Until He Returns

Perhaps no topic has more interest among Christians, and many non-Christians as the return of Jesus. There are many theories on when He will return. Speculation on how close His return is runs rampant, especially when things in the world seem to get crazier than normal. This fascination with the return of Jesus isn’t new however. We can see in at least two places in the New Testament where the disciples were curious about Jesus’ return. In both instances, Jesus redirects their focus. I believe it is something that we should do as well. How did Jesus redirect them? Listen to what He said in Matthew 24:45-46, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.”

The context of those verses is Jesus teaching His disciples while on the Mount of Olives. This teaching/sermon covers both Matthew 24 and 25. What started the conversation was Jesus’ prediction that the Temple would be destroyed. This caused the disciples to ask Jesus what the sign of His return would be. In Matthew 24 is the famous passage of “wars and rumors of wars.” One thing we need to remember to do is read the entire context of it. Many say that a sign of Jesus’ return will be the “wars and rumors of wars along with disease, famine, and death.” However, if you read just a verse later it says that “all these things are the beginning of sorrow, but the end is not yet.” In other words, those things are not the end. They might be signaling the beginning of the end, but they are not the end in and of themselves. However, none of that was Jesus’ focal point. What was, you may be wondering. I would argue that there is one main point and it leads to one main action for us today.

The main point is that one day Jesus will return. This is something that is promised throughout the Old Testament, and it is spoken of often in the New Testament as well. Jesus hammers home the point that we don’t know when His return will be, but He makes it abundantly clear that He will return. He uses illustrations of a fig tree producing fruit and then leaves as well as lightning to show the uncertainty of the timing of His return. However, just as you would expect to see figs on a fig tree that has leaves; Jesus is going to return at some point. Along these lines, we must also remember that just because we don’t know when He will return, doesn’t mean that His return is unknown. God the Father knows the times and the seasons, and He is in control of them. There is a fixed moment in history in which Jesus will return. Of this we can be certain. From this flows the application point of our verses. The application is for the child of God to be faithfully serving the Lord until He returns. Some people would rather sit around and debate the finer points of eschatology, that is the doctrine of the end times. They want to debate the merits of will the church go through the Tribulation Period or will the church be raptured before the final seven years begins. While it is a fascinating study, and certainly worthwhile to study; it will not help us accomplish our mission. Who cares if we are right on when He returns, if we have not shared the Gospel with the lost and many millions of people go to hell? The imminency of Jesus’ return is meant to both encourage us as well as spur us to faithful service. It should encourage us, because every day brings us closer to be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ for all of eternity. Every day brings us closer to the day in which sin and sickness no longer rule our lives. Jesus’ return should also spur us to be faithful, because millions of eternities hang in the balance of them hearing the Gospel, and surrendering to it in faith. While God will save those He has chosen to save, we don’t know who they are. Therefore, as a Christian, we must treat each person as both a lost sinner and the elect of God. We must share the Gospel with full assurance that God in His grace will save some. Each conversation we have, we should believe that this is a person whom God will save. Does this mean we believe that everyone will be saved? Absolutely not! The Bible makes is crystal clear that this is the case. However, we must treat each person as though they will be saved, and the way that we do this is by praying for them before we share the Gospel, then share the Gospel, and even pray for them afterwards. As long as their is breath in the body, there is hope for the soul. Therefore, we don’t grow weary and we do not give up until the Lord saves them, they die, or we die.

Dear Christian, we have a mission given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. We only have a finite amount of time to work in this mission. So, as much fun as it is to debate the timing of Jesus’ return, it is more important for us to act as though He is coming back today. Which means, we must get busy sharing the Gospel because there are still many who have never heard, and even more who have never believed. Will you be faithful to your calling until the very end? Will you be called a good and faithful servant when Jesus returns? It is possible, but only if we obey!

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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