Summary: A consideration of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, demonstrating that the return of the King is certain, even if the timing of the return is unknown.
Title: Jesus Is . . .The Returning King
Series: Who Is Jesus? (Sermon # 6)
Text: 1 Thess 4:13 - 5:11
Date Preached: April 6, 2008
COPYRIGHT © Joe La Rue, 2008
A. Since Jesus left this world, there has been no shortage of those who have predicted that Jesus would return on such-and-such date. I was in college when Edgar Whisenaut, a NASA scientist, published the book “88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Occur in 1988.” He set the date for the taking up of Christians to be with Jesus as Oct 11, 1988. In Psychology class that morning, my professor pointed out that perhaps our faith had not been strong enough, since we were still there! Whisenaut’s prediction did not come true, and there have been many other predictions, naming various dates for the return of Christ, all based on the forecasters’ interpretation of the Bible, which likewise have not come true. But that doesn’t mean that the Second Coming of Jesus won’t happen.
B. As you may be aware, we are in the midst of a series of teaching called “Who Is Jesus?” In previous weeks we have seen that Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and the one who died to save us, and the one who rose victorious from the dead. Last week we talked about how Jesus is God come in human flesh, fully God and fully man at the same time. This week, as we continue this study, we’re adding a new understanding of Jesus to the mix: Jesus is the Returning King. In spite of the inaccuracies of the forecasts for the end of the world that I just shared with you, the Bible is clear: Jesus will someday return to this earth to conclude earth’s history and to usher in eternity. Only this time, He will not come as a helpless baby. No, this time He will come as the reigning and conquering King.
C. While there are many passages of Scripture that teach this truth, I have chosen one to focus our attention upon this morning. It’s found in 1 Thess 4, beginning in verse 13. The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Thessalonica, a city in modern-day Greece. Paul had founded a church there on his second missionary journey (Acts 17), and he wrote the First Letter to the Thessalonians to answer certain questions they had about the Christian faith. And in this letter, beginning in the thirteenth verse of chapter four, the Apostle Paul takes up the question of the Second Coming of Christ. Look at it with me: 1 Thess 4:13. The Bible says,
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
“Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thess 4:13 - 5:11, NASB).