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Hurry Up and Wait

December 6, 2020

Hurry Up and Wait

Passage: 2 Peter 3:8-18
Service Type:

Hurry up and Wait

2 Peter 3:1-18


Good morning River City – 


Before I hand off to the worship team to lead us in singing this morning, I want to just take a second to celebrate a couple things with you, and then we’re going to spend some time in prayer.


One of our goals at River city, and one of the callings on church leaders, is to see men and women equipped for ministry. So this year, we’ve been excited to start a course called BIBLICAL TRAINING, where men and women are equipped to read Gods word and handle it rightly. So another celebration is that as of this past Wednesday, we graduated our second class through Biblical Training class! We’ve got another half a dozen people with a better grasp of how to read scripture, and communicate it to others. Looking forward to what is next for these men and women! We plan to continue to offer this class again next year, so stay tuned for that. 


Lastly, before we spend a couple minutes in prayer, we have been in communication with Highland and it doesn’t look like we will be able to be back in the school until January. Again – as always, there are no hard feelings between us and the school. They have been great, and we know they are just trying to make decisions to keep kids in school. So we completely respect that. 


But we also want to meet in person. So we are exploring some other options for our Sunday morning gatherings, so for the next couple minutes, Nevin will just give us a little guitar music and I’d love for you, wherever you are this morning, to pray that God would open the doors for us to meet in person – great if it’s at the school, or that he’d provide another location. After we’ve spent some time in prayer, I’ll close and we’ll worship together!


Let’s pray.




Please turn with me to 2 Peter 3 this morning. 2 Peter chapter 3, some of which Beth read just a minute ago. 


I remember one time I was skiing with Jodi’s family back when we were dating. I was skiing with her brother toward the end of the day, and we were pushing hard to get as many runs in as we could before the lifts closed, so when the lifts all shut down, Jodi and her parents and other family assumed her brother and I had already went back to the lodge – so they headed home to join us. Problem was – we were still on the mountain. We didn’t have cell phones back then, so when we realized they had left without us, we had nothing to do but sit and wait. And when you’re waiting for someone, every set of headlights you see you sit up, and when they drive by you slouch back down. 


And that’s because, like the video said, waiting involves hope. 

These days, there is all kinds of waiting we are doing right now:

    • Waiting to get back to meeting in person - We have hope that God will provide
    • Waiting to not have to wear a mask to the store - We have hope that one day this will pass
    • Waiting for your grade from the last quiz or test at school - i hope I passed
    • Waiting to meet the right person - I hope I don’t miss her, or miss him
    • Waiting for that raise or promotion - I hope the boss notices my effort


As Christians, ever since God’s promise to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that he would one day crush the head of the serpent, the Deceiver, Christians have always been a “waiting people”. 


  • Abraham and Sarah had to wait 25 years before God’s promise of a son came to be. 
  • Abraham and Sarah’s great-grandson Joseph got stuck waiting two years in a prison for someone to even remember he was down there.
  • The nation of Israel, under Moses’s direction, had to wait 40 years to see the Promised Land.
  • And the people of God had to wait thousands of years before God’s promise of the snake crusher would come true, in the person and work of Jesus – and yet after his resurrection and ascension into heaven, we started waiting again! 


Now, if you’re going on vacation in January, and you have to wait until January to leave, you can actually look forward to it, because you have a concrete date for when your waiting will be over. But hope doesn’t always have a date on the calendar. When you don’t have a date to look forward to, or you don’t have a timeframe, waiting can be exhausting, tiring, and you may be tempted to just throw up your hands and say “is this even going to happen?!?” 


And in his message last week, Steve set this up so well, because that’s what Advent is all about. As he said, the word Advent means “coming”, and so we currently sit between the two Advents. As we put up trees, decorate our homes, and sing Christmas songs, we are celebrating his first coming even as we wait for his second coming, and it might be true for you that as the days go by, it seems like God is quiet, Jesus isn’t returning, and if God really cared about us, he’d take some of this junk away and make things right. 




And if you look in 2 Peter 3:3,4, you see this is not something new to humanity. “Be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires, saying, “Where is his ‘coming’ (his ‘advent’) that he promised? Ever since our ancestors fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.”


Now, none of us would say we are scoffers. Maybe you know one. I don’t want to get too much into the weeds here, so lets look briefly at the three identification pieces of scoffers. 

