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Sunday 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM
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Sunday 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM
Today JP focuses on 2 Peter 3:1-9 and reminds us that the scripture clearly teaches that Jesus WILL return. We look at the difference between saints and scoffers and learn that God delights in making scoffers into saints.
A Diligent and Right Response to "These Things"
A Reminder of How and When "Joy to the World" Comes
Saints and Scoffers Running out of Time
False Teaching and False Teachers: the Difference and the Danger of Both
False Teaching is a Trap
Lot: the Trampled Spring That Is Wonderfully Saved and a Horrible Warning
The Grace and Truth False Teachers Miss and the Judgment They Won’t
The Words and Ways of the False Teacher and What to Do about It
Stirring Truth That Makes Men Useful
The Choreographed Christian Life
Persecution From Without Is Not Near the Threat as Is the Poison From Within
Good morning, Watermark. How are we doing? Todd is flying back from Turkey. He's been there training Iranian pastors, and he said he's coming back with a full heart. He couldn't have been more encouraged by his time there. He said to communicate to you that God is winning and that they are advancing the gospel there. It's good news. He said he can't wait to be back with his friends here in Dallas. I'm going to be in 2 Peter, chapter 3, verses 1-7. Peter wrote this letter to the church. It's his second letter.
"Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. Above 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 ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.' But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly."
Father, thank you for this ancient writing you preserved through the ages that you wrote through your servant Peter by the power of your Spirit to strengthen the church. Father, I pray that you would apply it to our lives today, that we would leave this place changed, that we would leave this place different than we came in, for a normal Sunday service to worship you corporately, God, that our lives would be examined against the truth of the Scriptures and that your Spirit inside of us would change us and conform us more to the image and the character of your Son Jesus Christ. Thank you, God. In Jesus' name, amen.
About 11 weeks ago, I would have been the single most out-of-shape individual you probably ever met. I don't like to work out. I really like to keep my heart rate at a low, relaxing level. I don't like to get it up too high, not do anything crazy. Anybody here run for fun? I don't even understand you guys. That's crazy. I don't run when I'm chased. I don't run errands. If you said "Fire," I'd probably walk out of this place. That's just not my thing. I don't like to run. I've never in my entire existence ran for fun. That has never happened.
Something changed 11 weeks ago, because my friend Bobby Rodriguez and our friend Becca came up and began to put me through this workout program that we call WELL. So I've been doing that. It's been awful. I'm grateful to them, but it's been awful. If you're familiar with CrossFit, it's similar to that. This past week, we did this wall ball exercise. You get this 16-pound ball, you squat low, and then you throw it up against the wall. It's awful.
I'm pretty sure they used that to torture people in the Dark Ages. Now they use it to work out. They time us. You do six sets for two and a half minutes and rest two minutes in between. So over two and a half minutes you count how many times you can throw this ball off the wall, catch it, squat down, and throw it back up. You do that as many times as you can. I've noticed a couple of things.
First, I always do more the sixth set than I do the first set. Even though I can barely breathe and I'm pretty sure I'm about to die, somehow I do more there. I think just knowing that time is about to be out I kind of push myself through that. The other thing I've noticed is two responses to when that buzzer goes off. When I'm out of time and the set is done, it's two emotions. One is relief, because I'm alive, and I just can't believe I'm still alive (and usually blue and can't breathe).
The second one is regret, because usually they put something in front of us, like, "Hey, if you get this many, then you don't have to do this other god-awful thing, and if you don't, you have to do this thing." Usually at the end of it, if I haven't gotten enough, I look back, and I'm like, "Man, could I have done more? Could I have pushed myself harder? How did I not do as many the first set as I did the sixth set? Was I not trying hard enough there?" There's some level of regret there.
Before we go further, I want you to think about a time when you've been out of time. Can you think of something when a time or a deadline had expired, how you felt? Was it relief? Was it regret? I'll give you some "for instances." When I take my girls to kindergarten for the first time, there's this sense that that five-year period I've had to invest into them before I send them through our public school system is done. It's expired. Do they know everything they need to know?
There's some relief there. We're kind of moving on, but there's regret there. Did I do everything I could have? Maybe for you that was when your kids went to college, being thrown from the nest. Maybe it's 5:00 p.m. on Friday. The work week is done. You're so excited about the weekend. "Did I get everything done I needed to do?" Maybe it's a work deadline in general. Hey, the deadline is here. Is it done? Are you ready? Is it complete?
