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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Living in Light of His Coming - 1 Thessalonians 5

I don't remember when was the last time I heard a message on The Second Coming of Christ. Today as I was running I realized how I don't often live in light of Christ's imminent coming. I am so focused on the here now that I don't think about this truth. I realize that there are various views on the end times but The New Testament is clear about the fact that Christ is returning (I wrote a paper on my view of The Second Coming titled "The Believer's Hope" when I was in college and still hold to this).

He said he would return: "I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”" (John 14:2-3

When Jesus' disciples asked when the end of the age would come, he answered by giving them a long teaching found in Matthew 24 and 25. Towards  the end of Matthew 24 he says to them, ' “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." (v. 30, 31). Here again he promises to come back.

He tells his disciples "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (v.44)
Previous to this verse, Jesus tells us that many people will going about their business ignoring the imminence of his coming. Then judgment will come as in the days of Noah.  He promised to come back. We either believe this or pretend he didn't really mean it. As Christians we are to live with the expectancy of his second coming. But yet it is very easy for us to forget it or to live in a way that doesn't really believe it will take place. This is exactly what Jesus warned us about. 
The Apostle Paul also wrote about Christ's second coming in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. He told the Thessalonians that this day would come like a thief in the night (v. 3).  It would be a surprise, but it shouldn't be for Christians. They are not of the darkness but of the light. They are awake and sober. This of course is figurative language that speaks to our moral standing and living as Christians. We don't live our lives immorally.  We don't live the life of a hedonist, living for our own pleasures. We walk in faith and love. We remain hopeful of our full salvation when Christ returns.  Paul tells the believers to encourage each other with this truth. 

Living in the light of Christ's coming is easy to believe when we become new believers. But for many of us who have been walking with Jesus for many years, it is easy to become lukewarm and think that Jesus is not really coming back. We will probably die before then so we might as well enjoy life (and singles hope he doesn't come back before they marry and have kids. How cruel would that be right?). 

The Apostle Paul offers a prayer for the Thessalonian believers, which is for us as well,
 "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (v.23-24).

It is a prayer for me. I need it.
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