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November 16, 2021 7:00 am
Give others a wonderful devotional book by Oswald Chambers called my utmost for his highest, and others.
A quote in there that really applies to these theories that we are finishing today. Let me read that quote to you, it says at the bar of common sense Jesus Christ statements may seem mad but bring them to the bar of faith and you begin to find with awestruck spirit that they are the words of God.
Now the reason I bring this up is because we've been involved in a series entitled Jesus is most outrageous things we've been going to the gospel accounts in the New Testament, and we been picking out 12 of the most radical things that he ever said things that look mad to common people using common sense. But when we bring those to the bar of faith as Oswald Chambers challenged us to do we find the Jesus's statements were not mad or crazy, but that actually they were the word of God that have impact on our lives and so today were going to finish that theories we've already done.
11 out of the 12 messages you can pick up any you missed on tape or CD out in our bookstore today were ready to do. Number 12 and if you brought survival today I'd like to ask you to open with me to Matthew chapter 24 the first book in the New Testament Matthew 24.
If you did not bring your Bible and your here in our main auditorium retried under the armrest next to you and you'll find a copy of the Bible were going to be on page 700, page 700 and copy the Bible.
Matthew chapter 24 in your copy of the Bible. And while you're turning. Let me give you little bit of background here in Matthew 24. Jesus is in the last week of his earthly life he has entered Jerusalem at the triumphal entry and he I with everybody shouting hosanna he's been going to the temple every day teaching and preaching the people in the courts of the temple and that's where we pick up the story. Matthew chapter 24. Look with me in verse one.
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. No, Herod the great spent 46 years beautifying the temple grounds building buildings everywhere. In fact, at the time of the Lord Jesus the temple in Jerusalem was considered to be one of the most majestic edifices in the world. The rabbis from that time tell us that the goal in the white marble of the temple buildings could be seen from miles away glistening in the sun and this is what the disciples were doing. They were impressed with how beautiful these buildings were and they pointed them out to the Lord Jesus first two Jesus asked do you see these things I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on top of another. Everyone will be thrown down. And as they sat on the Mount of olives, the disciples said to him privately more tell us, when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age. The rest of Matthew chapter 24 my friends. It represents Jesus answering this question and this is what we're going to talk about today were to talk about the return of Jesus Christ. The second coming of Jesus Christ and it was in this chapter as these Jesus was answering their question that he says something that was really outrageous. I want you to see it. It's down in verse 30 at that time, Jesus says the Son of Man, meaning Jesus himself will appear in the sky and all the nations of the earth will mourn for they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory that you need to know that in the ancient world and ancient mythology. It was common to represent gods and goddesses is flying around on the cloud. For example, we've got to slide for you to see what we got a God on the cloud flighty of fighting the Cyclops it often they were on the clouds in a chariot such as the second slide, but we all know that that's impossible. I need in my work for mythology, but in reality people cannot ride on class and yet this is the outrageous claim that Jesus makes right here in Matthew 24.
He claims that this is exactly what he's going to do and when he does it he says all the nations of the earth will mourn. This goes along with what the prophet Zechariah said in the Old Testament. Zechariah 1210 he said in that day they will look on him whom they have peers and they will mourn over him as one mourns for an only son, that friends why will people mourn at the return of Christ. Well let me let Jesus answer the question himself. He goes on to say, verse 31 of Matthew 24 and when I do this I will send my angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather my chosen ones from the four winds. Verse 37 as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field. One will be taken and the other will be left behind.
Two women will be grinding with a hand mill one will be taken and the other will be left behind.
