June 25, 2021
Living in Light of Jesus' Return
By Skip Heitzig
When you think of Jesus coming back, are you excited and joyful? Or does it stir up dread and fear in your heart? How prepared are you for Him to return? And how does it affect your everyday life?
G. Campbell Morgan, one of the great preachers of yesteryear, said, "To me the second coming is the perpetual light on the path which makes the present bearable. I never lay my head on my pillow without thinking that, maybe before the morning breaks, the final morning may have dawned. I never begin my work without thinking that perhaps He may interrupt my work and begin His own."
Three times in Revelation 22, the very last chapter of the Bible, Jesus said, "I am coming quickly" (vv. 7, 12, 20). And from God's vantage point, He's coming very, very soon (see 2 Peter 3:8). So how should we live in the meantime? Let's look at five responses we ought to have, based on the rest of what the apostle John wrote in Revelation 22:
1. Walk. In verse 7, Jesus said, "Blessed"—or oh how happy—"is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." To keep simply means to obey. As John wrote in verse 14, "Blessed are those who do His commandments." Our first response to Jesus' coming ought to be one of walking in obedience to the truth of God's Word. As we read about what God has in store, it ought to make us less temporal and more eternal in every choice we make (see 2 Peter 3:10-12).
2. Worship. John was so overwhelmed by his vision of the future that he fell at an angel's feet and worshiped (see v. 8). The angel told him, "See that you do not do that.... Worship God" (v. 9). Now, I don't think John intentionally was worshiping the angel, but he had the right response. When we read about what God has in store for us, how can we not respond in kind? We ought to walk away from that worshiping Him.
3. Witness. "And [the angel] said to me [John], 'Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand'" (v. 10). In other words, "This message isn't meant to be hidden; it's meant to be heralded." Looking ahead to Jesus' return will motivate you not only toward godly living but also toward godly witnessing. So share the truth; get the word of the gospel out.
4. Work. Jesus said, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work" (v. 12). You're not saved by works, but in heaven you are going to be rewarded based on your work for Jesus Christ now (see 2 Corinthians 5:10). So ask yourself, How much of my time and energy am I expending for God and His kingdom? Then commit to diligently serving Him now (see 2 John 1:8).
5. Willingness. This is the offer made to the unbeliever: "Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (v. 17). John was essentially extending an invitation and saying, "If you're tired of the cesspool of this world, come drink the free, refreshing, eternal springs of water."
Have you drunk from that water yet? Are you looking forward to Jesus' return with an expectant and eager heart? Or does the thought of His coming fill you with uncertainty and fear? Choose today to make Him your Lord and begin now to live in such a way that your eternal future becomes the prime motivator behind everything you do.
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