As we continue our bible study in Luke’s gospel we walk through Luke 14:15-27.
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This is the sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent. The sermon text is: 2 Peter 3:8-14. The sermon theme is: Look Forward To God’s Day.
Look Forward To God’s Day
I‘m looking forward to it. This time of the year is a time of expectations. It is a time when we look forward. A month ago I looked forward to when I’d be able to sit down at the Thanksgiving table and have the first taste of turkey and stuffing. At this time of the year I look forward to driving out to the in-laws and sitting by the fireplace with that glass of wine in my hand while we open up our presents. This time of the year is full of hope and expectation. It is a time when we look forward. But, as we have a look at God’s word there is more than presents, wine and food to look forward to. In Peter’s second letter he tells us: “8 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. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet 3:8–9 NIV)
More than the turkey and gravy at Thanksgiving, more than the wine and presents at Christmas, we look forward to God’s day—Judgement Day. And in these words Peter gives a real reason to look forward to that day. We look forward to God’s Day because his timing is perfect. The Lord wants all people to reach repentance. First of all, notice that there’s a translation issue to clean up a little. A number of english translations use the phrase, “come to” repentance as if repentance were a work that we produce inside of ourselves. A better and more accurate rendering would just simply be “reach repentance.”1 The Lord wants everyone to reach repentance. And so he will wait until just the right moment. And then God’s Day will come. His timing is perfect.
And here is where we begin to see our sin. For the longer we live the less patient we become. It’s like boarding a plane or a train. You want and you expect that train or plane to wait for you. You would get angry if you missed it. But when we have boarded the train or plane, then our attitude changes. Then instead of saying, “I hope I don’t miss the plane,” we say, “When is this plane ever going to take off.”
How thankful we are that God’s timing is perfect. He wants the perfect number of people to be born on this planet. And he wants the complete number of people in heaven. And because this is true we look forward to that day. We look forward to God’s Day. But there are other reasons why we look forward: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” (2 Pet 3:10 NIV)
We look forward to God’s Day because his judgement is just. Notice what Peter says here. On that day everything that has happened here on this earth will be exposed. The greed of every crooked boss who stole from his employees and the greed of every wicked employee who stole from his boss will be exposed. No one will be able to hide. What comfort this gives us to know that there will be a time when those who do not repent, who love their lies and wickedness will finally receive a perfect and final judgement.
And yet, here too we see our sin, don’t we? For if we were in our Lord’s shoes we could never be the proper and perfect Judge. For some people’s sins and crimes we would punish them too little. For other people’s sins we would punish them too much. How we praise our Lord that he was patient with us. He did not give us what our sins deserve. Instead, he sent his Son, Jesus to save us. And that’s exactly what he did. He lived perfectly for us. He died and rose in our place, so that the judgement would be against him and not us.
So all that much more so, we look forward to God’s Day. For on that day we will see that his judgement is just. But there’s one final reason we look forward to that day: “11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” (2 Pet 3:11–13 NIV)
We look forward to God’s Day because his gift is eternal. Notice the great gift God gives to us: righteousness. Righteousness is one of those words we hear all the time. And since we hear it so often we often forget it. Righteousness is purity and perfection. There, in heaven, righteousness will dwell. And that, my friends in Christ, is a good thing. For have you ever looked at your life and hated it? I remember when I was a teenager and I loved to make people laugh. And the I soon realized that there is a paper-thin line between making people laugh with your words and making them hurt with your words. And then I had this sober and true realization that I would be hurting people with my words for the rest of my life. And it was at that point when I yearned so much for God’s Day. I yearned for that day when I would be pure and perfect. And every word that came from my mouth would heal instead of harm.
And what was the Lord’s solution to my plight? I yearned for heaven, so what did Jesus do? Jesus declared us righteous now. He didn’t make us righteous now. No, instead, he declared us righteous. Jesus’ perfection is now our perfection. Jesus’ payment is our payment. And as we know this, it is enough. It is enough to wrestle and struggle through this life repenting day by day, knowing that as often as we repent, that’s as often as our Savior forgives us. It is enough to struggle against our sinful nature seeing what is good in God’s word and pursuing it. For that is exactly what Peter encourages us to do: “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Pet 3:14 NIV)
Jesus declares us righteous now. But on God’s Day we take full possession of it. On God’s Day our sinful nature will finally be put to death. We put it to death every day as we repent of our sins and remember our baptisms. But on that day our sinful nature will be put to death forever. And on that day our righteousness will shine forever. From that point on all the words we speak, all the actions we take will be good, holy and perfect. What a comfort this is for us to know about ourselves. And what a comfort this is to know for those who have died and gone to heaven ahead of us. What a comfort this is to know for Edie and Joe—that now all their works always serve and all their words always heal.
So my brothers and sisters in Christ, Look forward to God’s Day. More than turkey at Thanksgiving and presents at Christmas, look forward to it, because his timing is perfect, his judgment is just, and his gift of righteousness is eternal. Amen.
1 εἰς μετάνοιαν χωρῆσαι.
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