Summary: In Hebrews 10:19-39 we find three persevering actions that we should be found in when Jesus returns.
How to be found when Christ Returns
Introduction: During the busy Christmas season, it is easy to lose sight of what Christmas is all about, which we will get into in the weeks to come. We have family gatherings here and there and we have Christmas parties at our work places. There are gifts to buy, parties to plan, food to prepare, there are pretty lights and fun things to do, but it can be exhausting. And yet Christians persevere in doing all their Christmas duties every year. But when it comes to the true meaning of Christmas, the one place you would expect Christians to be, it seems is the last place you will find them - in Church. One of the things prophesied in the last days is a walking away from God and we see lately a desire to give up, the temptation to abandon the faith, to walk away from church. In communist Cuba the Christian church is now thriving. One pastor said about their congregation: "these people come to church completely exhausted and yet they want to stay here for hours." That is both amazing and inspiring.
It is understandable to get weary or tired. We are only human after all. It is natural for the body to get weak from exhaustion. But God knows what we all go through. C.S. Lewis said "God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them."
In the 10th chapter of the book of Hebrews we read about a call to Persevere. The author of Hebrews is unknown, there is some who believe it was Peter, but most scholars believe that it was the apostle Paul. Either way, the apostle who wrote the letter made it clear who Jesus was. He is the author and perfector of our faith. And here in verses 19-21 the apostle makes it clear that Jesus is superior to all the Old Testament priests and prophets and in fact, he is the high priest of Christianity. And as such we should draw close to him in faith and hold unswervingly to the hope we have in him, thinking of ways to motivate each other to put our faith and love in action.
Transition: Christ will return soon and when he does the apostle calls us to three different persevering actions when he does, First,
I. A call to be found watching for God
The first perseverance of action the apostle calls us to is church attendance.
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." v.25
The first five words of verse 25 is almost a textbook definition of perseverance. "Let us not give up" We should put all of our energy and effort to finishing what we started, instead of folding our cards because we feel that God dealt us a bad hand in life. The apostle makes it clear that some people regardless of how much you implore them to persevere they don't have the spiritual stamina to do so and they fall away from church. In John 6:66 the apostle says some many of his disciples "... turned back and followed him no longer." Apostasy is the saddest state there is - it is eternal suicide, those who commit suicide do so to escape the pain of life. Apostasy offers no escape but guarantees eternal pain.
The apostle calls for perseverance in church attendance especially as you see the Day approaching. "The Day" is a clear reference to the rapture. The word "see" in the greek is 'blepo'' which means more than to merely look at something, it means to be watchful or to perceive something spiritual from something physical.
I admit I get angry when I hear Hollywood actors mock the rapture doctrine. But there is a part of me that is grateful because I always enjoy seeing the Bible validated in real time. Peter prophesies that many will scoff at Christians for believing in the rapture so when you hear others mock the rapture remember they are fulfilling scripture as they do so. Matthew 24:10 prophesies that many will fall away from the faith, and the author of Hebrews wants to encourage us not to give up meeting together during the most tempting time to fall away.
In Matthew 24, 2 Timothy 3, & various parts of Revelation we read that there are indeed certain signs that tell us that the rapture is approaching. In the centuries that came before us, there was little said about eschatology (the study of end times) in comparison to our time. Prophesies still needed to be fulfilled. After all there was no reborn Israel. There was not a plethora of false doctrine, false prophets, and false Christ's as there is today. There was no way to know if there was famine, pestilence, earthquakes other than if it happened in your immediate area, but God knew there would be the invention of television, radio, and internet we know instantly and can see these things immediately where the ancient church and previous generations before us never could. Although we don't know the day or the hour, numerous prophesies are being fulfilled (almost daily) so we know that "The Day" is indeed approaching, and we should persevere in meeting together and fulfilling our obligations to Christ while we still have time to fulfill them. That is how we want to be found when he returns.