The Second Coming of Jesus Christ


Uploaded by HarvestTV on 23.11.2009

Transcript:
Today we are going to talk about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Are you ready?
You know newspapers have a certain kind of type that they save only for mega events.
You know what it is called? Second coming type. Funny that they would call it that.
Not mega event type or special event type. No. They say it is second coming type. It
is real big. It is the kind of type that was used when President Kennedy was assassinated
in Dallas. The kind of type that was used when Pearl Harbor was bombed. The kind of
type that was used the day following the destruction of the World Trade Center. It is the kind
of type that leaps off the page and says read me. Second coming type. And I think the reason
they call it that is they recognize that the biggest news event of human history will be
the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Did you know that many people believe Christ is coming back? Even people who don’t claim
to be Christians. A Gallup poll was done not too long ago and they found out that 66% of
the American people believe Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth some time in the
near future. And by the way, that was 25% more than those who claim to be born again.
There is a sense even among the non believers as they look at the way this world is going
that Christ is coming back again. The Bible speaks of this event frequently. In fact 1
verse out of every 25 makes some mention of the Lord’s return. Jesus Himself talked
about it in what we call the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 when He said in verse 29, “Immediately
after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give
its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the
earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with
power and great glory.” That doesn’t say, “Power and Greg Laurie.” Though I do expect
to be there. And I will tell you why in a few moments. And by the way you should be
there as well. All of us who have put our faith in Christ.
But before the Second Coming. Before Christ comes back to the earth another event must
first transpire and it is called Armageddon. That very word sounds ominous and threatening
and very final. Armageddon. It is the final conflict of mankind. Often this term is invoked
when someone is seeking to make a point.
David Jeremiah in his book, What in the World if Going On tells the story of General Douglas
MacArthur who stood on the deck of the USS Missouri in the Tokyo harbor when he was signing
a peace agreement with the Japanese effectively World War II to a close. And he made this
statement from that deck, and I quote, “We have had our last chance. If we do not now
devise some more greater and more equitable system Armageddon will be at our door.”
End quote.
Soon after he took office Ronald Reagan becoming the 40th President of the United States was
astounded by the complexities of the Middle East. And on Friday, May 15, 1981 President
Reagan wrote these words in his diary, quote, “Sometimes I wonder if we are destined to
witness Armageddon.” Three weeks later on Sunday, June 7, President Reagan heard that
Israel had bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor. And later in that day he wrote again in his
dairy about Israel bombing the Iraqi nuclear reactor, “I swear I believe Armageddon is
near.” That is something when we hear the leader of the free world make a statement
like that.
I wonder what General MacArthur and President Reagan would think of events that have happened
in recent days in our country. The destruction of the World Trade Center by Islamic terrorists.
The arming of Iraq and of North Korea with nuclear weapons. And the repeated threats
on the part of Iran to use nuclear weapons to wipe Israel off the face of the map. Or
a major in the US military blowing away soldiers while yelling out, “Allah Akbar.” And
the media scratches its head and says, “We don’t understand what his motive might have
been.” Yes we are going to face Armageddon.
But understand Armageddon is not simply one final battle. The word Armageddon comes from
a word that means valley of Megiddo. But really when we talk about Armageddon we are talking
about the final conflict in this valley that is there in Israel today. You can go and visit
it. We have been there before in our tours over there in the Holy Land. Many battles
have already been fought in this vast plain that you can look out on. For instance, Deborah
and Barak defeated the Canaanites there. Gideon defeated the Midianites there. We know that
Saul was killed on this battlefield of Megiddo. And you wonder why this would be the place
where the final battles of mankind would be fought. And no greater leader than Napoleon
himself gave an answer to that. In 1799 Napoleon stood at Megiddo and said, “Can somebody
lift me up. I can’t see anything.” No. I just heard he is kind of a small guy you
know. So Napoleon looking over the valley of Megiddo made this statement, quote, “All
the armies of the world could maneuver their forces on this vast plain. There is no place
in the world more suited for war than this. It is the most natural battleground on the
whole earth.” That’s right. The valley of Megiddo.
