Delivered By
C. C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
November 13, 2016
Central Passage
2 Peter 3:10-14
Attached Document
Open Document

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  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.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.  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 3:10-14).

Is this the day I die?  I don’t know about you…but that question is in the back of my mind every day.  But an even more important follow up question is…am I ready to die?  We all should put a lot of thought into how we answer that question.

Most of us believe in an afterlife…but very few talk much about it.  Those of us who are Christians believe we will spend eternity in a wonderful place called heaven.  So it’s a bit strange…isn’t it…that we talk so little about heaven…acting as if our knowledge about it doesn’t matter all that much?  I think it matters a bunch.

If we were going someplace here on earth where we had never been…wouldn’t it be normal to be curious about it?  In fact, I know a couple who spend a good portion of each year studying about where they’re going to vacation for three weeks during the year.  They’ve been doing this for years…and they told me that studying the history of a place and what it has to offer makes their trip much more enjoyable.

When I asked them about their most enjoyable trip…they both said it was a river boat cruise up the Nile.  I’m sure that was interesting to them…but it isn’t as interesting as heaven.  The most beautiful and interesting place on earth isn’t as beautiful and interesting as heaven.  Our finite minds can’t comprehend the kind of beauty God has prepared for us.

When you really think about dying...and whether today might be your last on this earth as we know it…it raises many questions in our finite minds.  Eternity is impossible for any human mind to truly comprehend…and so is heaven.

There are actually people who think that knowing more about heaven and God’s future plan for us shouldn’t make all that much difference to us in the here and now.  That’s a calloused view…I know…but it’s one shared by a lot of people.  And it’s not a minority view.

So does heaven…and what we can learn about it…matter?  I think so.  I think it very important to live in the light of what we can know about the future…and about what awaits us after our earthly death.

Obviously, some people want to ignore such knowledge…because with new truth always comes new responsibility.  After all, what you think about heaven determines to a large degree what you think about the present…your relationship with Christ and the church here on earth…and, of course, what He expects of you in your relationships with other people.

For example, when we spend more time witnessing to people than we spend in gossiping about people…we’re going in the right direction.  When forgiveness is a lifestyle for us rather than just a buzzword…we’re going in the right direction.  And when we’re ready to give others the kind of grace God has given us through the Cross of Jesus Christ…we’re going in the right direction.

Maybe it’s because Christians as a whole have quit thinking about the next world that they’ve become ineffective in this one.  That’s a lot of truth to gulp down in one sitting.  With all that’s going on in the world…especially the things that affect us…such as jobs, finances and oftentimes sour relationships…it’s not easy to meditate on the glories of heaven.

We shouldn’t have to force ourselves to think about God.  We should step back…take a deep breath…and get our minds right.  In Philippians Paul spoke about having the mind of Christ.  And in our text Peter spoke of what sort of person a Christian is supposed to be.  And he wasn’t taking about something optional…he was, rather, talking about something that is God’s way as opposed to the world’s way.

Peter told Christians quite succinctly that there’s often a vast difference between what we often are and what we should be.  When we truly believe in the reality of heaven…we start behaving differently on this side of life.  Seeing firsthand the reality of the other side in the resurrected Jesus motivated the disciples to give their lives to and for the Gospel.

When Peter uses the wordought” in telling us how we “ought to live”…that word translated refers to an obligation…including the idea of owing a debt to someone.  For example, Jesus dying for our sins spared us a debt for our salvation that we could never have repaid…no matter how good we’re capable of becoming.

Do you sense an obligation to live with an eternal perspective?  Peter is telling us that if you don’t…you should.  The Living Bible conveys the idea in this way: “And so since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives we should be living!  How astoundingly excellent you ought to be!”  Peter is telling us that since heaven is our real home…we need to live accordingly.

As to what kind of people we ought to be…we’re not to be people living for this world.  We’re aliens, strangers and foreigners in this world…not a part of it.  We’re commanded to not love the world…or the things that are in the world.  It’s not our place.  We’re pilgrims.  We citizens of a heavenly place.  And our destination is a city whose builder and maker is God…a city not made with hands…eternal in the heavens.

As to what kind of people we ought to be…and at what level of excellence we ought to live…since we’re headed for eternal glory…since we’re going to be a citizen of God’s eternal Kingdom…and since we’re going to be delivered from the day of the Lord to enter into the eternal day of God…we should be living in expectation of that day.

How do we do that?  First of all…we’re to live with devotion.  Peter says that an eternal perspective will change the way we behave in two very practical ways: “holy conduct” and “godliness.”

Holy conduct refers to action…and godliness refers to attitude.  Holy conduct refers to the way we live our lives…and godliness refers to the spirit of reverence within us by which we live our lives.  Holy conduct refers to that which rules our behavior…and godliness refers to that which rules our hearts.

