1. How many of you love to wait? (We are not very patient! I despise waiting in an office for an appointment that was at 9 am and at 9:30 I’m still setting in the “waiting room.” The name of the room alone should be a clue as to what we will do there.)
2. What are your favorite things to do when you have to wait for something? (Play games on your electronic devices? Read? Check emails? Etc.)
3. When have you given up on something because you grew tired of waiting?
There are areas of our lives that are much more important than waiting in a doctor’s office for your appointment.
It is easy to grow weary when we are waiting for a positive pregnancy test, a job promotion, or some other critical change in our present circumstances. It is tempting, for example, to give up on a broken marriage after a long, painful dry spell. In God’s timing, however, many people have discovered that by refusing to divorce and entrusting their relationship to God, their marriage eventually grew more satisfying.
Sometimes if we are not careful, we can grow weary of waiting for God. Long before we hit the earth, believers in the early church were already growing weary of waiting for the return that Jesus had promised. Believers today may even forget to anticipate it.
The key doctrine we will focus on today is this: According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness.
Read 2 Peter 3:1-2 Peter tells his readers that he wrote the two letters to them so that they might remember what the prophets had spoken and the commands of our Lord.
A Sure Return! Read 2 Peter 3:3-7
1. What was Peter’s first warning in these verses to his readers? (“Scoffers will come in the last days…” Remember last week we said the “last days” represent the time between Jesus’ ascension and His second return—now in other words.)
2. What will be the lifestyle of these scoffers? (“Living according to their own desires”)
3. What will be their argument against Christ return to earth? (Look, nothing has changed since the world started and nothing is going to change!)
4. What evidence of God’s judgment will they ignore? (vs 5-6)
Notice how verse seven begins, “by the same word”. Just as God said He would bring judgment in Noah’s day, He has said He will return and bring judgment at the end of time.
5. What are some reasons people doubt the second coming of Christ today?
6. How do today’s reasons compare with the reasons heard in Peter’s day?
Peter said that God could hold back the Day of Judgment and the destruction of ungodly men. This would happen eventually, but it was not time.
The Patient Father! Read 2 Peter 3:8-9
1. What are the reasons or explanations given for the seeming delay in Christ’s return? (God is not bound by time, as we are. It is God’s desire that everyone come to know Him as Savior.)
Peter pointed to God’s delay in the second coming as an act of God’s grace that allows for more to come to Him in repentance.
In Matthew 24:14 Jesus said, “This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.” (See Mark 13:10 also.)
It seems that we are losing the battle for souls in our nation but around the world, because of His grace, there may be millions coming to know Jesus that we have no knowledge of!
Our Heavenly Father’s greatest desire is that people come to Him in faith. He deeply desires a personal relationship with all of the crown of His creation—human beings.
2. How is God’s timing of the second coming an act of both grace and mercy?
Peter assured his readers that the Day of the Lord would come, so they should not be presumptuous of God’s grace, missing the opportunity to accept His forgiveness.
The Warning Issued! Read 2 Peter 3:10
1. What does this verse say are three things that will happen when Jesus returns?
2. What illustrations other than a thief could be used to describe the Day of the Lord?
See Matthew 24:45-51. A Master places his servant in charge and goes off for an undetermined length of time. The Master suddenly returns to find the servant has not been taking care of the Master’s estate as he should.
All of the following Scriptures say the same truth: Matt. 24:43-44; Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Revelation 3:3; 16:15.
3. What impact do you think these events will have on the people of the world? (It will produce shock and awe as the dramatic events unfold. While a full understanding of what will take place is incomprehensible, the warning and image of heaven and earth catching fire should fill us with the desire to lead holy, godly lives until then.)
While Waiting! Read 2 Peter 3:11-18
1. What should those of us who are waiting on the Lord’s return be doing as we wait? (Be diligent in carrying out the Great Commission—take the gospel to the unreached world!)
2. How is the life we are to live in anticipation of the return of Jesus a reflection of the life we will have after His return? (We will live in full obedience to the Father.)
Peter ended his letter where he started it—by encouraging his readers to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ!
3. If a person is growing in his or her spiritual life, all the other issues faced in this life become secondary. Do you agree or disagree?
Summarize and Challenge!
1. How long has it been since you contemplated the Lord’s return and shared your excitement with another believer or your fear with someone who is lost?
2. How can you use the truths presented in this passage when confronted by a skeptic who denies the return of Jesus? (Record key points.)
3. With whom can you share these insights?
4. When do we pray, “even so come Lord Jesus”?
Most of the time when we ask for His return, it is when we are down, in the middle of bad circumstances and we see it as a chance to escape. We should be looking forward to His coming at all times!
5. What hope do you have to offer non-believers?
Challenge: Commit to live confidently and expectantly toward the return of Jesus and live victoriously every day!