Summary: Paul tells me that God’s people "eagerly await" Christ’s return. But why? Why should we be excited and what is it that will make this such a wonderful event for us?
OPEN: People’s minds have been focused on the end of the world of late.
A few years ago I began to hear predictions the world would end in 2012 (next year) - a speculation based upon an oddity in an ancient Mayan Calendar. This created quite a stir because the Mayan calendar was an extremely accurate dating tool, which the Mayans used to predict the schedule of the years for over 2000 years in advance… but it abruptly ceased keeping count of the years in our year 2012.
Many seized on this and predicted the end of the world… next year.
There was even a movie called 2012 which featured major cities being crushed by a variety of natural disasters, and giant waves rushing over the Himalayas…
At the bottom of a poster advertising the movie was this headline "We Were Warned"
Then there was the prediction by Harold Camping that Jesus would return May 21, 2011.A number of religious groups have been advertising this on various billboards and bus stop benches, traveling caravans of RVs radio broadcasts, and websites as well as pamphlets passed out on street corners. The message has taken root from Bridgeport, Conn. to Little Rock, Ark…. and teams of mission groups are traveling throughout Latin America and Africa spreading the news.
AND then on New Year’s Eve 1000s of blackbirds rained down on a small town in Arkansas. This was just the first in a series of mass animal deaths that started less than two weeks after a total lunar eclipse. Hundreds more dead birds have descended on Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky and scores of crow-like birds croaked in Sweden. Add to that the 100,000 fish that washed ashore in Arkansas and you had the makings of more than a few doomsday scenarios.
Robert Vicino, who heads a California-based company that specializes in fallout shelters said: "Some people think it’s biblical and apocalyptic, and it could be." But, of course, Vicino has something of a vested interest in this prophecy because, since those birds fell out of the sky, applications for his fallout shelters have increased 8 fold.
APPLY: Now, let me add my prediction to those I just related
1. I predict that the world is going to come to an end… and we were warned. When Jesus comes again it’ll all be over.
2. And yes, Jesus might just show up on May 21st - or in 2012 - but I wouldn’t bank the farm on it. When Jesus said “No one knows about that day or hour not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32) I tend to take His word for it.
3. And lastly, when the end of the world comes - and Jesus returns - it won’t do anybody any good to buy a fallout shelter.
Revelation 6 tells us about what’s going to happen those who don’t belong to Jesus on that day
“the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!” Revelation 6:15-16
The end of the world will be a scary time for those who don’t belong to Jesus. Many will come face-to-face with the Judge of all mankind… they won’t like it. And they won’t be able to hide.
Now by contrast - for those of us who are Christians - Jesus’ return will be an exciting time. It’s going to be something to look forward to with anticipation.
In II Timothy 4:7-8 Paul declared “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day— and not only to me, but also to all WHO HAVE LONGED FOR his appearing.”
Philippians 3:20 says “our citizenship is in heaven. And we EAGERLY AWAIT a Savior from there”
As I was preparing this sermon, one question nagged at me: Why?
Why should we long for His appearing?
Why should we eagerly await His coming down from Heaven?
Well, first of all – I’m going to live in a new home. Jesus said He was going away to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).
Revelation 21:4 tells us that when Jesus returns: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
One preacher noted that Heaven will be a place “no mores” (Dave Martin)
No more Curse
No more Death
No more Sorrow
No more Crying