I don’t know about you, but it seems to me the world as we know it is ending, at least at the multiplex the last few months. The end-of-the-world movies just keep coming—Oblivion, After Earth, Star Trek Into Darkness, Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down, World War Z, Pacific Rim. I suppose for as long as there have been people on the planet, they have had a curiosity about what the future holds. And, with all of the chaos and crisis happening in the world today, no wonder that some people are wondering if the end of the world is close at hand.
Matthew 24:35-36 says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” So speculation is futile. Nor can we know if the world will end with a bang or a whimper. But I do know that the end times means that Jesus will return. In the Old Testament, men of God such as Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, as well as most of the minor prophets mention Christ’s return in their writings. His return is mentioned in most books of the New Testament. And most importantly, Christ often spoke specifically about His own return to earth.
For the Christian, Christ’s return is not something to be confused by or frightened of, it is something to be excited about. 2 Peter 3 confirms that Christ’s return is a very good thing. In verses 12-14, Peter uses the words “look forward” several times. Verse 12: “as you look forward to the day of God.” Verse 13: “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth” Verse 14: “since you are looking forward to this.”
And why not. Jesus will be back. This day will be all about Him! This will be the day, as Philippians 2 10-11 says “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
Titus 2:13 adds “while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” The day when everybody gets it and finally recognizes Jesus as He deserves to be recognized: as the rightful king and creator and owner of the universe. And everything will be made perfect.
Jesus will return. God has given us specific instructions for what we are to do while we wait. So how are we to live our lives in light of Christ’s return?
If you knew that you had one month to live, would you live any differently? Would you have any different priorities? Knowing that Christ’s return is really coming, and that it could happen at any moment (like a thief in the night), should change what is really important to us. It will change how we spend our time. It will change how we spend our money. It will change how we talk and how we think and the choices we make. We should strive to be more Christlike.
And it should heighten our concern for those far from the heart of God. 2 Peter 3:12 talks about looking forward to the day of God and speed its coming. What does that mean? “Speed its coming?” God knows the day He will return, and we can get help it get here faster (at least from our perspective) by proclaiming His gospel around the world. God wants as many people as possible to believe. And we can play a part in that by sharing the good news of Jesus with as many people as we can.
Some of you may be hoping for Christ’s return to be delayed because there are people you know—people you care about—who have not yet accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. And you’re scared about what is going to happen to them. I encourage you to pray for them. I encourage you to share the good news with them. I encourage you to invite them to a Northstar service or listen online.
Because Jesus is coming again.