Michael Youssef - The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, But Why? - Part 3
We began during this advent season looking at why Christmas is most wonderful time of the year. It's one thing to say it's the most wonderful, but why? And then first of all, we saw the reason it's the most wonderful time of the year because on that first Christmas, the Lord Jesus Christ came from heaven so that he may take away our sins. Secondly, in the last message, we saw from 1 John the reason Christ came to our earth from heaven so that he may destroy the works of the devil. And today, the third one, I'm going to show you that the reason why our Lord Jesus Christ left the glories of heaven, why he came to our earth, is to prepare the believers for his second coming.
In John 14:3, Jesus said, "I go to the Father and I prepare a place for you. Then I'll come back and take you with Me". Now, please, please, please, please, please don't miss what I'm going to tell you, okay? His first coming was like a down payment. His second coming is like the closing time. His first coming is like a couple who are madly in love and they become engaged. The wedding is the second coming. The first coming of Jesus is like entering school, but graduation day is his second coming. See, when Jesus came into the world, born of a virgin, died on a cross, a criminal's death, and rose again on the third day with his omnipotent power, ascended into heaven, he invited men and women, boys and girls to believe in him, to repent of their sins, to accept his death on the cross to be the payment of their wages of their sins, to live for him. That's what he did.
Let me put it this way. When you come to Christ, you're invited or like being invited by someone to go on a plane ride. I know that on that plane ride, and those of you who are in the plane, you'll understand what I'm talking about. The plane ride sometimes gets bumpy. And sometimes a trip feels long. Other times the plane is so uncomfortable. I remember many 14 hours nonstop from the West Coast to Hong Kong. I've done that I don't know how many times in the '70s and the '80s, sitting in the back like this... the entire 14 hours. It's uncomfortable at times. There are many turbulence in the air. I remember one time we were going over the coast of Japan and I did not know this, this was my first time, but this is just renowned for being turbulent, and I remember confessing sins I've never even committed. I thought, "That's it". I just confessed everything.
There are many times, there are air pockets that causes us to get air sick at times. There are many near misses in the air at times. Oh my goodness, there are obnoxious passengers at times. If the destination, not the trip, is your focus, if the destination is your aim, if the destination is your vision, if the destination is your ultimate goal, if the destination is the totality of your purpose for living, then you would not let any of these things inconvenience you. You'll not let them get to you. You'll not let the discomfort and the trouble get to you. You will not let the temporary aggravation affect you. You will not let the air sickness deter you. You would not let the danger scares you; why? Because your destination is your eternal home, and that's your ultimate hope. And I want to tell you, when that is the case, you will even enjoy the ride.
Here's the problem. If you begin to think that the plane ride is it, you'll be miserable. If your focus is only on the ride instead of the destination, you will get easily irritated, frustrated, agitated, and aggravated. If your focus is on the plane ride and not on the destination, you will be discouraged and disappointed, I promise you. If your total focus is the journey, you will go from turmoil to turmoil with only a brief respite in between. I want to make you a deal. If every time you experience pain along the journey, focus on your destination, I promise you, it will lift you up. For if every time you find yourself overwhelmed with the turbulence on the journey, focus on the destination, I promise you, you'll experience the glory of a smooth ride.
Every time you find yourself experiencing air sickness and discomfort or despondency, try to focus on Beulah Land as your ultimate destination. I promise you, you will soon find yourself gliding on the surface. If every time you find yourself feeling that you are about to crash, the plane is about to crash because of the crosswinds of life, begin to focus on your ultimate destination; I promise you, you will soon soar above the clouds. Now, beloved, that trip is only meant to last for a short time, but the destination is going to be forever. It's going to be forever. The trip is only a means for your destination to glory land. For Jesus came from heaven on that first Christmas so that he might prepare the believers for his second coming, for his second advent. You see, don't you feel sorry for the people who have no thought of the second return of Christ? Don't you really deeply feel sorry for them, those who said, "Oh, the second coming is only figment of Paul's imagination"? Really?
I'm going to show you right now that it was never a figment of Paul's imagination. In John 14, years before Paul was converted to Christ, Jesus said in John 14, "I go and prepare a place for you, then I'll come back and I'll take you with Me". When he said that, Paul wasn't around. When Jesus was lifted up to heaven before the eyes of 500 eyewitnesses, they saw him on the Mount of Olives rising up to heaven. In the Book of Acts chapter 1, years before Paul was even converted to Christ, in verse 11, this was 40 days after the resurrection, in verse 11 of chapter 1, the Book of Acts, it says, "The angel said to them, 'This same Jesus is coming back in the same way you saw him going up.'" Paul only repeated what he heard from the apostles and the eyewitnesses who were there at the ascension day, and that is why he could say, "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout and with the voice of the archangels and with the trumpet of God".
