Summary: The second coming of Christ is the great expectation of the church. We Christians are meant to live expectantly as we prepare for the Second Coming of Christ
The Second Coming
Do you remember the days when you were young and spoke before you thought it through? I was in my fourth year of ministry and my first Sunday in a new church. I walked into the Fellowship Hall where one of the Sunday School classes met. I greeted the Sunday School teacher and saw a chalk board on two wheels with small writing all over it. She explained to me that they had been studying the Book of Revelation and the Second Coming of Jesus for the last year. We walked around the back of the chalkboard and it too was completely covered in small print, notes from their study. Then she asked me, “Pastor, what do you think of the Second Coming?” Without batting an eye or thinking a thought, I said, “I don’t think much about it.” At that moment, she froze as her mouth dropped wide open. With the look of horror on her face, you could almost hear a pin drop. Having studied the Book of Revelation for the last 12 months, she couldn’t imagine having a pastor who didn’t think about the Second Coming. What about you? How much do you think about the Second Coming of Jesus? In this series, we’ve been talking about heaven and hell. But you can’t talk about that without also talking about the Second Coming.
The second coming of Christ is the great expectation of the church. Followers of Jesus should look for as Titus 2:13 says, “that blessed and glorious hope appearing of our great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ”. As we learned in December, Advent means “the coming” and is meant to be a time of looking forward to and preparing not for the birth of Jesus but the return of Jesus. Unfortunately, the church has made Advent about the birth of Jesus and thus diminished our focus in the faith on Jesus’ Second Coming. But we Christians are meant to live expectantly as we prepare for the Second Coming of Christ.
Both the Old and New Testaments speak of how the world we know will end and that God is working out His plan of salvation until then. Jesus’ spoke of His Second Coming when he said in John 14:3 “I will come back and take you with me that you also may be where I am.” And in Matthew 24:29-30, he said, “Immediately after the distress of those days… the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky… They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” At His ascension into Heaven as the disciples stared heavenward, two men dressed in white stood beside them and said: “Men of Galilee… 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.” Acts 1:10-11. Dr. George Sweeting writes that “more than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy...Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1800 references appear in the O.T., and…in the N.T., there are more than 300 references to the Lord’s return-one out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 N.T. books refer to this great event...For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ, there are eight on Christ’s second coming.”
Given the prominence in the Bible and the fact that this is goal of our faith, the thing we should look forward to the most, why don’t we think and talk about the Second Coming more? I think the reason we don’t is that our culture has shaped us to think only about today and the here and now. We rarely look forward to the future, evidenced by the fact that so few people are saving money for retirement and so few people actually have personal goals for the life or marriage. But as followers of Jesus, we called to look forward and to look for the day of Jesus’ return. What will that be like?
First, the resurrection of the believing dead will occur and will receive eternal life. Paul writes in I Thess. 4:16: “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 firs.” In Jesus’ day, the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection but the Pharisees did. These two groups probably only made up less than 1% of the population and so the majority probably didn’t believe in the resurrection either. Today, most Jews believe when the Messiah comes the first time, the dead will be raised. This is evidence by the tombs on the Mount of Olives which is the most expensive place in the world to be buried because it is thought that the Messiah will come from that direction and these will be the first to be raised. But we Christians know that the Messiah has come in Jesus. He died and was resurrected and we look forward to the promise of His return when those who believed and have died will be resurrected. Jesus taught this repeatedly and emphasized that it will include all deceased believers: “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” John 5:28-29