Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. If you know the world has an end and it could be soon, wouldn't that make you rearrange your priorities?
I've heard it described like this. If you were on the Titanic and you knew that the boat was sinking, would you take time to rearrange the deck chairs so that it looked prettier and you had a more comfortable place to sit? Of course not. Isn't that what a lot of us are doing? Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. We're coming to the end of a powerful teaching series here on the program called The Difficult Sayings of Jesus.
If you missed any part of this study, you can find every message at jdgreer.com. But today as we finish up, the difficult saying that we're looking at comes from Mark chapter 13, where Jesus talks about his second coming. He says, But concerning that day, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Is Jesus implying that he's not all-knowing?
I mean, I thought he was God, right? Certainly there's a solid explanation for what Jesus is saying here. So let's join Pastor J.D. in the book of Mark. If you have a Bible on all of our campuses, I would invite you to take it out now.
Open it to Mark chapter 13. You see, most of us have this misconception of Jesus at three years old as like this toddler savant who's hanging out in the nursery lecturing the other three-year-olds about the Christological implications of Leviticus 13 and prophesying about the end of the world. That's not true. Jesus was perfect in Godhead, which means 100%, and also perfect 100% in manhood. He was truly or fully God and truly man. One person acknowledged in two natures, inconfusively, which is kind of a confusing word, unchangeably, indivisibly, with liberty, and just—no, I'm kidding—inseparably, the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved.
You're like, well, duh, of course, you didn't know that. But in other words, here's what that says. That he was fully God did not take away from him being fully man, and that he was fully man did not take away from him being fully God. But see, the apostles didn't record that verse because it fit their theory about who they wanted Jesus to be. They wrote this down because he actually said it.
And even if it messed with some of their theories and created some problems for their doctrines, they wrote it in there. So the reason that he didn't know was not because he ceased to be God or he wasn't God or they made up the fact that he was God. The reason he didn't know is because as the Savior who was fully God and fully man, he sometimes limited himself to some of his divine powers. Is there another reason, even if Jesus didn't come in that generation, is there another reason why he might have told them to be ready like it could happen at any minute?
And the answer is yes. Because Jesus wants us to live in a constant state of readiness as if he could return tonight. Jesus then tells a story of the master who gave three of his servants large sums of money to invest. Two of them, Jesus says, invested it and made a good return. One of them evidently thought the master wasn't going to return that quickly, so he buried his money. And Jesus said the moment that he didn't realize it, this master returns and says to the servant, where is the return of my money I gave you to invest? And when the servant had nothing to bring forward, he cast the servant into outer darkness.
All of Jesus's examples that he uses make basically the same point. You are to live in a state of readiness with every part of your life like he might return today because it might be today. Here's a quote of C.S. Lewis, precisely because we cannot predict the moment. We must be ready at all times.
The soldier does not know at what time the enemy may attack or at what time an officer might inspect his post, so he must be awake at all times. Listen, it's not that we should always be running around in fear that the end might happen at any moment. We should instead, listen, be like an 80-year-old man who needs, on the one hand, not to be always thinking about his approaching death, but at 80 he should always be taking it into account. It would be criminally foolish not to have made his will, and so on, by the time you're 80 years old.
Listen to this, now what death is to each person, the second coming is to the whole human race. Let me give you four things that would change in your life if you believe that his return was imminent. Four things that an 80-year-old person, metaphorically speaking, how they would view their lives. Here is number one, spiritual alertness. Spiritual alertness. How would you live differently if you knew Jesus were coming back tonight? Even now, the other night my wife and I are laying in bed talking about the second coming of Jesus and she starts saying, you know, it's dark.
She's like, oh, I want to be awesome that one day you and I might just drift off to sleep together and then we awake side by side as we're soaring through the clouds while she's talking about to slowly slip out of bed silently laying on the ground perfectly still. She's like, you know what I mean, JD? JD?
JD? So when you believe this, it's great for practical jokes, but I know that it's really easy for us to make fun of all that now. I realize that, but there is one thing, one thing that my church had, listen, one thing they had that I think we're missing, and that is the earnest expectation of his return. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ's first coming, there are eight that look forward to his second.
We've got a whole holiday where we celebrate the first coming, but hardly anything ever gets said about his second. At the church I grew up in, we used to end just about every service. You know how we end, we stand you up and say you are sent. We used to end every service there by we'd stand up and the pastor would say, Meranatha, which means in Greek, the Lord is coming, and then he would save and it might be today.
Honestly, I think we could use a little bit more of that kind of thinking. It might be today. This might be your last chance to hear the gospel and respond. This might be your last chance to tell that friend, that neighbor, that grandparent, that child, it might be your last chance to tell them about Jesus. Which leads me to the second thing in your life that will change if you believe his return is imminent. Number two, mission urgency. Mission urgency. If you know the world has an end and it could be soon, wouldn't that make you rearrange your priorities, like severely?
I've heard it described like this. If you were on the Titanic and you knew that the boat was sinking, would you take time to rearrange the deck chairs so that it looked prettier and you had a more comfortable place to sit? Of course not. Isn't that what a lot of us are doing? Do you really look at your life?
We've devoted ourselves, we've consumed ourselves with vacations and hobbies and possessions and bucket lists and YOLO, hashtag YOLO, you only live once, you better get it all in right now. Listen, you guys know I'm not a guy who believes that God never wants you to have things you enjoy. I'm not a guy who believes that every Christian ought to be in full-time ministry like me. I think God is glorified through secular jobs. I think that's what he created many of you to do.
I don't believe that hobbies are bad and that we shouldn't have times where we unplug and just devote ourselves to something we really enjoy, but I also know that life is painfully short and when the master returns I want to have invested my talents and resources, my treasure, my time. I want to have invested it fully for his kingdom and not be found sitting on that resource buried in the ground and say, well I just didn't really think you were coming back that quickly so I didn't invest what you gave me for your kingdom. And see, that's going to happen, I fear, to many of you. I think Jesus will look at you and say, I gave you unbelievable opportunity. I gave you flexibility and mobility and that you were the richest nation on earth and you, you bought new cars, you bought new houses, you filled up your time with, eternally speaking, what have to be regarded as silly hobbies. And you knew, at least you said you knew, that I was coming back. Why didn't you invest what I gave you, your time, your treasures, and your talent?
Why didn't you invest it for my kingdom? Listen, nothing wrong with a little R&R, nothing along with a little rest and relaxation, nothing wrong with hobbies or nice things. But listen, many of you work so that you can have nicer things and go on vacation.
That's like the end game and that's why you want to retire early. I just want to work hard now so I can have longer to go on vacation. Listen to this, a disciple of Jesus takes occasional vacations so that he can work more for Jesus' kingdom.
And you got to see, some of you are exactly flipped. You're working so that you can have more nice stuff and take better vacations on earth. A disciple of Jesus takes vacations and has nice stuff so that they can live more for the kingdom they know that is coming that is eternal. And one of those parables that Jesus told, that I referred to a minute ago, and honestly this scares me a little bit, he describes a guy who failed to invest the talent, the resources that God had given him. Jesus said that when he returned he cast that servant into outer darkness, which means he wasn't saved. He was not really a disciple. Are you a disciple of Jesus?
Here's the way to answer that. Are you investing your time, your talent, and your treasures for the kingdom of God? College students, as you think about your future, are you thinking about your career in terms of how it can be most greatly used for Jesus' kingdom? I'm not saying you all become like me by any means, but are you thinking about it in light of the kingdom? Those of you who are working, what's your end game in your job?
Is it just so you can retire wealthy and enjoy nice stuff for your few years on earth? Or are you saying, God I'll take a few vacations so that I can work more diligently for your kingdom? Number three, here's the third thing that will change in you when you believe that his return is imminent. Hope and suffering.
Hope and suffering. Let me direct your attention back to the text for a minute. Mark 13 verse 26. Then they will see the Son of Man coming with the clouds in power, in great power and glory.
Let me point out a little something to you. We always talk about Jesus coming back to earth through the clouds. That's actually a misquotation of this verse. Notice it doesn't say he comes through the clouds, he comes with the clouds.
Why is that distinction important? Because the clouds to Jewish people were a symbol of heaven. So what he's saying is, I'm going to bring heaven back to earth and I am going to restore paradise as I intended it because our sin brought curse, our sin brought sickness and pain and death and one day, he says, my return guarantees that I'm going to set everything right again and that all the pain you're going through now is just temporary. You see, I can endure just about anything if I know it's temporary, if I know it's not going to last that long. So that means when I'm in pain, I can look up and say it might be today. He's coming. It might be tonight and he will come with the clouds and when he comes, he will wipe every tear from every eye. There will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more crying because he will restore the world the way that God created it to be and this situation is just temporary.
It'll be like, as Lewis says, a bad night in a cheap hotel. You can lift your eyes because the return of Christ is imminent and it's not going to last forever and it could be tonight. If your life just has not turned out like you always hoped it would be, you thought at one point life was going to be different. You were going to obtain certain things and get to certain places but it's just not working out like that. You're not in the marital status.
You're not at the career status. I love what a friend of mine says, the promise of the second coming shows us that the good old days are always ahead of us, never behind us. Some of you, if you're honest, you look back and you think those were the good old days. I had so many dreams and it hadn't turned out the good old days that the second coming is true or the return is imminent.
