Matthew R. Perry

Libertarian Mindset in the Church, Part III: Be Readied For His Return

In Church Life, For Preachers/Pastors, For Seminary Students, Preaching, Sermons on November 2, 2007 at 12:01 am

(If you would like to listen to this sermon in its entirety, click here. This was preached on Sunday, October 28, 2007, at the Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. You may also read the Introduction , Part I  and Part II to this blog series.)

Jude 14-16 says:

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage (Jude 14-16, ESV).

Jude now weighs in by telling his people the future of these apostates: they will see clearly what they should have seen previously — the reality of God’s authority. Second Peter 3:1-4 gives a warning to all potential and present apostates of the judgment to come:

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:1-4, ESV).

These apostates deny God’s authority in the past, present, and even in future events such as the promise of his coming! Yet, the first one to prophesy about their attitude was not Peter — the prophesying of this went back to Enoch. While the Scripture contain little information about Enoch, Jude retrieves this quote from The Book of Enoch, a well-known work in Palestine during Jude’s day. Though this book is not inspired and does not belong in the Bible, the Spirit used this quote to communicate something rather significant to us: when we deny the authority of God in the world and in our hearts, consequences ensue. What are those consequences?

First, Jude tells us that the holy ones (that is, the angels) will come to “execute judgment on all” (Jude 14, ESV). The “all” here deals with those apostate false teachers — and their judgment will be hell itself. Why? Read on, “… and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 14b). If you have your Bibles with you, read back over that portion I just read to you. Notice how many times the word or word form of “ungodly” was used: four times! The significance of this is obvious.

These apostates deny the authority of God and his Word. They failed to see the examples of the disobedient ones of the past, they fail to hear the authoritative Word of God in the here and now — and they fail to care about the consequences of the future. In fact, the true church of Jesus Christ can identify who these wolves are by reading Jude 16: “These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.”

By now, many of you are saying, “Bro. Matt, this just seems to be too much. The church should be all about love and peace. People need to hear about some positive issues and about how loving Jesus is.” Fair enough! People do indeed need to know about the grand love of God, how rich and pure it is — how measureless and strong! Yet, we need to know that God loves us enough to warn us when wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing come into our midst.

I shall never forget the time I was in sixth grade — around 1982. We were having fun that day — learning fun areas in science, playing football and basketball during gym class, and other activities that day which made me excited to be at school. During the day, however, we had a surprise drill. This drill was not an ordinary fire drill — this drill took place so we would be ready in case of a nuclear attack. Instead of school being a time where we enjoyed ourselves, the teacher took us to the place where we would go and began to tell us about the effects of nuclear weapons and how we were to take care of ourselves. This information was not fun to hear, but we certainly needed this information to heighten our awareness.

I love Boone’s Creek Baptist Church. I love all of you. I love the community and the city in which we are located. I love hearing the choir sing. I love the fellowship of our Sunday School class. I love the brotherhood the deacons and I share together. I love the missions trips we take. I love seeing people come to know the Lord and be set free from their captivity to sin. I love seeing fellow brothers and sisters who move to Lexington come and join our church to help us advance the cause of Christ. All of these items make being a pastor at this church fun for me.

Yet, I am not so naïve as to think that wolves will never attempt to enter into the flock. Satan is described as a roaring lion seeking whom he will devour. We tend to forget about him, don’t we? Yet, God has given us his armor to put on. Why? “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11, ESV). How can we be ready?

First, know that God sent Jesus Christ into the world not only to save us from our sin and to be Lord, but to ready us for his return. First Thessalonians 5:2-3 tells us,

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape (1 Thes. 5:2-3, ESV).

Secondly, know that Christ has assured us of victory in the here and hereafter. In Matthew 16, after Simon Peter replied to Jesus’ inquiry, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat. 16:17-18, ESV). In 1 Corinthians 1 Cor. 15:55-58, Paul encourages the Corinthian church:

“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:55-58, ESV).

Church, we can be steadfast and immovable because of the victory accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ. The war is won — but many battles take place. We must be ready not only for his return, but readied because of his return. He will come back and avenge his church. When? Revelation 6:9-11 tells us:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been (Rev. 6:9-11, ESV).

The result?

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants” (Rev. 19:1-2, ESV).

If Christ will keep and avenge those who are martyred, he shall keep us who persevere in the faith! Be ready for his return — and be readied when you consider his return. He will redeem his people, and execute judgment on the ungodly.

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