(Psalms 5:3) My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
We have recently been considering the concept of looking up to God. Today I want us to think about the literal return of Jesus Christ to this earth. The 2nd coming of Christ is not a myth, but it is a reality. It is an extremely important truth of Christianity. Let me illustrate the importance that God places on this doctrine. Over 300 times in the Bible we find this truth discussed. That is more often than the new birth, baptism, or repentance.
(Titus 2:13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
How should we be looking for the return of Jesus Christ? Let me suggest three things this morning:
I. Looking Up With Fears: in respect to the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Fear = Reverence and awe NOT terror.
A. Jesus will be the judge.
1. Jesus has been appointed to that position by the father.
2. Jn. 5:22, "for the father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the son."
3. No one will escape judgment.
B. Christians will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ.
1. The unsaved will not be judged until after the millennium.
2. But all believers will stand before Christ after the rapture.
3. At the judgment seat of Christ the redeemed will be examined and the redeemer will be exalted.
(Romans 14:12) So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
a. This judgment is mandatory.
(2 Corinthians 5:10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
b. This judgment will be personal, "every one"
c. This judgment will be all revealing, "according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad"
C. This judgment will be according to our works.
1. What things we have done, or not done, will be the basis for this judgment.
2. He will bring to light all the hidden things in our life.
(1 Corinthians 4:5) Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
3. He will try our works to see if they are of the type that will last.
(1 Corinthians 3:13) Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
D. As we look to God for Jesus' return, we should do so with fear and with reverence because of the reality of the Judgment Seat of Christ.
1. We will give an account of the things that we have done and shouldn't have!
2. We will give an account of the things that we should have done and didn't!
3. And we will give an account of the things that we could have done and wouldn't!
II. Looking Up With Tears: As we consider the lost.
A. For them to be without Christ today means:
1. They have never accepted the gracious gift of God.
2. They do not know the blessings Of being in Christ.
3. But today, they still have an opportunity to be saved!
B. For them to be without Christ when Jesus returns it will mean:
1. They are totally without hope for the future.
2. They have no other choice but to suffer the wrath of God!
3. They must go through the awful tribulation that will come upon the earth for seven years ... and millions will die during this time!
4. Those who have heard the gospel, and rejected it will be damned for all eternity ... Including every person who has every visited a service in this church and walked out rejecting the love of God that is in Christ!
5. Note: 2 Thess. 2:8-12
(2 Thessalonians 2:12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
C. As we read the Bible and think of all the lost people who will be left behind when Jesus comes, it should move us to tears!
1. When we think about the close friends and people we come in contact with day after day...
2. When we think of our loved ones who have rejected Christ...
3. It would be unnatural if we didn't grieve over those who will be lost for an eternity.
4. But we have a promise from our savior, that he will wipe away all our tears and comfort us.
(Revelation 21:4) And 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.
III. Looking Up With Cheers: as we realize we will finally be home.
A. We will see the resurrection of the saints.
1. All who have been saved by grace
(1 Corinthians 15:22-23) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
2. It will happen in a twinkling of an eye.
(1 Corinthians 15:52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
3. It will happen when the trumpet sounds, and the shout is heard.
B. We will see the realization of His promise.
(1 John 3:1-3) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, 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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
1. We have known the past blessings.
2. We have understood our present standing.
3. We will know our prospective state.
C. We will have a grand reunion.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) 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.
1. We will be reunited with those who have died in Christ before us.
2. There will be plenty of rejoicing!
3. We will be with Christ forever!
4. We will find what we have been looking for ever since we were saved!
D. As we read the Scriptures that speak of His soon return, we ought to want to shout "halleluiah" when we realize what it will mean to be with Jesus!
1. No more death...
2. No more sorrow...
3. No more crying...
4. No more physical limitations..
5. No more pain...
Right now, what comes to mind when we think about the return of Christ?
(Luke 21:28) And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
We should be looking up
Are you ready for Jesus to come today? If not, there is no better time to get ready than right now. Do you know Christ as Savior? Are you serving Christ the way you know He would want you to? Why not come now and settle it once and for all?