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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, June 28, 2015

I hear many Baptists and evangelicals complain about our country. They are worried about what President Obama does, and what the Supreme Court does. They blame the liberals. They blame the liberal news media. They blame the professors in the colleges and universities. They blame the drug pushers. They blame illegal immigrants. They blame the rapists, and radicals, and rioters. But I do not agree with the Baptists and the evangelicals on this. Shakespeare said, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves” (Julius Caesar, I, 2, 140-141).

The fault, dear preacher, is not in President Obama or the Supreme Court – but in ourselves. Our churches have become so weak that we have no impact on our nation – none! How did that happen? First, you gave up the Sunday evening service. How can you have a real church when you only speak to your people for a half an hour a week! Giving up the evening service is deadly! Second, you don’t focus on the Gospel when you preach, and you don’t make sure your young people are converted. No wonder you lose 88% of your young people before they are 25 years old! No wonder you can’t convert young people from the world. You have no power because you don’t have real prayer meetings. Don’t blame Obama and the Supreme Court! “The fault, dear Brutus, is in ourselves.”

As a result of slip-shod pastoring, our churches and our nation are filled with those who scoff at the Bible. Those who mock and scoff about the coming judgment will be surprised! Judgment will come like a thief in the night! They scoff at the idea that judgment is coming. But it will come unexpectedly. In First Thessalonians 5:2 the Apostle Paul said,

“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (I Thessalonians 5:2)

“Yourselves” refers to the true Christians. We know that the great end-time events will begin suddenly – like a thief who comes suddenly to rob a person. Our brother Jack Ngann went into a store last week. When he stepped out of that store a thief ran up to him and robbed him at gunpoint. He didn’t expect it. He wasn’t ready. That’s the way the “day of the Lord” will come – to the unprepared world – to those who are not saved. Judgment will come suddenly, like a thief in the night. Then Paul said,

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (I Thessalonians 5:3).

Now turn to II Peter 3:10. It’s on page 1319 in the Scofield Study Bible. Please stand as I read it.

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Peter 3:10).

The "day of the Lord" is not a 24 hour day.  It is a period of time.  William MacDonald gave four things that will happen during “the day of the Lord.” He gave these events in the order that they will happen.

1.  It includes the Tribulation, a seven-year period [when God judges the world].

2.  It includes Christ’s return to the earth [to the top of the Mount of Olives – when He comes to set up His Kingdom].

3.  It is used of the millennium when Christ will rule the earth [for one thousand years].

4.  It refers to the final destruction of the heavens and the earth with fire. That is the meaning here in [II Peter 3:10] (Believer’s Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989, p. 2302; note on II Peter 3:10).

All four of these events occur during the “day of the Lord.” “Day” here refers to a period of time. The “day of the Lord” will begin with the seven-year Tribulation and continue through the return of Christ, His thousand-year reign on this earth, and the destruction of the earth and the universe in fire. That is the “day of the Lord.” You may be seated.

Then the Apostle Peter gave the lesson, or application. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said this was the way the Apostles taught all through their epistles. First, he gave the doctrine – the “day of the Lord” with all that it means – the Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ, His Kingdom, and the burning of the heavens (the universe0 and the world. That’s the doctrine. Then he gave the application, or lesson, we Christians should learn from the doctrine. The application, or lesson, is given in verse 11. Look at it,

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (II Peter 3:11).

“Conversation” here means “conduct.” Since the universe will be consumed by fire, what kind of people should you be in conduct and godliness. This is not really a question. It should end with an exclamation point – like “How very holy you should be!” – after learning that the world will end in a fiery explosion.

Not only should we be holy in our conduct and godliness, we should also do what verse twelve says,

“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (II Peter 3:12).

We should be looking forward to these things, and even “speed its coming.” Dr. Thomas Hale said, “God is waiting for us to spread His Gospel to all nations; then shall the end come, Matthew 24:14” (Thomas Hale, The Applied New Testament Commentary, Kingsway Publications, 1996; note on II Peter 3:12).

