Together With Christ At Last
To be together in the Lord's presence forever is the ultimate consideration of the Christian's hope. Continuing explanation of what takes place at the Second Coming. There is comfort in these truths.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright today? Oh, I trust so, bless your heart. Nice to be back with you. I look forward to these times when I can share God’s Word with you.
We’re in 1 Thessalonians 4 and we’re talking about the second coming of Christ. He said, “The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout.” Now, this is in fulfillment, of course, of the prophecy that the angels gave. You’ll find it in the first chapter of Acts: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, which was taken up from you into Heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into Heaven.” That’s what the angels said.
There’s more prophecy about the second coming of Christ, I’m told, in the Bible, than there is about His first coming, more truth having to do with His return. Now, the prophecies concerning the first coming of our Lord Jesus were fulfilled precisely and on time. You and I can depend, therefore, upon the truth of the prophecies that have to do with His second coming. Amen?
Peter said that we can expect people to mock and question because the coming of the Lord hasn’t occurred as yet. This is in 2nd Peter, Chapter 3: “Be mindful of the words that were spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the apostles. Knowing this first,” says Peter, “that there shall come in the last days scoffers walking after their own lusts,” (that’s our word “desires”) “and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” And Peter goes on to say, “For this they willingly are ignorant of.” You know, you can close your mind against God’s truth and then you are shut up to your own fallacious reasoning. “This they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, whereby the world that then was being overflowed with water perished. But the heavens and the earth which are now by the same Word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment and perdition of godly men.”
Well, he said, “Beloved, don’t be ignorant of this, that one day,” (our kind of a day) “is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all shall come to repentance.”
Yes, He hasn’t come yet, and it’s nearly two thousand years. We are entering into the twenty-first century soon, and it’ll be 2001. Now, what of it? That’s the question. He isn’t here yet. Well, Peter says, that’s because He’s longsuffering. He doesn’t want any to perish. He wants all to come to repentance. God is waiting until that last soul is saved that comprises the Body of Christ, and then you’ll hear the trump of God and the shout of the Archangel.
The Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout. Would you like to hear the Savior shout? Do you ever stop to think about that? You don’t think of our Lord Jesus as shouting, do you? But that’s going to be a shout that’s heard round the world, I assure you. The voice of Almighty God: a shout, and the voice of the Archangel, and the trump of God. The sound of heavenly trumpets blowing: I wonder how that will sound. “And the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them.”
Have you ever wondered who you’ll meet on the way up? Dr. Pettingale, when he was talking about people who are what we call “postmillennialists,” (they claim that the coming of Christ will not occur until after the thousand years of millennium where everything is perfect) would say, “I hope I’m standing next to one of them on the way up. I’ll poke him in the ribs and say, “I told you so!” Well, I don’t know if there will be time to do that, or if you’d want to even if there were. But I’m sure it will be a glad reunion of loved ones and friends as you’re caught up together with those who have gone before. And so then, he says, we shall ever be with the Lord.
To be in His presence forever is the ultimate consideration of the Christian’s hope. It’s not just that death doesn’t end it all; that’s true. It’s not just that you’re going to go on living throughout eternity. That’s true. It’s not just that God will wipe away, as the Book of the Revelation says, all tears from our eyes, and sorrow, and sighing, and death, and pain, and all of the things to which we have been subjected because we are fallen sons and daughters of Adam will be gone. That’s true. But the ultimate delight, it seems to me, the ultimate delight of what will happen at the second coming, is that it will be with the Lord. He wanted us; He said that. And now it has occurred. His plans have come to fruition, and we’re with Him. Oh, we look forward in faith, and in joy, and in delight, to that time when you and I will be joined together with millions of other believers on the way, into the clouds, to be with the Lord, for what the Bible calls the “marriage supper of the Lamb.”
So, he says, “Comfort one another with these words.” There’s real comfort in the truth of God. Have you found that out? I know I’m talking to some folk who have gone through the waters of sorrow, and you’ve lost a little daughter or son, or wife or husband, or someone else dear to you…a father or mother. And all of the talk of people just doesn’t help, does it? I learned two things when my father died. He died in 1954, on his way to being eighty-four years old, I guess it was. I learned two things, and one was that the presence of people who are your friends and who love you can ease the hurt of bereavement as they come to be with you. The second thing I learned was that what people say does people very little good in terms of the situation.
You know, folk sort of moralize and say, “Well, he lived a good life,” and they moralize about it. That doesn’t seem to do much for you, does it? No, when you’re in sorrow, you want somebody who knows you and who loves you just to be there. Let me tell you something: if you are called into a situation where there’s been trauma, or an accident, or death, and you are now in the presence of someone who is now going through that experience, don’t preach. Don’t moralize. Don’t try to give any little essays about things. Just love, and your presence and your love is what is needed in those moments. Believe me.
And so, he says, “Comfort one another with these words.” There’s something in the Word of God, because it brings comfort to my heart. First of all, I know that it’s true. I know that it’s true, even though my circumstances may say otherwise. You’re going through some deep trial, or you’re going through some disappointment, or you’ve lost your job, or the corporation has been sold, or your home is breaking up, or some of these dreadful things that happen to us in life, happen. And people come around and talk to you, and you say to yourself, “They don’t understand.” Of course, that’s true, they can’t live inside your skin, so they can’t really feel what you’re feeling. But you go to the Word of God and you find that it speaks to you, and it has a real effect upon you.
I came home from some meetings, and I’d just been away two or three nights. I’d been in a short series of meetings, and I came home late at night, tired, to find that just a few hours before that, there had been a mishap, and my then-youngest daughter had suffered a fracture. And I can remember thinking, in spite of myself, “O God, here I’ve been trying to serve you, and THIS happens.” Can you understand how that may have come? I was upset, because, you know, I wasn’t there in the first place to have helped Coreen when the thing happened, but I was trying to serve the Lord, doing what I thought He wanted me to do, and honoring Him and preaching the Gospel and getting people to Jesus, and then you come home and find that that has happened. It just hit me and I said, “Oh, I’ve been doing my best for God, and now this.” And the unspoken thing was, “I don’t think I deserve this.”
Well, I felt that way for a period of hours, and then I turned to God’s Word, and I came across this passage, which you and I will get to in our consideration of the Fifth Chapter of 1 Thessalonians. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” And I began to think about that: “In everything, give thanks.” Now, what do you do? God said you should do it, and you don’t feel like it. But I remember just talking to God, and saying, “God, I don’t feel thankful, but you said I should say thank you, so I’m going to say, “Thank you, Lord, for what you’re doing. Please get me through this and take care of the precious little child, and do what you want to do in our lives.” And I can tell you in that moment, I felt the warmth, and comfort, and blessing of God’s presence. His Word had been the instrument of comfort to my heart.
Now, I can guarantee you that the same thing will happen to you, beloved, if you just turn to God’s Word, and level with Him, and praise Him, and trust Him. Amen?
Holy Father, today may we live in the light of that soon Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. I ask in His 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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