I was watching that and
thinking that not so many centuries ago people would
look a lunar eclipse and think that it was some kind
of cosmic warning that the world was coming to an
Last week Athens, Greece had a heavy snow fall. 4 to
6 inches of snow.
Temperature went down to minus 5 Fahrenheit. They
closed schools - canceled flights. The place
was a mess. Unusual
Last Monday USA TODAY reported that the city of
Keene, New Hampshire joined a growing number of
cities trying to anticipate how higher temperatures
- less snow and more rain - is going to effect them. Global
warming - major climate change.
Where will residents work if the sugar maple, skiing
and tourism industries disappear because of warmer
weather? What if
increasingly intense spring and fall storms
overwhelm the city's culverts and wastewater
treatment plant? What if hotter
days fuel the growth of algae that harms water
quality? What if roofs
collapse under the weight of heavy snow and ice? What if severe
weather cuts off transportation routes? (1)
Do you remember the movie The Day After
Tomorrow? Huge floods - as the polar ice
caps melt - New York gets flooded. Then
there’s a new ice age caused by global warming.
These are huge questions - for some. Are we on
the verge of the end of life on planet earth as
we know it?
There is - of course - Larson’s version of all this. “Oooooooooooo.”
Please turn with me to 2 Peter - chapter 3 -
starting at verse 1. This
morning we’re going to look at the end of the world.
As we’ve been going through 2 Peter - Peter has been
writing about the incredibleness of having a
relationship with God - living life with God - in
which God supplies all that
we need to live that life - supplying even the basis
of that life - the salvation offered to us in Jesus
been writing about how to live that life in the
day-to-day stuff of our lives.
Chapter three takes that life to the next level -
the end of the world and beyond. Put
simply: What it means for us - who know what’s
coming - to live today with God.
2 Peter 3 - starting at verse 1: This is now,
beloved, the second letter - First Peter - now second
Peter - I am writing to you in which I am stirring up
your sincere mind - that is
- your minds that aren’t polluted by the crud and
sin of this world - which I am stirring up your
sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should
remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy
prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior
spoken by your apostles.
Let’s pause here.
What Peter writes here is his purpose for writing
this letter. His
purpose is to remind the followers of Jesus of what
they already know.
To stir the grey matter. To bring
up to the surface - to the forefront of their
thinking what they needed to remember in order to
live life with God in the days in which they were
Peter writes that they should remember two things. First: The words
spoken beforehand by the Holy prophets. Prophets of the Old Testament
- through whom God had spoken.
Remember we looked at this back in chapter 1 - verse
21: “No prophecy
was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved
by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” God making Himself known to man
- giving to us what we need to understand - making
all that known to us through His prophets.
Specifically, what Peter has in mind here are those
prophecies which focus on the coming of the Messiah. What
Isaiah and Joel and Ezekiel and Daniel and Malachi
had to say about the Messiah’s coming - the first
and second comings of Jesus - were not something
they made up - “cleverly devised tales” - but
revelation from God.
Two examples - of
many - Isaiah 66:15 says, “For behold,
the Lord will come in fire and His chariots like the
whirlwind to render His anger with fury and His
rebuke with flames of fire.”
Malachi 4:1 to 3:
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a
furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer
will be chaff, and the day that is coming will set
them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it
will leave them neither root nor branch. But for
you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will
rise with healing in its wings; and you will go
forth and skip about like calves from the stall. You will
tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under
the soles of your feet on the day which I am
preparing,” says the Lord of hosts.
writes that they should remember the command of
the Lord spoken by our apostles.
Jesus taught His disciples about what would happen
as the world drew to an end. He spoke
of famines and earthquakes and wars. An
increase in lawlessness. An absence of true love. Great
Matthew records Jesus’ words - one example - Matthew
25 starting at verse 29: “But immediately after the
tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light, and the stars
will fall from the sky, and the powers of the
heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son
of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the
tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see
the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with
power and great glory. And He will send forth His
angels with a great trumpet and they will gather
together His elect from the four winds from one end
of the sky to another.” (Matthew 24:290-31)
Just as He did in the Old Testament God speaks to
His people in the New Testament. That
prophetic word comes to us through the apostles -
who recorded Jesus’ words and deeds. And, who
give to us our understanding of God’s plan and
purposes - as God - the Holy Spirit has revealed it
Peter’s purpose is to stir up our minds to remember
what we know about what God has said about Jesus and
Verse 3: Know this first
of all, that in the last days mockers will come with
their mocking, following after their own lusts, and
saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever
since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as
it was from the beginning of creation.”
