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Author:Rev. Jeremy Segstro
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Congregation:Cloverdale Canadian Reformed Church
 Surrey, BC
 cloverdalecanrc.org
 
Title:He Is Coming Soon!
Text:LD 19 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:The Second Coming
 
Added:2022-07-11
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Reading: Revelation 22

Text: Lord’s Day 19

 

HE IS COMING SOON!  UNTIL THEN,

  1. We Must be Faithful Subjects

  2. We Must Properly Use His Gifts

  3. We Must Eagerly Await His Return

 

  1. Psalm 17: 1, 3, 4, 6

  2. Psalm 2: 1-4

  3. Hymn 70: 1-4

  4. Hymn 2

  5. Hymn 27: 1, 2, 5, 7, 8

 

Words to Listen For: circles, sand, font, slogans, Left Behind

 

Questions for Understanding:

  1. Does Revelation 22:11 encourage sinners to sin?

  2. Why isn’t the Christian life about results?  What is it about really?

  3. How is love like blood donation?

  4. Briefly describe the 3 Millennial views

  5. What facts ultimately matter about the end of time?

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Jeremy Segstro, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved in Christ,

Have you ever seen a street preacher?  A man or a woman, looking a little rough around the edges, shouting at anyone who will hear.  Holding up signs for cars that pass by?

If you have, then you probably know their message.  Because it’s a simple one, and it’s always the same.

Repent!  Jesus is coming soon!

And what is your emotional reaction to seeing or hearing these people?  Maybe you get embarrassed that you believe in the same God as them.  Maybe you think that they make us look bad.  They make people think that Christianity is hardly different than people who wear tinfoil hats, people who are on the hunt for UFOs, who see signs in everything.  Paranoid.  Conspiracy theorist people.  

And even though that might be the case, even though street preachers may in fact turn people off with their doomsday messages, the actual words on their signs are true.  Absolutely true.  We heard these words in our reading this afternoon from Revelation 22.  We heard them 3 times!

     Verse 7 - And behold, I am coming soon

     Verse 12 - Behold, I am coming soon

     Verse 20 - Surely I am coming soon

This is the TRUTH!

However you wrap it up, whether it is on a sign on King George Boulevard, or screamed at you from a street preacher, or written on a doomsday blog...this is the TRUTH!  Our Saviour is coming back!  And He is coming soon.  Jesus Christ is coming soon!  We have to be ready.  Jesus Christ is returning in the same way that He ascended.

 

HE IS COMING SOON!  UNTIL THEN,

  1. We Must be Faithful Subjects

  2. We Must Properly Use His Gifts

  3. We Must Eagerly Await His Return

 

He is coming soon!  Until then, we must be faithful subjects.

Jesus Christ is King!

How often do we heard this nowadays?  In the broader Christian circles, Jesus’ kingship has been replaced with easier and “nicer” things.

     Jesus is my friend 

     Jesus is the one who loves me

     Jesus is an example

And all of these are true too.

  • Jesus calls His disciples friends in John 15

  • Jesus’ love for us is shown to us so clearly all throughout the New Testament

  • Jesus is portrayed as the ultimate example in Philippians 2.

But there’s more!  So much more!  

We heard the last time that we were together that Jesus is our pledge in Heaven and He is our advocate there.  He is at the right hand of the Father as our advocate.

But He is also there as our King.  He is in a position of power and authority.  All throughout the book of Revelation, we hear of this great white throne in Heaven.  It is the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God.  And where is He sitting?  He is sitting on a throne!

Our catechism says that He ascended into heaven to manifest Himself there as Head of His church, through whom the Father governs all things.

Jesus is King.

He is head of the church, King of the church, but He is also king over all things!

We sung that in Psalm 2 just a few moments ago.

     I’ve set my King, so runs His proclamation, upon Mount Zion, on my Holy Hill.

     To you I give the nations

Christ is King over all.

And if Christ is King, we are His subjects.  And so how shall we live?

We heard an instruction about this in our reading.  Revelation 22:11 - Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.

Wait a second...really?  This is what the Bible says?

The Bible says:

If you are doing evil, you can still keep doing evil

If you are filthy and stinking with sin, don’t worry about the cleansing blood of Christ ?????

 

Is THIS the gospel?

 

It’s a challenging verse, no doubt about it.  But the context can begin to clear things up for us. 

