So much of the time I see Christians walking around with their heads hanging down saying “woe is me, woe is me, the sky is falling”. Where is our joy? Where is our peace? Jesus hung on that cross and took on our sins and rose from the grave on the third day, He declared victory over death, hell and the grave. We have the promise of eternal life with a living God. He is a just, holy and righteous God, who loves us. A God who sent His only begotten Son to suffer for us. This same Son of God, Jesus Christ, promised to come back for us.
1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
4 You know the way to the place where I am going."
5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you have a place reserved in Heaven. I think about what it will be like in heaven. There will be no pain, no suffering, and no sorrows. It will be a place of beauty with streets of gold and walls of precious gems. None of this compares with being with Jesus Christ and praising and worshipping Him in person for eternity. Our minds cannot come close to imagining what Heaven will be like, but rest assured that it will be perfect.
The Bible has many passages promising the return of Christ for His Church. The one I like best is in:
5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
It must have been an amazing sight to watch Jesus ascend into the clouds and I envy the Disciples for being allowed to witness such a great event. That ascension will not compare to the sight of Christ coming back for His Church. This is explained in:
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
You hear that verse mostly at funerals, but we are told to encourage each other with these words. It is an encouragement to know, whether I physically die before Christ’s return or whether I am still alive when He returns, I will be with the Lord forever. You will be too; if you know Christ has your Savior. As Christians we have nothing to fear, not even death.
When we lose spouses, family members or close friends, we are saddened and we mourn. This is all right and acceptable. Remember in John chapter 11, when Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, died? Jesus also mourned. The shortest verse in the Bible says:
35 Jesus wept.
Jesus wept because He had compassion for Mary, Martha and all the Jews that were weeping for Lazarus. Jesus cares about our pain and sorrows. Just as Jesus physically raised Lazarus from the grave, all those who have died believing in Christ as their Savior will also be raised from the dead. This is where our work for the Lord begins. We must continue the great commission. We must be witnessing first to our families and then to all those that we meet.
How much time to we have left to complete the great commission?
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"
4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ’I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Does this sound like today? We don’t know when Christ will return, but He did tell His disciples that no one knows the hour or day, but you will know the season. I believe that we are living in that season today. It may be hundreds of years before Christ comes back. It may be before I finish this sermon that God given me. Are you ready? Are you prepared? If you know Jesus has your Savior and Lord, you are.
If you don’t think we are living in the season of His return, just look at what has happened over the last fifty years.
2. Partial Birth Abortions
3. Prayer taken out of schools
4. Nativity scenes removed from public property
5. Ten Commandments remove from public places
8. Same sex marriages
9. Hate speech
10. Pledge of allegiance “Under God”
11. The name of Jesus not allowed in public prayers
13. Churches turning to false practices and teachings
23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
Our parents prepared us for life from an early age. They fed and nurtured us. They taught us to obey them. They taught us their values. They watched us grow and mature. They were always there for us when we needed them. We attend 12 years of school and many will continue their studies by attending 4 or more years of college, but are we preparing others and ourselves for eternal life? These few years that we spend here is just a blink of the eye compared to eternality. There may be some here today that don’t know where they will spend eternality, but you can be sure.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Jesus has promised that if we will repent from our sins and accept Him as our Savior we will spend eternality with Him in Heaven. If we don’t, we will spend eternality somewhere else. That somewhere is hell in the lake of fire. Those who haven’t accepted Christ as their Savior say that they don’t believe in hell. They will believe when they get there, but then it will be too late. The choice is now. Jesus is coming back. If you don’t accept Him before His return, you will spend eternity in hell. You may be saying, “Well, I will accept Him when I see Him in the clouds”. When we see His return in the clouds, it is too late, your choice has all ready been made.
So if you are here today and you don’t know Jesus as your Savior and Lord make that choice now. You may not have another chance.
You may be here today as a Christian, but with all that is going on in the world today; Satan has distracted you or even gotten you into despair. Recommit your life to Jesus and to the fulfillment of the great commission. The victory is our through the blood of Jesus Christ. Let’s start today living that victory. Rejoice and be happy. Go out and shout the good news from the mountaintops. Praise God and thank Him without ceasing for your salvation and for His love. Return His love by lifting up this His church and dedicating the work of this church to the fulfillment of the great commission.