“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;
and unto them that look for him
shall he appear the second time
without sin unto salvation.”
As with any good story, Salvation has a beginning, a middle, and an ending, which we looked at in our previous post. But today we want to look at the end of the story of which we are told Jesus is the–
“author and finisher of our faith…”
A faith which looks for the coming of the Lord for his church. I believe that event is the beginning of the ending, and finds its climax when He brings his saints with him to set up his kingdom.
The dozen teens nodded, but they darted their eyes from one to the other then back to me before scrambling into the van. We drove about 5 miles into the darkening hues of the sky. The nervous chatter hushed as the teens exited the van to discover a graveyard would be our meeting place – in the dark.
“Grab the blankets to sit on and the flashlights,” I called. With blankets, flashlights, and bibles in hand we trekked to the back side of the cemetery, away from the road and encircled by woods.
“Why here?” asked one teen.
”There is no better place to learn about what we call the rapture of the church than a graveyard,” I answered as I opened my bible to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. I began dramatically reading the events. I began in a hushed voice growing in volume–When I got to the middle of verse 17 it happened.
“For the Lord himself shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God…” Suddenly, bodies jerked in unison as a siren blared its warning filling the night with its eerie sound. Our eyes grew as round as the shadowed moon. The teens glanced at me and I read –
“and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”
That was one lesson I don’t believe I or the teens will ever forget. And no, I didn’t plan the siren. But such will be the coming of the Lord for the salvation of his church.
Jesus’ first advent brought him to suffer –
“for sins, the just for the unjust,
that he might bring us to God,
being put to death in the flesh,
but quickened by the Spirit:”
1 Peter 3:18
When Christ comes for his church, he will come not to suffer sin but to consummate our salvation, for which we have waited –
“we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption, to wit,
the redemption of our body.”
We don’t know when this event will happen, but we know it will. And it will be sudden. The disciples expected Jesus’ return at any moment. I believe we should live in that expectancy, in a state of readiness.
“Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”
Jesus told his own story concerning 10 virgins who went to meet the bridegroom. Five foolish ones didn’t have oil in their lamps, the wise did. When the bridegroom came at the midnight hour, the foolish weren’t ready. But the wise –
“went in with him to the marriage:
and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying,
Lord, Lord, open to us.
But he answered and said,
Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”
The moral of the story –
for ye know neither the day nor the hour
wherein the Son of man cometh.”
“In my Father’s house are many mansions:
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Are you ready should Jesus come for his church at the midnight hour? Don’t go to sleep without being ready.