These verses come in the context of prophecy.  Of apocalyptic literature, and so time period is quite tricky.  You may notice, that if you simply read the book of Revelation like a book of history, we are brought to the brink of the Last judgement many times!  We are brought there with

  1. The sixth seal in chapter 6

  2. The seventh trumpet in chapter 11

  3. The great harvest in chapter 14

  4. The seventh bown in chapter 16

  5. The return of Christ in chapter 19

  6. The end of the millennium in chapter 20

And so timing is quite tricky.  And this verse, this challenging verse, seems to have one foot in this present world, and the other foot in eternity.  Instead of being an encouragement to just “be you” and not worrying about change...this is, in fact, a dire warning!  A dire warning that there will be a day when it is too late.  The Lord’s coming will be so swift that there will be no time to change.  As they are at that moment, so will the Lord find them.

And these words are meant as an encouragement to believers...that though the evil continue to pursue evil, despite warnings and prayers and preaching...let them carry on.  

Let them walk to their destruction...but let them do so WITH YOUR WORDS OF WARNING RINGING IN THEIR EARS.

What a tragedy it is when anyone misses out on salvation.  But the tragedy is all the greater if you never told them the good news.  Woe be to us if at the final judgement, the citizens of this town, this city, say before that great white throne: Nobody ever told me how to be saved!  Nobody told me the gospel!

If they walk the ways of destruction, they must do so despite our best efforts.

But back to Revelation.  The Lord’s return is sure and soon.  And we can take comfort that that last word is not with the wicked.  Even if the wicked are in places of authority and power in this world, a wicked earthly king is not our final king.  He is not our ultimate king.  Or president.  Or prime minister.

The wicked will receive their recompense.  But where there is life, there is hope.  There is always hope.  Just as we heard with the parable of the soils...can God transform you?  YES!  God can transform, and God HAS transformed.  He has transformed all of us, He can do it with your unbelieving neighbour too.

The time is running out, but it has not yet run out.  Where there is life, there is hope.

And for us, who HAVE been transformed, what is our role in all of this?

We must share the transforming good news of the gospel.  And we must BE FAITHFUL.

That is what it is all about.  The Christian life is not about RESULTS.  The results are in the hands of God.  All that you must do is to be faithful.

Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit teaches the following in 1 Corinthians 3:

What then is Apollos?  What is Paul?  Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

Paul’s job was to plant.  He planted the church in Corinth, but then he was called elsewhere.  He did not get to see the result of his planting.

Apollos watered.  And maybe Apollos saw more than Paul, but the church continued long after Apollos died.  God is the one who gives the growth.

And sometimes it is so hard to see what God wants for us in our lives.  It’s not always clear.  But above all, we just have to be faithful.  Be faithful and leave the results up to Him.

You, His citizen, His subject, need to be honest.  You need to be hardworking, you need to be righteous.  You need to share the gospel.  And He WILL be glorified.

Because the time for living in darkness is over.  It’s done.  And if you are still living in unrepentant sin...if you secretly nurse hatred towards your brother or sister, if you get drunk every weekend, but hide your hangover at church.  If you are a compulsive liar, today is that day to draw a line in the sand and say, “That’s over.  That’s done.  I am a citizen of Jesus Christ, and sin will not have dominion over me!”

And that’s not to say that as soon as you draw that line, you will never sin again.

But remember...IT’S NOT ABOUT RESULTS.  It’s not ultimately about living a sinless life, because then the Christian life would simply be one of failure and misery.  The Christian life is about FIGHTING SIN and PURSUING RIGHTEOUSNESS.  If you struggle with drunkenness...find a counselor.  Find an accountability partner.  Go to an AA meeting.  THAT is what it means to be faithful.  Not that you’ll never fall down again, but that you are actively fighting sin.

Because as you train yourself for righteousness, righteousness will become more and more natural to you as the Holy Spirit works in your life.

Christ is your King.  You are His subject.  You are a light-bearer of Christ, the light of the world.  So make that light both bright and clear.

Your light needs to be BRIGHT.

It has to shine for the world to see.  Don’t be ashamed, don’t hide your lamp under your bushel.

Your light needs to be CLEAR.

If your life is not continually one of repentance and self-discipline, your light, however bright, will not be clear.  It will be cloudy.  It will be like the sun trying to get through the clouds.  No matter how bright the sun is, if there are clouds in the way, the sunbeams will not have their full and desired effect.

Christ is your King.  You are His subject.  So act like your King!  Act like Him!  Be faithful, and leave the results up to Him.

