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Dr. Ed Young - The Return of Christ

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    Dr. Ed Young - The Return of Christ
TOPICS: Second Coming

If God took each and every one of us-every one of us over to one side and looked you and me right in the face and asked this very personal, intimate question, how would you answer it? How would I answer it? If he asked this: "What is the central fact of your life"? In other words, what does your life and my life revolve around? What is that "it"? What is the essence of you? What gives you meaning, significance? The same with me. How would we answer Almighty God? Well, some of us would say, "O' Lord, You do". He'd say, "Let's talk about that... Let Me see if I'm really the central fact of your life..." and then as He looks down in the deep, deep recesses of you and me, we'd say, "Well, maybe Lord it's, ah, it's my family. You know? My wife, my husband, my, my kids, my relat... Maybe the central fact of my life is my family..."

And for some, that would be true...Others might say, "No, the central essence of my life is my work, it's my vocation. I mean, what I do gives me identify. That's who I am; that's how people know me. That's the heart of the real me. It's my vocation. Others would say, 'Well, it's my health... You know, I, I want to be healthy.' And you've heard it said, and some of us said, 'Well, if you don't have health, you don't have anything else...' It's a lie, but we keep saying that. Others would say, 'It's my pleasure.' Now! I'm a hedonist. It, it's my happiness. It, it's what turns me on. It, it's what gives the flesh meaning. That's really what I'm about. That's the basic fact of my life".

Some would say that. Let me tell you something: All of home, vocation, health, happiness becomes foo-foo. That's a good Biblical word! Foo-foo! Poof! In light of the fact that needs to define, that needs to express the true orientation of a man, or a woman, or a teenager-let me tell you what that fact is: The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth! If that's the basic, fundamental, essence, truth about you and me; bring on any agenda of this world. It makes no difference. It's poof! It really is. But, if the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth-boy! Bullet proof. Invincible. Sickness, health, poverty, wealth, trouble, good times, pleasure, misery... If the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth-Oh, powerful reigneth, and that's the central essence of you and the essence of me; we are there!

You say, "Well, if that's the central fact of my life and the central fact of your life, when is it going to be a universal fact"? And we hear in the "Hallelujah Chorus that words of Scripture, The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ". When is that going to happen? How will that happen? When the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth totally and completely on this earth. How does that take place? And then we talk about the end of time. Then we talk about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and that gives us a view of history.

You say, "Well, now, what is a view of history"? A lot of people think history is cyclical. We said that. You said, "You know, what goes around comes around... You know, history just repeats itself". Well, you can tell yourself that-it's wrong. The old Hegelian dialectic thesis, antithesis, synthesis-this idea, this counter idea, and then they come together, another idea... So we have a cyclical understanding of history. Some people believe that's how you explain history. Others think history is just capricious. You know, you know, it's, it's over here, it's over there... This nation, this person, this movement, this invention, this breakthrough, this-you know, it's just capricious.

There's no rhyme and reason to history. It's just sort of living out it's day and moving along... Others think history is eternal. It is forever. It just goes on, and on, and on. The Christian view says, "In the beginning, God created..." And then the Christian view is, you get to Chapter 22 of Revelation. Come to the last two Verses, and you read, "Maranatha-Come Lord Jesus, come"! That's when God-only the Father knows-by the way, all these date setters-I, I, let them set all the dates they want. I know the date they set will not be the date, by the way. That's just-you know... But the Father knows that the Lord Jesus Christ will come and bring down the curtain of history in His Second Coming. That's the, the bookends, isn't it?

Beginning, end. Timelessness! Time is created by God. It doesn't really exist. Timelessness... And, and that's what we're about. Jesus Christ comes and enters this world. And by the way, the Bible says more about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ than it does about His first coming. There, there's more about Him coming back on, on the Mt. of Olives than about Bethlehem. There's more about the Second Coming than about Him choosing God's peculiar people, the Jews. It's mentioned more than 300 times in the New Testament, the Second Coming. The most prominent way we know it is when we pray the Lord's Prayer-"Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven".

