A TALE OF TWO HOMECOMINGS
Revelation 19:7, Daniel 12:1-3
Intro: Homecoming at the “Creek”. What a wonderful time to be a part of our church. We see many here this morning that we usually don’t see and we are excited about visiting with you today. Homecoming is a time to remember. To look back.
. An elderly woman walked up to the preacher that had come back to preach the morning service for homecoming. She went up to him and said “I am so glad that you came back this morning. Since you were here a few years ago, I have had all my teeth pulled , a tummy tuck and a face lift. Can you tell the difference?
. That’s kind of like a woman asking a man if the dress she is wearing makes her look fat. Is there a right answer.
. While I may not remember all of the names of our guests, I am certainly honored by you attendance today.
. Homecomings are special. We spend countless hours preparing meals, sprucing things up. Getting ready for guests.
. As I meditated and prayed about the sermon today, I realized that while homecomings are a time to remember the bible speaks of a future homecoming.
. A feast, much like we will have today.
. I call this the best homecoming ever. This will be the final homecoming.
. There will be a feast like we have never experienced.
. We see this recorded in the Revelation to John in chapter 19 verse 7: Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself.
. The best homecoming ever will be when the bride of Christ, the Church, is called up to Heaven and the great feast will begin. The ultimate homecoming.
. Scripture tells us that the bride of Christ, Christians, those who have been born again through the blood of Jesus Christ will be at this homecoming.
. The wedding feast of the lamb or as some translations say the marriage supper of the lamb. A great feast, a great homecoming.
. Sadly, there is another homecoming that is to come also. That homecoming will be for those who have rejected God’s free gift of salvation through belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that He made for our salvation.
. Our scripture this morning speaks of these two homecomings.
. Daniel 12:1-3: At that time Michael, the archangel who stands guard over your nation, will arise. Then there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence. But at that time every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued.2Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to deverlasting life and some to shame and deverlasting disgrace.3Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.
. In this passage , the prophet Daniel speaks of two homecomings.
. The first is the homecoming of the believer.
. Here in verse two Daniel writes: 2Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up,
. The first ones to come to the homecoming will be those that are resurrected.
. Daniel writes that there will be a resurrection.
. A teacher was talking about the resurrection of Jesus with her Sunday school class one Sunday. She asked the question. What did Jesus say when everybody saw him after He had been resurrected. The whole class sat there in silence. After a minute or two of silence, one little girl raised her hand and said I believe that I know what He said. the teacher said ok what was it/ the little girl stood and in a very loud voice said TA DA.
. Now I don’t believe that when we arise out of the ground that we’ll hear Jesus crying TA DA but will arise with a shout.
. Here in verse one it says that Michael will standup.
. The Michael that Daniel is talking about is the Archangel Michael.
. We get a little more clarity over in 1 Thessalonians 4: 15 16 Paul writing to the church in Thessalonica writes:
. 15We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord breturns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.
. The Lord will descend with a shout from the voice of the archangel.
. Michael the archangel will shout and the trump of the lord will sound and the dead in Christ shall rise.
. There they will meet Jesus in the air.
. Folks there will be a resurrection.
. The dead in Christ will rise as the trumpet is blown and Michaels voice shouts across the heavens. Maybe he will say Ta Da. I don’t know.
. What a glorious beginning to the ultimate homecoming.
. Not only will the dead in Christ be there but they will be there with a new body.
. Many of us got up this morning to come to this homecoming and our bodies ached and creaked didn’t they.
. Folks when we get to the final homecoming, all these aches and pains of this mortal body will be gone.
. Paul writes to the church at Philippi in Philippians 3;20-21
. But we are citizens of heaven, where the gLord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our hSavior.21He will take our weak mortal bodies and ichange them into jglorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
. The resurrection body is a new and glorious body. It doesn’t matter if we have been buried, cremated, or scattered to the high winds. God will join our spirits with a new body. A perfect body with all these infirmities that we have now gone
.The resurrection is an essential part of the gospel message and a key doctrine of the Christian faith. We must realize that death is not an end, but a beginning.
. The resurrected will be the first to meet Jesus in the air and go to the great feast. The greatest homecoming ever.
. The resurrected are not the only people who will be at the homecoming or feast of the believer.
. Those that are alive at that time will also meet Jesus in the air.
. We refer to this as the Rapture.
. Not only will the Resurrected be there but also the Raptured will be there.
. Look at verse 1 again: At that time Michael, the archangel who stands guard over your nation, will arise. Then there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence. But at that time every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued.
. This is the start of the tribulation period as it is referred to by most Christians.
. The time of trouble as Daniel puts it is like no thing anyone has ever seen before.
. We find these times chronicled for us within the Revelation of John.
. Daniel writes that we will be delivered from this time of trouble at the same time as the resurrection of those whose name is written in the book at that time.
. Again Paul gives us a little more clarity over in 1 Thessalonians 17:
. 17Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
. Tim Lehaye and Jerry Jenkins have brought thus doctrine of the rapture to the fore front in the last few years with the series of books called the left behind series.
