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August 10, 2021 4:00 am
This is a warning to the unregenerate world, but I believe it speaks directly also to those of us who are believers and we must also be ready for we don't know the moment our Christ will come the end of all things very narrow than it's ever been. That's incentive to live holy. You might not stand before the Lord in the next few hours, but the Bible calls you to live with that kind of anticipation striving to make sure that Christ would not be ashamed of you. If you return right now. So what should that expectation look like at home or around your friends or when you're at church. Consider that here on grace to you as John MacArthur shows you how to live in light of Christ's return as part of his current study faith through the fire and now here's John first Peter chapter 4 is our text first Peter chapter 4 in verses seven through 11. Let me read them to you as the setting for what the Spirit of God will teach us the end of all things is at hand. Therefore be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift employed in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks let them speak as it were the utterances of God. Whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. I want to speak to you out of this text on the subject. The Christian's duty in a hostile world. The church today urgently is in need of spiritual revival and that spiritual revival can only occur when we as Christians begin to do our spiritual duty. In this section, two things come together. We are to live a godly life and suffering in the light of the second coming. Those two things merge.
If we want to do our Christian duty must know how precious our salvation is and what attendant duties will demonstrate our gratitude for it. We must know that he is left us in this present situation as aliens and strangers to lead men and women to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and we must live in the light of eternity. The light of heaven and the light of his soon coming now. How are we then, to live, what is our Christian duty as we suffer in this world pursuing holiness in the light of Christ's return first point comes in verse seven.
Let's call it the incentive. The incentive then will look at the instructions. And finally, the intention but for right now the incentive verse seven the end of all things is at hand. Stop right there.
So we are to live in expectancy that the one who is coming will come as judge of the living and the dead, and that that is very near Jesus could come at any moment what might seem like a long time to us 2000 years is not a long time.
We all know that statement a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a a day look at first Corinthians chapter 15 in verse 51. Here again is the same kind of of expectation. Anticipation of the coming of Christ. He says behold I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed for this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
In other words, everything is going to change is going to change in the twinkling of an eye. What is the titling of an eye. That's not a blank. That's the time it takes to refract light off your pupil. That's how fast were going to be changed in the idea here is, it's a mystery it's not been revealed in the past. It's going to happen. It's going to happen.
Suddenly the trumpet will sound, and instantaneously when that trumpet sounds were gone, and it can happen at any time in first Thessalonians chapter 4 is another message about the immanence he and the expectancy in which we are to live. First Thessalonians chapter 4 and verse 15 says there will come a great event and it says we say this to you by the word of the Lord. In other words, this is revelation from the Lord himself but we are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord and the tone of Paul's language to the Thessalonians is a tone of immanence. He is not saying those people who are alive then or those folks who are around when he says we we we we we is always the church's responsibility to live in the light of the return of Christ. James chapter 5 in verse eight, you have it again.
James writing the persecuted believers who were going to some very, very difficult times says to them in verse seven. Be patient, therefore brother until the coming of the Lord well was the Lord coming in their lifetime. As it turned out he didn't, they nonetheless lived in that expectancy. He says in verse eight. Be patient, strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is there that same idea at hand near immanence soon.
That's always on the heart of the true believer. Jesus is coming, and he could be coming at any moment in Hebrews chapter 10 the writer in verse 25 says that we are not to forsake our assembling were not to forsake that were to be faithful to that, as is the habit of some, there are some who habitually do not come were not to do that were to gather to encourage one another. Notice of this and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Now if they could see the impotency of the day drawing near here we are 2000 years later how much nearer we you better be gathering with God's people as you have seen the day drawing near. Hebrews 12 I point you to one verse, verse 27 in this expression, yet once more denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken as of created things in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain the verse before. Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven God of promise of the prophet Haggai that he would do some shaking in this world and here the writer of Hebrews reminds us that there is a shaking to come. The removing of the things which can be shaken, that is, this material world, the establishment of things which cannot be shaken. God's eternal kingdom and glory. We must live in the light of that, as those in the New Testament time to look at Revelation 2 passages I bring to your attention. Chapter 1 verse three Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy.
In other words, you're a blessing there's one read Revelation, they were so I'd like to be blessed. I really would like a blessing good. There is one read Revelation blessed as he reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy then take heed the things which are written in it. Why, for the time is what near again. They were always living in that light that Jesus could come at any moment.
What do we have at the end of the book of Revelation.
These words chapter 22 verse 20 you testifies to these things says yes I am coming quickly and what is John's response. A man come, Lord Jesus, John, to live than the anticipation of the soon return of Jesus Christ, you say well, isn't Jesus supposed to return in the last days. That's right, but do you know when the last days began by me help you. First John 218. First John 218 children.