Now we have already looked at what is described for us in Revelation as sort of the scenario
of end times events. Sort of a bird’s eye view of it as found in Revelation 6 where
we have the four horsemen of the apocalypse. You remember the first horse is white. The
second one is read. The first horse is white because it represents the emergence of the
Antichrist who will effectively inaugurate this tribulation period. The reason he rides
a white horse is he will masquerade as Christ Himself. Remember I told you that the prefix
anti can also be translated instead of. And so the best, this coming world leader, the
Antichrist will appear to some to be the Messiah. Why? Well for starters he is going to help
the Jews rebuild their temple. And he is going to get a peace agreement that will actually
be signed by the Israelis and the Arab nations as well as other nations of the world that
they will keep. No one has ever been able to do this before. And it is actually through
this deception that he will deceive people because the Bible says, “Through peace he
will deceive many. Then sudden destruction will come upon them as a woman in travail.”
And you see at the halfway point of the tribulation period Antichrist goes into the rebuilt temple
there in Jerusalem and erects an image of himself and commands everyone to worship it.
And that is called the abomination of desolation.
So following Antichrist the white horse we have the red horse and war ensues. So everything
builds to a great climax with the battles that will take place in Armageddon. Jesus
spoke of this in Matthew 24. He said, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars.”
You know after World War I ended it was hoped that would be the war to end all wars because
10 million people lost their lives in that horrific conflict. But it took only 20 years
for an even more terrible war to develop World War II where 50 million people died around
the world. Now it would be nice to say there will be no more war. But friends war is still
going to happen. Jesus said, “One of the signs of the end times is there would be the
outbreak of war and it all culminates in these final battles that we read about here in Revelation
and other places in Scripture. That which once perhaps sounded so futuristic at another
time now seems so plausible and possible today.
The interesting thing is as we look at the end times scenario the United States of America,
the undisputed superpower on the face of the earth is no longer in its position. So we
have been put in some other kind of a position and we might be combined there with the other
nations that support the Antichrist. There are others scenarios that I have already offered
to you in an earlier message. But we are not the major player in this. In fact the major
players of the end times events are the Antichrist and the ten nations confederated under him
and the kings of the east. They will be meeting together for a conflict in the valley of Megiddo
for the battle of Armageddon. They are described in Revelation 16:14. It says, “The spirits
of demons will go forth unto the kings of the east and the whole earth will gather them
into the battle of the great day of the Almighty. And they are gathered together called in the
Hebrew Armageddon.” Or the valley of Megiddo.
Well who are the kings of the east? Well we are given a clue in Revelation 9:16 that tells
us that they can field an army of 200 million men. Who on earth could field an army that
large? Really only one nation qualifies and that would be the nation of China. Are the
kings of the east China? No one can say with complete certainty, but there are some interesting
reasons why we might think that is a definite possibility. There was a cover story of Newsweek
that came out awhile back that was called, “China Century” asking the question, “Does
the future belong to China.” They said, “A new power is emerging in the east China’s
rise is no longer a prediction. It is a fact,” This article says. “They are already the
world’s fastest growing large economy, the second largest holder of foreign exchange
reserves, mainly dollars, and they have the world’s largest army. They have the fourth
largest defense budget, which is rising annually by more than 10%. And they are the most powerful
force on the global scene.” This article says, “For centuries the rest of the world
was a stage for the ambitions and interests of the west’s great powers, but China’s
rise along with that of India and the continuing weight of Japan represent the third shift
in global power. The rise of Asia.” End quote.
China is the largest nation on the face of the earth. They have a population of one billion
300 million people. And one of the things that has caused our military expert concerns
of late is the rapid buildup of their military. An article that I just read pointed out that
one of our military leaders was concerned about the unprecedented and unexpected military
expansion of China. China announced in 1997 that they could raise an army of 352 million
soldiers. That means that they could send 200 million to invade the Middle East and
still have 152 million soldiers to defend China.
