HAPPILY EVER AFTER”
Week Seven – “Living Like Heaven” II Peter 3:11-14
A pastor visited an older man. The pastor urged the man, “Friend, at you’re your age you should be thinking about the hereafter.” He replied, “Oh, Pastor, I do all the time. No matter where I am – in the living room or upstairs, or in the kitchen or downstairs in the basement – I ask myself, “what am I hereafter?”
The hereafter DOES matter! It matters forever but the hereafter ALSO matters in the “here and now”!
Have you heard that expression, “He is so heavenly minded he is of no earthly good!” IS THAT POSSIBLE?
If I have been successful in presenting this series I should begin to see some positive changes in your attitudes and actions as a result of your new focus on eternity.
C.S. Lewis said, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one.”
Pastor Joe Stowell, of Moody Church in Chicago, wrote, “When we begin to believe in the reality of the other side, we start behaving differently on this side.”
I understand how easy it is to get distracted and weighed down with the demands of every day life and I know how the squeaky wheel is the one that usually gets the grease………
Neither does the Great Apostle, Peter. So, he gives some very wise and godly advice on how godly people should live. Let’s have that vital discussion this morning!
I. Living Earnestly, V. 11b
After six weeks of studying eternity, how many of you would agree eternity is important? How many would say it is important to know where you will go?
If the “ever after” is important, what does that mean for our “here and now?”
Let me ask you this, if you received a letter or an email from a credible source telling you that at noon tomorrow they would come to your address with a high tech nuke weapon and vaporize everything on your property, would that impact what you did today?
Essentially, that is what Peter is asking, “How they should behave knowing that their stuff is all going to be destroyed.”
Listen to his advice:
“Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be…..”
Good question, “Right?”
What manner of person OUGHT you to be = INDEBTED TO BE
This implies an indebtedness – “If you want Heaven you are indebted or obligated to holy and Godly living”
So, let’s take a closer look at the manner in which we should be living:
The great Bible-teacher and pastor, John McArthur writes, “Holy conduct refers to action, godliness refers to attitude. Holy conduct refers to that which rules my behavior, and godliness refers to that which rules my heart. And so Peter is saying what kind of person ought you to be in heart and in behavior, in motive and in action, in attitude and in duty.”
HOLY = PURE = Uncontaminated By The World
I John 3:3 says, “And everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
It just makes sense doesn’t it? If you are serious about spending your “ever after” in a holy place you should be allowing God to create in you holy attitudes, motives and behavior?
GODLINESS = “WORSHIP” and does not simply refer to what one does for an hour on Sunday morning but what one does every day in all his ways to add value to eternity. LIVING LIFE = WORSHIP YOU LIVE TO WORSHIP!
HOW DO I DO THIS? HOW DO I LIVE A HOLY LIFE – A PURE LIFE?
HOW DO I LIVE EACH DAY AS AN ACT OF WORSHIP?
And this is what Paul meant in Romans 12:1-2………
People who are living for Heaven and focused on eternity live holy and godly lives! SANCTIFIED LIVES. They live earnestly for God!
II. Living Expectantly, Vv. 12-14a
Here in these verses Peter uses the phrase “looking for” three times. This is significant as it describes the attitude and the urgency Christians should have as they live with an eternal perspective. If you are looking and preparing for an eternity with God in Heaven, shouldn’t you “look forward” to that?”
The verb that is used in the original language translated “Looking for” or “Looking forward” - is phrased in such way that is refers to a person’s habit or lifestyle. This is to be a constant characteristic of godly people.
V. 12 – “Looking “ for the coming of the Lord”
V. 13 – “Looking” for the new heaven and new earth”
V. 14 – “Looking” forward to these things”
(LOOKING FORWARD TO VACATION) (LOOKING FORWARD TO HOLIDAYS)
We look forward to what we love! We look forward to what we are invested in. Our expectations shape our attitudes, actions, hopes and values!
III. Living With Excellence, V. 14b
So, how should we be as a result of living earnestly and expectantly? How do we know we are prepared?
Good Questions, Eh? Peter gives three good answers: Pay Attention!
“SPOTLESS” - This refers to our morality – (See I John 1:7-9)
“BLAMELESS” - This refers to our motives
”Let your hearts therefore be blameless and wholly true to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as today.” I Kings 8:62
”Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” Psalm 19:13
"May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” I Thessalonians 3:13
“FOUND IN PEACE” – YOUR MENTALITY
The ultimate evidence that you are living EARNESTLY and EXPECTANTLY and with EXCELLENCE is that you are in peace about your “Ever After”. Everything you own or hold dear could be dissolved tomorrow and you would be at peace!
If you want to secure your “HAPPILY EVER AFTER” - LIVE LIKE HEAVEN!
EARNESTLY – IN HOLINESS – LIVING A LIFE OF WORSHIP.
EXPECTANTLY – Are interested and invested in eternity?
WITH EXCELLENCE – How are you morally? How are your motives?
Imagine you are at this great party. You are having the time of your life! All the “beautiful people” are there. The food is fantastic and the music is rocking and you hope the evening never ends.
But, you are interrupted by your brother, who finds you in the crowd. He informs you that you need to go home right now – there is an emergency. You are upset that he has bothered you and you don’t really want to go. But you politely dismiss yourself and leave.
Still annoyed, he takes you to your house. When you walk in all the lights come on and a room full of people yell, “Surprise!” You look all around and there are all your family and loved ones. They have thrown a party in your honor and you are the guest!
You feel loved! You feel honored! You realize that this is the ultimate party because you are with the people you love the most! The party your left can’t compare to this one!
That is how life is for the one who is prepared for Heaven!
You are enjoying and abundant life and when that gets interrupted your go to and eternal life!
EVERYONE HAS AN “EVER AFTER”
YOUR “EVER AFTER “ IS DETERMINED BY YOUR “HERE AND NOW”
SHOULD I BE MORE FOCUSED ON HEAVEN?
AM I LIVING IN HOLINESS?
DOES MY LIFE REFLECT GODLY WORSHIP?
YOU CAN’T LIVE LIKE HELL AND EXPECT TO GO TO HEAVEN!
ONLY HEAVENLY LIVING WILL GET YOU TO HEAVEN!