Summary: Do we really believe that Jesus is coming back soon?
October 4, 2009
Text: Matthew 24:1-14
Subject: The Imminent Return of Christ
Title: Have You Given Up?
One of the most talked about topics in the church today is the mountain of evidence that seems to be getting higher and higher each day, that the return of Jesus for His church must come soon. You don’t have to look very far to see how everything is falling into place on the world scene, which will lead to the rapture of the church. The return of Christ for His church is the hope that we have and will hold on to until that day comes. Now, having said that let me ask you a question. “What does the imminent return of Christ mean to you”? Does it mean that all the prophecies of the bible concerning the end have sufficiently been fulfilled so that Christ could return at any time? Or, is His imminent return a condition of heart, a lifestyle, where you get up every morning believing that this is the day of His return? Not just that it could be, but that today is the day.
After church, where she had been taught about the Second Coming, a little girl was quizzing her mother.
"Mommy, do you believe Jesus will come back?"
"In a few minutes?"
"Mommy, would you comb my hair?"
If that were the attitude of the church today, that Jesus was coming today, what would you do differently?
On that note, let me give you just a little bit of a timeline on the order of the events that will take place.
1. The events of Matthew 24:1-14 will take place. They lead up to the rapture of the church. There are many other scriptures that talk about this time in history. This is for the purpose of encouraging the church as we wait for the return of Christ.
2. Then the rapture will take place. The rapture can be seen as the beginning of a seven-year event known as the second coming. At the rapture the church is removed from the earth and the restraining force that has prevented satan from taking over the world goes to a seven-year wedding feast in heaven.
3. During that seven-year period while the true church is with Jesus, on earth, the most violent seven years in the history of the world is taking place. These are the events Revelation 4-18. These things are recorded not for believers, but for unbelievers, as a warning of the things to come.
4. At the end of the tribulation Jesus returns with all the saints to set up a thousand year kingdom on the earth. At that time the saints will be judged for their deeds and be given their rewards. During those thousand years satan will be bound. At the end of the thousand-year reign he will be released for a short time to try to stir one more rebellion, but that never really gets started because the Lord will destroy all unbelievers. Then there is the great white throne judgment of unbelievers. They will be pronounced guilty and be thrown into the lake of fire along with satan.
5. There will be a new heaven and a new earth and we will live in the New Jerusalem that will descend from the heavens. All things are restored and we live eternally in the presence of God.