44 Question 2

The return of the Lord for His church is what scripture calls the blessed hope in Titus 2:13-14, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”  To live in anticipation of the return of the Lord Jesus will greatly impact the way we live.  We read in 1 John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”  How terrible it would be to be doing something shameful when the Lord returns for us.  When we are looking for the Lord to return, it will cause us to be very careful about what activities we allow in our lives.

We read an account of the rapture of the church in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 which says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  From this, we see that all believers on the Lord Jesus Christ will participate in the rapture of the church.  Those who have already passed away, the Lord will bring with Him to be re-united with their bodies.  Then, they will rise and we will all go to meet the Lord together in the clouds.  What a wonderful day that will be.  1 Corinthians 15:51-55 describes the miraculous change that will happen to our bodies when the Lord returns for us.  It says, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”  The twinkling of an eye has been estimated to be about 1/60 of a second.  That’s how fast we will be changed and go to meet the Lord in the air.

It would be a wondrous thing to be alive when the Lord returns.  As we just read in 1 Corinthians 15:51, “…We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”  This means that those who are alive when the Lord returns will not have to suffer the pangs of death.  When is the Lord coming back?  No one knows that, but we do know one thing as we read Romans 13:11, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”  Our salvation, or the complete salvation of our bodies when we go to meet the Lord, is nearer now than it has ever been.  The exhortation here is that, realizing the Lord’s return is near, we need to wake up.  We need to be busy in doing the Lord’s work.  We need to be telling precious lost souls of the free gift of salvation that the Lord offers to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their salvation.  We read in Romans 10:14-15, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”  How will people know about the Lord Jesus Christ if we don’t tell them?  Who are the sent ones in this verse?  It is you and me.  If you are saved, you are sent!  While we wait for the Lord to return for us, may we all, “…do the work of an evangelist…” as we read in 2 Timothy 4:5.