The Second Coming of Jesus – Week 6 / February 2nd

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven
With a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and
with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ
will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the
clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we
shall always be with the Lord.”

1Thessalonians 4:16-17

The coming of the Lord is a repeated refrain in Paul’s Epistle to the Church at Thessaloniki. This constitutes a testimony to two things:

1.    The second coming of Jesus held an important place in the apostolic message of the first century…and,
2.    Believers in Jesus were exhorted to live their lives out in the expectation of it.

1Thessalonians is Paul’s first letter of many to the fledgling Church of the first century. Written about 51 AD it gives us an idea then of the zeal and passion of the people of God who lived at a time close to the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth. All in all Paul makes five references to Jesus’ second coming; all of which shed light on how we are to live in the light of it.

1.    The power of the coming of Jesus 1:10
The truth of the second coming of Jesus is a catalyst for holy and dedicated living. It kept their lives right with God and clean and so Paul commends them for their:
Total dedication to Christ; they turned away from idols to serve the living God.
Work of faith; their lives were productive.
Labor of love; they cared sacrificially for others.
Their patient endurance.

The knowledge that they had been delivered from the wrath of God, which would fall upon an unsuspecting world in full measure at Jesus’ coming, inspired them to live for Christ and, in expectation of His  soon coming, prepare themselves to meet Him. They saw themselves as the Bride of Christ adorning themselves with the inner garments of glory, holiness and beauty! This is the power of the coming of Jesus.

2.    The glory of the coming of Jesus 2:19-24
The glory of the coming of Jesus will be to witness how all the people that we have encouraged, ministered to and even cried with have made it safely home! Imagine seeing our family, friends and fellow congregants rejoicing in the presence of Jesus at His coming. This was Paul’s hope and longing and so the reality of Jesus’ second coming spurred him on to exhort and care for the people of God. The sheer wonder and glory of seeing all his friends with Jesus forever was worth it all.

We must make no mistake; for Paul the Christian journey is an uphill one, fraught with danger and trial that can so easily discourage us and tempt us to give up. The lesson is; we must bring each other to the day of Jesus’ coming!

3.    The prayer concerning the coming of Jesus 3:9-13
Paul was a man of prayer; real earnest prayer and so were all the great men of God. He prayed day and night for the believers as he knew the power and importance of prayer. The fact that Jesus is coming soon should awaken our prayer lives. Moreover, the prayers of Paul were not consumed with his own issues. He had learned to seek the good of the Church and of the world in his prayers and so he saw intimacy with God as the mechanism whereby Jesus invites us into His purpose. Prayer is very powerful and can change our lives to be all that God wants them to be. We must give ourselves to much prayer!!

4.    The joy of the coming of Jesus 4:11-18
The coming of Jesus will prove that death has been utterly defeated and so the funeral service is definitely not the end for the person who has embraced Christ as Lord and Savior; it is in fact just the beginning. Those safe in Jesus will rise to meet Him in the air as He comes and so they will forever be with the Lord. What a day that will be and it is coming soon! Jesus will, by a great shout and trumpet blast, call us out of our graves, just as He did to Lazarus, and then our weak and beggarly bodies will be transformed and changed in the twinkling of an eye and we will be clothed with immortality. This will be a day of great joy; blessed are they who attain to it.

5.    The truth about the coming of Jesus 5:23-24
Our salvation will be complete in that our bodies, souls and spirits will be perfect. Jesus never came to save souls but people and thus at His coming our whole tri-part person will be perfect. The true child of God, knowing these things, presses forward now toward the perfection that Christ has won for us on the cross. Paul desired with all his heart to be as close to perfection as he could get before Jesus’ coming. We should have the same desire.

Even so Lord Jesus; come!

Malcolm Hedding

©Malcolm Hedding Ministries