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The Believer In The Second Coming (Part 1) (Julius Hovan)

by

Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

Greetings to you in the name of our wonderful Lord Jesus. It is such a delight to bring the Word of God to you and to share the good news of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we are glad you have tuned in and we hope you will stay tuned and just leave that dial right where it is on your radio and you will be able to receive a blessing from the Word of God.

If you are familiar with the Scriptures and with the person and work of Jesus, you can look into the past life, the past appearing of Jesus that he came born as that babe in the manger at Bethlehem and you would be aware of his completed work at the cross of Calvary. He finished the work the Father sent him to do. And then you would be familiar not only with his past appearing and the completed work, but his present appearing there at the right hand of the Father as he continues to work in our behalf as our great high priest interceding in our behalf.

And then you would also be aware of his future appearing, a past appearing and his work at Calvary completed, the present appearing of his continuing work at the right hand of the Father. But then his future appearing. He is going to come back again. He stated it so forcefully and so clearly. The angel said it would be the same Jesus. And so we consider his future appearing and that contemplated work of what he is going to do when he does come back.

Oh, yes, Jesus has done much to save sinners. He is doing much to provide for the needs of his followers. Oh, my friends, he is not through yet. He will yet do much at his second coming according to the plan and purpose and promise of God.

Now the apostle Paul deals with these issues in a book called 1 Thessalonians in the New Testament Scriptures. The Christians at Thessalonica needed some instruction about the second coming of the Lord Jesus. They needed to know, yes, he was coming back, but they needed to know that prior to his coming back to the earth that he was going to return and to take his followers, the Church, out of the world. And so Paul had teaching in both 1 and 2 Thessalonians dealing with both of those issues.

Paul wrote prophecy in more than one book. That is, he talked about future events. But two of his epistles, these two that we have named, are primarily prophetic.

You will find it interesting if you will look into this epistle—and we are going to look at that a little bit in our broadcast today—the references to the second coming of Jesus that concludes every chapter.

The Bible refers to the immanent coming of Jesus Christ.  The word immanent carries with it the idea that there is nothing that needs to happen before this event can occur, this any moment event.

The teaching of the clear Word of God in the New Testament Scripture is that Jesus will return one day for his Church and that that event can happen even today.  There are no events that must happen—oh, there are some that will take place before he comes back as King of kings and Lord of lords, but when he comes for his Church, for his followers, when he comes to take us out, there is no event that needs to take place for that to happen. What good news that is, indeed.

Go, then, to 1 Thessalonians with me for our lesson in this broadcast today. The closing two verses of chapter one speak to us of the readiness of the believer in view of the Lord’s return, to be ready for the coming of the Lord. Listen to the verses.  Paul is talking about the report he has received about the Christians in Thessalonica. Here is what he says.

They themselves report concerning us what manner of entering in we had unto you, how you 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 delivers us from the wrath to come.

Here are Christians, Paul recognized, were ready for Jesus to return.  And notice those who are ready in their lives, there is no place for idols.  He said, “You turn unto God from idols.”

My friends, if you have an idol in your life, it can be a pleasure, it can be a sin, it can be your job, it can be a person, it can be an actual idol even. And if you put any of that ahead of your worship and relationship to Jehovah God, you are not ready for Jesus to come.
I would ask you that question. Are you ready? And so here in the very first chapter the necessity of readiness and the fact that in the life of the Christian who is ready for Jesus to come there can be no idols.  Look at the concluding verse of the second chapter, verse 19.  For what is our hope or joy or crown of glorying? Are not even yea before our Lord Jesus at his coming?

Paul speaks in this verse of reward, reward for himself and rewards for all believers in view of the Lord’s return. And what does that tell us? Why do we receive rewards? We receive rewards because we have done something. You receive a pay check if you are employed because you have redone the work that earns that paycheck.  Well, we are going to receive rewards from God. A crown of various kinds will be ours.

So what are we saying? In the first chapter readiness for the Lord’s coming and no place for idols.  In this chapter the reward for the believer and there is no place for idleness. I can’t afford to just hang it up. I can’t afford to sit and prop my feet up and not be busy doing the will and purpose of God.

The closing book of the Word of God, Revelation chapter 22 and verse 12 says this.  “Behold, I come quickly,” Jesus says. “And my reward is with me to render to every  man according as his work is.”

Oh, that is Paul’s admonition to the church and Christians at Thessalonica and to you and to me wherever we are.  There is going to be a reward for the believer when Jesus Comes. And, thus, we must not be guilty of idleness.

Go to the end of the third chapter of 1 Thessalonians and verses 12 and 13 we read these words and another reference to the coming of the Lord.

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love toward one another and toward all men, even as we do toward you to the end, or for the purpose that you may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before our God and Father at his coming, the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

This speaks to us of our relationship one with another, our relationship with others in view of the Lord’s return.  If you have small children you are going to have children that fuss with each other.  And maybe momma says to them, “Well, daddy is coming in in just a little while. You had better behave.”  It makes no little difference to those children that daddy is coming and he would not want to find them squabbling among themselves and being ugly.  And so the call of Paul regarding our relationship with one another.
Now let’s reiterate chapter one, the readiness of the believer and there is no place of idols.  In chapter two the reward for the believer and, thus, we must not be guilty of idleness. In chapter three the relationships of the believer and there is no place for intolerance.  We have to tolerate one another.