Here is the interesting thing. When John wrote these words about this force called the kings
of the east coming through the dried up river Euphrates and marching on the valley of Megiddo
there were not 200 million people on the face of the earth. But today this prophecy could
happen before our very eyes. We don’t know with certainty who the kings of the east are
but this much we know. This massive army meets up with the forces of the Antichrist and they
come for this final conflict.
Now the tribulation period is going to be a very dark time. A very evil time when wickedness
will reign freely. The Antichrist after he effectively shows his true colors begins to
hunt down Jewish people as well as Christians and he martyrs them. And if you don’t have
the mark of the beast you are put to death. But despite this bleak scenario and this dark
backdrop here is what we do know. God will still get His Word out. And we are going to
have the greatest revivals in human history happen during the tribulation period. It is
a great thing. We won’t be here for it. We will be in heaven at this point because
the rapture will happen before it begins. But God is going to work
And sometimes people think that the Holy Spirit will be taken from the earth during the tribulation.
I have had people ask me, “Well isn’t the Holy Spirit going to be removed?” Well
the Bible doesn’t say that. Now there is a verse that says, “He who now restrains
will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way, and then that wicked one will
be revealed, whom the Lord will destroy with the brightness of His coming. Now that verse
is speaking of the restraining work of the Holy Spirit through the church in the world
today. Once the Lord has completed our work on earth and we are caught up to meet Him
in heaven then wickedness will break loose. But that doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit will
be removed. It just means that the church will be removed. Because how could people
come to Christ without the work of the Holy Spirit. The answer is they couldn’t.
And God is going to raise up His witnesses. First of all a lot of people will come to
faith after the rapture. They will show up for church here on a Sunday. And I hope it
will be empty. There might be a few people here. But they are going to say, “It was
all true.” They are going to call up their Christian friend and there is not going to
be an answer. They are going to realize it took place and they have been left to face
the tribulation period. Many of them will come to faith no doubt.
But then the Bible also tells us that God is going to raise up 144,000 Jews that will
receive Jesus as their Messiah. Yeshua is Hamashiach. And they will have divine protection
on them and they will travel around the world preaching the gospel. 144,000 kosher Billy
Grahams you know. They will do a great job reaching many.
And if that is not enough there is going to be what we might describe as an angelic mop-up
operation taking place as well. You know sometimes people will say, “Well Christ can’t come
back until the gospel is preached to the whole world.” And they base that on the statement
of Jesus when He says in Matthew 24:14, “The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in
all the world for a witness to the nations then will the end come.” But that is not
talking of what must happen before the rapture but what must happen before the Second Coming
you see. So my point is even if the 144,000 and others miss certain people. And this sort
of deals with that person in the dark jungles of Africa that everyone is so concerned about
and always asks about. Right. “Well what about the person living in the middle of Africa.”
I don’t know why they are always in the middle of Africa. But that is really the way
the question is phrased. “That has never heard the gospel. What will happen to them?”
Well I will tell you what. The angels will get through to them. Because the Bible says
that during the tribulation period we have this angel flying to the four corners of the
earth proclaiming the everlasting gospel to ever nation and language. Revelation 14:6.
But one of the most intriguing witnesses that God will raise up in the tribulation period
are the two witnesses. Two men that God is going to put in place that will have a powerful
impact on people. They will have an amazing miracle ministry including the ability to
call fire down from heaven and also to stop the rain and turn water to blood. So we wonder
who will the two witnesses be. Oh by the way I have met many people who think they are
one of the two witnesses. But I would suggest they will probably be Moses and Elijah. Now
some say it will be Elijah Enoch. And the reason they say that is because Enoch and
Elijah never died. Right. Enoch took a walk with God and was caught up to meet the Lord
in heaven. And then of course Elijah was caught up to meet that chariot in heaven and so forth.
