Chardon church of Christ

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Getting Ready for Heaven

Posted by Chardon in 2 Peter 3

Getting Ready for Heaven

2 Peter 3:10-18

 

There are three kinds of givers -- the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it. And then you get only chips and sparks. To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it, and the more you use pressure, the more you will get. But the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness. Which kind of giver are you?

 

Verse 1) “There’s a great day coming, a great day coming. There’s a great day coming by and by. When the saints and the sinners will be parted right and left, Are you ready for that day to come?”

CHORUS: Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready for that Judgment Day?

 

Verse 2) There’s a bright day coming, a bright day coming. There’s a bright day coming by and by. But the brightness will be only for the ones that love the Lord. Are you ready for that Day to come?”

That’s a repeated question throughout Scripture: Are You Ready? In fact, one of the major teachings of Jesus was - you need to BE READY!

 

For example: Jesus told the story of ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 who were part of a wedding ceremony. Back then marriages were more elaborate than the ones we have today. Part of the ceremony required the bridegroom would parade through city by night and fetch his bride from her father’s house and take her to the wedding party at his parent’s home. Part of that wedding procession included the virgins Jesus spoke of (they were kind of like bridesmaids).

 

Jesus explained that, as these virgins were waiting for the bridegroom to arrive, 5 of them were very foolish – they had no EXTRA oil for their lamps. But the other five were wise because they’d brought along extra oil – just in case. It was a good thing too, because the bridegroom was delayed, and by the time people shouted that he was coming the 5 foolish virgins were nearly out of oil for their lamps. They begged the other 5 virgins to give them some of their oil, but the wise virgins answered that there wouldn’t be enough for all of them – and that the 5 foolish girls would have to go get some for themselves.

 

While they were gone the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the foolish virgins came and asked the bridegroom to let them in. “But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

 

Jesus closed the parable with these words: Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Again and again, Jesus warned us ... BE READY!

 

In our text today, Peter tells us that very same message. In II Peter 3:10-11 He says: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness”

BE READY!

 

The day of the Lord will come ... like a thief. And when that happens, there will be no more time to prepare. If you’re NOT ready, that ship will have sailed, and there won’t be another one, ever!

 

ILLUS: Let’s say a very wealthy person approaches you and says that he wants to send you on a 2 week trip to someplace you’ve always wanted to go to – all expenses paid. (Would you like that?).

There’s only one catch – because of the paperwork in lining up the trip he can’t tell you exactly when you’ll be leaving. It’s gonna be in the next few months. AND when he calls you may only have a few hours to get down to the Airport and catch your flight.

It is inconvenient... but you really want to go.

 

So how are you gonna prepare for this trip? Well – you might have to clear things down at the office or factory, or wherever you have commitments for the next few weeks. You’ll have to get your passport. You’ll have to get shots.

You’ll have to ask someone to take care of your pets and get your mail. And then you’re going to pack (SUITCASE). When are you going to start preparing for this free trip? NOW!!!!

 

Not later, because you don’t know when you’ll have to leave and if you want to get on that plane you better prepare now!!!! You realize – if you ain’t ready, you ain’t going.

 

And that’s what Peter is telling us. Prepare NOW!!! Because if you ain’t prepared, you ain’t going. But, how do you prepare for this trip – this trip to heaven?

Well, you don’t have to get a passport or shots, and you don’t have to have anyone take care of your pets or your mail.

And the suitcase isn’t going to do you any good (you’re not going to be able to take anything with you anyhow).

 

But Peter does tells us HOW we should prepare. 1st – he says (to be ready to go) we need to be holy and godly.

Now, what does that mean?

Well, it’s not that hard. Holy means “set apart”

and godly means you live for God. If you put those 2 together, Peter’s telling us to set ourselves apart (from world) to live for God.

 

It’s that simple. At least... in principle it is.   You see, a lot of people struggle with that idea because they love the things of this world more than they love God.

One of the saddest statements in the Gospels in John 12:42-43 tells us that: “... many even of the authorities believed in (Jesus), but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”

 

I’m going to ask you a few questions about this – do NOT raise your hand... just think about how you’d answer:

Are there times you don’t talk about God because you’re afraid you’ll offend someone? Or you’re afraid they’ll make fun of you? Or you’re afraid they won’t want to have you around?

 

Do you depend upon the approval of others... or the approval of God?

WHAT you depend upon says a lot about whether or not you want to be holy and godly ... OR if you want to blend in with everyone else .

 

ILLUS: I came across an article about the South Pacific island of Tonga. Something severed the internet cable to the island. And the title of the article read “Tonga sent back to 'dark ages' after underwater Internet cable severed.” It’s affected their e-mails, airline bookings, university enrollment, wiring of money and has prevented businesses from processing credit and debit cards. It has literally thrown that small country into chaos ... all because they depended upon that cable for their daily lives.

 

Here’s the deal... what do you depend upon for your daily life?

Do you depend on the approval or others OR God?

If it came down to a choice of whether you lost the approval of others OR... if you lost you’re the approval of God... which would you choose?

