Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Here is the Promise of His Coming


9th February 2014,                  Passage: 2 Peter 3:1-11       

We just began the year… today is only the 40th day. I have the most serious Question for you.
“ARE YOU EXPECTING JESUS CHRIST TO COME BACK THIS YEAR?”
Sadly many Christians have forgotten all about the second coming of Christ – not in word but in deed for they live as if the earth is their home. Many of us are tempted to make plans without prayer as if we can add an hour to span of our lives. Please remember that Christ is coming back and sooner than you expect!
The Promise of the Second coming is one of the most scoffed things in the world. From this passage we read people who were scoffing at the promise of Christ’s coming and so they asked, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were  from beginning of creation.” (v. 4). Many would consider you crazy if you openly said that Christ may come back this year… I also appreciate that people who try to fix dates of His coming are heretical and must not be listened. I have always lamented whenever I hear that such men as Harold Camping have come up with some dates for Christ’s coming because I am sure that they have spoiled a possible day for His coming. You can be hundred percent sure that Christ will not come back in a day predicted by men.
Many are persuaded that Christ is not coming a second time and so they even without any thought say, “You will be waiting until Jesus comes!” meaning that since he is not going to do what you expect, you will wait for him forever!” So I recently came across this article,
An Ipsos poll found that 25% of adults believed it was at least "somewhat likely" that "Jesus Christ will return to Earth" in the coming year. Among white evangelical Christian adults surveyed, a whopping 46% believed this. Now seven years after that poll in 2006, Jesus still has not returned. Why not? What have so many people been overlooking in their expectation? Want to know why Jesus did not come as expected in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013—and still won’t come in 2014? The reason has to do with several overlooked prerequisites to the rapture, until which the “end is not yet” according to Jesus himself.”
The author went on to say,
“Given this long history of disappointment for believers, the findings of this Ipsos poll surprised me. I was not expecting such a high percentage of people (Christian or otherwise) to express belief that Jesus was "somewhat likely to return to earth in the next year." After 1,984 years of failed predictions for Jesus' return to earth, I would have thought that very few would think that anymore.”
People are actively scoffing at the second coming of Christ. The Apostle of the Lord, being carried along by the Holy Spirit responds to this scoffing and skepticism by a way of a reminder to stir up our sincere minds. He wants us to remember the prophetic word and the commandment of the Lord through His apostles. We must of first importance not forget that heretics and scoffers will come in these last days. They follow their own desires and so the apostles is seeking to point out the that the promise of His coming is certain because of two things that they overlook which shows that they have a problem and a third fact is to do with the nature of God and His attitude towards men. These are the three responses to scoffers and an assurance of the promise of Christ’s coming:
1)    God created and is upholding His creation by His own Word (vv. 5-7)
2)    Christ has not delayed because “a day is as a thousand years” to God (v.8)
3)    The Lord is mercifully patient (vv.9-11)

1.    God Creates and Upholds by His Word (vv.5-7)
The first thing these scoffers ignore is that the world was created by God and that its order depends on his word. What this means is that the course of natural events such as the rising of the sun, seasons etc. is not dependent on the thinking and planning of men. They ought to realize that the course of natural events is no more locked into one pattern than God is. Since God is free to speak a new word, then nature is free to change accordingly. Scientists are constantly presenting themselves as if those who have not only the knowledge of the way the creation is going but even the power to control it. At best they say that nature is somewhat a law unto itself! It is not. We must acknowledge that the laws of nature are the tireless ordering of the God in His providence so that nothing happens without His ordaining.
The second thing that scoffers and all these false teachers ignore is that all things have NOT continued as they were from the beginning of creation. Peter presents to us an argument that is so similar to that in 2:5–9. Did God not bring judgment upon the world of the ungodly during the day of Noah's day in the flood? God simply ordered the natural order – wind and water and brought condemnation to the whole world with a great upheaval in the natural flow of events. In this, God has shown that he can and will alter the course of history in judgment and can do so within a short time. In the past he did it with water. In the future it will be with fire at the coming of Jesus Christ. Let everyone who has been scoffing at the second coming of Christ know that, by the same word (by which He created) the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept (by His word) until the Day of Judgment. This is going to happen when many are least expecting just as it was in the days of Noah when people were buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage.
 If the false teachers were not so blinded by their own desire (v. 4), they could see that it is utter folly to deny the future disaster (on them) of Christ's coming just because the course of the world has been so constant for so long.