The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth! That's what we pray. And then the familiar passage in John 14: "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". When we die, or the curtain of history comes down in the Second Coming, this is the Word of God. It's the promise of Almighty God. It's the promise of the truth of this book, and therefore, we have tremendous confidence in this truth. We don't doubt this truth. It is, in a sense, realized eschatology. We live as if that had already taken place. You might remember in 1989, over 30,000 people were killed in Albania through an earthquake-1989, over 30,000 in four minutes-psheww! All were killed, 30,000, flattened much of that country.

A man, after the shaking stopped, ran to an elementary school where he had a son. And he went there, and in his mind, he was thinking what he's promised that son. He'd told that boy all of his life, "I'll always be there for you". You know? "I'll always be there for you..." and he went to that school, and the school was flattened. They were crying and lamenting all around that school. And he went over to the area where he knew his son's classroom was, and other parents were there, and they were trying to uncover the rubble, and they said, "It's no use. It, it's no use..." But he dug in. He worked for four hours and five hours. He was exhausted. His hands were bleeding. He was dirty, and he got other people to help. He worked for eighteen hours straight.

Most everybody else dropped out, but he remembered the promise he had made to his boy. He kept digging. A policeman tried to pull him away saying, "It's no use! Look how flat! They're all dead! We hear nothing. They're dead". He said, "No, I promised my boy"! Thirty hours, thirty-four hours without stop. Finally, thirty-eight hours, this beaten, bruised, exhausted, empty man pulled back a big boulder, and he heard a little sound, and he said, "Armand! Armand"! And a voice came back and says, "I'm right here, Dad"! Heh, heh! He said, "I told all the gang down here..." and other children began to talk and laugh and say, "Yes, yes..." He said, "I told all them that you told me that you'd always be there for me, and I told them", I said, "if my Daddy is alive, he's gonna get us out of here and save me, and he's gonna save all of you". That's the promise we have in Jesus Christ, that He will come and take us home to be with Him! Now, we start talking about the Second Coming. We ask, "Well, what about the signs of our time"?

And I want you to look on your screens. And we, we see signs of our time. What, what pre-empts? First of all, we see moral decay. Look at it there. (II Timothy 3:1-4). Anybody want to debate about moral decay today? We don't have to spend a lot of time there, do we? We could stand up and give our testimony... Well, anyway.... Moral decay. All right-look at the next one.

Natural disasters, (Matthew 24:6-7a). By the way, there are numerous Scripture behind these. These are just a little bitty, uh.... natural dis-what about national disasters? We have them? Say, "Well, we know more about 'em now. Know they seem to have proliferated history in the last 20 or 30 years".

Political revolution. (Matthew 28:7b). Do we see an up, upheaval of politics, kingdoms, nations, all around our world? Absolutely!

Look at the next one: Persecution of Christians, (Matthew 24:9). You say, "Well, I don't know if Christians are being persecuted..." Let me tell you something. In the 20th Century, more than 20,000,000 Christians were martyred because they followed Jesus. More people were martyred and killed for the cause of Christ in the 20th Century than any other Century in the history of Christianity.

So we're seeing persecution of Christians, and it continues in the 21st Century-it continues... Apostasy! (Matthew 28:10-12). People who say, "I, I'm a Christian..." but man, when the pressure comes on, they're not a Christian, and their life doesn't match their profession. Someone said to me this week, "When are we who are called Christians just begin to live like Christians? Wouldn't that be nice"? Just, "I'm a Christian". Wouldn't it be nice if you and I would live like that which we profess?

Apostasy. Look at the last one we'll deal with, signs of our time. Rise of the Anti-Christ. (II Thessalonians 2). Anti-Christ. He was identified with Nero. He's been identified with Hitler, with Stalin, and there's always those who identify. The spirit of Anti-Christ we know in the world, but the Anti-Christ will come. These are signs. And then, we talk about the Second Coming. We have all of these questions. Look at the questions that you hear. These are a few of the questions... Look: "Will Jesus return physically and reign on earth for a thousand years? Will Christians go through a seven year tribulation? Will the Second Coming of Christ occur at the same time that believers meet Christ in the air at the Rapture? Will Christians be Raptured, removed from the earth, and other people left behind? What does the nation of Israel have to do with the end times"?