So they never died. So they think those would be the two witnesses. Maybe. Or maybe it is
Moses and Elijah. Reason being that who had the ability to turn water into blood? Well
that was a unique miracle to Moses. And of course Elijah he was well known for calling
fire down from heaven. Also it was Moses and Elijah that appeared with Jesus on the Mount
of Transfiguration. I don’t know. But these two witnesses are raised up. They have a powerful
ministry.
They so outrage the Antichrist he executes them. And the Bible tells us he lays them
in the street of Jerusalem. Once again Jerusalem is the center of the focus of the world. And
there in the streets of Jerusalem the two prophets lie there dead. And the Bible says
all the world will see it. Now when would that statement have been possible until fairly
recently? Would that have been possible 200 years ago where all the world could simultaneously
see the same thing? No. Is it possible today? Are you kidding? Through satellite technology.
And not even having to sit in front of a TV. You can see it on your laptop. You can see
it on your telephone. And by then we will all have little video watches and 3D holograms.
I don’t know what it will be. But clearly this technology already exists where all the
world could witness this. They lie dead in the street. And then the following happens.
Revelation 11:11. “After three 11And after three days and an half the spirit of life
from God enters them, and they stood up, and terror struck all who were staring at them.
And a loud voice shouted from heaven, “Come up here.” And they rose to heaven in a cloud
as their enemies watched.” Wow. God always has the last word doesn’t He?
But now we see the return of Christ in Revelation 19. This brings the tribulation period to
a close. Starting in verse 11. “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and
he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes
war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name
written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and
His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white
and clean, followed Him on white horses.” And so here we have a description of the Second
Coming.
There are some important things we see straightaway.
Number one. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be public and seen by all. It will be
public and seen by all. There will be no question that you are witnessing the return of Jesus.
You won’t say, “Oh it is just a bad storm.” No. Jesus said, “As the lightning shines
from the east to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Everyone will know
this is it.
Number two. This will be accompanied by sadness and weeping. There will be mourning on the
part of Israel as they realize that Jesus indeed was their Messiah. Zechariah 12:10
says, God speaking, “‘I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family
of David and they will look on Me whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as for an only
son. They will grieve bitterly for Him as for a firstborn son who has died.’”
This event. The Second Coming of Jesus and this event along will bring an end to the
senseless wars of mankind. We will never be able to wipe out terrorism and violence with
military and or political solutions. This will only happen when Christ returns and establishes
His kingdom.
Now again let’s understand the difference between the rapture and the Second Coming.
At this point the rapture has already happened. It happened before Antichrist appeared. It
happens before the tribulation begins. In the rapture Jesus comes before judgment. In
the Second Coming He comes with judgment. In the rapture He comes for His people. In
the Second Coming He returns with His people. In the rapture He comes as a thief in the
night. But in the Second Coming everyone will see.
Notice that it says He comes on a white horse. Of course His imitator Antichrist does the
same. But this, as I said earlier, is air horse one. This is the real deal. This is
not the Antichrist wearing a crown. This is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings wearing
many crowns returning back to the Earth again.
People often wonder what Jesus looked like. We are actually given a description of Him
here when it says that His eyes were like a flame of fire and on His head were many
crowns, and He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.
Three things stand out here. His eyes, His head, and His robe. First there are His eyes.
They are like a flame of fire. You know when you meet someone perhaps for the first time
you look them in the eyes and say, “Hello. Nice to meet you.” I am always suspicious
of people that won’t make eye contact. They turn away. Look down you know. It will be
hard to make eye contact with Jesus at this point because fire is coming out of His eyes.
It is speaking of His power, of His glory, of His holiness, of His wrath at this point.
And then on His head are many crowns because He is Lord over all the universe. And then
He has a robe dipped in blood. Verse 13. This word dipped could be better translated spattered.
