In Due Time
Do you remember Jesus’ promise to those that believe? In due time, Christ will return to receive those who have believed. However, what should we be doing while we wait for His return?
Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 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.”
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. – 2 Peter 3:3-4, 9 NKJV
Time is a funny thing
Have you ever heard the saying, “time is a funny and fickle thing”? Time is something that we don’t quite understand but we believe we know everything there is to know about it. The funny thing about time is how often it fluctuates in our life. One minute you’re a baby, and the next minute you’re married with babies of your own. One minute you’re crawling, and the next minute it’s a struggle just to get out of the bed and walk around. One minute you feel like you have all the time in the world, and in the next minute, you realized that you wasted all of that time. There are times when it seems like it takes forever for one minute to go by, and then there are other times when it seems like one minute passes by in milliseconds.
I want to focus on time in today’s message. Time is a valuable commodity. How do you choose to value your time is of great importance because nobody wants to feel like their time has been wasted. Spiritually speaking, I want to ask you, are you wasting your time?
With that in mind, I would like to share verse 9 once again but I’m going to translate this verse for a better understanding:
The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
Time is a funny thing. Many people bought their easter suits and dresses and were sitting in the church building last Sunday all because time dictated that it was Easter Sunday by our calendar. Yet, there were many in the orthodox church who are celebrating Easter this Sunday because Orthodox Easter, according to their calendar, falls on this Sunday. Again, I say to you, that time is a funny thing.
Many of those same people who bought their Easter suits and dresses, and attended a church worship service last Sunday, did not make it back out to the church building this Sunday because time on this Sunday was not significant enough for them to be in church. There are many who are not in church today because they had to work or something else kept them from worship today. However, there are many whose faith did not lead them to worship this morning because time dictates whether one Sunday is more significant than another Sunday.
You may be asking, “Preacher, where are you going with this? What is the point and purpose?” The point and purpose: there is a promise that was made by Christ (God in the flesh), that Christ would return (John 14:3) to receive those who have genuinely believed in Him. This promise is essentially at the base of many believers faith in the Lord. If you genuinelly believe in the Lord, you believe in His Son (Christ), that He was crucified, and that He rose from the grave on the third day. If you genuinely believe in the Lord, you also believe that Christ will return to receive you, and you will then be with the Lord for all eternity. However, I tell you today, this promise, over time, has become a fleeting promise in the eyes of mankind.
In the eyes of mankind, if something doesn’t happen immediately, it will never happen. Patience is not something that comes to us instinctually. No, we are used to being able to search for something and Google or Alexa giving us an answer or a means to an answer right away. Again, we don’t want to feel like we’re wasting our time. We don’t give our relationships time to develop, no, we want that man/woman to be ready to marry us at day 1! Yet, they say that the best things seem to come over time.
Faith requires endurance and endurance is long-suffering. Endurance: how long one can suffer something that is difficult. I have often wondered, why didn’t the Lord call the Church home when Christ completed His task. I realized that heaven would certainly be filled with the Old Testament saints, but that crowd of believers would not be representative of the whole world. Last week, I preached that victory belongs to all of us who have believed; this includes both Jews and Gentiles. We live in a world after the resurrection of Christ and we are now waiting for His return – some say these are the “Last Days”. During this period, many may begin to wonder, “what do we do now”?
I often think about the apostles on that Sabbath after Jesus had been crucified on the cross. There is a good chance that many of them were thinking, “what do we do now?” After Christ was buried, we know that the apostles gathered back together, and we can imagine they were probably in a melancholy mood. Mary Magdalene then came running to them on the first day of the week exlaiming how she had seen Jesus. Soon the disciples would see the risen Savior and suddenly their sadness and disappointment from the day prior is now happiness and joy. Still, the apostles must have been wondering, “what do we do now?”