The good old days are right ahead of you. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. To learn more about this ministry, visit jdgreer.com. Before we return to our teaching, I want to take a moment to remind you about an amazing resource that we offer our listeners. If you have any questions about life, theology, or the Bible, you won't want to miss Pastor JD's Ask Me Anything podcast. In each episode, Pastor JD answers real questions submitted by listeners like you with biblical wisdom and practical advice.
And what's the best part? It's completely free. You can access Ask Me Anything with J.D. Greer by visiting jdgreer.com slash podcast or by searching for it on your favorite podcast platform.
Don't miss out on this great resource by subscribing to the podcast today. Now let's get back to today's teaching. Once again, here's Pastor JD. Number four gives you power to forgive. Tim Keller says, believing in the return of Jesus gives you the power to forgive. You know, over the years, I've counseled a number of people who had difficulty forgiving somebody because of something they did, you know, to them. And believe it or not, this idea of the imminent return of Christ, I've seen this actually help people tremendously.
Why? Well, what happens when somebody really hurts you? The first thing you want to do is you want to jump up on the judgment seat, right? And you want to make sure they get what they deserve. And you're willing to be God's instrument to be used in that, like God, here am I, send me. Even if you know you shouldn't do that, you're cheering God along as, you know, give it to them, God. Yeah, stick it to them. Oh, a little harder, God. I don't think it was hard enough. You know, you want to start cheering for God. Here's the problem. Listen, you were not created for that judgment seat.
You're not big enough for it. And when you try to sit on the judgment seat, it works a little bit like that ring in the Lord of the Rings. It destroys you.
It feels so good going on. It feels so good to get binges, but it corrupts and destroys your soul because you weren't made with the capacity to give judgment. You ever seen bitterness really destroy somebody?
You probably have. Maybe it's destroyed you. What happens is you see this person unable to forgive somebody else. Maybe what they did was really bad. But what happens is they have so much hate in their heart for that person that they begin to color everything that person does so that nothing they can do is ever good. Because everything you see that person through is the lens of hate. And then if it's really bad, they'll start to project their hate of that person on every person who's liked them. So you've got a guy who's been hurt by his wife and he hates all women.
You have a person who's been treated badly by somebody of another race and so they hate everybody from that race. That's happening in your soul because you weren't created for the judgment seat. The doctrine of the second coming helps us stay off of it because we know he's coming back and he'll bring justice. So I can endure injustice for the time being. I can live in a world where evil is not always paid back because I know the real judge is coming, his return is soon, and he's going to set things right. Those four things are what change in you when you begin to understand the eminence of Jesus' return. You say, well, what's his return going to be like?
When's it going to happen? Unfortunately, that's a bigger question than I have time for. I probably already heard several people say, you should do a whole series on that, maybe. Jesus, please come back before I have to do that series.
Basically, real quick, here's four positions that people generally gravitate toward. One's called pre-tribulational. The tribulation is that seven-year period.
You know this, the seven-year period where the Antichrist does battle with Kirk Cameron for seven years? Then these people believe that God will rapture out believers right before that takes place. The second position, they call it post-trib, post-tribulational, which believes that we'll go through the tribulation, and then Jesus will come back afterwards, so it's after the tribulation. One of the problems people sometimes point out with that is it doesn't feel like it's that imminent because if we're in the tribulation, I feel like I would know it. Then there's the post-millennial and amillennial positions, which they don't really believe there's going to be a tribulation at all. They think that's all kind of metaphor, and they're like, well, Jesus can return whenever. The problem is there's a lot of things in the book of Revelation that don't really seem to fit well with this model. Then there's my favorite position that I call the pan-tribulationist position, which means I really have no idea, but I know it will all pan out in the end.
How many of you were there? You're like, that's where I am right now. All right, good. One thing that I think we cannot dispute, one thing you should not dispute, we ought to be expecting his return today. That is the consistent teaching that ought to be true no matter how you parse that last stuff. Charles Spurgeon said it this way, the hour of his appearing is not revealed in order that we may always stand on tiptoe expecting the return to be today. Which leads me to the last question I'm going to ask you. Do you yearn for his return? Are you on tiptoe? Because you're supposed to be, and it actually, listen, the degree to which you yearn for his return is like a thermometer in your heart that will tell you your spiritual temperature. I don't mean to be all judgmental and condemning, but for many of you, you never think about it. And that tells you a little bit about where your heart has made its home.
Do you yearn for his return? When I was in college, I heard a true story of a teacher who taught kids with special needs. And so she taught them about the return of Jesus. And she said that after she taught them about the return of Jesus, whenever her kids, her special needs kids, would hear a commotion or a loud voice, they'd all jump up and say, he's coming back. And they'd all run to the window and they'd look out the window to see if Jesus was coming back.
The Christian band New Song actually turned that story into a song. And she just can't keep them in their seats. They're all at the windows straining to see, its fingertips and noses pressed to the window panes, longing eyes, expectant hearts for him to come again. All they know is that they love him so. And if he said he's coming, he's coming. All they know is that they love him so. And he said, he's coming and he's coming for them.
