Summary: The Apostles Creed - From whence he shall come to judge the living and the dead
Do you remember how paranoid people were during 1999 as we came up to year 2000? I have with me this morning the box from my filter coffee maker. Looks innocent enough, doesn’t it? But it shows how paranoid everyone was. The coffee maker has a Y2K compliance sticker on it. The sticker says "Y2K OK – this product is not effected by the millennium bug." But it’s a coffee maker? Was it really going to blow up if I switched it on after midnight? & anyway how does a coffee maker know what the date is? Whoever ordered these stickers was effected by the millenium bug - probably a lawyer, there usually behind these sorts of things. Doesn’t it show how paranoid we were?
I remember watching documentaries about the major world catastrophes that awaited us, but despite all the wild & crazy predictions the year 2000 rolled around and the coffee maker made coffee, the microwave worked, the computer hadn’t blown up, the traffic lights worked, the stock market didn’t crash, the new ice age hadn’t started, Jesus hadn’t returned & everything went on as normal.
As far as the end of the world goes the Year 2000 was a major anti-climax. A real disappointment – but didn’t it make everyone paranoid & play on our fascination with end of the world & second coming theories?
Think of how many movies there are about the end of the world. Whether its aliens invading or mass suicide to catch a ride on a passing space ship. It seems that the amount of crazy cults and doomsday predictions are endless. Today more Christians probably get their end times theology from the Left Behind series than from the Bible.
So when it comes to the end of the world 1 thing seems certain. Whether it’s the predictions of Nostradamus, the Celestine Prophecies, the Left Behind series or the da Vinci Code, it seems certain that these religious fads will come and go until the end of time.
In April this tongue-in-cheek article appeared in the Age by Andrew Masterson. He reports on a little-known religious group called The Second Coming Project. The groups aim was to initiate the End Times by cloning Jesus. To make this happen the group needed two things, the DNA of Jesus and a virgin.
While this group might be a hoax, Masterson reports on another fair dinkum group calling itself "Christians for the Cloning of Jesus" – on their website they state "We can’t sit back and wait for Jesus; He has given us the power to bring him to us." This group are seeking to use DNA from the Shroud of Turin and a Maronite virgin. They plan not just one cloning but thousands, a Jesus for anybody that asks. Their website says, "No more communicating with God through your pastor or priest. Just imagine a world with a Jesus in every household…"
Now I don’t know which is sadder, the fact that there are websites and groups out there that say this sort of thing, even if it’s a joke; or the fact that our media picks up on these pathetic groups and use them to ridicule Jesus, to ridicule Christians and to muddy the waters of authentic Christian faith.
If we can take anything from doomsday predictions, crazy groups seeking to clone Jesus and these scoffing articles that will always appear in our secular media, it is that it shows us how important it is that we know our Bibles & that we know the fundamental doctrines of our faith. This series on the Apostles’ Creed has been great because it has explained these basic fundamentals to us. We know the truth about who Jesus is, why he came to earth, what his mission was & what he will return to do sometime in the future.
So here’s where we’re up to this morning. Having talked about Jesus in the past & the present the Creed now points to the future. Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. Jesus will one day return as judge of all people, whether dead or alive.
1. The fact & nature of the 2nd Coming
While the fact of the second coming is clearly revealed in Scripture, the time of it is not. Jesus confessed that even he didn’t know the time of his return. Jesus says that this time is not even known by the angels but only by the Father in heaven. [Matt 24:36]
Jesus doesn’t tell us when he will return but he does give us signs of his return. The main passages for this are in Matthew 24 & 25. Jesus says there will be wars, famines and earthquakes but this is just the beginning of the end times. He also predicts a time of persecutions, false prophets, an increase of lawlessness and a time when the love of many will grow cold. Jesus says that the gospel must be proclaimed throughout the world & then the end will come & he also says that the one who endures to the end will be saved.