Summary: If we believe that Jesus is coming back soon, why don’t we live like it?

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With summer winding down and school about to start everybody has been cramming in those last minute vacations… I can remember one summer in particular our family made plans to go to Disneyworld! Now this was a “big deal” for a 10-yr old kid and I remember the anticipation just about as much as I remember the trip itself. As soon as school ended in May, I started asking Mom, “When are we leaving? How much longer? How many more days do I have to wait?” I would wake up every morning thinking about Disneyworld and I would lay awake at night dreaming of Disneyworld! It just couldn’t get here fast enough for me!! Finally, we got in the car and it was, “How much farther? Are we there yet?” We’ve all had those major events in life that we’ve eagerly anticipated and looked forward to, right?

As with the end of the summer, I’m a little sad this morning because we’re also concluding our summer series: “First Things First” where we’ve been looking at those core, basic doctrines of the Christian faith.

• But I think we’ve saved the best for last! Or at least the most exciting!

• This morning I want to remind us of an event out there that is yet to come, but that will put Disneyworld to shame! Mickey Mouse pales in comparison to the fact that Christians look forward to the imminent return of Jesus Christ!

• Folks, Jesus is coming back… SOON!

• This is at the heart and core of everything we believe about Jesus… and it affects everything about how we are to live until that great day.

Now, how did that make you feel? That statement: Jesus is coming soon!

• Does it frighten you a bit? Does it give you a sick feeling in your gut?

• Are you encouraged by it? Does it excite you? Does it make you look forward to it?

• Does it comfort you? Does it give you a peace?

• I think the way you feel about it may reflect where you are in your relationship with Christ.

The apostle Paul paints a glorious picture of this return in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 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. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words. NIV

• Paul finds encouragement in the reality of the 2nd Coming… I often read this text at gravesides with the confident expectation that on that great day that person who has just been laid to rest is going to live again!

• THAT’S encouraging to me! Won’t it be awesome? Incredible?

• But, do we really believe it? I mean, are we living like we believe it? Like this could happen at any moment?

Of course, everybody wants to know WHEN… “Jesus, when are you coming back?”

• That’s the question that theologians, philosophers and televangelists have been trying to figure out for the last 2,000 years!

• Interestingly, that’s the question that prompted this discourse in Matt. 24, the text that was read. Look back up at vs. 3.

• The disciples are walking along in Jerusalem with Jesus as he has been teaching and he makes a note as they’re leaving the temple area that there will come a day of great desolation when the temple will be destroyed. That will spark the beginning of the end times. (in a sense.)

Matthew 24:3

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" NIV

• The discussion that follows is admittedly a bit hard to follow, but its helpful to note that the disciples have asked about at least three separate events: (1) about the destruction of the temple; “when will this happen?” {this actually occurred in AD 70 just 35 or 40 years later} and (2) about the signs regarding the 2nd coming and (3) the end of the age itself.

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