2.    A Day Is as a Thousand Years (v.8)
As you would expect these heretical scoffers were producing the evidence for their denial of Christ’s coming by saying that Christ had delayed for so many years. They thought that 40 or so years and yet Christ had not come back that He for sure wont come back. If after such a short time was significant in their eyes, what would you expect today? So Peter is answering the criticism that Christ has delayed so long that we can't really believe he is coming back. His answer is that God is not bound by our clock. He is telling them that from God's experience of time it hasn't been very long. God is outside time – His time is not measured in seconds and hours and days and years – His time is measured by a standard called eternity. God has always been for He is I AM… the great Jehovah. God does not age; He does not forget, He sees all history at a glance and is never bored, clearly he does not experience time like we do.
Yet He does when we consider the statement, “…with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (v.8) Would you agree with me that the older we get the faster time seems to go? Surely many of us who are older can say "It just seems like yesterday I was in school." "It just seems like yesterday we got married." "It just seems like yesterday the kids were young." This could be an indication that somehow, being in God’s image, we experience  time in a very marred way like God!
Apart from age, joy also makes us experience time like God. If you are bored at an event, it seems to drag on forever. When we meet as Elders and Deacons we have things to discuss that simply take time away so quickly that we just find ourselves short of time! When I take out my family and particularly children, they are so disappointed that the day is over. Recently, I came from my last year’s leave and it was too short! Every moment was full of fun and full of unself-conscious life (like a thousand moments packed into one), and I was so taken up in the joy and beauty and love of hours that I never paused to be self-conscious about the passing of time. And at the end of those weeks, it was like yesterday that I began.


On this basis I would imagine that when Jesus comes back to take His bride, the church and establish His eternal kingdom on earth he will say, "It just seems like I was here yesterday!" If anyone wants to think that Christ has delayed, let him be advised, even warned, that he is enthroning himself upon the throne to judge God. To say that Christ has delayed is to accuse God of not knowing what He is doing. Do not be deceived, such thinking will perish. We must appreciate that God's experience of time is as though Christ arrived at his right hand the day yesterday!
3.    The Lord's Merciful Forbearance (vv.9-11)
Those who accuse Christ of delay should know the third thing that Pater puts forth so well. "The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance." We must look at the seeming delay of Christ's coming as an act of mercy and patience by God so that the full number of His elect may be brought in. Instead of lamenting about Christ’s ‘delay’ we should be asking ourselves if we have strategically placed ourselves to be the means that God uses to gather all His sheep into His fold. We must know that until all the sheep are gathered into the fold and not one is lost (John 10:16, 26–30) that’s when Christ will come.
The tragic irony is that the false teachers, and scoffers take God's patience, which is giving them an opportunity to repent, and turn it against God as an evidence that Christ is not coming. It will be an unanswerable indictment on the judgment day, when God asks the false teachers of Peter's day and ours, "Why did you take my gift of time for repenting and use it as an argument for unbelief?"
The Lord is good to us today to address our 21st century doubts in this way. Let us not lose heart or grow weary. Christ is coming. The delay is meant to lead to repentance, not to unbelief. In God's mind it has been only a couple of days. If this world order rests on the word of God, he can and he will bring judgment upon the unrepentant as surely in the future as he did in Noah's day. But for those who repent it will mean glory, honor, and immortality.

Application

·      The promise of Christ’s coming is at the center of Christian faith and hope. Our future is anchored on the fact that we have such future that we can depend on the Lord who is ultimately coming for us to be with Him forever. To scoff at the coming of Christ is to reject the gospel useless by making its goal a non-event. We must not allow such attitudes to be brought to us because this killing our faith.
·      We must be diligent in reminding others of the gospel. Peter says that he is writing his second letter to these people that he called his friends or beloved. He is not pointing them to experiences but to God’s Word as brought to us by the holy prophets and the Apostles. His aim is that we may keep our memory in condition of exercise so that when scoffers and heretics will come, they will find those who are fit spiritually.
·      We must be careful not to overlook anything in God’s Word. These scoffers were overlooking one thing or another. They deliberately overlooked that God created the heavens and earth and sustains them by His Word and they overlooked that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years.
·      We must not take for granted God’s patience and mercy. God is forbearing in that He does not wish any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. He wishes that your family should reach repentance. Every day we should pray that the Lord will allow them another time in which they can hear the gospel and come to faith.




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