Sunday, June 26, 2016

JESUS CHRIST IS COMING BACK. Many People Are Wondering Whether They Can Hasten His Return. Others say that the time is already determined by God and there is nothing we can do to bring it on.

Harry RichesHappy Riches answers

The question implies that there are those who do not want to welcome the return of Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, there is the connotation that there might be those who expect Lord Jesus Christ to return but are not willing to welcome Him. Nevertheless, I will address the idea of “if we are keen to welcome the return of Lord Jesus, what is crucial for us to be acceptable for Him”.

When we think of welcoming Lord Jesus Christ and being acceptable to greet Him, this is like having been chosen to meet a very special person from among the many who have turned out to welcome his or her arrival at the airport or the wharf or some special function—maybe a President or King or Queen or a celebrity. However, from the what the Bible states, there will not just be a few of the many who are waiting to see Lord Jesus arrive who will be chosen, but all who are ready.
The parable of the Ten Virgins (bridesmaids) in the book of  Matthew (25:1-12) highlights that there are those who will be waiting but not be ready to meet Lord Jesus Christ when He comes, and therefore will miss out.  We are admonished to be ready and waiting, lest we miss out, for we do not know when the time will be.
Many people attempt to nail the day on which the Lord Jesus Christ will return. However, it appears that the Bible is written in such a way that it will not be until the day of the Second Advent is truly upon us that we will be absolutely sure the day has come. And this is if we have heard what the thunders have said (Revelation 10:4) and the call of the last trump (1 Corinthians 15:52). Meanwhile, rather than speculate when the actual day will be, and then think we can go off and indulge in riotous living at the local sewer, we would be better off recognizing that death sounds the final bell and after that comes judgment. (If you think nothing happens after physical death, get a hammer and hit yourself on the head. That just might bring you to your senses. Pain is very real.)
Matthew Henry was a respected Nonconformist commentator who died in 1714. He wrote regarding the parable of the Ten Virgins:
“Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Many have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in their hearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are needed to carry them through the services and trials of the present state.”
Jesus might not be returning to rule over the nations of the Earth in one hour’s time, but how can you be sure that you are not dead in one hour’s time. Some very healthy looking and fit people in their twenties—in their prime of life—have suddenly dropped down dead because, unbeknown to them, they had a weak heart. If a person is not ready to welcome Lord Jesus Christ, that person has an eternal problem, if sudden death occurs.
The most crucial thing for us is to be ready to welcome Lord Jesus Christ. For this to occur, we need to be sanctified in the Holy Spirit, having been sanctified by faith (Acts 26:18) and in the blood of the Son of God (Hebrew 10:29). Tragically, for those who believe that they are saved by grace, nobody is sanctified by grace alone or by grace itself, in any way—only those who are sanctified will be ready to receive an inheritance at the Second Coming of Lord Jesus Christ. Let us look at some Scripture:
  • Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
  • And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32)
  • To open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me [Lord Jesus Christ]. (Acts 26:18)
  • [Paul] a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable,sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:16)
  • To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours. (1 Cor 1:2)
  • For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)
  • And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10)
  • For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren. (Heb. 2:11)
  • How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29)
  • Chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. (1 Peter 1:2)
Summarizing the above Scriptures, we see that irrespective of how ungodly and sinful a person may have been, there is an inheritance for those who have been sanctified through faith in the name of Lord Jesus Christ, by the blood of His body at His death. These individuals are chosen because they have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit and have become obedient to Lord Jesus. Born of God and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, these people have the same origin as Lord Jesus Christ, having overcome sin and death. What we do not find in the Scriptures is sanctification occurs by grace. There is sanctification by blood, the Spirit, faith and through the name of Lord Jesus Christ, but not sanctification by grace. This is because even though God’s unmerited favor has been extended to all men, only those who respond by faith and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit from Lord Jesus Christ are sanctified in His blood, and are able to grow in this unmerited favor of God.
Importantly, unless we have feasted on the milk of the word, we will not grow into the perfection of maturity that is required. Understanding the milk of the word is essential, if we are to understand the truths of Scripture, and repent from our dead works and exercise faith towards God. Learning truth is experiential not theoretical. 
When Jesus was offering up what is known as His "Priestly Prayer" in John chapter 17, we read that Jesus asks our Heavenly Father to sanctify us in the truth, which He says is God’s word (John 17:17). If we do feed on the truth of the Word of God—which are the only words written by God Himself—we cannot grow in the experiential knowledge of Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, we will be incapable of being without sin, or filled with joy or perfected in sanctification. Doctrinal knowledge does not get people into the Kingdom, only experiential knowledge that comes from being taught by the Holy Spirit and walking in the ways of God as we exercise obedience of faith.
Jesus is coming back for a people who are without spot, wrinkle or blemish; people who are set apart from the world. In the book of Ephesians we read:
  • Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Eph. 5:35-27)
Consequently, in the Parable of the Virgins we see that five people are not prepared and five people are prepared. Those who are prepared are those who are sanctified and have been raised on the milk of the word, having grown towards maturity in the power of the Holy Spirit because of obedience of faith (Romans 1:5) by which they have been also sanctified. 
Crucially, we need to be without spot (sin), with wrinkle (full of the joy of salvation) and without blemish (perfect in sanctification) if we are to be chosen to meet Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Advent. If we are not without spot, wrinkle or blemish, we will not be ready to meet our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever.

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