The Day of Eternity

 

The Day of Eternity
II Peter 3:14-18
 
There is a little different twist on the conclusion of Peter's words, which is not apparent in the English text here. It says in verse 18, "To him be glory both now," and then the text literally says, "And unto the day of eternity." "To him be glory now and unto the day of eternity."
 
You know that we have been talking about a series of days in this chapter. In this chapter he talks a little bit about our days of opportunity, the fact that the Lord Jesus has delayed His coming in order to give people an opportunity in this day to be saved.
 
In the seventh verse he talks about the Day of Judgment. After the day of opportunity, there is going to be the Day of Judgment.
 
In verse 10 he talks about the day of the Lord. In verse 12 he talks about the coming of the day of God. Then he concludes by this statement. "Glory unto him now and unto the day of eternity." 
 
Eternity. What a thought. It is a thought that defies the mind. How do you understand the thought of eternity? One little boy was in Sunday School and his teacher asked him, "What is the meaning of eternity?" The little boy thought for a moment and said, "Eternity is something that won't quit."
 
How do you describe eternity? 
 
 
 
Someone said, "If you had a sparrow that went out to the Atlantic Ocean and picked up one grain of sand from the beach and flew it all the way to the moon and back, and then picked up another grain of sand and flew it all the way to the moon and back, and another grain of sand all the way to the moon and back, by the time every grain of sand on the earth had been moved to the moon, then eternity would have just begun."
 
What a thought. It is a thought which defies our mind. 
 
We know that there are some things we are told about in the Bible that are eternal. For instance, we are told that God is eternal. Deuteronomy 33, verse 27, says, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." God is eternal.
 
The Bible tells us not only is God eternal, but it tells us itself, the Word of God, is eternal. Psalm 119, verse 89, says, "Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven."
 
The Bible teaches that salvation is eternal. I'm really glad that's true. In John 10, verse 28, the Lord Jesus said, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish." That means that when you receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you receive eternal life and you will never, ever, ever perish. It is forever.
 
The Bible teaches that heaven and hell are forever. Matthew 25, verse 46, says, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." 
You are eternal. You are going to live forever. Think about it for a moment. There was a time when you were not. There will never be a time when you will not be.
 
When God created the heavens and the earth, you were not. When Noah built the ark, you were not. When Jesus walked on this earth, you were not. There was a time when you were not.
 
But there will never be a time when you will not be. When the sun ceases to shine, you will be. When the stars fall from their sockets, you will be. Ten thousand years from now, you will be. There was a time when you were not, but there will never be a time when you will not be. Eternity. The day of eternity.
 
This is the context of the concluding verses. In these verses he talks about the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ, the end times. He talks about the fact that God is going to make a new heaven and a new earth. He talks about the fact that there is going to be a judgment and about the fact that then will begin the eternal state.
 
In that context and in that atmosphere, there are some closing appeals concerning the Christian life that he lays before us. 
 
For instance, there is
 
I. The Appeal to Personal Purity.
 
He says in verse 14, "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things." Drop down to verse 17. 
He says, "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing that ye know these things." We know these things, but he say in verse 14 that you ought to be looking for these things.
 
Last week I talked to you about the two sets of parents. One set of parents was going to college to get their child who was going to be awarded the highest award in the college. The other set of parents was going to the college to pick up their child who has been kicked out of school. One set of parents is looking forward to what they know is there. The other parents may know what's there, but they are not looking forward to it.
 
Reverse the picture for a moment and let's think about those students. Here's one student who is going to get the highest award. He knows what's coming and he is looking for his parents to come and witness it. On the other hand, here is a student who knows he is going to get kicked out of school. He is not looking for his parents to come.
 
Titus 2, verses 12 and 13, say, "We should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present age, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ." 
 
Verse 17 says that we know these things, but are you looking forward to these things? There is the appeal here in the light of the day of eternity to personal purity.
 
You will notice that he says in verse 14, "Seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent," that is, make it sure, "that ye may be found of him in peace." 
This matter of personal purity has an upward dimension. "Be found of him in peace."
 
How do you want to be found when Jesus comes? Do you want to be ready for Him to come? Do you want to be found of Him in peace? Do you want to be living the way you should be living when Jesus comes? 
 
