Sermon: Waiting on the Lord - April 9, 2017
QUESTIONS FOR PERSONAL APPLICATION
1. Before reading this chapter, did you think that Christ could return at any hour? How did that affect your Christian life? Now what do you think? If your viewpoint has changed, what effect do you think it will have on your own life?
2. Why do you think Jesus decided to leave the world for a time and then return, rather than staying on earth after his resurrection and preaching the gospel throughout the world himself?
3. Do you now eagerly long for Christ’s return? Have you had a greater longing for it in the past? If you do not have a very strong yearning for Christ’s return, what factors in your life do you think contribute to that lack of longing?
4. Have you ever decided not to undertake a long-term project because you thought Christ’s return was near? Do you have any hesitancy now about long-term projects because of that reason? If so, do you think that hesitancy has any negative consequences on your life?
5. p 1106 Are you ready for Christ to return today? If you knew he were going to return within 24 hours, what situations or relationships would you want to straighten out before he returned? Do you think that the command to “be ready” means that you should attempt to straighten out those things now, even if you think it unlikely that he would return today?
The Return of Christ: When and How?
• Eschatology is the study of “the last things.”
• There will be a sudden, personal, visible, bodily return of Christ (Matt. 24:44). We should eagerly long for Christ’s return, the time of which is unknown (Matt. 25:13).
• The primary views of the millennium (lit. “thousand years”) include:
1. Amillennialism: There is no future millennium yet to come because the reign of Christ in Rev. 20:1–10 is now being fulfilled.
2. Postmillennialism: Christ will return after the millennium, in which the influence of the church gradually increased until it brought about an age of peace and righteousness on earth.
3. Premillennialism: Christ will come back before the millennium.
—Classic (historic) premillennialism: After a time of great tribulation (T) at the end of the church age, Christ will return to earth to establish a millennial kingdom. Believers who have died will be raised from the dead, and these believers will reign with Christ on earth for one thousand years. During this time Satan will be bound and will have no influence on earth until the end of the millennium, when he will lead a rebellion against Christ and will be decisively defeated. Christ will then raise from the dead and judge all unbelievers. After this, believers will enter into the eternal state.
The Final Judgment and Eternal Punishment
• The final result of Christ’s return will be the judgment of unbelievers and the final reward of believers (1 Cor. 3:12–15), and then believers will live with Christ in new heavens and a new earth for all eternity (Rom. 8:19–21). God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will reign and be worshiped in a never-ending kingdom with no more sin, sorrow or suffering (1 Thess. 4:15–18; Rev. 20:1–15).
• Hell is a place of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked (Matt. 25:30–46).
The New Heavens and New Earth
• Heaven is the place where God most fully makes known his presence to bless (1 Peter 3:22).
• The physical creation will be renewed, and we will continue to exist and act in it (2 Peter 3:13). Our resurrected bodies will be part of the renewed creation (Rev. 19:9).
• The doctrine of the new creation provides motivation for storing up treasures in heaven rather than earth (Matt. 6:19–21).
• The new creation will be a place of great beauty and abundance and joy in the presence of God (Rev. 21–22).
• And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:3–4).