  1. Scoffers will come scoffing
    1. Apple trees produce apples. Walnut trees produce walnuts. And Scoffers scoff. That’s what they do. They can’t help themselves. They mock and make fun. Sometimes in obnoxious ways, sometimes in subtle ways, but the goal of a scoffer is to get YOU to reconsider what you believe to be true. 
      1. Scoffers create the meme’s you see on Facebook and Instagram. Those pictures with words on it that make fun of some group and/or their position. That is not subtle scoffing. That is open mockery. 
      2. But scoffing can be subtle. Ever since the Garden of Eden, there's been one primary Scoffer, and he didn’t roll up and mock them for believing in God, he sneakily called attention to their own desires, and defined God as someone who can’t be trusted. “God said that? Hmm. Seems a little harsh. Destroying people who don’t believe in him is not really all that loving if you ask me.” 
  2. Scoffers follow their own evil desires. 
    1. Scoffers might be atheists like Bill Mahar and Howard Stern, who openly mock Christians. And you kind of expect it from them. They aren’t all that dangerous.
    2. But sometimes scoffers are people who grew up in church. They might be in your community group or they might be artists that have their music played on Christian radio. And these are incredibly dangerous. Scoffers follow their own sinful desires, and when God doesn’t come through for them or something in the Bible doesn’t fit their narrative…
  3. The third thing… they twist it to make it work for them, or they conveniently quote certain scriptures that fit their story and leave out the ones that don’t. 

Noah’s Flood


Then he gives an example in verses 5-7 of scoffers who deliberately ignore the fact that God created the heavens and the earth without advanced notice or warning, and mentions that during Noah’s day, God destroyed the earth with a worldwide flood without advanced notice or warning. 


Noah heard God’s warning that a flood was coming. Refusing to listen to the voice of “progressive culture”, he stood his ground, and listened to the voice of God, gathered up those that belonged to him and believed his message, and he led them to the protection and safety of the ark. 


As for all those NOT in the ark? Scoffers. All of them. They had weddings to plan. Parties to attend. Farms to manage. Money to be made. Scoffing to do. “Destruction? Pffft. Seems a little harsh. Destroying people who don’t believe in him is not really all that loving if you ask me.” And in the middle of weddings, in the middle of business transactions, in the middle of meals when someone was asking for the salt and pepper, while someone was having a laugh with a neighbor – destruction hit as all the water God had made interrupted normal, everyday life, and everyone who refused to listen to God’s voice was destroyed. 


So a scoffer deliberately overlooks the truth about God’s holiness and his wrath toward sinners. 


So Peter writes: Beware of this!


And if Peter were writing to us today, I think he would say, “River City, above all, BE AWARE OF ANYONE who thinks sin isn’t that big of a deal! Be aware of anyone who cherry picks verses of scripture that fit their story but ignore the ones that don’t. Be aware of anyone who diminishes God to something they can understand. Be aware of anyone who tells you there is hope to be found in anything other than Jesus! 


8 Dear friends, scoffers deliberately overlook certain truth: Don’t overlook this one fact


With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance


When I think of delay, I think of the airport. Your plane is delayed. That means something is holding that plan back. Weather problems. Mechanical problems. The flight crew for this plane got stuck in Denver, so we are waiting for another group to show up. 


Peter says God doesn’t delay like that. It’s not like there is anything holding him up. There are no forces outside of his control that are keeping him from getting where he needs to go. 

God is Patient

God has been delaying the second coming of Christ because he is patient. He is patiently waiting for everyone he’s calling to himself to come to repentance. He is patiently waiting for your relative, your spouse, your children, your coworkers to hear the gospel and repent. He’s patiently leading someone to plant a church three towns over or three states over, because many in that city will hear the gospel and repent. He’s patiently calling someone to reach that remote tribe in Australia because many in that tribe are called to salvation. 


Some of you maybe wonder, why wasn’t God patient with the people in Noah’s flood? Why in the middle of the wedding was everyone suddenly drowning with no warning. It took Noah 120 years to build that ark. And 2 Peter 2 says Noah was a preacher of righteousness, which means he didn’t build the ark in silence. I think day after day, he begged his neighbors to repent. Because he knew, that while God is indeed patient, he will not be patient forever: 


10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. 11 Since all these things (earth, it’s works, heavens) are to be dissolved in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness 12 as you wait for the day of God and hasten its coming. Because of that day, the heavens will be dissolved with fire and the elements will melt with heat. 13 But based on his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.


Scoffers scoff, live for themselves, and deliberately ignore the fact that God hates sin.


