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The 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ | God's Plan for the World

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 6, 2023 3:00 am

The 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ | God's Plan for the World

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 6, 2023 3:00 am

Ever driven past the home you grew up in, and were a little heartsick? Maybe it’s fallen into disrepair and looks so uninviting. It’s not the way it used to be, you say to yourself. Well imagine what the Lord must think of the world He created. After the fall of Adam and Eve, the culture just kept on falling. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie shows us what’s ahead for planet earth. We’ll see the Lord has big plans, and believers will see the “big reveal.”

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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A New Beginning
Greg Laurie

Hey, everybody. You're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at gregg.harvest.org. Again, it's gregg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. There's no bigger event than the second coming of Jesus Christ. And I think your very reaction to this idea that Christ could come back is a spiritual barometer as to where you are at. If your heart leaps and you're filled with joy and you say, amen, I hope it's soon, that's a good thing. Come, Lord Jesus. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Again you hear all the angels are singing.

This is the day, the day when life begins. Ever driven past the home you grew up in and were a little heartsick? Maybe it's fallen into disrepair and looks so uninviting. It's not the way it used to be, you say to yourself. Well, imagine what the Lord must think of the world He created. After the fall of Adam and Eve, the culture just kept on falling. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie shows us what's ahead for planet Earth. We'll see the Lord has big plans and believers will see the big reveal.

This is the day, the day when life begins. So I heard about a salesman. Had a long, hard day out selling things to people and he got to his hotel and he was exhausted. And he went to get ready for bed and he took off his shoe and it dropped to the ground with a loud thud. And he thought, oh no, there's someone below me.

I might wake them up. So he took his other shoe off very carefully and placed it down beneath him. About a half hour later, he gets a knock on his door, like who's knocking at my door at this hour.

And he opens it up, there stands a man with dark circles under his eyes and the guy said to him, would you let the other shoe drop so I can get some sleep? And I think in some ways, our world today is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Everybody knows there's problems in the world. Everyone can see the breakdown of society, the breakdown of culture, the chaos, the confusion, the uncertainty. Even people who don't necessarily believe in Bible prophecy are starting to ask questions about it again. So yes, the other shoe is going to drop eventually when Christ comes back and that's what we're going to look at in a few moments. But I want to give you that overview again so you get the chronology because there's confusion about last day's events, what happens when.

So let's start with the next event on the prophetic calendar, that would be the rapture of the church and I'll talk about that in just a few moments. Then the antichrist emerges, appears on the scene. A man of peace, a man with solutions, a man who seems to have a plan and he does have a plan. Ultimately it's an evil plan. He's not a peacemaker, he's a troublemaker. If Satan ever had a son, this is him. The antichrist emerges on the scene inaugurating what is known as a seven year tribulation period.

It starts peacefully. Many hail antichrist as the messiah but then he shows his true colors after he rebuilds the temple and erects an image of himself and commands people to worship it. That's called the abomination of desolation. Jesus said that in Matthew 24. So the tribulation period is raging, culminating in the battle of Armageddon. And then finally we have the second coming, we're going to look at that now. Then the thousand year reign of Christ also known as the millennium, we'll look at that next time. And then finally the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven to earth. But I want to talk about the second coming in particular. This is the answer to the prayer that the church has been praying for 2,000 years when our Lord said after this manna therefore pray our father who art in heaven hallowed be your name, you know the rest, thy kingdom come, say it with me, thy will be done.

So when we pray thy kingdom come, thy will be done, we're saying Lord we're looking forward to the day when you return and establish your kingdom on this earth. You know newspapers have a certain kind of type. They save only for mega events. Ironically they call it second coming type. They use it for events like Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. It was giant type on the front page of the paper. Pearl Harbor bomb when JFK was assassinated in Dallas, big mega type. Second coming type was again used when the World Trade Center was attacked on September 12th. It was second coming type telling us the World Trade Center had been attacked.

It's interesting. Why don't they call it mega type or major event type or big news type? No they call it second coming type. Because they're really saying there's no bigger event than the second coming of Jesus Christ. Did you know a lot of non-believers believe in the second coming of Christ? A Gallup poll was taken that revealed 66% of the American people believe Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth in the future. That's amazing to me.

