Summary: How can we be people who effectively live for Christ’s return?
This evening, I want to look in the Gospel of Matthew, starting in chapter 24 in verse 36. Tonight, I want us to spend some time contemplating the return of Christ. More specific than that, I want to use our passage in Matthew to help us to be people who live for the return of Christ. So, if you’ll turn with me to Matthew 24:36, we’re going to read until verse 44, and then start again in chapter 25, verse one and read until verse 13.
TEXT: Matthew 24:36-44; 25:1-13
Let’s pray: Father God, I pray that you will bless the words that come from my mouth. Allow them to be your words, Father. Allow our hearts to be open this evening. In Jesus Name, Amen.
This passage is part of a large section where Jesus is talking to his disciples about the future. At the beginning of this section, in chapter 24, Jesus and his disciples were leaving the Temple, when the disciples attempt to draw His attention to the temple’s buildings, but Jesus replies in verse 2, saying “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another, every one will be thrown down”. And Jesus continues to prophesy, looking into the future to tell of his death, resurrection, and then his final return in the last days.
As I studied this passage, and considered it to preach on, it suddenly hit me that I haven’t heard a sermon on this subject at all in as long as I can remember. And it became clear that I needed to share this passage with you.
But, why do we even need to consider this? Why do we need to be people who live for Christ’s return? Isn’t it just enough that we follow Christ? Isn’t it enough that we go to Church on Sunday? Tonight, it is essential that we live for Christ’s return because our lifestyle will change drastically if we subscribe to this idea. We will move from our complacent lifestyles and embrace our Christian walks. Living for Christ’s return gives us an urgency in our day-to-day walks of faith.
And our passage this evening can serve as a guide for us on how to be people that live for Christ’s return, and the implications of that. In fact, there are four characteristics of people who live for Christ’s return, four things that we can put into action in our lives so that we can be those kind of people.
The first characteristic of a person who lives for Christ return is Expect to Meet the Bridegroom. Expect to Meet the Bridegroom. In even simpler terms, to be a person who lives for Christ’s return, we need to be people who expect Christ’s return. It sounds simple, but it’s a necessary first step. And every journey that we would attempt to start out on begins with a first step.
Look at verse 1 of chapter 25. “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom”. On first glance, this statement might not garner much attention; it is, after all just an introductory statement, but I believe that this verse conveys this principle to us this evening. The virgins, who scholars believe were essentially bridesmaids, took their lamps and went out expecting to meet the bridegroom. They didn’t go out hoping to meet the bridegroom, and they certainly didn’t go out doubting they were going to meet the bridegroom, but they went out expecting to meet the bridegroom.
And for us, this evening, this has relevance. You see, to be people who live for Christ’s return, we need to expect to meet the Bridegroom, we need to expect Christ to come back.
In a poll conducted by NEWSWEEK at the end of 2004, it conveyed that only 55% of people, believers and unbelievers included, surveyed believed that Jesus was going to return one day. But, in a similar national American poll conducted in 2005 by The Pew Forum of evangelical Christians, it was shown that only 70% of Christians today actually believe in the second coming of Jesus. I was shocked at this number, even though the number is a clear majority. It still concerns me that 30% of Bible-believing Christians don’t believe that Jesus will return ever!
Essentially, that means that in a morning service with 200 people in attendance that as many as 60 people in that service don’t really believe in the Second Coming of Christ. To me, this is incredible because part of our hope as Christians is not only will we go to Heaven when we die, but that Christ will return to reunite all His saints with Him forever. The entire book of Revelation is dedicated to the subject of the return of Christ in the last days. But according to this study, only 70% of us believe that it is to be taken literally.