Now there's a whole lot of questions here and somebody who just came in-you're a new Christian; you've never looked at this. You're asking now, "Am I in a zoo"? And I understand that. Let me sort of bring it down to earth. Look with me in Thessalonians, Chapter Number 4 and let's just use the KISS principle. You know what that is? "Keep It Simple Stupid". If you talk about the Second Coming, let me do that and put it on the bottom shelf where we'll all get it. Paul in Verse Number 13 says, "For we do not want you to be uninformed, ignorant, brethren". In other words, this is the basis of what you need to know about those who are asleep. By the way, that's a euphemism, "Those who are asleep; those who are dead".

It's a nice way of saying about those who are dead. Christians were just asleep. " that you will not grieve, as do the rest-, as do the rest of the people who have no hope, who have no confidence..." Remember, our word "hope" is confidence? Say, "Well, as Christians, we're not to grieve when someone dies". That's not what it says. We don't grieve like they do because we know the bottom line where they are. That's a big difference, isn't it? So people who go to cemetery and talk to the grave and spend a lot of time hugging the tombstone -let me tell you something: That person's not there if they're in Christ. I can tell you that.

So we don't grieve like those who do not have confidence as to what's going on after this life. That's what he's saying. Then he answers a question. Evidently the church at Thessalonica was asking: "...for, if we believe that Jesus died and rose again..." Stop there! That's the whole Gospel, isn't it? Jesus died and rose again. If you've got that, you've got it! So if we believe that, that Jesus died and rose again, look what we have: "...even so, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus". What is this saying? It says in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, that God will bring with Him those who have died in Christ, and those of us who are alive at that time... See, they were worried. They said, "If Christ comes, a lot of my friends and family-they've already died. Are they going to be included in this? You know, what's going to happen to them"?

I love the story of Roger Williams. Roger Williams was the founder of Rhode Island, and he, he was a great man, a great Christian. And they decided they buried him in a, in a sort of obscure place; they, they exhumed his grave, and they wanted to move it to a prominent place. Here's the man who founded a state and, and give it a, a good monument, and so when they were digging up old Roger, they got down in there and discovered that somebody had planted an apple tree, and the roots of the apple tree had gone in, and they had grown through the wooden casket into the head of Roger, and the roots had gone all the way down his body and branched off in his legs. And therefore, they realized that the chemicals of Roger had fed and fertilized that apple tree for a lot of years, and, and it had gone into the wood of that tree; it had gone into the apples of the tree, and a lot of people had been biting a part of Roger for a long time!

So they, they asked the question, "Well, what is going to happen when the Lord comes? How are we gonna find Roger and put him all back together again"? Lot of people were blown up. We say-let me tell you something, folks. Relax! If God could take you and me and put this body together and say, "Pwhooo"! Make us out of the dust, there is no big deal. I don't know if He's gonna have to use any of these old components to build that resurrected body we're promised in Jesus Christ. See? The dead in Christ-don't worry about 'em! Man, they're fine! And what about those who are alive? well, when, when Christ comes. What, what about those? And Paul answers that question. He says, "For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, and the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the air to meet the Lord in the air, and we shall always be with the Lord".

What is he saying? He said those who are alive-man, what will we experience? There will be a, a shout! Voice of the archangel! The trumpets of God! Man, look at the sequencing. And in I Corinthians 15, it says, "In the twinkling of an eye". That's not batting your eye. It's just the twinkle you see in the eye. That's how fast it'll be. Faster than a nano-second, and it happened, and Christ is come! A shout! A voice! The Trumpets! Ah! We're there, with Him. He came down in the Second Coming so we might be caught up in the Second Coming. You got it? Then he says we are to comfort one another. Comfort one another with these things. In other words, we're to be confident in this.

So you see, he answered the question, "What about those who've already died in Christ", no problem. What about those who are alive in Christ? No problem. Then he says, "Comfort one another with these things... Be confident". What did Jesus say about the Second Coming? He said a whole lot about the Second Coming, but look at the parables you find in Matthew 25. Don't need to look now. There are three things that we're taught in those parables. First one is, we are to be alert. We are to be responsible, and we are to be accountable. That's what that is taught there in Matthew 25. Remember, Jesus tells a story of the wedding, and you have the brides' groom, bridesmaids who were there with their candles?

