Second Last Sunday in Church Year + Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Peter 3:3–14
As baptized children of God, we confess in the Apostles’ Creed that Jesus, the Son of God, ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there He will come again to judge the quick and the dead.
We believe that Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead.
Just as He promised, Jesus will come down from heaven to judge the quick and the dead.
He will judge young and old alike, for we have all sinned and deserve temporal death and eternal punishment.
But too many of us don’t pay attention to what we have been taught and what we have promised to believe on the day we were confirmed.
St. Peter reminds us that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.
They say, “Where is the promise of his coming? He has promised to come and He has promised to come, when is He going to come?”
These scoffers, they don’t really believe that Jesus exists. And if He does exist, they don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, begotten of the Father.
They don’t take Jesus at His Word. They don’t believe what He says.
But Jesus is not like men, He does not lie, nor does He change his mind.
St. Peter reminds us to not overlook this one fact, that with Jesus one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Jesus is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness.
These scoffers, they don’t believe that Jesus is going to come.
Jesus tells us to be aware, the day He comes to judge the quick and the dead will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Jesus will come at a day and at a time when we will not and are not expecting it.
And when Jesus comes, He will come to judge, and His judgement will not be with water, as it was with Noah and the Flood, where the whole world was destroyed by water, but with fire. Jesus will come again to judge with fire, to deliver us from evil with fire, as He did with Sodom and Gomorrah, where He destroyed two cities, with every man, woman and child in them burned to death.
Even though the Bible tells us that God does indeed judge those who do not repent for their sins, and He judges them harshly, these scoffers don’t believe that He is coming to judge them for their sins.
These scoffers often believe things like Jesus is all about tolerance and not hate, that He would never judge people, only love them. This way of thinking must be repented of.
These scoffers often think that Jesus is just one god among many. This way of thinking must be forgotten.
These scoffers think that everyone, no matter who they are, what they believe or how they have lived will be received into heaven. This way of thinking must be turned away from.
These scoffers think that we must tolerate and even celebrate sin and wicked ways, that it is good to live and act like the world, that it is okay to act upon our sinful lusts and desires. This way of thinking must be repented of.
St. Peter reminds us, “Since all these things are going to happen, just as Jesus has spoken, we are to live lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.”
When Jesus comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. Jesus will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Jesus will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
Jesus has spoken and He will do what He has promised. His desire is for us to come into His presence with thanksgiving, to call upon His holy name and receive His gifts of grace and mercy, that we would be at peace.
St. Paul encourages us to keep away from anyone who is walking in idleness, not doing good works, not living according to the teachings that we have received.
We are to live lives of love toward God: fearing and trusting Him above all things.
We are to live lives of love toward our neighbor, loving him as we love ourselves, humbling ourselves in service and obedience to him.
And because Jesus has spoken, and because He does not lie, we are waiting for the new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
We live lives of righteousness, calling upon God’s holy name in prayer, praise and the giving of thanks.
We live lives of righteousness, hearing the Word of God preached and taught in all of its truth and purity. Holding it sacred, gladly hearing it and learning it.
We live lives of righteousness, realizing our sins, having sorrow for them and turning away from them.
St. Peter reminds us, since we are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Jesus without spot or blemish, and at peace.
Jesus has promised the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body eternal life with Him in heaven.
We live lives of righteousness, eagerly desiring to be baptized and receive the gift of faith, eagerly desiring to hear the words of forgiveness spoken to us, eagerly desiring to eat and drink the very body and blood of Jesus, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins, that we would know true peace.
Jesus apparent delay, His failure to come quickly, is because He is patient toward us, not wishing that any of us should perish, but that all should reach repentance and receive the forgiveness of their sins.
We are reminded that Jesus does not want to condemn sinners, but He will.
Jesus real and holy desire is to forgive us poor miserable sinners and deliver us from evil.
That is why the Son of God came down from heaven in the first place, to become man, to suffer, to die on the cross, to rise again from the dead.
The Son of God came down from heaven to purchase and win us from sin, from death and from the power of the devil. With His death on the cross, Jesus defeated the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh which doubts God, which hates God, which wants nothing to do with God and HIs holy will and ways.
That is the real reason Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead, He wants to deliver us from the evil of this sinful world.
This is where we should place our as we wait for our Lord’s coming. Add daily we should pray for Jesus to come and deliver us, come and help us, come and save us.
The Lord is faithful. He will establish us and guard us against the evil one. He will rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, He will give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.
That is why Jesus will come again to judge the quick and the dead, to take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven. We should not be afraid.
Because this is why Jesus is coming again, He will direct our hearts to the love of God and to His steadfastness, that we would be confident that He is faithful toward us and He will do it just as He promised. Amen.