Jesus Christ

Why Jesus Return Will Be Worth It

“…As you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 1:7b).

Life is hard. Sometimes it feels impossible. Other times it seems bearable. But no matter your daily experience, keep this in mind: all of this is going somewhere. The waiting for Jesus’ Second Coming makes the thorny journey worth it. We are being perfected but we are not there yet.

The Second Coming of Christ is something every Christian should eagerly wait for – no matter the level of spiritual maturity. Here are just four reasons why:

#1 – The Second Coming means Christ will be exalted. Paul said in Philippians 2:9-11, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

#2 – The Second Coming means Satan will be defeated. The Apostle John writes, “And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:9-10).

#3 – The Second Coming means martyrs will be avenged. Those who have paid the ultimate price for their faith ask how long until God’s judgment will fall on those who brought such persecution. Paul says in II Thessalonians 1:6-7, “Since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.”

#4 – The Second Coming means believers will be glorified. In another letter to another church, Paul says Christ will come back for the church so “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27).

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Will Jesus Fulfill All the Prophecies About Him?

Jesus will be born of a virgin – Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 7:14. Fulfilled in Matthew 1:23.

Jesus will be of the lineage of Abraham – Genesis 12. Fulfilled in Matthew 1:1 and Galatians 3:16.

Jesus will be of the tribe of Judah – Genesis 49:10. Fulfilled in Matthew 1:2.

Jesus will be of the lineage of David – II Samuel 7:12-16. Fulfilled in Matthew 1:1.

Jesus would be risen from the dead – Psalm 16:10; 22:22. Fulfilled in Matthew 28:6 and Acts 2:27-28.

The death of Jesus would be painful – Psalm 22. Fulfilled in Matthew 27:39, 43, 46; John 13:36; 20:25.

Jesus would ascend into heaven – Psalm 68:18. Fulfilled in Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:9-11.

Jesus will have a forerunner – Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1. Fulfilled in Matthew 3:3.

The death of Jesus would be violent – Isaiah 52-53. Fulfilled in John 19:1, 18.

Jesus will be born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2. Fulfilled in Matthew 2:6.

Think Jesus will return to set up His kingdom? (Psalm 2; 24; Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:1-16; 35:1-10). The Bible says so and His track record on fulfilling prophecies is 100% so far!

A Christmas Poem in May

“As with Gladness Men of Old” by William C. Dix

As with gladness men of old; did the guiding star behold;
As with joy they hailed its light, ;eading onward, beaming bright,
So, most gracious Lord, may we evermore be led by Thee!

As with joyful steps they sped, Savior, to Thy lowly bed,
There to bend the knee before; Thee whom heaven and earth adore,
So may we with willing feet ever seek Thy mercy-seat!

As they offered gifts most rare at Thy cradle, rude and bare,
So may we with holy joy, pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring, Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King!

Holy Jesus, every day, keep us in the narrow way;

And when earthly things are past. Bring our ransomed souls at last

Where they need no star to guide, where no clouds Thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright, need they no created light;

Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown, Thou its Sun which goes not down.

There forever may we sing alleluias to our King!

 

Q/A Friday: What Does It Mean That Jesus Is Our Advocate?

The word “Advocate” is sometimes translated “Paraclete” (from the Greek word paraklaytos), which you might recognize as a title given to the Holy Spirit in John 14 and 16. The word means “helper,” but it was used to describe someone who offered legal aid or one who interceded on behalf of another. It is one who came alongside another to aid or assist them in their greatest need and our greatest need is salvation or deliverance from the consequences of sin.

Picture a courtroom – a Divine Courtroom. God is the Judge. Satan comes as the accuser or prosecutor and man is the accused. Jesus Christ is our Defense Attorney; He is our “Advocate.”

What makes him unusual is that, in this case, he is the only Defense Attorney that comes into the courtroom and doesn’t proclaim we are innocent but admits our guilt! He declares our guilt, but he comes alongside of our need for redemption and paid the price in full on the cross. While Satan is yelling, “Sin,” Jesus is calmly saying to the Father Judge, “Cross. Paid in full.”

One of the most encouraging by-products of Jesus being our “Advocate” is this: we are assured sin will most definitely be paid for and that our salvation is secure. Why? Because Jesus never has, nor never will, lose a case. Jesus said, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me …” (John 6:39). That word “nothing” means “nothing.” No one will be lost that He has saved!

As he concludes Romans 8 and the Spirit’s sealing our salvation, Paul asked a rhetorical question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Romans 8:35). Once saved, always saved.

What an encouragement that is to the believer! We don’t need to feel hopeless in this life. When we sin, we don’t need to crawl into depths of despair. Instead, our rejoicing should be loud and boisterous that Jesus advocates for us. There should be such a level of confidence and celebration that Jesus saves and keeps us saved that we could echo these words from Charles Spurgeon: “He has said that he was so sure of his salvation that he could grab onto a cornstalk, swing out over the fires of hell, look into the face of the devil, and sing, ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!’”

