Jason Free

This is the Lord’s Day

by Jason Free on December 10th, 2023
2 Peter 3:8-14

In early November, a scientific journal made the claim that we have just six years left to save the planet from global warming, six years before we pass the point of no return. In 2018, Harvard Professor James Anderson claimed we had five years before we would reach that same point. Way back in 2006 a famous politician told us we had 10 years left before the world could not be saved. In 1970, Peter Gunter, a professor at North Texas State University, said that, “by the year 2000 (23 years ago), the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” Another professor from Stanford predicted that these famines would lead to the starvation and death of “100-200 million people each year.” Today, there are individuals and groups who are so deeply concerned about an end caused by catastrophic climate change, that they throw soup and paint at famous pictures, they glue themselves to the road in front of traffic, they disrupt local and federal government meetings…and they do all this because they firmly believe that unless something changes drastically an end is coming.

You know what? I don’t disagree with them. An end is coming. For almost two centuries, since Christ’s ascension, God’s people have been proclaiming the end of the world. Now, of course, you and I would maybe disagree with today’s doomsday crowds about the exact way the world will end. You and I would say that the world will end when Jesus comes back. We’d also then, I’m sure, politely tell those same doomsday crowds that there isn’t any way to stop this coming of Jesus, that end will happen no matter how hot or cold this planet becomes.  And, you know, some people struggle with that truth – that one-day Jesus will return in judgement – maybe you do at times. 

Some struggle with that thought because they don’t like thinking about an end, specifically their own end. That’s a scary thought to think about. I don’t want to think about everything here being done. Others don’t like hearing that there is such a thing as judgment, that God has every right, and will, one day return to finally judge the living and the dead. Some don’t like the idea of a God who actually takes sin seriously – they prefer their God of love, and I don’t blame them, that’s easier. But the truth is Judgement Day is real. Jesus is coming back, and when he does that will be the end. That’s God’s message to you and me today. No matter what others say, no matter what others think, our King, Jesus, will return – he’s coming! So, how do you make sure you’re ready when he comes? How do you make sure that on that Day of Judgment, heaven is your home?

Ah, in verse 10 of our lesson, Peter gives us the answer. Look what he calls this coming end. He doesn’t call it Judgment Day. He calls it the “day of the Lord.” This will be the Lord’s Day. That to me is key.  I heard this story once. There was a Broadway show, and as the show was being prepared the director realized that the show was a disaster, everything about the show was awful. But one day he realized that the problem with the show was that the lead actress just wasn’t any good. She didn’t have the ability to carry out the role she had; she was miscast. So, making a quick decision the director moved this woman in the lead role to a support role and moved up a different woman from the support role to the lead role, and you know what happened? Almost immediately the show was electric. Everything came together, and it was so obvious that even the woman who lost her lead role had to admit the director made a fantastic choice. And the play ended up being a huge success. 

Right now, each of you, all of you, are living a life that is your life. You’re making choices, you’re making plans, you’re finding success, or wrestling with hardship, and, if I can say this without insulting you, your life is really like one big play, a drama. Which means you’re the lead actor or actress. It’s all about you, but that’s the basic problem. We take that lead role and we have this great script for ourselves and everything is centered around us, but we keep getting mixed reviews. You know the reason why? The lead isn’t our role. You can’t be the lead, even in your own life. I mean, just look how easy it is for us to screw things up! Even when we try our best, we still can’t ever seem to get it right, and deep down you know it. So, by staying in that lead position, we’re putting the whole show at risk.

All this is to say that we don’t need our God to be a director, who puts us in the center and makes us the star. We don’t need a God to be an agent who serves us and seeks to cater to our every whim. No, what we need is for God to take our place, to be the lead in our own lives. , and that’s what Christmas is all about. Soon, we will once again peer into that manger, and see Jesus’ face and marvel that this child, the Son of God, stepped into this world. Why? Why’d he do it? To fulfill the role, to take the lead on our salvation, something we could never do, but he could, and he did. Don’t you see? That child so meek and so mild is everything we are not. He was perfect. He was loving and compassionate always. He was never afraid or worried but trusted the will of his heavenly Father. He never sinned, never lied, never stole, never lusted, and never once sought his own glory, but humbly did what he came here to do; he came here to save you. He finished that work on the cross. He finished that work as he left that tomb empty. And you know that, I think I’ve heard all of you confess your faith in your Savior, Jesus. If I haven’t, I soon will as we make that confession after this sermon. 