66%. There's a sense that something has to make this all right and it's there before us in the headlines every day. The second coming of Jesus is mentioned so many times in scripture. It's mentioned over 18 times in the Old Testament and 300 times in the New Testament. Statistically one verse out of every 25 mentions the Lord's return. It's referred to in 27 Old Testament books and 23 New Testament books. For every prophecy about the first coming of Christ there are eight prophecies about his second coming.

Isn't that interesting? So it's a message that's repeated over and over in the Bible. Something we should be paying attention to.

Something that should affect the way that we live. And I think your very reaction to this idea that Christ could come back is a spiritual barometer as to where you are at. If your heart leaps and you're filled with joy and you're saying, man I hope it's soon, that's a good thing.

If there's a sense of dread and fear, that's a bad thing. I like how John responds in the book of Revelation. Jesus says, I'm coming quickly. And John says, amen, come Lord Jesus. That's something every believer should say. Amen, come Lord Jesus. Let's say that together right now. Amen, come Lord Jesus. That's right. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

And this is something we read about so many times. In fact I would say the incarnation without the coronation would be like the east without the west. The incarnation, the birth of Christ, the coronation, the second coming of Christ are so important.

They're bookends given to us in scripture. In one of the most well known statements in Matthew 24, Jesus said, Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, the moon will not give her light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Not Greg Laurie, Greg Laurie. Though I do plan on coming back with Jesus and if that sounds insane, hold on, I'll tell you why. Because it's not just going to be me, it's going to be you too.

We play a part in the big picture of what is yet to come. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We love hearing from our listeners, whether it's a short word or they take some time to tell us what's going on with them. Hi, I was watching Jesus Revolution and stopped at the point where the actor who played Greg said his name was Greg Laurie.

I rewound it to make sure I heard it correctly. Then I googled it and wow, I had no idea that was you. And I also did not know that you had a hard life like I did. I honestly only know you as the guy I get devotions from in my email. I was surprised and thankful. Do you have a comment to share with Pastor Greg?

If so, call him and tell him about it. The number is 1-866-871-1144. That's 866-871-1144. Well, you've joined us for an important message today titled, The Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Before we dive into the second coming, let me come back to the topic of the rapture. Because there is sometimes confusion about the rapture and the second coming. So, what is the rapture?

The rapture is that future event when Christ will descend from heaven and resurrect the bodies of believers whose spirits have already gone on to heaven. And then we will be reunited with loved ones who have preceded us. So, if we die, our spirit goes into God's presence. Our body stays in the ground. When the rapture comes, our body is resurrected.

Yes, a bodily resurrection happens. Now, if you are one of the people on the earth, you're caught up to meet the Lord in the air. And that's a word in 1 Thessalonians 4 when it says, we'll be caught up to meet the Lord. It's the Greek word, harpazo. And it means to take forcibly, to snatch, or to be caught up. And is this event spoken of elsewhere in scripture? As a matter of fact, yes. In John 14, Jesus spoke of the rapture when he said, in my father's house there are many mansions.

If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am, you may be also. In the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24, Jesus says, two men will be in a field, one will be taken and the other left.

Two women will be grinding at a mill, one will be taken and the other left. So keep watch because you do not know what day your Lord will come. The Apostle Paul also referred to it in 1 Corinthians 15 when he says, behold, I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep or die, but will be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. Now some would say, well, there's no instance in the Bible where someone was just taken to heaven.

Ah, contraire, there is. Remember the story of Enoch in the book of Genesis? It says, Enoch walked with God and was not, for God took him. Providing some commentary on that in the book of Hebrews chapter 11, it says, by faith Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying. Suddenly he disappeared because God took him and before he was taken up he was approved as being pleasing to God. So here's this guy Enoch, we don't know a lot about him, but we know that he walked with God and he liked to take walks with God every day. And I guess one day Enoch and the Lord were walking along and the Lord said, you know what buddy, we're closer to my house than yours, why don't you come home with me today? And he's just suddenly removed, taken off the earth, that's Enoch, kind of a prototype of the rapture. It also happened to the prophet Elijah. Remember he was walking along with the prophet Elijah and we read that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared drawn by horses of fire. It drove between them separating them and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. So those are two Old Testament saints that were effectively caught up. Then you go to the New Testament and you have what I might describe as a sideways rapture.

Let me explain. It's a story of Philip who was led by the Lord to share the gospel with a man who went to Jerusalem searching for God from Ethiopia. Philip shared scripture with them, led this man to the Lord and baptized him when we read in Acts 8, 39, while he came out of the water, the spirit of the Lord caught Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way preaching.

Meanwhile, Philip found himself further north in the city of Asitas. Now that word used for caught away is harpazo again, so this is interesting. He wasn't taken up to heaven, he was moved from A to B. I wish I could use that for going in between our campuses in Riverside and Orange County and especially Maui, just appear in Maui.

Not have to get on a plane or appear in another city, whatever it is. But that's an interesting occurrence. But was not in effect Jesus raptured in the ascension because what happens, we read that he is there giving the great commission to his disciples. And then in Acts 1, 9 it says, and then he was taken up into the sky as they were watching and disappeared into a cloud.

As they were straining their eyes to see him, two white robed men suddenly stood there among them saying, men of Galilee, why do you stand here staring at the sky? Jesus who has been taken away from you into heaven will someday return again. So yes, we'll be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Now when will this happen?

Well no one knows the day of the hour, we know that much. But I can tell you this much, it won't happen before the tribulation period. Some would suggest it happens midway in the tribulation period. I would disagree because Antichrist cannot even be revealed until the church is removed. Because Thessalonians said, and I've quoted this to you before in this series, he who now restrains will continue to do so. This is the restraining work of the Holy Spirit through the church.

And they'll continue to do so. Then will that wicked one be revealed whom the Lord will destroy with the brightness of his coming. In other words, the church where the restraining force in the world today, speaking out for what is true, speaking out against what is not true, and when we're removed, then Antichrist will be revealed. That is why we should not be looking for Antichrist, but instead be looking for Jesus Christ. We will not go through the tribulation period. But Greg, you're wrong. Because did not Jesus say in this world you will have tribulation?

Yes, he did. But there's a difference between personal tribulation, trials, hardship, or storms, and the great tribulation. Yes, we will all go through trials and God will allow it to have us grow spiritually. The testing of your faith, the Bible says, produces endurance.

So that can be a good thing. But the great tribulation is different. This is a time where God's judgment falls upon the earth for the last three and a half years. And you cannot find a single instance in the Bible where when God was judging someone, he judged his people along with them.

Case in point, Lot. Remember the Lord brought his judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. But what did he first do? He removed Lot and his family from the city before the judgment fell. Now Lot's wife didn't make it out because she looked back. And that's why Jesus had said, remember Lot's wife. But he got them out before the judgment came. The same is true of Noah. Before the flood came, the Lord got Noah and his family safely into the ark and shut the door. And as the flood came down, the ark went up.

The same is true of all of us. In speaking to the church of the last days, Jesus says in Revelation 3.10, because you've obeyed my command to persevere, I will keep you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those that belong to this world. So he'll keep us from it. And then we're caught up to meet the Lord in the air. All right, so what are we going to do after the rapture and before the second coming? I'm glad you asked.

Let's read about it. Revelation 19 verse seven. Let us be glad and rejoice and give him glory. For the marriage of the Lamb has come and his wife has made herself ready.

And it was granted to her to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright. For the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he said to me, write this, blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said, these are the true saints of God.

So what's happening? We're at the marriage supper of the Lamb. I like that it's called supper because that means we will eat in heaven. How many of you like to eat? Raise your hand.

Okay. Does anyone here not like to eat? There's always one person who I'll never understand those people, but it's a marriage supper. So we sit down and we feast with the Lord. It's a wedding. And so many times in the Bible we're referred to as Christians as the bride of Christ. He's the groom, we're the bride.

Paul says in Ephesians, husbands, love your wife as Christ loves the church and gave himself for her and he might present her to himself a holy and spotless church without spot or wrinkles. So we're the bride. Now some guys may not like that, I don't want to be a bride. You're a bride, deal with it. He's the groom, we're the bride.

So we are to make ourselves ready. Now think about your wedding day. I remember my wedding date like it was yesterday and it was 50 years ago.

