South Sydney Anglican Church

“PRECIOUS” 5th Sunday Series on 2 Peter

10 September 2023

Judgment Day is Coming – do not be Deceived

Intro:  Well morning friends and visitors. My name is Matt Johnson and so far in 1 & 2 Peter we’ve seen 1) the church is being unfairly persecuted, 2) false teachers abound and 3) trials are all around them. It’s getting desperate. But Peter encourages the church to remain faithful, hold on and finish the pilgrimage – because judgment day is coming. One day all the wrongs will be made right…

Prayer: Well today’s passage is about JUDGMENT DAY. In verse 7 – you can see Peter talk about the day of judgment. Again, in verse 10 – Peter talks about the “DAY OF THE LORD”, when the heavens will disappear, the elements will be destroyed with fire and the earth will be laid bare. The language is apocalyptic. Just as God brought the world to an end in the days of Noah with water, SO God is going to bring the world to an end again, WITH FIRE. The space-time continuum is LINEAR. It is NOT CYCLICAL like Hinduism or Buddhism. The world has a beginning and it will have a cataclysmic end.

But constant portrayals of the end of the world by HOLLYWOOD – with everything from zombie apocalypses to AI takeovers (with Terminator) kind of give the end of the world the flavour of fiction, rather than fact. The end of the world is a good concept for movies, but not to be taken too seriously. What’s more, combine A) this over-saturation from Hollywood, with B) scientists now dating life on earth at 3.8 billion years and many believe the mathematical likelihood of the world ending in their life-time is infinitely small. And even if life on earth does come to an end (at some point) – it will have an entirely natural explanation. It will have nothing to do with God. So goes man’s logic.

THIS MEANS that when Christians do speak about God’s judgment of the world – scoffers abound. Peter tells us there were scoffers in the first century and of course, there are scoffers today. The big difference is that IN THE FIRST CENTURY – there was no plausible explanation for the end of the world – apart from Gods supernatural action.

These days 1) we monitor the sky for NEAR EARTH ASTEROIDS that could end life on earth. 2) Some suggest we will soon destroy life on earth through environmental abuse and 3) of course, we also have nuclear capabilities. So what seemed A) UNTHINKABLE to ancient man is significantly B) MORE PLAUSIBLE to modern man. Yet, the scoffers still abound.

Today, Peter tells the church to hang on – because the end is coming. There will be A JUDGMENT DAY and the only way to escape that judgment is to be ready and waiting when Jesus returns. But sadly, just as A) the vast majority of Jews were unprepared for the first coming of Jesus, so B) the Bible leads us to believe that many Christians will be unprepared at the second coming of Jesus.

The point is – every Christian should be a prepper. Perhaps not, the let’s build a bunker, hoard canned food and buy bullets variety of prepper. But we need tp prepare for judgment day by making sure we are living with Jesus as our Saviour and Lord and we are plucking as many people as possible from the pending fires. This is the only way to really prove the genuineness of our faith.

Point 1:           Judgment Day is Coming & God’s Word is our Lifeline

Show:             2 Pet.3:1-2 (READ)

Explain:          Well, yet again, Peter points us to the words of the prophets and apostles. Peter states that this is HIS SECOND LETTER and that he has written both of them, to stimulate us to wholesome, (think pure and unpolluted) thinking. Then Peter goes on in verse 2 – to remind us that right thinking comes the Bible.

 In verse 2 – you can see it talks about the words spoken in the past by the HOLY PROPHETS. This is talking about the Old Testament part of the Bible. The Old Testament was written by the prophets (who Peter reminded us in chapter 1) were carried along by the Holy Spirit. They did not speak or write their own words. Rather they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the very words of God.  Then, in verse 2, Peter also speaks about the commands given by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ – THROUGH THE APOSTLES. This is now talking about the New Testament. The apostles were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life and teaching. And as Peter also reminded us in chapter 1 – Peter, James and John were with Jesus on the mountain – when God said; “this is my Son, listen to him.So the apostles then wrote the letters of the New Testament and if a letter was written by an apostle or could be linked to an apostle – it was included in the canon of the New Testament.

So in our pilgrimmage to heaven – the basis for wholesome, pure, right thinking (on all matters) is God’s Word in the Bible. This is because the Bible is INERRANT AND INFALLIBLE. The word inerrant means without mistake and the word infallible means true in all that it says. Now Christians accept the Bible is inerrant and infallible because this is the way Jesus treated the Bible. Jesus believed the Old Testament was the very words of God. Let me give you SOME EXAMPLES (Slide 3; Matt.22:31; Slide 4 – Mk.12:36). This is also why Jesus says; (Slide 5 – Matt.5:17-18). Jesus believed the words in the Bible were the living and enduring words of God.

Peter is telling us the same thing. He told us in 1 Peter the grass withers and the flowers fall – but the word of the Lord endures forever (1Pet.1:23-25). So Christians have always accepted by faith that the Bible is inerrant and infallible.

Now, on countless occasions, historians have claimed that parts of the Bible are untrue. For instance, in church history – scoffers claimed there never was a Hittite empire. The Bible speaks about the Hittites in Genesis, Exodus and Numbers as a mighty and powerful kingdom. But for 1800 years there was no archaeological evidence that the Hittites existed. So scoffers ridiculed the Bible. However, in the mid 1800’s a British explorer stumbled across an ancient hieroglyphic text in northern Syria that no one could translate. Soon afterwards a massive, well-developed city was discovered in far-eastern Turkey called HATTUSHA – that has now been proven to be the Hittite kingdom. The Bible was found to be true.

Similarly, Acts 18 talks about a proconsul named Gallio. Historians used to scoff at this record claiming there never was a proconsul named Gallio from Archaia. But then, in 1905, a research student found a document in the temple of Apollo in Delphi – from the Roman Emperor Claudius that said; “To Junius Gallio, my friend and proconsul”… Again Scripture was confirmed to be true. In the last 2000 years nothing in the Bible has been found false.

But perhaps the biggest archaeological discovery that confirmed the Bible to be a true and accurate was the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947. Prior to this – historians scoffed and claimed that in the many years of Bible transmission from scribes hand-writing copies of the Bible, it would now be full of errors and embellishments. No more accurate than a GAME OF CHINESE WHISPERS. But the discovery of the Dead Scrolls that date to the second and third century BC proved that this was untrue. There was virtually no difference between the scrolls from 200 and 300BC AND the modern Bible. It was almost miraculous.

But not only is the Bible historically accurate, it has also been found to be experientially true. Those who put the Bibles teaching into practice (regardless of culture, sex or age) and live out its precepts discover it actually works in daily life. Recently, even non-Christians, like Jordan Peterson have recognized that the truths of the Bible speak to some of the BIGGEST EXISTENTIAL, ONTOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES of modern man. The Bible doesn’t only work practically, it also has power to minister to our deepest needs.

Apply:             So as Peter wraps up his TWO-PART BOOK – he reminds us – that the one thing that is true and reliable is God’s Word. Pure and wholesome thinking comes from the Bible. But sadly, the closer we get to the end of the world the more Gods Word seems to be coming under attack, especially from new ideologies and secularism.

Although, 1) good science and 2) archaeology and 3) psychology keeps confirming many aspects of the Bible – many academics, scientists and philosophers continue to publicly scoff. We are told there is no truth. Or the only truth that is valid is scientific truth. Yet, even this last year the James Webb telescope – recently put into space by NASA is proving that some of the things they’ve been teaching about the big bang and the expanding universe is actually incorrect. ALTHOUGH, we are encouraged to trust scientists – (as the the new prophets and priests of secularism) they are at the end of the day – just sinful, flawed individuals who often make mistakes – like the rest of us. But Christians believe that God so supervised the writing of Scripture by the Holy Spirit that it can be trusted completely. Like Jesus himself, Scripture is one of the few PERFECT THINGS in this world that we can trust completely. And those Scriptures tell us;

Point 2:         Judgment Day is Coming – God will Intervene

Show:                        2 Pet.3:3-7 (READ)

Explain:         PLEASE NOTICE that what the scoffers are scoffing about is the trustworthiness of the Bible. They say; “Where is this “coming” he promised?” (ie in the Bible). The implication is the Bible is untrue. But they also claim that everything in creation simply goes on as it has since the beginning. IN OTHER WORDS, the world is just a series of natural processes that ebb and flow and God will never intervene…

Now from these details we can kind of make an educated guess that the scoffers are working with a Platonic worldview. We know that this was a dominant worldview. WE KNOW that in 1 & 2 Peter, Peter is addressing heresies that seem to be related to an early form of GNOSTICISM. (I spoke about this in the opening sermon on 1 Peter). WE ALSO KNOW that the philosophical worldview behind Gnosticism was Platonism. The Greek Philosopher Plato (greater in influence that Charles Darwin) – taught there was a kind of God who caused everything to come into existence. He called this philosophical god – THE ONE; or the first cause, or the uncaused cause of everything. But Plato also taught that “the One” was not really interested in the world of man. God and man could not come together. So perhaps “the ONE” set the world in motion – but he is not really interested in what we do. So the Platonic idea of an unmoved-mover – caused academics in the first century to scoff at the idea of 1) Jesus, 2) Gods final judgment and even 3) Jesus’ return.

In some ways, Plato’s “the One” is not much different to modern sciences big bang theory. Yes, there was an initial cause of everything called the Big Bang; but ever since the Big Bang everything is simply taking place through natural, chemical and evolutionary processes. In other words, everything has a natural explanation and there is no supernatural. THIS PREMISE that everything is natural automatically leads to scoffing – when Christians speak about God intervening supernaturally to judge the world.

So Peter responds by talking about creation and the flood. Peter’s point is that God did intervene supernaturally in the world of man when A) he first created the world and again B) when he sent the flood. God is not an unmoved mover (who cares little about man). Rather God originally created a world out of water that was unsuitable for man and made it suitable for man to live. It had dry land, oxygen and all the necessary elements to sustain human life. But then God reversed that decision (and turned the world back to water) when man was disobedient. God remade the world – unsuitable for man’s survival. Peters point is that God does intervene supernaturally in space and time both for our good (creation) and for our demise (the flood). Peter is countering the idea that everything has a natural explanation.

Illustrate:       Now you may think this argument that A) God created the world and then B) sent the flood would MEAN NOTHING to our modern big bang, everything has a scientific explanation – scoffers. But the ongoing discoveries of science are beginning to prove that the idea that everything has a natural explanation is no longer mathematically possible. That’s right. Science itself is beginning to prove there must be a God (or there must at least be a supernatural, unknown first cause) because the science does not add up

About 20 years ago – renowned atheist CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS – was asked “what is the best scientific argument against atheism.” Hitchens responded (Slide 8)*. Now since Hitchens made that statement – THE FINE TUNING ARGUMENT – has become ven harder to deny. The point is – there are too many variables in our universe that are just right to sustain human life on earth. 1) The earth is exactly the right size, with exactly the right gravitational pull. Gravity is strong enough to stop the solar winds in space stripping away our atmosphere and us all suffocating. But if gravity was even slightly stronger it would prevent many essential physical processes on earth. It is – just right. And I mean just right.

Did you know the planets Jupiter and Saturn are 1) just the right size and 2) in just the right position and with 3) just the right amount of gravity to cause almost all the asteroids hurtling through space to miss earth. If it wasn’t for Jupiter and Saturn – the amount of asteroids hitting earth every day – would make life nearly impossible. There are now countless examples of fine tuning of this kind…

Let me give you a few quotes (Slides 9, 10 & 11). Now remember, to reach THE PROBABILITY of all the fine-tuned elements of the universe coming together just right and by random chance you have to multiply that number, by that number, by that number – by all the other fine-tuned probability numbers – and many scientists are now conceding that number is impossible. Science itself is reaching the mathematical conclusion that it is impossible all this came together by chance.