Let’s pause there.
Scripture defines the last days as the time between
Jesus’ birth and when He comes back again. We’re all
living in the last days. As long as there have been
last days there’ve been mockers - scoffers - people
who make jokes about the things of God - who
ridicule anyone for believing such nonsense. There
were mockers in Peter’s day. There are
What these mockers question is not a new question.
The patriarchs - Abraham - Isaac - Jacob - they’re
all dead. Those
that lived before us - our ancestors - our fathers -
they’re all dead.
Generations come and go. Each day
the sun comes up and the sun goes down. Nothing
why should it?
“Where is Jesus’ promised coming? Hasn’t
can any rational thinking person actually believe
that someone who lived and died and was buried 2,000
years ago is actually going to show up flying around
in the sky with a bunch of angels playing harps? How can
anyone believe that some loving God is going to wipe
out good people and only let some special born again
nuts into His happy place. Let’s get real.”
The reason they mock - writes Peter - is
because they’re “following after their own
Aldous Huxley - the philosopher and atheist - wrote
this, “The philosopher who finds no meaning for this
world is not concerned exclusively with the problem
of pure metaphysics:
he is concerned to prove there is no valid
reason why he personally should not do as he wants
myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was
essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and
At least he’s honest.
Deny the existence of God - or at least our
accountability to God - and we can follow the
desires of our hearts anywhere. You are
free to sin. You
are your own authority over your life.
Does that familiar?
In our enlightened post-modern humanist
is no such thing as absolute truth. Everything
is permissible as long as I don’t harm anyone else. And if I
do something harmful - blame the other guy. What
matters is self.
Everything else is a matter of perspective. God is
who I create Him or her or it to be. Reflective
perhaps of my need to explore my own spirituality.
Coming to verse 5 - Given the mocking world we live
in - there
are two reasons why it is important for us to
remember what God has said. The
first reason we need to remember what God has said
is because God - not man - is the
authority. Say that
with me, “God - not man - is the authority.”
Verse 5: For when they
maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the
word of God the heavens existed long ago and the
earth was formed out of water and by water,
There are four fatal flaws in the reasoning of those
who are mockers.
Fatal Flaw #1:
They weren’t there. Say that with me, “They weren’t
Where is baseball mentioned in the Bible? In the
Genesis 1:1 says,
In the beginning God create the heavens and the
earth was formless and void, and darkness was over
the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was
moving over the surface of the waters. Then God
said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
God goes on - speaking
things into existence by the authority of His word: day and
night, dry land, clouds, seas, oceans, plants,
stars, the sun, the moon, birds, fish, animals. It isn’t
until the sixth day of creation that God finally
gets around to creating man.
There’s a lesson in humility here. Whatever
understanding we may have of natural law is limited
to the perspective of a creation not the creator. We can
speculate all we want about how all this came into
being - even the method God may have used to bring
all this into being.
But, ultimately we don’t know. But, God
God was there and we weren’t.
Verse 6 - fatal flaw #2 - through which
the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded
Fatal Flaw #2:
Things have changed. Say that with me, “Things have
People continually can talk about cataclysmic global
change - floods and new ice ages - earthquakes and
plate tectonics - basically the earth rearranging
itself - meteors crashing into the planet and
destroying huge numbers of life form.
Hollywood cranks this stuff out endlessly - The Day
After Tomorrow - Waterworld - Earthquake - I Am
Legend - Dr. Strangelove - Independence Day -
If the planet doesn’t self-destruct or we
don’t wipe ourselves out then some race from space
What’s amazing is that people see a lot of this as
credible - in the realm of possibility. But as
soon as we mention a cataclysmic world altering
flood and that a few people are divinely preserved -
suddenly people think we’re a nut case.
The mockers argue that nothing changes. But the
only do so because they refuse to acknowledge -
what? God’s authority over their lives. Which was
the was same issue back in the days of Noah. People
eating and drinking and giving in marriage - doing
the stuff of life - not listening to God and His
warnings about how they’re living in defiance of
God has judged the world - man living in sin. There was
a cataclysmic flood.
The evidence is there in the geological
record if one chooses to admit it. God has
altered geologic and human history.
Going on - verse 7:
But by His word the present heavens and earth
are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of
judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
Fatal Flaw #3: Judgment
is coming. Say that
with me, “Judgment is coming.”
Anyone ever buy something using a lay away plan? Where
they store hold something for you while you make
you’ve paid for the item then they give it to you.
