Summary: Harold Camping has many people wondering if Jesus will come back today. Only the Father knows the time of Christ’s return. We can however, live in a constant stauts of preparation, and in this area, the Bible DOES say so!

Sermon Notes May 21, 2011 FBCam

How To Be Ready for Christ’s Return

2 Peter 3:14-18

Today, we learned something that we knew as soon as Harold Camping’s prediction was made. Jesus was not returning on May 21, 2011. You don’t have to be a great Bible scholar to understand the words of Matthew 24:36 "“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. "

But just in case you were hoping for the rapture last night, here are ten things that you will have to start doing again....

1. Go back on your diet!

2. Cut your grass

3. Pay the mortgage

4. Finish Monday’s homework assignment

5. Update your Facebook status

6. Change the oil in your car

7. Clean out your refrigerator

8. Visit your mother-in-law

9. Floss your teeth


I suppose that it’s OK to have good laugh over the foolish prediction of a false prophet. But the damage done to the name of Christ is not so funny.

Will those who were deceived ever return to church?

The scoffing of many will grow louder.

I remember the 1988 prediction of the rapture, and then the 1994 prediction of the rapture. Outside of the church community, there was little attention paid to it. But this time, in spite of Harold Camping’s two failed predictions, the news media all around the world were very interested. I believe that it is because we are living in perilous times and that the nearness of Christ’s return is evident in the turmoil of our world.

NBC news posted a fairly good article on the rapture prediction titled, “Why We’re Enraptured by the Rapture,” By Alan Boyle.

In the article, Boyle interviewed Jerry Jenkins, who properly rejected those who predict the rapture. Boyle went on to write about a Staten Island retiree Robert Fitzpatrick, who spent tens of thousands of dollars of their own money to promote the Rapture.

I found the replies to this article most interested. Here are a few.

“God is imaginary. Primitive humans have dreamed up thousands of religions to help explain things they didn’t understand and to deal with their fear of death. There is no more a Christian god than there were Aztec gods, Roman gods, or Egyptian gods. All of them, equally imaginary.”

“It’s already May 21 in about half the world and they are doing just fine. Does the rapture not take time zones into account?”

I’m only happy the media are heaping so much attention on this rapture nonsense, so when May 21 comes and goes and NOTHING happens and the world just keeps on spinnin’, it will be another illustration of the irrational and baseless and harmful nature of religion/”

“I hope the "earthquake" swallows religion and removes it from the world. It’s pointless and unnecessary.”

And the scoffers begin again. But this is not new. Peter wrote about this 1900 years ago.

2 Peter 3:3–4 "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. " "They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” "

Contained within Peter’s second epistle are some of the strongest prophetic themes in the New Testament.

2 Peter 1:10–11 "Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. " "For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "

2 Peter 1:14 "since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. "

2 Peter 1:16 "For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

2 Peter 2:6 "if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;”

2 Peter 2:9 "then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,”

2 Peter 3:10–11 "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 "

Peter’s death was at hand. Like Paul, the closer Peter was to meeting the Lord, the more focused he was on the events of the end times. As Peter prepares to meet the Lord, he asks, in light of the promise of Christ’s coming, “What kind of people ought you to be?” It’s a great question for us to consider, especially in light of the false hope that disillusioned many yesterday.

Let’s study, HOW to be READY for CHRIST’s RETURN

First, you must KNOW What He Promised. 2 Peter 3:10-11

Here, Peter writes about the Day of the LORD. The Old testament is filled with references to this event.

Isaiah 13:6 "Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty."

Isaiah 13:9 "See, the day of the Lord is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger— to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. "

Ezekiel 30:3 "For the day is near, the day of the Lord is near— a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations. "

Joel 1:15 "Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty."

Obadiah 15 "“The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head. "

Zephaniah 1:18 "Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.” "

Most often, the Day of the Lord (DOL) references speak of calamity, judgment and dread. But this is only one aspect of the DOL. In the Old Testament, and for Jews of all time, a day began in the evening. “The evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen 1:5). The DOL is just like that. There is an evening - a time of darkness, judgment and punishment for those who have rejected God. Then, there is a morning - a time of blessing, restoration and reward for those who have followed God. The evening is the time of the tribulation, or 70th week of Daniel. The morning is the time of the 1,000 millenial Kingdom. Isn’t that just like God’s Grace? God will conclude this event called human history with 7 years of judgment, BUT 1,000 YEARS OF BLESSING!

Peter outlines four steps that we should take in order to be ready to meet the Lord.

