Rely on Jesus' Return

Rely on Jesus' Return

Perry Duggar |

Peter reminded the churches that they could rely on Jesus’ return.

Rely on Jesus’ Return
Remember! – Message 5
Perry Duggar
May 29, 2022

I. Introduction: We continue our survey of 2 Peter called, Remember! (2 Peter 3:1)

A. Today’s message is entitled, Rely on Jesus’ Return.

  1. Theme: 2 Peter 3:10 (NLT)— But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. … [The Day of the Lord refers to the intervention of God into human history to execute His final judgment, destroy the present universe with fire and replace it with a new heaven and new earth.]
  2. This letter was likely written during Peter’s final year of life, which ended when he was martyred by Roman Emperor Nero, who died in 68 AD.
  3. He wrote to people he cared about to communicate his great concern that they not be confused or led astray by false teachers who had infiltrated the churches.
  4. 2 Peter 3:1 (NLT)—This is my second letter to you [1 Peter] , dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory.
  5. This part of Peter’s letter dealt specifically with the truth of Jesus’ 2nd coming.
  6. The charlatan teachers denied the Savior’s return because they encouraged immorality.
  7. Jesus’ return would begin a time of judgment and accountability for sin.
  8. Peter asserted the reliability of Jesus’ return. [ He’s Coming Back booklets.]

II. Jesus’ return is reliable because… (2 Peter 3:2-10)

A. 1. God’s Word is true. (2 Peter 3:2–4. C/R: Isaiah 66:15-16; Daniel 7:13-14; Luke 21:26-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–8; Jude 14-15,17-18)

  1. 2 Peter 3:2 (NLT)— I want you to remember and understand what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles
  2. Peter appealed to his letter’s recipients to remember what they were taught by Scripture (particularly the Old Testament prophets), but also what Jesus Himself and His apostles (Peter, Paul and others) had taught, in particular, what they taught about Jesus’ 2nd Coming.
  3. 23 of the 27 books in the New Testament explicitly refer to Jesus’ return, 2 more imply it; only Philemon and 3rd John don’t address the subject. (300 references in 260 New Testament chapters)
  4. 2 Peter 3:3 (NLT)— Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days [time between Jesus’ ascension and return] scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.
  5. Peter was referring to current events; the scoffers [false teachers], and those who followed them, were ridiculing the truth of Jesus’ 2nd coming and following their own desires into promiscuous immorality and unbridled greed.
  6. 2 Peter 3:4 (NLT)— They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
  7. Part of the early church’s statement of faith included the return of Jesus to complete His work of salvation, punish the wicked and establish His kingdom on earth.
  8. The false teachers asked sarcastically, “Well, where is He?” to make fun of Christians.
  9. They declared, “Nothing has changed since this world was created,” implying that it would not change, meaning Jesus would not re-appear on earth.
  10. This is a naturalistic argument, a kind of uniformitarianism that excludes any divine intervention in history: God is absent from earth, if He exists at all (a worldview).
  11. Regarding Jesus return, they argued that there was no evidence of His involvement in events on earth, so there are no indications that He would return.
  12. Peter pointed out that not only does the Word of God predict the coming Day of the Lord, but it also predicts the appearance of scoffers who would deny that prophecy.
  13. Why did the false teachers deny Jesus’ return? Because they wanted to continue living in sin and expand their following, to increase their financial collections.
  14. The reality of Jesus’ 2nd Coming reminded people that God is aware of and active in this world, so there will be a future accountability for all actions—good and evil.
  15. This belief would cause them to reject and avoid the teaching of these charlatans.
  16. People today doubt, even make fun of, the idea of hell or a future day of judgment for the same reasons—to avoid the oppressive awareness of responsibility for their lives.
  17. They surmise, “If there is a God, many think there is, He is loving, docile, tame.”
  18. APP.: Does the truth of God’s Word, including Jesus’ return, guide your life?