And they said if the bridegroom waits in coming-that's a picture of the coming of Christ-that's the bridegroom, right? That's the husband. We're the bride, all of us, and Jesus is coming to take us into a marriage feast with Him and live with Him forever. This is the symbol, the beautiful pictures there. Here are those ten bridesmaids-they didn't bring extra oil, five of them, and the bridegroom, the coming of Christ, the bridegroom delayed; they didn't have enough oil. They tried to borrow it from the other bridesmaids. They said, "No, we just have enough for ourselves..." And so the door was locked, and they missed the feast, the banquet.

He's saying you have to be alert. Have to be responsible. Have to be accountable as we think about the coming of Jesus Christ, The Bridegroom, the celebration we'll have. Are you alert? Are you responsible? Are you accountable? That's where you have to ask. That's what Jesus told. Then He told about the talents. He said the man was leaving, the master of the house. (Picture of Jesus going back to the right hand of God). He said He gave talents-five talents to one, two talents to another, one talent to another. The five talent person doubled-used their talents, doubled them. Two talents, used his talent and his ability-doubled it. The one talent guy said, "Man, I know you're hard. I'm gonna hide my talent. I'm not going to use it".

The master came back. Said the one who doubled their talents, five, he said, "That's super! I'm gonna give you a responsibility over a lot. The one that doubled their talents, two, I'm gonna give you the responsibility over a lot. The one that hid the talent, there was a reprimand and said, 'You've wasted. You're not responsible! You're not going to be a part of my Kingdom!'" What is that all about? It's about that God has given stuff to you and me, and life, and ability to use for His Kingdom, and the question is, are we using it? It's dangerous just to eat food and breathe the air and exist on this earth, and that's all it is.

Get up in the morning, have breakfast, go to work, have lunch, come home, eat supper-we have supper at our house; you may have dinner. Eat supper, turn on the T.V., go to bed, next day-zip, zip, zip! That's my life! Listen! Life is more! God has given us something to do for Him, to amount to something for Him. We have to be alert; we have to be responsible. We have to be accountable. Then the last thing is a picture of the Judgment. You have all the sheep on one side. Jesus says, "Hey, come on in My glory. Come on into Heaven. Man, I was hungry and you fed Me. I was needing clothes and you put them on Me. I was in prison and you visited Me. I was sick and you carried Me".

They said, the sheep, "We don't remember doing that". Jesus said, "If you've done it for one of these nobodies, the little people, you've done unto Me". And the goats! Look at the goats. The goats-He said, "Look..." He condemned them, and He said, "I was hungry. You didn't feed me. I was naked. I need clothes. I was sick. You didn't visit me". They said, "We don't remember that". He said, "If you did not do it unto one of these leasts, these nobodies, it's like not doing it for me". And they were condemned. What's it saying? It is saying you have to be alert; you have to be responsible. You have to do it, and you have to be accountable. That's what we're going to be when Christ comes, folks. You're not gonna be able to spin anything! "Well, I was busy doing this... I didn't understand. Well, I, I..."

You just breathing air, eating food, taking up space? Don't tempt Almighty God! Be alert. Responsible. Accountable for the gifts, the opportunity, the life, the calling, the place that He's given you in family, in this society, in the world. How we need to be stand-up teenagers, and stand-up men and women and assume the role that God has given under Him until He comes. Now, if I have not barbequed anybody, I want to apologize to 'em, because we all are there. But let me tell you what the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is really about very simply. I'll tell you what it's about, very simply... It's not about charts. It's not about ah, Post, Pre-Dispensationalism. Naw, naw, naw, naw, naw! It's not about all that. I'll tell you what it's about.

A little girl was going to fly a couple of hours to visit, spend some time with her grandparents. Her mother and dad loved her. She was excited about getting on a plane by herself, going to see her grandparents. Before she got on the plane, she was a little frightened. She said, "Oh, oh, I don't know. When I get there..." you know. And the father and mother said to the little girl something very simple. They said, "Honey, you know how much we love you". "Oh yeah.... my mom and dad love me". Said, "Look-when you arrive, you're going to be greeted by your grandparents, and if possible, they love you more than we do". And said, "I want you to know that both ends of the trip, you're going to be loved". That's death for the Christian, and that's the Second Coming of Jesus Christ for the Christian. That's what it's all about. In both ends, now and in the other end, we're going to be loved beyond measure because the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Say it with me! Say it again!
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