Reminding us of His death when He came the first time.
It is interesting to contrast the first and Second Coming of Jesus. In his first coming
when He arrived in that manger in Bethlehem He was wrapped in swaddling cloths. In His
Second Coming He will be clothed royally in a robe spattered in blood. In His first coming
He is surrounded by animals and shepherds. In His Second Coming He is accompanied by
saints and angels. At His first coming the door of the inn was closed to Him. But in
His Second Coming the door of the heavens is opened to Him. The first time He came He
was the Lamb of God dying for the sin of the world. At His Second Coming He is the ferocious
lion of the tribe of Judah bringing judgment.
And I want you to notice Jesus is not alone. Look at verse 14. “And the armies of heaven,
clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.” Who are these armies?
They are mentioned in Jude 14 as the Lord coming with ten thousands of His saints. And
we know that His armies are comprised of saints. But who are the saints that will return with
Jesus when He comes to the earth. Colossians 3:4 gives us the answer when it says, “When
Christ, who is our life, shall appear we shall appear with Him in glory.” That is why I
said He is coming back with power and Greg Laurie. And Greg Laurie. And you. All of us
together returning. Because check it out. I am a saint. You don’t have to call me
Saint Gregory if you don’t want to. But you are a saint.
See we have misused this term saint. It is attributed to someone who performs a miracle
or lived especially holy life and they are canonized. Oh they are a saint. You know what?
That is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that if you are a believer you are
a saint. It is just another word for believer. So in a technical sense because of the death
of Christ on the cross and the work of justification in the life of the believer where the righteousness
of Christ is placed into our spiritual bank account I am now regarded by God as a saint.
I will return with Him. You will return with Him. You will have a ringside seat of the
big event. Even if you never get over to Israel this will be the ultimate Holy Land tour led
by Jesus Himself. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. And we will find out what happens
after that in our next message. That is a great response because we say, “Praise God
this is going to happen.”
Now how should this affect me? How should I live? What should I be doing in light of
the fact that Christ can come for me at any time and one day I will return with Him to
this Earth when He establishes His kingdom? Well to find the answer to those questions
we have to shift gears and go to a new passage. Turn in your Bibles now to Luke chapter 12.
Luke chapter 12. And these are the words of Jesus to His people on how we are to live
in recognition of the fact that He could come back at any moment. Luke 12. And I am going
to read from verse 35 down. “And Jesus says, ‘Let your Let your waist be girded and your
lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will
return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.
Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly,
I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and
serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find
them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had
known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to
be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you
do not expect.’ Then Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, do You speak this parable only to
us, or to all people?’ And the Lord said, ‘Who then is that faithful and wise steward,
whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due
season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I
say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says
in his heart, “My master is delaying his coming,” and begins to beat the male and
female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will
come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will
cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.’” Ok. We will stop
there.
Now this illustration would have been readily understood by people of the first century,
but it is a little perplexing to us. Jesus is describing a first century wedding that
was way different than our weddings of today. Our weddings of today may last upwards of
an hour. Perhaps an hour and a half. Followed by a reception, etc. But the weddings of Jesus’
day, the Jewish wedding, was quite different. One of the elements of it was you didn’t
know when the bridegroom was going to come. So everyone would be dressed. Everyone would
be ready. And once the bridegroom showed up the announcement would be given, “The bridegroom
is here” and the wedding would start. It could happen at 2:00 in the afternoon or 2:00
in the morning. The point was you needed to be ready because he could come at any moment.
So with this backdrop in mind everybody understood it. Jesus says in verse 35, “So let your
waist be girded and your lamps burning.” Now what on earth does it mean to gird a waist?