The word here in verse 7 for “reserved” is the Greek
word “thesaurizo” which means “laid up” - “stored
are being made.
We don’t see the reality of it yet. But one
day - what’s been paid for is going to be given to
those who’ve earned it.
If you skip down to verse 10 - Peter writes about
the day of the Lord.
Which is the way Scripture describes the end
the time when Jesus returns. When
When the world as we know it comes to an end.
Peter says the day of the Lord is coming like a
said, “Of that day and hour no one knows.” (Matthew 24:36). Someone
said that if you say, “Today Jesus is
Then He won’t. Because
we’re expecting Him.
That’s not the point.
The point is that His coming will happen
quickly - suddenly - unexpectedly. Because
people are going to be smug - caught up in their own
sense of false security. Thinking about themselves and
not God. His
return will catch them by surprise. The
effects of His return won’t be felt until after its
too late to prepare for it.
The word “destroyed” in Greek has the idea of being
dissolved - vaporized - poof - no more. The basic
elements - which were to the Greeks: earth,
air, fire, water - poof. Today we might talk about the
basic stuff that’s the fabric of matter. It all
goes bye bye in ball of roaring fire.
\Nothing escapes what’s coming. Revelation
20 - verses 7 to 15 - are very clear that the end
coming to the ungodly - those who die without
trusting Jesus as their Savior - the end is a lake
not made of water - but fire - eternal fire and
brimstone - sulfuric gas - acrid steam - foul odor -
a place of eternal burning and choking - unending
weeping - sorrow - gnashing of teeth - forever
separation from God.
Not very pleasant. But, very real.
Peter writes, “By God’s word - not the
word of the mockers - by God’s word
the present heavens and earth are being reserved.” God is holding back judgment. The
mockers are making payments with their unrepentant
One day - when God says “Enough.” By God’s
word, judgment will come.
Going on - verse 8:
But do not let this one fact escape your notice,
beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a
thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
Fatal Flaw #4:
The wrong temporal perspective. Say that with me, “The wrong
Twin brothers live on Earth. One
brother takes a trip to a distant star traveling at
a high percentage of the speed of light. When the
twin returns he’ll be younger than his brother who
stayed on earth because for the twin traveling near
the speed of light time slowed down during the trip.
That effect is called “time dilation.” It helps
explain why the speed of light is the same no matter
how fast you are going. As a traveler accelerates time
slows down for him. This, in turn, affects his
The passage of time is relative to our own
perspective of passing events.
Have you noticed that anticipating event
you’re really looking forward to - like a vacation -
the anticipation usually takes longer than the
actual event - which generally blows by pretty
When it comes to the passing of time relative to the
unfolding of God’s plan for creation the only
perspective that ultimately matters is God’s.
1 day equals 1,000 years and 1,000 years equaling 1
day probably isn’t an exact formula. The point
is that God transcends time. He
created it. Time
is a tool in His hands to be used as He chooses.
So, Peter writes in verse 9 - The Lord is not
slow about His promise, as some count slowness...
There are a number of examples in Scripture of God keeping His
promises to individuals - even though he appeared to
be slow in doing so.
God promised Abraham a land for his inheritance, but
that promise wouldn’t be fulfilled until 400
years after it was made. The Ammorites were living in the land that was
promised to Abraham.
They were given all those years to repent. Probably
they thought God hadn’t done anything about their
sin and probably wouldn’t. But the promise made to
Abraham was fulfilled 400 years later when Joshua
and the other descendants of Abraham wiped out the
At the age of 75 - God promised Abraham a son - an
heir - and 25 years later Isaac was born. God
promised Moses and David a Savior - but Jesus didn’t appear on the scene for
2,000 years following the death of Moses.
God keeps His promises regardless of the time
And, God uses intervals of time for His
Peter goes on in verse 9 - “The
Lord....is patient toward you, not wishing for any
to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
God is long-suffering toward rebellious mankind. The Bible
says, “There is none righteous, no,
Men are “dead in their trespasses and
deserves hell and eternal separation from God.
And when Jesus returns - that’s it. Judgment
and Hell and eternal separation for those without
But, God is patient toward us that we might be
loves our family members and friends - our
co-workers - who have not trusted Jesus. He is
patient - perhaps working through us - to share the
Gospel and bring them to salvation.
To accuse God of being tardy - of not operating
within our time parameters just proves that our
perspective of time is fatally flawed.
God is using time according to the purposes for
which He created it.
While mockers may point to the socio-geologic
constancy of the present age as an indication of the
absence of God - and a justification for their own
godless behavior - we need to be reminded that the
socio-geologic constancy of the present age really
is an act of God’s grace towards mankind and a
demonstration of His sovereignty over the affairs of
Bottom line: We live in a society which
chooses to doubt the existence and working of a
personal God - because to admit His existence would
mean that we would have to be accountable to Him. It is
easier to mock
than to be
Given the mocking world we live in - reason number
one - why we need to remember what God has said - is
because God - not man living in sin under God’s
judgment - with his finite - flawed perspective of
what God is doing - God - not man - is the
The second reason why its important for us to
remember what God has said is that we live
under God’s authority. Say that with me, “We live under
Verse 10: But the day of
the Lord will come like a thief, in which the
heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements
will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth
and its works will be burned up. Since all
these things are to be destroyed in this way, what
sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and
godliness, looking for and hastening the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be destroyed by
burning, and the elements will melt with intense
As we’re seeking to live with holy conduct and in
godliness - people through whom the character of God
is demonstrated in this world. As we’re
seeking to live as people who are actually being
used by God - to hasten - literally - as people
desiring to bring about His purposes on this world -
knowing that this place is going to be toast - we
are to live this way…
But according to His promise we are looking for
new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness
We - who are followers of Jesus Christ - who -
through Jesus - have given our lives to God -
because we live under the authority of His word - we
have a whole different perspective on life and
It’s a perspective of great hope - great
1 Thessalonians 4 - starting at verse 13 - Paul
writing to the church in Thessalonica - verse 13 - But we do not
want you to uniformed, brethren, about those who are
asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest
who have no hope.
When someone we love goes to sleep we don’t
immediately call an ambulance. We know
that they’re resting and that they’ll wake up and
we’ll go on with our lives together. That’s
the way the New Testament regards the death of
believers - they’re asleep. We have hope.
Verse 14: For if we
believe that Jesus died and rose again - and we do - even so God - who raised Jesus from death
bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in
this we say to you by the word of the Lord - this isn’t something we
dreamed up - we say this to you by the authority of
God who made it so - we who are alive and remain
until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those
who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will
descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of
the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the
dead in Christ will rise first.
If you’re in a cemetery - stand back!
Verse 17: Then we who are
alive and remain - those who haven’t died - who are
around on the day of the Lord - we will be caught up
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in
the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
Hard to wrap our minds around. Isn’t it? But won’t
that be awesome?
What a reunion! What a hope we share!
There are people I’ve never met who I know will be
am so looking forward to being with them. There are
people that I really miss and I am so looking
forward to seeing them again. Will you
say amen to that?
Revelation 21 - starting at verse 1 - the Apostle
John writes, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the
first heaven and the first earth passed away” Same place Peter is
place we get caught up to when Jesus comes back.
John writes that in that new heaven and new earth
we’re going to live where God lives. That’s
better than any place on this earth. More
beautiful - more awesome - a place of great joy -
There’s a river that runs through that dwelling -
the river of life - refreshing - renewing water -
the purist crystal clear water - coming right from
the throne of God.
We’ll be able to see God - right there on His
throne and drink from that river. God’s
presence - God’s glory - will shine so there’s no
night - no darkness - no sin.
All the crud of this world will have been wiped
baggage of sin that pulls us down each of our lives
- that entangles us - that works against us - sin
will be no more.
Our relationships will be free of the
struggles we have now.
There’ll be no more death. When we get to heaven we’re
going to get new bodies. Bodies that aren’t subject to
disease - that don’t wear out and break down. Amen?
God Himself will wipe away our tears. Wipe them
away for good.
No more mourning - no crying - no pain - all
the physical stuff that drags us down - all the
those things will have died with this world.
Revelation 21:5 - God speaking - God says, “Behold, I am
making all things new. Write - write down these words - for these words
are faithful and true.” This isn’t something John - or
the apostles - Peter - dreamed up. It is the
authoritative word of God.
Are you looking forward to being there? Amen? God has
us here today for a purpose. But, I
have to confess - more and more each day I’m looking
forward to being there.
If you ever start getting nervous that we’re all
going to die in some kind of global warming
maybe you find yourself getting caught up in the
philosophy and attitudes of our society - this
perishing decaying world. Which is easy to get caught up
surrounded by it.
Bombarded by it.
Remember what Peter writes. God - not
man - is the authority. We live on God’s authority. Which
gives us great certain hope.