The View From 1776
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Return of Jesus Christ
Will we be ready?
Last Sunday at the Cohocton, New York, Assembly of God Church, Pastor Dan Gardner focused upon the need always to be ready for the return of Jesus. And this Sunday, retired Pastor Bill Griffin spoke to the need to use the talents God has given us to carry out His commandments and to be ready for Jesus’s return.
Pastor Gardner used as his text the Book of Malachi, the last of the Old Testament books:
You have wearied the LORD with your words. ?“How have we wearied him?” you ask. ?By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?” (Malachi 2:17)
1 “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
5 “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty.
6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. (Malachi 3:1-6)
People at the time (about 400 years before the advent of Jesus Christ), as now, had drifted away from the teachings of God and settled into self-centered moral relativism. Malachi sternly announces, as Christians understand it, that John the Baptist would prepare the way for the coming of the messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord would purify His people, separating the just from the unjust, and would judge the wicked. God does not change and all of us remain subject to purification and judgement, as much today as then.
No human knows, or can know, when the Lord jesus Christ will return. But the scriptures tell us that his coming will be unexpected and swift. At that time it will be too late to repent and to abandon our self-centered unrighteousness. We must pray for the help of the Holy Spirit now to make ourselves ready by dealing justly with others and by doing our best to help people in need.
42 Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:42-44)
1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2 Peter 3:1-14)
To prepare for Jesus’s return, we must watchfully and hopefully pray and purify ourselves, and we must preach the Gospel to others that they may be saved.
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope