A. Introduction: Jesus’ first message to His followers when He left this world two thousand years ago was: I’ll be back (Acts 1:9-11). His return to this planet draws closer with each passing day.
trouble. We are witnessing the beginnings of the chaos. Matt 24:6-8; 21-22; II Tim 3:1-5; etc.
a. Heb 10:25—Last week we looked at the fact that God’s Word instructs believers to exhort one
another as we see the day or time of the Lord’s return approaching. When you exhort someone you
urge or strongly appeal to them with words of advice, encouragement, or warning.
b. To encourage, advise, or warn someone in a meaningful way you must have something substantive
to say. So we are taking time to look at why Jesus is coming back and what His return will mean
for the world so that we ourselves can be encouraged and then encourage others.
1. Jesus said that fearsome things will take place before He returns: Men will faint from terror,
apprehensive of what is coming on the world (Luke 21:26, NIV). But He told believers:
When you see these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your head (Luke 21:28).
2. Look up, when used figuratively, means to be elated. Lift up means to raise up either literally
or figuratively. The idea in the original Greek language is be elated in joyous expectation.
You respond this way because you know that your redemption is near. Redemption means
deliverance, full release, salvation.
2. To be elated in joyous expectation and have peace of mind in the months and years ahead, we must
understand the big picture or the overall plan of God. As we’ve done in each lesson thus far, we begin
tonight’s lesson by restating the big picture or the overall plan of God.
a. Before time began God desired a family. He created human beings to become His sons and
daughters through faith in Him and designed the earth to be a home for His family. Both the family
and the family home have been damaged by sin. Eph 1:4-5; Isa 45:18; Gen 3:17-19; Rom 5:12; etc.
1. Jesus came to earth the first time to pay for our sin and open the way for all who believe on Him
and His sacrifice to be transformed from sinners into sons and daughters of God.
2. He will come again to restore the family home by cleansing the earth of all sin, corruption, and
death. He will restore it to a fit forever home for Himself and His family.
b. The world the way that it is (both humanity and the planet) is not the way it is supposed to be due to
sin. And, it’s not going to go on forever the way it is—For this world in its present form is passing
away (I Cor 7:31, NLT).
1. The end of the plan began two thousand years ago with the first coming of Jesus. Through His
death on the Cross He activated God’s plan to restore all things. The plan will culminate when
He returns. Acts 2:17; Heb 1:1-2; I John 2:18
2. Heb 9:26-28—He (Jesus) came once for all time, at the end of the age, to remove the power of
sin forever by his sacrificial death for us…He will come again but not to deal with our sins
again (NLT)…but to bring full salvation to those who are eagerly…expecting him (Amp).
A. We live in the age (time period) when things are not as God intended. The Greek word
that is translated end doesn’t mean termination as in end of existence. It means bringing
to completion with events coming together at an appointed end.
B. Full salvation will include the earth renewed and resurrection of the dead. Earth will be
restored and we will be reunited with our bodies raised from the grave so we can live on
earth again. Life on this planet will finally be what God created it to be. Rev 21:1-4
3. Jesus is coming back to complete God’s plan for a family. Like all plans, this plan has a beginning,
middle, and an end. We are living at the time of the end of the plan and this means some unique
challenges for us.
a. The Bible has a lot of information about what world conditions will be like just prior to the Lord’s
return. II Thess 2:3-4; Dan 7:9-28; Dan 8:23-27; Rev 13:1-18; Matt 24:21-22; etc.
1. There will be a worldwide system of government, economy, and religion presided over by a
Satan inspired and empowered man. The world will embrace and worship this man.
2. He will lead the world to the worst war humanity has ever seen—a nuclear, chemical, and
biological holocaust. If Jesus didn’t intervene, every human being on earth would die.
b. The circumstances that will produce this scenario are setting up now and are and will continue to
produce increasing chaos in our lives (lessons for another time). The point for now is this:
1. America is the world’s biggest roadblock to globalism. Some type of change must happen that
will bring us to the point of surrendering national sovereignty to the global community.
2. For those of us who love America, it’s hard to watch us move in that direction. But when you
understand the big picture, it helps you keep all this in perspective.
c. Jesus compared the some of the signs that will indicate His return is near to labor pains—they
increase in intensity and frequency as the birth nears. Matt 24:6-8
1. The process isn’t pleasant, but no one tries to stop the birth pains because they know the end
result. Instead, they focus their prayers on a safe and speedy birth process.