Because He is active and working, right beside us.  His ascended position does not mean that He has left us alone.  He has kept His promise to be with us until the end of the age.  And He does so through the gifts He gives us.  Our second point. 

As part of being faithful subjects, our ascended Lord has given us so much.  He has given us both instructions on how to live, and gifts to make that living possible.  Gifts to make that living JOYFUL.

By His Holy Spirit, He pours out heavenly gifts upon us, His members.

What are these gifts that He gives to us?  The catechism is not specific here, and one of the reasons is that there are just so many gifts.  There are so many blessings from our God.  But let’s examine some together.

First and foremost, He gave us the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the means by which He gives the other gifts, but the Holy Spirit is also a gift.

He is both Gift and Giver.

We have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts.  We are the place where God dwells on this earth.

Because this church building...this church building, this sanctuary, with the pulpit here at the front, where we have the table for Lord’s Supper, the font for baptism...this is not the temple of the new covenant.  This building is only special, this building is only HOLY when God’s people are here.

When God’s people gather for worship.  Because EACH OF US are a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Just as our glorious God once dwelt on earth in a glory cloud above the ark, resting between two golden cherubim, so now He dwells in our hearts.  He dwells in our souls.

We have God Himself dwelling in us.  And we are never alone.  This is the greatest gift of them all.  This is the gift in which is contained so many other gifts.

Other gifts like

  • Grace

  • Faith

  • Love

  • Sanctification

Let’s examine these briefly together.

We have been given GRACE.  The Apostle John says we have received GRACE UPON GRACE.  It is all about grace.  We live, we breathe, our heart beats...all because of grace.  God’s undeserved kindness and favor towards us.  Grace.  God’s riches at Christ’s expense.

We are saved

BY GRACE

        THROUGH FAITH

It is God’s grace that has saved us, and it is through faith that we can receive Christ’s righteousness and make it our own.  Only by faith.  And this faith is a gift too!  The Holy Spirit works faith in your heart.

It is grace that put true life before us

It is faith that lets us be united to that true life

And it is love that is the marker of this new life.  Love for God, love for our neighbour.  We have been given love, and love is in you to give to others.

I once had a friend in Winnipeg who had strong thoughts about giving blood.  Whenever we would be driving around, and a commercial came on the radio for blood donation, it would end with the slogan: Blood: It’s in you to give.

And he would always say, “No!  The real slogan should be: Blood: It’s in you to live!

And I had a good chuckle about that.

But if we replace the word “blood” with the word “love” … then both slogans are true.  The original, and my friend’s new version.

LOVE: It’s in you to live!

Without the love of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God...we would not and could not live.  It is out of love that He created us the first time, and it is out of love that He continues to preserve His own, and recreates us by His Spirit.  LOVE IS IN YOU TO LIVE.

But.  The other slogan is also true.

LOVE: It’s in you to give.

We have received the love of Christ, and now we have to go out and share that same love.  We are to bring others to the cross of Christ, the cross of LOVE, as we ourselves have been brought.  LOVE IS IN YOU TO GIVE

And sanctification.

It is grace that put true life before us

It is faith that lets us be united to that true life

It is love that is the marker of this new life

And it is sanctification, the working of the Spirit, making us holier and holier, cleaning us up from the inside out...this strengthens our love.  This strengthens our walk.

In this new way of living ushered in by Christ, there is no TRUE mourning.  We may mourn over the brokenness of this world, we may mourn over our own sins, but we do not mourn hopelessly.

Christ, our King, is also our bridegroom.  Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?  No!

This time is the time of engagement.  The bridegroom was with us.  He was with us, and promised to love us forever.  Promised that there is a wedding feast coming.  He has given us gifts and pledges, like an engagement ring.

Even though the joy of engagement isn’t the same as the joy of the wedding, and the marriage afterwards, there is still so much joy.  But the final joy is yet to come.  We are living between the first and second comings of Christ.  And we must eagerly await that final joy that is yet to come.  Our third point.

We must eagerly await Christ’s return.  We heard that it is a return that is coming soon.  But what does “soon” mean?

Soon in the ways of God?  Soon in the sense that a thousand years is like a day, and a day is as a thousand years?

Yes!  Soon as in it could be a thousand years from now, and soon as in it could be tomorrow.  Or today.  Or 10 minutes from now.

Now, there are those who will argue against this.  There are those who look to Scripture and say “But there has to be more fulfilled before Christ returns!  What about the 1000 years mentioned in Revelation 20?

