Christmas: It is one of those times were people long for their loved ones to come home or come in town. It is a time of anticipation for people who have not seen relatives and friends and they look forward to the day they get to see them. We know what it is like to long to see someone in this world but we sometimes forget what it is like to wait for Christ return.
The return of Christ will be like no other and when we see Him we will rejoice. As Christians we not only believe in a beginning of this Universe but we also believe in an end. With the busyness of life we forget that Christ will return and we have to refocus our lives that reflect that truth.
2 Peter 3:1-4 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
1) What the Bible Says about Christ Return
There are over 300 verses in the New Testament that talk about Christ return and entire books like Revelation and 1 and 2 Thessalonians that devote almost the entire book to His return. Some of the passages of His first coming and second coming are almost mixed in together which is one of the reasons that the people of the day missed the Messiah coming as a humble servant the first time and a triumphant King the second time.
John 14:3 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.
Jesus is not sending angels when He comes again He is coming to get us personally. We have a personal God who loves us and has always sought after us from the Garden of Eden when He sought after Adam and Eve after they sinned, to the pursuit of every individual hoping they turn to Him, till the end when He comes and takes His children home.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers,[a] you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape Personally
Matthew 24:36-39 But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[b] but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Matthew 24: 30 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
2) What difference should Christ returning have on us?
If you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow, what would your day look like today?
A) What we hope in and for would change
I hope _________come true or happens. How many times have you caught yourselfe saying that? People place their hope in a lot of things that let them down. Some hope in political figures, some hope in lottery, some hope that things will just get better.
Remember our faith and hope are not in faith and hope in and of themselves. Our faith and hope is in the work of Christ and what He did on the Cross and by rising again.
When we place our hope in the things of this world we realize that they will let us down.
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Our hope is that no matter what this world throws at us that Christ has overcome it in the end when we spend eternity with Him. We believe that our God who is Sovereign is working things out not for our good but for His good and for the good of others. We are supposed to be like Christ who came to earth to honor His Father and serve others. We need to make sure as Christians that we do not make Christianity about us because it is about God (Christ) and others.
You can make it through anything if you know it will end one day. You can make it through a terrible job, a bad teacher in school or even a difficult disease or set back when you know one day it will end. But even if we have trials that will not end on this earth we can press on knowing that they will be gone one day and compared to eternity they will seem to be only for a very short time.
I was reading a survival guide as I thought about making it through the difficulty till Christ returns and this is what it had to say.
Survival Without the gumption to keep going day after weary day, without the optimism to keep yourself occupied by bettering your situation, without continually remembering the reasons you want to make it out alive, you’ll be at great risk of simply rolling over as allowing yourself to slip into a slow spiral downward along with your odds of survival.
If nothing else, when you lose hope, you get sloppy and careless. When that happens, accidents are bound to occur. A simple cut on the hand can lead to a deadly infection. A misplaced step can lead to a snapped ankle, ending your mobility and your chances to effect survival much less self-rescue.
To have a chance at survival, you must dig deep and find that will to persevere. People can do amazing things when they really want to. (Preparingtosurvive.com)
As Christians we have hope in Christ that everything in this life matters and that God is using even the things we call evil for good. We make it through this life because we know this is not our home.
We endure because we do not exist for ourselves or even our comfort but to serve the King.
We know that sin has entered this world and with it death and until Christ returns we will have to deal with death on a daily basis. Our hope is that one day whatever difficulty we are facing will end and because of that we press on.
2 Peter 3:7-9 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
B) What we care about will change
If you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow then you would not care about a lot of things today. Your Priorities would change.
Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Our view as Christians is that our hope is not in this world but in the world to come.We have to have an eternal perspective on life or we will get really depressed.
Have you ever thought that the stuff you worry about now will not matter?
Have you ever thought that the things we place a high priority on will be meaningless?
C) Our Lifestyle would change
1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
What would you hide in your house if you knew Jesus was coming over?
“The Men who had heard Jesus say that he would come again, could not be again seduced by the allurements of this world. They longed for his coming, lived for it, sought to lead others to him and to the hope of his return.” (Lectures in Systematic Theology, Henry Clarence Theissen, pg 343)
Matthew 6:19-21 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[e] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
D) Our Service would change
If we had a heavenly focus knowing that Christ could return at any moment what we did on a daily basis would change.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.
1 Corinthians 4:4-5 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
The Things that no one sees that you do God will reward you for. Those times instead of letting your pride get the best of you and you humbled yourself to keep the peace, God sees. That party that you passed up because you knew you shouldn’t go even though you were made fun of, God sees that. That time you filed your tax returns correctly even though you could have cheated the system, God saw that as well.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Our Lifestyle should not be to please ourselves but Christ in all things. We live our lives as if He is watching and we serve Him and others knowing that one day He will reward us for our faithfulness.
E) Our Message would change
If you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow who would you call? What would you talk to them about?
2 Corinthians 5:18-21 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
One day this world will end and until that time many will pass from it. The important message is always about Gods forgiveness to those who will accept it. All other things we talk about are trivial in comparison.