18 - XVIII -- The Second Coming of Christ
XVIII. The Second Coming of Christ
Have I ever told you about Jonie’s and my first date? Well, from what I understand, Jonie was expecting me to show up so she was all dressed up and waiting patiently – at least – that’s what I’ve been told. But you know how things go, by the time I was an hour late, I guess Jonie figured she had been stood up. So, she took off her makeup, and put on her pajamas, gathered all the junk food from the cupboards and sat down to watch TV with the dog. Just as she was really getting settled, I rang the doorbell. When she answered, all I could do was stare at her and ask the question that I will regret for the rest of my life: “I’m two hours late, and you’re still not ready?”
No, this didn’t really happen – but the point is this -- Jesus said, don’t let My return sneak up on you. Be ready all the time.
This morning we are going to talk about something that I get really excited about, and the more excited I get the faster I talk so this mornings message will last about ten minutes – if I stop to take a breath. We have now come to article 18, in our articles of Religion, which is “The Second Coming of Christ” and it states:
We believe that the certainty of the personal and imminent return of Christ inspires holy living and zeal for the evangelization of the world. At His return He will fulfill all prophecies made concerning His final and complete triumph over evil. (Discipline)
There are many so called Christian Churches today which hardly ever preach about the second coming of Christ – they fail to realize how important this message is – they don’t even pay attention to how often Scripture talks about it. Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with promises of the Second Coming of Christ. There are 1,845 references to it in the Old Testament, and a total of seventeen Old Testament books give it prominence. Of the 260 chapters in the entire New Testament, there are 318 references to the Second Coming, or one out of 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. The four missing books include three which are single-chapter letters written to individual persons on a particular subject, and the fourth is Galatians which does imply Christ’s coming again. For every prophecy on the First Coming of Christ, there are 8 on Christ’s Second Coming. This should be an indication of how important this is and how important it is for us to know! Jesus is coming back, regardless of what you may have heard!
Zechariah records these words for us in the 14th chapter: On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. (vs. 4)
Did you know that Holiday Inns had planned to erect a hotel on the Mount of Olives? They sent a group of engineers to prepare for the building. After some investigation they said it could not be done. There is a geological fault under the Mount which is causing it to split
I don’t think Zechariah had any kind of equipment that would have enabled him to make that claim – except that he had our God and Father in his life and he recorded what God told him to write. He goes on to say: You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime—a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.
I tend to believe what I read in the Bible! Zechariah told us about the Mt. Of Olives being split, and we know there is a fault line there – why would I question what comes after that? He tells us that “the Lord my God will come” and the “the Lord will be king over the whole earth.” Having this kind of knowledge should cause us to live our lives differently than the rest of the world. Our lives should a testament to this knowledge and a reflection of the One we believe in. Article 18 says:
We believe that the certainty of the personal and imminent return of Christ inspires holy living and zeal for the evangelization of the world. Did you notice what that said? We believe in the personal and imminent (or about to happen) return of Christ. Personal – that means that we believe that Jesus Himself is coming back! Jesus talked about this, He said in Matthew 24, At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man (or Jesus) coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, form one end of the heavens to the other. What about that great passage that Paul gives us on the subject of Jesus’ second coming from the book of 1 Thessalonians: For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (4:16)
There should be no doubt that it will be Jesus who returns. The One who spent time among us, the One who ate and walked with us physically, the One who taught the disciples and who healed the lame and raised the dead – He is going to come back to call us home! And when is this going to happen? Well, let’s go back to the book of Matthew. Jesus tells His disciples: No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Matt. 24:36) Jesus continues on by reminding them about how it was in the days of Noah – people ignored God and ignored Noah and his warnings about what was to come – they continued on eating and drinking – in other words, they kept partying, they knew nothing about what would happen, until the flood came and took them all away. Then Jesus said, That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
So what’s the answer to when Jesus will come? No one knows, so we should be constantly ready. Jesus said that the second coming would come like a thief in the night. We prepare our lives and our houses for just such a thing – that’s why we put locks on our doors, why we install burglar alarms – because we know that a thief comes in quietly, so we keep ourselves prepared for just such a thing. The time of Jesus’ return will come upon us quietly but the return itself will shock those that are not prepared, just like the rains shocked those in Noah’s day.
We believe that Jesus’ return could be at any moment, remember He said, “Behold, I am coming soon!” and with that being the case we believe that we should live holy lives, lives set apart for God’s work. We believe that because Jesus could come at any moment we should have zeal or enthusiasm, passion, great drive for evangelization of the world. Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach, teach, and baptize, -- to lead people to Christ – and to do this we need to have zeal!!
We also believe that: At His return He will fulfill all prophecies made concerning His final and complete triumph over evil. Jesus’ return is a wonderful thing, but there is more to it than just His coming back to claim His own – He is also coming back to COMPLETE His triumph over evil. Did you catch that – He is coming to complete His victory over evil. That victory was started on an early Sunday morning many, many years ago, when He rose from the dead – defeating the evils of death. This time He is coming back to defeat evil once and for all. Never again will we feel pain, or sickness. Never again will we sorrow enter into our lives. Never again, will we sit with a dying loved one – for all of those things will be taken care of when Jesus returns.
John the revelator gave us these words: I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:11-18)
Once again, we will live the way that God had intended when He created man. We will live a perfect life with our perfect God. We will His people and He will be our God, forever and ever. We need to live the life that we have been called to live. We need to live a holy life. We need to live a life with the understanding that Jesus is coming soon! I want to leave you with three passages and Jesus said all three. They come from the book of Revelation:
Rev. 22:7 “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”
Rev. 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”
Rev. 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
We believe Jesus is coming soon and coming to defeat all the evils of this world, once and for all – and He says He’s coming soon. Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.
22 Sept, 2002 AM
Miles City Wesleyan Church
Miles City Mt.
23 Nov. 2008
Tree of Life Wesleyan Church