Track 7 of 7 in the Spiritual Realm series
Running time: 1 hour, 06 minutes, 56 seconds.
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Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.
View all sermons by this speaker.
December 18, 2005
All Christians are looking forward to the 2nd coming of Jesus. Everything in our life points to that reality. You and I really don't belong here on this earth. As I taught a few weeks ago concerning Satan, Earth is his territory and we are behind enemy lines. In fact, it is a very dangerous place to be where we are today. It is better for us to be with God and to be home where we belong and a time is coming when that will be reality.
Unless Jesus comes back very soon, we will meet Jesus when we die. Our existence will be one of comfort and beauty but as we learned last week, where we will be will only be temporary. Our existence will in a state where we wait for Jesus return. That day is many times referred to in scripture and it will be a glorious day for those in Jesus.
What is very interesting is the phrase "Second Coming" is no where found in the Bible. If you go and search for it, you won't find it however; the Day is described and talked about a lot in the New Testament. In Paul's day, the Christians at that time believed it was coming right away and they lived their lives as though it was arriving any moment.
Several of the New Testament writers and Jesus himself warned and encouraged the believers to be ready. Those found sleeping or not paying attention due to other worldly distractions will not get a second chance once time is up and they aren't ready. Notice what Jesus had to say about it.
Read Matthew 25:1-13
This principle was first taught concerning Noah's ark. The same was true then and will be true either at our death or when he returns.
There will come a time for all of us when the door will shut or when time runs out. At the horn to end the game, once the game is over, it is considered final and can't be replayed. There have been many athletes who came so close to winning the big one but when the buzzer went off, they lost. In the record book there are the winners and there are the losers. For the losers, It doesn't make a difference all the close plays or the "what ifs"; in the end they lost and there is no changing it. The winners go on while the losers are left behind.
In the spiritual scheme of things, it is also the same. There are no "almost made its" in heaven. It is not like going to a professor when you are one point from getting a passing grade and talking him into giving it to you just because it would be a nice thing. You either pass or you don't. It is not about being nice or arguing over what is fair or not, it is strictly based on perfect judgment. It all depends upon if you are in Christ or not.
At the second coming of Jesus everything comes to and end. All creation turns to witness his return and when he returns several things will take place. It is interesting what the church taught concerning what the scene will look like.
Paul wanted the church to deal with death in its proper context. To often Christians react to death in a totally inappropriate way. His design is to dissuade them from excessive grief, or overwhelming sorrow. Paul tells the church that grief is not wrong but be sure to understand for whom the grief is for; it is not for the dead loved one, it is for those left behind. The dead in Christ are in a much better state. He warns about being excessive in our sorrow; if we grieve too much it send the wrong message:
At the return of Jesus, God will collect those who have fallen asleep and when Jesus returns, he will bring them with him for the resurrection of the body. At the resurrection, both good and evil will rise up. It is important to understand what the resurrection is and what will happen.
What Paul wanted the church to understand from all this was those that died before the return of Jesus were not lost forever as some thought or were falsely told. Instead they would be raised first.
Those who did not sleep in death will have no greater privilege or joy at that day than those who fell asleep in Jesus. Both will meet Jesus in the air and will return to heaven with him. What is interesting about that moment is the issue of the "great change". At the resurrection, we will receive our spiritual bodies. It is very interesting how Paul writes about it.
The concept of the spiritual body that we will receive at the resurrection has intrigued many for centuries. What is the spiritual body and what will it be like? Paul tells us right off that the principle of the spiritual body is a "mystery". I did some in depth investigating on this idea of it being a mystery and the Greek translation is:
There are just some things out there we have to take in faith. It doesn't mean the concept of the spiritual body is some phantom idea, it is real and it will be reality to us some day but for now, we are unable in our limited capacity to fully understand what it is. When the time comes to receive our spiritual body, it all will make sense to us then. But for now, we just have to trust God with what little information we have and trust he knows what he is doing and talking about.
Look at 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, something is missing, what is it? Where are those who are not believers in Christ? What happens to those who are dead outside of Christ? What 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4 deals with are those who are in Jesus. But what does the Bible say about those who are not going to heaven? Jesus talks about the bigger picture in Matthew 13.
Read Matthew 13:24-30; 37-43
Notice in Matthew's account the dead, the evil are raised first and are sent to the place where they will spend eternity. It is after that the dead in Christ are raised and those who are in Christ receive their spiritual bodies. I think the events in 1 Corinthians 15 takes place after the lost are gathered and burned.
The final judgment, when you hear that, what images come to your mind? What have you always believed happens at the final judgment?
I want the Christians to know that this judgment is not our judgment. There are hints in this passage that tells us we will not be here when this happens. The dead are the ones who are being judged. Those in Christ are the living. One of the promises we have in Jesus is everlasting life. We are not dead but alive.
John saw in his revelation from God what happened after the books were opened and the dead we judged. The judgment of the dead is a just judgment. Justice will be served and the dead will receive exactly what they deserve. It is easy to understand here that God doesn't judge based on his feelings, he judges based on his righteous judgment.
What is found in the books that are opened? First of all the deeds of men are recorded and kept by God. Every man is judged based on those deeds. The natural intent in man's heart is evil so the recording in the books is the proof that man deserves death (the wages of sin is death). But the most important book is opened, the book of life. In it is a listing of all those who came alive because of Christ and who were declared not guilty because of the blood of Jesus. The listing in the book of life is a listing of those who are alive. The dead will see that they are not listed, and they will already know they are not listed and it is that list that determines judgment. You are either in Christ or not in Christ.
Peter writes for us something many don't think about. He too writes about what happens in the end when Jesus comes back. Peter also writes for us what will happen after we have gone to heaven. Today there are those who worry so much about preserving our Mother Earth. The Earth to some is more important than human life itself. There are those who think the universe is so vast and limitless yet they forget how big God is. Peter reminds us to keep all the material things in their proper perspective because in the end, they will cease to exist.
I don't want the Christian to sit back and breathe a sigh of relief that we are not destined for hell. In fact, this reality should really wake us up. At judgment time there will also be an accounting for us to deal with. Going to heaven will be a glorious day but for many of us our judgment will be a day to suffer loss. I don't really know how this will work or what it will be like, but there will be a reality in heaven that will cause some sort of suffering.