29 Aug 2021


By Living a Waiting Lifestyle

Speaker: Ps Luwin Wong
Sermon Title: By Living a Waiting Lifestyle
Scripture Text: 2 Peter 3:11-18

1. Wait because this world will pass away.

2. Wait by living kingdom lives.

3. Wait by growing in knowing Christ.

Reflection Questions:

  • Do you long for heaven? Do you live in this world conscious of its temporality and so value it lightly? Do you value heaven greatly today? Why or why not? 
  • What “due diligence” must you undertake today to ensure that when That Day arrives, you will be found by Christ “without spot or blemish, and at peace”? 
  • How can you grow in knowing Christ better each day? And how can you encourage others to do the same?
Scripture: 2 Peter 3:11-18 (ESV)

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

transcript

Introduction

In 1999, at the close of the millennium, the British Royal National Theatre conducted a poll to find the Most Significant English Language Play of the 20th Century. The one that won the vote for the most significant English language play of the 20th century was a play called “Waiting for Godot”.

The play is very minimalistic. Most of the time, the only thing you on stage is two main characters Vladimir and Estragon and a prop of a dead tree between them. The entire play consists of conversations between Vladimir and Estragon, who are waiting for the arrival of the mysterious Godot. Now Godot repeatedly sends word via a messenger boy that he is delayed, but he will appear but he never does.

While waiting for Godot, Vladimir and Estragon, discuss their miseries and their lots in life, but they curiously say nothing of significance, they encounter nothing meaningful, they do nothing dramatic.

There is no emergence of a storyline, there is no development of a plot.

It’s almost as if they are drawing the audience into the play itself. The audience is waiting for something to happen, but nothing does. The audience is waiting for Godot to appear, he never does. You’re kept waiting.

At the end of the play, the two characters consider hanging themselves, and the only reason they didn’t, is because they had no rope to hang themselves with, and so all that’s left to do is wait.

I read Waiting For Godot when I was a teenager and I didn’t understand it. It wasn’t until years later that I realised that it wasn’t meant to understood. It’s meant to be interpreted. You’re meant to resonate with it, to see yourself and the world and your circumstances within its premise.

Because we’re all waiting for something all of the time. The reason why Waiting For Godot was voted the Most Significant Play of the 20th Century is because it strikes an existential chord within everyone of us. The experience of waiting and having to find personal meaning and purpose whilst waiting, is a universal experience.

But how we wait and what we do while we wait depends very much on what we’re waiting for.

Some types of waiting you can’t do very much about.

Waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
Waiting for your university acceptance letter.
Waiting for the results of a biopsy test.

These waiting is a passive waiting. Not much you can do with respect to the event, whilst waiting. Doesn’t make it any easier, it’s just that you can’t do much about it.

Some types of waiting, you can do something about.

Waiting for the birth of your child. It’s not a passive sort of waiting. As a mother carrying a child in the womb, you make sure you eat well and sleep properly, you make sure you avoid coffee and wine and sashimi. You make sure you go for your check ups and meet all your milestones. A big chunk of that 9 months is spent in a flurry of activity. That’s how you wait for the birth of your child. You wait actively.


Waiting for the day you stand on a Olympic podium. That wait starts for many Olympians at the age of 4 or 5, and it involves dedication, and discipline, and sacrifice. It’s an active waiting.

Waiting for your child to grow up. Every parent longs for that day, when their child grows up to be independent adults. And parents take responsibility as they wait for that day. They take it upon themselves to work towards the day they see their kids grow up into adults. It’s not the kind of waiting where you simply fold your arms or twiddle your thumbs.

There are things you can work towards even as you have to wait for them. You can shape the waiting, you wait purposefully, in the case of your child growing up, you can even hasten or delay the arrival of the day.

If you’re a Christian, you’re waiting for Jesus to come back. The question is how should we be waiting?

If you’re a Christian, you’re living a waiting lifestyle. It is no longer a matter of whether or not we’re waiting. We are waiting for God. The question is how are we waiting? Is it a passive act of waiting, or is there something we can and ought to while we wait? Is there a right way and a wrong way to this waiting lifestyle?

That’s the question our text this morning is concerned about.

Let’s go the word to find out why and how we ought to wait each day for That Day?

  1. Wait because this world will pass away.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, 

what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 

12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,

because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved,

and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 

13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

In verses 11-13, Peter gives us the reason why we should wait for the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And the reason is because the world we live in today is temporal and will dissolve on that day.

The reason why we ought to live this day waiting for that Day is because this day will pass away.

I’m not sure what in my YouTube browsing habits is suggesting to their logarithm that I’m interested in learning how to investing in stocks. Every other YouTube advertisement they force upon me is this guy or that lady telling me to stop whatever I’m doing and take 90 secs to listen to them teach me how to make millions from investing in the stock market.

I always assumed that the internet is filled greedy people trying to scam me of my money. But YouTube advertisements have opened my eyes to the staggering amount of self-made millionaires who, out of the goodness of their hearts, have taken time out of their day, to teach someone like me how to make money they could otherwise have been making themselves.

Now, having watched quite a number of these “tutorials” one of the common things they say is “Now, you’ve heard people tell you, the trick to investing is to buy low and sell high, I’m here to tell you, that’s wrong. The secret to beating the market is not to buy low, but to buy undervalued stocks, and to sell them, not when they’re high, but when they are overvalued. Click the link below to find out how to evaluate the value of a stock”.

I’m thinking, I’ve never traded a share in my life, but even I know that. That’s just common sense isn’t it? You’re not going to buy any cheap stock that you see, some stocks may be cheap for a very good reason: no one wants them because the company is going bankrupt; it’s closing down.

It’s just common sense to choose too invest in a company who will grow from strength to strength, a company which stable and enduring and won’t sudden fade away. It’s only common sense.

If you discover that a start up’s business model is to sell indoor heating systems and fireplaces to Singapore homes, you don’t invest in it, however cheap its IPO may be. It’s folly, because that company isn’t going to last. It’ll disappear real quick.

That’s the point that Peter wants us to understand. It’s a fool’s errand to invest in this world, because it is doomed to be dissolved. All these things, this world, this earthly existence, is temporal.

It may not seem like it. The universe is nearly 14 billion years old. The earth itself is 4.5 billion years old. To our human senses this is as enduring as it gets. This material world is the very definition of stability, as far as science can tell.

But each time you remember the coming of That Day. Each time you fix your mind on the return of Christ, you are reminded that this will pass. This will burn, this will be dissolved. It will be replaced by the permanent eternal kingdom of God.

So it makes no sense to invest here. You know well enough to not invest in a company in the process of winding up. It is folly to live as though the aim of life is to gain as much of this world as possible. It’s a fading world. It’s disappearing world. A new heaven and new earth will replace it.

So the point is not to have the biggest house here, the fastest car here, the most number of toys here, the greatest amount of wealth here, to eat the best food here, to live the longest life here.

The point is to live for God’s eternal kingdom. To store up unfading treasure in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy. The point is to live for the world that is to come.

It’s only sensible way to live, if you truly believe that this world is thus to be dissolved. That at the coming of the day of God, the heavens as we know it will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

Those who hold fast to his promise are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

We live a life that waits for a new world, that looks forward to our eternal home, because this world is temporal. Everything we put into it, everything we invest into the present world, has a return value of absolute zero. Everything we invest into the kingdom of God, however, will reap us infinite reward.

There are two ways to live, but only one makes sense. Only one leads to a life that eternal, that is truly life.

How then shall we live? What characterises a lifestyle that waits for that Day?

  1. Wait by living kingdom lives.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, 
what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 
12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved,
and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 
13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these,
be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 
15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation,

Joe Frazier, legendary heavyweight boxer, Olympic gold medallist and the first man to ever defeat Muhammad Ali in the ring, famously said: “Champions are not made in the ring; they are merely recognised there.

Which means to say, to be a champion requires you to have been thinking like champion, to have been training like a champion, to have been eating, drinking, sleeping like a champion, so when you show up to the ring on the day of the title fight, you are merely recognised on that day for who you are.

The way you become heavyweight champion of the world is to show up in the ring as heavyweight champion of world. The day of the fight simply confirms who you already are.

The way we wait to enter into the eternal kingdom of God on That Day is by living lives that confirm we belong there today.

“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” you see. The eternal kingdom is a kingdom where the righteous dwells, where the righteous belongs.

The way to gain an entrance is not by becoming righteous on that day, but by being recognised as righteous on that day. You confirm your calling by living worthy of your calling. You confirm your election by living the lifestyle of an elect.

You confirm your place in the kingdom of righteousness on that day by living as a citizen of heaven all these days.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, 
what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 
12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these,
be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 

Because you are waiting for that day, live lives of holiness and godliness this day. Because you are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, be diligent to be found by Christ on that day, as one who belongs in that new world – righteous, without spot or blemish.

And so when Christ comes back, he finds you in peace as your Saviour, not wrath as your judge. So it matters how you live this day, in the light of that day.

beloved, since you are waiting for these,
be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 

It harkens back to Peters exhortation in chapter 1, where he urges us to “make every effort to grow in godliness”. That’s what a waiting lifestyle looks like. It looks like diligence, it looks like effort, it looks like righteousness. Because that’s what we’re waiting for!

new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Now at this point, some of you might say, Luwin this sounds like a pre-reformation sermon. Whatever happened to “salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone”?

Well, you are saved by faith alone. That is not the issue here. The question is how do you ascertain that you have

“obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (1:1)?

Peter is well aware that the salvific quality of our faith rests ultimately on the righteousness of Christ (and not on ours!), but how do you tell that you are in possession of such saving faith?

Because Jesus makes it clear that profession of faith does not equate to possession of faith.

Matt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

So how do we know if we are those who will enter the kingdom?

In the same chapter, Jesus gives the answer, “You will know them by their fruit”. It’s an action-based evaluation. The bible doesn’t ask us to assess the invisible state of our minds or the hidden sincerity of our hearts.

It calls us to look at the visible fruit of our invisible faith.

Yes, it is belief that saves us. But what we believe is most appropriately expressed by how we live.

You can believe you’re an apple tree, you can tell everybody you meet “I’m an apple tree”. You can even attend all the weekly apple tree conferences they organise in the orchard. But when summer comes around and oranges start popping out of our branches… hey, guess what, you’re an orange tree.

We are known by our fruit. So yes, we are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is not alone. It’s a faith issues in godliness, it’s a faith that bears the fruit of righteousness.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, 
what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 
12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these,
be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 

The sort of people who gain an entrance into the kingdom of our Lord are those who wait for that coming day by living lives of holiness and godliness today. They are recognised as those who belong to the kingdom of righteousness on that day because of their righteous way of life on this day.

So, the reason why we wait for the eternal kingdom on that day is because this world is passing away. And the way we wait for the kingdom is by living kingdom lives of righteousness which confirms our citizenship there.

There is one more way we wait for that day. And that is by growing . By growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Wait by growing in knowing Christ

15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation,
just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 
16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. 
There are some things in them that are hard to understand,
which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, 
as they do the other Scriptures. 
17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand,
take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

In the final verses of what was perhaps his final letter to the church, the apostle Peter comes full circle, revisiting an idea with which he opened the letter.

Namely, the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:2. “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him.”

We enter into the realm of grace, within which all believers stand, by knowing Jesus our Lord. We are granted all that we need to live kingdom lives of godliness through the knowledge of Jesus. We obtain a divine nature that has escaped the corruption of the world, through knowing Christ.

Knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was our way into grace back in the day, it will be our way home on that day, and so it must be the way we live our lives today. Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I am not oblivious to skepticism about the ministry model of a BP Church like Mt Hermon’s. Why so much bible study in CGs? Why 40 min long sermons that focus so much on a text which isn’t immediately relevant to the man on the street. Why so many courses on understand the storyline of the bible and how to interpret it?

Why so much emphasis on the Word, why not simply focus on love and lifestyle and behaviour? Well, the apostle Peter is concerned with behaviour.

He devotes large sections of chapters 1 and 2 telling us what character qualities to cultivate and what behaviours to avoid. He opens and closes the letter reminding us that the point is to lead lives of godliness.

But Peter knows that behaviour is a merely a symptom, of which belief is the cause. Our behaviour reflects our beliefs. What we believe transforms how we live.

As William James, the father American psychology said, “You’re not what you think you are, but what you think, you are”.

So, out of his concern for right living, Peter closes with a final exhortation for right thinking. Out of his desire to see them lead lives of godliness, he emphasises the primacy of sound teaching. Sound teaching that comes from rightly interpreting the word of God.

There are some things in them (Paul’s letters) that are hard to understand,
which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, 
as they do the other Scriptures. 

17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand,
take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

The problem is lawless living, the solution is sound doctrine. To ensure you do not lose your stability, you grow in the knowledge of Jesus. To grow in the knowledge of Jesus, you grow in your understanding of Scripture.

Knowing Jesus Christ was our way in. Knowing him will be our way home. So knowing him must be our way now.

The reason we live a waiting lifestyle is because this present world will pass away. And the way we live a waiting lifestyle is to grow in godliness by growing in the knowledge of Christ.

Martin Luther wrote, “I have two days in my calendar: this day and that Day.”

Family of Christ, let us live that way. Ever waiting for that day. Ever praying “thy kingdom come”, every saying with the saints through the ages, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus”.

Before we close this series on 2 Peter. I want to address those among us who have not put their faith in Jesus Christ. Who are not expecting, much less waiting for his appearing.

I appeal to you to reconsider your beliefs. I urge you to reconsider your position. Because we might both be wrong about the question of God, but we can’t both be right. Either Jesus is coming back or he is not.

And if, just if, the bible is true. Then Jesus will return and That Day entails eternal consequences for every human being. It will be a day of judgement for all the wrong things we have done. And there is not a single person here today that is not guilty of wrongdoing.

The apostle Peter who wrote this letter preached the very first Christian sermon some two thousand years ago in Jerusalem and to the crowds there, he said:

Acts 17:30-31“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Christians believe that God has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed and raised from the grave – the man Jesus Christ. That day has not yet come, I appeal you to count the patience of the Lord as salvation, and heed the call to repent and come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour.

There is time yet. And that time is now.

Come to us to find out more about the man whom God has appointed. Come to know the Lord Jesus Christ who is coming back one glorious day.

To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

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