So the first thing you know, they're out of their seats, back at the windows, straining to see. You yearn for his return like that? Again, let's be honest. Most of us don't.
And I'll give you two reasons why that's true. Reason number one is that we are so at home in this world. We've spent so much of our lives trying to make life good here. The second coming is good news for people whose lives are filled with bad news. And we spent our entire life trying to create good news for us here. Right?
C.S. Lewis, again, still making up, says, wealth has a way of knitting a man's heart to this world. Wealth has a way of knitting a man's heart to this world. We don't find ourselves longing for his return because we have so much invested here. You see, the fact that you don't long for his return ought to be a thermometer that says you might ought to be careful as to what kingdom you've actually leveraged your life for.
That's reason number one. Reason number two, the thought of Jesus's return for most of us is mixed with a little fear, maybe a lot of fear. Because you know you're not ready to stand before him. The idea of standing before the judge of all the earth.
For many of you, if right now we heard the voice from the eastern sky, he shouted, and Jesus is coming back, yours would not be running to him to embrace the open arms of God your Father. It's fear because when the judge shows up, you're not ready to give an account. I see this with my kids. When my kids think that I'm happy with them, oh, they love to be close.
I come home, they run out, they jump in my lap. Oh, daddy, read this to me. Oh, dad, look at this.
Oh, dad, look what I pulled out of my nose. Just, I mean, whatever it is, you know, they're like, dad, look. When my kids think I'm mad at them, whether they just think I'm in a bad mood or whether they, you know, actually have done something, they'll, I mean, they avoid me.
They're like, oh, I'm back, like, don't talk to dad. Many of you that your heart doesn't long to see Jesus because you fear his anger. It's kind of a well-founded fear because one day you will give an account for everything in your life, every single thing. Maybe you know that you haven't kept the Ten Commandments. Maybe you don't even believe in the Ten Commandments. Here's one thing I know about you, even if you don't believe in the Ten Commandments, the human heart understands that it's guilty. And so even people who aren't religious are terrified at the thought of standing before the judge. So can I tell you the last great piece of good news from this passage?
Probably the best part. If you go back through Mark 13 and read this account of the last, the end of the 10 Commandments, you'll notice that when Jesus describes the judgment day, he starts using these odd phrases. On that day, the sun will be darkened and the moon will be turned to blood. When you get over to Mark 15, two chapters later, which is the story of Jesus' crucifixion, you read that darkness came down, utter darkness that settled over the whole land. He says, on that day, the earth will be shaken. Then you get to the story of the crucifixion, it says that when Jesus died, the earth shook and the rock split open. You see, when you read the account of the judgment day in Mark 13, and then you get to the story of the crucifixion in Mark 15, you're supposed to say, what's happening at the crucifixion? It almost looks like judgment day.
It was. Jesus on the cross was the ultimate judgment day. He was judged in our place, so that for those of us who receive him, all we have to look forward to is reunion with our Father, never fear over facing the judge. Jesus faced the judge so I would not have to. He received condemnation so that I could receive only commendation, not because I deserve only commendation, but because there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, because Jesus took it all in our place.
At the first coming, Jesus did not come to bring judgment, he came to bear it. This is the gospel. Pastor J.D. Greer concludes our challenging study called The Difficult Sayings of Jesus here on Summit Life. To go along with this series, we've created a great new resource called The Gospel Flipbook. Pastor J.D.
and I spoke recently and he explained why he's so excited about this new study aid. You know, Miley, years ago, this old preacher named D. Martin Lloyd-Jones said the secret to longevity in the Christian faith is driving the gospel deep in your heart. So what we've done is we've provided a resource that will help you drive those gospel seeds down deep. It's a gospel flip book that is organized around Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It's like a set of flashcards that go along with your reading of the gospels. It gives you what I'm going to say is a revolutionary thought. It's going to couple it with a key verse, a key insight, some information about some chapters in the gospel that you're reading and a quiet time plan.
You'll be amazed how much deeper the gospel is in your heart and how much more it's shaped how you think and how you talk and how you act. We would love to partner with you in this way. If you'll reach out to us with a gift, then we would love to give you this tool.
You can reach out to us at jdgreer.com. The Gospel Flipbook is available today for those who support this ministry with a gift of $35 or more. It's an easy to use tool for sharing the message of the gospel with friends and family. To get your copy, simply call us at 866-335-5220 or visit our website at jdgreer.com. Thank you for partnering with us in spreading the message of Jesus Christ.
I'm Molly Bidevich. I hope you enjoyed this teaching series on the difficult sayings of Jesus. And starting tomorrow, we're diving into a new series as Pastor JD teaches straight through one of the most important books of the entire Bible, the book of Romans. That's Friday on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
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