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The Day of the Lord, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
August 11, 2023 7:05 am

The Day of the Lord, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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August 11, 2023 7:05 am

Conquering Through Conflict


When you wake up in the morning and start getting ready for your day, how often do you stop and wonder, could this be the day? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll describes the second coming of Jesus and how to get prepared. 2 Peter 3 gives us a glimpse into this mysterious moment, including the warning signs for his return. Given the global tension and moral chaos, it's natural to think, could this be the day Jesus will return? Chuck titled his study in 2 Peter, The Day of the Lord.

Now, as Peter writes his last letter, he is writing to people who are away from home. They are living in a day of persecution, very difficult times, and on top of that, adding insult to injury, there are scoffers and mockers, you'll notice in chapter 3 verse 4, who are saying, where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation. Look closely at verse 8, do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved. I think he has in mind the scoffers who were saying, the Lord promised to come back and all this time has passed, obviously he is not coming back. So with that in mind, he says don't let this fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. I think what that verse is saying is that God has a mysterious timetable. What appears as God's mysterious timetable becomes salvation's patient plan.

In the verse that follows, 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. 1 Timothy 2 verse 3, 1 Timothy 2 verse 3, this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all the testimony born at the proper time. One God, one mediator, the man Christ Jesus, so that you might understand that you, a lost person, can come to know God through faith in his son, the only mediator between you and the God who made you. It's God's desire that all be saved. Now back to 2 Peter 3. The Lord isn't slow about his promise. He's not up in heaven yawning indifferently, saying, well I hope they're making out the best they can. He is deliberately waiting, patiently tapping his foot, as it were, pausing a bit longer, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. Let me make it even more personal. See the words in verse 9, any and all, blank them out in your mind for a moment, not wishing for blank to perish, but for blank to come to repentance.

You know someone who is still lost? Put his name in there. Put her name in there. Let's say the name is Susie, or let's say the name is Chet. Not wishing for Susie and Chet to perish, but for them to come to repentance. You talk about making a verse personal. God deliberately waits for Susie and for Chet to make that decision that is eternally important for their souls.

Let the scoffers scoff, let the mockers mock. Peter says, don't let it escape your notice that God's timing is not like man's, and God's heart is not like we would expect. He waits, patiently waiting, and furthermore it is designed to get you and me in gear for living in the days in which we live, to make the message known. Now, back to the subject of prophecy. The earth, this old earth, has an ultimate end. This vast globe that we're on, tiny in light of the stellar spaces and the space about us and on beyond into yet other galaxies. But this earth, this globe, has an ending. It has a terminal point. Verses 10 and 12 address it.

I want to be careful with the text here. But the day of the Lord, it is a title used for God's judgment plan for the future. But the day of judgment, the final judgment of this earth, but the day of the Lord will come.

When? Like a thief in the night. A thief in the night. Jesus used that analogy in Matthew 24 and Luke 12. Paul used it in 1 Thessalonians 5 to the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

Meaning what? Suddenly, unexpectedly, surprisingly, strategically, no thief drives up and down the residential block where you live with a speaker on the top of his car saying at 2.04 in the morning I'm going to invade house number 7035. Thieves don't do that. They wait until you don't expect their coming.

And they come. Some in our congregation have had their houses invaded by thieves. And they've come home from a trip or from an evening out and they've noticed the door has been broken open or it has left a jar.

Or they've come up and turned the light on in their bedroom and looked and everything is a mess. Totally unexpected. No announcement. Like a thief in the night.

Suddenly. Now what will happen since we see it is going to be surprising and unexpected? I noticed three phrases in this verse, this tenth verse, mark them well. The heavens will pass away, the elements will be destroyed and the earth will be burned up.

All three are set forth in scripture. You don't have to wonder if this is going to happen in the future. It's declared.

You can believe it. Verse 12 includes the heavens will be destroyed by burning. The elements will melt with intense heat. How will it be? Look again at the passage. It will be verse 10 with a roar.

It will be with intense heat. It will be verse 12 by burning and melt with intense heat. You know what I see in this passage, the final end will not come because some nervous military ruler or authority pushes a button that starts an atomic war. I hear that a lot and I hear Christians disturbed about what was this the year that somebody will push the button. Let me tell you who's going to push the button. God.

God's got the button. He's not left it for men and women to end all things. He will end all things.

Men aren't even mentioned in this. The day of the Lord, not the day of war. It will be the Lord's timing in his way. God is in charge of the day of the Lord.

It's his day. The same one who created the earth reserves the right to end the earth. What intrigues us here are these words, roar and intense heat and destroy. Allow me at the risk of being a little pedantic. Allow me to work over these terms a little.

