The Significance of Jesus’ Return

You will remember that this entire discourse on the Second coming was begun in Matthew 24:3 when Jesus’ disciples asked about the timing of the second coming.  Throughout these two

 

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chapters, Matthew 24 and 25, Jesus has been emphasizing that the timing of His return is not the most important issue.  Far more important than understanding when Jesus will return is the need to understand the significance of His return and to be adequately prepared for when it occurs.  In this post I want to show you

 

 

 

1. At His Return Jesus Will Be Revealed in All of His Glory (v.31)  The word “glory” refers to Jesus splendor, might, and wort

 

 

 

In the OT there are 25 Hebrews words that are translated by this single Greek word “doxa.”  Briefly these words can be used to refer to:

 

  • Wealth = Genesis 45:13 Joseph tells his brothers to tell their father about all of his splendor – referring to the wealth and material blessings he has acquired in Egypt.
  • Armies = Sometimes a Kings armies were referred to as his glory, for instance in Isaiah 8:7 the Bible talks about the King of Assyria in “all of his glory.”Armies represented power in those days.So in this instance, the word glory is used to refer to Assyria’s army and its enormous military power.
  • Population = Another measure of a King’s success is the size of his country.  Therefore, Proverbs 14:28 “In a multitude of people is the glory of the King…”

 

All of these idea and more are captured in the use of the word glory here in Matthew 25.  But for our purposes we need to see what the Bible has to say about the glory of Jesus.  What we find in the Bible is that the glory of Christ is displayed in every phase of his ministry

 

Pre-incarnation –  Jesus shared the full glory of God.

 

  • John 17:5 “And now Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”
  • 2 Corinthians 8:9 ” For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. “

 

Incarnation– after Jesus came to earth He continued to reveal the glory of God.

 

  • John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. “
  • The primary ways that Jesus accomplished was by:
  • By Declaring the truth about God – John 1:18 “ No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. “
  • By Accomplishing the work that God the Father sent Him to do- John 17:4-5 “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. “
  • By His death on the cross- Philippians 2:5-8 ” Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

 

After Ascension– in Jesus exalted state in heaven He continues to glorify God

 

  • John 14:12-14 “  “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. “

 

Return– at His return Jesus will be revealed in all of His glory. 

 

  • Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.  And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
  • That which had been veiled in mystery and the incarnation in the past, will be fully revealed and made visible someday in the future

 

 

 

2.  At His Return Jesus Will Sort Everyone Into Two Groups (v.32-33) 

 

The Scope of this judgement

 

 

 

  All of the nations are going to be gathered before Him

 

  • The judgement of Christ is universal in its scope: 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. “
  • The question is not will I stand before God, but when will I stand before God
  • The even bigger question is not ” will I stand before God,” but “what will happen when I do?”

 

 

 

The decisiveness of this judgement v.32b. “and he will separate people one from another.”

 

  • The word “separate” here carries with it the idea of sorting and separating one thing from another.
  • In this case the “separation” involves the separating of all of the people who make up the “nations” or ethic groups of the world into two categories: Sheep – representing the save or Goats – representing the unsaved
  • There is no confusion here — sheep and goats are clearly different animals and one is not mistaken for another. This points us to the fact that Jesus is decisive in making a distinction between the peoples of the earth.
  • This is decisive:- You are either saved or your lost.  You have either been made righteous through faith in the gospel or you have not.  You are either in or you are out! There is no third option, no third category, no alternate plan— the judgement seat of Christ is decisive and clear.
  • The only question is, which one are you?  But before you make a choice, let’s look at what happens to each group.

 

 

 

3. At His Return Jesus Will Judge the Unrighteous and Reward the Righteous (v. 33-46) 

 

 

 

Once again, notice the two groups that are talked about here:

 

 

 

v.34-40 tells us about the Sheep, or the righteous.

 

  • These are the ones who have turned away from their sin and trusted Christ as their savior.
  • As a result they have been declared righteous by God and their actions reflect the condition of their hearts.
    • When they see someone in need (thirsty, naked, sick, or lonely) they reach out with love and compassion to minister.
    • Their actions do not make them right with God but instead flow out of a life that has been redeemed by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  • Notice that this group is rewarded:
    • v.33 Seated at the right hand of God
    • v.34 Given the Kingdom as an inheritance
      • notice the wording here — he doesn’t just give a place in the Kingdom, or a piece of the Kingdom, HE GIVES US THE KINGDOM.
      • This is what Paul means when he refers to us a “co-heirs” with Christ.
      • Everything that is encompassed by the concept of the Kingdom is given to you as an inheritance when Jesus comes back.
      • ALL HIS POWER, ALL OF HIS AUTHORITY, ALL OF HIS SPLENDOR, ALL OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, ALL OF HIS LOVE, ALL OF HIS MERCY, ALL OF EVERYTHING THAT HE IS, IS GIVEN TO YOU AND TO ME AND TO EVERYONE WHO TURNS AWAY FROM THEIR SIN AND TRUSTS IN HIS DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION FOR THEIR SALVATION.

 

v.41-46 Jesus turns His attention to those on His left hand — the goats.