Apply:            Peter reminds us that there is a God who made life possible for man – out of water and then, in judgment, made life impossible with that same water. God is real. God did create life with His Word and He can uncreate life with that same word. Everything does not just go on as it has from the beginning through natural causes. God gave life in creation and God took away life in the flood and he will do it again – in the final judgment.

Point 3:         Judgement Day is Coming – God is giving people time to Repent

Show:                        2 Pet.3:8-10 (READ)

Explain:         Well Peter makes it clear that just as A) the world in Noah’s days was destroyed with water, so B) our present world will be destroyed with fire. This idea of fire starts in the Old Testament. For instance – Isaiah 66 says (Slide 14 – Isa.66). As you know fire also features fairly prominently in the book of Revelation. (Slide 15 – Rev.8:7). (That kind of makes the Black Summer fires of 2019 look like back burning). A chapter later Revelation says; (Slide 16 – Rev.9:16-17). Now that’s a lot of people toast – before we even get to the lake of fire in Revelation 20.

The point is – the world is going to be destroyed with fire and the only reason the fires haven’t started yet is (Slide 17; 2Pet.3:9). God is patient and God does not want you to perish. Now whether you perish in these fires or not is dependent on whether you REPENT. Notice again verse 9 – it says God does not want you to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Repentance basically means that you take yourself off the throne and make Jesus your King. Jesus is God’s Son, who came into this world and died for your sins. (You may have heard of him. Most famous man in history). Well, he died on the cross to take the punishment for your sins. He LOVED YOU SO MUCH HE did the time for your crime. Then after three days dead – he came back to life – TO provE he really was God’s Son – the true King. So repent means admit you are sinner. Thank Jesus for dying for you and then start doing what he says – as recorded in the Bible. Then, you will not perish in the coming fires – instead God will save you and bring you into His new creation.

Apply:            Now I know – the idea that Jesus was Gods Son, who died for your sins and then came back to life – may ALSO seem implausible. The idea that God might love a wretch like you enough to die for you – CRAZY. But remember the chance that all of the universe came together completely by chance (and without a God) is now mathematically verified by scientists to be like 1 in 10 to the power of a trillion trillions.

In other words – it’s more likely THE OLD-TIMERS were right all along and there is a Creator God – who fine-tuned the universe, just right, for human life. And if there is a God who fine-tuned the universe, just so, for human life – you have to ask – would he be happy with you? Would he say you’ve done a good job in life OR would you have difficulty explaining some of your conduct? Perhaps even, your scoffing at His existence? If it is the latter – the God of the Bible says; “He is willing to forgive you. Jesus (the most famous man in the history of the world) died for you. So if you believe in him, repent of your sins and try to obey Jesus’ words” the true God, the Creator God is willing to forgive you.

So if the world is going to burn (and perhaps those fires are already beginning) you have to ask yourself – what is the real chance that the world created itself, everything is just following a natural path and there is no God, no right and wrong and no judgment day? WELL THE PROBABILITY of that is about 1 in 10 to the power of a trillion trillions. Even the worst of gamblers know that is a bad bet when your gambling with your life and with eternity. But if those odds are correct – then the only real plausible alternative for us being here today is there must be a God. And if there is a Creator God there is a very plausible chance he cares about you and how you live. There is also a very good chance that God is linked to Jesus – the most wise, loving, good and famous man in history who claims to have died for your sins, risen again (and promises you life).  Now if there is a God – all that is possible. So I encourage you do the work for yourself – stop being lazy, stop reading rubbish on your i-phone and you’ll soon see that the only sensible, logical and reasonable choice is to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. GODS JUDGMENT ON THIS SINFUL WORLD is coming and it might be closer than you realise…

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