Maybe it's something simple like a game over. If you're winning, there's relief. If you're losing, there's regret. Maybe it's a shot clock. Did you get the shot off? Can you think of a time in your life where time was up, where time had expired? For Christians, this is when Jesus comes back. When Jesus comes back, for Christians and non-Christians, we will be out of time.
Certainly we will feel relief, because it's like there's no more crying, no more tears, no more weeping, no more sadness, no more disease, and no more death, but I wonder if when we see him coming there will be some sort of regret. "Did I do everything he called me to do? Did I live life on purpose? Was I focused on him? Did I follow his commands in the Scriptures? Did I prepare for his second coming? Did I do things well? Did I finish well?"
The Bible talks about two kinds of people in this text. One is scoffers. They don't understand what they need to do. They don't understand there's limited time. They don't care about the second coming of Jesus. They don't even think about that. Then there are the saints. Those are Christ followers, Christians. They understand they're alive for a purpose. They understand there's a certain amount of time to do God's bidding, and they're focused on that.
This morning, we're talking about Saints and Scoffers Running out of Time. Scoffers are running out of time to believe in Jesus, and saints are running out of time to share the love they have in Jesus Christ. Let me ask you this question, and I want you to answer it in your minds. Write it down. Type it to yourself. What would you do differently if you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow? How would you live differently if you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow? While you're thinking about that, I'm going to set a little timer for myself.
Do you think about Jesus coming back? There are over 1,000 references to the second coming of Jesus in the Old Testament. Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second coming. That's one out of every 30 verses reference the second coming. Do we trust the prophecies that talk about the first coming of Jesus Christ, Christmas? We do trust those. Do you know why we trust those? Because it happened.
Do you know that there are eight times more prophecies speaking of the second coming than the first coming? For every prophecy on the first coming of Jesus, Christmas, there are eight prophecies speaking about when Jesus comes back, his second coming. It's going to happen, and this is our shot clock. This is our buzzer. This is the expiration of evangelism and doing God's bidding as we know it.
We're in 2 Peter, chapter 3, moving through a series called Hold Fast. Peter is writing to the persecuted Christians of this time, to the provinces around Rome, and he's saying, "I want you to hold fast. There are going to be false teachers who come. They're going to try to lead you astray. Not just false teachers. There are going to be scoffers who come, and they're no longer waiting for the return of Jesus. They do whatever they want to do. Don't listen to them. Don't be led astray by them. You are the saints. You are the church. Focus living your life for the life to come."
We're going to talk about what saints and scoffers follow (verses 1-3), what saints and scoffers believe (verses 4-7), and what God does with saints and scoffers (verses 8-9). Verse 1: "Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you." The first letter was 1 Peter. "I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.""I'm telling you to think about what is true. Reflect on it. Renew your mind." This is key to persevering in the faith: thinking about controlling your thoughts, thinking about your mind, focusing on the right things.
"I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets…" The words in the Prophets speaking about the second coming of Jesus. There are 1,845 of them in the Old Testament. "…and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles." Peter is saying, "Hey, when I was with Jesus, Jesus was talking about this all the time." Peter probably reflected back to Luke 12, when Peter was there and Jesus was preaching.
In Luke 12, it says so many people gathered that the crowds were trampling over themselves. Jesus began to preach, and he preached about the last coming, and he said, "Hey, it will be like the servants whose master has gone to a wedding feast. If they are watching for his return, they're peering outside the windows waiting for him to come back. When they see him, if they open the door for him and greet him inside, the master will set them down at the table for a feast, and the master will actually serve the servants. It will be like this."
Peter was there, and Peter had a question. It says in Luke 12:41, Peter asked, "Jesus, are you telling this parable to us or are you talking to the crowds here?" Verse 42: "The Lord answered, 'Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.'" He will make him an heir to the kingdom.
"But suppose the servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time in coming,' and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 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." This is crazy what I'm about to tell you. Jesus said this. Jesus gave this message. This is what he said. "He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers."
What? I would be like, "Hey, Jesus, I think you left out the grace part there, bro. A little heavy-handed, hellfire and brimstone." But no. This is a sermon. Peter was there. Peter asked a question. Peter is thinking about this, and when he thinks about this church, he says, "Hey, I have a message for you, and it's important. Lean forward. Listen closely, church." He writes this in the letter.
