Summary: How to live until Christ Comes
Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:18, especially verses 7, 8
At His Appearing
Introduction: Life is so much sweeter when we have something to look forward to. The anticipation of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ gives hope in this wicked world. It is a cleansing, comforting, and compelling hope.
As Christians, we are to:
1. Look for His Appearing (Heb. 9:28). Looking for the Second Coming of Christ implies anticipation. Notice how the New Testament uses terms such as watch, ready, and wait. Looking for the Second Coming also implies action. No one knows the day or hour when He will come the second time, but our responsibility is "occupy till He comes." Looking for the Second Coming of Christ implies attitude. We’re admonished to patiently wait for His glorious appearing.
2. Loyal at His Appearing (1 John 2:28). When Jesus comes the second time, He will bring His reward with Him. It is required of stewards that we are found faithful. We must be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for we know our labor is not in vain. Titus reminds us that we must be careful to maintain good works. We will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye when the Lord returns and our loyalty to Christ will be rewarded. Repeatedly in the concluding verses of each of the letters to the seven churches (Rev. 2--3), great and precious promises are given to those who are conquerors and overcomers. Discipline, devotion, and dedication are necessary for stewards who want to be found faithful when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to claim His own.
3. Labor till His Appearing (2 Tim. 4:1, 2). This passage tells us that in light of the One who will judge the living and dead at His appearing, we should preach the Word. Christ has promised to reward His faithful servants, and the priorities of life are kept in proper focus as we labor for the Lord Jesus. We must work for the night is coming when no man can work. We’re to be people with a hand on the plow and an eye on the sky. We must pray that the Lord of the harvest will thrust laborers into the harvest field, and we must be ready to say, "Here am I, send me."
4. Love for His Appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). This passage promises a crown of righteousness for all those who have loved His appearing. Paul looked for Christ in his lifetime and eagerly awaited that glorious event. It will be worth it all when we see Christ.
5. Listen for His Appearing (1 Thess. 4:16). The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. We patiently wait for the trumpet of the Lord to sound. What a wonderful sound! What a wonderful day! If we listen carefully, we can hear it in the near future by faith.
6. Long for His Appearing (Titus 2:1115; 1 Thess. 1:9, 10). Just as we long to see our loved ones who have been away, we should long to see the Lord Jesus face-to-face with a far deeper longing. This is the comforting, cleansing, and compelling hope of the Christian in this dark, depraved, and destructive world.
Anticipation of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ gives hope to every believer. Our prayer should be that of the apostle John, "He who testifies to these things says, `Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20).
When Jesus comes to claim His own,
The living saints and those gone on
Will all as one together rise
To meet the Savior in the skies.
Caught up together in the air
To meet our Lord and Savior there;
With all the saints gone on before
We’ll praise His name forever more.
--I. J. Blackwelder