Throughout Scripture we find three admonitions given to us about the Lord’s return:
1. We are to watch. The Lord said repeatedly that we are to watch for His coming because we do not know the day or hour of His return (Matt. 24:42; 25:13). In Luke 21:36, Jesus gave this specific instruction: “Keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
We are to do more than pray as we watch. We are to stand fast in the faith with courage and strength (1 Cor. 16:13). We are to watch soberly, arming ourselves with faith, love, and salvation (1 Thess. 5:8). As we watch, we are to remain especially aware of false prophets. We are to discern the spirits and to reject soundly all who do not confess that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh (2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1–2).
Jesus spoke to John in a vision and gave this great promise to those who remain watchful: “Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake” (Rev. 16:15).
2. We are to work. Why does Jesus leave us here on earth after He saves us? Why aren’t we born again, then immediately taken into the Lord’s presence? Because we still have work to do!
First, God calls us to win souls. We are to be the Lord’s witnesses—telling of the love of God and the atoning death of Jesus Christ. We are to testify about what He has done in our own lives, both with our words and by our example. So long as there remains a soul on earth who hasn’t heard the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have work to do!
Second, we are to grow spiritually, developing an ever-increasing intimacy with the Lord. None of us fully lives up to our spiritual potential. We all have room to grow. In those areas where we discover we are unlike Christ, we must work with the Spirit to become conformed to His likeness. Our minds must be renewed (Rom. 12:1). Our inner hurts and emotions must be healed. We must grow in spiritual discernment and in the wisdom of God. Our faith must be strengthened and used so that our prayers and our actions more effectively build up the Lord’s kingdom.
3. We are to wait. Waiting isn’t easy. Impatience often leads to frustration. Waiting can also cause a buildup of fear. The longer something anticipated doesn’t happen, the greater our concern grows with what will happen, which can degenerate into worry over what might happen. And fear is only a step away.
The angels spoke peace to the earth at Jesus’ first coming (Luke 2:14). More than four hundred times in Scripture, the Lord says that we are not to fear, but to enjoy peace. The prophet Isaiah referred to Jesus as the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6). Throughout His ministry, the Lord Jesus spoke peace. To the woman with an issue of blood He said, “Go in peace” (Mark 5:34); to a stormy sea He said, “Hush, be still” (4:39); and to His disciples He said, “My peace I give you” (John 14:27). The Lord calls us to peace as we await His return.
Apart from Jesus, there is no peace—not within a human heart and not among human beings or nations. With Jesus, we can experience peace that surpasses our rational capacity and settles deep within (Phil. 4:7). We are to seek and find this peace as we await the Lord’s return.
When the Lord comes, will He find you among those who love Him and call Him Savior and Lord?
When the Lord comes, will He find you doing what He has commanded you to do?
When the Lord comes, will He find you eager to see Him?
When the Lord comes, will He find you ready for His appearing?
When the Lord calls with a shout from heaven, will you instantly rise to be with Him?
When the Lord appears in the clouds, will your heart rejoice with exceedingly great joy?
You have it within your grasp to positively answer these questions. How will you choose to respond to the Lord’s challenges upon your life?
The fact is, He is coming again!
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.