THAT BLESSED HOPE
Several weeks ago I had read a sermon by Billy Sunday and there was a verse that stood out to me that caused me to study and write the article you are about to read. I want you to know I was totally clueless to the "prediction" in regards to Mr. Camping. I just "happened" to be reading classic sermons on the return of Christ. It wasn't until two days of the supposed "rapture" that was to take place, did I hear of it. I then tried to complete this article in order to post it that Saturday. But, I believe the Lord had other plans, as it didn't happen.
I do believe that my great God and Savior will return one day. I do believe that day is more imminent than ever. However, I know that man is completely unable to say when that day will take place. Only our God knows.
My prayer today for you, my beloved reader, is you will find yourself looking for our Blessed Hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Take comfort in knowing He will return for His Bride.
And dear reader, if you haven't surrendered and submitted your heart and life to our Lord Jesus, I urge you to do so today. "Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) He will return. That is the truth. Will you be ready?
That Blessed Hope
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” Titus 2:13
Our headlines are filled with earthquakes, floods, wars, rumor of wars, nations rising against nations, children rising against parents, and it goes on.
We are looking at global financial uncertainty, industries failing, and the value of the dollar fading. And let’s not forget a deceitful government.
Where do we find hope in the face of our world crumbling and people making false predictions about the end of the world and when Jesus is suppose to return?
Where is our peace when we don’t have a job, we’re losing our home, and our children are hungry because we can’t buy food?
Where is our comfort when everything we own has washed away in the floods, and thousands of lives are gone due to an earthquake that rocked the earth off it’s axis and the tsunami that followed washed towns and communities out to sea?
Where is our joy when the bills are due, the truck’s is broke down and there just isn’t enough money to pay for it all?
Where is our rest when great personal calamity hits a family leaving the ones left with no income, no home and no one to help?
We can find our peace, comfort, joy, and rest in “that blessed hope.”
Not hope that our finances will change, because finances are always uncertain.
Nor do we find hope in our nation, family friends or jobs. Because nations rise and fall, family members die or move on. Friends come and go and well… we know the job market is precarious at best.
But we can, we can, find our hope in Christ Jesus.
Paul told Titus in his letter to him,
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” [Titus 2:11-13]
Now think about this with me; God knew before He created the heavens and the earth that not only would man need a Savior to save him from his sins and restore a right relationship between Himself and man; He also knew He would return a second time to get His Bride, the Church, and bring her back to heaven with Him.
Through His prophets, in the Bible, He told us over and over again how our Savior would be born of a virgin, in humble surroundings, He would live a sinless life (our Perfect Lamb), He would be beaten and bruised, He would die on a cross, and shed His blood for our sins (the Perfect Sacrifice). Then He would be buried and raised on the third day. After that He would go and prepare a place for us, His Bride.
In the New Testament, John 14:2-3, Jesus told the disciples,
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Therein lies our hope – The whole reason for Jesus’ birth, death, resurrection, and ascension – So He can prepare a place for us, return for us and we can live with Him and worship our Father for all eternity.
God set the perfect time for Jesus to be born and to die. He said it would happen. And it did. He also said He would return. If God has said something is going to come to pass and we see that it has, then there is no reason to not believe that He is going to return. He is not man that He can lie.
Now when the disciples asked Him when He was going to return, He told them many things including to make sure no one deceived them (us), and that a lot of different things would happen before He returned (Matthew 24: 3-51). He also told them (us)
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13: 32)
He also said,
“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.” (Mark 13:33)
So to those who are listening to others proclaim they know when Jesus is returning, don’t be deceived. They do not know, only God knows and He ain’t telling!
So what do we do?
We look to our blessed hope, Christ Jesus. He is going to return again, God said, it, Jesus said it, not one time, but many times. Even the angels said He was going to return again, while the disciples were watching Jesus ascend to heaven in the clouds. (Acts 1:9-11)
So where do we find our joy? James tells us -
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3)
And our peace is found in Jesus…
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you…’” (John 14:27-28a)
We will also find our rest in Him…
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
And we can take comfort and comfort one another with this…
“For the Lord Himself with descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
Oh people of the Lord, sing praises to His name! If that alone doesn’t make your heart sing with joy, then I don’t know what will.
While we are awaiting our Lord’s return, we are to also be prepared. That doesn’t mean we sell everything and find a spot to sit on and wait. We are to “deny[ing] ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” (Titus 2:12)
Just as Jesus went about doing His Father’s business (Luke 2:49), we are to do the same. If God has called you to preach His word, then preach. If He has called you to teach, teach. If you are called to be a housewife and mother, praise the Lord, be one that glorifies His name. In all that you do, do it for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
But in all that you do, do it soberly, righteously and godly. What does it mean to live soberly, righteously and godly? After studying I found a commentator who gives, in what I think, the best explanation. This is from The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible (http://searchgodsword.org)
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world;
not, only "temperately", but wisely and prudently, as children of the light, on whom, and into whom the Gospel has shined; and "righteously" among men, giving to every man his due, and dealing with all according to the rules of equity and justice; as being made new men, created unto righteousness and true holiness; and as being dead to sin, through the death of Christ, and so living unto righteousness, or in a righteous manner; and as being justified by the righteousness of Christ, revealed in the Gospel: and "godly"; in a godly manner, according to the Word of God, and agreeably to the will of God; and in all godly exercises, both public and private, and to the glory of God: and that as long as
in this present world:
which lies in wickedness, and in which there are so many strong temptations to a contrary way of living. The Gospel then is no licentious doctrine; it is according to godliness, and teaches and promotes it; it is an holy faith, yea, a most holy faith; wherefore it is a vile slander to charge it with leading to looseness of life and conversation.
So in other words, we are to live as though Christ Jesus will return any moment. We are not to live ashamed of the gospel of Christ, nor in a manner that would cause us to be ashamed to stand before our Lord and Master. If we have submitted to our Savior then He should be most important in all that we do, say, and live. Our lives should be salt in the earth, the light of Christ in this dark world, the sweet fragrance of the Rose of Sharon, drawing all unto Him.
How I weep, for my spirit yearns to see Him face to face, more each day. Yet, I will and urge all who long to see Him, to do as James said,
“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and later rain. You also be patient. Establish your heart, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8)
We can take comfort in knowing our Lord returns soon. It may be today, tomorrow or yet years from now. Only God knows. But we can know that He will return. The Bible tells us it will happen, just as it told us of His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension.
So in these times of trials, in these times of uncertainty, let us continue to “look[ing] for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
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