Jentezen Franklin - Eagerly Awaiting
Look in 1 Thessalonians 1, and I'll begin reading with verse 8. "For from you, the word of the Lord has sounded forth not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone out. So that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how that you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God". Listen to these words. "And to wait for His Son from Heaven". What he's saying is, "To wait for His Son from Heaven to return. Whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come".
He said to those saints and this church, He says you were eaten up with idolatry, but everywhere we go, we're hearing of your faith. People in the community are talking about the change that has happened in you. You have turned from idols to the true and living God. You were obsessed with idols, but suddenly, you're declaring one God. You had many gods, but now you're declaring you have one God. And you're serving the true God. And you're waiting.
Notice the characteristics of a life that's been transformed. Number one: you turn from idols. You're not the same person. You don't live for the same reasons. You don't have idols. An idol is anything that's bigger than God in your life. And you've turned from idols, all of them, to the one, true, living God. And then he makes this powerful statement. And we're seeing and hearing, everybody in the community's talking about how you're waiting for the soon return of the Son of God from Heaven.
Notice that they had something about them that wasn't just saved, transformed, turned from idols, born again, baptized. But part of their testimony was those people are eagerly, earnestly waiting for Jesus to come back again. They are fully expecting the return of the Son of God from Heaven. They've turned from their idols. And you and I have done the same thing, if you've been saved. We've turned from foolishness, and emptiness, and living and serving dead things that cannot satisfy. And we've been washed in the blood of Jesus, and we are serving one God. Jehovah. The king of kings. Jesus is Lord. He's coming for me, and I'm waiting for Him.
And the next great thing to happen in the church is the rapture of the church. The coming of the Son of God from Heaven. The next great event is the rapture of the church. Suddenly, believers will be taken out without warning. The Bible said in the moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we shall be changed. We'll leave this world. Millions will disappear. That's what scripture teaches profoundly. It is not a fairy tale. One-third of this book is prophecies about the second coming of Jesus Christ. We know that that's what they were doing, and that's what we're supposed to be doing. We're waiting. We've been delivered from idols. We're serving God. He's delivered us from the wrath to come. And we're waiting for the Son of Heaven to return again. Everybody's waiting for something. We wait at stop lights... I do... and we wait. And we pull out our smart phones 'cause we're waiting. We can't stand to just sit still for anything.
So I check all my messages and I'm waiting, waiting on that light to change. Or we put jelly on our biscuit, or we turn around and slap one of the children. You know, whatever, but were waiting. For me, I'm watching the other side of the light so that I can rev my motor up when I see it starting to change. I'm waiting, eagerly waiting. The Bible teaches us that we're not the only ones waiting. He says in Roman 8:22-23, "...for we know that the whole creation...", all of the earth — the mountains, the trees, the oceans — "The whole creation groans and labors with birth pains together until now. Not only that we also have the first fruits of the spirit, but even ourselves groan within ourselves eagerly awaiting the adoption of the redemption of these old physical bodies".
What he's saying is that everything that God made in the creation — the stars, the moon, the sun, the earth, the trees, the plants, the flowers — they are anxiously, eagerly awaiting the moment that the trumpet sounds and our new bodies are given to us. We've got something to wait for. We've got something to look forward to. Something better than a sporting event. Something better than a job promotion. Something better than a new car or a new house. We and the whole creation is earnestly — the trees, the oceans, the stars, the moon. That's why sometimes the earth has birth pains. And we would call them earthquakes, and we would call them hurricanes, and we would call them freaks of nature, and storms, and tornadoes.
All that is, is the earth that's been under a curse since Adam and Eve fell, eagerly awaiting the moment that they can be restored. As beautiful as the world is, it's still under the curse. Every flower in your yard is beautiful, but it's not as beautiful as it knows it can be when it gets the curse off of it. And when the sun comes, even the creation is moaning and groaning, and the earth has earthquakes. And that's why Jesus said, the sooner, "...when you get close to my coming..." there will be earthquakes in diverse places. More, and more, and more. It's just like a woman who's giving birth. The earth even testifies, the Son of Heaven is coming again. We're waiting for that day of full beauty like we've never seen before.
The Jewish rabbis teach that when Messiah comes, even the dirt will glow. We've gotten used to ugliness. We've gotten used to, but the curse will be lifted, and the whole creation groans with labor pains. It's creation saying, "Oh God, lift this ugly veil, and take us back to Eden, and show us how we can be in our full glory". If these bodies are good for several years, can you imagine what our new and glorified bodies are going to be like? And then he says in verse 23, "...eagerly awaiting..." There's a homesick feeling that's supposed to be inside of all of us who have turned from idols, and been born and washed in the blood of Jesus, and serving the true and living God. There is also with that supposed to be a homesick feeling inside of all of us for the soon return of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 9:27-28 said, "...to those who eagerly wait for Him will He appear a second time". And there's supposed to be something in us that we live every day: Jesus could come today. Jesus is coming back again. It was the testimony of those in Thessalonica that they had turned. They had seen a change. They are no longer worshipping their idols. They'd been born again, and one of the proofs of that is they eagerly wait. They're believing Jesus could come today. I need to live right. I need to live clean. Jesus is coming soon. That's the state of the mind of every believer. To be turbo-energized with that thought in our life every day. Am I ready for His coming? Am I eager for His coming? Am I yearning for His coming? Those who eagerly await. It could happen today. It needs to be on our mind all the time. We should live in such a way that we wouldn't be ashamed if He came today. It's on your mind. You can love this life. You can love this world and nothing wrong with enjoying your life. But you have to remember that this is our second citizenship. Our primary residence and citizenship is in a place somewhere beyond the clouds.