Verse 3: "Above all…" Those are big words. "…you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires." The last days is simply a reference to the time between the first coming of Jesus and the second coming of Jesus. We are in the last days. First coming of Jesus, second coming of Jesus, us. That's where we are. He says, "In the last days…" That's where we are. "…these people are going to come scoffing."
1._ Scoffers follow their wants, and saints hold fast to God's Word._ Scoffers are not driven by what they believe; they're driven by what they want. We're going through Advent in our home. We're doing this thing called the Jesse tree. The kids get an ornament, and we tell a Bible story and put an ornament on the tree. Ironically, it was Genesis 6 yesterday morning. We were talking about when God destroyed the world through flood. He judged wickedness.
He looked on the land and saw all the people had turned from him, so he killed every living thing except for the one who found favor with him. That was Noah. So Noah and his family were preserved. I sit the kids down, Presley, Finley, Weston, our three children, and I'm reading them the Bible story. My son Weston, my 3-year-old, gets up in the middle of it and just walks off. I'm like, "Weston, come back here."
"No, Daddy. No, I don't want to. No, Daddy, no. I want to go watch a movie. I want to watch a movie. I don't want to do that." I'm just like, "Okay, son. I'm confused, because when was this about what you wanted? I didn't sit you down and say, 'Hey, I'm going to do this as long as you're okay with it.' I said, 'Sit down. I'm going to read you a Bible story.' We didn't vote. I didn't say, 'Hey, who wants to be here?'"
I said, "Weston, stop trusting your wants and start trusting my words." This is what God is saying to us this morning. Stop trusting your wants and start trusting his Word. Most people are not on a truth journey. Most people are on a happiness journey. Most people are on a journey that they think is going to lead them to happiness. When you woke up this morning, I don't know if you thought, "Hey, what's true?" or "What's going to make me happy?"
Most people are thinking about, "Hey, what's going to make me happy?" and they're not arguing one of logic. It's one of justification. They do what they want to do. It's cute when you're 3, but when you're 33 and you're like, "I don't want to read my Bible. I just want to sleep in. I don't want to go to church. I don't want to get into community. I don't want to pursue God. I don't want to pray. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it…" It's going to leave you wanting.
Just Friday, I was in a conversation with someone, and they said, "I believe that all religions lead to God. I believe all ways lead to God." Here's what they're really saying. I've been in that conversation enough to know. "I hope my journey of pursuing pleasure leads to God. I hope me doing whatever I want to do when I want to do it leads to God, because any other truth is an inconvenient truth and one that I reject."
Philippians, chapter 3, verse 19, says there are those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. Verse 19: "Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach…" That means they do whatever they're hungry for. If they're hungry for it, they eat it, they take it, they do what they feel like. "…and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things." They believe they will not have to answer for what they've done. They believe Jesus isn't coming back.
A couple of years ago, we did this video, one of my favorites. It actually went viral, over three million viewers on YouTube. It's the marshmallow test. It was fantastic. Let me tell you about it. We take some kids and run this experiment. We put a marshmallow in front of them, one at a time, two at a time, and we say, "Hey, you can have the marshmallow, but we're going to leave for a minute. If you wait until we come back, we're going to give you two marshmallows." This is what we do with your children. When you're in here we run experiments. No, I'm kidding.
We had them on camera. So the comedy ensues. Some of them… As soon as the adult left the room, it was just done. "I don't need to wait." Others of them kind of picked it apart, ate little pieces of it, wondered if it would be noticed. Here's the deal. This is us. This is the scoffers, if you will. "I don't want to wait for any future reward. I want to take it and eat it now. My god is my stomach. I do what I feel like doing whenever I feel like doing it, and if you come at me with any truth, I'm going to try to justify why your truth is wrong."
But the saints… That's you and me, Christ followers. We follow God's Word. We renew our minds around what the Bible teaches about Christ's return, what we need to look for and how we need to live. So let me ask you again. What would you do if Jesus Christ was coming back tomorrow? What would you change? You'd probably start by opening this Book and saying, "Well, what do I need to do? What does it say I need to do if he's coming back?" You know God's Word.
Verse 4: "They [scoffers] will say, 'Where is this "coming" he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.' But they deliberately forget…" Selective memory, like when my wife asks me to take out the trash. I sometimes deliberately forget. "…that long ago by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water." God made the world. He shaped it by water.
"By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed." God destroyed the world by flood. Noah. "By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly." God will destroy the world again by fire. This is simple. Scoffers are saying, "God has never intervened, and he won't intervene," and saints are saying, "No, God has intervened, and he will intervene. He does intervene. He has destroyed the world once; he's going to destroy it again. Beware." Meaning, "You need to know this."