Well as you know they wore long flowing robes in those days. And to gird a waist simply
meant that you pulled your robe up above your knees and cinched in your belt giving you
freedom of movement. So another way we could translate this would be to just have your
comfortable pants on or be ready to go. Have your workout clothes on. I don’t know what
would be the proper way to put it. But the idea was be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
And to have your lamp burning meant that you would have oil in your lamp. Let me illustrate
with a couple of props. It is sort of like show and tell right now. This is a flashlight
as you can see. Looking at this camera right here. This one changes colors. Watch this.
I like that. Is this bothering you? Sir can I see your driver’s license and registration.
I am serious. No I am not. Ok. So this is a flashlight. And to use a flashlight I have
to have batteries in it. I don’t know if you are like me but I have a lot of flashlights
that don’t work because they don’t have batteries. So we have to keep them ready to
go to use at a moment’s notice.
Ok. Things were a little different in the first century. They didn’t have tech like
that. This was the flashlight of the first century that I am holding now in my hand.
This is an oil lamp. And actually it is not a reproduction. This is a real first century
oil lamp that we bought at an antiquities store in Israel when we were there last. Now
as you can see it resembles a saucer. It is rather shallow. And inside here you would
put the oil and you would have a floating wick. And so you would carry this around to
light your way. A first century flashlight if you will. And we read the passage, “Your
Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” And so the idea was I would walk
along with my little oil lamp here and it would light my way. It wouldn’t light a
lot of the way. You could see. But it helped some. But you had to keep the oil replenished.
And so you would have this little device. And this is actually one of the little oil
lamps that they had where you would keep this oil in this little flask and this would be
attached to your belt and then when your little lamp ran out of oil you would pull this out
and you would pour some new oil in the lamp and then you would be good to go. Sort of
like putting fresh batteries in.
So this is the picture Jesus is using. He says, “Have your lamps burning.” The idea
is have oil in your lamp. Always be prepared. Always be ready to move. That is the idea
that He is communicating. Even if it happens later than you expected. Look at verse 38.
“If he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them
so, blessed are those servants.”
What does that mean? Ok. Back in these days there were four watches or shifts. The first
watch was from 6:00 to 9:00. The second watch was 9:00 to 12:00. The third was 12:00 to
3:00. And the fourth watch of the night was that time right before dawn. So Jesus is effectively
saying, “Even if I come later than you originally expected be ready.”
Now the Lord is not late. The Lord is on schedule. He is paying attention to what is going on
in the world. He has a day and an hour when He will return. No one knows that day or the
hour. So when someone comes along and says, “I know the day and the hour.” No you
don’t. Don’t believe it. I don’t care what kind of Bible code they claim to have
deciphered or revelation they say that God has given to them. No one knows the day or
the hour. And if we were to go back to the original language and retranslate it it would
say no one knows the day or the hour. And what it means no one knows the day or the
hour. So don’t get into date setting. It is pointless and really quite silly. Just
be ready. Be ready to go at a moment’s notice. The Lord is not late, but He is waiting for
people to believe. Remember we pointed out that passage 2 Peter 3:9 that says, “The
Lord isn’t really being slow about His promised return as some people think. No. He is being
patient for your sake. He doesn’t want anyone to perish and He is giving everyone time to
repent.” Even if He comes in the second watch, the third watch, or even the fourth
watch, be ready because we know this much. He is coming. We have never been closer to
the Lord’s return than we are at this very moment.
So what are we to do? A few things I would bring to your attention. You might want to
write these down. Number one. We are to be watching for Him. We are to be watching for
Him. Verse 37, “Blessed are those servants whom the master when he comes will find watching.”
The Bible says to those who are looking for Him shall He return the second time without
sin to salvation. Looking for Him.
Now as I pointed out earlier that doesn’t mean that we are standing around on street
corners staring up into the sky like a bunch of idiots. But what it does mean is we are
aware that Christ could come. We are seeing the signs of the times.
When you open up your newspaper or go to your favorite news Web site or watch a news program
and you hear about a one world government and a global currency and threats to wipe
Israel off the face of the map and new conflicts developing in the Middle East These friend
are signs of the times that should be a wakeup call to you to pay attention. So we are to
be watching.