That was what my long-time pastor Dr. Timothy Lin taught. And I agree with him. When we win souls, we are hastening, or speeding up, the coming of Christ’s eternal Kingdom. I believe these events are delayed, humanly speaking, “until the fulness [full number] of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25). Dr. Lin said that Satan knows “the only way of prolonging his evil life is by delaying the second coming of Christ...For this reason he employs his evil schemes with all his might towards [keeping] people from believing in Jesus – thereby keeping the personnel of God’s kingdom from being produced” (Timothy Lin, S.T.M., Ph.D., The Secret of Church Growth, FCBC, 1992, p. 95).

We should look forward to the “day of God.” We should also “hasten” that day by bringing souls to Christ and into the local church! One day it will be too late to win souls because, “the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” (II Peter 3:12). The NIV gives the sense of it, “You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming...” (II Peter 3:11, 12). Christians “speed its coming,” as I said, by winning more of the lost. But there is another way. Dr. Thomas Hale and Dr. Timothy Lin both said that we “speed its coming” by praying the Lord’s Prayer (the “Our Father”) – “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-13). Many Christians in the last days have forgotten to pray that prayer. Satan has tricked them. When we forget to pray for God’s Kingdom to come, Satan prolongs his wicked life. If we desire to have God’s Kingdom come quickly, we must “speed its coming” by bringing in more lost souls, and by praying more. I actually think that is the basic sense in which Peter gave this exhortation. He didn’t give this passage just to teach us the doctrines of last things. He gave these verses to teach us also how to live, how to win souls, and how to pray because we know this doctrine! Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said,

We are to “hasten his coming”...This again is a great mystery. If these things are determined, how can we hasten them?... Well, we can hasten them by preparing ourselves, by preaching the Gospel, by telling others about Him. The end will come when the fulness of the Gentiles and the fulness of the Jews will have come in, when all will have been gathered in, when all the redeemed will have been drawn out of the world. Let us hasten that by preparing ourselves, let us hasten it by spreading the Gospel, by preaching, or by supporting missionary work, and the work of the church in this land, in fact by everything we can do to hasten the coming (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Expository Sermons on 2 Peter, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1999 edition, p. 206; comment on II Peter 3:12).

Now stand as I read verse 13.

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13).

You may be seated.

One of the men in our church recently reminded me of what happened the day I was saved. Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge was preaching on this passage. He was contrasting the “scoffers” (v. 3) with the Christians. He read those words, “the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” Then he read the words of verse 13,

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

He said, “They have no hope, but we look for new heavens and a new earth.” “They have no future, but we look for new heavens and a new earth.” “They have no hope, but we look for new heavens and a new earth.” Suddenly I did not want to be with “they.” I wanted desperately to be among the “we.” In a moment – and it was only a moment – I left them and joined the we – I joined the Christians and left the world behind me. In that moment I trusted Christ. It was so simple! Evolution was gone. Materialism was gone. The ideas and plans and hopes and dreams of this world were gone. I trusted Christ alone. I was converted. I could have shouted with the strongest Christian in the world,

“Nevertheless we...look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

I could have stood and sung the words of Fanny Crosby,

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
   All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
   Thro’ eternal years the same.

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
   In His cross my trust shall be;
Till, with clearer, brighter vision
   Face to face my Lord I see.
Oh, the height and depth of mercy!
   Oh, the length and breadth of love!
Oh, the fulness of redemption,
   Pledge of endless life above!
(“Take the World, But Give Me Jesus” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand;
   All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
   (“The Solid Rock” by Edward Mote, 1797-1874).

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
   Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
   In the light of His glory and grace.
(“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen Howarth Lemmel, 1863-1961).

Now look at verse 14. Stand as I read it.

“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (II Peter 3:14).

You may be seated.

“Wherefore” means “therefore.” Because you are converted and look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness – Therefore, since you look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, be diligent, make every effort, to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him. The Apostle John said,

“Abide [continue] in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (I John 2:28).

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself”
       (I John 3:3).

That begins when you trust Jesus by faith – and are cleansed from all sin by the Blood He shed on the Cross. It is my prayer that someone here tonight will say with Fanny Crosby, “Take the world, but give me Jesus.” In His name, Amen.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: II Peter 3:10-18.

Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Jack Ngann:  "Take the World, But Give Me Jesus" (by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).