Friday, November 30, 2012

Longing for Our Lord's Return

It's easy to get caught up in the things of this world.  Work, family, hobbies, and other responsibilities can all command an enormous amount of our attention.  Consequently we sometimes get caught up with the things of this life and fail to put our attention where it should be — eternity.  

I'm often reminded of the words my dad wrote in a Bible he gave to me as I left home at age 17 and went off to the Air Force, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Over the years I have ridden the spiritual roller coaster of doing a good job, and an awful job, of adhering to those words.  Even as someone in the ministry I too can lose focus of other important commands we are given in the Bible.  Even the "Great Commission" can sometimes be forgotten as I think about so many other things in life that demand my energy and attention.  Lord, forgive me!

Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20 shortly before He left this earth and promised to return again: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

As part of my ministry teaching Bible prophecy, I often come across people that do not fully appreciate the fact that one day Christ is going to return for His church!  When I say "people", that definitely includes many Christians that actually have no, or minimal, idea of the concept.

Make no mistake, the Bible repeatedly reminds us — and even exhorts us — to anxiously await Christ's return.  In fact, there is a "Crown of Righteousness" for those that long for the Lord's return.  It's described very clearly in 2 Timothy 4:8, "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

Sometimes Christians will refer to verses that explain we do not know the exact time of Christ's return and, therefore, they falsely conclude that we should not pay any more attention to Christ's return, or even Bible prophecy.  Of course, nothing can be further from the truth. While we know that we do not know the exact time of Christ's return, the Bible also explains in many places that we are to be watchful:

  • It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. (Luke 12:37, emphasis added)
  • It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. (Luke 12:38, emphasis added)
  • Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen... (Luke 21:36, emphasis added)
  • Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.  (Revelation 3:3, emphasis added)

We can also refer to these verses, wherein some people only read the part that says we do know exactly when Jesus will return.  As shown, Jesus also specifically told us to be ready and watch for His return:
  • Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (Matthew 24:42, emphasis added)
  • So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:44, emphasis added)
  • Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:13, emphasis added) 

The last two verses of the Bible also leave us with the idea that we should anxiously await Jesus' promise that He is coming soon.  For in Revelation 22:20-21 we read:

He who testifies to these things (Jesus) says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” 
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

We shorten those verses to one succinct and endearing word to capture its essence, "Maranatha!"  

Related Links
People, Get Ready Jesus is Coming Soon
Bible Prophecy Signs to Watch For
As It Was in the Days of Noah: Rapture or Second Coming?

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