THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE
THE PROMISE OF CHRIST’S COMING
SUNDAY MAY 27, 2018
Something To Consider:
According to last week’s Scripture to consider, the wise men had traveled a great distance, at a great expense, and bearing great gifts for the new born King, baby Jesus. It appears by the evidence to be revealed in future lessons, that it is possible these wise men had journeyed nearly two years. When they arrived in Jerusalem, for some unknown reason they lost sight of the star that had guided them. And yet, their revealed reason for coming created quite a stir in Jerusalem. Herod was among the troubled hearers of their message concerning a previously prophesied King of the Jews, a ruling shepherd of God’s people having been born.
So Herod summoned all the chief priests and scribes, the Old Testament religious scholars, and demanded to know exactly where the Child King was predicted to be born. As the old scrolls were searched, finally the answer was obtained. They had found the prophecy in the scroll of Micah, a prophet of Israel who prophesied about the same time as Isaiah. And so, Herod was read the writing of the prophet.
Scripture To Consider:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting.”
“Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth; and this One shall be peace.” Micah 5.2-5a
Something Else To Consider:
The book of Micah dates back to approximately 700 years before the birth of Jesus. And yet this prophetic book describes perfectly both the location of Christ’s birth and His ruling authority being from the beginning of time. Micah clearly declared Him, Jesus, to be a Ruler like no other ruler whose goings forth is from of old, from everlasting. The apostle John wrote; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He, the Word of God, Jesus, was in the beginning, however long ago that was, and He, Jesus, was with God and yet was God.
Then John declared in verse 14 of John chapter 1; “And the Word [that which was in the beginning with God and was God] became flesh [in the person of Jesus] and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The disciples of Jesus beheld His glory as the Word of God who became flesh and lived as a man on earth. There is a generation that will behold Jesus, the Son of God, the Word of God come in the flesh, coming again in person with power and great glory! And that is what these lessons of a lifetime are all about.
If we are that generation, just the thought of His coming should raise our curiosity of end time events to a new level of anticipation. And if not, we should be on high alert, due possibly to our lack of interest or disbelief! What things should change if we in the future find ourselves looking back only to realize we were living in the last days and it did not change our outlook on life or our concerns for eternal life?
And yet, should we not live every day of our lives as if Christ could come either by way of end time events or by way of the precise timing of our crossing over from death into eternal life? Are we being watchful! Are we spiritually ready for the coming again of Jesus Christ? Or will we be taken totally by surprise?
In the closing chapters of Revelation, written also by John, we read the words of Jesus, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” The existence of Jesus was from old to everlasting. He has always existed as does John’s gospel reveals; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He [the Word of God, Jesus] was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him [Jesus] and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
The Word of God in the beginning created the heavens, the earth, and all life forms. And yet, all created life forms have at least one thing in common, compared to the never- ending time span of eternity, and that is, the shortness of this life!
Something More To Consider:
In 2 Peter we read the words of a godly man of whom it had been revealed that the time of his end on earth was near. In 2 Peter 1.13-14 Peter made known; “Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent [body], to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent [experience death], just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.”
Therefore, Peter realized the shortness of life and the importance of his living every day as if it were his last. Therefore, Peter set forth to expose destructive doctrines and to warn others of the forthcoming doom of false prophets and those who follow their pernicious ways. Therefore, he focused his life on the truth of God’s Word and in his warning of the deception of false teachers and their false messages. This According To Jesus website attempts to do the same!
And so in 2 Peter chapter 3, Peter’s final epistle and in the final words of that epistle, he proclaimed, “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder, that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep [died], all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’”
Then Peter sets forth his own lesson of a lifetime, by stating in verse 5 of 2 Peter 3; “For this they [end time scoffers] willfully forget: that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same Word, are reserved for fire until the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise [His promise of His coming], as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
Peter continued his treatise on Christ’s promise of His second coming in verse 10, by affirming; “But the Day of the Lord [the day of His promised coming], will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you [and me] to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the Day of God, because which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise [His promise of His coming again], we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” What is it therefore that we are looking for?
A Few Final Words:
The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem was not His beginning. But believing in Jesus and believing in His authoritative right to rule in and over one’s life is our beginning of life everlasting. Without our professing His authority in our lives, there can be no true possession of His peace in our hearts and there can be no experiencing the rewards of His promise of His coming. Without our professing His authority over our lives we will never truly realize the shortness of life and therefore never properly prepare for His coming again as a thief in the night.
Will we remain mindful of the Word of God and therefore remain steadfast in the things of God? Or will we be led astray? Will we be led away with the error of the wicked scoffers of these end times? The answers will be found in whether we are faithfully looking for and hastening the coming of the Day of God, the coming of Christ as promised by Him. Will we heed the warnings of the Word of God? Will we learn the lessons of a lifetime contained in the Word of God as did Peter of whom was aware of the ever- important understanding of the shortness of life?
Will Peter’s final exposition on holiness move us to desire to be found by Jesus in perfect peace while we earnestly look for and joyfully anticipate Jesus’ promised coming and gathering His saints together to forever be in the presence of their personal Lord and coming again Savior?
Our Father in heaven, may Your Holy Spirit remove all doubt or disbelief concerning the shortness of life and the promise of Jesus’ coming again. In Him Always, Amen!