Friday, January 27, 2012

Do You Know Where to Find Encouragement? Consider Talking About the Coming of Christ . . .


"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory," (Matthew 25:31).
 
When I was a kid, during the hot summer days, we'd play until our parents wanted us home. We had no cell phones for them to call us on or to send a text . . . no my father blew a horn—his ahooga horn, which sounded something like an old Model T's horn. I'd say resourceful parents for the fifties.

This ahooga blasted throughout our vicinity—that sound meant get home and fast. If you missed the third ahooga call, you missed dinner or spent time in lock down (your bedroom) for being late. It only took one missed ahooga for me to be sure I was on time.

There is another sound I don't want to miss and that's when Jesus sends, " . . . His angels with a great sound of a trumpet" to gather the elect.

As Christians we are told, " . . . let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching," (Hebrews 10:25).

How often do Christians converse about the coming of the Lord or encourage each other with the knowledge that the Day of the Lord is approaching. Not often I presume. I mean I don't think it's regular coffee shop talk, sermon messages, or something we encourage friends with when faced with trials.

What would that conversation sound like anyways?

Hey Henry, heard your car broke down. So sorry to hear you lost your job too and can't pay your mortgage. Chin up my man, the Day of the Lord is soon approaching.

POSSIBLE REASONS WE DON'T TALK ABOUT HIS COMING
Now I don't mean to be condescending but consider it for a moment, for generations people have been saying Jesus is coming back . . . the years have come and gone. Troubles, conflicts, and trials still knock at our door. Therefore, perhaps we neglect to encourage one another with the mysteries of the coming of Christ because we either:

  • Don't believe it's true
  • Are pretty sure it won't happen in our lifetime
  • People keep saying Jesus is coming yet it hasn't happened
  • It's the farthest subject from our mind

The apostle Paul said, "We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed," (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52).

That is something to chat about. There will be Believers who are alive when Christ returns. He will bring with Him those whose perishable bodies were dead and decayed—those in worse shape then a zombie, but will be changed to imperishable. This will happen in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, like some super hero discarding his outward garments and glasses, revealing the authentic man.

LOOK HE IS COMING . . .
Many years ago, I was taking a much-needed nap. Deep in slumber, I suddenly heard the sound of a trumpet call; it was so loud that I leaped out of bed with my heart racing much like when you receive a call at 3AM. The first thought, which entered my mind was . . . Am I ready? Am I ready for Christ's return . . .?

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first," (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
That is going to be one boisterous day. All shall hear:
  • A loud command
  • The voice of the archangel
  • The trumpet call of God

There will be no question whatsoever that the Day of the Lord has arrived—that our magnificent, majestic, and mighty Lord has come to triumph over the evil of this world. Jesus, our King, coming to liberate His Church from the shackles of earth. However, until then, we are to encourage one another with this truth—JESUS IS COMING!

"Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him . . . and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen," (Revelations 1:7).


CHRIST ARRIVAL, A WIN-WIN FOR THE DEAD AND THE LIVING IN CHRIST

The secret to our encouragement, I submit, is found in this scripture:

"And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other," (Matthew 24:31; NKJV).

The "when" of Christ's arrival is nonessential but the fact is He is coming and the elect, those sleeping or alive; those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God—it is those who will be gathered together, changed in a twinkling of an eye, who will see Jesus as He is, face to face and enter into immortality.

Now that is our encouragement. For the Christian, the Coming of Christ is a win-win whether our body is deep in a grave for a century or living on earth at the Coming of the Lord.

We also find encouragement in the coming of Christ as the apostle Paul shared, "Therefore, we do not lose heart . . . For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal," (2 Corinthians 4:16 -18).

Hence we can cheer ourselves, and people like our Henry, with these truths pertaining to the Coming of the Lord:
  • Don't lose heart in adversity
  • God is achieving for us eternal glory, which outweighs any trail we experience
  • Faith is focused on what is not seen rather then what is seen
  • God is working all things together for our good
  • All hardships are temporary, in other words, this to will pass
  • Our home, which is in heaven, is eternal

Lets then encourage one another with the wonderful news that the Day of the Lord is fast approaching, maybe today, tomorrow, or a hundred years from now. The truth is He is returning as He said. (see John 14: 1, 28).

Certainly centuries have passed and Christians have longed for His coming. To God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day . . . whether we are absent from our body and present with the Lord, either way we will witness the Coming of Christ. What a fearful, awesome, and surreal day that will be. (See 2 Peter 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:8).

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty," (Revelation 1:8).  Amen!


Suggested questions to stir talk about the Second Coming of Christ
  1. What will that trumpet call of God sound like?
  2. How will everyone see Jesus at the same time, all around the world?
  3. What will that look like as the elect are caught up into the sky with Jesus, being changed in a twinkling of an eye?
  4. What will the elect be changed to?
  5. Do you feel ready if Christ were to return today?
  6. What perplexes you the most about the Coming of Christ?
  7. How do you find encouragement in his return?

Thank you for reading . . . I do hope you were blessed, inspired, and given some food for thought! God bless you my friend . . .