Building and Battling While Waiting and Watching, Part 15 (Second Coming Chapel Sermon #299)
TEXT: 2 Peter 3:10-13
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
C.S. Lewis, “Precisely because we cannot predict the moment, we must be ready at all moments.”
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says about this passage, “When the Lord does come, it will be both surprising and catastrophic: like a thief. This simile was used by Jesus and repeated by others. The day of the Lord describes end-time events that begin after the Rapture and culminate with the commencement of eternity. In the middle of the 70th week of Daniel the Antichrist will turn against the people of God in full fury. In the catastrophic conflagration at the end of the Millennium, the heavens (the earth’s atmosphere and the starry sky, not God’s abode) will disappear with a roar, which in some way will involve fire. The elements (either stars or material elements with which the universe is made) will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. This Greek word could mean that everything will be exposed for what it really is. Or it could suggest a question: “The earth and everything in it—will they be found?” Others say the word should be substituted with “shall be burned up.” Perhaps the first of these views is preferable. Peter sees all this as a strong motivational expectation which should provoke holy living. The question, What kind of people ought you to be? is rhetorical. But in case someone should miss the point, Peter answered it: You ought to live holy and godly lives. “Holy lives” refers to Christian separation and sanctification—apart from the world, apart toward God. “Godly” refers to piety before God. The word “live” is in the present tense, indicating that these qualities are to be constantly present in light of the Lord’s return. ///////// Scoffers, questioning the Lord’s coming with its ensuing judgment on them, lead ungodly lives. By contrast, Jesus’ followers, anticipating His return, are to be godly. Holiness and piety not only cause God’s people to look forward to the Lord’s return but also to speed its coming. How do believers hasten it? The godly lives of the Lord’s people, their praying, and their witnessing help bring others to repentance. Peter then repeated for emphasis the fact that at the commencement of eternity (here called the day of God) the heavens will be destroyed by fire and the elements will melt. That event concludes “the day of the Lord” and commences “the day of God.” The old cosmic system will then give way to a new heaven and a new earth and this is what believers are looking forward to, not to the earth’s destruction. The new heaven and new earth, given by the promise of God, will finally be the home or dwelling place of righteousness. It will be the home of righteousness because the Righteous One will be there. What a contrast this will be to the world’s unrighteousness!”
In our last message in this series, we looked at how the second coming seems delayed because God desires the salvation of all men. Now we are going to look at the next passage in this chapter, where Peter describes the second coming and tells us how we should live in light of it.
First, the second coming will be unexpected and catastrophic. 2 Peter 3:10 says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Steven J. Cole said, “The day of the Lord will come. There isn’t any doubt about it. When Christ returns, there will not be a second chance. God has fixed that day, so you had better believe that it will come! Christ’s return will be sudden, unexpected, and disastrous for all who have not repented of their sins. The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. Peter is repeating the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:42-43, who said, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.” Just as in the days prior to the flood, the people around Noah were going on about life with no thought of impending judgment, so it will be in the day when Jesus returns. People have heard that Jesus will come again in judgment. Maybe they’ve seen a movie about it or read the Left Behind books. But they procrastinate from doing anything to get ready. But the Bible’s message is clear: Don’t procrastinate about getting right with God! Dying without Christ will have far more disastrous effects than dying without a will! Don’t let the day surprise you like a thief in the night! Peter warns that at the coming of Christ, “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” There won’t be any place to go to escape this judgment! If you could get in a rocket and head into outer space, it wouldn’t do you any good, because it’s not only earth, but also the heavens, that will be destroyed by this huge judgment of fire. Only those who are in Christ will be safe. Peter not only says that the earth will be burned up, but also “its works.” Everything that proud man has accomplished will go through this burning heat that is so intense that the very elements will melt! Peter repeats this judgment by fire in verse 7, again in verse 10, and again in verse 12. Why does he repeat himself? Because Peter knows, as the Old Testament often records, that those who need to heed the warning are prone to procrastinate or get distracted with other things and put off getting right with God. Peter is talking about both the destruction of sinners and their works. Everything they have worked for will go up in smoke and then they will face eternal judgment in the lake of fire! God gives us things like music, art, and literature for our enjoyment and pleasure. But if, like the city and tower of Babel, those things are done for the glory of proud man, then they will end up in a pile of ashes in the day of judgment. As C.T. Studd said, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Christ’s return is absolutely certain. It will be sudden, unexpected, and disastrous for all who have not repented of their sins. Thus you need to be right with God before it comes, because then there will not be any avenue of escape!”