Philippians 3:20 says, "Our citizenship is in Heaven for which we eagerly await for the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ". I'm saying to you today that our main residence is glory. It's not this old world. We are eagerly waiting for the trumpet to sound. We're eagerly waiting for Jesus Christ to come back. Whatever you think you don't want Him to come for because you want to experience it here is nothing compared to the joys, and the pleasures, and the things that await you on the other side. We're waiting. We're waiting for His Son from Heaven. Heaven is a real place. Heaven has one door, and that door is Jesus. Heaven has one gate, and that gate is Jesus. Heaven has one road, and narrow is the road, and few there be that enter in. Heaven has dimensions. It has measurements. It has streets. It has mansions. It has housing. It has cities. It's a real place.
There's no limitations on our physical bodies when we get to Heaven. Here, if you walk up a few flights of stairs, you're huffing, and puffing, and struggling, and your body's breaking down. Your knees are hurting. But when we get over there, we'll never have an asthmatic gasp for breath. We'll never have a palpitation in our heart. He's going to give us glorified bodies. We're going home. There's no death in Heaven. The curse is forever gone, and we will never die. There's no sorrow in Heaven. "The days of our life on earth are few and filled with sorrow", Job said.
The first thing we do when we come into this life is get slapped on the behind, and we start, we're crying. We come into the world crying, and then you just start crying the rest of your life. You want some milk? You start crying, and you scream out. And here comes Mama, and she takes you back in her room and feeds you. And then, when did you get off the bottle? And Mama takes you to school the first day. Guess what you're going to do when Mama walks off and leaves you in that strange world? The baby is going to cry. Crying again. And then you get up older, you're in your teenage years. And you start dating, and you think you're in love. Its puppy love, but they break up with you. And your boyfriend dumps you for a cheerleader, and you start crying.
You start crying. And you get lonely because you're single and not married. And you're saying, "Oh, Jesus, don't come until I get married". And then you get married, and you're crying. And you're saying, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Please come today, Lord. Please come today". You cry your whole life. You get sick as you get older, and you cry. And you cry 'cause all your family is gone, and you cry because you're alone, and you're dying, and you're on your — isn't this an encouraging message? And you cry, and you cry. Your hair is falling out. Your body is breaking down. You're looking in the, and you cry. But one of these days there will be no more crying, for God shall wipe every tear from our eyes.
And I know some of you want me to calm down and be quiet because you don't think you need this. But brother, I'm telling you, there's a land where we'll never cry another tear, and it's nearer than you think. Glory to God. Cry the rest of your life about something, but never will we cry, there's coming a glad day, and there will never be a tinge of sorrow in our lives. Can you imagine? Never. Never a tinge of sorrow. Not ever another bad day. No more disappointments. There will be — this is a big one. If y'all don't come alive on this, I'm just going to go have church in a corner. I can go back to the country where I came from and preach in double-wides if I need to. That's where I started. I used to preach in double-wide trailers. I don't need big, fancy buildings to get happy. Hallelujah. There will be no more temptation.
Imagine just one day not being tempted. One day not being tempted to do something that displeases God. One day not being tempted in my mind. Tempted with the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh. One day that I can get up and never feel the pressure of temptation. I'll never feel it again in Heaven. There will be no carnal flesh temptations when we get our glorified body in Heaven. Woo. Here's a big one. There'll be no devil in Heaven. The next time the devil brings up your past, you need to say well, I'll let you talk about my past, but I'm going to talk about your future when you get through. And I see your future. And I see a big ol' chain. And I see a big ol' angel wrapping you up in that chain. And oh, in your future, I see a lake of fire, Mr. Devil. And one of these days, an angel is going to put a chain around you, and your false prophet, and the Antichrist, and throw you in a lake of fire.
So bring up my past. I'll bring up your future. My future is better than your future. Everybody take a praise break if you're eagerly awaiting the sound of the trumpet. Glory to God. And you know why you don't care? 'Cause you're too carnal. You want to know why you don't care? Because you set your affections on things below and not on things above. Because when you get full of the Holy Ghost, and I'm telling you, if you have to, you'll go through the sorrows of life enough to where this old world loses its grip on you. And when it does, something in you begins to yearn. I'm young. I have a lot of living to do. But I tell you what. If the Lord wants to come today, I don't have a bit of problem with it. I'm ready. I'm ready. We are eagerly to await the Son of God from Heaven.