So what about those thousand years?

Let’s turn to Revelation 20 together.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.  And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan and bound him for a thousand years and threw him into the pit and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended  After that he must be released for a little while.

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed.  Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshipped the beats or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.  They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

So, what are we to make of this, beloved?  What are these thousand years?

Now, we should be very careful here, digging into the book of Revelation like this.  But as we heard earlier in the sermon, books of prophecy, especially apocalyptic prophecy...we have to be very careful when it comes to interpreting time.  Interpreting time and numbers and metaphors.

And there are three general views on these thousand years.  The Millenium.  Let me explain it shortly and simply.

There is the view of Pre-Millenialism.

This is the viewpoint made popular by the book series and movie Left BehindThis is the idea of the rapture.  Jesus Christ, they say, Jesus Christ will return BEFORE the Millenium happens.  He will return, and take all the faithful believers up to be with Him, and they will reign in heaven for 1000 years, while the earth is handed over to Satan.  This is when the plagues and bowls of wrath will be poured out.

After the 1000 years, Christ will return a second time, and it will be the great day of Judgement before the Great White Throne.

While this viewpoint tries to take rather obscure texts like Matthew 24:41 - Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left...it tries to take verses like this literally, however, nowhere in Scripture do we ever read of Christ returning TWICE.  He came once in His incarnation, that first Christmas, and He will come ONCE MORE as Judge from heaven.  His second coming will put an end to this life and this world as we know it.

Also, it doesn’t seem to properly address the idea of Satan bound and in the pit for 1000 years.  That doesn’t seem to match with Satan being allowed to rule the earth for 1000 years.

This is Pre-Millenialism.  The idea that Christ will return BEFORE the Millenium.

Then there is the view of Post-Millenialism.

This view incorporates the teaching of Revelation 20 a little better.

Post-Millennials teach that Christ will return only once, but before He returns, certain things have to happen. Since Satan is bound in the pit and cannot deceive the world anymore, and since Revelation 20 talks about the saints ruling and reigning with Christ, those holding to this view say that there will be 1000 years of the church literally ruling over this world.  Each and every ruler over a nation will be a Christian, and it will be a time of joy and prosperity for true believers.  A literal heaven-on-earth for 1000 years before Christ returns.

The problem with this view is that it makes it VERY CLEAR when Christ will return.  He will not return like a thief in the night, He will not return quickly and surprisingly...and...MOST IMPORTANTLY, He CANNOT return yet, because the church is not ruling, and the world is not at peace.

This is Post-Millenialism.  The idea that Christ will return AFTER the Millenium.

And finally, there is the view of Amillenialism.

This view tries to understand the 1000 years in the context of apocalyptic prophecy.  The thousand years is symbolic, and likely references when Satan was cast out of heaven by the power of our ascended Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Satan is no longer in the heavenly throneroom, accusing the saints.  The Holy Spirit has been poured out, and so the nations are not deceived nearly as easily as they had been before.

The gospel has spread across the earth instead of being contained mostly to the nation of Israel.

Things will get better AND worse until Christ returns.

The church will be sanctified, each and every believer being made more and more holy.

And Satan will be doing all he can to persecute the church.  He will be struggling mightily as he knows his time is near when he will be punished forever.

Most importantly, this view says that Christ can return at any time.  He will come like a thief in the night, and we must be aware.  We must be ready.  We must be eating the Passover with our sandals on our feet and our belts on.  Living in this world, but ready to leave it at any moment.

This is Amillenialism.  The view that the millennium is not literal, but figurative.

Beloved, the book of Revelation is not easy.   The end of time, the return of Christ, is not an easy topic.  We will not understand it all, but we DO know a few things.

  • We know that King Jesus reigns right now from that great white throne.

  • We know that He is marching forth and defending His people against all enemies of the church.

  • We know that He will be ultimately victorious over the powers of evil, and goodness and grace and love will reign supreme forever.

  • We know that we are His.

And we know that He is coming soon.

So, congregation, live as those keeping a weather eye on the horizon.  Because this world is passing away.  This world of sin and suffering.  This world where we have a foretaste of the love and grace that we will one day experience in fullness...this world is heading towards judgement day.  The trumpet will sound and shake all creation.

Let us be found, having confessed, loved, and served the Lord here below.  That we may ever and forever know His love and glory.

AMEN.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Jeremy Segstro, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Rev. Jeremy Segstro

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