Living Hope  2Pe 13-11 31-13        

A Sermon  preached at Ivybridge CongregationalChurch 13/8/06

Last month Graham expounded 1Peter, reminding you that :
The Lord Jesus has given us new birth into a living hope. 13
You are receiving the salvation of your souls.  19
You were redeemed ... with the precious blood of Christ.  118,19
You have been born again ... through the living and enduring word of God.  123

Therefore ... 21     See the truth that you are now different,
      and should live as aliens and strangers in the world.  211
      Or as Paul writes,
            Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
            but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.   Ro 122

This morning we move on to 2 Peter, written about 5 years later.
Therefore be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.
For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome
into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  
2 Pe 110,11

Peter reveals much about our current situation and concerning the future.
First about situation now.
      He warns us about: False Teachers
      They promise freedom while they themselves are slaves to depravity.  2Pe 21,19
            e.g. All religions are equally valid.
            Abortion is a woman’s right.
            Sex outside of marriage is fun.
            Drugs, drink, tobacco are great.
            Being ‘gay’ is natural.
            If it makes you rich or happy, go for it.
      Each of these promise ‘freedom’; but in fact addict men to slavery.

Then he warns us about: Scoffers
      They deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed
            and the earth was formed out of water and by water.  33-5
            7th day is more than just special.
            God commands us to remember creation by resting from normal work.
            Evolution is a lie; yet it is taught as truth. (C of E Gateshead school)

      By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.  36
            God was so grieved with extent of wickedness
                  he destroyed much of his fantastic creation.
            The judgement of God in the days of Noah was just.
            What about the world of 2006?
            The same Lord Almighty is insulted, ignored, ridiculed today,
                  and even added to other satanic false idol gods.
            Will God do nothing in our generation?
      By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire,
            being kept for the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men.  37
            At the end the Judgement will not be by water, but by fire.
                  Deserved? Definitely!
            Where will the scoffers be then?
            Rev tells us that during the Great Tribulation they will not repent,
                  they will curse God!
            When are these days of judgement, tribulation and the return of Christ?
            Don’t know; but likely to be very soon.
      But as Peter says, The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise.  39
      He continues,
      Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of lawless men
            and fall from your secure position.
      Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  311, 17,18

Be ready.
There is an ongoing war for our souls and our minds; that is obvious.
      But there is also a physical war - persecution.
       Open Doors estimate 450 martyrs/day! China, N.Korea, Philippines, Burma,
      Indonesia, India, almost every nation in the ME and Africa, most S.America.
We see Islam is increasingly fanatical and violent.
      Their threats and actions against the Jews grow by the day.
      Christians are also their high priority target.
      Their goal has always been to dominate the whole world.
            They will use the West’s need for oil to the full.
            No UN resolution will have any more than a trivial temporary affect.
Why do I think that this is not just the ramblings of an old man?
      Scripture! The parts that most of us choose to ignore - difficult / dangerous.
God revealed to Daniel that war will continue to the end. Dan 924
      War against all those chosen by God; both Jews and Christians.
            Read   Dan 721,22   725,26   823-25
      In the last days “until ...” Christ returns, we are in for a very rough ride -
      That is why we must now be sure of our calling and election.
            We must know the sure revealed plan of the Lord Almighty;
                  and not just read the ‘nice’ parts of scripture.

God tells Joel:
I will gather all nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgement against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. ... prepare for war ... The Lord will roar from Zion.  Joel 31,2, 9, 16

Zechariah was shown:
On that day, when all nations are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. ... On that day I will set out to destroy all nations that attack Jerusalem.  Zech 123,9

God also gave to John a vision of the 4 horses that he commands to ride forth.
The result? War, famine and disease that will kill ¼ of the world’s population.
      That is 1,500 million people! Rev 64,8 And a further 1,500m in 6th Trumpet.

In Rev 13 God tells us of the most evil satanic Beast.
He will arise out of the sea of world confusion.
He will be given a mouth to utter blasphemies
and to exercise his authority for 42 months ...
power to make war against the saints and to conquer them ...
This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
 Rev 135-10  also 1412

Are we ready for such days?
      Or do we choose to ignore these scriptures,
            hoping that they refer to another day, to a future generation.
We need to face the truth.
To Christians, our gracious God has revealed what he will do in the last days.
      The word of God alone is accurate concerning what lies ahead:
            our future and the future of the increasingly wicked world.
            A world that thinks it can ignore or insult the Sovereign Lord with impunity.

Remember too, these are days when:
We shall also see the Lamb of God triumph again. Rev 1714 1919-21
      He triumphed at Calvary - though few saw it that way, and still don’t.
      Today is a day of trial, but God keeps his word: I am with you always.
      “The purpose of God is sure and the people of God are safe”. David Pawson

2 Peter clearly reveals how important it is to know the days in which we live.
      Days in which we depend so greatly upon him.
      Days in which we so earnestly long for him.
      Days when wickedness seems to triumph -
            but they will do so only until the day when the King of kings returns !

You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God.  2Pe 311,12
      This is our zealous ongoing goal. 
And God gives us a sure vision of heaven.  Rev 21,22
What there is in heaven ...
      New - and remains new, it cannot tarnish or become corrupt.
      Glorious King reigns who is worthy, just, active and wise.
      His Bride is there, redeemed, holy, pure, filled with joy and altogether lovely.

What there isn’t in heaven ....
      No sea - endless confusion and lies is replaced by harmony and truth.
      No loneliness but true lasting friendships. All accepted and genuinely loved.
      No tears, no death, no heartache, no dashed hopes or unfulfilled dreams.
      No sickness, no pain, no disability, no abuse, no starvation, never tired.
      No poverty, no bills, no money, no greed, no theft, no jealousy.
      No violence, no war, no hatred, no injustice, no enemies.
      No deceit, no sin, no temptation and no end. No time.

Stories often used to end, “And they all lived happily ever after.”
      They rarely do so now. But the Christian story does!
      And it’s no make-believe, for God himself has declared it to be the truth.

So meanwhile:
      Be holy
      Be ready
      Be confident - read all the Scriptures.
The Word of the Lord Almighty will never be broken,
      the King of kings reigns and will never abdicate or be defeated. Amen.