It is the last hour. It is the last hour and just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen from this we know that it is the last hour the last hour had begun already. When John wrote first John the last hour. Listen carefully began with the first coming of Jesus Christ that ushered in the last days. That's why the apostle Paul in writing to Timothy is so explicit about the last days. The Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will depart from the faith. First Timothy 41 and those later times already, that departure was already taking place in second Timothy 31 realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come, and those were the last days in the difficult times that already come on Timothy see the last days came when Messiah came, say in what sense listen very carefully to give you this little picture they had seen in their lifetime. The Jews and the people alive at the time of Christ's arrival. They had seen the end of the whole era. They saw the end of an Old Testament dispensation saw the end of the old covenant Messiah came into the world to bring all of that to an end and inaugurate the new covenant, the last days were the days of Messiah, the prophets of old, said Messiah would come. In the latter days we would come in the end of the age they would come at the last time and so when he came it was the last time it spelled the end of all the previous epochs seasons errors they had seen the whole system of ceremonies and rituals and sacrifices and temples and priests and offerings all collapse when the veil of the temple was ripped from top to bottom and God opened the holy of holies to everybody. He said that's the end of the system and then in 70 A.D. when God sent judgment by way of the Romans. He destroyed the Temple destroyed Jerusalem and wiped out to this very day. The whole sacrificial ceremonial system that happened in their lifetime. Jesus had set on the cross. It is finished what he had finished was the inauguration of the new covenant.
The temple veil was torn. Few years later the temple was destroyed. Jesus said in Matthew 24 two when it goes down, there will be one stone left upon another. Wyatt symbolized the devastation of an of an entire Old Testament economy, the old order was ended and a new order was begun in the order of the Messiah, the order of the last days Hebrews 926 puts it this way. Otherwise, it says, speaking of Christ, he would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world. But now once at the consummation of the ages he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Work from men the state Jesus came put away sin by the sacrifice of himself at the consummation of the ages the end of the agent. Christ came offered once to bear the sins of many. Listen to this, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin.
Those who eagerly awaited to get that the first time he came at the consummation of the agency was manifested to put away sin. The second time he comes he doesn't put away sin anymore.
He comes to establish his kingdom of salvation, but the last things were begun when the ages were consummated in the arrival of the Messiah. When Messiah came when Messiah died when he rose again. He ended the old covenant system. He established his own kingdom. He said the kingdom of God is in your midst, and through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are taken out of the kingdom of darkness and placed into the kingdom of his beloved son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, says Paul to the Colossians, Christ defeated sin.
Christ defeated death. Christ defeated hell Christ defeated the penalty of the law.
Christ defeated Satan. Christ defeated demons. Christ established his authority and Christ began to build his kingdom and we are now living in the last days kingdom. The kingdom now is spiritual and inward, and someday it will be outward and universal when he establishes his throne on the earth and in the universe so there is a second coming of the last days began the first time he came, so we are living in the last days the last times and the last days of the last days you might put it this way, the kingdom has come in a state of grace. It will come in a state of glory. The death of Jesus Christ. His resurrection is exaltation to the right hand of God the father brought a new departure to the course of history and it took place once for all at the close of the ages, and it brought in the dawn of a new day the kingdom of Messiah is here in its spiritual reality and soon to be here in its visible form.
So when Peter says the end of all things is at hand. Is he talking about termination.
Yes, in the sense of the old ages of terminated but more is talking about consummation and the full end is very very near beloved want to close with giving you an insight into how we are to live in light of this in the Scriptures we find that because the coming of Jesus Christ is imminent. It could happen at any split second at any moment. It leads us to a right kind of attitude. The attitude of expectancy should not turn us into zealous fanatics like the people to put on their pajamas and sit on the roof. It should not turn us in the lazy dreamers who do nothing but lie around as it were, waiting for it to happen. It's your turn us in the watchful pursuers of holiness, watchful pursuers of holiness for me show you why.
Second Corinthians chapter 5 verse nine therefore also we have is our ambition, whether at home or absent to be pleasing to him. If you're a Christian that is true of your life did you hear that, whether you're at home or absent your desire is to be pleasing to him that should be underlined is the mark of a true Christian, you want please Christ, you want to please Christ and that's evidence that the new life is not in you. So we want. Please Christ. Now verse 10. Why for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. In other words, were going to have to give an account for our life. These one may be recompensed for his deeds and the body according to what he is done, whether good or worthless.
The apostle Paul says look I live in the light of the fact that someday I'm going to have to stand before Jesus Christ is going to be made visible to me in his presence whether my works were good or useless not going to parade sin that'll already be dealt with. That's already been covered at the cross, but whether or not my life was effective, dedicated, devoted, serviceable, useful will be manifest.
And since it's the heart desire of a true Christian to want to please Christ. He has to live in the light of the fact that someday it's going to become revealed to him whether or not or to what degree he did, please Christ.
In second Peter chapter 3, Peter is talking about the coming of Christ is talking about it.
In chapter 3 verse 10 is the day of the Lord which will come like a thief unannounced.
