Summary: Though people have and continue to doubt that Jesus will return, we can be confident of His coming because God has judged the world before, because God is not bound by time, and because Christ’s coming will not be preceded by definite signs.
Confident of His Coming
Maranatha - - come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Quickly, you say? What’s so quick about two thousand years? (The third millennium, by the way, started not so long ago!)
Come where? Do what? Would you really want Jesus to come? Why can’t he just stay where He is - - wherever that is!
The return of Jesus was meant to offer us hope and comfort. Today, instead, it sometimes seem to cause confusion and doubt. Religious teachers seem to be obsessed with predicting when Jesus will come. Our world really has very little place for such an idea and can do little more than make a joke of it.
Even if you do not share that mind-set, it is very easy to be influenced by it.
Have you ever caught yourself doubting that Jesus is coming again? The thought of the Son of God returning to end history just does not fit in smoothly with the spirit of our age. Perhaps we couldn’t fit it into our schedules!
I know the kinds of questions many modern people have about the return of Jesus. Even if Jesus did come, would the government actually shut down? And if it did, would we all starve tomorrow? Would the stock market be open even after Jesus came? More important, would the department stores still be open?
God has given us reminders of Jesus’ impending appearance. For example, the Lord’s Supper is a reminder that Jesus is coming again. As the Apostle Paul said, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
The claim that Jesus is coming again is a “make or break” point of the Christian faith.
God knows that we are surrounded by people who say, "Where is this ’coming’ He promised?" We have something at stake, and there are always doubters.
Confidence in the coming of Jesus was meant to give us hope, comfort, and encouragement - IF we understand what the Bible really says about it.
For people in our situation, Peter penned the word of God as it appears in II Peter 3:1-13. It is a word of reminder and a word of encouragement. In this section of scripture, Peter gives us three reasons why we can confidently hope for the second coming of Jesus.
First, we can confidently hope for the second coming of Jesus because of God’s former execution of world-wide judgment.
Those who sneer at the idea the Jesus is coming again have, according to Peter, "deliberately forgotten" two very important points.
The first of these is that God created the earth. This is such a key point of Christianity that it is not surprising that there is a lot of hostility to the idea of creation.
Carl Sagan’s PBS series and book COSMOS began with the statement, "The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."
The hostility to the idea of creation comes up again in COSMOS when Sagan says, "In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course, ask where God comes from. And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and decide that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question? Or, if we say that God has always existed, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?"
One important answer to all this is that the universe does not look like something that has always been here. It contains some "strong hints" that it is not eternal -- hints that a scientist like Sagan could at least acknowledge, if he were willing to do so. But you do find people who are not just doubters, but who are openly hostile to the very idea of creation. The head of Physical Sciences Department at the university where I direct a campus ministry is so hostile to the idea of creation that he has made it his personal mission to ridicule the idea — he can’t even discuss the possibility in a rational manner. He keeps a file on “creationists” (I’m in it!) and he makes it his mission to “hunt us down” and try to “run us out of town.” Yes, the doubters are still very much with us!
The second point that Peter cites to reinforce our confidence in the second coming is a "pause" in history when God destroyed the world by the flood in the time of Noah. Although this was not the final judgement on the world, it was by far the greatest of God’s temporal, here-and-now, judgments which show that God is still in control of the world and all its affairs, including human affairs.