Michael Youssef - It Is Never Too Late - Part 6
The book of Revelation tells us that the days immediately before the return of Christ, there's going to be such turmoil in every aspect of life: social life, political life, economic life. It's gonna be such turmoil that the faithful remnant will be crying out to the Lord, "Come, Lord Jesus". Another sign of the nearness of the return of Christ, the Bible said, "The love of many will grow cold". I can tell you this one already has begun. And that is why Jesus in Luke chapter 12, verse 37, he said, "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he returns". Now, the Bible uses this word "awake" meaning in anticipation, waiting for the return of the Lord, waiting in anticipation.
When the Bible talks about being awake, it means readying oneself for his coming. Now beloved, please listen to me. There can be no little doubt that Jesus Christ is coming back. His second coming will not be like his first coming. His second coming will be a time for the believer's complete redemption. The second time he will be a day or time of judgment. His second coming will be a time of Jesus reigning and ruling supreme. His second coming will be a time when his servants are gonna reign and rule with him.
The second coming will be a time of seeing our loved ones who have died in the Lord. The second coming will be a time when a believer's rewards are gonna be distributed. The second coming will be a time of joy and great glory for the believers. This was the longing expectation of the very first church, the early church, and that is why they used to greet one another with this word, "Maranathe". M-A-R-A-N-A-T-H-E, Maranathe. Can you say it with me? Lord, come quickly. And here in chapter 3, he's saying that these false teachers and preachers will either deny, ignore, undermine, or otherwise despise the reality of the return of Christ. Always a tell-tale sign.
Now, first of all, he said, "Know that in the last days, scoffers," some translations says "mockers," they will rise and they will be more in number toward the end of time. They will come. They will come, but they will increase in the last days. They will not only flaunt their immorality, but they will simultaneously disregard any thought of future judgment. Peter is presenting the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as a fact of future event. It will happen. He is saying, you keep that return of Christ at the forefront of your minds, at the forefront of all your decision-making, at the forefront of your social relationships, at the forefront of your financial planning.
You must keep the thought of the coming of Christ constantly throughout your day. He said that, "I am writing this second letter with the purpose, distinct purpose, of reminding you that this great day will come, so meditate on it". Verse 3, he said the real reasons that these false teachers deny the second coming of Christ is their own lust and sensuality. What does that mean? Because of their sensuality or permitting sensuality, they hate the thought of divine judgment. They give themselves a license to pursue all sorts of lustful pleasures, so much so that they hate the thought of a final punishment, of a future punishment. They resent any hint that they will be held accountable for misleading of so many people.
And the opposite is true. The opposite is true. Faithful believers who are living with the expectations of the Lord's return, they're continuously purifying themselves. They're continuously becoming every day more like Christ. They feel incentivized to live a holy life. They are encouraged by their reward that that day of their reward for their faithfulness is coming and no one can take that away from them. Verse 4, the attitude or the argument of false teachers towards the return of Christ is this. Listen carefully. People have been saying that Christ is coming back for 2,000 years. Nothing happens. Have you heard that?
I know, everything I'm gonna tell you from that moment on is something I heard or read from them. So, they say, "Jesus is not personally coming back to take his believers to heaven. Heaven and hell are a state of mind". They will tell you that, "The Bible-believing Christians have been crying wolf for so long that we don't believe them anymore, that these Bible-thumpers, they have preached the coming judgment and nothing happens, that these Christians," or they say, "You Christians have been talking about the destruction of the earth for far too long, but we are going to save planet earth. There is no empirical evidence that judgment is coming. There is a natural explanation for everything that takes place. We are all caught up in a web of natural evolution and God is part of that evolution, that God is ever-evolving with us, that God is caught up in this whirlwind of change and he cannot do anything about it".
One of those false teachers said the following. Listen to me. He said, "If you take out the name 'God' and substitute it with the word 'change,' you get the same thing". I wanna scream when he says change equal God and God equals change. And I wanna say, "No and a million nos". They say every change, including change toward perversion and antithesis to the Word of God and the law of God, this is all synonymous with God, that God is actually permitting this change. God wants that change 'cause God himself is evolving and changing. Peter's calling these people scoffers, why? Because they deliberately ignore the fact that God is separate from his universe.
Indeed, God is above the universe. That God is not like that god that was imagined by the writer of "The Shack" who said that he is struggling with us, that he is in the muddle with us, that he is learning with us. I wanna say, "No and a million nos". God is above the universe. God is in control of his universe and he's the only one who holds the entire universe together by the power of his Word. But there's something else that Peter's telling us here, namely that the result of this induced blindness, I say that to you, it's induced blindness. Induced blindness, and we're seeing it now. We used to read about it in the Bible, about people being so blinded. We're seeing it with our own eyes.
And that's what the false teachers are maintaining, this induced blindness. And he said, Peter here is saying that they have discounted two major global events, two major universal events. The first one, the first historical event is the creation. Creation took place by God's Word. The Lord instantly brought the whole universe into being. He did not need pre-existing material. He did not need a blob to make the universe from. He did not need a long period of time. God always existed, but his creation and the creation of the universe has a beginning and therefore it has an end. Genesis 1:2 affirms the young earth, and that is God created the universe in six days, and each day was 24 hours.
I love it when I hear people on television saying, "You know what, 25 billion years ago," and I say, "Where did he get that"? And they all mimic each other and they say, "Oh, 25 billion years ago". It's called shared ignorance. Peter said God created the earth between two areas of watery mass, and that same watery mass God used to flood the earth in the days of Noah, which brings Peter to the second global event. The second event that he mentions here is the flood. What happened? Exactly when God finally had enough of the rebellion, and the bloodshed, and the disobedience, God took those two watery masses that he put in place, and he got them loose, and they flooded the earth.