 

  • Everyone who has ever lived but not turned from sin and trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior is included in this group.
    • Their sin has never been dealt with and their actions demonstrate their unrighteousness:
    • They see the same suffering and problems in the world but don’t do anything about it.
    • Core of the problem is that they are selfish and shortsighted.
  • When Jesus returns the unrighteous will be punished. (v.41-46)
    • Separated from God
    • – v.41 “Depart from me”
      • This is the worst thing that can possibly happen to a person because we are created in the Image of God.
      • We were created for the purpose of knowing God and enjoying His presence.
      • Being cast out of God’s presence for eternity is the worst possible scenario for anyone.
      • It represents the loss of all hope, all purpose, all meaning,
    • Punished for Eternity – v.41b and v.46
      • The unrighteous will be treated to the same fate as the devil and his angels.
      • The BIble is clear that Hell is a real place and that people who go there will:
        • Be conscious
        • Be punished
        • Be hopeless

 

 

 

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The Sign of Christ’s Return

Over the past several weeks I have been preaching a series of message on the Second Coming

Second Coming Jesus 35
Second Coming Jesus 35 (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

of Christ so I thought that I would share the sermon outlines with you.  If you would like to listen to the audio for this messagclick here.  

Introduction:
Throughout the centuries there have been many predictions about when Christ would return:
The turn of the millennium’s in both 1000 and 2000 AD were accompanied by a number of predictions that Christ would return on January 1, 1000 and 2000. During the Reformation Thomas Muntzer announced that the return of Christ was near and lead his followers to launch an armed revolt against the government.  In 1914 Charles Taze Russel the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses predicted that Christ would return in that year.  JW’s went on to predict that Christ would return in 1914, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994. In 1981 Hal Lindsey predicted that Christ would return before December 31, 1981.  More recently, Edgar Whiseant published “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988” and Harold Camping famously published a book predicting that Christ would return on September 6, 1994 and then when it did not happen adjusted his calculations to May 21, 2011These are just a few of the thousands of predictions that have made about the 2nd coming of Christ.  None of them, of course, came true. All of them resulted in confusion in the minds of those who earnestly believed the predictions were true and created scorn among the skeptics who laugh at the very notion of Christ’s second coming. Yet the second coming has been a constant source of interest and speculation for God’s people.

Years ago when I was Pastoring in West Virginia we used to do a monthly question and answer night.  The most frequently asked questions that I received concerned the 2nd coming.

So what are Bible believing Christians to believe about the second coming of Christ.  Please open your Bibles with me to Matthew 24-25 and let’s discover what Jesus said about the sign of His coming.

 Believers must not be led astray by false signs of His coming

  • The text gives us a List of seven things that do not point to the second coming of Christ
  1. False messiahs – Acts 5:26 mentions a man named Theudas “who claimed to be something” raised an army of 400 men, claimed to be the messiah and tried to start a revolt. According to Josephus n 44 AD, he led his army of followers to the Jordan river promising to divide it but ended up getting caught by the Romans and beheaded. Theudas was just one in a long list of people over the centuries who have claimed to by the Messiah. In 4 BC Simon of Perea was killed by the Romans after leading a revolt. In 2nd century AD bar Kochba claimed to be the Messiah and started the 2nd Jewish War with the Romans. Down through the years there have seen literally dozens of people who claimed to be the messiah.
  2. Wars and rumors of wars– Within just a few decades after the death of Christ, the Romans went to war with the Jews as a result of the growing Zealot movement.It was during that war the Jerusalem was besieged and the Temple destroyed. Over the centuries dozens even hundreds more wars have been fought. In many cases Christians thought that these wars were indicators that Christ was soon to return.
  3. Famines and earthquake
  4. Persecution
  5. Apostasy– We tend to think that we live in the worst era of apostasy but history shows that apostasy is an age ole problem. The NT books of 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 2 Peter and Jude were all written to combat apostasy.
  6. False prophets
  7. Increase in lawlessness to the point that the love of most will grow cold.

All of these things were taking place in the days of the Apostles and have continued right down to this very day.These are products of the age we live in.

  • They may grow in intensity and number but we should not be alarmed by them (v.6)
  • Don’t allow the so-called signs of the times unnerve or rattle you.
  • Jesus tells us that these things are going to happen and that we should not get too concerned about them but does that not mean that we should ignore them.
JESUS TELLS US THAT THESE THINGS WILL HAPPEN SO THAT WE WILL BE PREPARED AND ENDURE.
2. Believers must endure until the end (v.13)
Notice the promise that Jesus makes in this verse. This is not a command exclusively for those who will go through the great-tribulation but to all Christians in all times. From the time that Jesus ascended into heaven until He comes back we are living in the end times.  Throughout the ages, Christians have endured hardships, trials and tribulations. These things not only help us to grow closer to Jesus but they also help to demonstrate the genuineness of our faith.
How do we endure in the midst of the end times?
  • Keep your focus on Jesus – Hebrews 12:1-3 ” Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
  • Remember that God always has a purpose for your suffering and trials- Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
  • Understand that you are not home yet– Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present age are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

I am convinced that one of the reasons that Jesus has allowed this world to be so difficult and why he allows us to grow through hard times is so that we will not become too attached to this world.   Let me share with you the words of a Switchfoot song, entitled “I don’t belong here.” – ” It was a beautiful letdown when I crashed and burned. When I found myself alone, unknown, and hurt.  It was a beautiful letdown, the day I knew that all the riches this world had to offer me would never do.  In a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubt, I was trying so hard to fit it, until I found out that I don’t belong here…”

  • Focus on the primary task that God has given us to do in this age — PREACH THE GOSPEL

3.  Believers must be obedient in spreading of the gospel. (v.14)

  • The key word in this verse is the word “nations”
  • Ethnos= people groups, ethnic groups
  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • Revelation 5:9-10

 The gospel must be preached to every people group on the face of the earth before Christ will return.

  • According to the Joshua project there are 7,266 unreached people groups in the world, representing 2.91 billion people.

This is the primary indicator that we have concerning the timing of the end times:
When will Jesus come back?— When the gospel has been preached to every tribe, nation and tongue.That gives us our marching orders.  As Christians who believe in the Word of God and that Christ is coming back, we need to dedicate ourselves to the task of taking the Gospel to the nations.