 

Now, that may sound kind of harsh, but listen to these words of Jesus: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33

 

The Apostle John writes in 1 John 2:15: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

 

That’s what it means to live a life of holiness and godliness.

To be so much in love with God that it doesn’t matter what others think. You are going to set yourself apart for him!!!

So, 1st – to prepare yourself for Heaven... you need to set yourself apart from world and follow God.

2ndly, Peter tells us in II Peter 3:13-14

“according to God’s promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.”

 

We should STRIVE (or be diligent) to be found without spot or blemish!! Holiness and godliness speaks about WHO we’re committed to. We set ourselves apart to follow God.

BUT striving to be without spot or blemish is all about HOW we should behave as someone who follows God.

 

The spots and blemishes are the sins we commit. The things we SAY, DO, and THINK. We’re all going to mess up once in a while but we should never accept our sins as normal.

 

ILLUS: It’s like going out to eat somewhere. You’re wearing your Sunday best. Your shirt or blouse is white and (horrors) you spill something on your best white shirt/blouse. Have you ever done that?

What’s your first reaction? You’re angry... you’re upset.

This is your Sunday best white shirt/blouse and now it is stained. The rest of the garment may still be pure and white but the stain stands out and it makes you feel awkward. It embarrasses you!!

So what do you do? Well, when you get home, you spray that stain with a stain remover and you wash it!

The stain is not normal. You don’t like it.

You don’t want it, and so you strive to remove that spot or blemish.

 

That’s the difference between those who are committed to Jesus and those who aren’t. Those who AREN’T committed to Jesus tend to ignore the spots and blemish of their lives.

 

They’re kind of like the guy you’ve eaten with who is wearing a shirt that you can tell what he’s eaten over the past few weeks by the stains that are still on his shirt.

He doesn’t care! He doesn’t even try to hide his stains.

 

But those who love Jesus aren’t satisfied with just allowing the lives to permanently be part of their lives. They refuse to make excuses, they refuse to try and hide the sin.

 

When they sin they want the spot removed from their souls.

But what do we use for a “stain remover.”

Well, if you don’t belong to Christ, the first step is become a Christian – believe in Christ, repent of your sins, confess Jesus as God’s Only Son, and be buried in the waters of baptism rising up to become a new creation.

 

But if you’re already a Christian and you’ve sinned?

Well, you turn to I John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God calls on us to CONFESS our sins, and He will be faithful to remove them for us.

 

ILLUS: Confession is what God has always asked His people to do - but it has always seemed to be the hardest thing He’s asked.

Do you remember the story of Adam and Eve? They ate of the fruit God commanded them not to eat... and then God comes for a visit. Do you remember what Adam and Eve did? They hid!

God asked “Adam where are you?” And do remember what Adam replied? “I was hiding because I was naked.”

That didn’t turn out to well for Adam and Eve.

 

When Cain killed his brother Abel God comes along and asks him “Where is your brother Abel?”

But Cain hides behind his comment “Am I my brother’s keeper.” That didn’t turn out to well for him either.

All God asks is that we “fess up” and admit we’ve fallen short... then He removes the stain and we start all over again with a new “shirt.”

 

So 1st – (in order to prepare ourselves for our trip to Heaven) we need to set ourselves apart from this world to follow God. And 2nd – we strive to remove the stains of sin from our lives.

 

Lastly, Peter warns us to be careful not to lose our “STABILITY.” “There are some things in (Paul’s writings) that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable TWIST TO THEIR OWN DESTRUCTION, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of LAWLESS people and lose your own stability.” II Peter 3:16-17

 

You would think that if somebody quotes the Bible you could trust them. But that’s not always true. Peter WARNS us here that there are people out there who will warp and twist the Bible so it says what THEY want it to say.

Sometimes these folks have Ph.D.s and are respected scholars.

 

You see, there are very religious people out there who are LAWLESS. When the Bible disagrees with them, they warp and twist it. But notice what Peter says about them: They “twist (the Bible) to their own destruction.”

 

Now, that’s scary. These folks (and the people who listen to them) aren’t gonna BE READY when Jesus comes back. And if they ain’t ready – they ain’t going.

 

Why would God be so angry with these people?

Because it’s ONLY in the Bible that we learn about righteousness. And about God’s will for our lives. And about Jesus and WHO He is and WHAT He’s done for us.

When these folks undermine God’s Word they work at weakening our faith and our confidence.

Don’t let them do that! Because you don’t want to go where they’re gonna go.

 

CLOSE: The story is told of a man who rushed railroad train station one morning and, almost breathlessly, asked the ticket agent: "When does the 8:01 train leave?"

"At 8:01," was the answer.

"Well," the man replied, "it is 7:59 by my watch,

7:57 by the town clock,

and 8:04 by the station clock. Which am I to go by?"

 

"You can go by any clock you wish, but you cannot go by the 8:01 train – it’s already left.”

 

Be ready! Because if you’re not ready, you’re not going. That’s why the Bible stresses the immediacy of making your decision to follow Christ. As it says in II Corinthians 6:2: "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation"

 

INVITATION

 

Based on a sermon given

by Jeff Strite

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