Today Pastor Choi talks about the promise of Parousia (Jesus’ Second Coming). He encourages the congregation to carefully examine Peter’s explanation of the delay of Parousia threefold: The Lord is faithful to keep His promise. The Lord is patient to give a chance to everyone to come to repentance. The Lord expects us to stay alert in prayer spotless and blameless while we await Jesus’ Second Coming.
Following is a summary of the sermon:
Jesus’ Second Coming (Parousia)
2 Peter 3:1-15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Purpose of This Letter
3 This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
The Coming Day of the Lord
3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
A New Heaven and Earth
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation;
- Imaginary Tour to the 1st Century in Jerusalem around A.D. 30.
- We see Jesus and His disciples in Jerusalem at God’s Temple. While the disciples admired and marveled at the beauty and magnitude of the Temple, Jesus prophesied that it would be utterly destroyed and no stone would be left on another (Matthew 24:1). About 40 years later, His prophecy came true and a total destruction of Jerusalem took place (the fall of Jerusalem, A.D. 70). Shortly before the fall, when Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman army, a group of believers really believed that was the end of the world. Taking the Lord’s instruction to flee to the mountains in the wilderness (Matthew 24:16– then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains) they abandoned Jerusalem and went into the wilderness in preparation of the coming of the Lord. For this very act, they were accused and persecuted by the fellow Jews as “traitors” in the years to come.
- Consider this: why do you think the believers fled to the mountains in the wilderness? Because that’s what the 1st century Church really believed— the imminent return of the Lord—the Parousia (v. 4), also known as the Second Advent. The Second Coming of the Lord. Well, Christ didn’t return immediately and time went on.
- After the 1st generation of believers passed away without seeing Christ’s coming, a question arose among the next generation concerning the unfulfilled expectation of the Parousia: What happened to the promise of the Lord’s second coming?
- In his second letter, today’s text, Peter addresses that very issue to the faith community.Contents
- He begins the letter with a gentle reminder: I want to stir up in you the wholesome thinking concerning the promise of the Parousia (v. 1). He sets the tone here by reminding them of three things crucial to understand the Parousia: the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets, the commandments of the Lord Jesus, and the teachings of the apostles (v. 2). All of them prophesied, all of them confirmed the promise, and all of them still do in the 21st century through the written Word of God. Whenever we talk about Jesus’ Second Coming, we must consider them all (not one or two, but all three) in the Bible. Today, we consider Peter’s explanation.
- Today’s text can be summed up in three questions:
- Q1: Where is the promise of Parousia (the return of the Messiah)?
- Q2: Is the Lord slacking off concerning His promise?
- Q3: What manner of persons ought we to be while we await His coming?
- The first question was raised by the mockers; the second question was raised by the believers; and the third by Peter himself.Q1: Where is the promise of Parousia?
- Some scoffers raised the question, “Where is the promise of the Parousia? Everything remains the same just as it was from the creation of the world.” There’s no evidence of God’s judgment in the world, not from the creation of the world until now, therefore, they argue, don’t wait for Parousia. It is not happening.
- Peter’s answer: Pay attention to the Scripture and believe in His promise of Parousia! Yes, the Lord indeed created the heavens and the earth and everything in them out of water and by water (v. 5). However, not everything remains the same. Don’t forget, he argues, when evil becomes too powerful among people, God judges the world. For instance, in Noah’s time God judged the world with water. In due time, God will bring another judgment for the same reason, for the same world, and for the second time, this time with fire. The heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up(v. 10). On the Day of Judgment, God will avenge wrongs and bring perdition to the ungodly (v. 7). He will bring His full reign to earth with peace and justice for all. Therefore, Peter exhorts the audience, trust in God’s faithfulness in keeping His promise of Parousia.Q2: Is the Lord slacking off His coming?
- People of God asked the same question back then: Is the Lord slacking off His coming?
- Peter’s answer: No, the Lord will return precisely at the time when He means to. He is never late and never early. He is precisely on time. His Parousia may seem delayed to human eyes, but the Lord is not slow in keeping His promise.
- Actually, Peter asks us to remember two things: the Lord’s concept of time and the Lord’s patience. First, the Lord’s understanding of time is quite different from that of humans: with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day (v. 8).—E.g. The distance between the Sun and the Earth is 150 million kilometers (93 million miles). If you travel at the speed of space shuttle to stay in orbit, which is 17,500 miles/hour (approx. 5 miles/sec), then it will take 19 million seconds (that is, 221 days) to get there. If you travel at the speed of light (300, 000 km/sec), then it would take 500 seconds to get there (that is, 8 minutes and 20 seconds). 221 days vs. 8 minutes. Arriving at the Sun, we might say, “221 days passed!” God might say, “Only 8 minutes passed.” Regarding the Parousia, we might say, “2000 years!” God might say, “Only a couple of days.” Peter’s point here is this: Go with God’s time, not yours. After all, He is the One, not we, who determines when it’s going to be.
- Second, Peter explains the reason why the Lord takes time in His second coming. God wants no one to perish. Therefore, He takes time so that He would give everyone a chance to hear the gospel and repent (v. 9). E.g. Billions still need to hear the gospel message today. Peter’s saying here is this: Call it God’s patience toward humanity, not slowness about His promise.Q3: What manner of persons ought we to be?
- In the 21st century, God’s people are still waiting for the Parousia of the Lord. We need to ask the same question as Peter, “What kind of God’s people ought we to be? How shall we live daily?” Peter answers as follows:
- First, be ready for His coming (Matthew 24:36-44), because the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. If you know what time the thief would break in, you would be ready even at night, right? You wouldn’t be in bed sound asleep. Likewise, the Lord commands us to stay awake and be alert for the Day of the Lord, because we don’t know the day or hour. By the way, in the Scripture, staying awake never means physically staying up. It always means to pray. If you don’t pray, you are spiritually asleep. If you pray, you are spiritually awake. The Lord urges us to be on the alert, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will (Matthew 24:44).
- Next, be diligent (make every effort, ensure) to be found in Jesus in peace, without spot, and blameless (v. 14). In other words, pursue peace, holiness, and godliness with God and in your life (v. 11). Why? By doing this, we prepare ourselves for the wedding banquet in Heaven. Righteousness and holiness in life is like a proper wedding clothes to wear at the wedding of Church and Christ (Matthew 22:12). By doing this, we are also looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God (v. 12). If you want to hasten the Day of the Lord, pursue a lifestyle of “without spot,” and “blameless.” Nothing impure/unclean will be in the presence of God. No one will see God without holiness (Hebrews 12:14). Only those with pure heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). Imitate Christ in every manner—words and actions.
- Thirdly, consider the Lord’s patience with the Parousia as the salvation opportunities for you and for many (v. 15). Let us make the most of the time given us to reach out to the unsaved, especially our own family members. I am sure you have a heart for your loved ones. I am sure you pray for the salvation of your families and share the gospel with them. Don’t give up on them. They would be forever grateful for your witness and prayers. E.g. George Mueller prayed for the salvation of friends over 50 years. All of them were saved. The last one was saved shortly after his death.
- Finally, love fervently (1 Peter 4:8) because love covers a multitude of sins.Conclusion
- We are still waiting for Parousia—Christ’s return. Remember He will come this time not as the Savior but as the Judge to bring the full reign of God to this world (Hebrews 9:28). We shouldn’t be afraid of His coming. We should welcome and look for it with all our hearts, because He will restore peace and justice for all forever. He will wipe every tear from our eyes. No more death, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4).
- Believe in God’s promise. Understand His patience. Hasten the Parousia by righteous living and fervent love.