Cecil Hutson Sermon Archive
December 25, 2005 PM
HEAVEN IS FOR THE PREPARED
2 PET 3:13,14
INTRO: There has been an incredible explosion of books promoting the idea of a second reign of the Lord on earth with attendant suggestions about the great tribulation, the rapture and such. I suppose the most recent of these to gain great popularity have been the Left Behind books. Some of the pre-millennial writings of considerable age would refer to this passage as proof that the earth will be cleansed by fire and made suitable for the millennial reign of Christ. Contrary to those ideas, however, the present passage simply teaches us that heaven is for the prepared!
I. THERE IS A PROMISE INVOLVED HERE
A. The Lord has promised an eternal rest to the faithful
1. Jno 14:1-3 - a prepared place for a prepared people
2. 2 Cor 5:1 - ...eternal in the heavens
3. Heb 11:10,14-16 - ...they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly..
4. 1 Thes 4:13-18 - ...so shall we ever be with the Lord
5. and Peter would certainly have been well acquainted with such a promise
B. The figure of the new heavens and a new earth
1. represents a dramatic change in situations
2. example: Isa 65:17 & 66:22 - of the restoration after Babylonian captivity
3. example: Rev 21:1 - of the period following great Roman persecution of the church in which the church enjoys peach and triumph
4. example: 2 Cor 5:17 - of the new state of one who is in Christ
5. while the expression may represent the dramatic change in situations, the context must tell us what the new situation is
C. ...wherein dwelleth righteousness
1. the first word needing our attention here is dwelleth
2. the Gr. word refers to permanent dwelling - this is a permanent state
3. only righteousness is permitted to be in this dwelling
4. what is the permanent state of the righteous? heaven!
5. heaven will be a dramatic change in situation for saints who have faced trials, persecutions and such in this present situation
II. THERE IS A CHALLENGE HERE
A. Peter refers to those things for which Christians would be looking
1. the day of the Lord - 1 Cor 5:5 (certainly, the great judgment day)
2. the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up - the end of the material creation
3. it is so easy for people of the material creation to become distracted, rooted ... and lose sight of reality!
4. Heb 9:27 - this is reality ... but it is so easy to neglect reality
B. The challenge to those who are anticipating?
1. simply be diligent - one cannot be nonchalant, ambivalent here
2. remember at 1:10 - give diligence to make your calling...sure
3. Peter, nearing the end of his life, is so concerned for others ... for the fate of their souls ... Wherefore, beloved....
4. no doubt, he has seen disciples neglecting, falling!
C. Diligence in three very important matters:
1. in peace - peace with God and man (Phil 4:9 & Jas 3:17,18)
2. without spot - pure, holy (Jas 1:27)
3. blameless - not worthy of blame, condemnation (1 Cor 1:7,8)
CLOSE: In 3:14 are the words that ye may be found of him. How will He find you? 2 Cor 5:9 ... are you laboring to be accepted of Him? Remember, heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.
Cecil A. Hutson
25 December 2005
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)