to live as if this world is the only thing that matters, yet scripture teaches that we are made for the life to come, we are simply aliens and travelers in this world.
And living with the expectation of Jesus’ return teaches us to live like we really are.
This living with expectation teaches us to take into account what truly matters and live for those things.
Another danger is
b) Living like there is no tomorrow
There is a clear teaching in the teachings of Jesus and in this passage we have read tonight that there will be delay in the coming of Christ. This balances us to live with expectation and still live with wisdom.
We have seen it over and over again; soon as the end is predicted people go crazy; soon as we think that there is no tomorrow we live like idiots.
The Harold Camping Prophecies in 2012 showed us that; people sold all their things and quit their jobs and generally made it quite difficult for themselves.
We are to live with expectation of the end but with the wisdom of delay in Christ's return.
The reality is that Christ is coming any time and in fact he is only delaying for the sake of mercy. Peter says in verse 9
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
The delay of Christ’s coming is that the message can go out and people can be saved. because when He comes it will be over for those who have not repented and there will be no second chances.
This creates in us a call; a call to be the messengers of God’s good news to the whole world so that no-one may perish!
And we are to live as if the end could be soon! Jesus could come and come at any time! The message needs to go out with urgency
So Jesus is coming He is coming for Judgement; but we who are saved don’t fear judgement because Christ has redeemed us; we look forward to His return.
So what do we look forward to? - Resurrection!
Peter Describes how the world will be destroyed by fire in verse 11-12 but in verse 13 tells us what we look forward to as believers.
In verse 13 Peter says
“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”
The Bible never teaches that we are going to Heaven in the idea that we will float around in the clouds and have this out of body experience.
No it rather teaches that Heaven will come to Earth; that God will recreate the world and in this new earth Heaven (where God is) will be with us.
And you and I will be resurrected; our bodies will be remade but remade perfect without sin and without fault!
That is what we look forward to!
The essential to understand is that our bodies will be made new. You do not look forward to an out of body “heavenly” reality but a reality that is like this but perfect.
The reality is that there are aspects of this life that are beautiful; and they show us that we are made for more, an experience that will be complete because we are doing it with our Saviour creator and King Jesus Christ.
We look forward to life after this life; real life; complete life!
We look forward to the coming of Christ to the end of this life because it is there that we will finally be made complete. We will be free, truly free; free from all the struggles our sinful nature brings us.
Our very hope lies in the fact that Jesus is coming to make us fully whole that sustains us in this life and gives us full hope.
You see the Hope in the resurrection enables us to live right now.
Live Resurrection now!
In verse 14 Peter tells us how to live in the light of Resurrection.
It is as we think soberly of our destination that we start to change the way we are living now. You see it is as we are living for resurrection that we start to understand that we are starting to live this resurrection life now!
You see it is as we engage the Christian experience and learn of the power of Christ in us that we realise that we are beginning to experience the new life that is promised in the New Testament!
We when we serve God and each other and feel the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives; our communities etc we are experience what it will be like in the new heavens and earth.
And that is what the church is actually doing. We are bringing the resurrection life to a world of death.
When we preach the Gospel and see lives change we are bringing life to those who are dead. We are in a sense seeing resurrection before our very eyes!
This is the joy and the hope of the church.
When we worship in Spirit and truth we taste of what it will be like to worship before God’s throne room.
It is here in church that we experience a taste of the community to come!
It is here that we prepare ourselves for the life to come!
It is as we engage the idea of resurrection that we affect the way we live, no longer do the things of this world hold as much sway; for we are made for the next life.
No longer do we see people as the targets of our evangelism, rather they are the dead ready to be woken up to new life.
And As we extend the Kingdom of God as far as God allows us to we will see Heaven being poured out in our midst.
This is what we call revival. It is when people by the power of God are convicted of their lives and on a grand scale reform their ways and start to live according to the desires and decrees of God.
In this we see the resurrection life poured out!
Again you and I who are called God’s people live lives that are peculiar to the world because we are products of the next life!
To use a popular TV title we are literally the Walking Dead!
We were dead and now we are alive! Not partially alive but more alive than we have ever been!
This is what we are calling people to! this is our current hope!
Stop living in your past life! Live the new life you were called to so that you can be ready for when Christ returns!
Let Him not find us not doing what He called us to do!
The challenge of tonight is to live the life that Christ called you to live! stop living in the defeat of your past life, you then you were dead and now you are alive!
Get about the work that God has called you to in this new life, because the time is short, the days are dark but Christ is coming!
The question is; will you be ready when he comes for you or calls for you!
I pray that as you engage your new life in Christ you will find yourself ready!