But there's something about a wedding day you don't forget. How many of you are married? Raise your hand. You're married, okay.

How many of you are happily married? Raise your hand. Not as many hands. That concerns me. Especially you, sir.

No, not really. So I remember my wedding day. Do you remember your wedding day? I remember my wife was a vision of beauty in her bridal gown. I wore a questionable tuxedo. I've shown you a photo of that before. I don't want to show it again.

I might cause nightmares. You know, when you're on your way to your wedding and you want to look your best, you don't want to show up guys in some soiled t-shirt or ladies. You don't want to have your wedding dress on and drive through Taco Bell and have refried beans on it. You want to have a beautiful clean dress for that moment when everyone in the wedding stops and turns and the doors open and we play your theme song.

Guys don't get a theme song, do they? The girls get one and here you come and we all watch you walk down that aisle. So this is going to happen one day in heaven. So in the rapture, would you be one of the ones who would be caught up or would you be one of the ones who would be left behind? That's up to you. It's up to you.

That's why you want to decide now what you're going to do. You decide in this life where you will spend the afterlife. Important insights into the coming events in the Lord's last day's plan. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie with his message called The Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Pastor Greg, as you mentioned, we decide in this life where we'll spend the afterlife.

That's right. Maybe somebody listening hasn't really made that decision. They haven't ever come to the Lord to begin a personal relationship. What would you say to them? What I would say is he's only a prayer away, which means if you will call upon the name of the Lord right now through prayer, he will hear your prayer and answer your prayer. Listen, if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life, if you want him to forgive you of your sin, if you want to know that you go to heaven when you die, just pray this prayer right now after me. Just pray, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now, and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my Savior and Lord, as my God and my friend. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Amen. Listen, if you have just prayed that prayer and meant those words sincerely, we want to welcome you into the family of God. Let us help you get started walking each day with the Lord. Pastor Greg wants to send you his New Believer's Bible, absolutely free, along with some other helpful resources. Just let us know you prayed with Pastor Greg and that you want the New Believer's Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300.

We can take your call anytime at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the words, Know God. You know, Pastor Greg, Christmas is a time when people are a little more open to hearing about Jesus, and we need to seize those opportunities. Well, you have a holiday devotional book that will not only encourage us as believers, but it'll help introduce Jesus to those who don't know him. Isn't that right?

That's right. You know, I'm still thrilled when I'm maybe in a mall or a store of some kind and they're playing the Christmas music, and yes, they play the predictable, you know, Mariah Carey Christmas songs, and I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but then you'll hear Silent Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel, and boy, I tell you what, those beautiful old Christmas songs have the gospel in them, and I love it, and that's really the essential message of Christmas. So in addition to those great Christmas hymns we love to sing this time of year, I have a brand new resource I want to send to you. It's a Christmas devotional, and it's called Heaven's Light Breaking. It's hardcover, beautifully designed. I know it's something you're going to save, and you'll read it again next year and the year beyond.

Maybe you'll hand it on to your children or your grandchildren. So this is a beautiful resource that we want to put in your hands so you can focus on the essential message of Christmas, and it's called Heaven's Light Breaking. You can read it by yourself, you can read it as a devotional with members of your family, and then talk about it afterwards.

It's very understandable. It's really something I think you're going to love, and we want to send you your copy of our brand new Christmas devotional, Heaven's Light Breaking, for your gift of any size. So listen, whatever you send, we'll take those resources and use it to continue to come your way with this radio broadcast that we call A New Beginning. So be generous when you order your copy of Heaven's Light Breaking. I trust it will be a blessing for you in this Christmas season.

Yeah, that's right, and thanks so much for your generosity here at this gift-giving time of the year. It's a pivotal time for the ministry as we determine how far we'll be able to reach out with the gospel in 2024. Your support helps us reach more people.

It's as simple as that. So when you send your donation, be sure to request Heaven's Light Breaking. Now we're only able to mention this a short time longer. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. Call any time 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or go online to Harvest.org. Well, next time, Pastor Greg helps us understand the rewards that will be distributed to believers at the judgment seat of Christ. Exciting information! Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at Harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-06 06:50:29 / 2023-12-06 07:00:25 / 10

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