Chardon church of Christ

Sermons from the Chardon church of Christ

Slower Than Christmas

Posted on December 26th, 2021

II Peter 3:8-9

INTRO: Good morning. It is good to have all of you in attendance today, and I trust we are enjoying the holidays. It is more difficult these days with the pandemic for folks to get together. We often need to adjust our approach to protect the most vulnerable in our families.

Mark has told us of Moses and his service to God in the past lessons. One of the parts of the scripture I could relate to was when Moses said he was “slow of speech”. Whether that was because Moses stuttered or whether it was because it took him a bit longer then a younger person to get his words out, we are not told.

I recall a story from many years back, probably in the 1980’s, when there was a family gathering mid year, about Independence Day I believe. Anyway several of the children along with their spouses and children gathered at the grandparents to celebrate. At some point after lunch grandma was trying to gather everyone up to go to the festival and then the fireworks that evening. In her frustration, she said, “Let's go. You all are slower than Christmas”. I had never heard that one before. I’m sure that many of us have heard “slower than molasses”. My dad used to say I was “slower than molasses in January”.

Up until that point of the story, I had never heard the term “slower than Christmas”. You see this grandma was a sharp cookie and she knew that the grandkids would not relate to something they had not experienced like “slower than molasses in January.” However Christmas was a different matter and as youngsters they could relate. I recall that as a kid, it was true that Christmas took forever to arrive. As it got near we would count down the days. The days would take so long. It was such an exciting time and I think a lot of that excitement was because we knew what was going to happen.

Okay, so we didn't know every detail. We didn't know what the gifts were. We may not have known what all the food would be, but we knew it was going to be a great day of gifts, a great day of family and a great day of food and more gifts and more food.

It was going to be a great day. We knew that it was coming on December 25, and the anticipation would build as each day got closer and closer.

Today is December 26th and Christmas 2021 is passed. I hope you had a wonderful time. Today though, I want to talk about another day, another great day that is coming.

I would argue that this is probably the most anticipated, talked about, predicted, prophesied, debated, doubted, scoffed at, laughed at, and perhaps the most feared day in the history of mankind. As you can probably guess, that would be the Judgment day, the second Coming of Christ.

It's called many times in scripture, the day of the Lord. Yes, the day of the Lord has been, and is slower than Christmas in so many ways, but while it is looked forward to, anticipated, and longed for, there is reason to thank God it is slow.

I. Our scripture for today is found in 2 Peter 3:8-9 but first I want to back up a little bit and go to the beginning of the chapter. 2 Peter 3:1-7 - “1. Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2. that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3. knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4. and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.'' 5. For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6. by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7. But the heavens and the earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”[NKJV]

A. Now lets go to verse eight of Second Peter, chapter three – “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” That is what we consider this morning, God’s longsuffering, God's patience. Every day that we wake up is just another example of God's patience.

1. When we think about this, that passage was written roughly 30 years or so after Christ had gone back into heaven and made the promise to return. Only 30 years later there are many people anxious for that day, and also there were many people scoffing and doubting, disbelieving about that day.
2. Here we are, some 2000 years later and God's patience is still intact. God's patience still affords us more time to do things right. We can see His patience all throughout the Scripture. Psalm 145:8-9 says – “8. The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. 9. The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.” You see God's patience, His long suffering if you will, affords us more time, another day, to do more for Him.

B. This morning I want to look at three things that I think are the most important for us to turn our attention to in this great time of God's patience. Number one is to be reconciled to God. Number two is to do good works, and number three is to persuade others to obey the Gospel.

II. The first priority, as we await the day of the Lord is to be reconciled to God.

A. Let us look at Saul as an example when Stephen was stoned. We read in Acts 8:1-3 – “1. Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.”

1. Saul, even though he thought he was doing what was right, was working against God. As his story continues, we know he's headed to Damascus and he's blinded on the road, and he heard a voice say, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It was the voice of Jesus.
2. Next a man named Ananias was sent to find Saul. Ananias immediately responded in Acts 9:13-19 – “13. Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14. "And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.'' 15. But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16. "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake.'' 17. And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'' 18. Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. 19. And when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus”.
3. Saul was working against God and His Kingdom, and he needed to be reconciled to God. Jesus had plans for Saul to be an instrument. We know that Paul would go on to be used as that instrument, to reach the Gentiles, to reach Jews, to reach many people, and to reach us through letters that he wrote which have been preserved.

B. No matter what life you are living, God's patience is giving us time to obey the gospel and to be reconciled to Him, to believe, repent, to confess, and to have our sins washed away in baptism.

1. Once we've been added to God's family, we continue to strive to get our lives right... to leave sin behind. Every day that God gives us is another day to do better.
2. Whatever our struggle is, God is patient. You may not be like Paul working deliberately against the Kingdom, but we all have struggles. We all have something that we're working on—and praise God that He gives us another day to try to get it right.
3. Philippians 3:12-14 reads; “12. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Whatever is behind us, whatever we've done, we need to continue to move forward. God's patience has given us more time to do that each and every day.