May I do that? Thanks to the writings of Kenneth Wiest, some of these words have come to life for me and for others who have studied his works. Notice the word roar. The heavens will pass away with a roar. The word was used of the whistling of an arrow through space.

The rush of wings, the splash of water, the hissing of a snake, the sound of filing of all things. The word elements here, the elements will be destroyed is a reference to the four elements of which the universe is composed. Fire, air, earth and water. And we read the elements will be destroyed with intense heat. The word destroyed literally means dissolve, be dissolved. And the intense heat is a violent consuming heat. It may very well be, may very well be that the atomic power that is stored within the elements will be instantaneously released with a hissing, whistling sound that is deafening to the ear. And with such intense heat it will be obliterated, it will be dissolved.

No matter how you describe it we're talking burnt up. We have on our electric range at home the ability as you do perhaps to, we have an oven that is self-cleaning. And every once in a while when the oven gets to the place where it needs it we will take the little splash trays from under the heating elements and we'll put them in the oven and we'll set in the oven the other things that have gotten stuff baked on them that are metal, we'll put them all in that oven and we'll close the oven and then we will set that little burner over on the day of the Lord heat, that kind of thing, just maximum heat. You don't want to open it, in fact you can't open it on our oven. Now when you finally, when it goes off and everything's cooled down and all the little red lights stop then you can pull this little lever back and open it up. Behold everything is clean.

I've thought of when the children got real dirty at times but that won't work, that's bad. But if it's metal it will all clean up and you know the amazing thing, you look in there for the stuff that was baked on the trays and on the oven and it's not there. It's just, it's magic. It's dissolved. But in the day of the Lord nothing will remain. The metal will be gone. The matter that is all about us, everything we can touch, look at, see, will be gone. It will all be gone.

And I'll tell you if you are a materialist that'll do a number on you. That thing you have been spending your time on and paying off and shining and making it look beautiful and all that's fine just so it doesn't control you, just so it doesn't own you, but one day it will be gone. Nothing will remain but humanity and the word of God. Heaven and earth may pass away but my word will never pass away.

You need a passage like this every once in a while to just put things back in perspective. Watch out about putting your roots down so deep and permanently on this old fire cursed earth because it's all going to be taken out with a violent consuming heat. The earth, the heavens, everything. One day on the final judgment not only will the metal not remain, the stove won't remain and the house in which the stove appears won't remain and the street on which the house sits won't be there and the city which has the street that has the house on it won't be there and the world which has the city which has the street which has the house will be gone.

Believe it. That's what God says. Now, what are our marching orders in light of these incredible events that are sure to happen? Look at verse 11. You talk about a passage of scripture that's relevant. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness? Verse 12, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.

Verse 13, but according to his promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Let me give you the marching orders in simple words. I give it to you in six words. Clean up, look up, speak up.

That's the way we ought to live. Clean up your life, look up and expect his coming, speak up every chance you get because his coming will not be delayed forever. The thing about his plan that makes it so intriguing and since it's like a thief in the night, it could be any day. It is that imminent.

Holy living therefore is a given. Genuine anticipation, that's just a part of our lifestyle. Let me ask you a question. When is the last time you deliberately thought he could come back today? For some of you honestly, now it's been months. For some of you it has been as recently as just a few minutes or hours ago. Now I'm not talking about during my message.

When you bring a message like this, we like to make up for lost time. Lord I knew you were coming all along, I just haven't reminded myself of it. But in light of his imminent return, do you really live in light of that?

Do you really conduct your life accordingly? Now don't go crazy with it. Once again balance is so important. Some people go nuts with verses like this and they decide to sell everything, own nothing, put on a white robe, stand on the rooftop, sing do Lord, wait, come! And their wives are down thinking what are we going to put on the table for supper, right?

Why do guys always do this kind of, men are the worst at stuff like this. It gets scary. Just live your life, live it regularly, consistently with Christ's return in view. Doesn't mean you never buy, doesn't mean you never own. It means that whatever you buy and whatever you own, whatever you touch, whatever is a part of your life, you just hold real loosely. Hold it loosely, don't make a god out of it. Keep remembering it's going to wind up in the fire.

That'll help. And I've seen some of your cars, they need to be in a fire. They're all going to wind up there. The purpose of prophetic truth, I learned this from Dr. Pentecost as well, I'm so grateful for it. The purpose of prophetic truth is not speculation, it's motivation. Almost without exception, maybe without exception, whenever prophetic truth is set forth in the scriptures, the Lord comes back and says, now in light of that, this is how you want to live.

