Summary: A deductive exposition of the text calling seekers to receive Christ and believers to grow in grace in order to meet him face to face without any shame when he returns.
Introduction: Does anyone here like to wait?
I know many of us struggle with procrastination at times, but do you really enjoy waiting? How many people here look for the longest slowest line when making a purchase at the store? Don’t we prefer to grumble and complain when the line we left for a shorter line moves ahead faster?
Americans hate to wait. We hate it when some one slows us down. I think we may have coined the sarcastic question: “What are you waiting for? Christmas?”
That raises a good question to consider. “What are you waiting for?” Some people are waiting for a better paying job. Some are waiting for retirement. Some of you are counting the days until you go to Florida for the winter.
Some parents are waiting for their child to be born. Some are looking forward to seeing their kids grow up and leave home. Some of us are waiting for them to come home for a while!
Some people are sitting at home waiting to recover from an illness. Others are sick and tired of living and are just waiting to die.
But, what are you waiting for? The apostle Paul answered with these words in Titus 2:11-14 (NIV).
… the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Thesis: I’m not waiting for Christmas! As much as I enjoy celebrating Jesus’ birth, I’m not waiting for it. I’m waiting for JESUS to appear again.
Key Question: What makes Jesus’ return worth waiting for?
A. I have HOPE because I know Jesus is coming again.
I’m waiting for Jesus to come again so I have hope. I am well aware of all the reasons people put forward to crush our hopes. Terrorists may strike again at any moment. Pollution is poisoning the environment. The economy is down and unemployment is up. Anthrax may be in our mailboxes. And we could be on the verge of World War 3.
But looking for Jesus’ return gives a completely different perspective. The problems and trials of this world are temporary. They will not last forever. Wars and rumors of wars will cease when the Prince of Peace comes again. This polluted environment will be replaced with a new creation. On top of all that, God is working in our world right now to counteract the ravages of sin.
I’m waiting for Jesus to appear again, so I can have a positive outlook on the future. It gives me hope.
B. I know His next appearance will be just as PHYSICAL as the first one.
Over 2000 years ago, God stepped into history as a baby born in a stable. He was just as human as you or me. Jesus experienced all of life like us – in a body that finally bled and died on the Cross. The physical birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus “is the grace of God [that] has appeared to all men.”
And when Jesus comes again, he will be just as visible as he was to his disciples. We will see him just as clearly as Peter, James and John did then. We don’t need to worry about Jesus coming as a spirit or some other nonphysical being. You and I will not hear about Jesus’ return second and third hand. We will see him.
C. Please understand this. The second appearance of Jesus will be GLORIOUS.
Jesus came as the Suffering Servant the first time. A few shepherds, his parents and some wise men were just about the only eyewitnesses. His entire life was lived in the Middle East. A total of only a few thousand ever saw him. The Bible compares him to a sacrificial Lamb.
It wasn’t until after his Sunday morning resurrection that Jesus’ ultimate and final glory peaked through. And even then less than a thousand witnessed it.
But “the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” will be witnessed by every living person. Even the dead will be raised to face him. When Jesus returns he will come as King of Kings to judge us all according to our actions and our motives (1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 4:5 and Jude 14-15).
When Jesus returns he will not be the Sacrificial Lamb, he will obviously be God! Every knee will bow before him and recognize that he is the Ultimate and Unequaled Lord of heaven and earth.