Summary: A communion sermon focusing on the hope of the second coming.
Big Idea: If we cannot join our beginning to our end, we will live scattered and incoherent lives.
Last week we looked at Jesus’ big invitation for us to come to Him (Revelation 22:17). This week we will look at our big invitation for Jesus to come to us.
In Revelation 22:20 we read: “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
* MARANATHA! IS OURWAY OF LIFE
Maranatha!, an Aramaic word that means “Come, O Lord!” was first used by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:22. It was soon found on the lips of Christians across the empire.
• Maranatha! was more than wishful thinking.
• Maranatha! was more than escapism.
• Maranatha! was even more than a prayer.
• Maranatha! was a way of life. It was the framework within which the church lived out its faith.
The early church faced a lot persecution, and life for a Christian under Roman rule was not easy. The Romans required everyone to declare that Caesar was god. The early Christians knew that there is only one God and one Lord—Jesus Christ—and in all good conscience they could not call Caesar “Lord,” so the Romans looked upon them as traitors, persecuted them, and put them to death.
The expectation was that eventually these Christians would either be wiped out, abandon the faith, or they would compromise and syncretize. But living under those adverse conditions actually strengthened the church, emboldened their witness, and enriched their morale. And one of the key elements that helped them through these times was … “Maranatha!” … the firm abiding conviction that Jesus was coming again.
* MARANATHA! IS OUR ENCOURAGEMENT
Maranatha! became such an important concept in the church’s faith that it soon became their greeting and their departure. It replaced the Jewish greeting “shalom” which means “peace.” When believers gathered or parted, they didn’t say “hello” or “goodbye” but, rather “Maranatha!” That upward look revolutionized the church. I think it could do the same for us today.
Have you given much thought about how living with the end in mind might change your life and lifestyle? It could be radical! You see, if we cannot join our beginning to our end, we will live scattered and incoherent lives.
And that is the whole reason John wrote this letter! To encourage and equip His church to be faithful and faith-full until the end.
Hear me -- John never asked his hearers and readers to contemplate the future in order to calculate the timetable of its arrival. He did not offer his prophecy to entice them to predict when God was going to act. John’s future-oriented visions were intended to compel the readers and hearers to turn to God. He does not offer a timeline but, rather, a sense of urgency.
Urgency must not be misunderstood as hurry. It is something more like a quiet attentiveness, acutely alert to Christ’s coming among us. This urgency is liberating, for it compels us to stay awake – to be deeply and earnestly aware of who we are and what we are doing, keeping us free from trivia.