Let me ask you a question. When is the last time you thought about when Jesus comes back and his return? When is the last time you heard a message about the imminent return of our Lord and Savior?
As we have been going through a journey at my church learning to hear what God is speaking to the church today and seeking Him once again to bring true Spirit-led revival to our community and nation,
I was reminded of one of the aspects of revival that was present 30 years ago during the height of the Jesus people movement which was the last move of God that we had. I was saved during that revival that swept our nation, and although I am more than aware that the next move of God will not look the same, I do believe that it will have within it many of the same ingredients.
The aspect of that revival that I was reminded of was the belief and expectancy of the return of Jesus could take place at any moment. We thought about what the Lord would find us doing when Jesus comes back.
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I hope that it will awaken in you once again a desire and expectancy for that day to come so that we can say along with the Apostle John, “Even so come quickly Lord Jesus”.
3 Things To Help You Be Prepared For When Jesus Comes Back
#1 Be Expectantly Awaiting His Return
In Matthew’s gospel chapter 25 Jesus talks about 10 virgins waiting for their bridegroom.
“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’9 “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
In this parable, Jesus is encouraging us to be expectant.
The difference between the 2 sets of women was their expectancy level. The ones who were foolish were not expecting Jesus to return in the middle of the night or that He would be delayed. They did not prepare their lamps with oil.
Now many have said that the oil represents the Holy Spirit. It may or may not, but the point of the parable is the fact that a bride that is expectant for her bridegroom to appear thinks ahead.
I reminded the congregation about how they used to look forward to the day that they would get married. Many of the women had what we call “hope chests” where they were preparing for the day that they would get married.
It is very much the same with our expectancy level concerning the return of Christ. Are we preparing our hope chest? Are we looking and expecting that day to come. Is that expectation dictating the actions that we take?
What is your expectancy level?
When I was young in the Lord, I could not imagine that it would take more than a couple of years before Jesus would come back. We even did silly things in the youth group that expressed that belief. We would hold rapture practices. LOL Now it was all in good fun, but at the same time, we were convinced Jesus was coming back soon.
Now I know that as we have gotten older and wiser some of our zeal was misplaced. However, the expectancy was not wrong.
We need to once again re-ignite our expectancy that our bridegroom will return. We need to love Him so much that we are waiting at the door and looking down the road expecting that chariot to come around the corner at any minute.
And we need to have our lamp filled with that sense of expectancy.
#2 Be Prepared For When Jesus Comes Back
The Apostle John gives us a beautiful description of our future in the Book of Revelations chapter 19.
Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder:“Praise the Lord!For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.7 Let us be glad and rejoice,and let us give honor to him.For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,and his bride has prepared herself.8 She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
Once again I asked my congregation to think back to all the preparations that went into the marriage ceremony. Do you remember how much you fussed over the wedding dress? Your hair? The colors and the flowers and the place that you would hold your ceremony? Everything had to be just perfect.
As much as most of us men do not understand all this fuss and we want to get the whole thing over with, the motive of the bride is the desire to present herself to her husband as the most beautiful gift that he has ever received.
That motive is the same motive we need to have towards Jesus. We are to prepare ourselves to be a glorious bride without a spot or wrinkle. What we do and how we live our lives on earth is the way we prepare ourselves for Him. It is our planning session for that great and glorious day when we will be married to our bridegroom.
Now I don’t want everyone to get into some type of performance mentality. It is not about performance, but about offering. We are offering ourselves to Jesus. I tell my people all the time that I am just a fat man trying to get to heaven with just a few gifts to lay at my Savior’s feet.
So when is the last time you thought about becoming that wonderful gift to Jesus as a bride is a gift to the bridegroom?
Are you preparing for the day the limousine arrives at your door to take you to the church?
What are the righteous acts you are adorning yourself with for that wedding day?
You cannot hire a wedding planner for this wedding. You must plan for the event yourself.
#3 Be Loved By Jesus And In Love With Jesus
The Apostle Paul reveals to us a mystery in the book of Ephesians, chapter 5.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.
This is a very famous passage that is used to teach about relationships in marriage. However, Paul specifically says that He is talking about Christ and the church. There are some things that you need to get out of this passage and apply to yourself.
You need to understand……
- Christ loves you so much that He gives himself for you. I am not talking about Jesus loving the world, or Jesus loving children or Jesus loving the preachers or highly religious, but I am talking about the fact that Jesus loves you personally and loves you so much that He gave and still gives Himself for you personally. It is the most amazing love that a person can ever receive and that is what you have to do. You have to receive it. You cannot earn it or buy it. You have to just accept it whether you feel worthy or not.
- Jesus is working on making you a glorious bride that does not have a spot or wrinkle in His eyes. He is preparing you to be the best bride you can ever be.
- Jesus loves you more than His own body. He loves you enough to nourish and cherish you. You are not junk in His eyes, but you are the apple of His eye, and He has no eyes for anyone else.
About a year after I went through the pain of divorce, I was having a spiritual crisis in my life. My kids were angry with me, I was alone and I was both angry at myself for failing and angry with God for not watching my back. I condemned myself for the failure of my marriage.
I was a Christian. I was not supposed to get divorced. I was a pastor and pastors are especially not supposed to go through a divorce.
So I condemned myself. I was also angry with God because He didn’t answer my prayers, He didn’t fix the problem. I was indeed in a spiritual crisis.
It got to the point that I felt alone, discouraged, and unloved that I seriously thought about driving my semi-truck off a cliff on a snowy day. Why go on?
It was shortly after that I felt the gentle tap of the Lord on my shoulder and He asked me a question. He asked, “Duke, how much do I love you?” I answered and said, “You are supposed to love me unconditionally Lord”. To which He replied, “Then why do you hate what I love?”
Thud! Talk about God speaking into a heart with thunder.
Not only did I understand that I was loved, but I fell in love with Jesus all over again.
BUT GOD IS SO RICH IN MERCY, AND HE LOVED US SO MUCH,
So I ask you. Do you know that Jesus loves you personally? Do you realize that He is wooing and pursuing you with the passion of a bridegroom about to marry His bride?
Are you ready for the return of Christ, your bridegroom? Are you ready for that love when Jesus comes back?
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