The Return Of Jesus
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord, Our King, Our Strength and Our Redeemer! AMEN.
[In the name of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit- Amen.]
A warm welcome to everyone worshipping here at St George’s this morning! And especially to all visitors and relatively new worshippers here like myself!
Today’s Gospel may seem surprising to many on first hearing. All around us people are thinking about the first coming of Jesus to Nazareth. Even non-Christians are stocking up on food and drink for planned festivities.
Today, however,,as many of you know is the first Sunday of Advent.
It is also the opening of a New Church Year
But the gospel reading, rather than have us deal with beginnings, the liturgy directs our attention to the end of the world….. Jesus’ second coming. This one will not be accompanied by similar feasting and merriment! This one will be serious, for it causes us to think about the end of time. The dismantling of the Cosmos, and the fulfilment of all God’s purposes for creation issuing in a new heaven and a new earth.
We can get a little background about the social situation at that time by looking at Mark 13:19.
“Mar 13:19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation of God until now, and never will be.”
That is serious! Worse than any period in history, ever! Don’t you think that is serious?
I am sure most of us today would like to hear a sermon, or message that tells us everything is OK. Everything will continue to be OK. If we are honest, we want reassurance, stability and certainty!
For us as Christians, at this time, the Church Liturgy reminds us that while we should celebrate the first coming of Jesus, the majority of people celebrate the very opposite... false messiahs!
Many reject their true saviour and so follow another spirit! The spirit of this world comes into peoples lives only to steal, kill and destroy, them and their families.
His efforts will culminate in the tragic tribulation described in Mark Chapter 13, our Gospel reading for today. which relates what will occur just before the second coming of Jesus our Messiah.
My friends, what a daunting picture is given. Do we not want to know that if anything is amiss, we can do something about it? Correct the situation, or at least, preserve our lives ?
Yes, as Christians, and footstep followers of Christ, there is something we can do. We can prepare now ...we can be alert to the signs, and live each day as though it were the last….prepared.
So you ask, is there any good news today ? We do have good news! Mark 13:20 tells us this…
“Mark 13:20 And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no human being would be saved. But for the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.”
Now when we think of Advent we do not just think of the first one when Jesus came as a baby, but mature Christians think also of how Jesus will rescue them from the ultimate disaster that Satan plans for this world.
We have a double celebration!
And this is why we tell people about His first coming and how they can receive Him as Lord and Saviour, as well as his second coming, which will come unexpectedly for some as a thief in the night.
While the world sees a holiday and continues headlong into oblivion, we see opportunity to tell them of their Saviour. The God/man who came down to our level to rescue us sinners! And who will come again to set up His righteous Kingdom on earth.
2,000 years ago, Jesus said that things would wax worse and worse in the world, and don’t we see this happening today? We see mass murder and ethnic cleansing. We see religious cleansing as Jews and Christians are killed and pushed out of Middle East countries. We see Christianity being marginalised in favour of the secular religion of humanism.
These are the signs of the times that we live in. If any will listen and realise that they need a saviour and the only viable option is Jesus then we should tell them the Good News! While the world is running headlong in the wrong direction, Jesus has informed their consciences and they know that they should turn to Him. That is why Jesus says that the fields are white for harvest. The flowers are open looking for the pollen of God’s word!
So let us show the world how to celebrate the two Advents of Jesus because to us on the inside they are both Good News!
At the first Advent He came to be our Saviour. He lived and died and was resurrected taking away our sins. Now when we accept Him as our Lord and Saviour we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness (death) to the kingdom of God’s son Jesus (life)!
At the second Advent Jesus returns, shortening the days of the tribulation for the sake of His elect, His Church and His people! For this we are to watch and wait,for Christ has promised to return.
This world is drawing to its close. The world as we see it now will die. Each day that passes, brings his return in glory, one day closer. Everything will be changed in a way that surpasses our capacity to imagine. Then we will receive our rewards as blood bought children of Almighty God. The bible tells us it’s so fantastic we cannot imagine it with our current minds!
But at that time we will know it, because we will be like Jesus in His glory and we will see Him as He is!
Now doesn’t that make Christmas something to look forward to and tell others about? For some people, this world will end for them when they die, and that could be anytime...for others if not now, it will end when Christ returns. It therefore becomes a matter of urgency how we choose to live, however much or little time we have left.
It behoves us to recognise the immense value of each day and how we spend it. Whatever is limited, is much more valuable, and whatever cannot be claimed, once it is past, is infinitely precious, and alarmingly urgent.
Advent season exists to channel and direct this urgency throughout he year:
to remain conscious and alert awaiting Christ’s return, to count our time as precious, for the world is changing faster than we can imagine; to confess our sins and change our course of wrong actions.
To tell others of this revelation from the Bible, since we love them and do not want them destroyed.
So my brothers and sisters, are you ready for the double celebration?
A large part of being ready, is not only what we do, it’s also what we know….and what do we know for sure? It is this : Jesus is coming again to take His people home...only those marked with the cross, and find our hope in Him are ready..only then can we say “Happy Advent” and mean it. Jesus is the Judge...no one else...let.s make Him Lord of our lives, as we welcome Him into our lives every single day!
And if you want to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour just speak to our pastor David, Parish Evangelists, or Elders in ministry here after the service.
Let today be the start or the renewal of making Jesus an integral part of your day’s routine. Greet Him in the morning with praise and thanksgiving, ask Him to stay with you throughout the day, tell him your problems, he wil sort them all out, and at the end of the day, give thanks for rest and sleep. Pretty soon you will find peace, purpose and favour in all you do and better yet you will be able to say, “I am ready Lord”, and really mean it….. because you will be!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all,