I woke this morning with every intention of continuing in Ephesians, but I got a bit sidetracked. I read a message from a friend about Revelation and I read some posts on FB and I saw an uplifting post that surprised me a bit and I decided I needed to change directions this morning about the urgency of Christ’s return. The time of His return is always near.
First off, I am not going to make a predictions or tie anything to any date that can match up to any prophecy, because I believe, Matthew 24:36-37 (ESV) 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. So, I do not spend a lot of time speculating on a specific date. But I do pay attention to prophecy to be aware of the season.
I do believe Matthew 24:32-35 (ESV) 32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. So, I do pay attention to the prophecy and wait in eager anticipation, but the key is that I wait, and while I wait I keep doing what God gave me to do.
Wait on the Lord
Even though I know the time is near I still must wait on the Lord. But it is not a burden to wait for God. There is much to do while I wait. We have been in a hurry for His return since the first century. Peter wrote about it.
2 Peter 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Shouldn’t we do the same? Shouldn’t we study the Word of God with anxiousness and anticipation preparing for His return? Peter desired for us to grow in understanding. But he also desired patience.
2 Peter 3:8-9 (ESV) 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
He explained God’s view of time was different of ours and it was not slow, but His desire was that all might reach repentance. But how might they reach repentance if they do not know Jesus. Paul explained it to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 1 – Preach Christ Crucified
He spoke of the Gospel and our need to share it. He also reminded the Corinthians that it could not be shared by our power or fancy words but only through the power of the Holy Spirit. I love this passage where he explains it.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (ESV) 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Paul talks about how God chose to deliver the message of salvation and goes on to confirm it by reminding them of how he, Paul, delivered the message.
1 Corinthians 2 Proclaiming Christ Crucified
Paul explained his own weakness and frailty.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV) 1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
As I read this message I am reminded of the Great Commission that Jesus gave us all. And I look at these words and am filled with an understanding that I do not have to be wise nor do I have to be filled with fancy words to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28 The Great Commission
Christ Jesus told us what to do. It was called the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Peter reminded us that know Christ’s return is near, 18 “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 (ESV) Paul explained that we need not fear to share what we know.
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV)
Peter shows the need to study the Word of God for understanding and Paul reminds us that we must not rely on our own strength when sharing the Gospel, but on the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit when we share God’s Word.
No one knows God’s timetable but through God’s Word, we can see the season and Christ Jesus return seems closer that it has been. There is a passage that rattled me the first time I read it. I had always been an intellectual Christian. I knew there was a God. But I had never truly accepted Him. The passage is in James
James 2:19 (ESV) 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Today I know that there is so much more. There is an indwelling Holy Spirit and is my strength and wisdom. He gives me words when I have none. He directs my thoughts when I am lost in a sea of confusion. He showed me that full surrender was a victory not defeat and that the love of Christ Jesus surpasses all understanding.
I will close with this last passage.
John 14:1-7 (ESV)
1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 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. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
It is a simple message but as I read it my heart beats like thunder! What an awesome God we serve!
Father, give me the strength to simply share the Gospel with those around me. Father, I trust you to give me the words. Help me to be obedient and simply share what you have taught me through Your Word. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen