January 30, 2011

When Christ Comes Again – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

It had been almost 400 years since Malachi, the messenger of Jehovah, urged the people to return to God. When the time was right, God sent his son into the world to accomplish what no other man could. Christ came into the world to seek and save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10) To accomplish this he first announced that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and that men should repent. (Matthew 4:17). His call to repentance was for man to turn away from the perversion of the law that had taken place under the Pharisees and Sadducees. He pronounced many “woes” on them for leading astray God’s chosen people. He described them as a people that honored him with their lips, but whose hearts were far from him. (Matthew 15:8) Jesus taught and preached about the kingdom and what men needed to do to be faithful unto God. He spent three years preparing his apostles to continue his work after his death on the cross and ascension into heaven. After his departure, he sent the Holy Spirit to guide his apostles into all truth. (John 16:13). But before his departure, he assured his apostles that he would come again. He would go to prepare a place for them so that when he returned and received them, they could be with him also. (John 14:3)

When He Returns

For centuries man has been awaiting Christ’s return. While Peter was still alive there were many who had already started scoffing about Christ’s return since it had been over 30 years since he died on the cross. Some of the Thessalonians had developed slothful attitudes being certain of Christ’s imminent return. They believed there was no need for them to be hard working, but Paul put that foolish idea to rest. (1 Thessalonians 3:10) Jesus never taught that his return would be soon after his resurrection. In fact, he taught that no man knows that time, only his Father in heaven. (Matthew 24:36). We do know that it will come suddenly as a thief in the night (1 Peter 3:10) and at a time when many don’t think it will happen (Matthew 24:44). Therefore, Jesus admonished that we all should watch and be ready. (Matthew 24:42) There will be no mistaking his return because every eye will see him. (Revelations 1:7)

Some Will Rejoice and Some Will Not

When Jesus comes he will judge those who are living and those who have died, (2 Timothy 4:1) and we all will stand before him in judgment. (2 Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 16:27) For those who have been faithful, they will receive a crown of life (Revelations 2:10) and this crown will never fade away. (1 Peter 5:4) Paul tells us that this crown is not only for him, but for all who those who will love the appearing of Jesus. (2 Timothy 4:8)

Jesus uses several parables to explain the benefit to those who have prepared for his return and have remained faithful. The parable of the ten virgins tells us about five who were wise and five who were foolish. The wise prepared for the late arrival of the bridegroom and entered in with him when he came. The foolish who had not prepared were left outside. The Lord ended this parable by saying, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:13)

In the parable of the talents, Jesus describes three men to whom their master had given them various talents to use while he was absent from them. To those who put their talents to good use, their master said upon his return, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:23) But to the one who had done nothing with his talent, the master said, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:30)

Jesus concludes his teaching by describing the judgment of the nations when he will come in his glory. (Matthew 25:31-46) He said there will be a separation of individuals just as a shepherd separates the sheep from goats. He will say to the one, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” To the other he will say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” What was the difference between the two? One had been faithful to the will of God and the other had not. The faithful had heeded the word of God which commands all to love him with all their heart, soul and mind, and to love their neighbor as themselves. (Matthew 22:37-39) Jesus said he did not come into the world to judge the world, but to save it. (John 12:47) However, when he comes again, he will judge the world. The word of God will serve as the basis for the verdict Jesus will render with respect to the individual’s eternal destiny. (John 12:48)

It is clear what will happen to those who have not been obedient to the word and believed that Jesus is the only begotten son of God sacrificed for the sin of the world. The imagery used in the apostles’ writings should leave no doubt. Paul wrote that, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (1 Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Contrast that with those who have obeyed the gospel. They will inherit the kingdom. They will enter into the joy of their Lord. They will not be separated from Christ, but will live with him eternally.

Some will mourn at Christ’s coming. Others will rejoice. Let us all strive to be of a mind and spirit to be able to say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come.” ———Amen.

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