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Christ’s return will generate joy and sorrow

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As surely as Jesus Christ walked on this planet, lived a sinless life, died a holy death, and rose from the dead on the third day, He will most definitely return to Earth just as He promised. 

Jesus told his disciples: 

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).

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Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wisely observed

“The great doctrine of the second advent has in a sense fallen into disrepute because of…this tendency on the part of some to be more interested in the how and the when of the second coming rather than in the fact of the second coming.”

George Sweeting wrote, 

“Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1,800 references appear in the Old Testament…and there are more than 300 references to the Lord’s return in the New Testament - one out of every thirty verses."

“For the Lord himself will come down from Heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

Believers in Jesus Christ have an eternal home in Paradise. (Luke 23:39-43) 

“Our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21).

Is it well with your soul today? Are you on the narrow road to Heaven or the wide road to Hell? (Matthew 7:13,14) These two destinations in eternity are extreme and never-ending. Therefore, the return of Jesus Christ to Earth is no laughing matter. Are you taking it seriously, or writing it off as if your soul is not immortal and the Lord is not going to hold you accountable for your sins?

The prophet Daniel wrote, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).

Albert Barnes was an American theologian and abolitionist who produced an extensive commentary on the Bible in the 1830s. He described the mood of his day: 

“People believe in the doctrine of future punishment. Otherwise, there is no reason why they should be alarmed at his coming. Surely people would not dread his appearing if they really believed that all will be saved.”

In other words, many people who “deliberately keep on sinning" experience “only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:27).

Scripture declares: 

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)

Television cameras often allow us to witness intense grief in a courtroom when a defendant is found guilty, or when a convicted person is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Imagine the worldwide wailing when Jesus Christ returns! Those who rejected Him will suddenly become aware of their eternal sentence in Hell. This is why “all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.” 

Will you come to Christ today and trust the Lord to wash away your sins with the blood he shed for you on the cross? Jesus will save your soul right now if you will “repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). 

Are you living each day as though Jesus died yesterday, arose today, and is coming back tomorrow? The return of Jesus Christ will shake this planet and its people to the core.

Therefore, God’s Word instructs believers: 

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things….When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:2,4).

Believers joyfully await Christ’s return, whereas unbelievers are oblivious to what Christ accomplished on the cross. Some unbelievers live as though Heaven and Hell are make-believe, and as though Jesus Christ will not return to Earth like he promised.

In the final chapter of the Bible Jesus stated, 

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12).

You see, God always has the final word. Are you looking forward to Christ’s return? Or is your heart filled with dread at the thought of what currently awaits you throughout eternity?
Unless you receive the forgiveness of your sins through faith in Christ, you will be sentenced to eternal punishment in the prison known as Hell with no possibility of parole. Do you see why your soul matters so much to God, and why the Lord wants you to come to Heaven when your body dies? (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9)

David offered this expression of thanksgiving to God: “You have made known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).

Everlasting pleasures, or never-ending torment and agony. (Luke 16:19-31) Which path are you on today? There are only two destinations when man's soul leaves his body at the moment of his death. And what about your family and friends? If you don’t attempt to reach them with the Gospel, who will?

If Jesus returned to Earth today, would it make you joyful or sorrowful? Your sins can only be forgiven “through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:25) which was shed on the cross for you 2000 years ago. Come to Christ today as you turn away from sin and pray: “Wash me Jesus with your precious blood."

Are you ready for Christ’s return? “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Jesus said, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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