III. The second thing that I want to point out this morning is that we can spend our time doing good works. Turn with me if you will to Ephesians 2:8-10 – “8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9. not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Good works. That's what we are created for in Christ Jesus. We are His workmanship and we are His hands. God worked in us to create these opportunities and for us to fulfill these good works.

A. Each and every day is another day to do that. When there's good being done, we, as God’s people, the Church, should be doing it. I know that this congregation engages in doing good works for the community here and in communities far away. These are the things that the Church should be known for.

1. Titus 3:8 says; “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”
2. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 says; “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,” God's love should motivate and inspire us to do good works.
3. Matthew 5:14-16 says; “14. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15. "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
4. We want our good works to have a positive influence on others, but there is a warning that we must heed. In Matthew 23:5 Jesus warned against doing works to be seen of men. Our good works need to be seen by others so they can be influenced for good, but we must not do good works for the purpose of our own glory. Let your light shine, don’t shine your light.
5. You see, the whole purpose of good works is not for us, and it's not even just to do the good thing for the people we're doing it for. The whole purpose of good works is to show people the goodness of God and draw them closer to a saving relationship with Him that they may see your good works and give the glory to God.

B. How great is God's patience to that end, I can only imagine how many days in my life I've wasted doing nothing good for God. Yet God still says, here's another day, try again. Another day, go on, continue. Oh, you didn't do it yet? Here's another day. Try again... Praise God for His patience. There are good works to be done—many good works. We just need to remember to direct all glory and praise to God.

IV. That brings me to the final thing that I want to talk about this morning. In this time of God's patience, once we've been reconciled to Him and we spend our time and effort doing good works to glorify him, there's one more urgent matter that we need to tend to, and that is to persuade others to obey the Gospel.

A. Every day that isn't judgment day, every day it isn't the day of the Lord, every day that the clouds haven't opened up and we have yet to hear the trumpet, is another day for somebody to fall in love with Jesus.

1. It's another day for somebody to find the truth in God's word...a day for somebody to give their life to Christ...a day for somebody to submit to God's will, to be reconciled to God, to be adopted into God's family.
2. It's another day to be added to His Kingdom. It’s another day for someone to have their sins washed away, another day for someone to return to the faith that they once knew.

B. Every day that isn't judgment day is another day for somebody to be saved. Who is it? Who is it that needs another day?

1. Well, it was me at some point. I needed another day and there are likely others here who need one as well. We all needed another day in order to come to Christ.
2. This morning, I don't know who it is. It might be your mom. It might be your dad or your sister or your brother, your cousin, your niece, your nephew, your coworker.
3. It might be your boss. It might be your best friend. It might be your girlfriend or your boyfriend, your husband or your wife. It could be your barber, your beautician or your bus driver.
4. It could be your teacher, your student, maybe your doctor, your mechanic, your waitress, your waiter, or the cashier at the checkout.
5. Whoever it is, every day is another day where God can use us to make a difference in somebody's life.

C. Paul was preaching about Jesus before Festus in Acts 26:24 – starting in verse 24. It says, and he was saying these things in his defense, “24. ... Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!'' 25. But he said, "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 26. "For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. 27. "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.'' 28. Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian.'' 29. And Paul said, "I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.''”
D. Paul took every opportunity to try to persuade someone to obey the gospel. I think that as God affords us more time, as He keeps bringing the sun up, it's another chance for us to reach somebody and share the good news with them and persuade them to be part of God's family.

In closing, I suggest that we need to make the most of this time that God has given us before that great and glorious day when Christ returns.

It will also be a very sad and a very somber day when those who God sacrificed for, sent his son for, and has waited patiently so long for, are going to have to give an account of why they chose not to accept the free gift of Salvation.

I don't know about you, but the older I get, the faster time seems to go. When I was a child Christmas was super slow and now it seems like it's here, just like that.

Perhaps you too have on your phone, one of those photo apps. One which does a one year ago today reminder or two years ago, or five years ago. I look at these pictures. I think wow, that was a year ago, that was five years ago. I'm wearing the same clothes. It was five years ago. Time goes like that. It goes fast.

For me Christmas isn't so slow anymore. What I wanted to bring to you this morning in the lesson is kind of in the spirit of this last scripture I'm going to read, which is Hebrews 10:24-25 - “24. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25. not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

We look at this scripture a lot, as the one that tells us to meet regularly and not miss worship services.

That's what we should think about this morning as we see the day approaching. We don't know when, we don't know how much longer it will be. But we see that day approaching... and it's getting closer. It's closer now than it was before. Let's make the most of this time that God has given us. Let's not waste another day of His great patience, of His long suffering.

Be reconciled to God.

Do good works.

Persuade others to obey the gospel.

Perhaps some of you attending may need to respond to the Gospel. If you do need to respond to that, please don't hesitate.

Please do not hesitate. If you are ready to have your sins washed away in baptism, I implore you today is that day. For there is no better day than today.

God has been waiting nearly 2000 years for some people to make that decision. So please do not hesitate.

We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

If anybody needs to respond, either to dedicate themselves to Christ and be buried with Him in baptism, or to ask for prayers on their behalf, won’t you come forward as we stand and sing our Invitational song.
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Reference Sermon: KC Branson

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