. They describe a time of great happiness for those who have gone on to be with the Lord and great sadness and emptiness for those who were left behind.
. I remember watching the news back last year or the year before when the tsunami hit Japan.
. They showed a picture of a Japanese family walking around, crawling around all the debris, calling out the name of a family member who had just disappeared. It was a haunting sight to see these people cry out in anguish, looking for the one who was gone.
. That’s what will happen at the rapture. Christians will meet Jesus in the air with all the resurrected believers to attend the Great Feast. The ultimate Homecoming.
. Those who are left behind will have to experience this time of trouble, a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence.
. Thank God there will be a resurrection and a rapture for Christians who will attend the great feast, the ultimate homecoming with Jesus Christ.
. Daniel also tells of a sad homecoming. One where there will be no feast, only Retribution for those who have rejected God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
. In verse two Daniel writes: 2Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to deverlasting life and some to shame and deverlasting disgrace.
. There was a little country church that the devil decided to visit one Sunday morning. The devil walked in with his pointy ears and horns all polished up. His long tail was sticking out behind the beautiful tuxedo that he was wearing. He looked just like the pictures we see of him in the drawings. Red all over with a little goat tee for a beard. He came in and sachet right down the aisle. When people saw him they recognized him and they all started screaming, run for your life, run for your life. The devil is in this place. The whole congregation ran out of the church except for this little old lady who just calmly sat there and looked at him. The devil looked at her and said, why aren’t you running out of the church,. The little old lady looked him in the eye and said. I’m not scared of you. The devil said why not. Don’t you know who I am. She said yes but I’m still not scared of you. I have been married to your brother for forty years now. I’ve learned how to deal with you.
. Folks, Satan does exist and his domain is in Hell.
. Daniel writes that some are resurrected to shame and everlasting contempt.
. Daniel writes that some will go to Hell.
. The old testament prophets foretold what was to happen but many times they would place events together even on the same line as they writing.
. Daniel is talking here about the final judgment when the second resurrection comes and all will be judged.
. The lost will be resurrected and sent to everlasting contempt.
. Or hell everlastingly. Now that’s a long time. Forever, for an eternity.
. In the Revelation 21:8 John writes: But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, fidol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
. We think back to 9/11, and we remember the inferno that was once the World Trade Towers. If you saw the footage of that day, you know that many men and women jumped 100 stories to their deaths -- because that was more bearable than to die by fire.
.Our Lord Jesus, on several occasions, referred to "weeping and gnashing of teeth" in hell (Matt. 25:26). Today, it seems, however, that the only popular way to use "hell" in a sentence is as a curse word.
.Back in (1991) U.S. News and World Report devoted it’s march cover story to the subject, "Hell’s Sober Comeback." According to that article: "by most accounts, hell has all but disappeared from the pulpits preaching of mainline Protestantism."
.According to a Gallop Poll, appearing in that same issue, while 78% of Americans believe they have an excellent or good chance of going to heaven, only 4% of Americans believe they have a change of going to Hell! One rather famous denominational preacher has said, "Hell is just too negative. Churches are under enormous pressure to be consumer oriented. Churches today need to be appealing rather than demanding."
.And yet, Hell is a real place that many people will experience first hand. They will find out about the "weeping and gnashing of teeth." They will understand why people jumped from a hundred stories high to avoid dying in the flames -- because, for those in hell, there will be no escape.
. Their homecoming will be eternal agony
.In Dante’s Inferno, he imagined that hell would have sign above the entry way. And in his book that sign reads: "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." Truly those who will enter that place will abandon all hope.
. What a horrible horrible homecoming to look forward to.
. A homecoming that will cause you to abandon all hope.
. We all have eternal life.
. Christians look forward to the homecoming and eternal life with Jesus.
. Non Christians have a eternity also.
. They have a homecoming in Hell, separated forever from God and those they loved that were Christians.
. Scripture tells us though that we get to choose which homecoming we will attend.
. We do that through Repentance.
. Look at verse 3 again: 3Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.
. Those who are wise, those who have believed in Jesus will shine. Daniel writes.
. These people, Daniel says, will be raised to "everlasting life." We can go to the great feast that Jesus is preparing for us.
. The Greatest homecoming ever.
. We do that through the acceptance of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross of Calvary for all of us.
. Paul writes in Romans that all men are sinners. That we all are separated from God by our sin. The only way to reconcile with God is through sacrifice.
. Jesus, God’s son, God Himself came to be that sacrifice.
. We accept that sacrifice and repent or change direction or actively allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and change direction in our lives and try to live as God would have us to live.
. When we do that, we will be called to the greatest homecoming with our Savior Jesus Christ.
. Have you made that decision to accept Him today?
*** To my Christian brothers and sisters, thank you for taking the time to read this sermon. I ask that you take another second and score this for me. I am always open to feedback so that I can continue to grow in the proclamation of God’s word.
May God bless you as you continue to strive to walk worthy of His calling.
The Holy Bible, NLT
The End of Time, Scott Bayles, ( sermon central)