2._ Scoffers forget God's plan; saints hold fast to his promises._ The scoffer's argument here is the same as it is today. Same in Peter's day, same today. It's called uniformitarianism, a 10-cent word. Here's what it means. Everything that is today is the result of what was. It is natural explanations for supernatural occurrences. It says there are laws that are put into place, and these laws are universal, and they've always been in place, and we're just playing by the natural laws. There is no deity.
Because Jesus came once, he cannot come again, for that is not the way the natural laws work. Men don't die and then come back and continue to live. That just doesn't happen. The crazy thing is, I think because this has invaded our education system, we kind of feel like the naïve ones sometimes, but they jump through a lot of hoops to try to explain what is. Like Richard Dawkins, for example, a well-known atheist, a really brilliant guy.
He said, "Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose." Hmm. I think I know why it appears that they were designed for a purpose, Mr. Dawkins. Richard Dawkins also said, when pressed against the wall, "I reject the idea of God." Well, where did life come from? "Well, it is possible that extraterrestrial beings came in from outer space and impregnated the earth."
Who made the extraterrestrial beings, Mr. Dawkins? Where did they come from? It's silly. It's like you're jumping through hoops to try to explain what the Scriptures say is true, because you don't want to believe it, because it's an inconvenient truth. Two thousand and fifteen years ago, Mr. Dawkins, God had been silent for 400 years. He broke that silence with the cry of an infant in a manger, a baby, a Savior, his only Son, Jesus Christ, who was born to die.
He lived a perfect life, one that man can't live, and he died the perfect death so that I don't have to. Not only that, but he came back to life. Over 500 people saw him and wrote about him, and he became world famous, the single most polarizing character in the history of history, and he saved me and changed my life. Mr. Dawkins, I pray that you would know him. It was prophesied for thousands of years, just like his second coming has.
Likewise, God said he would destroy the world by flood, and he did, and likewise, God said he will send a fire, and he will. The earth is reserved, meaning God looks forward and sees a day that he has written down. It's reserved. There's a reservation in the future of when God is going to destroy the world again, and we're moving toward it. From yesterday to today, we're one day closer to it. It's coming. The earth is going to be destroyed again.
First Corinthians 3:12: "If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work." Everyone's work will be seen for what it actually is.
I knew a pastor, a close friend, presumed to be a saint, who was a complete and total fraud. He was living a double life. Nearly everything I knew about him was a lie. He was stealing money from people, and he was found out. He was discovered. He was exposed. He actually literally skipped the country. He left. I thought about that as I was reading this, and I thought how merciful of God to expose him here, because so many of us won't be exposed until this day.
I thought, "What is it in me? What are they going to find out about me on that day? What is it that I haven't told them? What is it that I'm hiding? What is it that in my pride I'm not even aware of that's going to be exposed on that day when everything is brought to light?" All the works of the believer done in faith will be judged and rewarded. Faithfulness will be rewarded, and all the works of the unbeliever, the scoffers, will be judged and found wanting.
You've seen scoffers. You know scoffers. I remember my first time to really see one going after Christianity. It was at Lake Highlands. Todd was giving a sermon series called What If the Skeptics Are Right? He started every sermon with this George Carlin clip. George Carlin was a famous comedian. He made fun of God. That was one of his schticks.
He just sat up there and was like, "Oh, there's this big guy in the sky that nobody can see, and everyone is afraid of him, and his wrath comes down. He killed everyone, but he's a loving God," and people would laugh. He would laugh at us, and he would laugh at God. In 2008, he met him. That is, George Carlin met God, no longer scoffing…not through salvation, not through the faithfulness of a saint sharing with him, but through his death.
The torch has been passed. The baton has been passed. There's Penn & Teller today, magicians in Vegas. I've seen these guys wear lightning rods on their heads and taunt God, cuss him, curse him, say, "Hey, I dare you to strike me down, God." Scoffers. Bill Maher…scoffer. They live like there is no end coming. They live like there is no consequence, like there is no punishment. They live like Jesus is not coming back.
So let me ask you…What would you do if Jesus was coming back tomorrow? Let me say the craziest thing you're going to hear me say potentially ever. You're going to want to listen to this. It's not a great time to go to the bathroom. He is coming back tomorrow. If not tomorrow, the next day or the next day, but in the next few days, Jesus is coming back. Do you hear me? Let me show you from the Scripture.