2. The Bible instructs us to encourage ourselves with the fact that the Lord is coming and that the
end result, the culmination of God’s plan will be wonderful for all who are part of God’s family.
4. Keep in mind that we are not the only people interested in what is happening in the world right now.
We aren’t the only ones who will be impacted by the second coming of Jesus. Job 19:25-26
a. Every human being going back to Adam and Eve will be impacted by the Lord’s return to complete
God’s plan of redemption. All who put faith in the revelation of God’s grace through Jesus given to
their generation will, along with us, receive their full salvation: a return to earth to live here forever.
b. All of the New Testament verses that I’ve been citing in these lessons were written by men who
walked and talked with Jesus when He was here the first time. They saw Him die on the Cross and
rise from the dead. They watched Him return to Heaven, with the promise that He would return.
1. Their focus was not on trying to fix up society or stop the birth pangs. They understood that
this world is not the way it is supposed to be and that the Lord will ultimately make things right.
And, they knew that He would take care of them through whatever is ahead.
2. Their focus was on sharing the good news of salvation from sin through Jesus Christ so that as
many people as possible can become part of God’s family and receive this full salvation.
B. Our opening verse in this lesson about encouraging ourselves and each other as we see the day of the Lord’s return approaching was written by Paul the Apostle. Paul became a believer when the resurrected Lord Jesus appeared to him as he was traveling to Damascus, Syria (Acts 9:1-6).
1. Heb 10:25 (our opening verse) is not the only place where Paul urged Christians to encourage each other
with information about the Lord’s return and the end of this age.
a. Paul wrote I Corinthians, a letter to believers in Jesus who lived in the Greek city of Corinth about
AD 56, a few years after he preached the gospel there and many people believed on Jesus.
b. Paul wrote the epistle to address some problems that had developed in this community of believers.
One of the issues was misunderstandings connected with resurrection of the dead. Resurrection of
the dead is the reuniting of the inward and outward parts of our being that separate when we die.
c. Paul said a number of things which we aren’t going to deal with now, but note one point that he
made in the context of resurrection of the dead (resurrection will occur when Christ returns).
1. I Cor 15:23-24—But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised first; then when
Christ comes back, all his people will be raised. After that the end will come, when he will
turn the kingdom over to God the Father having put down all enemies of every kind (NLT).
2. Paul understood that a definite end is coming. The Greek world translated end is a form of the
same word used in Heb 9:26. It has the idea of outcome or result. There’s been an end in
sight since the beginning—the restoration of all things that have been damaged by sin.
2. Notice that resurrection of the dead will Jesus’ final demonstration of the fact that He has conquered
death, when the bodies of all believers come up out of the grave and are made incorruptible and immortal
—no longer subject to the corruption of sickness, old age, and death.
a. Resurrection of the dead was not new information for 1st century men and women. Old Testament
believers knew that the dead will be raised. Isa 26:19; Dan 12:2; etc.
1. However, Paul revealed a previously unknown part of God’s plan (a mystery). Not all
believers will die. But we will all be changed—our bodies made incorruptible and immortal.
I Cor 15:51-52
2. Paul connected this event to the coming of the Lord and revealed that Jesus will make our
bodies like His own resurrected body—And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our
Savior. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies
like his own, using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything everywhere
(Phil 3:20-21, NLT).
b. I Thess 4:13-18—Paul gives even more details about what will happen when Jesus returns. He will
bring with Him all those believers who have died. They have not ceased to exist. They have been
with the Lord in Heaven since they left this earth.
1. First, their bodies will be raised and changed (made incorruptible and immortal), and they will
be reunited with them. Then those who are still live at that time will be changed and all of us
will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, to be with Him forever.
2. The people that Paul wrote to were experiencing serious persecution on account of their faith in
Christ. He wrote to encourage them to stay faithful to Christ. Notice, that he exhorted them
to encourage each other with the end of the plan.
3. We need to clarify several points before we move on. We could (but aren’t going to) do entire lessons
on each point. But some explanation will be helpful.
a. There are two phases to the second coming of Jesus separated by seven years. Jesus will first
come in the clouds (but not all the way to earth).