Peter says now what sort of people we should be as we wait for the new heavens and new earth, where what is good and right lives:

  1. Hasten it’s coming v11 – We can’t change the day God has chosen for judgement, but we can be part of bringing the kingdom of heaven here right now! 
    1. This is why we plant churches! 
    2. This is why we send missionaries around the world. 
    3. This is why we talk to co-workers about Christ!
    4. This is why we submit to our teachers, principles, public authorities, working hard at our job as if our boss is Christ himself, conduct our lives with reverence, and love our spouses literally to death. 
    5. It’s why we meet in community groups to encourage and pray for each other. 
    6. The more the gospel spreads, the more people come to repentance and are saved. Where the gospel is preached and practiced, things that are good and right already start to take place and the kingdom of heaven is already among us. 

  • Make every effort  v14
    1. To be found without spot or blemish in his sight – As Christians, we must be professional repenters. Maybe you grew up in a home where you were expected to be without blemish or spot based on your parents’ definition of perfect, and you were shamed when you sinned; shamed when you messed up. Maybe you still carry that Catholic guilt, or Mennonite shame with you because you didn’t fit the profile. 

But the gospel says because Jesus stood in our place before God, taking the penalty for our sin, we are made right with God, and we have no reason to hide who we really are! The person who knew us best, inside and out, STOOD IN FOR US AND LOVED US to death! While we were still sinners, covered in spots and blemishes, Christ died for us! So if you find that shame keeps you from being fully transparent with people, I beg you to take another look at the cross where Jesus took your Mennonite shame, your Catholic guilt! If you have trusted Christ for salvation, you are his; you are loved; you are safe inside the ark that is Jesus’s righteousness! 

    1. At peace – Peter wrote this before 2020, a hotly contested election, Zoom church, and facemasks, so it doesn’t apply to us, right? Are you making every effort to be found at peace, with God, with each other? Scoffers promote division – people waiting faithfully for the return of Christ do everything they can to be at peace.

  • Be on your guard v17
    1. So you are not led away by the error of lawless people - Just for a second, picture a soldier standing guard. What do you picture? Being on your guard is not to sit in the breakroom staring at a TV. It’s active. You’re scanning. Making decisions. Taking aim at the enemy.
    2. Are you spiritually on guard? Do you just take my word for it every week and trust me to not preach anything that’s a little off? Are you on guard with the music you hear on the radio? Especially Christian radio? 
      1. Remember scoffers come in both secular and Christian forms. 
      2. Be active in personal prayer, worship, Bible Study. 


As we wait for the second advent of Jesus, River City, we are to proclaim the gospel, repent often, and beware. Because there is a day coming, when the better Noah, the God/man Jesus Christ, who stood his ground in the face of “progressive culture”, suffered at the hands of scoffers, and was raised to life again by the power of the Holy Spirit, will gather up those who have listened to his voice and trusted in him for salvation, and everyone who refuses his offer of grace will be caught in the flood of God’s wrath against sinners. And the only reason it hasn’t happened yet is because a smiling, joyful, and completely un-anxious God is also patient. 


We don’t know anything about that Saturday that Jesus laid in the tomb. We know God somehow separated himself from Jesus on the cross, as Jesus cried “Why have you forsaken me!?”, but Saturday was silent. And while Jesus’ disciples mourned, and tried to figure out their next move, can you imagine the absolute delight on the face of God the Father as he waited to raise Jesus from the dead? He knew that in just a few hours their sorrow would turn to joy, and I’d like to think there was so much love between the Father and the Son that it was all he could do to leave him in the grave until the third day! 


Friends – I can’t help but think as we sorrow through 2020, as we sorrow through COVID, the loss of loved ones, God is giddy with joy, smiling at the resurrection that is to come for those who believe in him.


As we close, I know we haven’t done this in a while – but as many of you as are willing, jump into the chat box, and simply write how long it’s been since you fully surrendered to Christ. For some it’s been many, many years. For others it’s been maybe a few weeks or months. But just type in the chat, 1 year, one month, 40 years, how long has it been since you’ve believed and trusted Christ to be your Savior.


Now look at those numbers as they come up – aren’t you so thankful God is patient!? Aren’t you thankful he didn’t return 30 years ago? Look how many of us would be lost! Aren’t you glad he didn’t return 5 years ago? Look how many would be lost! 


Listen – if you are on this call, or watching on Facebook, and you have NOT yet trusted in the work of Jesus Christ for your salvation, we plead with you – do it right now, right where you are in your living room, at your kitchen table, on your bed… call out to Jesus for salvation. He is risen, and alive, and listening for your voice today. Will you trust him today? If so, please reach out to us or to your home church… we want to know so we can help you get plugged into next steps.