The Confidence Of Christ’s Return
The proof of Christ's work in your life proves we can trust His promise to do what we can't see yet. He is trustworthy. The true test of whether or not you've had an effective ministry can be found in the lives of people who have been changed because of you.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Everything alright at your house? Well, I trust so, and I sometimes say that if you struck a rough day, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through this one,” and He will. Not all the days are rosy, not all the days are wonderful, nor the nights either indeed. Some nights can be very lonely if you have lost a loved one. But whatever segment of time you happen to be going through, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, I am yours. See me through.” He will.
“For He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” You can depend on your Lord. This is your friend, Bob Cook, and you and I are looking at 1 Thessalonians 1:9 and 10. “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, who delivered us from the wrath to come.”
Now, we talked about this manner of being ready for the second coming, you remember that the last time I got together we talked about that – the wait for His Son from Heaven. Why should we wait patiently? Well, number one, because he told us to. He a said occupy until I come. And so, we were promised a blessing for a crown of righteousness. “The Lord will give me,” said Paul, “and not to me only but also unto all them that love His appearing.” If you are looking for the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a crown waiting for you especially because of that – that is one reason for looking up and expecting Him to come.
But right here in this verse, he has given some reasons that are built-in to wait from His Son from heaven: Number 1; The only hope of a fallen human race is a revelation from God. You cannot pull yourself up from a human boot straps. It cannot be done. It takes God to save you. It takes God to, to cleanse you. It takes God to keep you, and it is going to take God to get you back home to Heaven, His Son from Heaven.
Second; you wait for the second coming because of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now why, why is that tied in there together? Have you ever wondered about that? Well, now he says, blessed be God, I am reading now from 1 Peter 1; “Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope.” Now why and how? “Has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” You see the whole basis of any hope in the future is that the Lord Jesus Christ is alive. Count on the fact that Jesus is alive. Paul said that to Timothy, didn’t he?
Remember, said he, that Jesus Christ arose from the dead. Remember that? 2 Timothy, what is it? Two. Remember that Christ, 2:8: “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.” Count on the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is alive, as the basis now, as the basis for looking for His second coming. If he never rose from the dead all of his promises would be in vain, wouldn’t they? Exactly so. “If Christ be not risen, we are of all men most miserable.” “Your faith is vain,” said Paul.
But now, He is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. “And there is going to be resurrection,” said Paul, “and we shall all be changed in the twinkling, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump. For the trumpet shall sound, and dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed.”
“Christ is coming again, then we which are alive shall remain unto the coming of the Lord shall we caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the entrance, so we shall ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” We will get to that in our study of 1 Thessalonians. I just quoted some verses from the fourth chapter.
Your hope has to be based on the integrity of a living person, and it is. There is the truth of it, “whom He raised from the dead.” Now, what is another basis of your hope of the second coming? To wait for your Son from Heaven, that was number one; whom he raised from the dead that was number two; even Jesus who delivered us from the wrath to come.
The fact of Christ’s work in your life proves that you can trust His promise for what you don’t yet see. He delivered us. The essence of the new birth is deliverance. The essence of the new birth is deliverance from sin, and its penalty, and its presence, and its power in your life. He delivered us, and of course deliverance from any judgment throne, “Shall not come,” this is John 5:24, “Shall not come into judgment but is passed from death unto life.” You don’t have to stand before an angry God with all your sins on you, Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
“Sin has left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.” “By His stripes, we are healed. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our inequities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed,” said Isaiah.
The price has been paid, the penalty had been paid, and the Lord Jesus Christ delivered us from the wrath to come. And because He has done something in your life, you can trust Him for what you do not yet see that He has promised. It makes sense with everyday relationships, doesn’t it?
If a person has always kept his word through ten or fifteen years, you say well, he has always kept his word I think I can trust him for this. Credit, what we call credit is established on that same kind of a track record. If you had always paid your bills on time, over a period of years, you come to the banker and you say here, here is evidence that I, I have paid my bills on time and met at my obligations, loan me thus and thus many thousands of dollars. He will think about it, and he will say, well you have always kept your word, you always met your obligations, and I think I can trust you for this.
This is part of the basis for our expectation of the second coming of Christ. Why? 1. He is God’s revelation from Heaven; 2. He is alive today as the basis of our living hope; 3. He has delivered us in those areas where we were in slavery. He came, says the writers, the writer of the Hebrews to deliver them, who all through their lifetime were subject to bondage, through fear of death. “He delivered us, delivered them who all their lifetime were subject to bondage through fear of death.” That is Hebrews 2:15. I just turned the pages, you probably heard them rustling, didn’t you?
He took part of the same that is the human nature. That through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Deliverance, see. So there you have it. The expectation we have of the second coming is not just a wish, kind of wishful thinking, but it is based upon the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ has done something in our lives.
2 Peter 2:9 talks about deliverance. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished.”” The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation.” He can deliver you. He delivered us from the wrath to come. That is part of the basis of our steadfast hope of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He promised it. He has kept all His all other promises. He is alive from the dead. He is a living Savior, and He is coming back again just as He said. Halleluiah.
Now, all of this that we have been talking about is set in the framework of Paul’s remembering how he came to the Thessalonians. They, themselves, that is the people that heard about the faith of the people in Thessalonica, in every place your faith to God is spread abroad, they, themselves, the people who heard about what is happening in Thessalonica show of us, of us – Paul and his company, what manner of entering in we had unto you. See now, he has been talking about that. He said, “our gospel, our gospel came not unto you in word only but also in power,” and ye became; and you know what kind of people we were among you for your sake, and you became followers of us and other became followers of you, and then the word spread around, and now everybody that has heard about what God has done with you show what kind of a ministry we had.
Which tells me this, the acid test of whether or not I have amounted to anything in life is probably to be found in the lives of people who have been changed by the power of the gospel I preached. This is what Paul is saying. He said, “my entering in to Thessalonica resulted in changed lives, altered lives, you became followers of me, and then others became followers of you, and your faith was spread abroad, and there’s a lot of changed lives as a result.”
The acid test of whether or not you have a real ministry is to be found in lives that had been changed because you came along. And that doesn’t mean that you will always be spouting a string of gospel verses. Preacher, that doesn’t mean that you will only preach gospel sermons, as such, if there is such a thing as Christian nurture, you teach the whole Bible specialize in expository preaching. Teach what the scripture says. You will have no trouble at what it means, and you would not get boring to your people.
A topical preacher gets to be boring after a year or two, he runs out of topics, but an expository preacher never runs out of topics because the Word of God is inexhaustible. The acid test of what God has done in your ministry is to be found in the lives of people, people who have been changed by the power of God, all right.
Now, he is keeping on with this in chapter 2. He would not have a chance to get very far because time will be gone. But he said, “yourselves, brethren, know that our entrance in unto you, was not in vain. But after we were, we had suffered before, we were shamefully treated, as you know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.”
When we go on with this in the second chapter, we are going to see what Paul says about himself. Our entrance, not in vain, we were shamefully treated but we were bold. We were bold to speak, we were bold to speak with much urgency. The word contention means urgency in our present language. And he said, “Our exhortation was not of deceit,” dishonest, “nor of uncleanness,” it was clean, “nor of guile,” he was not finagling; But we were allowed to of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak.
There are a lot of stuff there that I want to take up with you in the coming days, verb by verb, and word by word, we will get at it, all right. The acid test is this, whose life is different because you came along?
Holy Father, today Oh may we serve Thee with hearts that are true. I ask you in Jesus name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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