Jesus is coming again. This is a message I’ve heard all my life. I’ve heard sermons, sung songs and read books on the subject. Serving many years as an evangelist, there was probably not a revival I preached that I did not address this in some way. I really do believe it – not because of all I’ve just mentioned but because Jesus, himself, said it. .”And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)
With the current distress and upheaval in the world, the subject of the second coming of Jesus is getting a little more widespread attention than it has had in recent years. I’m seeing a lot of social media posts and memes pointing to what some feel is the beginning of the end times. This is usually the case when bad things happen – people, especially religious people, begin to talk about the end of the world. I’m not being critical, just pointing out facts as I see them.
Sometimes I wonder if we really believe He is coming soon. Is this just a fallback subject when things happen we can’t explain? Is this just “church speak” when we are afraid and the ugliness of sin is rising to the top? I wonder if we really believed Jesus was coming again if our business as usual would change. I wonder…
This morning in prayer, my attention was drawn to a passage of scripture found in Ephesians. Talking about the Church, Paul wrote “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:26-27)
Paul described the Church for which Jesus would be coming back. He said His bride would be a glorious church without spot, wrinkle or blemish and that she would be holy.
His church will be without spot. I think He is saying she will be without sin. This thought moves me to a place of genuine repentance. I don’t want any sin in my life to separate me from the Lord. The pleasures of sin exist for a season but the price we pay for them is far too great. I pray for the washing and cleansing work of the Holy Spirit in my life. I want all of my sin covered by the blood of Jesus.
His church will be without wrinkle. Sitting too long cause wrinkles in garments. Fatigue and worry cause wrinkles in complexions. Could my inactivity cause me to be wrinkled? Could my armchair quarterbacking while my brothers and sisters are in the heat of the battle cause me to be wrinkled? Could my weariness and worry actually be lack of trust in God and be causing me to be wrinkled? These are questions that deserve an answer. If we really believe Jesus is coming soon we might want to look at this.
His church will be without blemish. This is interesting. Unless Paul is just being repetitious, he is making a distinction between spots and blemishes. I looked for the dictionary definition of blemish. It says a blemish is “a small mark or flaw which spoils the appearance of something; a moral defect or fault.” I believe this deserves a deeper look.
I wonder if long-held unholy attitudes could be considered blemishes? I wonder if deeply ingrained feelings toward other people – maybe other races – could be blemishes? I wonder if preaching against some sin while ignoring other sin could be a blemish? I wonder if a determination to have my way instead of submitting to His will could be a blemish? I wonder if we would prefer not to think about this at all? I wonder…
His church will be holy. I think this has to mean His church will look like Him: act like Him; think like Him: totally reflect Him in all it does. It can’t be driven by personal agendas – it must be His agenda. It can’t belong to a man – the righteousness of all men is as filthy rags in the sight of God. It isn’t working to keep people out – it is feverishly working to bring all people in because it is not His will that any should perish. When the world sees His church it sees Him.
The church described in Ephesians 5 is the church for which He is coming. He will not be grading on the curve and He is not looking for the best three out of four. He expects us to be without spot, wrinkle, blemish and to be holy. These are our guideposts and instructions as we prepare for this blessed event. We must heed them without exception.
One more time I want to go on record as saying I believe Jesus is coming again. The message I was taught as a child and the one I have believed and preached throughout my ministry is more true today than it has ever been. The signs are all around us. Read the Bible and watch the news – it is really pretty clear. But somehow, this Biblical truth has got to be more than a catchphrase – it has got to effect my living. I can’t be scriptural in speech and unscriptural in practice. This message calls for action.
What should my personal response be to the message of the second coming of Jesus?
It should cause me to guard my heart. I will not live a life of condemnation but I must live one of deep conviction. I can’t allow anything to enter my life that will offend my Lord and separate me from Him. I am responsible for myself, therefore, I will be a vigilant watchman over my heart.
It should cause me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. I refuse to become hardened and stubborn toward the Holy Spirit. I want to be soft and pliable – always willing to be corrected by Him. I don’t want to become a spiritual elitist – I want to walk humbly before my God. I don’t want to demand my rights – I want to take up my cross and follow Him. If I’m going to live in the Spirit, I want to walk in the Spirit. As He leads, I will follow.
It should cause me to pursue intimate communion and communication with the Father. I want to be with Him. I need to hear from Him. I don’t know the way – the challenges are too great for me – I’m helpless on my on – I really need the Lord. Communicating and communing with Him is more than an event, it must be my lifestyle.
It should cause me to be passionate about the harvest. I can’t sit back and watch the world go to hell in a handbasket. I can’t just shake my head as the world burns around me. I can’t be critical when a sinner sins for had it not been for the grace of God I would be there with him. I must engage in the harvest. I can’t win everyone; I can’t fix everything but I can do something. There is a ripened harvest with my name on it – I must go get it.
I don’t’ know how much time before Jesus comes again. There have been a lot of date setters throughout history and they have all been wrong. The early church expected Him in their lifetime. My parents expected Him in theirs. I’m looking for Him in mine. The fact is no one except the Father knows when it will happen. I am just certain of this one thing – He is coming. This message must be proclaimed but it must also be lived. I want to be ready and I want to reflect it in my daily walk.