Drum-roll. I'm doing sound effects and everything just to keep you involved. Can you hear the drum-roll? We're supposed to, something's about to happen. Something's about to happen. You hear that? Something's about to happen. We're supposed to go around like that. I wish we'd get back to living for eternity. What in the world can this world offer you that's worth missing the rapture of Jesus Christ? And when we preach about it, we ought to shout about it. Because those who don't have that hope don't have any comfort and don't have any joy except in temporal things.
Matthew 11 puts it this way, "Of all the men born of women, Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest". And then he makes this phenomenal statement. "But he who is least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than John the Baptist", who was, at that time, the greatest man on earth. To be the least one in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than being the President of the United States. That's what he's saying. To be the least one in Heaven, I mean, if you were the one that barely got in. You were dying in intensive care. You lived a wicked, wretched life. And you had three breaths left. And you said, "Jesus save me", and that's all you ever did for the Lord, and you're the least one in the kingdom.
And then I want you to look at people on the earth. The billionaires, the millionaires, the powerful, the Hollywood crowd, the super-duper athletes with the sports cars and the women. He said the least one in Heaven will be so much more than the greatest one down there left behind. Can you imagine what Heaven is going to be like? One hundred trillion times greater if you get to Heaven than the glory and the money combined that the world has to offer. The least in the kingdom of Heaven will receive greater than whoever thinks they've got a lot of stuff on earth. What kind of reward? Eyes have not seen, and ears have not heard. Neither has it entered into the heart of men and women.
Don't you get discouraged. Don't you give up now. Don't you start going back to sin and iniquity now. The church needs to be eagerly awaiting the Son of God. Don't get lukewarm now. Don't go cold now. Don't stop praying and reading the Bible now. Don't stop serving God with fire and passion. Because we are to be eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. I received a phone call yesterday from a pastor in Toledo, Ohio, and he said: There's a church in my town that has 6.000 people. Several locations. And the pastor has decided that he wants his church to have a beer label. They named their beer label after their church, and they formed a partnership with a brewery. And they have their beer being produced in all of their six campuses. Like, we've got a welcome center.
We'll give you a bottle of water and a free cup of coffee. But you ain't going to never get a beer here. And you ain't going never get a Jack Daniel's here. And you ain't going never get a bag of weed here. Because that's what comes next. Pastor, what's wrong with you? What's wrong with us? That's not somebody eagerly awaiting the coming of the Lord. That's deception.
Marcus Mecum, a pastor in Kentucky, called me, and he said you think that's something? He said, there's a local church in my area and, he said, the pastor got up with a Budweiser. And while he preached, he was drinking a Budweiser. And he made a message on, "I shouldn't be something out there that I'm not in here, and this is who I am". And he had a recliner, and preached and taught his little talk, 'cause that's what it is, a little talk, while he's drinking his Budweiser.
Something's not right about that. I don't care, I know the Bible teaches moderation and all that. Very few stay moderate about it, by the way. The more you do it, the more you want to do it. It's very rare when people, and the Bible does say if you're a drunkard, there's a place for you in hell. I don't want to have anything going down that road in that direction in my life. I'm not here to judge you. I'm not your judge. I'm just telling you, if you're eagerly awaiting, you don't want to get more, and more, and more of the world in your life. You want to get further and further away from it. 'Cause when the trumpet sounds, all that matters is that I am ready to go when He comes.
And some of you need an awakening this morning. You're not eagerly awaiting. You're wrapped up, tied up, tangled up in this present world. And Jesus is saying, "I'm coming again. I promise you I am". And the Bible said in Jeremiah that if you can't contend with the footmen, what are you going to do when the horsemen come? When the four horses of the Apocalypse start coming on the earth. If you can't live, we fighting little footmen demons right now. But what are you going to do when the real spirit of the Antichrist hits this earth, and there's going to be a great falling away?
I'm going to tell you. If you live near the edge where you got, the one little girl kept falling out of the bed. Falling out of the bed. And the mama picked her up and said, "Darling, why do you think you're doing that"? She said, "Mama, I think it's 'cause I stay so close to where I got in". Folks, you better get off the edge. You better get off of playing with sin, and playing with pornography, and playing with wickedness, and looking at filth, and filling your soul with the lies and deceptions of compromising Christians who tell you, you can sleep with your boyfriend.
After all, you're human, and it's just a little, you made a mistake. It's sin. It'll sin you to hell. The Bible says it. You can get mad at me. You can look at me cross... listen, folks, I'm not here to be... the older I get, the crankier I get. And I'm just going to tell you that this new stuff coming? It still takes holiness. It still takes purity. It still takes repentance. It still takes turning away from your idols, and being washed in the blood of Jesus, and eagerly awaiting the coming of the Lord.