A few years ago, I worked with a client who was opening a new business. It was a physical location that needed city permits, an architect, a contractor, inspections — everything — before he could open. Originally, he hoped to open in August of that year, but delay, after delay, after delay happened. Most were out of his control. He finally opened in November. I was helping with his marketing and we had to keep on telling interested, potential customers that the grand opening party was postponed, again and again. Nevertheless, when he did open, he had a fantastic grand opening. We built anticipation, got the right publicity and the place was packed! It did take some planning, combined with a lot of flexibility, to pull it off.
That’s kind of what’s going on in the final chapter of Peter’s second letter. Peter had taught the Jewish Christians of the first century what he himself heard Jesus say…
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”John 14:1-3 NLT
When, Lord, when?
The problem was that they expected Jesus to return within their lifetimes — just like the Thessalonians that Paul addressed in his two letters – You can check out that Bible study here. They were impatient. Imagine scoffers saying, “So, where is he?”
2000 years later, we’re still waiting. Many “scholars” have tried to predict when the rapture would happen — stating specific dates — and nope, not yet. Unfortunately, followers of these false prophets gave up everything because they thought that Jesus would come for them on a certain day.
However, Jesus reassured us that we are not to know the hour or the day…
36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.Matthew 24:36 NLT
Peter addresses this in this last chapter…
2 Peter 3
This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. 2 I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.
3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 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.”
5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. 6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
8 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. 9 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. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.
Peter’s Final Words
17 You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.2 Peter 3 NLT
Are You Ready for God’s Return
This morning on Instagram, one of the pastors that I follow presented a video with what we as born-again Christians needed to be doing to “get ready” for Jesus’ return…
How to Get Ready for Jesus’ Return
First, if you haven’t invited Jesus into your heart, you need to do that FIRST!
What else can you do to be ready for Jesus’ return?
- Study God’s word. This is besides daily devotions. Be intentional. Purposefully read the Bible daily. Have it become a necessary part of your life. Get to know it inside and out. This is a habit that took me a while to get into, but I’m glad I do it every day. There are certain Bible passages that I pray back to God. There are others that I have written down in notes around the house and memorized. I used two of those passages to help some friends recently. They were going through some problems that these passages helped me through.
- Apply God’s Word. Put into action what you learn in the Bible. Tell people about it. Preach it. Don’t be shy! The more you read it, the more confidence you will have when you need to help someone.
- Re-evaluate your priorities. Re-think everything you do. If Jesus came back right now, would He approve of what you’re doing?
- Change the culture. Don’t adapt to it. Change it. Be bold for the Lord.
- Stand up for what’s right — righteousness. Don’t allow evil to breed. We covered this yesterday. We can’t give the devil a foothold in our lives. Vote for righteous people. (We’ll get into how Christians should vote in the next few weeks.)
Satan has no real power in this world except what we, the gatekeepers give to him.Daniel Kolenda, International Missionary
If you’re a believer, here’s a prayer for you from LoveGodGreatly…
Father God, I thank You for Your patience and Your desire to give everyone an opportunity to know You intimately. Remind me of Your patience with me whenever I am anxious, restless, or irritable with others. Remind me of Your desire that everyone be saved when I dismiss one of Your creations as beyond all hope. Remind me that Your time is not my time, and You can accomplish the impossible at any time, at any place, in any means that You see fit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.https://lovegodgreatly.com/
When Jesus comes back for His church — that’s the rapture — life on earth will never be the same. You can learn what that will like in my series on the Book of Revelation. Believe me, it’s eye-opening! For believers, it will be wonderful. For those left behind, not so much. If you are left behind, you will get a second chance for salvation if you invite Jesus into your heart, but you’ll also have to live through the Great Tribulation. That, my friends, will not be fun.
It’s Your Choice
As Peter wrote at the end of his letter…
So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.2 Peter 3:17-18 NLT