Hello, and welcome to Faith is Hope,
Preparing for Christ’s return. Just how do we prepare for Jesus? Well, first we need to acknowledge who Jesus is. He is the Son of God, his only begotten son, the Messiah. He was born, lived, and was crucified, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus shed his blood as a sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the world. And He is coming!
Next, don’t be fooled or deceived by great miracles, false prophets, or false teachings. And there’s a lot of that going on within the church. If a pastor, priest, or minister preaches something that you know is not what’s written in the bible, or goes against the teachings and examples of Jesus Christ, then they’re not of God, and their teaching is false. Don’t just accept what you’re told. If you have a bible then you have the road map to God. Everything you need to come to Christ, to receive forgiveness and salvation is right there in God’s word. Everything that has happened, everything that is happening, and everything that’s going to happen are written in the bible and given to us by God. God isn’t trying to trip anyone up, he’s not trying to be sneaky. He’s trying to give us a heads-up, so we can prepare and be ready for that day. Jesus even gives us the timeline of events that will lead to his return. Now, no one but God the Father knows the exact day and the hour, but Jesus told us what was going to take place and what must take place before his return.
Matthew chapter 24. Mark chapter 13. Luke chapter 21. All talk about what is going to happen. In Matthew 24:6 there will be wars and rumors of wars. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Famines and earthquakes in various places. You will be delivered up to tribulation and put to death, you’ll be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. False prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
Now let’s stop right there. We have wars and rumors of wars, Nations rising against nations. Famines, earthquakes in different places. People are being assaulted, even killed for their faith. People are getting caught up in the woke agenda, and turning from God. Well, so far he’s on the money.
When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short.
Pick up now at verse twenty-nine Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Okay, so Christ said he’s returning after the great tribulation. Are there any other places in the bible that support or deny this statement? Let’s look and see. In first Thessalonians chapter four starts at verse fourteen. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this, we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
Okay, let’s take a look at that. Paul said that those who are asleep are in Christ. Those who have accepted Christ, but have physically died will be raised up before those who are left. Those Christians who are still alive. And again, Christ will return with the sound of a trumpet, and then we will be caught up to be with Christ in the Clouds. But is that the end of the story? Let’s keep looking.
Second Thessalonians Chapter two verse one. Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we as you, brother, are not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.
Okay pause, so before Christ’s return, two things must happen. There has to be a rebellion, the Greek word is apostasy. Which would be a rebellion against the word of God. And the man of lawlessness must be revealed. Who is this man? The Antichrist.
Alright, let’s start at verse four now. Who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. In other words, nobody can worship anything other than him.
Okay, now let’s start here, pick up at verse eight. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
Okay, so the antichrist has to come before Christ’s return. Makes sense, hard to fight someone who isn’t here. Help me out here, where does it say that Christ is going to return, gather up all those who have accepted him, take them up into the clouds, and then come back to destroy, and kill the lawless one?
People, that’s some of what Christ was talking about when he warned about false teachings in Matthew 24. The Bible gives us exactly what’s going to happen. Why are we putting other people’s ideas in there? Why are we not listening to what we’re told in the word of God? Why are we following a dream that somebody had a few hundred years ago? If you were being told the truth, you wouldn’t even worry about this being gathered up, raptured, caught up, okay? Because that’s all that people are talking about as far as saving their skin. Keeping their butts out of the fire. Hot news for you. If you’ve accepted Christ your butt’s already out of the fire. But yeah there might be some suffering, there might be some pain, there might even be death. Matter of fact Christ told us there would be. Okay fine, look at everything he did for us. Look what he did for me. You don’t think I’m willing to suffer some for him?
Look, I’m just sharing with people what has been shared with me. You can choose for yourself. I can’t tell anyone what to do. That’s why God gave us the freedom to choose. If I chose for you, I’m responsible for the choice. But when you choose, see that’s when you’re responsible for what you think say and do, because you chose it. And it’s only through Christ that we receive forgiveness and salvation for all of our bad, terrible sinful choices. But there’s still time. There’s still time to accept Christ, to come to Christ and say I’m sorry. I was wrong. I can’t do it without you and I need you in my life.
The road map is out there. It shows you the road you’re on, how far you’ve traveled, and where the rest stops are.
Hey, I’m Dave – Join me next time when I talk about “The Love of God Grows Cold”. And until then, I’ll see you at the Rest Area.