The Lord's Return
We are living in an End-Time era. Everyone is second guessing when will the Lord return? Others are scoffing at the whole idea. What is the basis for expecting His return? We see this basis in Acts 1:9-11 " When he had said these words he was lifted up before their eyes till a cloud hid him from their sight. While they were still gazing up into the sky as he went, suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them and said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking up into the sky? This very Jesus who has been taken up from you into Heaven will come back in just the same way as you have seen him go."
We are all curious about when He will return and even the disciples were asking Jesus about this. Matt 24:3-14 As he was sitting on the slope of the Mount of Olives his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this happen? What will be the signal for your coming and the end of this world?”
“Be careful that no one misleads you,” returned Jesus, “for many men will come in my name saying ‘I am christ’, and they will mislead many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars—but don’t be alarmed.
Such things must indeed happen, but that is not the end. For one nation will rise in arms against another, and one kingdom against another, and there will be famines and earthquakes in different parts of the world. But all that is only the beginning of the birth-pangs. For then comes the time when men will hand you over to persecution, and kill you.
And all nations will hate you because you bear my name. Then comes the time when many will lose their faith, and will betray and hate each other. Yes, and many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many people. Because of the spread of wickedness the love of most men will grow cold, though the man who holds out to the end will be saved. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed to men all over the world as a witness to all the nations, and the end will come. "
If you notice he did not answer their question as to when this would happen because only the Father knows the timing but he gave a detailed description of what would be happening on the earth before His return. We can see these things happening all around us now.
Mark 13:28-33 " Let the fig-tree illustrate this for you: when its branches grow tender and produce leaves, you know that summer is near, at your very doors! I tell you that this generation will not have passed until all these things have come true. Earth and sky will pass away, but what I have told you will never pass away! But no one knows the day or the hour of this happening, not even the angels in Heaven, no, not even the Son—only the Father. Keep your eyes open, keep on the alert, for you do not know when the time will be."
Mark 13:34-37 " It is as if a man who is travelling abroad had left his house and handed it over to be managed by his servants. He has given each one his work to do and has ordered the doorkeeper to be on the look-out for his return. Just so must you keep a look-out, for you do not know when the master of the house will come—it might be late evening, or midnight, or cock-crow, or early morning—otherwise he might come unexpectedly and find you sound asleep. What I am saying to you I am saying to all; keep on the alert!”
We must keep ourselves on the alert so that no one can deceive us by false signs, miracles and wonders. How can we know that they are false? We can ask ourselves one question. Who gets the glory and how do they add to the Kingdom of God? These things are permissible but who do they benefit? We are to be careful that no one leads us into false doctrine that doesn't line up with the word of God.
If we know that the Lord will be returning soon then we must look at some areas of deception that could lead us away from God. We are not to be deceived into believing that God has changed His standard of righteousness. We are not to be deceived into thinking that our lifestyle makes no eternal difference.
1 Cor 6:9-11 " Have you forgotten that the kingdom of God will never belong to the wicked? Don’t be under any illusion—neither the impure, the idolater or the adulterer; neither the effeminate, the pervert or the thief; neither the swindler, the drunkard, the foul-mouthed or the rapacious shall have any share in the kingdom of God. And such men, remember, were some of you! But you have cleansed yourselves from all that, you have been made whole in spirit, you have been justified before God in the name of the Lord Jesus and in his very Spirit. "
1 Cor 15: 33-34 " Don’t let yourselves be deceived. Talking about things that are not true is bound to be reflected in practical conduct. Come back to your senses, and don’t dabble in sinful doubts. Remember that there are men who have plenty to say but have no knowledge of God. " Evil communications and evil companionship corrupt good morals. Think straight. Awaken to the holiness of life. No more playing fast and loose with resurrection facts. Ignorance of God is a luxury you can’t afford in times like these. Aren’t you embarrassed that you’ve let this kind of thing go on as long as you have?
Ephes 5:6-14 " For of this much you can be certain: that neither the immoral nor the dirty-minded nor the covetous man (which latter is, in effect, worshipping a false god) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Don’t let anyone fool you on this point, however plausible his argument. It is these very things which bring down the wrath of God upon the disobedient. Have nothing to do with men like that—once you were “darkness” but now you are “light”. Live then as children of the light. The light produces in men quite the opposite of sins like these—everything that is wholesome and good and true. Let your lives be living proofs of the things which please God. Steer clear of the activities of darkness; let your lives show by contrast how dreary and futile these things are. (You know the sort of things I mean—to detail their secret doings is really too shameful). For light is capable of “showing up” everything for what it really is. It is even possible (after all, it happened to you!) for light to turn the thing it shines upon into light also. Thus God speaks through the scriptures: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
If you are practicing such habits now you will be excluded from the Kingdom of God when Jesus returns so now is the time to repent. Romans 3:23 " There is no distinction to be made anywhere: everyone has sinned, everyone falls short of the beauty of God’s plan. Under this divine system a man who has faith is now freely acquitted in the eyes of God by his generous dealing in the redemptive act of Jesus Christ. God has appointed him as the means of propitiation, a propitiation accomplished by the shedding of his blood, to be received and made effective in ourselves by faith. God has done this to demonstrate his righteousness both by the wiping out of the sins of the past (the time when he withheld his hand), and by showing in the present time that he is a just God and that he justifies every man who has faith in Jesus Christ."
1 John 2:15-17 " Never give your hearts to this world or to any of the things in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. For the whole world-system, based as it is on men’s primitive desires, their greedy ambitions and the glamour of all that they think splendid, is not derived from the Father at all, but from the world itself. The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear. But the man who is following God’s will is part of the permanent and cannot die."
Our best defense against deception is to get some common sense and quit our sinning. This is a decision that each and every one of us must make on a daily basis. Don't be deceived into thinking that you can sneer at God and plant bad seed and get a good harvest.
Galatians 6:7-9 " Don’t be under any illusion: you cannot make a fool of God! A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows. If he sows for his own lower nature his harvest will be the decay and death of his own nature. But if he sows for the Spirit he will reap the harvest of everlasting life by that Spirit. Let us not grow tired of doing good, for, unless we throw in our hand, the ultimate harvest is assured. Let us then do good to all men as opportunity offers, especially to those who belong to the Christian household."
If you sow to the flesh then you will reap a harvest of decay and ruin and destruction. Praise the Lord we have a different kind of harvest if we don't give up on our faith in God. The good harvest is born out of the good seed of God's righteousness in us.
Romans 8:14 All who follow the leading of God’s Spirit are God’s own sons. Nor are you meant to relapse into the old slavish attitude of fear—you have been adopted into the very family circle of God and you can say with a full heart, “Father, my Father”. The Spirit himself endorses our inward conviction that we really are the children of God. Think what that means. If we are his children we share his treasures, and all that Christ claims as his will belong to all of us as well! Yes, if we share in his suffering we shall certainly share in his glory. "