ARE YOU WAITING FOR JESUS OR JUST PASSING TIME?
Many people today do not expect Jesus to return at all. They believe that there will never be a time when history ends and eternity begins. There will never be a time when the voice of the archangel will herald the approach of Jesus to this world which was His home for 33 years. They dismiss the end of the old heavens and earth and the resurrection and the judgment to follow. But this is nothing new (II PETER 3:3,4).
Not only does this passage tell what the mockers will say, but also tells us why. They "follow after their own lusts", that is, they are so interested in preserving their lifestyles of rebellion against God and the moral principles in His word that they will mock any idea that exposes the foolishness of such behavior, no matter how noble the idea.
Then there is another group which anticipates the return of God's Son. They are so living their lives that should His coming occur this very instant they are ready. The Bible encourages us all to be in this group. (II PETER 3:11-14).
Then there is a final group. Perhaps here is the ultimate tragedy. These people do not belong in the first group because these do believe that He is coming again. But neither do they belong in the second group because they really do not believe it could be today. They may be somewhat religious, but the kingdom of Jesus Christ and His righteousness are not a real priority in their lives. Their discipleship, such as it is, could not be called "diligent", "dedicated" or "zealous" They are just passing time without much sense of purpose or mission in their lives. Perhaps they have some sixth sense that assures them that Jesus will not come today. "He will probably wait until I get ready, and I will, someday. But not today for I am too busy with other details of life." Now honestly, is this the way to live? And how reliable is that sixth sense? Reliable enough to jeopardize eternity?(I THESSALONIANS 5:2,3).
I. OUR FAITH IS BUILT ON AN UNFADING HOPE
A. Our Hope Laid Up In Heaven
1. (COLOSSIANS 1:4,5). This passage goes on to tell of the wonderful things the disciples at Colossae were accomplishing, motivated by the hope within them.
2. The result of hope is seen in their lives (vs. 6). They are referred to as "constantly bearing fruit" and "increasing." God had given them a sense of purpose and their lives had taken on new meaning. They were not content with a lethargic, mediocre Christianity that so many seem willing to settle for. They would not allow their lives to be wasted away by neglect. They were not here just to pass the time.
3. They were on a mission and they would see it through as they anticipated that hour of final release which will accompany the coming of our Lord. They were willing to endure suffering and could do so with joy. Why? (ROMANS 8:18-25). Does this describe your life and your faith and your hope, If no such sense of mission and purpose, then you are missing out on life's greatest blessing!
II. EAGER ANTICIPATION OF THE LORD'S RETURN
A. A Living Hope
1. (I PETER 1:3,4). There is something lacking in the life and spiritual health of one if he is so at home in this world that the eternal promises of God hold little attraction for him. The eternal blessings of Jesus Christ are alive and real. They are meant to answer the deepest, tenderest needs of the human soul as it longs for all that is missing in this fallen world.
2. But we must have faith to comprehend the answers and allow them to change our lives and not get sidetracked (I PETER 1:13,17).
3. If you recoil at the thought of the Lord's return happening today, then is that not an indication that something is wrong? Why would the same thought that filled the New Testament faithful with such joy bring up such uneasiness in some folks today? Is it not a difference in whether one has made himself ready?
III. FAITH BECOMES SIGHT
A. When Hope Is Seen
1. (ROMANS 8:24,25). At the consummation of this age, great things will happen. For those who are ready for that hour, there will be unparalleled excitement and joy.
2. (I CORINTHIANS 15:42-44; 49-52). These bodies will be transformed into incorruptible, spiritual bodies. No more sickness, disease or pain. No more wearing out, but rather perfect and beautifully suited for eternal life in heaven.
3. (I THESSALONIANS 4:14-18). Never has any victory won by any person in the history of the human race compare to the victory won by the ascending disciples of Jesus on that final day!
4. Then, we shall be taken home. We will behold our inheritance for the first time and know that this is truly home. It is how things ought to be. We shall be with the Lord and, according to Jesus, we will shine forth as the sun (MATTHEW 13:43). Evil and wickedness will be no more. Crying, pain and death will have ceased. The day of eternity will dawn and the day will never end.
There is too much at stake to allow the world to dictate what your attitude toward God, toward life and toward eternity shall be. Satan will attempt to persuade you to mock the idea of eternity, and failing that, he'll settle for just getting you to ignore it.
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