After the flood in Genesis 9:11, 12, 13, and 14, 15, God promised never again to destroy the earth by means of a flood, and that is why the coming judgment is not gonna be a big flood, but is going to be by fire. And just as water was there to flood the earth at God's command, at God's behest, so will fire. Verse 7, he said, "He kept the universe for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly people". Don't ever forget that. Of the who? I'm gonna come to that because this is important. I don't want you to miss it. Just as the day of Noah, and Jesus himself said that. The return of the Son of Man, was just as in the days of Noah.
In Noah's time, it will be in the day of judgment. The similarities are there, namely that those who have rejected the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, those who kept saying, "No, no, no," to Jesus will face the judgment. But don't ever forget, the Lord will deliver his own out of the world before he unleashes his final wrath. He's gonna redeem us. He's gonna pull us out of that inferno. Verse 8, Peter is saying, "Don't forget that a thousand years in the Lord's sight like one day". In fact, he's quoting from Psalm 90. Psalm 90, verse 4, it says, "For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it's passed, And like the watch in the night".
Hear me right, please. Peter is saying here, "Don't ever forget that God's perspective of time is much different from humanity". Finite people cannot confine the infinite God in their time capsules. The day of the return of the Lord was appointed in heaven long ago, and that is why when Moses asked the Lord at the burning bush, "Who do I tell them sent me"? he did not say, "Go and tell them I Was sent you," because that would make him the God of the past. He did not say, "Go and tell them I Will sent you," because that would make him the God of the future. But when he said, "I Am sent you," he is telling them that he is the God of the past, the present, and the future, that he is yesterday, today, and forever, that he is the God who never changes from generation to generation. "I Am" means that he brought the creation into being and he will bring it to an end at his pleasure. Amen, amen, thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.
Verse 9, Peter supports his teaching regarding the second coming by appealing to the character of God himself. Listen, any argument that is divorced from the character of God, that's not based upon the character of our God, it can fall apart. But any argument that's built on the character of God and his dealings in the past is a good argument. It's a strong argument. And the thrust of the argument here in verse 9, he said the reason Christ had not returned yet is because God is so patient with sinners. God is waiting and it's due to his graciousness and longsuffering. It is not because he's not indefinite, and it's not because he's powerless, and it's not because he's distracted. No, the opposite is true. Because he is merciful and longsuffering, he delays so that the elect sinners may come to repentance.
Please hear me right. Just as God sent his Son, and as Hebrews 1:1 tells us, he sent him the first time in the fullness of time, it was his time table. It was his schedule. And so, he will send his Son a second time in the fullness of time, his time. Verse 10, for those who are not waiting for him, he's gonna come suddenly and unexpectedly. Just like the five virgins. They're all asleep, physically sleeping, but five were ready. They were waiting. They were anticipating. And the other five got so busy with life's distractions that they forgot about that great day. They were not waiting for him. And for them, that's gonna be a sudden, like a thief in the night. Heaven and earth will pass away.
And by heaven here, he speaks of the visible universe. That is, the intergalactic space. Heaven and earth will pass away, but not one single iota subscript of God's Word will ever pass away. And Peter is saying this thing is gonna be so loud. It's gonna be so loud, every single human being on the face of the earth will hear it. And those who love Jesus, put their whole trust in Jesus, longing to see Jesus will be a day of rejoicing. It will be a day of rejoicing. If you're a person who never put your faith in Jesus Christ, you gotta get on first base. You repent of your sins and receive him as your only Savior and Lord.
But I have a challenge for those of you who know the Lord. And many of you are walking with the Lord for many years, and you think about your days, and your weeks, and your plans. Very little of them to do with eternity, everything to do with this life. I wanna challenge you today. I wanna challenge you with one question. I pray to God you never shake it off until you answer it.
And I'm gonna share it by telling you a true story. The story begins when Charles Finney was in his last year in law school. In the summer, he was working as an intern in a law firm out in upstate New York. On this particular morning, he decided he's gonna go early before all the lawyers come in, and he's gonna get the office ready, have it open. He was sitting there alone for a little bit and he literally heard the voice of God saying to him, "Finney, what are you gonna do when you graduate from law school"? He glibly said, "Well, put out a shingle and practice law". "Then what"? "Oh, make a lot of money and get rich"? "Then what"? "I'll retire". "Then what"? "Die". "Then what"?
And the following words were coming from stammering lips, trembling lips, and he said, "Then the judgment". At that thought, Finney left that office and he walked into the woods. And there, he knelt and prayed, and he saw himself standing before the judgment seat of Christ. And he realized that his life's purpose and his life plans all focused on this life. He was totally consumed by his own ambitions and his future, all self-focused, no thought for eternity. Finney came out of the woods. Needless to say, he was a changed man.
But after that, there was a long struggle with the question of purpose. Ultimately, God won that struggle, and Finney dedicated himself to the Lord, and he led thousands upon thousands of people to Christ. Many people say that the impact of that life went for many, many, many years in that area. They said he preached just like a lawyer. Here's what I want to leave you with. Please don't rest until you answer the question to yourself, 'cause it's really between you and God in the end. Then what? Keep asking yourself the question, "Then what"? Then what? Then what? Let the Holy Spirit change whatever answer that you may give that is not focused on eternity. Let's God speak to you.