1. Only His followers will see Him. At that time He will take all believers in Him off of the earth.
This is what Paul was referring to in I Thess 4:13-18.
A. When believers are taken off the earth, the ministry of the Holy Spirit will change. He has
exercised a restraint on evil in the world through godly men and women. That will be
removed and the wickedness of men apart from God, along with the wickedness of Satan,
will be displayed as never before. II Thess 2:6-7
B. Consequently, there will be chaos and tribulation on this earth unlike anything humanity
has ever seen. The Book of Revelation gives an account of much of the action. We’ll
discuss this more fully next week, but God will take a great harvest of souls during this
2. Seven years later Jesus will come with believers all the way to earth, bring an end to the final
world system and its leader, and begin the process of restoring and renewing the earth.
b. I Thess 4:17—This catching away is referred to by many as the rapture of the church. The New
Testament was originally written in Greek. When it was eventually translated into Latin the word
Latin raptus was used for the Greek word translated catching away (harpazo).
4. The term second coming is like an umbrella. There are a lot of events and people that come under the
umbrella. Sincere people have a tendency to get fixated on individual events and people and miss the
big picture and the encouragement that comes from viewing life from the perspective of God’s plan.
a. For example, any mention of the rapture and the tribulation often leads to frenzied discussions of
when the rapture takes place in relation to the tribulation (before, during, or after). People have
their arguments and miss the point—Jesus is coming back for us.
b. People focus on who is and isn’t going in the rapture and then scare themselves because they think
that they’ve found a verse that leaves them out of it. No New Testament writer talks like that. If
you are a believer in Jesus—you’re going. (lots of lessons for another day).
c. Paul mentioned a trumpet in I Thess 4 and in I Cor 15. People get fixated on what the last trump (I
Cor 15:52) means and miss the point—our bodies are going to be made incorruptible and immortal.
5. I have not mentioned this in a while, but I think that now is a good time to do so. One of the best things
you can do for yourself is to become a regular reader of the New Testament.
a. By this I mean: Start at the beginning and read it over and over until you get familiar with it.
When you read, don’t stop to look up words that you don’t understand. Don’t consult
commentaries or Bible dictionaries. Just read. Don’t worry about what you don’t understand.
Understanding comes with familiarity. You are reading to become familiar with it.
b. The New Testament was written (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) by real people to other
real people about real issues. It was written to communicate pertinent information. What did the
last trump mean to them? What did the catching away mean to them? If you were familiar with
the New Testament you could answer both of those questions.
C. Conclusion: We have much more to say next week, but consider these thoughts as we close this lesson.
1. God’s purpose is not to fix up this world and make this life the highlight of our existence. This world is
not as He intends it to be because of sin. There is no natural fix for what ails humanity and the planet.
a. Supernatural transformation is necessary. Through His plan of redemption, Almighty God has
provided what is needed to restore His family and the family home through Jesus. His plan is
unfolding and is about to come to a conclusion.
b. Yes, there are difficult times ahead. How much tribulation will we see before we are taken off the
earth? The circumstances that will be in full bloom in the final years of this age will not come out
of a vacuum. They are setting up now and affecting our lives more and more.
c. We will be removed before the worst of it (more on this next week). But the main take away from
this lesson is that we must keep our focus on the end result—full salvation.
2. One of the most famous verses in the Bible is Jer 29:11—For I know the plans I have for you, says the
Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (NLT).
a. We use that verse to proclaim that God is going to give us that job we want or fix our family or give
us the career or ministry we long for. But, are you aware of the context of this verse?
b. Due to persistent, rampant idol worship, Israel was about to be taken away as captives for seventy
years in a foreign land and their own country destroyed. Even the godly remnant of people in Israel
would be affected by the consequences of reprobate decisions on the part of their fellow
c. Yet God assured them that He had a plan for them that would give them a future and a hope (lots of
lessons for another day). Consider these points.
1. None of these people would live to see their nation restore to its position of glory in their
lifetime. Most of them died in captivity. Was God messing with them? Was He being cruel
by promising something that didn’t happen?
2. No. He knew and knows that there is a future and a hope for them and for all who put faith in
Him—in the life to come, when the plan of redemption is completed and full salvation is
accomplished. Those people will join us for forever life in the restored family home!!