You know, through the years, people really speculated on what that shout is. You know what I speculate that shout is? "Enough"! That's kind of, "Enough suffering! Enough fear! Enough worry! Enough death! Enough sickness! Enough diseases! Enough is enough"! Glory to God. Whatever the shout is, I'm going to hear it, because whether I am coming back with Jesus with his saints or here on earth, it doesn't matter. I will hear it. I will be exceedingly glad. Listen to what Jesus's half-brother James said in James 5:7. "Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord". Listen to what Peter said in 1 Peter 1:13. "Be sober, set your hope firmly on the grace that is coming to you at the return of Christ".
Listen to what John said in 1 John chapter 3, verses 2 and 3. "But you know, we know when he appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in him or her purifies himself, as He is pure". Listen to another half-brother of Jesus, Jude; listen to what he said. "Beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Spirit, keeping yourselves in the love of God as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life". And they tell you it's a figment of Paul's imagination.
Listen to Hebrews chapter 9, verse 28. "Jesus shall appear the second time," that's Hebrews 9, "not to deal with sin", another translation says not to bear sin, because he bore our sin on the cross already in his first coming, but the second time he's going to rescue us who are eagerly awaiting him. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the sentimentality of Christmas and the baby in the manger and gifts and all that stuff. It's so easy to get so wrapped up at Christmas and get so twisted to make Christmas whatever you want it to be. Even for believers to say, "Yes, Jesus is my Savior, Jesus came to save us". Save us from what?
Hello. Yet his second coming is inseparable from his first coming. Did you get that? His second coming is inseparable from his first coming. In his first coming, he bore the gravity of our sin upon the cross. Our sins burdened him. Our sins grinded him. Our sins crushed him. Our sins caused him to feel deep, deep sorrow. Our sins caused him to humble himself even to a death of a criminal. Our sins caused him to bear betrayal. Our sins caused him to bear denial. Our sins caused him to carry all of our anger on his holy body. Well, make no mistake about it. That baby of Bethlehem was the Creator God.
In his first coming, he entered into our world as helpless, poor babe in a manger; but on his second coming, he will return with all of his wealth and glory. On his first coming, he became lonely and rejected; but in his second coming, he will return with millions of believers who have departed, the faithful believers who have gone to be with him. On that day, those who love him will love his appearing. Those who joyfully endured the plane ride, those who have diligently worked and waited for him, those who have been filled with expectations of his return, they're going to be filled with joy unspeakable. His second coming is going to be very different from his first coming.
You see, in his first coming, he held a reed as a form of mockery in his hand; but in his second coming, he will be holding his scepter of the universe in his right hand. In his first advent, he was crowned with a crown of thorns; but in his second advent, he will be wearing the crown with many diadems. In his first advent, he was forced to wear a purple robe of mockery; but in his second coming, he will come robed with the splendor of his father. In his first advent, he was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief; but in his second coming, he's going to wipe all of our tears and all of our grief. In his first advent, he came in humility; but in his second advent, he will come with power and great glory.
In his first advent, he hung on a cross helplessly; but in his second advent, he will be sitting on the throne of judgment. On his first coming, in his first advent, he was a victim; but on his second advent, he will be the supreme victor. On his first coming, they spat on him and they slapped him across the face; but on his second coming, his enemies are going to be his footstool. In his first coming, he was mocked, they mocked him and they dragged him on all the streets of Jerusalem; but in his second coming, the blasphemers and the deniers, they will be sentenced to eternal judgment. In his first coming, he was forced to bow his head; but in his second coming, every head will bow in reverence to him, and I can't wait.
In Hebrews 9:22 and 28, the Word of God says, "It is appointed unto man," that's men, women, everybody, every human being, that's what it means, "to die once; after that the judgment," and he continues, "so Christ also having been offered to carry our sins and the sins of many shall appear a second time, not to bear our sin but to deliver us and to deliver his own, who are eager for his return". Are you recognizing and organizing and planning your life for the destination? Are you keeping the destination in mind in all of your plans? Are you bogged down in the journey? Are you bogged down in the journey? But I'm aware of the fact that somebody may say, "Michael, I'm not sure I'm really ready for that".
I have great news for you. I have great news for you. I have fantastic news for you today. Today you can affirm your salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Today you can accept the Savior's invitation. Today you can get onboard and begin the wonderful journey, anticipating that our flight will safely arrive home. Today you can come to him and place your hope in him, place your life in him, place your life's plans in him, and Jesus said... now, not me, Jesus said, Jesus said, not me, that when you come to him, not only will he never reject you, but he's going to hold you tight. You can't even get yourself away from him. Even you can't try. Today, the door is open, but tomorrow it is not. Today the invitation is issued. Tomorrow it will not. Today you can begin to live confidently no matter what happens, what takes place. He's the pilot of the plane. He made the plane, he knows every part of the plane, and he's the pilot; and he promised to take the flight safely home. Today you can be assured of your destination, if you ever doubted.