JESUS IS COMING AGAIN – MATTHEW 24:9-14, 36-44; REVELATION 7:9-10; 22:6-21
There are “plan ahead” people and “spur of the moment” people. Both have their pros and cons of handling upcoming events. There are times in life when planning is important; and other times when doing something on the spur of the moment is fun. In today’s lesson, we’ll examine an event that absolutely requires our attention and planning. The Bible tells us to BE ready not GET ready for if we are in the process of getting ready we may miss the event of a lifetime. Jesus is coming again the question is, are we ready?
READ SEE THE END GAME REVELATION 22:12-14
Starting with the end in mind isn’t always a bad thing; these verses encourage us to take a peek ahead to the end of time as we know it.. Jesus proclaimed that He was “coming quickly” v12. The word quickly means suddenly, suddenness, unexpected—in mid sentence. I Cor 15:51-57 In the twinkling of an eye, when we least expect it. God isn’t on the same time schedule as we are. With the Lord a thousand years is only like a day 2 Pt 3:8. When He does return, it’ll be a sudden appearance unexpected by many.
Many doubt Jesus’ return so they’re unprepared for it. They’ve never trusted Christ to forgive and save them from their sin. However, Jesus brings His reward with Him. Jesus will give people what they’ve earned by the way they’ve lived their lives. Reward stands side by side with judgment. Jesus said He would “repay each person according to what he has done” which means God records everything, misses nothing, sees all, skips no one. Jesus judges all of our words, actions and deeds. (Mt 12:36) But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. Someday we have to give account for every word we speak. (1 Cor 4:5) Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. Jesus’ judgment includes our thoughts, words, and deeds! Not a single part of our lives can be kept secret from Jesus. He knows it all.
Romans 2:6 teaches God judges each man for his works. I Peter 1:17 emphasizes God judges impartially according to one’s works. This isn’t the same thing as being saved by works. Jesus said He would judge people by their works, not that they would be saved by them. Rev. 22:14 dispels the notion people are saved by works. They are saved because they “wash their robes” and obtain “the right to the tree of life” Washing robes describes the salvation as they washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. Our works don’t save us, but we are judged by them!
Jesus revealed that He is “the Alpha and the Omega”. These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the Beginning and the End. They set Jesus apart from all human beings. He was before us and will be after us. He is greater than time and space.
Those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb have two privileges: the right to the tree of life and entering in the city by the gates. The tree first stood in the center of the Garden of Eden Gen 2:9; 3:22-24 Adam and Eve were allowed to eat from this tree and live forever. Immortality was within their grasp. However, when they ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they’re banned from the Garden and barred from eating from the tree of life. Because of their sin, Adam and Eve exchanged immortality for death which was their reward – “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Now, in Revelation 22, the tree of life reappears. Again, it is a symbol of immortality, eternal life, life that never ends.
Those that have the right to the tree of life means they have authority over the tree of life or they have the right to eat from the tree. They have the right to live for ever. That is the positive side of Christ’s reward. Jesus is coming and those who have placed their faith in Him in this life will enjoy unhindered access to the city of God forever.
The reward of going through the gates into the city speaks of the right to eternal communion and fellowship with God and His people; the right to see God face-to-face and to fully enjoy Him forever. This is the positive side of the reward. John 10, says Jesus is the gate. He is the pathway to communion with God.
READ SEE THAT YOU ARE READY MATTHEW 24:39B-44
Some try to figure out the exact day and hour of Jesus return, but Scripture’s emphasis isn’t knowing the time but being ready for His return. Jesus declared nobody knew the day or hour of His return “except the Father” Not even Jesus while He was on earth knew the day of His return. Jesus knew the time preceding His return would be like the “days of Noah,” when people engaged in their daily pursuits unaware God would soon pour rain upon the earth to judge them. So any day could be the day and we should live in constant eager expectation of His coming.
Jesus divided the reactions at His coming into two categories: the prepared and the unprepared. Jesus gave examples of people pursuing ordinary activities when He returned. Two men were working in the field. As they worked, Jesus’ return caught one prepared and one unprepared. The prepared man went with Jesus; the other one was left. Jesus also described two women grinding at the mill. Christ’s return separated the saved from the lost.
The first step to being prepared for Jesus’ return is to be alert. Since we don’t know what day Jesus is coming, we must remain alert doing those things we need to do to be ready for His return. We must prepare our own hearts by receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior and work so others will be prepared in that day.
Jesus concludes with a story of a homeowner. Homeowners protect themselves against thieves by installing locks; alarms; locking doors and windows; having a watchdog; leave a light on when away; etc. We can apply this to our relationship with Jesus by being alert, prepared, ready, and watchful for His coming.
Jesus is coming at an hour we don’t expect. The Bible describes the time of His return 2Tim. 3:1-7 It states no definite time for His return. Instead, we need to be ready at all times knowing that we’re at peace with God and that we’ve shared the gospel with those who need Jesus.
SEE THAT YOU ARE FAITHFUL – MATTHEW 24:9-14; REVELATION 7:9
Jesus didn’t promise easy times as His return approached. Rather, they’d become more underhanded for those who claim Jesus’ name. However, Jesus emphasized faithfulness as we await His return at an unexpected hour.
Many signs of the end times began in Jesus’ day and have continued to our day. He mentioned persecution. Jesus’ followers must be prepared for others to hate them and to actively work against their faith. Persecution will arise as the Gospel opposed.
Persecution will come from those outside the church but also from those who turned away from the faith. Not every church member is a child of God 1 John 2:19. Christians will be tested by those who don’t remain true to their confessions. Believers must remain faithful. We must watch out for “false prophets” who would “rise up and deceive many”; Those who desire to remain faithful to the Lord must distinguish between those who are speaking the truth and those who are self-motivated to deliver their own messages.
“Lawlessness” is growing in the world. However, we can’t give up even though the world tries to write its own standards of what is right and what is wrong. We’re called to share the gospel as a testimony of Jesus’ power to save. The “good news” that Jesus came to die for the sins of the world, needs to be “proclaimed. God left us here to proclaim His message so everyone has the opportunity to hear of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. Reaching people is more important than determining dates for the return of Christ!
Revelation 7:9 give us hope that Jesus will come. In heaven “a vast multitude,” (too many to count) stands “before the throne and before the Lamb worshipping the One who have saved them. People were there from “every nation, tribe, people, and language” All are welcome at the throne if they’ve received Jesus. Whosoever will may come.
Lord, prepare our hearts and our lives as we wait with expectancy for Your return!