I think we do. I think every one of us wants to be living in such a way that when Jesus comes we will be glad that He has come for us.
 
What is your relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ today? It has an upward dimension, but it also has an inward dimension. He says to be found also, "Without spot, and blameless," that is, spotless and blameless.
 
Notice that he didn't say sinless, but he said, "Let there be no spot in your life. Let there be no blame in your life." In other words, keep accounts up to date with the Lord.
 
In the second chapter, verse 13, it talks about the false teachers. It says that they are spots and blemishes. We don't want to be like that. 
 
In I Peter 1, verse 19, the Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ is a lamb without blemish and without spot. That's how we want to be. We want to be like the Lord Jesus. We want to be living for Jesus when He comes. We want Him to find us serving Him, and we want there to be nothing in our life that ought not to be there, nothing in our life that hinders our relationship with Jesus.
 
You hear me refer from time to time to a preacher named Charles Spurgeon. He was a great preacher in London, England, in the 1800's. He was a godly man and great preacher.
 
One day someone was observing him walk across the street. It appeared to the observer that he stopped right in the middle of the street and bowed his head and prayed. The person was intrigued by that, and he walked across and said, "Mr. Spurgeon, it seemed to me that when you were walking across the street you actually stopped in the middle of the street to pray." Mr. Spurgeon said, "I did. As I was walking across the street a cloud seemed to come between my soul and Jesus, and I don't want anything to come between me and Jesus."
 
Is there anything in your life, any spot or blemish or unconfessed sin or anything in your life that you don't want to be there? The day of eternity is just ahead for you. You don't want to have anything in your heart that affects your relationship to the Lord.
 
It has an upward dimension, personal purity. Be found of him in peace. It has an inward dimension, to be without spot and without blemish. It also has an outward dimension. Verse 15 says, "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation."
 
Paraphrased, what he is saying there is, "Be aware of the fact that Jesus Christ has not come again. There is an opportunity for people to be saved." 
 
He taught that in the third chapter, the ninth verse. He says in that ninth verse that one of the reasons the Lord has been longsuffering and delaying His coming is to give people an opportunity to be saved. But not only an opportunity for people to be saved, but an opportunity for you and me to tell people how they can be saved, an opportunity to be a witness for the Lord.
 
When the day of eternity comes, there is no more opportunity to tell people about Jesus. When eternity begins, it's all over. There is no more opportunity. These are the days of opportunity. These are the days when you can receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is an opportunity for salvation.
 
It has an outward dimension. We want to be found in personal purity in our life between us and God, in our inward life, in our outward testimony to other people.
 
Then he does something rather interesting here. He refers to the Apostle Paul in verse 15. He calls him, "Our beloved brother, Paul." This is just a little side line here. He kind of digresses for a moment. He points out the fact that Paul, basically in his writings, said the same thing that he is saying in his own writings.
 
Look at verse 15, "Paul, also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you." As best we know, Paul wrote about half of the books of the New Testament. 
 
You read the letters of Paul in your New Testament and Simon Peter is referring to them and pointing out the fact that God gave him wisdom to write those books.
 
I have referred to the fact that Simon Peter was a fisherman, and yet he wrote two of the most profound books in our New Testament. 
 
In contrast to Peter is Paul: erudite, learned, sophisticated, abrupt. And yet, it was not his wisdom that enabled him to write these letters in our New Testament. It was the wisdom given to him by God, the Holy Spirit, who inspired him.
 
He's referring now to these letters of Paul. I want you to notice in verse 16 that he refers to the letters of Paul, all his epistles, all his letters, and then he compares them to what he calls, "the other scriptures." So already at this point in time, what Paul had written in those letters is considered to be scriptures.
 
I'm glad he said this. In verse 16 he said that in Paul's letters there are some things hard to be understood. Do you find that true? I do. When I read some of the things Paul wrote, I scratch my head and say, "Paul, what in the world did you mean by that?" I'm glad Simon Peter had the same problem I did. He said that there were some things in there that's hard to understand.
 
He also says that in the letters of Paul that there are some who are unlearned and unstable. Do you see that word there? He says in verse 16 that they "twist" those scriptures. The word means to distort. It was the idea of a person being placed on a torture rack and twisted on that rack.
 