As time passes in life and in the life of believers, every relationship is changing and improving. It ought to be that way with husbands and wives and children and parents and employees and employers and among the people of God in the church congregation. Oh, we do not tolerate false doctrine. That is not what we are talking about. We are not going to tolerate sin in our life or in the life of anyone else.  But we tolerate each other. We accept each other. We adjust to each other. We recognize that there are none of us perfect and, thus, we have to have a measure of tolerance for one another.

Brother Rutherford, a great man of God who has influenced my life in the past now has gone to his reward to be with the Lord, but he used to use the word, idiosyncrasies he called them, idiosyncrasies, those odd, those strange things that occur in our life. Well, he calls them idiosyncrasies. Indeed sin will cause us to appear to be crazy, not a very pleasant thing for us to think about.

Let’s remember in our relationships one with another to learn to be tolerant, oh, not of wrong, not of evil, not of abuse, but of each other, to be patient, to be forgiving. Oh, think about how God has been with you. Think about how God has patient with you and your weakness and your sinfulness. And then it will help you do the same when others as well. The readiness of the believer, no idols. The reward of the believer, no idleness. The relationship of believers one with another and with others and we learn there is no room for intolerance.

In the fourth chapter, then, of this same book of 1 Thessalonians we read these words in verses 16 and 17.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God.  Two things will happen it says. The dead in Christ shall rise first.  Then we, that is the Christians who are alive, there are going to be Christians alive when Jesus comes to get the Church.  We that are alive that are left shall together with them, with the dead in Christ who have been raised, we will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.

 

And if you had a Latin text of this passage of Scripture, you would find the word rapture used and often times those speaking in theological terms will use that word rapture. It simply means a snatching away. And that is what it says in the passage we have read in your hearing. He is going to snatch away the dead in Christ who are raised. He is going to then have those live Christian follow right behind them, the rapture of the believer in view of the Lord’s return.

Now interestingly we find, when we think of the rapture of the church, the taking out of Christians out of the world, there is no place for ignorance.  Listen to the 13th verse when Paul begins to describe this event.

We would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those that have died, those that have fallen asleep in Jesus that you sorrow not as the rest who have no hope.

Paul says ignorance has no place in the life of the believer.  And we recognize that, indeed, Jesus is coming back for us and it is an any moment event, an immanent event and we must be ready in getting our rewards and having our relationships right, prepared for that rapture.

We must not be ignorant. They were ignorant. That doesn’t mean stupid. It means they simply didn’t know the truth about the coming of Jesus. My guess is that many, many people in the world today claiming to be Christian know little about this great future event of the coming of the Lord Jesus for his church and then for his coming back with his church to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.  They did not know about it. Paul taught them. You can study about it as well.  We need to know.

Well, the concluding chapter of 1 Thessalonians gives us our next word, verse 23 of 1 Thessalonians five.

And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly—that is, W H O L L Y—totally. And may your spirit and your soul and your body be preserved entire without blame—here it comes—at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are some responsibilities for the believer in this passage of Scripture in view of the Lord’s return. If you will read the verses preceding this, beginning about verse 12, you will see Paul listing a tremendous number of things that the Christians needed to be willing and able to do, to be loving, to be in prayer, to know the will of God, to not quench the Spirit, on and on and on goes the list. Our time does not give us room to read all of those. I urge you to do it.  Here is the responsibility of the believer and there is no place of indifference in our lives.

My friends, it matters how we live.  In an earlier lesson in this broadcast we talked about peace and purity in the lives of Christians. That is part of what we are looking for here. How we conduct ourselves as citizens in our business dealings, in our relationship with neighbors, in our relationship with the members of the body of Christ, we have certain responsibilities and we can’t say, “Well, it is not my responsibility to do this or that or something else.” Our life must back up our belief, especially when we say we believe Jesus could come back at any moment.

Are you ready for that coming, my friends? Has Jesus become important in your life? Have you confessed him as Savior and Lord in your relationship?  Have you put him on in the waters of baptism, raised to wake in a newness of life, washed and cleansed in the blood of Christ? Oh, what a difference it makes when that takes place.

If we are ready for the coming of Jesus, there will be no place of idols in our lives.  If we are looking forward to that reward, oh, we will not be idle. We will be busy. If we think of our relationships one with another we will not be intolerant, but patient and forgiving. And if we realize that there is a rapture that will occur, we do not want to be ignorant of what that is and how it may take place.  And then we are aware that as we live in this world we have tremendous, God given responsibilities and we must not give place to indifference, but be faithful believers and followers of Jesus Christ.

God bless you for tuning in today. If we may help you make a decision for Christ, if we may be of service in any wise, we ask you to contact us as the announcer will give you that information. God bless you today in Jesus’ name and amen.

-Julius Hovan  preaches for the Bohon Church of Christ in Bohon, KY




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10