Second, we must live holy and godly lives in light of the second coming. 2 Peter 3:11-12 says, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” Charles Spurgeon said, “The King is coming; he is coming to his throne, and to his judgment. Now a man does not go up to a king’s door, and there talk treason; and men do not sit in a king’s audience-chamber when they expect him every moment to enter, and there speak ill of him. The King is on his way, and almost here; you are at his door; he is at yours. What manner of people ought ye to be? He specifies two branches of holy life. “In all holy conversation,” that is to say, all holy behaviour towards men; “and godliness,” that is, all pious dealing towards God. True religion by no means depreciates the duties of the second table of the law. Some professors think very little of the common virtues of daily life, but they err greatly, and will find themselves in an evil plight at last. If you have not reached morality, how can you dare to talk about holiness, which is a far higher and loftier thing? The best morality in the world will not prove a man to be a Christian, but if a man has not morality, it proves that he is not a child of God. And then as to God: We are to fulfil all manner of godliness. God is to be worshipped by us devoutly, and we are to take pains to worship him in his own way. Rest assured that he who neglects one of the least of Christ’s ordinances and teaches men so, the same shall be least in the kingdom of heaven. Every truth is important. Trifling with conscience is the sin of the present age. From any power to believe in such a conscience may God deliver everyone of us. Be right even in little things. Be precise: you serve a precise God. Charity towards others is one thing, laxity for yourselves is quite another thing. Believe that your brother is conscientious though he may be in error, but as for yourself use your conscience, and practise your judgment in the careful study of truth, and then whatever your conclusions, carry them out at all hazards, though you should lose everything thereby, you will lose nothing in the long run. If you count the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt, you have made a wise choice, and will rejoice in having made it.”
Third, we can look forward to a new world of righteousness after the second coming. 2 Peter 3:13 says, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Matthew Henry said, “it will terrify and frighten the ungodly to see the visible heavens all in a flame, and the elements melting, yet the believer, whose faith is the evidence of things not seen, can rejoice in hope of more glorious heavens after these have been melted and refined by that dreadful fire which shall burn up all the dross of this visible creation. Here we must take notice of What true Christians look for: new heavens and a new earth, in which a great deal more of the wisdom, power and goodness of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ will be clearly discerned than we are able to discover in what we now see; for in these new heavens and earth, freed from the vanity the former were subject to, and the sin they were polluted with, only righteousness shall dwell; this is to be the habitation of such righteous persons as do righteousness, and are free from the power and pollution of sin; all the wicked shall be turned into hell; those only who are clothed with a righteousness of Christ, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, shall be admitted to dwell in this holy place. And what is the ground and foundation of this expectation and hope? It is the promise of God. To look for any thing which God has not promised is presumption; but if our expectations are according to the promise, both as to the things we look for and the time and way of their being brought about, we cannot meet with disappointment; for He is faithful who has promised.”
Thomas of Celano wrote:
That day of wrath, that dreadful day
When heaven and earth shall pass away!
What power shall be the sinner’s stay?
How shall he meet that dreadful day?
When, shriveling like a parched scroll,
The flaming heavens together roll;
When louder yet, and yet more dread,
Swells the high trump that wakes the dead;
O on that day, that wrathful day
When man to judgment wakes from clay,
Christ be the trembling sinner’s stay,
Though heaven and earth shall pass away.
Now, if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, I urge you to trust in Him because He is coming again and you do not want to be left behind. Here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and the consequences of sin.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.