You could take somebody and put them on a torture rack and twist them and you could make them say anything you wanted them to say. 
That is exactly the way he said some people do scriptures. 
 
Just because somebody quotes you from the scriptures, or quotes a verse of scripture to you, just don't take for granted that that is exactly the way the scriptures says it. You can torture the scriptures   out of their context. You can twist the meaning and you can make the scriptures say anything you want it to say.
 
That is the importance of studying your Bible intelligently and studying your Bible correctly so that you do not allow the scriptures to be twisted and distorted.
 
What he is saying is that Paul is teaching the same thing about personal purity. For instance, people twist his doctrine of grace. Paul said, "By grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." But some people teach his teaching on grace to teach that you can live any way you want to live just because you are saved by grace.
 
Other takes his teaching on faith. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved," and twist it to mean that you are saved by faith and therefore you don't have to work for the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says that we are saved by faith, but by works we demonstrate the reality of our faith.
 
Here is the first appeal.  The day of eternity is coming. It's moving rapidly. Every day we're getting toward this day of eternity. It's an appeal to personal purity.
 
Then he continues on and he says secondly that it is an
 
II. Appeal to Personal Maturity.
 
In verse 17 he says, "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing that ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness." 
 
What he's saying is that you cannot live the Christian life backwards. You have to live the Christian life forward. He gives in verse 17 this appeal. Basically he is saying, "Don't go backwards in your Christian life." 
 
He said, "Seeing that ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from you own steadfastness." That doesn't mean that you lose your salvation. He's saying to be very careful that you do not go backward in your progress in the Christian life. God's purpose for us is to be like the Lord Jesus. He has saved us to become more and more like the Lord Jesus. 
 
You and I should so live that every day of our life we become more like Christ. The unfortunate thing is that sometimes people instead of making progress in the Christian life, they digress in the Christian life and go backwards.
 
He said, "Don't let people cause you to go backward. Don't let people cause you by the errors of their wickedness and false teaching cause you to move backward in your Christian life."  
 
He says, "Don't fall." He doesn't mean to lose your salvation. It was a word that was used for the wreck of a ship. Don't make shipwreck of your Christian life.
 
There are some Christians today who have not grown in their Christian life. They are not maturing in their Christian life and they have gone backward. There was a time when they lived for the Lord. There was a time when they served the Lord Jesus Christ. There was a time when they were growing in Christ likeness, but now they have fallen from their steadfastness. They've been swept off their feet and they've moved backward in their life. They are not making progress. So he says here, "Beware. Don't go backward in your Christian life."
 
In verse 18 he gives the positive. He says, "Do go forward in your Christian life." It says in verse 18, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." The verb there is an imperative verb. It is a present tense verb. It means to keep on growing, be constantly growing, be daily growing in your Christian life.
 
The Christian life is kind of like riding a bicycle. You are intended to go forward. If you stop, you will fall off. You are not to go backward on your bicycle. You are to go forward. 
 
The same thing is true about the Christian life. He is saying that we should move forward and make progress in our Christian life.
 
It says that you are to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 
 
Growing in the grace of Jesus means that we grow in Christian characteristics, Christ-like traits of our life. More and more the way we live, every day in our life, we are to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus.
 
Then he says that we are to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We grow in the knowledge of the Lord as we study His Word. You learn about Jesus in the Bible. The more you learn about Jesus the more you love Jesus, and the more you see about the Lord Jesus Christ the more you want to be with the Lord Jesus. The more you understand about the Lord Jesus Christ, the more intimate you want your relationship with Jesus Christ to be. Grow in your knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
 
The question is, "How do you grow?" Are you a growing Christian? The Christian life is compared to a birth. Grow in the Christian life.
 
Of course, we know that a plant grows, but you don't have to command the plant to grow because the plant doesn't have any will of its own. But you and I are commanded to grow and we have a will of our own. We can decide to grow. We can choose to grow.
 
How do you grow as a Christian? What are the things you do that will cause you to grow as a Christian? One of the things you have to do to grow as a Christian is to have proper nutrition. You need good food in order to grow as a Christian.
 
First Peter 2, verse 2, says, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow by it." 
I have a feeding session three times a week here. On Sunday morning I give out the milk of the Word of God. On Sunday night I feed the milk of the Word of God. On Wednesday night I give the milk of the Word of God.
 
