Something To Live For – Luke 22:7-30

kingiscoming

“When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:14-16, NLT).

The Passover meal had as its ultimate goal the messianic banquet (see Revelation 19:7).

Jesus’ death as the true Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7) inaugurated the Kingdom of God that will be completed at Jesus’ second coming!

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Just Do It – Matthew 25:40

“And the King will say, I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me” (Matthew 25:40, NLT).

In Matthew 25 Jesus told His disciples several object lessons when asked by them when the end of the world would come.

In one object lesson recorded in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus referred to the time when He, the Coming King, will return to Earth to judge all nations.

Jesus told His disciples that on that judgement day, the King will separate all people into two groups in much the same way a shepherd separates sheep from goats.

He will reward those on his right with co-ownership of his Kingdom because during their lives on Earth they were benevolent toward other people in need. He will send those on his left into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels because during their lives on Earth they were not benevolent toward other people in need.

So, the moral of the story was that you should help disenfranchised and desperate people because helping them is the same as helping the King, and not helping them is the same as not helping the King.

And, the message we should take from this somewhat ominous story is that serving God is not just a state of mind–it’s something you do!

Here’s what I mean…

The amazing thing about the righteous ones was that they didn’t know they were performing these good deeds or that they would receive a heavenly reward—they just did it because they were the loyal subjects of the King and wanted to please Him.

And the identifying characteristic of the unrighteous ones was that they just didn’t! They were repugnant to the King because they didn’t do anything to help those in need.

They were so self-referenced that they weren’t aware or didn’t care! And so they had no desire to serve or please the King.

So, this story mitigates some of the tension between faith and works because it illustrates that faith that does not result in works is not saving faith (James 2:14-26).

But those who focus on the reality of God’s invisible Kingdom by faith begin to live out their future life in the present by works without even knowing they are doing it—they just do it!

End of Days – Mathew 24:1-28

“But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.” (Mathew 24:13, HCSB).

In Matthew 24:1-28 Jesus described a number of signs and events including an increase in evil and great deception, wars, famines, natural disasters, persecution, false Christ’s, and astronomical disruption. that would precede His Second Coming and the end of world.

He also noted that the good news of His coming Kingdom would be preached to all nations.

Following the distress of the last days, Christ will return in power and glory in full view of all nations and He will gather all His people to Himself.

Many biblical scholars interpret these predictions of Jesus to have dual meanings, referring to both the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem and the Apocalypse.

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Comings – Revelation 22:17

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who hears this say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.” There are two comings requested in this verse and they seem to be inclusive of one another. The first request is for Christ, the bridegroom, to come and is made by the bride, the Church, who is inhabited or indwelt by the Holy Spirit. But the invitation to come is also to those who have not yet come to faith in Christ and His salvation. And we can assume that the Spirit and the bride make this second request as well. Throughout the centuries, God’s people have waited for, prayed for, hoped for, and watched for Christ’s return. This intercession for Christ’s soon return is clearly demonstrated in the closing words of John’s revelation: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (vs. 20). But this blessed hope is an entirely evangelistic proposition because it’s a shared hope! You can’t want the Lord to come without wanting people to come to the Lord. Thus, the coming of the Lord is inclusive of the coming to the Lord. And when others come to believe in Christ, then they join in the matrimonial chorus of intercession for His soon return. With the coming of the new year let our prayer be “Come quickly, Lord Jesus” and let us put our prayers into action by inviting others to come to the Lord Jesus.

Ruling the World – Daniel 7:27

“Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him.”

In the book of Daniel the focus shifts from from a historical narrative to a prophetic narrative in Chapter 7, which records the first vision of Daniel.

The vision given to Daniel used animal symbolism to tell the same story that was told in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Chapter 2 about the future rise and fall of nations.

Daniel makes it clear that world history culminates in the establishment of God’s Kingdom: “As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed” (vs. 13-14).

Not only does Daniel describe the establishment of God’s Kingdom at the end of the world, but he reinforces the fact that God’s people are co-rulers along with Jesus over God’s new world–and he states it multiple times in this chapter (vs. 18, 22, and 27).

To prepare you for eternity, God wants to hone your leadership skills in this life so you can help Him rule the world of the future!

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10, NIV)

Between the Times Faith – John 20:29

“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Did you know that Jesus was talking about you when He spoke these words to Thomas during one of His appearances to His disciples after His resurrection? Thomas was not present when Jesus first appeared to the disciples after His resurrection. Thomas declared that he would not believe in Christ’s resurrection unless he saw the nail scars in Jesus’ hands and the wound in His side. Christians today face a dilemma they have faced since Jesus made this statement to Thomas—that of living in that period in time after Christ’s first coming and before His second coming. Some theologians have called the age in which we live “between the times,” meaning the period of time between Christ’s first and second comings. While the first generation of Christians was closely connected to Christ’s first coming, all Christians since have had to address the ambiguity of the time between His first and second comings. Fortunately, according to Jesus, we “between the times” Christians are actually blessed because we have not seen Jesus face to face but have believed in Him. Although you do not now see Jesus in person, you know that you will see Him at His second coming; therefore, you have no disadvantage to Jesus’ first century followers and are, actually, enriched in your love for Him, your faith in Him, and your joy received from Him: “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

The Grace That Saves Us Teaches Us – Titus 2:12-13

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Our blessed hope is Christ’s second coming. So the grace of God by which we are saved also teaches us to live godly lives while we wait upon the second coming of Christ–saving grace becomes teaching grace. The grace of God that saves us also instructs us to live in a new way that prepares us for eternity. This change in lifestyle is rooted in our eager expectaton of the return of Christ. We should discard our sinful ways and live in a godly way in the present anticipating our eternal life with God in the future.

A Clear and Present Expectation – Hebrews 9:26

“But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Christ has appeared at the end of the ages to sacrifice Himself once, for all, to take away the sins of many people. Christ’s sacrifice of Himself is sufficient for all His followers and for all time. The end of the ages has been inaugurated by Christ’s sacrificial death, even though it still awaits its consummation at Christ’s second return. The Hebrews writer says that to fulfill this salvation Jesus will appear a second time to gather those who are waiting for Him (vs. 28). The final judgment will take place when Christ comes again. If you are a follower of Jesus, then you should persevere expectantly. In other words, you should have a clear and present expectation of His future return because He saves all who are eagerly anticipating His return.