Peter’s Second condition for our preparation to meet the Lord is that

We are to Look Forward to Meeting Him. 2 Peter 3:11b-13

The word “Look forward” is used 16 x in the NT in Greek. Three of those times are right here! (3:12, 13, 14). In all three, Peter uses the present tense of the verb, indicating that our looking forward to Christ’s return is something that continues until He comes. The word means “To expect someone.” It is used negatively in Luke 12:46 "The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.”

For the BELIEVER - it means that we look forward to the return of Christ with joy. For the UNBELIEVER - it means that the return of Christ will come unexpectedly, without warning.

There are many reasons that we should look forward to His coming!

1. Your work will be over 2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. "

2. Your work will be rewarded. 1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. "

3. Sin will be judged. Acts 17:31 "For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” "

4. Affliction will end. 2 Corinthians 4:17 "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

5. We will meet the Lord.

I found the following hymn story in the “Songtime” archives.

“I Shall Know Him” Probably the most famous female hymn writer of all time is Fanny Crosby. She has well over 8,000 songs credited to her God-given talent. As you can imagine, with such an ability to write, she was always followed by those who wanted to compose. So it was for one John R. Sweney. It was nearing the end of the nineteenth century, and Fanny was visiting one of her favorite places, Lake Chautauqua, in Western New York State. There on its shores was situated the Chautauqua Institute, which in those days was a place for Christian fellowship, great preaching and, of course, singing of those wonderful hymns. It was here that John caught up with his favorite writer. After a busy day at the camp meeting, both our heroes were taking a well-deserved rest on the front porch of the grand hotel at Chautauqua. John asked an interesting question of Fanny. "Fanny," he asked, "do you think we’ll recognize our friends in heaven?" Initially her response was positive. She then added, "John, that’s not what you really want to know. You wonder how an old lady who has been blind all her life could even recognize one person, let alone her Lord and Savior. Well, John Sweney, I’ve given it a lot of thought and I don’t think I’ll have a problem. But if I do, when I get to heaven, I’m going to look around and when I see the one who I think is my Savior, I’m going to walk up to Him and say, ’May I see your hands?’ When I see the nail prints in the hands of my Savior, then I’ll know I’ve found my Jesus." "Oh Fanny," John said, "can you repeat that story? It would make a great song." "No thank you," she replied. "I’m tired, I’m going to bed". Well the next morning, bright and early, Fanny met John for breakfast and before they went their separate ways, she dictated these words to him:

When my life’s work is ended and I cross the swelling tide,

When the bright and glorious morning I shall see,

I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,

And His smile will be the first to welcome me.

I shall know Him, I shall know Him,

And redeemed by His side I shall stand;

I shall know Him, I shall know Him,

By the print of the nails in His hand.

We have many blessings to look forward to, but seeing Jesus is the greatest one!

The third preparation mentioned in this is passage is to

Keep Prepared for Your Life’s Inspection. 2 Peter 3:14

We see that there is to be something in our MOTIVATION. We are to “Make every effort” (2 Peter 3:14). This word is used 11x in the NT. It means, “do your best” and is used that way in 2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. "

It is also used in 2 Peter 1:5 "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; "

and in 2 Peter 1:10 "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, "

So being ready to meet the Lord involves a life of constant readiness. Like the soldier during basic training, we must be ready for inspection at any time!

With that motivation, we are to implement certain behaviors in our life of readiness. Peter mentions three.

1. Spotless. Meaning, “Without pollution or defect.”I think that this means that our sin is confessed, our life is pure.

2. Blameless. This is a rare word in the NT. One other place it is used is in Colossians 1:22 "But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish (ESV, NAS “blameless”) and free from accusation— " Note from Colossians 1 that only CHRIST can make us blameless.

3. At peace. Being at peace is not just a state of bliss or serenity. It is a condition of peace between you and God. The idea is much more of the idea of two countries that had been at war, but are now at peace. It is NOT the idea of a calm mind, but rather of a restored relationship. Notice, Romans 5:1 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”

All THREE of these conditions are accomplished only by Jesus.

Finally, the fourth part of our preparation for the Lord’s return is to

Remember the Reason for Christ’s Delay. 2 Peter 3:15

It may seem like God’s timing is SLOW, but His reasons are CLEAR. It is to give more people time to be saved. Peter mentioned this earlier in this chapter. 2 Peter 3:8–9 "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. " "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. "

We speed his coming when we LIVE GODLY LIVES and SHARE the GOSPEL.

This is the end of Peter’s epistles. He closes with two admonitions that we would do well to follow.

Beware of false teachers. 2 Peter 3:17

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

2 Peter 3:17–18 "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. " "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. "

When you live this way, you will be READY for CHRIST’S RETURN.