Summary: The closeness of Christ's coming should cause us to walk closely with Him today.
Living in Light of His Return
Rev. Brian Bill
I want to share something that happened when I was a teenager but before I do, let me give six disclaimers.
1. I am not recommending this behavior.
2. I did this before I became a Christian.
3. I am not recommending this behavior.
4. My memory is fuzzy so I had to check the details with my mom and sister.
5. I’m glad the statute of limitations has run out (I hope).
6. I am not recommending this behavior.
When I was in high school my parents went out of town one weekend and left me and one of my sisters at home. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this was a perfect opportunity to throw a party. Even though there were no cell phones, texting or Facebook back then, the word somehow always spread when there was a party going on. A ton of people showed up, including many that I didn’t even know. I remember being very nervous and worried that my parents would come home unexpectedly and I would be in huge trouble.
Things went downhill very quickly. This is what my mom remembers: “I think you were 17, because the legal age for drinking was 18 at that time. Dave Moran caught some one leaving the party with a fist full of cash; we found out later it was from our freezer in the basement (our cold cash). The door of the freezer had been left open until we got home. Do you remember how much fun you had cleaning out all the thawed meat and veggies? Dave hesitated to call the police because you were under age, but he did so and they came and cleared out the party.”
I don’t remember all my consequences but I’m sure they were severe. Whatever they were, the worst part of it all was that I felt ashamed because I knew that I had disappointed my parents.
In a similar, but much greater way, we’re to live in light of the return of Christ. Our conduct should reflect the fact that He’s coming back. Here’s the big idea for today: The closeness of Christ’s coming should cause us to walk closely with Him today. Please turn to 1 John 2:28-3:3 where we will discover three ways to live in light of His return.
1. Anticipate Christ’s appearing. Let’s begin in verse 28: “And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” Did you know that for every one verse in the Bible that speaks about Jesus’ first coming that there are eight more verses that describe His second coming? This passage lays out only two possible reactions when Jesus returns – you will either be confident or you will be ashamed when He appears.
In the context, I believe this is a word to the false teachers but it also has application to believers. Let me be quick to add that for a believer any shame will be momentary because all born again believers will be quickly transformed (we’ll see this in 3:2). This brief regret will be something like, “If only I had served him more fully!” 1 Corinthians 3:15 says that those things that we’ve done that are not good will be burned up but that “…he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” Will your deeds be acceptable or will you be ashamed? All believers will be accepted but not all our deeds will be acceptable.
In order to fully understand 1 John 2:28, let’s define some key words.
• Continue = Also translated as ‘abide,’ this word is used 24 times in this book. It’s the idea of constantly remaining in a deep and intimate relationship with God. We’ve learned that we abide by believing the truth, living like Jesus, and loving like Jesus.
• Appears = To be made visible.
• Confident = Cheerful courage, boldness and fearlessness, especially in the presence of persons of high rank; having freedom in speech and nothing to fear.
• Ashamed = The root of this word refers to disfigurement or disgrace. To be “unashamed” means to have nothing to hide and nothing to shrink away from.
• Coming = Used of a visit of a king or an emperor. It literally means, “To be beside” and reflects one’s arrival and personal presence.
In light of this verse, here’s a question to ask yourself when you’re involved in something that you shouldn’t be doing: “Do I want to be found doing this when Christ returns?”