Summary: How can a Christian make sure we will stand before Christ with confidence when He returns?
As John concludes his thoughts on fellowship with God, he speaks of Christ's return. It'll be a day of rejoicing or regret, depending on the quality of our fellowship with God in this life. John reminds us that . . .
1. Jesus will appear.
Hebrews 9:24-28 refers to three appearings of Jesus.
A. The past appearance of our Lord.
Hebrews 9:26 says, "But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself." Jesus came appeared to offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
B. The present appearance of our Lord.
In Hebrews 9:24, we are told, "he entered heaven itself, now to
appear for us in God's presence." Appearing before the throne of the Father, Jesus "ever lives to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25).
C. The future appearing of our Lord.
Hebrews 9:28 says, "he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." We call this the 2nd coming; and as surely as He appeared the 1st time to pay for sin; and as surely as He now appears before the throne to intercede for us; He will surely one day appear to all when He ushers in eternity!
Unfortunately, we find ourselves living in the day spoken of in 2 Peter 3:3-4: "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.'"
Even many believers find themselves, though they wouldn't deny the return of Christ, nevertheless living as though His return isn't anything to concern themselves with. Yet, the fact remains, that Jesus is one day returning! He has told us He'll return and He'll keep His Word! What should be our attitude toward the fact of our Lord's return?
1) We should look for His return.
"So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming." - Matthew 24:42 (NLT)
We should not only be waiting, but watching for our Lord's return.
The difference between waiting and watching is illustrated by a story told about the return of four sailors from several days at sea. When they came to shore, the wives of three of the four were there to greet them. The fourth sailor went home, where he was greeted by his wife who said, "Welcome home. I've been waiting for you!" The disappointed sailor replied, "That's nice. But it would have been nicer if you had been watching to greet me when I returned."
2) We should love His return.
"There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing." - 2 Timothy 4:8 (HCSB)
Mom baked a chocolate cake and gave her son strict orders not to touch it. But temptation got the best of him. He decided mama wouldn't mind if he had just one piece. Then he decided it was OK to have another; and before he knew it, he'd eaten the whole cake. About then, mama came driving up in the yard. Now, he loved my mama, but he did not love her appearing!