Jesus’ return is reliable also because…

B. 2. God’s work is consistent. (2 Peter 3:5–7. C/R: Numbers 23:19; Psalm 102:25-27; 135:6-7; Colossians 1:15-17)

  1. 2 Peter 3:5 (NLT)—5 They deliberately [!] forget that God made the heavens by the word of His command, and He brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. [Genesis 1:9-10] [They knew God was the Creator; Romans 1:18-19]
  2. The scoffers claimed Jesus would not return because nothing had changed since creation; in other words, God is not involved in events on earth, if He exists at all!
  3. People don’t see, or deny seeing, what they don’t want to see. (“None so blind…”)
  4. Scientists today will disregard data and ignore (even censor) counter-arguments they don’t want to consider if they contradict their hypotheses or their agenda!
  5. ILL.: Committed evolutionists don’t want to see evidence of a creator.
  6. APP.: Ask questions before complying if we encounter another “so-called” pandemic.
  7. Peter countered false teacher’s argument by claiming that the world came into being by God’s word, by His action (not by itself) and God has continued to interact in this world.
  8. 2 Peter 3:6 (NLT)— Then He used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. [Genesis 6-10]
  9. Peter used the example of God sending the flood to prove that the world has changed, in fact, been changed by God’s intrusion, in response to the world’s corruption.
  10. Peter’s argument is obvious: the same God who created the world by His Word can and will intervene in His world and do whatever He wishes to do! (Psalm 115:3; 135:6)
  11. God created and sustains, holds together, the world by His Word. (Psalm 102:25-27; Colossians 1:15–17; Hebrews 1:3)
  12. 2 Peter 3:7 (NLT)—And by the same word [which is active and powerful], the present heavens [area above earth, sky] and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
  13. God intruding into the world again to destroy sin and deliver His people is consistent with the character He has already displayed and promises He has made (Numbers 23:19)!
  14. God’s promises are reliable, trustworthy, true—even His promise to execute judgment!
  15. After the flood, God promised that He would never again judge the world by water (Genesis 9:8-17); many passages speak of a coming judgment using fire imagery.
  16. God’s work is consistent: As He miraculously intervened in the course of history to judge sin on earth in the past; He will judge it again in the future, as He promised.
  17. But as in days of the flood, people who reject and oppose God will be destroyed, but those He knows as His own, who are deemed godly, will be spared (see 2 Peter 2:5,9).
  18. APP.: Do you believe Jesus will return? Are you prepared for His arrival?

When Jesus reliably returns, we will see…

C. 3. God’s will is merciful. (2 Peter 3:8–10. C/R: Joel 2:13-14; John 3:17; Romans 2:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:2)

  1. Peter anticipated (or heard) another argument from the false teachers: “Why the delay? Has God changed His mind?”
  2. 2 Peter 3:8 (NLT)— But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. [Psalm 90:4]
  3. God does not live in time, which He created for us; God lives in past, present and future simultaneously, so we cannot expect Christ to return according to our timetable.
  4. These counterfeit Christians were making God in their own image and ignoring the fact that God is eternal, having neither beginning nor ending, because He dwells in eternity.
  5. Eternity is not just “extended time;” it is existence above and apart from time.
  6. Mankind is immortal, having a beginning but not an ending, so every person will live forever either in heaven in God’s presence, or in hell, separated from God.
  7. So why the delay? 2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)— The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people [false teachers?] think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
  8. God delays the second coming of Jesus so more people can be saved, because when Christ returns, judgment will occur and His kingdom will be inaugurated on earth.
  9. God is merciful; He is patient, allowing time for people to repent and be saved.
  10. God takes no pleasure in punishment, but because He is just, judgment of all who have refused to turn from sin and rejected His Son must occur.
  11. Jesus has not returned yet because God wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)
  12. Every day before Jesus returns is a day of grace and represents the possibility of more people turning to Him, being completely forgiven, and receiving eternal life.
  13. 2 Peter 3:10a (NLT)— But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief.
  14. This is an Old Testament concept describing Yahweh’s full judgment of and reconciliation with the world, which Peter identified with Jesus’ return. (Further evidence of His divinity.)
  15. 2 Peter 3:10b (NLT)—Then the heavens [physical universe] will pass away with a terrible noise [crackling of being consumed by fire, disintegration of universe’s atoms, “uncreation”] , and the very elements themselves [atomic components of the universe] will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. [In the midst of universal destruction, God will mercifully gather His own!]
  16. After Jesus’ return, the entire present universe will cease to exist, replaced by a new heaven and earth where the righteous will live with God forever. (Revelation 21-22)
  17. APP.: Have you received God’s mercy, making you ready for Jesus’ return?

  • Memory verse: 2 Peter 3: 9 (NLT)— The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

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