Motivated by the Promise of His Coming (part four)
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 three parts of the message, we have considered such passages from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Now in this fourth part of the message, let us consider such passages from 1 Thessalonians.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 the apostle Paul gave testimony under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit concerning the believers at Thessalonica, saying:
And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The promise of God’s Word is that God the Son is coming again from heaven for us who are His own, and we should ever be waiting and looking for His return. Yet the manner in which we are to wait and look for His return is not by gazing up into heaven, but by serving Him with our lives. Yea, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to turn away from the ways of this world in order to serve the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our life. Furthermore, in motivating us to serve the Lord with our lives, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to “sound out the word of the Lord” unto the spiritually lost world around us, seeking for spiritually lost souls to be saved through faith in Christ. Finally, in motivating us to serve the Lord with our lives, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to be examples of godliness and true holiness unto our fellow believers around us.
In I Thessalonians 2:17-20 the apostle gave testimony, saying:
But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.
At our Lord’s Second Coming, those for whom our Lord has given us responsibility to lead and influence spiritually for Him will be our glory and our joy, that is – to the extent that they actually grow in their walk with and service to the Lord.
Thus in 1 Thessalonians 3:7-13 the apostle gave testimony:
Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: for now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Even so, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to minister faithfully unto those for whom our Lord has given us leadership responsibility, in order that we might perfect that which is lacking in their faith and spiritual maturity, ever seeking for them to “stand fast in the Lord.” Furthermore, in motivating us to minister faithfully for others’ spiritual growth, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to seek that they might “increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men.” Finally, in motivating us to minister faithfully for others’ spiritual growth, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to seek that their hearts might be established “unblameable in holiness before God.”
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 God’s Word states:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
When our Lord returns for us in the rapture, we shall be caught to meet our Lord in the air and to ever be with our Lord for eternity. Therefore, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to be comforted ourselves and to comfort one another through this truth.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 God’s Word states:
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
The promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us who are children of the light and of the day to live spiritually serious and sober lives, refusing to be drunken and overcome with the pleasures of this life. Furthermore, in motivating us to live spiritually serious and sober lives, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to put on for a the spiritual breastplate to protect our hearts, faith in our Lord and love for one another. Finally, in motivating us to live spiritually serious and sober lives, the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming should motivate us to put on, for a spiritual helmet to protect our thoughts and emotions, hope in the promise of our eternal salvation.For the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, Abiding in Christ, and Christ in us, Pastor Scott Markle