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From the Preacher’s Pen…

Many times over the years false prophets have declared that they know the exact time when Jesus is coming again. Several times over the years I’ve shared with you their fake prophecies and shown how God’s word has always proven them wrong for even attempting to claim that they know the time. But if you would like to know a secret, a secret carefully spelled out in Scripture, I will tell you how to know when the right time is and how to understand the great promise. Even more, I will tell you exactly how to help that right time to hurry up and come!

The Promise

Are you a Sadducee? You remember who they were, don’t you? They were the Jews that were “sad-you-see” because they had no hope of resurrection. With no hope of resurrection, there is no reason to live as a Christian (Paul’s exact point in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19). Without hope, without reason for life at all, a person is just a modern sad-you-see.

The New Testament gives us no examples of any Sadducees either believing Jesus or becoming a Christian. And yet one of the early issues raised by false teachers seems to have been this very same idea that there was no resurrection.

Peter dealt with the same problem as Paul did and, in Second Peter he provides us with a great lesson regarding God’s great promise. He begins in 2 Peter 1:4 by saying: For by these (God’s divine power) He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

God’s promises come by way of the very power of the Creator of all things, God Himself. So, naturally, those promises are going to be rather spectacular, downright magnificent! And the purpose of those promises is that we might take part in His own nature. Wow!

In chapter three Peter revisits that promise as he deals with the challenge, 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. (2 Peter 3:4)

Has our Savior forgotten His promises? Did He return to heaven without us and with no plan? Of course not! In fact, His very intention is to provide the opportunity for as many as possible to be saved. Read 2 Peter 3:9 and realize that if Jesus had come again at various times in the past we would have been left out of heaven! Knowing that it is the very kindness and patience of God that allows us to be a part of the saved, how can we not take advantage of those traits that others might also be saved?

So, there is no need for despair. Just like God’s people under the Old Testament prophets of exile and post-exile, we listen to God’s promise and look forward to the time He fulfills it all. As Peter puts it, But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). And just to remind us once again of the continuity of God’s promises, nearly 30 years later John would write: This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life (1 John 2:25).

God’s promise is certain! He above all others may be safely trusted to remember and keep His promises. And one day, 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. Then we who are alive and remain 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. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Since sin first entered into this world God has kept His plan in place. His promise is still certain and ready to be shown to the world. So why is He still waiting? What can we possibly do to help that day arrive?

Do you remember His purpose in delaying His return? Hint: Re-read 2 Peter 3:9. Now let Peter finish explaining: 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 coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! (2 Peter 3:11-12)

We hasten His return by finishing our job of sharing the Good News! That’s our job, our mission, our charge from Jesus Himself. And that job must be done properly in order for Him to finish the promise.

Peter gives us one final reminder about doing that job properly: Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation (2 Peter 3:14-15a).

Now you know the secret of God: Do our job in taking the Gospel and live our lives as He has called us to live, and God Himself will take care of finishing His promise! Are you ready? Are you ready to DO what will bring that promise to fulfillment?

— Lester P. Bagley