So Peter is saying what kind of people we ought to be in heart and behavior…and in motive, action, attitude and duty.

The first result of an eternal perspective will be purity.  In 1 John 3:3, we find these words: “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

 When a person meditates on heaven…sin is not appealing.  When a person’s mind drifts away from heaven…sin becomes attractive.  Thinking about heaven leads to pursuing holiness…whereas a high tolerance for sin testifies that a person’s thoughts are elsewhere.

 Heaven, obviously, should affect our activities and ambitions…our recreation and friendships…and the way we spend our money and time.  If you truly believe that you will spend eternity in a world of unending beauty and adventure…would you be more content to spend hours of every day on earth watching inane TV shows, commercials and ball games?  And even if you could keep your eyes off the impurities on the screen…how much time do you really want to invest in that which really doesn’t matter?

Godliness is the second thing Peter says will be a result of an eternal perspective.  Godliness translated literally means “to worship well”…describing a person whose life is lived out as an act of worship…and not just on Sunday.  If we really believe what Peter wrote…it will be reflected in the way we live…and the way we live challenges our personal choices…our stewardship with what God has provided us.

And yes, that’s a reference to time, money and material possessions…all of which actually belong to God.  We’re simply stewards of these things who will someday be held accountable for how we handle them.  Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

We’re to not only live with devotion…but with expectancy…“looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things…

Peter used the phrase “looking for” three times in these three verses.  When translated from the original text the phrase “looking for” or “looking forward” carries the idea of expectancy…of waiting with alertness…of being ready.

Verse 12 tells us to look for the coming of God.  Verse 13 speaks of looking for new heavens and a new earth.  And verse 14 tells us to look forward to both these things.  The idea is to maintain an eternal perspective in every facet of life…which will radically impact what you’re living for.

          The idea is to wait for…to look for…to expect…and to anticipate.  There is no greater motivation for living a Christian life than the return of Jesus and the doctrine of heaven…because what you believe about the future determines how you will live each day.

Many people put great emphasis on biblical prophecy…but live careless, slipshod lives.  Some say they’re looking forward to the coming of the Lord…but is that really true when God is not their focus?  How you’re living down here answers that question.

The text is clear.  We’re to live with devotion…with expectancy…and with diligence.  The Scripture says, “…be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”  What you’re "looking for” should have a direct relationship as to what you’re "living for.”

Hebrews 6:11-12 tells us: "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."

First of all we’re to be “spotless…which refers to character…what we really are on the inside.  Secondly, we’re to be “blameless”…referring to reputation…how we relate to other people.  In other words, there’s great emphasis on character and reputation…as to who we really are instead of who people think we are.

Peter says the result will be “be found by Him in peace.”  What he’s saying is that he wants Christians to be at total peace…living without fear.  If you were told that the Lord was taking you home in the next 24 hours…either through His coming or your death…if you know where you’re headed it shouldn’t bother you all that much.

Years ago on TV’s Monday Night Football…when the outcome of a game was determined…the late Don Meredith would sing “Turn out the lights…the party’s over.”

Many people view life as a party…which they keep hoping will get better.  Believe me…it won’t.  Still, most people fear leaving the party early because they think they’ll miss something…like the barbecued ribs, ice cream and banana pudding.  That’s because they either don’t have the proper perspective about the afterlife…or they’re not prepared for it.

If you’re a Christian…you’ll be going to a much bigger and better party than you’ll ever go to here on earth.  It will be in the house that Jesus prepared for you…and it will be full of smiling, familiar faces.  The problems you faced here on earth will all be gone…no sickness, no sorry, no diets or anything else to cause you worry…just unrelenting joy.

This world is not the real home of a Christian.  He or she is just passing through.  Their real home is where the real party is taking place.  Those left behind…or who will be going to a place other than heaven…are the ones missing the party.

Is today the day I die?  Good question…as is where will I be one split-second after I die?  Jesus said there are two roads in life. He said in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter through the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it.  Narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”

The broad road leads to judgment, destruction, and hell.  On that road people can seem to be having a wonderful time.  It may even give the illusion of a party atmosphere.  But it’s really a road of emptiness, loneliness, and insecurity.

The narrow road leads to Heaven…and traveling on it is difficult because it goes against the grain of society…against the tide of all sinful pleasures.  On the narrow road to heaven there’s also a sense of destiny…a distinction of hope…and an assurance of something better to follow this earthly existence.  Simply put, for the Christian the best is yet to come.

Which road are you on?  What will be your final destination?  Where will you be a split-second after you die?  Everyone must make that choice.

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