Motivated by the Promise of His Coming (part three)
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Brethren, God the Son, God incarnate in human flesh, Jesus the Christ, our Lord and our Saviour is coming again. All throughout God’s Word, the promise is given, “Our Lord shall come again.” Certainly this is a glorious truth as we are “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)
Yet the truth of our Lord’s Second Coming is not just a glorious truth. It is also a motivational truth. It is a truth that should motivate us to live aright even now. In fact, this promise of our Lord’s Second Coming is employed as a principle of motivation at least once in every book of the New Testament except Galatians, Philemon, 2 John, and 3 John. Already in the first two parts of the message, we have considered such passages from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 2 Corinthians. Now in this third part of the message, let us consider such passages from Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.
In Ephesians 4:30 God’s Word states:
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
At the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be glorified with our Lord and shall be made like Him, incorruptible in body and undefiled in soul. That is the day of redemption to which we look forward with hope by the promise of the Lord our God. Until that glorious day of redemption at our Lord’s Second Coming, the Lord our God has sealed us with the indwelling Holy Spirit, as “the earnest [down payment] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) Therefore, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling as the earnest of that promise should motivate us to avoid anything that might grieve the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.
So then, what things might grieve the indwelling Holy Spirit? Certainly any and all sin, whether in attitude, word, or action, would so grieve Him. Even so, some specific sins are spoken against in the surrounding context of Ephesians 4:30.
In verse 25 God’s Word states:
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Again in verses 26-27 God’s Word states:
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.
Yet again in verse 28 God’s Word states:
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
And yet again in verse 29 God’s Word states:
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Furthermore, in verses 31-32 God’s Word states:
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Finally, in Ephesians 5:1-5 God’s Word states:
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
In Philippians 3:17-21 God’s Word states:
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
The promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to walk after the example of those who live for our Lord Jesus Christ. Yea, it should motivate us to follow the apostle Paul’s example as revealed in verse 8, where he declared:
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
Furthermore, it should motivate us to follow the apostle’s example as revealed in verse 10, where he declared:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.
Finally, it should motivate us to follow after the apostle’s example as revealed in verses 13-14, where he declared:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
In addition, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us not to live for the desires of self or to set our mind upon earthly things.
In Colossians 3:1-4 God’s Word states:
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
The promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to set the affection of our hearts and the pursuit of our lives upon things above, not upon things on the earth. It should motivate us to live for the Lord and His purpose, not for ourselves and earthly things.
Furthermore, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to put unto death spiritually the desires of our sinful flesh. In verses 5-10 God’s Word continues:
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.
Finally, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to put on the righteous characteristics of our Lord. In verses 12-15 God’s Word states:
For the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, Abiding in Christ, and Christ in us, Pastor Scott Markle
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.