Why will so many people mourn when they see Jesus Christ returning with friends they will mourn because suddenly they will realize that all their friends telling them about Jesus Christ and we was that their friends were right, but they never accepted Christ like their friends challenge them to do. Therefore, they are not part of the chosen ones that Jesus sends his angels to get in with the way and therefore they are left behind the exactly as Jesus predicted here in Matthew chapter 24 so what will be a very happy day for some people. When Jesus Christ returns will be a very sad day for some other people when Jesus Christ returns and at this time. I think it would be good for us to pause for a moment and spend a little bit of time just reviewing what the Bible says about the second coming of Jesus Christ you know, the second coming of Jesus Christ is mentioned over 300 times in the New Testament. That's an average of once every 25 versus tokens. He was the theme of is the return of Christ. For example, Matthew 1627 for the Son of Man is going to come in his father's glory with his angels, and then he will repay each person according to what they have done. Second Thessalonians chapter 1 verse seven, Paul says the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his mighty angels. The apostle John writing in the book of Revelation says behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him and finally asked chapter 1 verse 11 when Jesus had ascended into heaven. The angel standing there speaking to his disciples who were watching said this, they said men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky.
This same Jesus who is gone into heaven, will come back the same way you saw him leave.
So let's summarize. The Bible declares the Jesus a second coming will be a literal event.
Jesus will return bodily. He will return visibly. He will return personally and he will return openly not in a clandestine time way, but in a way that the entire human race is able to see him when he returns that when we speak about the second coming of Christ were really talking about two phases to the same event were talking about two occurrences that are not identical, but together we lump them in and called them the second coming of Christ. Let me explain to you what they are. First of all, were talking about the rapture of the church. Paul refers to this in first Thessalonians chapter 4 he says to the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Paul continues verse 17 and after that, we who are still alive will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will forever be with the Lord not notice what happens at the rapture. According to the Bible when it comes to people who have already died who were followers of Christ. The Bible says that Jesus raises their bodies from the grave he changes their earthly mortal bodies in the glorified bodies, the kind of body he had after he was resurrected and he reunites these people spirits with their glorified bodies then goes on to say that those of us who are followers of Christ and alive when the Lord comes in the clouds. We slowed up to meet the Lord in the air. Any changes mortal bodies into glorified bodies while we are floating up on the way up on the water rush that's going to be. This is the Lord Jesus coming on the clouds in the air and would you notice the Lord never actually step foot on this earth in his coming at the rapture. It's only for followers of Christ. Everybody was, not a follower of Christ here on earth gets left behind. This is what Jesus meant when he said one will be taken and the other will be left behind and the purpose of the rapture is to deliver. We were followers of Christ to deliver on from the great tribulation.
That is about to come on the face of the earth. Now the second event that makes up the what we call the second coming of Christ is when Jesus Christ actually returns to earth for the second time steps on the earth for the second time this occurs. Seven years later at the end of the tribulation.
As you know, the tribulation period ends with a horrendous Battle of the Valley of Armageddon, the antichrist has all of the armies of the world gathered there to finish the job that Adolf Hitler tried to finish but couldn't. And that is the complete annihilation of the Jewish race off the face of your and the Lord comes and saves the Jewish people. Zechariah 14 three.
All nations shall be gathered against Jerusalem for battle. Then the Lord will go out and fight against these nations and on that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of olives and the Mount of olives will put into from the East to the West. This time the Lord Jesus does step foot back on earth, and when he does his Majesty is so awesome that he actually blows the Mount of olives to smithereens when he touches down he defeats the armies of the antichrist and now with the believers who were left to survive the tribulation. He starts a 1000 year kingdom called the millennial kingdom where he rules and he reigns personally here on this earth, millennial kingdom is going to be a very different place than the earth today in the millennial kingdom. God is going to fulfill every promise that he ever made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the nation of Israel in the millennial kingdom. Romans 821 tells us that God is going to lift the curse that he placed on the world in Genesis chapter 3. Things are going to be very different lifespans. For example, will be extended. Isaiah 65 says that during the millennial kingdom. He who dies at the age of 100 will be thought to be a mere use universal peace will exist during the millennial kingdom. Isaiah chapter 2 verse four. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up arm against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Carnivorous animals will be different during the millennial kingdom will be changed. Isaiah 11 verse seven the cow will feed with the bear, the lion will eat straw like the ox and the wolf will lie down with the lamb. And finally, even snakes will be different in the millennial kingdom. Isaiah 11 verse eight the infant will play near the whole of the cobra, and the young child will put his hand in the viper's nest. No one will harm or just for each other any longer. You guys, I don't know if you guys are fans of Steve Irwin you know him as the crocodile Hunter anybody. Fans of this guy will I am. I think this guy is awesome but I think he's also completely out of his mind. You know I mean I did drugs for years and I hung out with people who did heroin newborn is crazy is this guy. I mean this crazy guy. What is he doing vessels alligators. He handles cobras he chases black bongos through the woods they want run one way. No person in his right mind would run all the way he runs after him grabbing his face by the tail and try to pull back, making him upset is not a smart thing to do.
In my opinion he gets down on his face and looked rattlesnakes widen the guys out of his mind that he's become very wealthy being out of his mind when he is out of his mind, that you know if Steve Irwin makes it into the millennial kingdom I've got bad news for their going to cancel his show and the reason is because every body is going to be able to handle rattlesnakes in the millennial kingdom. Everybody is going to be able to pick cobras up in the millennial kingdom. Things are going to be so radically different. There, we can even imagine it. And this is why when Paul wrote to Titus, he called the return of Jesus Christ, the blessed hope of the church and the blessed hope of every follower of Christ. This is why the apostle John ends the Bible with these words. Even so, quickly, Lord Jesus.
Because the return of Jesus Christ represent the great culmination of everything that Christ came to the cross to accomplish for the human race.
Now that's as far as we want to go in the passage right now because we want to stop and we want to ask our most important question and so is everybody ready for that are three of your okay here we go ready to go now want to three now you say Launcelot say honestly I have no desire to handle snakes and I really don't care about Steve Irwin and want to present any of this makes my life really what let's talk about that down in verse 42 of this chapter where your Bible is open.
I want to look what Jesus said as he told us something very important about his second coming first 42 therefore Jesus said be ready because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
But understand this, verse 43. If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have been ready and would not have let his house be broken into.
So to you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him now. Did you get the point that the Lord Jesus is trying to make here. I hope you did is pretty simple. It be ready. Be prepared to meet the Lord when he returns and friends being ready, being prepared to meet Jesus Christ upon his second coming is not a haphazard process. It is not a random and arbitrary and accidental process to be ready for the return of Christ takes deliberate planning in our lives, and it takes deliberate execution of those plans in our lives and I want to talk to you today about how to do this. What are the plans we need to make and execute on the really be ready for the Lord Jesus's return. Whenever it happens, because he said be ready will have three suggestions to give you and then were done number one if you want to be ready for the return of Jesus Christ. Whenever it happens, the number one make sure that you have a genuine personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Matthew chapter 7 Jesus said many people will say to me on that day, what day on the day when he comes back. Many people will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name. Did we not in your name drive out demons, and in your name perform many mighty miracles, then I will say to them, depart from me, for I never knew you friends notice here that when Jesus Christ returns the central issue is not good works.
It's not church membership is not religious activity, even religious activity done in the name of Jesus. The real issue is whether a person knows Jesus Christ in a real intimate and personal relationship.how does a person get a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
It's really simple. Number one, we have to renounce our own righteousness and our own human effort as the way we hope to pay for our sin before a holy God number two. We must embrace Jesus's death on the cross as our only payment for sin before God and number three. We must entrust our whole being, to Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and our personal savior. Now listen the Bible says that when Jesus comes back there were going to be a lot of people who mourn her when he comes back because they're not allowed to be left behind and the reason there left behind is because of what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7 he says I don't know you.
We don't have any relationship friends I don't want you to be one of those people. I have a very hard time believing an audience the size that every single one of us here knows Jesus Christ in a real and personal way. And I'm saying that Jesus came right this minute. You wouldn't go. I don't care how much you've done to serve God or how much money you put in the offering plate or how what a good person you are.
You wouldn't go because the only people going on the people who know Christ and he knows them in real intimate personal relationship.
