Summary: There is a great day coming in which the Lord is judge the world. Let’s consider the Surety, Scope, and Standard of Judgment.
There’s A Great Day Coming
by Scott R. Bayles, pastor
First Christian Church
When the Apostle Paul was being transported as a missionary prisoner to Rome, his ship docked to the south of Rome in the Italian port city of Puteoli. This was a holiday resort for fashionable Roman society, a spa with nearby hot sulfur springs. Many of the Roman emperors had villas there.
Puteoli laid in the shadow of a great, rugged mountain—Mount Vesuvius —a volcano actually, although it hadn’t erupted in nearly a thousand years. Shortly after Paul’s time, Vesuvius exploded like an atomic bomb. It erupted for forty hours, and while Puteoli was spared, another nearby city was flooded by molten lava, buried before the inhabitants could escape. They were killed by the gasses and the ash, and then preserved by the molten lava, which rolled over them and hermetically sealed them in a gigantic tomb of pumice.
That city was Pompeii, and for many years it remained buried under twenty feet of hardened lava. Excavations have given us a perfectly preserved Roman city, frozen in time, caught in the act of being itself.
The twenty thousand people of Pompeii, it seems, worshipped two gods: Venus, the love goddess, and Mercury, the god of commerce. They worshipped, in other words, money and pleasure. Their worship of Mercury is evidenced by their economic prosperity. Pompeii was a thriving city, a neat grid-like pattern of shop-lined streets wrapped in a gated wall. It pulsed with industry, many of its people working in a winery—Pompeii was world-famous for its wine.
But they also loved pleasure. The city walls were filled with advertisements by prostitutes. Prices indicate that the average call-girl cost about the same price of a modest dinner at a Pompeian tavern. On one hotel, a sign said: "If you’re looking for a girl, ask for Attica—four dollars, high class."
On the walls of brothels were testimonies by satisfied customers. Everywhere were models and carving of the phallus, which in ancient Pompeii was considered the symbol of success. It was carved on sidewalks and houses, drawn on walls and posts.
The statues and sculptures of Pompeii, excavated by archeologists, were hidden for many years in the “off limits” rooms of the Italian museum because they were so obscene. On one Pompeian wall, someone with knowledge of the Old Testament had written some graffiti—just three words: Sodom and Gomorrah!
And, like Sodom and Gomorrah, Pompeii perished suddenly by fire. Judgment came swiftly and without warning, and there was no escape. And, like Pompeii, our world today is drenched in corruption and confusion, awaiting the final judgment. We don’t know when the volcano of God’s judgment and punishment will erupt, but the Apostle Peter says this...
2 Peter 3:3-13 (NLT)
3It is most important for you to understand what will happen in the last days. People will laugh at you. They will live doing the evil things they want to do. 4They will say, “Jesus promised to come again. Where is he? Our fathers have died, but the world continues the way it has been since it was made.” 5But they do not want to remember what happened long ago. By the word of God heaven was made, and the earth was made from water and with water. 6Then the world was flooded and destroyed with water. 7And that same word of God is keeping heaven and earth that we now have in order to be destroyed by fire. They are being kept for the Judgment Day and the destruction of all who are against God.
8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: To the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day. 9The Lord is not slow in doing what he promised—the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and lives.
10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The skies will disappear with a loud noise. Everything in them will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be burned up.£ 11In that way everything will be destroyed. So what kind of people should you be? You should live holy lives and serve God, 12as you wait for and look forward to the coming of the day of God. When that day comes, the skies will be destroyed with fire, and everything in them will melt with heat. 13But God made a promise to us, and we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth where goodness lives.
William L Thompson wrote, “There’s a great day coming by and by, when the saints and the sinners will be parted right and left, are you ready for that day to come?” I’ve never really been a fan of hell-fire and brimstone preaching, but let us take a moment this morning to remind ourselves of what the Bible teaches regarding that great and final day. Peter reveals, here, three aspects of God’s judgment which are important for us—and all people—to remember. First, Peter tells of...