Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Even So, Come, Lord Jesus

Over the past few months the pastor of my church has been preaching through the book of I Thessalonians. If you are not familiar with this book, it is believed to be one of the Apostle Paul’s earliest letters and the Thessalonians, to whom the letter is addressed, are believed to have been almost exclusively Gentiles. The Book of Acts, however, does record that there were Jews converted during Paul's initial preaching in Thessalonica. Paul was concerned because of the infancy of the church given he had only spent a few weeks with them before leaving for Athens. His purpose in writing the letter was threefold in nature. First, he praises them for their steadfastness under persecution. Second, he instructs them concerning holy loving, and lastly he corrects their misunderstanding regarding the second coming of Christ.

It is this last point regarding the coming of the Lord that I wanted to spend some time discussing. I have always found it amazing that the people of Thessalonica, who were experiencing intense persecution from both Jewish and heathen adversaries, tied their afflictions to the coming of the Lord. In fact, they actually believed they were living in the Day of the Lord as detailed in the book of Revelation (chapters 4-19). Their eyes were squarely fixed on the Lord amidst intense suffering.

As I look at the world today, it amazes me even more that society at large attributes, so little, if anything, to the hand of God. We are entering a watershed moment in the history of our nation as we move toward a more socialist mindset, and even further toward a one world government and no one seems to give God a second thought. I was actually chuckling to myself as I imagined the Thessalonians living in our world today and their thought process. I am certain that the uproar about the Lord’s return would be so great that Paul would be busy right now penning a third letter to placate their anxieties.

In all seriousness though, heaven is real and Christ is coming. I don’t want to get into an eschatological discussion in this blog post but if you were to study the book of Revelation and prophecy as a whole, there is nothing impeding the Lord from coming today. What a marvelous truth to contemplate and allow to shape our lives. If we genuinely believe He is coming, we should discipline our thoughts accordingly. If we are pilgrims eager for an eternal city, we will be happier, harder-working, more forward-thinking people on earth, whatever our age or circumstance in life. As the thought of the Lord’s return captivates our mind, we begin to realize our permanence isn't on earth as we long for the city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10).

I heard a preacher once say that the entire Bible could be summarized into three simple statements: Chris is coming, Christ has come, Christ will come again. And therein lies the marvelous hope for the believer. Christ is coming again!

Alas! How we forget that we are but strangers and pilgrims on the earth; that we are journeying to our eternal home, and will soon be there! - Octavius Winslow

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