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Lesson 13: How Shall We Wait? *

Introduction: Do you sometimes worry about whether Jesus is really coming again? In a court of law, "gold standard" evidence is when your opponent admits a fact is true. In Matthew 8:29 two demons (fallen angels) first admit that Jesus is the "Son of God" and then ask "have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" Fallen angels know God has an appointed time when Jesus will return and bring an end to sin. Let's jump into our study and discover what the Bible says we should be doing while we wait!

  1. Peter on Trust


    1. Read 2 Peter 3:2-3. On what is Peter basing his statements? (On what the prophets and Jesus have said.)


      1. What can we expect in the last days? (People who will scoff at the message of the Bible and scoff at us.)


      2. Why do you think they scoff? Is it because the Bible is inherently untrustworthy? (No. They want to do their own will and not be constrained by the Bible.)


    2. Read 2 Peter 3:4. Wait a minute. Here is some hard evidence to use as a basis to doubt - everything has remained the same since the beginning of the world. Do you agree?


    3. Read 2 Peter 3:5-6. How have things changed? (Peter says water was part of the creation of the world and it was the agent for the destruction caused by the flood.)


      1. Do the scoffers know this? (Yes. "They deliberately forgot.")


        1. Do we still have the same kind of scoffers? (Yes! How many scientists acknowledge a world-wide flood?)


      2. What did God use to create the world and cause the flood? (His word!)


    4. Read 2 Peter 3:7. What does it mean that "by the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire?" (I think "word" is used in two ways. First, the word of God promised the final destruction. Second, God is powerful enough that He merely speaks the fire into action.)


    5. Peter is making a logical argument here in support of the coming judgment. What is it? (God destroyed the earth once - and He did it by merely speaking. God can easily destroy the earth again.)


    6. Read 2 Peter 3:8-9. Peter directly addresses the issue of delay. Why has God delayed? (God is patient with humans in the hope they will turn to Him. God has a different perspective on time.)


    7. Read 2 Peter 3:10. Peter reaffirms that Jesus will come a second time and destroy the old heavens and earth. What idea does Peter inject when he says that Jesus will come "like a thief?"


  2. Peter on Waiting


    1. Read 2 Peter 3:11-12. Is this the answer you would have given to Peter's question? I think the answer "alert and jumpy" makes more sense than "holy and godly." Why holy and godly?


    2. Read 2 Peter 3:13-14. The new earth is the "home of righteousness." Therefore we should work to be righteous - isn't that what Peter is saying?


    3. Read 2 Peter 3:15-16. Now we know why Peter has righteousness by faith wrong, he has a hard time understanding Paul!


      1. Or, are we "ignorant and unstable people" who are distorting Paul's message of righteousness by faith?


    4. Read 2 Peter 3:17. What error concerns Peter? (Those who believe in no law.)


      1. How can a dependence on righteousness by works ever be a "secure position?"


    5. Re-read 2 Peter 3:11-12. Does Peter say that we need to live holy and godly lives in order to be saved? (No! He says that right living will "speed" the time of Jesus' Second Coming. If God's goal to have "everyone come to repentance" ( 2 Peter 3:9), is our goal, it makes sense to set a right example by living holy and godly lives.)


    6. Read 2 Peter 3:18. What does Peter say about grace? (That we should grow in it and in our knowledge of Jesus. It turns out that Peter is giving a message of grace without tossing out the practical importance of right living.)


  3. Jesus on Waiting


    1. Read Matthew 24:36. How does the fact that we do not know the day of Jesus' return impact what we should be doing while waiting?


    2. Read Matthew 24:37-41. Will the world help us to know when the end is near? (The world goes on as usual.)


    3. Read Matthew 24:42-44. This is the second time we see this "thief" reference. What does it mean to "keep watch?" If Jesus is coming anyway, why watch? (The thief reference shows us what Jesus means. He is telling us to be alert and ready for His coming at all times.)


    4. Read Matthew 24:45-46. What is the work of the faithful and wise servant? (To give "food" to those in the household.)


      1. What do you think is meant by the term "food?" Is it symbolic?


    5. Read John 4:34. When Jesus says that finishing the work of God is His "food," what do you think He means?


      1. Why is food a good analogy? (Food gives us energy. What energizes Jesus is doing God's will. The work of the wise and faithful servant is energizing others to do God's will.)


    6. Read John 4:35. When Jesus speaks of "harvest," what do you think He means? (Sharing the gospel with those who want to hear it.)


      1. When should we do this work of harvest? (Right now. No need to wait.)


      2. When someone accepts the gospel, does that energize you?


    7. Read John 4:36-38. Have you ever been discouraged when you were not able to convert someone? What information does this text contain that is encouraging? (It is enough to be part of the process of conversion. We don't need to take responsibility for the entire process. What we do to share the gospel may bear fruit later with the efforts of someone else.)


  4. John on Waiting


    1. Read Revelation 14:6-7. Are angels going to do our work for us? (God always works with us. This gives us advice on how we can work while waiting.)


      1. What is our message? (God created everything. He is entitled to worship and praise and honor. There is an urgency to this because the time of judgment has come.)


    2. Read Revelation 14:8. What do you think is Babylon? (Read Isaiah 21:9. Babylon represents the worship of false gods. Adultery/fornication is unfaithfulness to God. The reference to "maddening wine" shows that unfaithfulness to God makes no logical sense. Thus, the message is that the enemies of God are defeated!)


    3. How would you put these two messages together? (Our Creator God defeated sin. The time for judgment is here! All humans need to join forces with the God who is victorious.)


    4. Read Revelation 14:9-12. "Patient endurance" is not an exciting term. Previously, we discussed how our work of sharing the gospel gives us energy. Why is this an appropriate picture now? (The message is to continue our work. The end is near, so continue the work of sharing the gospel.)


      1. Look again at Revelation 14:10-11. What role does this information play in our end-time message? (We make a mistake when we fail to mention the coming judgment. After all, what does judgment mean? Our decisions have consequences!)


    5. Read Revelation 21:1-4. What is the positive message of the Second Coming? (We will live with God in this fabulous place where we no longer have pain, mourning, sadness or death. These "old order" problems have passed away! Praise God!)


    6. Friend, will you choose God now? While you wait will you share the gospel message? Why not ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into your special role in end-time work?


  5. Next week we start a new series on the book of Job.
* Copr. 2016, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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