So I want to challenge you. I don't know when the Lord's coming, but what I can tell you is when he comes, you're not going to have time to fix this, then Paul says in first Corinthians 615 that the coming of Christ that the rapture is instantaneous. It's like the twinkling of an eye, and it's over and you're not going to have time to accept Christ. Then Jesus ago to be here and gone before you have time to pray the sinners prayer time to do that is now. Paul said the day of salvation is now and I want to challenge your friends.
It would be so sad to think you sat in this church for weeks or months or years in the Lord Jesus leaves behind his uncle taking, could you come to McLean Bible church will take you with him because you know Christ and that's what I hope you'll do. Number two. Once we done this.
The second way to be ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus is to be serious about living a God honoring lifestyle to be's serious about obeying Jesus Christ in every area of our life. Second Corinthians chapter 5 verse 10 for we as followers of Christ must all stand before the judgment bar of Christ, that each one may receive what is due us for the things we've done while we were in our bodies, whether good or bad friends. When the Lord Jesus grabs the at the rapture and when he whisks us the way to heaven.
The Bible tells us that we are going to have a performance review that covers our entire Christian life. When we get there. Now if you did some rotten things like I did before you came to Christ. Don't worry about those things. They went under the blood of Christ.
When you came to Christ and those things are not going to be here at this review.
They're gone. But what is going to be reviewed.
Here is everything you and I've done since coming to Christ how obedient we were. How faithful we were how we lived in terms of what the Bible tells us to do and were going to be evaluated not in terms of whether we go to heaven or hell friends were already in heaven to be evaluated for rewards or lack thereof, that God is given now and I don't know about you but I'm telling you this is a terrifying thought to me but I'm going to stand there with the Lord Jesus and he's going to hit the replay button and put my whole life on display, to stand there and watch it with him and you know what when we do that him and me together. Focus is going to be no secrets. They're going to be know this will be no spin doctoring you knuckle spin doctor the Lord Jesus, come on now in Washington too long did you think that is not going to be any sleight-of-hand is just can all be on the open for the Lord Jesus and me to watch again.
I don't know about you but that scares me to death, and in light of this, God has some advice for us in the Bible how we should live down here so that will be ready when he comes to go through this kind of performance review.
Here's what he says. Titus chapter 2 verse 12. While we await the blessed hope that is the glorious appearing of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Paul says we should say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and Ed, we should seek to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives friends.
Nobody can be perfect. Doing this but with the power of the Holy Spirit inside of us we can be serious about doing this we can have a zeal to try to do this we can have a passion about doing this and let me tell you this is something that takes deliberate planning.
It's not gonna happen by accident and it not only takes deliberate planning, but it takes deliberate execution. If you and I are going to actually live this way, number three, and finally is if you want to be ready and I want to be ready for the return of Christ than we need to have a do it now attitude when it comes to serving God. You know, if I were to list my 10 greatest regrets in life. One of them up near the top of the list would be that I never got my mom to Israel with me that you know when I started going to Israel in the late 1980s and taking towards my mom or my dad was was gone, but my mom was still alive and her health was good and I kept saying I should take my mom Israel I should take mom on the Israel and you know I never did.
I put it all from one year to the next year and finally she developed cancer and became an invalid in a wheelchair and then I really wanted to take her. I remember calling Rob say mom I really want you to go and she said I can. I can even walk. How can I go to Israel. I can't walk and she passed away and never went and you know as sad as it was, I still learned a very important lesson from that whole experience. I learned that it's easy for us to assume that the opportunities before us today are going to be here forever. So if we put them off. We can always go back and get them later friends that is not true, not true at all.
That's why David wrote in Psalm 39 verse four shown the Lord housecleaning.
My life is is why Paul said in Ephesians chapter 5 verse 16 that in light of the fleeting. This of life that we are to redeem the time, we are to make the most out of every opportunity, and so therefore if you and I want to really be ready for the return of Jesus Christ. Here's the point. Whatever you and I are planning to do for God. My advice to us is do it now while we have the opportunity if you're planning to speak to somebody further about their need for Jesus Christ. My advice he was doing now if you're planning to pray for somebody. My advice to you is do it now if you're planning to have start having personal quiet time every day with the Lord in your life. I advised he is doing now if you're planning to start leaning your family and personal devotions every night my plan. I advised he is doing now.
If you been planning to teach Sunday school or work with teenagers or or or leave a small group or start a Bible study at work or give more liberally to the Lord are going to sort terms, missions trip, whatever it is, my advice to you is doing now because you never know when Jesus Christ is coming back friends in the opportunity won't be there anymore. Even if he doesn't come back, you don't know when you're leaving and the opportunity may not be there. I think churches are full of people with great intentions but really bad execution.
Remember what I said to be ready for the return of Christ. It takes more than good intentions, and more than good planning, it takes execution. I talked to you last week about George Whitfield, the great leader of the great awakening here in the United States of America. From 1730 to 1770 George Whitfield wrote tens of thousands of miles on horseback through the rain of the funder to the lightning through the hail he preached in the open-air to thousands upon thousands of colonists and led what many people think is as much is 50% of the population of the colonies to personal faith in Jesus Christ usually has some friends who thought he was just overdoing it a little bit you have some friends who kept admonishing him that he needed to slow down because he didn't slow down. He was gonna burn out and I love what George Whitfield said and I quote he said I'd rather burn out then rusted out" and you know my friends. I think George would be a was ready for the return of Christ.
Whatever happened if it happened during his lifetime. I believe he could've said, Lord, I'm ready because I'm out here doing what I know I should be doing and I'm not just sit and home thinking about it and say one day I will amount you're doing and I want to challenge you. I think in this church and in churches around the world. We got people rusted out. I mean that their hearts are right there say one day Lauren I would do this. 41. They Lord I would do that for you one day. Lord I would do this for you over there but there's no execution.
I'm here to challenge your friends all rusted out.
What a miserable way to live rusted out burnout for the Lord Jesus Christ, so that when he comes as the apostle John said we will not be ashamed of to meet him because we're out there serving Christ with our lives and burning up for the Lord Jesus.
That's how you want Jesus to find you when he comes friends not sitting on the couch it in Oreos and say one of these days. What I would do some well let's summarize you want to be ready for the return of Christ.
What is that mean in your life in my life. Number one, it means that we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through personal faith in what he did for us on the cross.
Number two. It means that we have a seriousness about living a God honoring lifestyle that there's a zeal about personal holiness in our life so that when the Lord Jesus returns whatever were doing were knocking to be a shame to have them find is doing it at that moment. And number three. We need to have a do it now attitude when it comes to serving Jesus Christ friends we ought to be burning out and not rusting out when the Lord Jesus finds us so I want to challenge you today where are some areas in your life where you need to do not only some deliberate planning. My friends, but where is a follower of Christ, you need to do some deliberate execution.
Maybe some changes in your behavior pattern because you're not really being zealous for personal holiness in those areas.
Maybe some changes in your serving Christ patterns because you got great intentions but not really doing all that much. Well II can answer that question for you. I can only answer for myself but I can tell you.
The question is not whether Jesus is coming back.
He is the question is whether you and I will be ready when he comes in.
I hope you will was pretty good.
Lord Jesus, we look forward to the day when will hear a trumpet that'll just sound from nowhere and all of a sudden we look up and there is the Lord Jesus in the clouds father I pray that that would be a day where were we are happy. Not a day where we mourn the day were we are happy because number one we know you personally and were on our way to meet you and in a day also. Where were happy because were not ashamed to meet you, Lord, our lifestyle and our service to Christ as word order. So father help us be ready at any moment.
So whenever you come we can say Lord Jesus is great to see and not shrink back in Shane because of what you find is doing at that moment in time Lord Jesus we echo the words of the great apostle John, who said even so, come quickly number nonself Lord Jesus. We look forward to that day, the blessed hope of every follower of Christ and of the church at large. Or, thank you.
You're coming back for us.
Grant that we might be ready to meet you when you come in. We pray this in Jesus name God's people said Amen