But even as we all believe and confess that, what do we still do in our lives – we can’t help it? We look at our lives and we think, “You know I got this going on, and I have that. There is this goal that I really want to accomplish, and this scene of my life should go this way, and I do think God should go along with this plan because it makes sense!” You see this? We take Jesus, we take God, and we can’t help but to still make him be one of the supporting roles in our lives. Even when we know we’re terrible as the lead in our own lives, we struggle to give that role up. But that’s what the day of the Lord is all about. 

When Jesus comes again, it will be clear that he is the lead. It will be undeniable that this is his role – even those who don’t believe in him will see it. And, yes, this will then be a day of judgment, but in Christ, you already know your verdict: he’s prepared your room. He’s taking you to be with him. And he will forever, without question, rule in your heart and your mind as you live with him eternally. And while we might then think that this is our day, it’s still his. He’s bringing his family home. On this day his plan of salvation will forever be complete. So, why hasn’t this day come yet? 

If you look at verse eight of our lesson, Peter tells us why God hasn’t come yet. First, he addresses time in general. Here is what he says, “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.” If you think about it, fast and slow, time, it’s all about perspective. Let me give you a great example. Children are often the most impatient people, why? Because their experience with time is small. My six-year-old son only knows six years of time. Which means when I tell him that Christmas is two weeks away and he can wait until then to open his presents. His response is quite dire, “You don’t love me. How could you make me wait this long? It’s too long!” Yet, we parents are sitting here thinking, “Two weeks? I’m running out of time. I got a lot to do still before Christmas comes.”  God’s perspective on time is completely different from our own. He’s not bound by it. He created it. Slow to us, is just right for him. The proof is here at Christmas, “When the time had fully come God sent his Son.” The birth of Jesus, that timing was perfect. 

The second reason Peter says Christ hasn’t come yet, is much more personal. Look what Peter says in verse 9, “he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” This right here is just incredible. If you’re nervous about Jesus coming in judgment, or you think that day is unfair or cruel, or you’re just impatient and want to be in heaven now because your tired of things here, let this verse silence all those thoughts. Jesus doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to be in heaven with him. He wants his day to be one of joy for as many as possible. So, he’s giving us time, and some of us maybe needed time, we’re new to the faith. Had Jesus come last year we would’ve been lost. We also then have time to still reach out to others, so that on the Lord’s Day they, a friend, a family member, a co-worker, can share in his joy. They can be in heaven too. 

And maybe one last point here. You see what it takes to be a part of Jesus’ glorious day? Repentance. And you know what’s so cool about repentance? Anyone can do it. Anyone can repent! A person in depression can repent, even if they’re unable to pull themselves out of depression. An addict can repent, even as they struggle with their addiction. A liar, a thief, an old person, a young person, a child, all can repent and believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. God isn’t asking us to save ourselves. He’s not asking us to live up to some sort of standard, or to do something – anything! No, he’s asking you and me to confess and admit our sin, to turn from our sinful ways, and to look only to him for mercy and forgiveness. He wants you to give him the lead in your life, to trust in him, to make not just the last day, but every day of your life, his day. And he’s waiting, patiently, so that his Spirit can work and lead many more souls to repentance and a life with him. 

So, that day of the Lord is coming, “like a thief.” Don’t think it won’t come. And, when it does, everything here will be destroyed, “but in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” This is true for you because Jesus is your Savior. Your king has already come and has prepared you for his coming again. Find joy and confidence then this Christmas as you celebrate his birth, ponder what that child will do, what he did for you. Share him too. Help lead others to repentance so they can stand there with you on the Day of the Lord knowing that, on this day of Judgment, they’re going home to heaven just like you. 

Let’s end then with these final words of encouragement from Peter, “Dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” Live each day for the Lord, for this day, and every day is his, and will be his into eternity. That’s good news for us. Amen. 

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