Behold, He Comes!
(2 Peter 3, 1 Thessalonians 4&5)
Introduction: Last week we discussed the end times and ended with Jesus' Second Coming. This week we continue with our look at the Second Coming. How can we be sure Jesus is coming again? Why does He delay? What will it be like when He comes? Let's jump into our study and find out!
- Read 2 Peter 3:1 Why does Peter say he has been writing letters to his friends? (To stimulate wholesome thinking. Let's see if we can do some of that too!)
- Read 2 Peter 3:2-4. What are the arguments against Jesus coming again?
- What is your answer to those who scoff at the idea that Jesus is coming again?
- Read 2 Peter 3:5-7. To answer the scoffers, Peter refers to things we know from the Bible. What are these things and how do they specifically answer the scoffers? Let's list and discuss these.
- Creation: How does the Creation tend to prove that Jesus is coming again? (In at least two ways. First, it shows that God has the power to do it. If a word of God (v.5) can create the world, then a word (v.7) can take it apart. Second, it shows that God has an ownership interest in the earth. Why would He just walk away from His creation?)
- The Flood: How does the Flood tend to prove that Jesus is coming again? (It shows that God if fully willing and able to execute judgment. I once taught a class where some of the members were very uneasy about the idea that God sent the flood. They preferred to think of it as a "water accident." It was no accident, it shows that judgment is part of God's love. He will end the sin problem.)
- How does Peter say the world will end? (In fire!)
- Read 2 Peter 3:8-9. What other reasons does God have for delaying? (First, His sense of time is not like ours. Have you ever gone on a trip with small children? Their sense of time is quite different than yours. God tells us His sense of time is quite different than ours. Second, He delays because He wants everyone to repent and be saved.)
- How does God's waiting for our repentance work? If we live 70 years, shouldn't the wait be around that long? (This statement makes no sense if God is speaking about individuals. Therefore, He must be talking about humankind in general. He is looking for a general turning to Him.)
- Does this suggest a general revival before the end of time?
- The Event
- Read 2 Peter 3:10. Last week we discussed whether Jesus' Second Coming would be a private event. Some refer to it being a "secret" coming. What does this suggest about whether or not we will notice His Second Coming? (First, we will be surprised. This is another text which precludes the date setting we discussed last week. Second, our earth is going to go out with a "roar." No private or secret event is pictured here!)
- Let's step outside of Peter for a minute to review another text about the Second Coming. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:14-15. On what do we base our belief that Jesus is coming again? (Paul tells us that because Jesus died and rose again we can have faith that we can rise from the dead. Further, this is a promise straight from God ("according to the Lord's own word")about how this will happen.)
- Let's read how it will happen. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. Last week one of my class members suggested that if we are in doubt about whether this is the Second Coming, we should go to a cemetery. Does this support his idea?
- Does this sound like a secret event?
- What do you understand from this "caught up together to meet the Lord in the air" language? (When Jesus comes again He is not giving any press conferences. He does not even "land." The dead rise, and then we rise in the air to meet Him.)
- Friend, verse 18 tells us to encourage each other with these words. Does this encourage you?
- Our Reaction
- Read 2 Peter 3:11-12. What is the answer to Peter's question? As we consider Jesus' Second Coming, what impact should that have on our lives? (Peter says the logical impact is to cause us to live holy and godly lives.)
- Is this the way that we should present the gospel: if you don't want to be barbecue, you need to live holy and godly lives? (I don't think this is Peter's message. He is saying that if we hold the earth and our possessions dear, they are going to be destroyed by fire. So, why not hold on to something that is eternal - our relationship to God?)
- Notice verse 12 contains the phrase "and speed its coming." Can you affect the time of the Second Coming? (Yes! Living holy and godly lives will help to speed the coming of Jesus. I can't explain exactly how this works, but Peter clearly says this.)
- Let's jump back to 1 Thessalonians for a minute. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6. I have been arguing, based on the texts we discussed last week and this week that we cannot set a date for Jesus' Second Coming. Verse 4 says there is a way for the godly to avoid being surprised. Is this by determining the date of the Second Coming? (These verses say several things. First, they say (v.3)we cannot depend on the view of the world. Second, they say that the godly have an advantage, they can avoid surprise. However, the way to avoid surprise (v.6) is to be constantly ready! Being constantly ready shows they do not have a date in mind.)
- What kind of people should we be in light of these verses? (A consistent, steady, alert attitude of obedience to God is what is called for. 2 Peter 3:14 says "make every effort to be spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.")
- Our Destination
- Read 2 Peter 3:13. What is the destination of the righteous at the Second Coming? (God will take us to heaven. However, this verse also suggests that ultimately our new home will be the earth made new.)
- Read Revelation 21:1-5. What do these verses teach us about living in the earth made new? (Jesus brings the "New Jerusalem," His "Holy City" down from heaven to the earth made new! Friend, this suggests that Jesus is going to make the earth made new the capital of the universe! God is going to come down and live with us!)
- What kind of life will we live in the earth made new? (Verse 4 promises us "no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.")
- Friend, is that what you want for your future? If so, I invite you today to make every effort to constantly, alertly, walk with God.
- Next Week we start a new quarter on the book of Amos.