Summary: Are you ready for Jesus to return? Do you want Him to return? It's important for us all to live like He'd return today... because one day you'll be right. He'll return.
Several years ago Johnny Carson had Billy Graham as a guest on his show. At one point in the conversation and Johnny said, "You know what Billy, I bet if Jesus ever came back to earth, we'd do him in again!" Graham leaned forward in his seat, and said, “In the Bible we read that Jesus predicted that He would return to earth again. But the first time He came in love, the next time, He'll come in power. No one will DO Him in!”
Jesus IS coming back! And when He comes back He’s coming back in power and glory.
The song of faith we’re focusing on this Sunday is called “O Glorious Day” (or “One Day When Heaven Is Filled With His Glory”) and its chorus sums up our faith with these words: (Sing it with me)
“Living, He loved me. Dying, He saved me. Buried, He carried my sins far away. Rising, He justified freely forever. One day He’s coming, Oh glorious day.”
I want you to notice that that chorus declared: Jesus lived, He died, He was buried… and He rose again. And all of that (says the chorus) points to the fact that Jesus WILL COME AGAIN. And that’s going to be a glorious day!!!
That’s what our text this morning is telling us: “since WE BELIEVE that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” I Thessalonians 4:14
When Jesus returns He will raise the dead. And we believe that (the facts surrounding His 2nd coming) because we believe that Jesus died and rose again. The two thoughts are interconnected. They’re intertwined. You can’t have one without the other.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there who reject the idea that Jesus is coming back. Peter writes: “scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” II Peter 3:3-4
Scoffers? Are there scoffers around nowadays? And do some of these “scoffers” question the 2nd coming of Christ? Oh yeah. Years ago Charles Swindoll once made reference to a survey of theological seminary graduates which indicated that only 3% of those graduates believed Jesus was coming back.
Theological Seminary students? Seriously? How could that be? Well, I don’t know which seminaries were interviewed, but I do know there are a lot of denominational seminaries out there who have bought into a false theology that began back in the 1930s amongst “theologians” in Europe. These European theologians were highly regarded and cultured and many American seminaries who exalted them as admired scholars. But they were heretics. The false theology these scholars pushed was called “Higher Criticism.” “Higher Criticism” basically attacked everything about Jesus from the virgin birth, to the Resurrection … to His 2nd coming.
In other words, these kinds of theologians didn’t accept the idea that Jesus lived, died and rose from dead, and therefore they weren’t buying into the idea that Jesus coming back again. Now you may not have heard about those kinds of “theologians” - and the reason you may not have heard about them is because they DON’T REALLY BELIEVE much of anything. It’s kinda hard to get excited about that kind of a theologian when all they’re known for is what they oppose, and what they reject and what they criticize.
But you don’t have to be a false theologian to live like Jesus isn’t coming back. Jesus told a parable about a different kind of man who lived that way. In Luke 12:42-46 Jesus said “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful.”
Jesus wasn’t describing some heretical theologian. The man in Jesus’ parable isn’t some guy attacking Scripture and denying Christ. This guy simply BEHAVED like his master (Jesus) wasn’t gonna come back. And since He’s not coming back, this guy does whatever he wants - he hurts people, he parties, gets drunk, and lives like a pagan… because tomorrow he’ll die and it won’t make any difference because the master isn’t coming back.