Number two. We are to be ready to go. When I leave on a trip I always pack my bag the
night before so I can be ready. And that is the idea. That we have our bags sort of packed.
It is at the door. We could leave at any moment.
And He also mentions girding your loins and having your lamps bright. The idea was have
your bags packed and have your comfortable shoes on. Now that is generally what a guy
thinks about when he puts shows on. What is the most comfortable pair of shoes I own?
Girls don’t think quite this way. I think it is pretty clear that girls see shoes a
little differently than guys. Don’t you think?
I can illustrate this with what happened to us recently when we were at lunch and we were
waiting for our daughter-in-law Brittany to come with Stella and Lucy and she was a little
late. And she texted us, “Sorry I am late. Stella is having a shoe issue.” She is only
three. So I said, “So Brittany what was the shoe issue?” “Well she couldn’t
decide what pair of shoes to wear with her outfit.”
And I saw this happens even earlier. It is in the genes man I am telling you. I was getting
ready to dedicate a little girl here and the little boy her older brother was there in
the back and we were talking and I was playing with both of the children and the little boy
had a toy. So I picked up his toy and I was making noises with it you know. And he is
looking at his toy. Boys and his toys. Right. And the little girl watched this whole thing.
She is like 14 months old. And she looked at it and then she looked at me and pointed
down at her shoes like, “He may have a toy, but I have shoes, and I am already conscious
of it and I am looking pretty good don’t you think.”
Comfortable shoes. Now what is the deal with high heels? Who invented those? That is not
a comfortable shoe. You know my wife has certain shoes that she cannot walk very quickly in.
So we are walking. She is you know. Did you have to wear those shoes? You know we have
to get there. I know but. And she looks good. But hey it is not so practical. Have your
comfortable shoes on.
Let’s put it another way. Have your running shoes on. Your athletic shoes on. Like you
are going to spend a day at Disneyland would you wear your high heels? Men? I hope not
men. I hope you will never wear your high heels. And if you do talk to Pastor Jeff afterwards
and get some counsel. Who happens to be wearing high heels so he is very qualified. No. I
am kidding. But in his heart he is wearing. No. He isn’t. Are you in your heart wearing
them? I don’t know what’s in your heart. He says he isn’t. Ok. It’s good. But that
is not in the notes. That is all from my warped mind right there.
But the idea is you are going to wear comfortable shoes when you have to walk a great distance.
And the idea being communicated here about girding loins and having oil and lamps is
just be ready to go at a moment’s notice. That is what Jesus is seeking to communicate
to us.
So here is a question I ought to ask myself periodically. This place that I am about to
go, this thing that I am about to do, would I be ashamed or embarrassed to be doing such
a thing if Jesus were to come back. If the answer to that is yes then I would suggest
to you you not do that thing or go to that place. That is the message that is being conveyed
here.
Listen. We can study Bible prophesy all day long and we can get excited about it but if
it isn’t impacting us in the way that we live we are missing the point. Because we
are told over in 1 John 3, “We know Christ is going to come and we will see Him and we
will become like Him so stay ready with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model
for your own.” Stay ready. Living in the light of Christ’s imminent return should
make a difference in our behavior. 2 Peter 3 says, “The day of the Lord is coming.
It will come unannounced, like a thief. So everything you have today might well be gone
tomorrow, don’t you see how essential it is then to live a holy life? Daily expect
the Day of God, eager for its arrival., my dear friends, since this is what you have
to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace.”
Number three. We should not only be ready, but we should be anxiously awaiting His return.
Anxiously awaiting. Not dreading it. “I am waiting. Uggh.” No. I am excited about
it.