Prophecy is never meant to be an end in itself, but prophetic truth is designed to light a fire under our lives and get us in gear. Change the way we live. Alter our motivation. Sometimes it just takes a few words and your whole life is turned around. Maybe this message represents the few words you needed.

Let me close with a true story. In the spring of 1871, a young man picked up a book and read 21 words that had a profound effect on his future. A medical student at the Montreal General Hospital, he was worried about passing the final examination.

Worried about what to do, where to go, how to build up a practice, and how to make a living. The 21 words this young man read in 1871 helped him become the most famous physician of his generation. He organized the world famous Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He became the Regis Professor of Medicine at Oxford, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon any medical person in the British Empire. He was later knighted by the King of England.

When he died, two huge volumes containing 1,466 pages were required to tell the story of his life. His name, Sir William Osler, and here are the 21 words he read in the spring of 1871. Words from Thomas Carlyle that helped him lead a life free from worry. I quote, Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.

Isn't that great, counsel? Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. I'm going to ask you a question. What lies clearly at hand?

What is it? For each one of us, it's perhaps something a little bit different. For me, it may be one thing, and for you, perhaps something altogether different or somewhat different. The enemy knows that it doesn't take much to get any one of us sidetracked. He'll even get us into a debate about prophetic truths and cause us to argue over what lies dimly in the distance so that we miss what lies clearly at hand. May I give it to you one more time? Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.

I have a word of truth for you who do not know Christ as your Lord and Savior. Nothing, nothing is more important for you today than to give him your heart. Nothing. No debt to be paid. No relationship to be restored. No sale to make. No, not even an affectionate hug to give to someone else. No word of encouragement.

None of those things, important as they may be, none is more important than your decision to give your life to Jesus Christ. Because I want to tell you, his coming is closer now than it has ever been. And every earthquake reminds me of that.

Every one. And one of these days, his coming will make, quote, the big one look like nothing. Because when he comes for a final judgment, it's curtains.

And your chances are over. Let's bow together shall we? Build your own personal altar right there behind your eyelids and there in your lap. Thank the Lord for making his word so clear and for being so patient with you. For forgiving you of those many times you've turned things into shrines and made some dream your whole passion for living. And now ask him to help you filter out the essentials from the many, many, many, many incidentals.

To give you the vision to do what is clearly at hand rather than what is dimly in the distance. For some of you, it's to give your life to Jesus Christ right now. He died for you, he paid the price for your sins, he opened the way, he's the mediator between God and you, and God patiently waits for you to believe.

Come now. Father, I thank you for the privilege of speaking truth from a book that is without error and continues to make better sense the longer all of us live. Thank you for saying it in our language and for those who paid the price that we might have it in our tongue.

Thank you for addressing things that matter rather than wasting our time with things that we could never understand. Our Father, may less and less of our life be a waste and may more and more of it be spent on what really matters because the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. And our Father, we accept your mysterious timetable and we stake our whole future on it. Though we cannot unravel all the pieces we've seen enough to know that we must live our lives clean, ready, and willing to be taken. And we reaffirm that in this moment of time. Give us the courage to speak up.

Keep us from spending all of our days looking up. But our Father, may we not forget to do that as well. We thank you for the things we have learned and the difference it will make in our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Amen. Visit us online at This is Insight for Living and on this program Chuck asked us to mention a brand new book from a preacher and professor named Jonathan Murphy. If you've watched the online church services at Stonebriar Community Church where Chuck serves as senior pastor, you've likely seen Jonathan. He's a regular guest speaker when Chuck is away. Jonathan wrote a wonderful new book called Authentic Influencer The Barnabas Way of Shaping Lives for Jesus.

You may not see yourself as a leader, but actually everyone is a leader to someone. And whether you're a mom or dad or even a big brother or sister, this book is for you. It's a wonderful read and it's for anyone who's serious about being a Christ-like encourager each day.

You can purchase a copy by going to slash store or you can call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Well, we are deeply grateful for those who have stepped forward during these past few months to support Insight for Living. You may have no idea how your gift makes a difference, but we sure do. Every single day we hear from grateful listeners who hear Chuck's teaching from all points on the globe and they tell us how God is using Insight for Living to stimulate their love for God and their walk with him. In fact, because of your support, Chuck's teaching is translated into nine languages. So thank you so much for joining us in an all-out effort to make disciples of Jesus Christ in all 195 countries of the world. To give a donation right now, go to You can also call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or again visit us online at I'm Bill Meyer inviting you to join us again next time when Chuck begins his 10th and final message in the Second Peter series right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, The Day of the Lord was copyrighted in 1990 and 2011 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-10 14:34:45 / 2023-08-10 14:43:25 / 9

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