The late John Clark, a powerful gospel preacher of the 20th century, used to tell a story about a Preacher waxing eloquent to a packed house about the second coming of Christ.
“I am coming soon,” he paraphrased Jesus’ promise.
With greater emphasis, he repeated, “I am coming soon.”
Finally, as he stood on the edge of the stage, with fevered pitched emotion, he shouted, “I am coming soon.”
At that point he lost his balance and landed in the lap of a sister in the first row. Obviously embarrassed, the Preacher quickly got up and profusely apologized.
The sister said, “That ok. You warned me three times you were coming. I should have been ready.”
The Bible repeated warns of Christ’s coming. Yet many people either do not believe it, or do not consider it very seriously. Most people are not ready.
In one of the great texts of the Bible, the apostle Peter reminds us of Jesus’ return with these stirring words:
“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. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:9-10)
In the context, apparently some in Peter’s day scoffed at the idea of Christ’s return. They charged that nothing has changed and that the promise of Christ coming was not true. Peter said they were “willfully ignorant,” both of past events and future prophecies. This passage affirms several important facts.
(1) God’s promises are reliable. He keeps his Word. If God says, it will happen, it will happen. It is impossible for God to lie.
(2) Don’t confuse God’s patience with slackness, slowness or forgetfulness. The fact the Christ hasn’t returned does not negatively reflect on God promise, but it points to His longsuffering nature. He is patient. Persevering. And forbearing.
(3) God is giving you time to repent. The fact that Christ has not returned is a good thing. Especially for the sinner. The unbeliever. And the unfaithful. God doesn’t desire for anyone to be lost. He is providing you more time to repent.
(4) The Day of the Lord will come. The first time Jesus came to earth, he came as our sacrificial savior. When he returns the second time it will be to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:30-31). It will happen.
(5) Christ’s coming will be unexpected. “Like a thief in the night.” Without warning. Or advance notice. When we least expect, the Lord will return.
(6) When Christ comes, the world will end. The cosmos as we know it will be consumed. Earth life will cease. The word melt means “to disintegrate, to be dissolved.” There will be no more opportunities to obey the Gospel. The faithful will await God’s “new heaven and earth.”
These verses ought to challenge us to a sober reflection regarding our lives and serious response to conduct our lives with holiness and godliness.
“There’s a great day coming! Are you ready for that day to come?”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman