Happenings around Antioch

Scoffer…or settled?

Are you scoffer? Or are you settled in your faith?

Scoffers will come in, Peter wrote in his second letter, and we need to be ready for that. Why do they scoff at what they don’t understand? Peter tells us, and so does Jude. They scoff because they are “following their own desires,” Peter wrote. Jude said they were “following their own sinful desires.” It has been proven to me over and over since I was a young Christian. I would hear that someone had left the church and was telling people that, “You know, I don’t really believe that stuff is true anymore.” I would eventually hear that their disbelief really had nothing to do with why they left the church and walked away from the faith. It was because they had given themselves to sinful patterns of behavior that they simply did not want to give up. Peter said it, plainly: scoffers scoff because they are following their own desires. A young man may claim to have decided that he doesn’t believe anymore what the Bible teaches about sexual purity. But his sinful choices preceded his “decision” about the truth of God’s word. Again, scoffers scoff because they are following their own desires.

Peter wrote that some of the scoffers also reject the truth about God’s judgment with this argument: “Where is he? He’s not coming! I mean, look around. Ever since the beginning of this faith you people believe in, everything is continuing just like it always has!” Some would say to us that they don’t believe there is any point to anything we do as Christians. Why try to be good when you can just do what you want and be happy? The scoffers sometimes put stupid bumper stickers on their cars that say, “Jesus is coming back! Look busy.” They reject his grace. They mock his authority.

Peter answered the scoffers’ objections who say, “Where is the promise of his coming?” You can read it in his letter. But let me remind you of what 2 angels and what Jesus himself said about the return of the Lord. 40 days after the resurrection, the disciples stood and watched Jesus ascend into heaven. They needed assurance because they did not have the Spirit of God living in them yet. So two angels appeared and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Translation: the risen Savior will return in glory.

But go back more than a month, before the crucifixion of the Son of God. Jesus said this to his disciples in the upper room on the night he would be betrayed, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Translation: the risen Savior is coming back for all who belong to Him by grace and through faith.

That’s all I need to hear. That’s all my mom needed to hear in November of 2021, when she knew she was dying. She said to me, her smile twisted by a stroke, “It’s ok, Mark. I’m going home.”

Lord, come quickly! I want to see my mom again. But even more than that, I want to see you.