I used to have a dog and he would sleep outside of my door at night and he would actually
sleep against my door. In fact there were times I would hear knocking in the middle
of the night. Someone is at the door. It was the dog scratching you see. But he was leaning
against the door. And I know this because when I opened the door in the morning he rolled
into my room. Oh you are up. And he was so excited to me. He would start going around
in circles. In his dog mind, “Happy days are here again. The sky is. Oh we are going
on a walk. It is so thrilling.” That is the way he greeted me.
It reminds me of that bumper sticker that says, “Lord help me be the person my dog
thinks I am.” Dogs have so much love and admiration for their master Cats. They could
care less. They get up. They look at you. “What? You again? I am leaving for two weeks.
Bye bye.” Off they go. You already know how I feel about cats.
Or to shift gears for a moment it is the idea if you were anxiously awaiting someone’s
arrival. You know your best friend that you haven’t seen for awhile is coming over and
you are looking out the window and you see their car pull up and they get out of their
car and they come walking up the steps to your door. And you open the door before they
can even knock and pull them in. That is how we should be waiting for the Lord’s return.
Not with dread. Not with fear. But with joyful anxious anticipation and excitement. Is that
how you feel?
Jesus says, “Behold I come quickly.” And we along with the apostle John should be able
to say in response, “Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.” And anything that would prevent
that answer in our life is out of place.
In fact as I talk about the Lord’s return if your heart is filled with anticipation
excitement, and joy that would indicate to me you are walking with the Lord. But as I
talk about the Lord’s imminent return if your heart is filled with anxiety, fear, and
dread that would indicate to me something is not right with you spiritually.
That brings us to this final statement of Jesus when he talks about the man who is not
ready in verse 45. “If that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his
coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and
be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him,
and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion
with the unbelievers.’”
Now this is interesting because it says, “The servant says in his heart, ‘My master is
delaying his coming.’” This would indicate to me that this could be a person that appears
to be a Christian but is not you see. Not necessarily a pagan or a person outside of
the church with no interest in God. My master delays his coming. And the servant begins
to. The idea here is he is not a real servant and the master is not his real master but
he appears to be one.
And here is my concern is that people in church are not right with God. Did you know that
church could be a dangerous place? “What do you mean by that? Because of your lame
jokes?” Well not exactly. Here is how it can be dangerous. If you come to church with
a heart open to God, if you come to church with a desire to worship and to pray and to
hear God’s Word and apply it, if you come to church and want to be a part of the body
and you want to serve the Lord and give to the Lord, then this is going to be an oasis
for you. This is going to be a place of refreshment for you. This is going to be a place of blessing
for you.
But if you come to church with a chip in your shoulder and a hardened heart full of bitterness
and criticism. You always have critical to say after every. “Well I will tell you what
I didn’t like about what he said. And that person over there. And you know what I don’t
like. And the thing that really.” Hey watch out. Because as I have said before the same
sun that softens the wax hardens the clay. And that is where church can be dangerous.
Because if you come with a heart that is hard it can actually get harder in the church than
perhaps any other place. Because you come. You have got your arms folded. All the guys
are, “They are not folded. It is cold. It is cold. That’s all.” Sir your arms are
still folded. No they aren’t. But the point is you come with that resistance. It can be
a bad thing.
Here is my final question for you? Are you ready for the return of Jesus Christ? Many
are. Some perhaps aren’t. If you are not sure that you would be ready when Christ comes
back for His church, if you are not confident that you would be one of the ones caught up
to meet the Lord in the air, if you don’t know with certainty that if you were to die
today you would go to heaven, I want to close this service by giving you that opportunity
to get right with God. Just because you are in a church doesn’t mean you are necessarily
right with God. I am glad you are here. This is a good place for you to be. But it is all
about where you are at spiritually. If you have never said yes to Jesus do it today.
If you have fallen away from the Lord come back to Him today as we close now in prayer.
Let’s pray. Father we believe Jesus is coming again. We believe we need to be watching and
we need to be ready. And Lord I pray for any person hearing this message now who does not
have the confidence that they will be ready for Your return. Help them to come to You
today and get right with You we ask now.