Come, Lord Jesus

One of the major themes in the New Testament that I can’t say I’ve heard too many sermons on is the return of Christ. As I was going through the epistles in my Bible reading plan I noticed how much the writers anticipated His return and conversely, how much I didn’t. So I went on a search to find out what the Bible says about the parousia.

The NT writers  describe it as the last time, the revelation of Jesus Christ, the glorious appearing of our God and Saviour, the day of God and the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. The return of Christ is a certainty

2. The day and hour are unknown

Jesus said so, and Paul repeated as much. For this reason, we are to be vigilant and patient.

3. Believers in Christ need to be ready

It will be a sudden occurrence, but there will be preceding signs.  We are to look forward to, long for and eagerly await Christ’s return. [This is where I fall dreadfully short.]

We  are to wait:

  • as those who don’t wish to be surprised at the Master’s return (Matthew 24:36-44)
  • as stewards who must give an account of their service (Matthew 24:45-51)
  • as those who know the Master’s coming may be long delayed (Matthew 25:1-13)
  • as slaves commissioned to improve their Master’s assets (Matthew 25:14-30)
  • as people whose lives are so transformed by the Gospel that they unself-consciously serve brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:31-46)

As we wait, we should be committed to personal purity, serving the Lord and evangelism. Even as the wait seems interminable, may we not forget that the Day is near.

Those who are found faithful:

  • shall have their faith result in praise, glory and honour (1 Peter 1:7)
  • shall be preserved to that Day (Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 4:18; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1:24)
  • shall not be ashamed (1 John 2:28;4:17)
  • shall be blameless (1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:13;5:23; Jude 1:24)
  • shall be like Christ (Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2)
  • shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2)
  • shall appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4)
  • shall receive a crown of glory (2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4)
  • shall reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10;20:6;22:5)

4. The wicked

They scoff and presume upon the delay of the Day. They shall be surprised when it comes, and will receive their punishment.

5. How it will happen

Christ will return as a conquering King, riding on the clouds in blazing fire and great power and glory. He shall descend with the voice of the archangel and shall be accompanied by His holy angels and holy ones. The dead in Christ shall rise, and those believers who are still alive at His coming shall meet Him in the air.  All this shall be visible to all. Oh, and the heavens and earth will dissolve.

And that’s the sum total of what the Bible tells us: not much.

6. Why He is returning

He’s not returning to make atonement for sins. He will bring to light what is hidden, judge the living and the dead, destroy death and the man of sin.

At the same time, He is coming to restore all things, to complete the salvation of His saints, to be glorified in and to be marvelled at by them and most importantly, to reign.

And to finish off, O For That Day by the band Enfield (nope, hadn’t heard of them before. It took me long to find  a decent video of a song on Christ’s return.):

Chorus:

O for that day when our journey has ended

All of our hope found in Heaven’s reward

When we will have the Messiah forever

And we will dwell in the house of the Lord

Yes, we will dwell in the house of the Lord

Sources: Torrey’s New Topical Textbook (on BibleGateway.com), Crossway Community Church: Christ’s Return, D.A. Carson: How to wait for Jesus, Part 1 and Part 2

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