In John 21, we catch up with the apostles who are out at the sea fishing because Peter wanted to go fishing. The apostles were out at sea for a whole night and did not catch one fish. The next morning, a man on the seashore shouted to them to try fishing on the other side of the boat. After the apostles tried fishing from the otherside of the boat, they ended up catching over a hundred fish. Who was the man on the shore? Jesus. When I read John 21, I am often reminded of how Christ told both Peter and Andrew that He would make them fishers of men (Matthew 4:18-19).
During the time after the grave and the ascension, and between the return of Christ, I believe an understanding is giving to the apostles and therefore us. In John 21, you will see that Jesus tells Peter to “feed His sheep”. They were to continue in being fishermen, but they were to be fishers of men – casting the net of the gospel of Christ.
What’s next for today’s Christian?
We are living in the church age – the stage of “in due time”. These are the last days is what people will say, but I tell you that it has been the last days since Christ ascended. Time is a funny thing, because a man that lived well before we was ever conceived, gave thought towards the “last days”. Peter said:
Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 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.
2 Peter 3:3-4 NKJV
Scoffers: mockers. These mockers will mock the time of the wait. Has anyone ever mocked you for waiting on the Lord? Have you ever heard anybody say, “they (believers) have been waiting over 2,000 years for Christ to return and He has not returned yet”? What are the intentions of those that mock the Lord in such a manner?
I believe the intentions are quite clear: they are full in mocking the Lord trying to persuade you to “come to your senses” about the God you “cannot see”. I find that many people who think along these lines believe that you, the believer, do not fully “enjoy” life. In all of their wisdom, they want you to have a good time living and to stop being “miserable”.
How would they have you to act? They would love for you to act like school children do when they are left with a substitute teacher – wild and rambunctious. They would love for you, the believer, to behave in the manner of TV teenagers when they get the house to themselves for a couple of days – party and lose control.
However, Peter says to us:
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise; but is longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
If the Lord is not slack (slow/lazy) concerning His promise, should we who represent the Lord be slack concerning His promise? Now is not the time for us, as genuine believers in Christ, to grow lazy on the promise of Christ – the Promise that He is coming again! I don’t hear preaching or teaching of Christ’s return much anymore and I don’t know why.
Here is what I do hear and see: there is a growing hatred that seems to be filling the world today. Hatred has a way of bringing out more hatred. We cannot let such hatred consume us and control us. Many feel that a victory can be won over hatred if we combat hatred with more hatred.
Solomon said (Ecclesiastes 3:1), “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” He would go on to say (Ecclesiastes 3:8) there’s “a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Sadly, I feel that many so-called believers are now wasting time being filled with anger and hate; they move in such anger and hate getting nothing accomplished. Our time as believers, as ambassadors of Christ, should be spent living our lives as Christ lived His – especially in those final moments on the cross.
On the cross, let’s remember that Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of those that were responsible for Him being on the cross and those that stood their scoffing and mocking Him. We, those who have professed their faith, spend so much time filled with anger over the color of someone’s skin – that’s not Christ like. If Jesus could pray for the forgiveness of those who shouted for Him to be crucified, why can we not show the same kind of love towards those who scoff and mock us? We are not filled with the same spirit as they are so let us not turn and act as they do!
We are living during a very important time in this world. You may have seen me say this before, but we are living in a time where the genuine believers in the way of the Lord is being revealed to the world. I would say to you that we live in a time where the return of Christ is near and we as genuine believers should be leading people to repent and turn back to the Lord! The apostles went on to preach repentance, and I tell you that time for preaching such has not come to an end! The Church age began with these shouts of repentance and they should continue in these shouts. Jesus is going to return! What will you be doing when Jesus comes?
In due time, I am going to get my blessing! In due time, you are going to get your blessing! In due time, all of us who have genuinely believed in the world will be called to meet our Saviour in the sky. Do not get lazy in your faith because the wait seems “long”. This time is nothing compared to the time of eternity, and that time is certainly drawing nearer to us. Let us act accordingly until Christ comes to receive us and take us to that time.