In this series we are trying to distinguish what we mean by the Coming of the Lord. We often refer to this in the communion rite. When we study end times, we have to come away from traditional interpretations. We always used to term the coming of Christ as being the 2nd coming, however there are about 7 different comings. These comings all have different purposes and peoples for which He transitions into their eternal estates. The Coming of Christ globally is the design of the Father to manifest the fulness of the Messianic reign over eternity.
When Jesus appears so the Church will rise to be with Him because He comes first FOR His ChurchThe coming of the Messiah for His Church, for His covenant people is for bringing a transition between time and eternity.
The Early Church had a characteristic we have largely lost, through a lack of fear of God, for error and tradition. They were always ready for His appearing in the clouds. In Acts 1 we see the angels speak to the apostles as they watched Jesus ascend…He would return in like manner. As the clouds received Him, so He would come back in their midst. The Church is not ready yet for His appearing. Romans says that in the hour of His appearing, His revealing He would also reveal the sons of God in that hour. We must distinguish what we mean by Jesus coming FOR His Church. What implications does that mean? What signs do we need to look for? What spiritual transitions do we need to make for the Church be ready for His return. The return of Jesus in contrast to His first coming, is not set in Kronos time, but is set in a conditional kairos setting. This means that His coming is set when the conditions for that Kairos come into being, and can be manifest. Maybe that Kairos can be manifest when Jesus comes to His Church in such a way via His Holy Spirit that when the Church completes that sanctification process so Jesus can appear. We saw this in my last message.
So what will the Church need to transition into for Jesus to come FOR His Church?
- The saints have to become eternity minded: The coming of Jesus bringing the benefits of the Gospel is not just bringing benefits and privileges for this life. Abraham saw a city whose designer and Maker was God (Hebrews11:10) , God said “Abraham this project of what you are seeing is My eternal Project, bring back mankind through covenant to be part of my eternal community.” This eternal vision needs imparting through our teaching, because we seem to be locked into raising families, providing for them, finding comfort and pursuing good times that make good memories. We have an eternal destiny, and from that place fellowship and unity with God lives, where we will reach the purpose for which we were created.
- The saints need to become unity minded: The divisions in the Church over doctrine, over ecclesiastical questions, over worship and preaching styles have no place in eternity, but the question is, if we have lived all our lives in schism with other schools of thought, other Churches, how will we live eternity in perfect unity? I am persuaded that the building blocks of eternity are right here and now. So if that is the case, how will we live in that eternal place if we labelled other churches error? The standard for that unity is in Ephesians 4. The writer, says there is One God, One Church, One Spirit, One Lord, One Baptism, One Word. In this dimension we must recognise these One aspects and build on them like our foundation. The Bible is clear on all them. There is no ambiguity. If we are destined for eternity for Union with God, a prerequisite must be for that to happen there has to be a spiritual union between the brethren.
- The saints need to become maturity minded: For this maturity Ephesians 4 continues that Jesus separated 5 different streams of ministry between people for that maturity to come. Maturity is being moulded into the image of Christ in gifting and character. The apostle is for order, the prophet for obedience, the pastor for observance, the teacher for operation, the evangelist for outreach. In these 5 streams of ministry Jesus and His fulness is represented. Once we receive these different aspects in our lives we will know maturity coming into our lives. As the Church has majored on the pastoral for so long we have seen immaturity, now we need to see these ministry gifts not as privileges for the few but service to the Body.
When Jesus comes WITH the Church comes with a new phase of Church lifeThe Church must know that her entry into her eternal estate she must share in the judicial task with Jesus.
The Church knows little of what her role will be when Jesus comes. Jude speaks and recounts the prophecy from the Book of Enoch. Enoch saw an end time multitude of saints coming with the Lord for judgment. For us to transition into that role we must first have become acquainted with Jesus being Lord and Judge of all the Earth. The reason many do not mature in this has been the over emphasis of Jesus being Saviour, but reject Him as Lord. We reject Him as Lord when He pinpoints an aspect of character, our decisions, not being in line with His will, we reject this correction. We simply think that accepting Him as Saviour is enough, but it will not be. We cannot accept just a part, we must accept Him as He is. When we stand before the White Judgment seat of Christ, we will be judged on our nature, if we are being moulded into His Image, and the works that stem from that moulding. If we have rejected His correction, His Discipleship, how can we receive His reward? Luke 19 has a graphic parable which speaks of a nobleman, being Christ, and His subjects, sent a message saying that they would not accept His reign over them. In the end they are slain for their rebellion. This transported into this acceptance of His Lordship has all to do with this end time judicial process.
For the Church to enter eternity, it must accept her end time role as co Judge in the process of bringing in the new heaven and new earth, and expelling evil to its evil abode of torment. How can it accept? It has not accepted till now because there is very little taught in this realm. We accept the coming of Christ, the Messiah as a vague event that may happen in the far future. There is a wakeup call coming, Jesus is engaging through the Holy Spirit this end time process. It is not enough to wait for the Coming of Christ with disengagement, rather the Holy Spirit is engaging right now with His Church, with every shaking of political agendas, lifestyle ideologies, and addictions, false teachers He is saying to His Church that now is the time to engage so that when He comes FOR His Church the Church will be at the place that He can come WITH His Church for the end time judicial process.
Let us begin to hear the Call of the Holy Spirit which Jesus is making known, that the Church must engage with His End Time appearing programme. The Church is not a spectator to this, it is a crucial personality in this process. When we engage fully, accepting Him as both Saviour and Lord, and engaging in our maturing and sanctifying we will see Him come FOR us, then we will appear WITH Him, in glory and perfection. This is a clear Biblical vision of His coming! Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!