The heavens are going to pass away and all that's associated with that will take place. He then says but we are looking verse 12 and hastening the coming of the day of God.
For those of us who are believers where looking for. We wanted to hurry and get here so we can live in blissful perfection with him.
We are looking verse 13 for that new heaven and new earth in which righteousness dwells. If were true Christians will be sick of the sin of this world and longing for a righteous place then verse 14 brings it down to practicality. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things. Be diligent to be found by him in peace, spotless and blameless when he gets here.
You want to be in peace, spotless, blameless in order to do that. Verse 18 sentence need to be growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Go to first John chapter 3 the next epistle verse two beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that when he appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him just as he is. That's our heart cry to be like him to be like you.
Remember Philippians 3 I press toward the goal for the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
What is it to be like him. In verse three.
Everyone who has this hope fixed on him purifies himself, just as he is pure want to be like him and you know you're going to be like him, you know you're going to face him you want to be pure you want to be pure. First John 228 John says we want to be before him when he appears, with confidence not shrinking away in shame.
We want to live in such a way that we face Christ with a joyful confident heart not like unbelievers who will be shame and if we really look for his appearing. As Paul wrote to Timothy, if we love his appearing and we will seek to be pure so that our lives are right. Should he arrive in the next moment I close with this look 12 Jesus doing so much teaching here directs our attention to the same idea. Verse 35.
He says be dressed in readiness. Keep your lamps, a light be like men who are waiting for their master.
When he returns from the wedding feast so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves, whom the master shall find on the alert when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will gird himself to serve and have them recline at the table and will come up and wait on them that amazing if you're ready when he comes, he will wait on you. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even the third and finds them so blessed are those slaves be sure of this, that the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, wouldn't have allowed his house to be broken into you to be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect this is a warning to the unregenerate world.
This is a warning to false religionists, but I believe it speaks directly also to those of us who are believers and we must also be ready for we don't know the moment our Christ will come the end of all things very near Nero than it's ever been before. That's incentive to live holy life what's been farther thank you again for this reminder may our hearts be committed to loving your appearing that great time when we shall receive a reward being made like Christ, oh God, may we ever live in the light of that and say with John. Even so, come, Lord Jesus cannot be soon enough and then this is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us.
Today's lesson explained how you can live a holy life as you wait for Christ's return is part of John's study from first Peter titled faith through the fire. Well, staying focused on what's ahead. That's not easy. The responsibilities of life. The distractions of the modern world. These things can cause us to forget what John made clear today that Jesus will come again, and it could be very soon. So knowing that's going to happen John. We certainly want to be prepared. So what does preparation for the Lord's return look like yeah I think just to begin by saying there are people now talking about the return of the Lord with a sense of of urgency that that I haven't heard in the past because as things get worse and is the whole culture turns on Christianity and is that the government begins to be the enemy and in use its power against the church were seeing a world that we've never seen before were seeing a level of hostility that we've never seen before and this is this is a time when people are saying we have to be closer to the return of Christ and of course we are so yeah I think it's time for us to think about Christ's return. And here's the good news lately.
Good news is that essentially the details of the return of Jesus Christ are amazingly laid out in the Scripture their Old Testament passages. The direct us to that, particularly in the book of Daniel, the book of Zechariah in the book of Isaiah, but but specifically the book of Revelation lays out. Actually the chronological sequences and events of the return of Christ and as we think about that. You need to be informed as fully as you can be. I have written two volumes on the book of Revelation in the New Testament series MacArthur New Testament commentary, but I don't want to talk about that so much today as I do the one volume commentary on the book of Revelation where I condensed those two volumes into a very readable look at the book of Revelation. The title is because the time is near. You can understand Revelation.
It begins by promising a blessing to those who read and understand.
Nothing to be intimidating to you. This is rather God's way of making things clear. The book is because the time is near 350 pages and you will understand what the book of Revelation says about the return of Christ. And if you're a believer that is critically important to you, forcibly, Christ is always again the title because the time is near. You can order today yes send this book can clear away any lingering confusion you might have about the book of Revelation and it will show you how the glorious events to come can give you hope today to purchase because the time is near. Contact us today our toll-free number here 855 grace or visit our website Jide TY.org again this immensely practical volume will help you take hold of the blessing promised to you. If you read and understand the book of Revelation, because the time is near. Costs $11 and shipping is free.
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When you call 855 grace or shop firstname.lastname@example.org and if you've already benefited from one of John's books or if his recent series how to talk to a heretic encouraged you to live boldly for Christ or someone you know is come to faith after hearing John's teaching. We would love to hear your story. Email your feedback to email@example.com that's our email address one more time. firstname.lastname@example.org or you can send your note to Grace to you. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 now for John MacArthur until Johnson, thanks for studying God's word with us today and make sure you're here tomorrow when John looks at why Christ's grace and power can help you through any suffering you may face. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you