Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4th - The Coming of the Son of Man

Prayer Requests
Builders for Christ
Cauble Witnessing
Swift Cantrel Witnessing
VBS Preparation
Mark's broken finger
Kyle's friend Jamie
James open-air preaching at the Braves Game
Lucas in Indonesia

Text – Topical (2 Peter 3:1-15, Acts 1:1-11)

For a number of reasons I want to give you more application this week than just a lesson, although usually the way I give applications is through a lesson, so this might just end up being a more now-driven lesson than the others which are building a foundation for the rest of your life.

I want to first show you a somewhat funny (if it weren’t so convicting) event in the Bible. Real quick, before we get there, I want to fix my stupid archer analogy from last week. It did turn into a pretty good illustration on the other side though, I came up with that analogy in the shower before church last week, and for a split second I thought, “I wonder if the Holy Spirit gave me that?” But then I remembered Peter’s lesson in chapter 1 about paying attention to the Bible because that’s how God the Spirit speaks, and so I didn’t blame my lame analogy on him, fortunately.

I had a friend, who no longer likes me at all, who went all goofy really quick and started reading poetry that God “gave him.” My answer was; first of all, God doesn’t speak outside of his Bible, second of all, if he did then we should staple your poem to the end of Revelation, and third of all, this poem is both grammatically and theologically horrendous. So to blame the Holy Spirit for such bad poetry or analogies is very dangerous and ought not to be done.

But I think I’ve fixed my analogy! If it gives glory to God then I thank him for giving me this itty bitty brain and his awesome book, especially of Second Peter. Peter wants us to learn four big things from this letter, first to know we have faith, second that the Bible is God’s plenary revelation to us, third that false teachers abound, and fourth that Christ will win and we will partake in his victory. So enter archer-dude; if Peter just wanted to tell us those four things he’d just shoot a straight shot into the target, but he gives it to us in a memorable way, so picture this arcing shot. We have four major things, we’ve got our bow-and-arrow, which represents our faith, without faith in our Resurrected Redeemer we’ll never hit our target. Second is our trajectory and velocity, which we learn from the Bible, if we shoot backwards we’ll never hit our target, we’ve gotta be dead on. Third is our stabilization system, the fletching which keeps the arrow from wobbling under varying air conditions. Fourth is the surety of a bulls-eye when Christ returns and saves his saints.

So knowing Christ is going to win what should we do? Sit back and watch the victory? No, let’s check it out. Which is Christ’s last command before he ascended? I bet you miss it, because 99% of the church misses this point, and catching it is vitally important.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

But where was that command given? Look at verse 16:

Matthew 28:16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

This command was given in Galilee, where did Christ ascend from? The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem; so we’ve got a time disparity goin’ on here that Christ gives another, later, command.

Acts 1:1-5 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

He told them to stay in Jerusalem and this happened, according to Luke 24, right before he ascended, so this was his last command, to stay until they received the Holy Spirit. That would happen at Pentecost in ten days.

How could they have been disobedient to this command? They could have run off preaching and teaching and forgot to wait for the Holy Spirit. There are no lack of false teachers who do just that, Jehovah’s Witnesses come to mind most readily that they are totally about going into all the world and preaching their false gospel, when they’ve never noticed or even cared that the Person of the Holy Spirit is utterly missing from their ministry. Others are those like Mother Teresa and her ilk who went to India to be nice to people and condemn them to Hell through failing to preach the gospel. (

But on the other end of the spectrum are the people who sit around and don’t do anything, even if they believe the right thing, which the church at Jerusalem was so good at doing.

Acts 1:6-11 So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."

It doesn’t give us the time frame, but I don’t expect it was very long from when Jesus was taken from view and the angel asked them why they were standing there gazing into Heaven. His question is the equivalent of, “Didn’t he give you a direct command? Why then are you standing here failing to do what he said?” Afterwards they went into Jerusalem, received the Holy Spirit, and sat around some more, until God sent a great persecution on Jerusalem which scattered them out into the nations.

But here is the modern church, we’re sitting here gazing into Heaven looking for Christ when we’ve got a job to do which we are, for the most part, failing to do. We’re not going to miss him when he returns.

Zechariah 14:3-4 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.

He’s not going to be born in a stable the next time he comes, we’re not going to overlook him or miss him, or have to ask him like John the Baptist did, “Are you the Messiah, or do we seek another?” Jesus gave us explicit warning as to listening to “christs” who don’t come in flaming fire:

Matthew 24:5, 23-27 For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray… Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

So then, here is our application, we need to put his Great Commission into action, making disciples and teaching them to obey Christ’s commands, and we have this wonderful promise, that although God the Son has ascended to Heaven, God the Spirit is with us to the end of the age.

So how do we do this? First of all, we need to open our mouths, for faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of Christ. You’ve all heard the unchristian adage, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words,” well it’s much more biblical to say it, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use an amplifier,” because the gospel spreads through preaching, and who do we preach it to? To ourselves? We need to preach it to unbelievers, and in doing so we have to expect that they will be offended. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is in Mark 6,

Mark 6:3 And they took offense at him.

We need to remember that they crucified Christ for being Christlike, we must go into spiritual warfare expecting this gospel to anger many and cause them to manifest their hatred of the Living God.

Luke 7:23 Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.

I think I’ve shown most of you the video of Kirk Cameron witnessing to the gang members…if I haven’t then I’ve loaded it on the webpage, but just a real quick summary is Kirk walks up to a group of five or six guys, several of which are quite inebriated, he witnesses to them and afterwards one of them gives him a hug.

Two or three years later, they run into one of the guys, let’s watch the follow-up video. (Reader, this video is not yet on youtube revealing that this man got saved, if you’d like to watch it and live close to me, contact me and I will loan you the video) That is a radical change and one of the reasons we go out and preach Christ’s gospel, this guy looked impossible to reach, yet Christ reached him anyways. And we remember that our job is not to make converts, ours is to preach this gospel, and Christ will build his church. Remember from last week that we are hastening the day, and we do so by preaching the gospel.

I want you to think on the two responses that Christ’s return will garner, first from the believer,

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

We will LOVE his appearing, we will be glad that Christ has returned to call his church home, that he is about to stamp wickedness out from the earth, that our days of sinning have ended, and that every saint has come to repentance.

But look at it from the other side,

Revelation 6:12-17 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

Elsewhere it tells us that their hearts will fail them for fear, some will be so terrified that they die where they stand. For this reason we must not only deliver a message of a fulfilled life or a great eternity in Heaven, but we must preach the whole counsel of God, warning people to flee from the wrath to come, imploring them to flee to the Christ who is mighty and still willing to save, snatching them in pity from the flames, hating even their garments stained by their sin, teaching them that on that final day they will face their Creator as either an enemy or as a judge, and that their sins will cease and they will either be resurrected to life eternal or torture forevermore.

In doing this we present a high and holy God who judges, but who is also loving, who sent his Son to absorb his just wrath so that we may be adopted into his family. In everything our effort is to make him known so that he receives the glory as a gracious God for saving many, and he receives the glory as a just God for punishing many, for in everything he will receive the glory.

Acts 17:30-31 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.

A failure to repent and believe will be just two more sins which will be added to the books of their consciences.

So how do we do it? (Latter part of class dedicated to discussion and “Way of the Master” style evangelism