Summary: READY OR NOT – The Second Coming of Christ Explores the tension between the imminent return of Christ and the delay of His coming; also the signs of His return. View sermons at www.praiseag.org - click on "The Path"
READY OR NOT – The Second Coming of Christ
A young lady busied herself getting ready for a blind date. This was not just dinner and a movie; her date had planned dinner at an exclusive downtown restaurant with live music and dancing. Wanting to make a good first impression she had taken the day off work. She cleaned her apartment; she went out that afternoon to have her hair done and get a manicure. When she got home she did her makeup, put on her best dress and was ready for her date’s arrival. His expected arrival came and went, but she continued to wait patiently. Finally after waiting over an hour she decided she had been stood up, so she took off her dress, let down her hair put on her pajamas, gathered all her favorite junk food and sat down to watch TV with her dog. Sometime later there was a knock at the door; it was her date. He looked at her surprised and said, “What I gave you an extra two hours and you’re still not ready to go!”
Jesus is coming again. Will you be ready for His return, or will He catch you unprepared?
When we talk about Jesus’ Second Coming there is a tension between two extremes. Scripture shows us Christ’s return is
IMMINENT ______________ and _____________ DELAYED.
The belief that Christ’s return is imminent is not new. Jesus’ followers have been looking for His return right from the beginning. The disciples and the early church believed that they were living in the last days and that Christ could come at any time
• 1 John 2:18 (NIV)
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
ILLUSTRATION: Among the believers there was even a rumor that the Apostle John would not die before Christ would come again. They had heard what Jesus had told Peter. Jesus told Peter that as a young man he had dressed himself, but the day would come when as an old man he would stretch out his hands to be dressed by others and they would lead him where he did not want to go. Peter immediately asked what would happen to John and Jesus answered, “If I want Him to remain alive until I return what is that to you?” Folks missed the “if” believing when John was an old man that Jesus could return at any moment. (See: John 21:18-23)
Christ’s return is imminent; it could happen at any moment. Yet Christ’s return is also delayed. Nearly 2,000 years have come and gone and we are still waiting for Jesus to return.
• 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
The tension between these extremes is broken by a third reality of Jesus’ Second Coming: Christ’s return will be sudden. Just like children playing hide-n-seek, Jesus will one day say, “Ready or not here I come!”
• Matthew 24:44 (NIV)
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Jesus began His public ministry with the simple message, “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is near.” In the days preceding His crucifixion Jesus spoke with His disciples about the kingdom of God. These men struggled to understand all that Jesus was telling them. What did Jesus mean when He talked about laying down His life? Why was Jesus teaching them about the least and the greatest?
With questions filling their minds, the disciples looked to Jesus for answers—answers they could understand. If the coming kingdom is near, then when will it arrive and how will they recognize it? So they went to Jesus on the Mount of Olives and asked Him plainly, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age” (Matthew 24:3 NIV)?
Jesus answer was probably not what they were expecting. I’m sure they were thinking Jesus would gather them all in a huddle and say, “Okay, here’s the plan for setting up the new age. God’s kingdom will be established in so many days and this is what to look for. . .” How many of you are just like the disciples and would have liked for Jesus to have just spelled out the end time plan like that?
While Jesus didn’t give us an answer we can put into our calendars with a big red circle, the Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24 and 25 is Jesus’ direct response to the disciples question, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Here Jesus gives one of the clearest explanations of the end time events recorded anywhere in the Bible. The disciples asked what to look for and Jesus told them. Within the 11 verses of Matthew 24:3-14, Jesus reveals seven signs pointing to His coming at the end of the time. These signs are: