We return to Acts 3:19-21 because there we see several insights into the programme of God the Father whilst Jesus is at His Right Hand. Jesus is retained in heaven until there is full restitution. He has been there for the last 2000 years. The Early Church expected Him to return in their lifetime. Who remembers the old gospel preaching where we were confronted by the impending return of Christ. There is a sense that “impending” is true in the context that no-one knows when, yet in another sense the Word has indicators that we are not there yet.
That represents a problem when we talk about prophetic and personal direction when we are praying for where God wants us and what He desires us to do. There have been cults who took the impending Coming of Christ to a unnatural level, such as giving up of jobs and possessions, escaping to the mountains. It is not surprising that Jesus never came for those people.
I am sure you can think of the prophecies or even personal impressions which you interpreted with a particular interpretation, yet it never came to pass or it came to pass but nothing like the prophetic word, impression from prayer indicated. It is that we need to mature in our interpretation.
When Jesus comes TO you it’s for a generational purpose
Think how many generations have passed since Jesus Ascended into heaven. When you read Church history there seems to be a war over Christ’s identity for the first 400 years and who He is as man and God. The creeds established a orthodoxy which safeguarded the centrality of Christ in the Church. It seems that from 1054AD that now what was in warfare was the identity of the Church which raged till 1517AD when Luther pinned 95 theses upon Witternburg Cathedral.
This spawned the denominations we have now. Then from the 1700 mark we have the whole secularisation of man, the displacement of God in the so called Enlightenment and what is established in the Word is what I see is God working in a collective and corporate setting. He works in the generations. Now this is being undermined by the cult of the individual which now pervades in some of the newer denominations.
Then from 1900 we have had a century where the work of the Holy Spirit has been largely misunderstood. Divisions around some of the manifestations seen in meetings and the theology that has sprung up is now a reality. Yet in this process we are seeing with each generation that seeks to undermine Biblical teaching God raises up reformers and teachers to bring a restitution. To bring a fresh and Biblical appraisal. This is Jesus visiting His Church. He is coming to the Church, not to restore things but restore Himself. He desires in each community of faith to restore His image, His Person in their midst. The generations where He has been retained are part of an eternal tapestry.
When He comes TO the Church He is imparting His Stature, His Power and His Person
The fullness of Christ in the Church is the key to transition between Jesus coming TO the Church and Jesus coming FOR the Church. And it is a transition that needs to be made. The transition cannot be generalised in teaching it, we must know the journey we need to make has a destination. The destination described in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. The fulness of Christ is achieved when we have a passion for His Word and His Spirit. In that order. Genesis 1 tells us the Spirit does nothing until the Word is declared. Therefore in everything we see taught in the Word there is an order to follow. Paul talks to us and walks us through what the fulness of Christ looks like. I began to see that there is constancy of God’s character, a consistency of His Words and His direction, and a constancy of His purposes. Once we seek these out in study and prayer we will be led not into geographical locations only, or into Churches, or into projects, but we will look for the door where Christ’s fulness can be walked into and lived out. In Ephesians we need to verify the power of our sonship, in chapter 1, the privileges of our sonship in chapter 2, the prayer of our sonship in chapter 3, the purpose of our sonship in chapter 4, chapter 5 is the partnerships we make in that sonship, and chapter 6 the standing we need to make to retain sonship. How powerful that is! It’s all about Christ!
When Jesus comes FOR His Church it will be because of love and desire for Christ
A Church which loves the Lord Jesus so much that the cry of the Church is in unison with that of the Holy Spirit. Revelation 22:16 says; the Spirit and the Bride Say Come! This cry for invoking Christ, a detachment from worldly ties and loves means that the transition is made complete. It is not the apocalyptic vision of a Church militant striking down enemies in power, rather it is a Church crying out for Her lover! The purpose therefore is not the things we need to do for Him, rather what we desire of Him. That is one of the triggers for bringing Christ out of heaven. Who we worship we turn and are transformed into His Image. This is what brings Him back.
Let us allow the Spirit to rekindle our love for Jesus and that love transform us. It is that love and the transformation from it that will bring Christ again.