"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." You think it has been 2,000 years. It has been 48 hours. You think Jesus was here 2,000 years ago. God says, "No, no, no. It has been two days, two sunsets, two sunups, two moons. Forty-eight hours ago Jesus was here." You say, "No, no, no. It has been 2,000 years."
He says, "What is a year? I invented time. You invented the clock. You think it has been 2,000 years? It has been moments. It has just been moments, and I'm coming back any moment. Whether it be tomorrow or a thousand years from now, it's a day in my eyes." Let me show you something that's pretty incredible.
There's this scientific phenomenon called the ratio theory, and it was put forward by Paul Janet in 1897. It has been exposed recently because of a website that brought it to light. It simply says that we perceive time relative to the absolute time we can compare it to. Let me explain what this means. If you're a 4-week-old baby, one week is a fourth of your life, so one week seems like a really, really, really long time.
Now you don't remember when you were 4 weeks old, so let me give you something you might remember. Do you remember as a child how long it took to get to Christmas? Yet if you're here and you're an adult, it feels like just yesterday we were celebrating Christmas. He said, "It'll be in three weeks," and you're like, "How did this happen? It snuck up on us. It moved or something." It starts to happen faster and faster and faster. There's a real phenomenon.
In fact, it says waiting 24 days for Christmas at the age of 5 feels like waiting a year at the age of 54. True story. So basically, the longer you live, the faster time goes. This is a real phenomenon. So if you are infinity years old (see also God) how fast does time move? See, God sits outside of time, and while we think he's taking his time, he's like, "No. Jesus was just there. It was like yesterday, two days ago."
So why hasn't he dealt with scoffers? Why hasn't he dealt with evil? Why hasn't he dealt with rapists and murderers and the Islamic state? Why doesn't he come back? Why doesn't he deal with evil once and for all? Verse 9: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you [saints] , not wanting [any scoffers] to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
3._ God delights in making scoffers saints_. Some of you are here. He delights in it, man. He loves to do it, and he does it all the time. We've seen this. You might have heard of C.S. Lewis. He's the author of the Narnia series. He wrote many books. He was formerly an atheist at Oxford University. J.R.R. Tolkien came into his life, and he began to wrestle with his intellect and who God is. C.S. Lewis realized God gave him a creative mind to make God famous, and he trusted Christ and became an incredible Christian author.
Then there's Alister McGrath, who was an atheist also at Oxford University. He gets a PhD in molecular biophysics and becomes a Christian. There's Lee Strobel, who was formerly a hard-nosed atheist, a journalist, who set out to use his journalism skills to show the world that God wasn't real, and yet he met Jesus, his Lord and Savior.
There's Francis Collins, the founder of the Human Genome Project and a physician geneticist, famous for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and DNA work. Collins became a Christian as a result of his scientific studies that convinced him God is real and his name is Jesus. There's Josh McDowell, who set out to disprove the Christian faith as a college student, only to arrive, after many months of study, that he wasn't as smart as he thought he was and came to the conclusion that Jesus Christ must have been exactly who he said he was.
There's Sir William Ramsay, who I've told you about before, the greatest archaeologist of his time. He read the book of Acts and said, "What a joke!" He spent 15 years of his life to disprove the book of Acts, only to come out that it was maybe the most accurate book ever written, based on his digs, based on his archaeology, and he came to the place where he actually said, spending 15 years of his life to disprove Acts, that Luke may be the greatest historian who ever lived, because Luke wrote Acts and the book of Luke.
Dr. Hugh Ross is the youngest person ever to serve as director of observations for Vancouver's Royal Astronomical Society. After testing the scientific and historical data through astronomical studies of our galaxy, Dr. Ross became convinced that the Bible is truly the Word of God and our world is his creation.
I think of a friend I talked to. His name is Simon. He'd never been to church in his entire life. Simon gives me a call. He's angry because I told young adults they should wait until they're married to have sex. He said, "Why would anybody do that?" I said, "Those weren't my words. Those were God's words." He said, "Who is God?" Some people came around him and showed him. He trusted Christ, and now he's a missionary in the Philippines.
God delights in making scoffers saints, and he uses saints to do it. He uses you guys. You're here and you're like, "Yeah, but I want God to deal with evil." Where do you want him to start? The murderers and the rapists? "Yes! Yes! Yes! Deal with that evil!" The pornographers? Those who lust? "No, no, not those who lust." The jealous? "No, no. The murderers and the rapists. Let's go back to that." The materialistic? "No, definitely not the materialistic."
