EXPECT JESUS TO COME AGAIN
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
27 NOVEMBER 1994
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 John 3:14
Expectation is the assurance that something is going to happen.
In our heart we hope it will come to pass.
And quite often we just know it will come to pass, so we expect it to happen.
Don't you expect to eat something after church?
Don't you expect to go to sleep tonight?
Don't you expect to be alive tomorrow?
And even more simply, don't you expect the water to come out of the tap when you turn it on?
All of these are examples of that knowing assurance that they will come to pass.
But what about Jesus Christ?
Do you have that knowing assurance that He is coming again?
Are you expecting Him to come soon?
Do you have that hope in your heart?
I pray so, for our expectation of His return should be even greater than any of these other examples of expectation mentioned, for all of them could occasionally fail.
Jesus never fails.
When God promises something, we should expect it to happen.
Even when Israel was being led into captivity, the prophet Jeremiah never lost his expectation of the restoration of Israel, and of the coming of Messiah.
Listen to what he says for the Lord (Jeremiah 33:14-16):
14. 'Behold, days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
15. 'In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.
That righteous Branch is Jesus.
16. 'In those days Judah shall be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she shall be called: the Lord is our righteousness.'
Jeremiah knew that Messiah was to come forth from the line of David.
He knew that the hope and salvation of all believers would be fulfilled when He came.
Jeremiah still looked expectantly for Jesus' coming, even though it would not take place during his own lifetime upon this earth.
Jesus has already come once, as was promised; shouldn’t we then have at least twice the assurance of Jeremiah that He will come again, simply because He told us He would come?
Shouldn’t we be that much more expectant of His second coming?
Jesus will indeed come again!
Hold on to that promise, expectantly, for we are in the advent of His coming.
Listen to the prophecy Jesus gives concerning His own return, and the conditions that will exist at that time (Luke 21:20-36).
He tells us this so that we will look expectantly for the signs of His coming, and not lose hope.
20. "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand.
Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans, and Jesus didn't return then, for He was telling of an even more distant time.
So, without a Jerusalem in Israel until 1967, this prophecy couldn't have been fulfilled at that time.
And since that time, Israel has been constantly surrounded by her enemies.
Even though Israel is not at war, and there are some peace treaties in effect, isn’t this still a beginning of the signs of the end?
21. "Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are in the midst of the city depart, and let not those who are in the country enter the city;
22. because these are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23. "Woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land, and wrath to this people,
24. and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
We are in the time of the Gentiles now.
And based on the amount of hardness of heart in the world today, and even coming from many of our churches, the time of the Gentiles seems to be drawing to an end.
Why do I say this?
It's because I don't see their love, and as Jesus tells us in John 13:34-35,
34. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
If all people will know we are Christians by our love, then why don't they know?
Because they don't see the love and compassion of God in all of us, and that blinds them to the few who do have it.
Many claim to be disciples of Christ, but unfortunately, as evidenced by many people’s lack of true and unconditional love, they seem to be disciples of the devil.
That's what John tells us in his first epistle (1 John 3:14, 4:20).
14. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
20. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
Based upon this evidence alone, we should expect Jesus to return shortly.
Let's go back to Luke 21, and pick up our reading at verse 25.
25. "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,
26. men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Haven’t we been seeing some of these signs beginning to come to pass?
Note what Jesus tells us will follow, and what we are to expect:
27. "And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28. "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
These things are beginning to take place.
Christians, we must wake up; the time is drawing very near.
Forget about what the world calls love, or excuses for love; we are to have the love and compassion of our Lord.
29. And He told them a parable: "Behold the fig tree and all the trees;
30. as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
31. "Even so you, too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.
32. "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.
33. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
What is the matter with our Christian society?
Unless we have love and are filled to overflowing with compassion for each other and all of God's creation, for it too groans for His return (Romans 8:19-22), then none of our other causes have any meaning.
19. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
20. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
21. that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
Notice carefully that emphasis is placed upon the whole of creation groaning, and not just some select humans.
This passage is talking about every human being, every animal, and the world in which we all live.
Do you see the signs of the end?
Then expect His return.
34. "Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap;
"Like a trap!"
The devil is trying to trap us into thinking we don't have to fulfill this love commandment.
When the fact is that it is really the only commandment we must fulfill.
35. for it [the end] will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.
36. "But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."
We really need to do a lot of soul-searching.
We really need to be honest with ourselves, and discern how we stand before God.
If the unconditional love of God is the central focus of our lives, then rejoice, for we should see His return coming shortly.
If we are not expecting Jesus' return, could it be that we are not ready and don't want Him to come just yet, that our life-style is not pleasing to God?
The trumpet is about to sound! The King is coming!
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