The Encourager

The Encourager

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The Return of Christ by Mike Richardson

Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Apostle Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 4:16-18 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.” I am made to wonder at times if people really believe the Bible, the word of God. In Psalm 14:1 the Psalmist states, “the fool has said in his heart there is no God.” One who makes such a claim is identified as a professed atheist. However, there is another type of atheist that we should notice and that is a practical atheist. A practical atheist is an individual who does not deny the existence of God, but lives like He does not exist. Some people live their life as if they do not believe they will be raised and judged by the Lord. Some almost give the impression that they do not believe in the second coming of Christ. Paul gives instruction to the church at Thessalonica to look forward to the second coming of Christ. Paul exhorts the brethren to comfort one another with the truth that Christ is coming again. Several things we want to notice about this.

(i)The Reality of His Return (I Thess.4:16) No one can read and believe the Bible and not believe in the return of Christ. Reading the Word one will see the promise of His coming again. (2 Pet.3) Now notice some things in regard to this reality. (1)Does not say He will establish an earthly kingdom. That doctrine is man-made. Nowhere in the Divine revelation does the Bible state that Christ will establish and reign over an earthly kingdom. Jno.18:36 “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Jesus is King now and reigns over His spiritual kingdom. (2)In fact, He will never touch foot on the earth again. In I Thess.4:16-18 notice we will be called up to meet Him. Those that have died will be called first then those that remain (are alive at His appearing) will be called up next. Every individual who has ever lived will be called up in the air to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (2 Cor.5:10)

(ii)The Reason for His Return Paul states in I Thess.4:13 “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.” Paul does not want the people to be ignorant in regard to the reason. 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” When we go to the grave of a fellow Christian we sorrow and grieve, but not as one who has no hope. We have hope in the fact we will be raised from the dead. Revelation 21:4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

(iii)The Return (I Thess.4:16) Notice the angels are mentioned, but don’t miss the fact that Christ Himself is coming, to call us up. There is not a substitute coming for Christ, He who is our Substitute is coming Himself. His first coming He came to be our Savior, at His second coming He is coming to be our Judge. We must never forget that truth.

(iv)The Redeemed Raised (I Thess.4:17) Now all will be raised up, but not all go to the same place for eternity. Jesus said in John 5:28-29 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His  

voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” The redeemed will go to paradise, the lost to torments.

(v)The Reunion (I Thess.4:17-18) Don’t overlook that word “TOGETHER.” We will be raised up together to be together with God for all eternity. To be reunited with God and His people. To partake of the wedding feast in heaven.

Question—Are you ready for the second coming of Christ?

Written in the Blood Red by Mike Richardson

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Paul, in writing to the church at Ephesus, brings to their mind that one is redeemed by the blood of Christ. In Ephesians 1:7 he writes, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…” It is through the blood of Christ we have forgiveness of sins. Then we observe that Paul told the Ephesian elders to shepherd the flock which Jesus purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). In Paul’s epistle to the church at Rome Paul states that we are justified by the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9). So Paul sets forth that we are redeemed, purchased, and justified by the blood of Christ. Time and time again we see New Testament writers as guided by the Holy Spirit refer to the blood of Christ. For a moment let your mind go back to the scene of the cross and note why Jesus died on that cruel cross. Picture the blood that flowed from His body down the timber to the ground below. If we look closely the blood spells out several things. Observe with me several things Jesus wrote with His own blood. Notice some grand truths written in blood red.

(i)Jesus wrote down in His own blood that you can be a child of God. When we come in contact with the blood of Christ we are “born again” (Jno.3:3-5).We are adopted into the family of God (Gal.4:5; Eph.1:5) Consider Paul’s words “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). When Jesus shed His blood on the cross He wrote it down in blood red that through His shed blood we can be children of God. However, one must be in the blood to receive this blessing. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Galatians 3:26).

(ii)Jesus wrote down in His own blood “I love you.” Paul wrote in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” When you look at the cross you see the greatest demonstration of love there ever has been. As the blood trickled down the lumber and pooled on the ground the blood spelled out the love of Jesus for you. Jesus loves you so much He wrote in red! Sometimes we get frustrated because of the trials of life, but let us never question the love of God for us (Jno.3:16).

(iii)Jesus wrote down in His own blood “I will forgive you.” Do you ever feel that your sins are too great and that God cannot forgive you? Then you need to look at the cross of Christ. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (Rom.6:23). The only reason we can be forgiven is because of the cross of Christ. He paid the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross. Jesus wrote with His own blood that if we come to God on His terms, He will forgive us. There is no sin so great that the blood of Christ cannot blot it out. To be forgiven you must want forgiveness and must seek it according to His will.

(iv)Jesus wrote down in His own blood “I will come again.” It is written in red that Jesus was raised from the dead and He is now at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33). However, the promise of God is that He will come again and take the forgiven home to heaven (Jno.14:1-3). Jesus wrote in red that He will come again, are you ready for Him to come again? These promises are written in red, the blood of Christ.

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