Then God will say: “Gentlemen, it’s closing time!”

In 1869, the French chemist, Pierce Bethelot, wrote these prophetic words: “In 100 years of science, man will know what the atom is. When science reaches that stage, God will come down to earth with His big ring of keys and say to mankind: ‘Gentlemen, it’s closing time.’” That time is here. Science has not only unlocked the secret of the atom, but also the structure of the human genome and countless other powerful mysteries that are beyond our ability to manage wisely. This leads many of us to believe that the time is short and Christ will soon return to judge His creation. The Apostle Peter concurred with this conclusion, warning both believers and unbelievers of the need to be ready. First, he warned of—

The Danger of Complacency. “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.” What is Peter talking about? The Flood! That just as God condemned the world in the past, when they least expected it, Christ is coming again to judge the world, even though many scoff at it now. He adds, “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” (2 Peter 3:3-7)

Did you hear about the farmer who agreed to a contest with his neighbor, an atheist? The atheist said, “Tell you what. You plant your crops and work your field 6 days a week, taking Sundays off to worship God. I’ll work my field 7 days a week and in the fall we’ll see who has the biggest crop.” When October came and the crops were gathered in, the atheist dropped by to see the results. Sure enough, his harvest was larger than the Christian’s. “What do you say now?” he sneered. The Christian replied, “God doesn’t settle all His accounts in October.”

So it is today. Because Christ hasn’t yet started sending out thunderbolts of judgment from heaven, people assume that they’re safe. But don’t make that mistake, friend! Read the final chapter of the Book and you’ll see what God is about to do. Jesus warns in Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according to his work.” And Peter also has a reminder for those of us who believe, and that’s—

The Duty of Communication. Peter continues in verse 9: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Why hasn’t Jesus returned as He promised? Peter makes it very clear. It isn’t because He’s unfaithful, uncaring, or because the gospel is untrue. It’s because of His longsuffering and His desire for everyone to be saved. Ezekiel the prophet was right! God has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked should turn from his way and live.”

Consequently, if we love Jesus, what should we be doing in the time that remains? Not merely treading water while we wait for the Rapture, but praying and preaching and doing everything in our power to see men and women, boys and girls, turn to Him as their Savior. So let me pause for a moment and ask you: Is that your great passion and priority? Do you believe that Christ is returning soon and that you have a responsibility to warn others about it?

I’m reminded of the preacher who was preparing his Sunday sermon. But for some reason, he wasn’t feeling it. So on Saturday, he and his wife took a drive around town to get his spiritual juices flowing. To their alarm, they saw a house on fire and watched as a man dashed in and out of the flames saving first one, then another member of his family. This so inspired the preacher that he decided to make it the focus of his sermon. With great drama he told his people the next morning how this father carried first one and then another of his children out of the house and set them safely on the ground. To his surprise, his sermon went over like a lead balloon. The people just didn’t care. On their way home, he complained to his wife, “I just don’t get it! Why was there so little response to my sermon?” “Well,” his wife explained gently, as wise wives do, “Your sermon was good and the story illustrated your point. But you forgot to tell them one thing.” “What’s that?” he said. “You forgot to tell them the house was on fire.”

Could that be our problem? Could it be that the reason we’re hesitant to talk to others about Jesus is because we’ve forgotten that their house is on fire? And could it be that the reason they’ve been slow to listen is because we’re afraid to emphasize the greatness of their danger? Nobody likes a nag. But let’s make sure we aren’t committing the opposite error by keeping quiet when we ought to be speaking the truth in love. For that’s why He’s delayed His coming until now. He is patient and wants everyone to have a chance to hear and believe!

So if you know the truth and have a friend or loved one who needs to hear it, pray for an opportunity to tell them about it this week. Or maybe you’ve been told the truth, but you haven’t acted upon it yet. Then don’t wait another day to do so. Bow your head in prayer this very moment and invite Jesus to come into your life, and He will. Then write us and tell us about it, so we can pray for you.

“Time after time He has waited before, and now He is waiting again, to see if you’re willing to open the door. O, how He wants to come in!”

(To read or download a written copy of this entire study, click here. To listen to or download the audible version of this message, click here.)

4 responses to “Then God will say: “Gentlemen, it’s closing time!”

  1. Thank you Pastor Gary for your priority and passion. God the Holy Spirit put that love in your heart. We give Him the glory for lighting that fire that burns within us. The fire that calls us to pray for those around us whose houses are on fire and to ask for opportunity to tell someone about Jesus Christ. He will give us opportunity when we ask. He will give us the words to say. He will prepare the heart of both the messenger and the recipient. That is His top priority! Amen to your message and thanks for sharing. Let us pray for each other and ask God to keep that fire burning brightly for His glory. His plan is right on time. His timing is perfect. His love is without strings. His justice is perfect. What He says He will do. He knows the end from the beginning. He is Sovereign Lord. How great is our God! He is mighty to save! I have shared with you about my prayer for those who ride the bus I drive. I pray that the Holy Spirit will fall on each that enters, convicting them of their sin, convincing them of their need for a savior and persuading them to believe in Jesus. Almost daily, someone will evidence His answer to that daily prayer. Yesterday when only two were left on the bus, a lady wanted to know what church I went to. When she asked that question we were three blocks from that church so I simply showed her and pointed to it. The front doors were open and the lights were on because they had just got done with a make-a-wish gathering. That opened the flood gates as she and the other person on the bus opened their hearts. What a glorious opportunity we have in this town to pray for all whose houses are on fire. How exciting it is to share what the Lord is doing in your heart. I always think of how the Lord had mercy on Nineveh. When I pray for Shelton I ask for the same grace and mercy that was shown to Nineveh. Join me in that prayer. I have a vision to sing the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the street corners of this town. I have a vision of churches joining together as one body to sing to the glory of God. Join me in that prayer as well. To God be the glory, great things He has done and great things He continues to do. Keep on giving to the Lord as He inspires you to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. He is not willing for any to perish.

  2. Just “stumbled” across your article, l truly enjoyed it. l believe 2Peter3:9 is the reason the Lord is tarrying also. principlesforlifeministries is a website l discovered recently. Keep up the goodwork!

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