We always want God to start with some evil just past us. He says, "The reason I haven't is because I'm patient with you. I'm waiting on you, because I love you." So what would you do if Jesus was coming back tomorrow? I asked our staff this question on Tuesday. I asked some other guys on Thursday morning. Their answers were probably the same as yours.
"I'd share with everyone I knew, everyone I saw. I'd be bold. I'd go back to my family. I wouldn't be afraid anymore. I'd sit them down and say, 'Guys, you've got to believe me about this Jesus thing.' I'd be generous. I'd spend differently and I'd save differently. I wouldn't get in petty arguments with my spouse or anyone. I would overlook a small offense. I would live with the idea of love in mind, loving everyone as much as I could, so that they would come to a saving faith in my Savior. I would do all of these things, but I don't do that."
When I read this text, I was like, "But I don't do that. God, why don't I do that? God, help me to do that." If we don't live like that, how are we not the scoffers? I think we assume we're the saints in the text, we're the believers, but if we don't live like Jesus is coming back, how are we not the scoffers?
Guilt is a motivator, but I'd prefer you not to be motivated by guilt. I'd prefer you to be motivated by grace, that God loves you, he's crazy about you, and he has freed you. He wants to do incredible work through you. He wants you to know him, and when you know him, he wants to use you that others might know him, that you would tell everyone.
Second Corinthians, chapter 1, verse 20, says, "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. And so through him the 'Amen' is spoken by us to the glory of God." I thought that was a fantastic verse. Someone showed me yesterday. In summary, scoffers follow desires; we saints hold fast to truth. Scoffers forget God's plan; we saints hold fast to his promises, and God delights in turning scoffers into saints.
On Friday, I went out to lunch with a group of pastors. It was kind of a "thank you" lunch. These were some really faithful men, and there were two of us on staff who wanted to appreciate them, so we took them to lunch. We went big, went to a nice restaurant, sat down, and said, "Thank you." One of them had engaged with our server. She came over, and he was talking to her for the purpose of sharing the gospel.
He just said, "Do you have a faith?" and she said, "Yeah, yeah. I believe all ways lead to God." We kind of engaged in this. He said, "Hey, I recognize you from somewhere." She goes, "Oh, I used to work at another restaurant downtown." He goes, "Yeah, yeah, that's probably where." This is a group of pastors. "Where was it?" She goes, "Hooters." He goes, "Oh no, no. It wasn't there. It wasn't there. It must have been somewhere else." It was kind of funny to watch.
I jumped in and said, "So you believe all ways lead to God." She said, "Yeah, I believe all religions are true." I said, "Let me ask you a question. I know a world religion that says you cannot get to God by Jesus Christ and, in fact, if you believe in Jesus that you will certainly go to hell, and then Christianity, a religion I've found to be absolute truth, says that Christ is the only way to God. Show me how those can both be true." She said, "You got me."
My buddy continued to share with her, and all I could think about was how patient God has been with my friend Sheila, how patient God has been waiting on her; that God has not dealt with ISIS because he wanted to save Sheila; that God has not extinguished evil because he loved her; how patient God had been with her and how patient he had been with us, that he before the creation of the universe would ordain such a time where we could sit at a table and talk about how his Son had died for her sins and my sins and their sins and came back to life, paying a price for our sins, so that we might be with him forever and ever and ever in eternity.
He is being patient with the scoffers, and he's being patient with you saints. If we do not live like Jesus is coming back, then how are we not the scoffers? I'm out of time. When you're out of time, you think back, "Did I say everything I needed to say? Did I handle your text well, God? Did I show them how serious this is, what you want for them?" Relief. Regret. Out of time. Let me pray for us.
Father, thank you that your Word never returns void. Thank you for your servant Peter, your Holy Spirit who writes truth, that we can apply it to our lives today, thousands of years later yet just 48 hours to you. Father, help us to cross-reference our list of what Jesus would do if he was coming back tomorrow. As we audit that list, help us to compare our lives to it.
God, I pray that you would give us courage, that you would give us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control so that we might do your bidding until you return. Father, I pray that you would allow us to see every person and every thing in light of eternity with you forever and ever and ever and ever.
Would you give us that perspective? God, there are so many distractions from that perspective here in our world in Dallas and wherever we are. Father, would you help us to hold fast to it? Help us to hold fast to it, please, God, for your glory, for your honor, and for your fame, amen.