If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please it to charlesheck@cox.net or pose your question in the comments section of this post.

If Christ Is Not Raised (Part 7)

As Christians, we are people of hope, because Christ accomplished something we couldn’t accomplish – a perfectly righteous life and an acceptable sacrifice of death and resurrection. And this guarantees us salvation if we call upon Him as Lord and Savior. But if that stone remained over the entrance to the tomb, and Jesus stayed wrapped in his garments, and His body decayed and He never rose from the dead, Paul says, “we are of all people most to be pitied.”

That may be the ultimate example of wasting your life. Charles Spurgeon said, “To be born into the Christian life, which gives great pain and sorrow, would be a miserable thing if it were not compensated by the hope of glory that we have in Christ.”

The sad reality is that many are living without hope!

Many refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord so there is no reason to hope past this life, and there is no comfort in death. They are living as if they resurrection didn’t happen.

Here is our hope – “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Cor 15:20). And it’s because of truths like this that we can sing refrains like this

“Christ alone; cornerstone

Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love

Through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all.”

If Christ Is Not Raised (Part 6)

If Christ is not raised, there is no eternity in heaven – “Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (I Corinthians 15:18).

Paul says, “If Christ didn’t raise from the dead, then everyone who has died claiming to be a Christian, won’t enjoy eternal life with their Creator but either eternal condemnation or annihilation (depending on how you translate that word “perished.”) Either way, it’s not eternal life with God in heaven … and that’s awful.

We might believe one thing and end up somewhere else. There would be no future of any kind. In fact, our whole existence – past, present and future – is pointless.

R.C.H. Lenski writes about this predicament of ours without the resurrection –

“They love and die without God and hope in this world. But it is still more pitiful, because it is far more tragic, to have a great hope in the heart throughout life, to shape the whole life according to that hope, to crucify the flesh, to war against temptation, to bear the cross, to suffer reproach and many other ills for the sake of this hope, and then in the end to have that hope turn out to be an iridescent bubble, a vacuous dream. This is Paul’s commentary on a Christianity that exists for this life only without regard to what is to come thereafter. Yet this is the type of Christianity that not a few seek to popularize at the present time. A Christianity without a risen Christ and the sure and certain hope of our resurrection from the grave, whatever men may say in laudation of its moral influence and its good works, is worse than none.” (I-II Corinthians, pg. 658)

Imagine the anger and despair if you woke up in hell and you were able, in between the reverberation of pain and suffering, able to converse with another sufferer and asked him, “What happened? Why are we here?”

Imagine in between the tears of pain, that person responded to you, “Jesus didn’t really conquer death. His skeleton is still in that tomb. Salvation was not accomplished. We are here for good!” Can you think of any worse news than that?

Let me illustrate this another way. Remember the death of a loved one that knew the Lord. Remember the glimmer of hope and encouragement you found in knowing that you would see them again in glory. It helped the pain subside a bit knowing that their departure would not the end of your being with them.

Well, if Jesus didn’t raise from the dead, that hope and encouragement has been all erased. There will be nothing but terrible silence when they are put into the ground.

If Christ Is Not Raised (Part 5)

If Christ is not raised, we are still condemned by our sin – “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (I Corinthians 15:17).

Is there any worse news than this? If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, our “sins” still condemn us. We would still have to face the consequences of our sin and death. When Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders, he told them he was going to leave earth and the consequence of their rejection would be this – “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come” (John 8:21). Paul is saying, “If Jesus didn’t raise from the dead, that will be you too – regardless of how much good works you accumulate.”

One of my favorite Gospel verses in Scripture is II Corinthians 5:21 – “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” But if Jesus didn’t raise from the dead, the truth would really be this – “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, but WE WILL REMAIN IN SIN, because HE FAILED TO ESCAPE THE GRAVE.”

How about John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”? If Jesus didn’t raise from the dead, we’d read, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, but HIS SON DIED AND COULDN’T DEFEAT DEATH, so WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM IS A LIAR, and WILL PERISH AND NOT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.”

How about Romans 8:1 – “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”? If Jesus didn’t raise from the dead, we would read that verse this way – “There is therefore STILL condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

And you could even read Revelation 5:9 this way – “You (referring to Jesus Christ) ARE NOT WORTHY to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and BURIED AND YOU REMAINED THERE, and your blood was not ransomed for people from every tribe and language and people and nation.” In fact, that verse wouldn’t even exist, because Jesus would still be in the grave!

Without the resurrection of Christ, we are still condemned. His death would have accomplished nothing. At best, it could have been made into another movie about a hero who loves the people he died for. But there would be no atonement, no justification, no sanctification and no glorification without Jesus defeat of death and raising from the dead. There would be no rescue from sin.