BELIEVING IN THE IMMINENT RETURN OF CHRIST, December 27th, 2020

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CENTRAL THOUGHT
The Christian who is looking forward to Christ’s return will live a consistent holy life.

HYMN: THERE IS A LAND THAT IS FAIRER THAN DAY

TEXT: 2 Timothy 3 and 4
(Reading Text: 2 Timothy 3:1-9)
INTRODUCTION
The second coming or the Imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a subject not many are talking about today even within Christendom. The Church of today is so preoccupied with materialism, and worldliness has gradually crept into the church. The Church of God is no longer seeing itself as a pilgrim, who should dwell in tent and not permanent structure, whose mission is primarily to rescue the perishing and care for the dying. Many Christians are no longer conscious of the fact that they are stewards, told to occupy for an undefined period, whose Master could return at any time with His reward. Only in few churches do we have messages on the end time and the second coming of our Lord. Even in the Church many are not overly enthusiastic of Christ’s return. Yet the fact remains that this blessed hope of the church will take place. If we believe in our Lord’s soon return, we must determine to live a life pleasing to Him.

LESSON OBJECTIVES
1.) To let believers, know that this blessed hope of Christ return will take place.
2.) To appreciate God’s willingness for all to be saved.
3.) To challenge the believer to live a consistent holy like in anticipation of Christ’s return.
BIBLE TRUTH
Q1. IS IT TRUE THAT CHRIST IS COMING AGAIN?
In spite of all doubts and unbelief of the mockers. In spite of all the “apparent delay”, the day of the Lord will come. The coming of the Lord is very fundamental and central to our belief. In the Nicene creed, which is part of our article of faith, we affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ will come again to judge both the living and the dead. Christ was very emphatic that He will come again and illustrated with many parables to buttress this Truth, (see Matt. 24 & 25). To emphasize the suddenness of the event, Peter, like Paul and the Lord said it would come like a thief (Matt. 24:43; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Rev. 16:15). All prophesies concerning Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection have been fulfilled, what is yet to be fulfilled is the prophesy on His return. If all other prophecies could not be stopped or hindered, then certainly nothing will hinder the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning His return.

Q2. WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THE “APPARENT DELAY”?
The mockers in Scripture, who denied that Jesus will come again, asked, “where is the promise of His coming”. (2 Peter 3:3, 4). They argued that “since the fathers fell asleep” was a long time and that all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation, and Jesus had not yet come, they then suppose He would never return. The problem with the mockers was that they were looking at time from the standpoint of their own short lives, not realizing the fact that with the LORD a day is as 1000years and 1000 years as a day. Hence some speculate that God is in an eternal “Now”. The implication of this is that God does not look at time the way we do. He is not limited by time. The mockers needed to remember that the time “since the fathers fell asleep” isn’t long in God’s eyes.
There is only one reason for this so called “apparent delay”. God has His own calendar in carrying out His plan, not man’s plan step by step. He is long suffering towards us, not desiring anyone to perish but wanting all to come to repentance. This truth was evidenced when Jesus said “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all Nations; and then shall the end come” Matt. 24:14.

Q3. WHAT MANNER OF PERSONS SHOULD WE BE IN ANTICIPATION OF CHRIST’S RETURN?
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” Rom. 8:1. The Christian should look forward to our Lord’s return with excitement and great expectation. The Bible admonishes us to reject the life-style of the world around us and follow the Lord in a manner of living that is dedicated to the worship and service of God. God wants us to live for Him and walk in fellowship with Him (1 John 1:7).
The challenge of our future hope is to live pure, clean and godly lives now even in the midst of the present evil world.

Q4. HOW DO WE PREPARE FOR THE LORD’S COMING?
Because of the pervading influence of sin which will characterize the days before the coming of the Lord and the attendant conditions which will cause many to go into spiritual slumber, the believer has to keep vigil to be spiritually alive and well. “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” Matt. 25:13. The believer would need to keep vigil in prayers, in the study of the word, in Christian fellowship, and also in Christian service. By keeping alive these areas of our spiritual walk with the Lord,
we effectively prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. Sincere Christian activities keeps us from sin and helps us to maintain a life of perpetual victory over the devil.
As a way of preparing for the coming of the Lord, we must keep His coming in view continually. That is what actively waiting for the Lord is. Passively waiting or the Lord by being idle and folding one’s hands, expecting Christ to come any time, does not prepare us for His return. Active anticipation of the Lord’s return involves doing “business” with the talents and endowments that the Lord has given us such that we make converts for the kingdom, and at the same time raises the quality of the lives of those around us. The positive influence our lives continue to make on others stands as a testimony to them that the Lord is surely coming again.

Q5. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS THAT WILL ACCOMPANY THE LORD’S RETURN?
At the Lord’s return, the believer shall be transformed into a form similar to the glorious body of the risen Christ. “Behold, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him: for we shall see Him as He is” 1 John 3:2. At the return of Jesus Christ, we shall be like Him. This means that our bodies will no longer be under the influence of the elements of this world which cause them to decay, but they shall remain perpetually whole and healthy. Paul states it another way: “For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed” 1 Corin. 15:52b. It is a glorious thought to know that the outer person which is daily decaying, will someday remain fresh and wholesome.
At the Lord’s return, all things shall be made new, for “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away”, Rev. 21:4. The toileting, hardships, pains, agonies will all cease at the Lord’s return. It is certainly worth laboring for the Lord now, knowing that there is coming a day when we shall be rewarded.
At the second coming of the Lord, we shall be rewarded according to our works of faith (1 Corin. 3:12-14). Every act of kindness, love for the brethren, and work of mercy will not go unrewarded at the Lord’s return. Every believer must keep this hope alive so that he does not become tired of doing good (1 Corin. 15:58).

DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
Christ’s return was at the very core of the early church’s hope and expectation. The belief in the imminent return of our Lord motivated the early church to faithfully and zealously spread the gospel of Christ. If the early church could be so motivated by His imminent return, the church of the 21st century should be more overly enthusiastic about His imminent return. We must be active witnesses of the gospel as we await His return. Our mission must be to populate heaven and ensure that hell is depopulated. Since God wants as many persons as possible to be saved, we should make every effort to reach everyone we can with the gospel.

Evangelism is our supreme task!
The LORD’s imminent return is one of the best incentives available for living a holy life. If we really believe in our Lord’s soon return, we must determine to live a life pleasing to Him.
MEMORY VERSE
1 John 3:3
“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure”

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE

Mon: The return of Christ demands watchfulness.
Matt. 24:42-44
Tue: The return is imminent.

Luke 12:39, 1 Thess. 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10
Wed: Be ye therefore ready.

Matthew 24:44, 25:13, 1 Thess. 5
Thu: The Lord is not slack on His promise.
2 Peter 3:8-10
Fri: There is need to be pure as He is.
1 John 3:2-7
Sat: His return is a glorious hope.
Romans 8:29, Phil. 3:21, Col. 3:4

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