You grow as you feed on God's truth. You grow as you get the milk, and then you get the meat and the manna of the Word of God. That's the way babies grow. They grow by eating food.
 
Let's just suppose that you got out of church last Sunday morning and you didn't eat a bite, and let's suppose that Monday you didn't eat another bite. Let's suppose that Tuesday you didn't eat anything either. This morning you have come into the service and you haven't had a bite of food since last Sunday. I have a feeling that you would be rather weak today. I'd say to you, "What's wrong with you?" You would say, "I'm just so weak. I'm dizzy. I can just hardly stand up." I'd asked, "Have you had a good meal?" "No. I haven't eaten a thing since last Sunday." Well, of course, you would be weak.
 
Yet some of God's children will go days and days and weeks and weeks and months and months and never read the Word of God, never feed themselves from the Word of God. He says to keep on growing. Get the meat of the Word in your mind and in your heart.
 
But there's another thing that will help you to grow. Not only will good nutrition help you to grow, but exercise will help you to grow.
 
We are in a fitness craze right now. I applaud it. I think it's a good thing to have this fitness craze. 
 
People are exercising and working and getting themselves in shape and running and doing all this other stuff. That's a good trend.
 
Somebody asked, "Do you ever feel like working out?" The fellow said, "Yes, I do, but every time the feeling hits me I lay down until the feeling leaves me."
 
That's what we need. We need to exercise our Christian life and develop our spiritual muscles and be a witness for the Lord and be involved in activities and serving the Lord. Find yourself something to do here in the house of God. Find yourself some ministry to perform. Grow. You'll grow by exercise.
 
Something else that will help you to grow is being in a real good family.  Did you know that they have tested little babies and have discovered that when they are born, they need affection and care? Little babies that are not touched and cared for and loved develop all kind of physical and emotional problems.
 
The same thing can be true about people in their spiritual life. You need a family. You need to get involved in a fellowship of believers. Our fellowship here has everything imaginable to help boys and girls grow, to help young people to grow, to help singles to grow, to help young couples to grow. We have a family here to help you to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
He says that we are to grow in knowledge and grace and then he says, "To him be glory both now and forever." In other words, we are to bring glory to Jesus right now. 
 
We are to grow in the Lord in such a way that people will bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ when they see our life.
 
Not only does he say to grow now, but he says, "To him be glory until the day of eternity." Eternity is coming. It's right out there in the future. The eternal day, no turning back. Once the day of eternity begins there is no turning back. The time will come that Jesus Christ will appear. The end times will occur. Time will be no more.  We'll be in the eternal state.
 
As I have suggested, there will be the time when time will be no more. The time will come when the last plane will fly, the last paper will be published, the last meal will be prepared, the last baby will be born, and we'll be in the day of eternity.
 
If you are saved, the Bible says in II Corinthians 5, verse 1 that God has prepared for you a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 
 
If Jesus Christ came and the end time occurred now and the day of eternity began for every born again believer, that simply means that you are in heaven forever. Every bell that rings in heaven will be sounding the news forever. Every scene that you see in heaven will be saying, "Forever." If you are saved, eternity means in heaven forever.
 
But if you are lost, the day of eternity means hell forever. Think of the descriptions of hell in the Bible. It's described as eternal doom, eternal darkness, eternal destruction, eternal damnation, eternal punishment, and eternal fire. 
That means that if you die without the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior it means once in hell, forever in hell. Every flame that leaps up to heaven is engraved forever and every chain that binds the soul is engraved forever. Think about it. Forever! Forever! Forever! In hell.
 
A king had a court jester who made him laugh and entertained him. One day the king gave to the court jester his scepter. He said, "Court jester, you are the biggest fool I ever saw. Keep this scepter until you find a bigger fool than yourself." He kept it for a number of years. 
 
One day the king, who was terminally ill, called for his court jester. He said to him, "Court jester, I'm getting ready to take a journey from which I will never return." The court jester said, "King, what preparation have you made for this journey?" The king said, "Alas, I've made none." The court jester handed the king back his scepter and said, "Oh, King, you are a bigger fool than I. I jested about things temporal. You have jested about things eternal." The day of eternity.
 
Let's bow our heads in prayer.
 
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