Thursday, 11 December 2014

Destiny and Duty

Destiny and Duty : Text: 2 Peter3:8-15

The word Advent means "coming” Advent is far more than simply marking 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. That is a process in which we now participate, and the consummation of which we anticipate. That acknowledgment provides a basis for Kingdom ethics, for holy living arising from a profound sense that we live "between the times" and are called to be faithful stewards of what is entrusted to us as God’s people. So, as the church celebrates God’s in breaking into history in the Incarnation, and anticipates a future consummation to that history for which "all creation is groaning awaiting its redemption," Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation, as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in glory and power.

2 Peter chapters 3 talk about Christ’s second coming, “The day of the Lord” If we read our Bible carefully, we’ll notice how often the New Testament texts speak of that coming day. We forget about these sayings of Jesus. Though we read and pray every day: “Thy kingdom come, we don’t always take them to heart.  But remember “The day of the Lord will come.” The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness” Peter writes, “but is patient with you, not wanting any one of you to perish, but all to come to repentance.” But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. Actually Peter just reminding himself what Jesus said in Luke 12:39: ……..“You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." The most glorious prophesied future event in the Bible is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Bible is abundantly clear that Jesus will return to earth, and He will return in the same way as He left.  Therefore we must know our destiny and Peter wants us to know, 

1. That Jesus will returnHe writes 2 peter 3:3, "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this `coming' he promised?  "Of course people are going to scoff". "But" he continues, "The day of the Lord will come" (3:10)

2. That Jesus will return according to God’s Perfect plan:  (2 Peter 3:8-9) “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years". And God's schedule is motivated by love.  v9b, "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance". God knows who he wishes to spend eternity with him: that is why he waited for you to be conceived; that is why he waited for you to turn to him - or maybe that is why he is still waiting - waiting for you to put aside your stubborn pride, intellectual arrogance or willful selfishness and admit that he is God, surrender to him and receive his free gift of forgiveness, acceptance and life. 

 That Jesus will return unexpectedly: (2 Peter 3:10)"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief". Actually Peter here is just reminding himself what Jesus said: "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Luke 12:39)

4. That Jesus will return with power and glory: (2 Peter 3:10)"The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." the emphasis of Peter here is less on the destruction, and more on the fact that there will be nothing that we can hide ourselves behind. When Jesus returns, whether you have already died, or are still living on earth, God will see us as we are. On that day there will be no more hiding or pretending. Everything and everyone in which we have put our trust will be stripped away from us: we will stand alone and naked before our God. We spend so much of our time and money on building up our comfort zones, our walls, our defense systems, and our image: whether it is homes or cars or beautiful things or technology or work or children or clothes or books or insurance schemes. One day, either when we die, or when Jesus returns, it will all be stripped away from us. On that day, it will be a face to face encounter: a one to one with Son of God. It is worth preparing for.

5. That Jesus will come with a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13)  In fact we are told that the creation waits for his coming, so that it might be set free from its bondage to decay. The goal of Jesus' return is a new heaven and a new earth:  Bible says: 'eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man or woman conceived what God has prepared for those who love him'. (1 Corinthian 2:9) that because “God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3)  We live, in relationship with Jesus now, looking to the future “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him"(2 peter 3:14). Because your relationship with him will matter then, your relationship with him matters now: and note we are not told to be at peace with ourselves, or with our environment, but to be at peace with God. And that involves confession, repentance, receiving the gift of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit and eternal life. Peter not only wants believers to know the Destiny but asks in verse 11, “What sort of people ought you to be?” or what is our duty as Christian? So he writes...

1. We must determine to live our lives that are Holy and godly.  (2 Peter 3:11)  “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives” The Lord designed you for a godly life, one that will satisfy you like no other. Don’t allow your natural desires to hinder your ability to reach His purpose for you. The sacrifices of a well-disciplined life are nothing in comparison to the rewards of fulfilling your God-given destiny. It’s a prize well worth the training.

2. We must be diligent in living our lives that are faithful and righteous. Knowing that He is returning at any moment, we must be living lives that are pure, clean, spotless, and marked by enjoying peace with God. “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter 3:14)

3. We should keep in mind that our Lord's patience means salvationAgain, this can mean seeing the time before Jesus returns as opportunity for us to take care of those areas of our lives that we have allowed to lapse, or, it can be referring to our attitude as Christians towards those who aren’t Christians. If you really care, open your mouth! Tell your story! “Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.” (2 Peter 3:15)

4. We should be careful not to be carried away by wrong teaching (16-17). As we saw in chapter 2, False Teachers are leading people into idolatry, and are actively denying the teaching of Christ. We catch the idea from Peter that they are also viewing those Scriptures that are little harder to understand, and instead of saying they don’t know all of the specifics, they are creating their own teachings from them. “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)

5. We must be vigilant and prayerful at all times- Peter cautions the believers that “I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.” (2 Peter 3:17)

6. We must be growing in grace and in the knowledge continuallyBut grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!” (2 Peter 3:18) This is a present tense verb, meaning there is never a time we aren’t growing. It doesn’t matter our feelings, our age, our history, our past mess ups. We must always be growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus.

All true believers know that, At Christ’s return, believers who are dead will be the first to be resurrected, and then immediately in the twinkling of an eye, believers who are alive will be transformed into their new glorified immortal spirit bodies. Both groups will then be gathered together in their resurrected glorified immortal spirit bodies in the air, and rise up as the First fruits to meet the returning Jesus Christ. Then, they will all descend with Jesus onto the Mount of Olives to rule and reign with Him in the Millennial Kingdom of God and beyond, forever. 

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