How Do You Know If You are Ready for Jesus to Return?

Jesus' Return

How do you know if you are ready for Jesus to return? Different people give different answers. Some say I am an American; while others believe they are ready because they walked an aisle, raised a hand, and said a prayer; still others believe they are ready because they have lived a good life, helping lots of people.

What, however, does the Bible? To be sure, it does not answer in the way most would.

What does the Bible Say?

The Bible tells us that we can know we are ready for Jesus’ return by continually living according to Jesus’ will. The parable of the faithful and unfaithful servant exemplify this idea (Matthew 24:45-51).

In the parable, the faithful servant remained true to his master’s wishes the entire time he was gone, while the unfaithful servant didn’t. Instead of following his master’s will, he followed his own.

So we can know that we are ready for Jesus’ return if we are continually living according to His will.

Why is that so?

Because that is what Jesus’ judgment is based on. You see, Jesus’ judgment isn’t based on some decision we made in the past. Rather it is based on how we are currently living. It is based on our faithfulness.

If we prove ourselves to be faithful to Him at His return by continually living according to His will, then we will experience a joyous reward. If, however, we prove ourselves to be unfaithful to Him at His return by living according to our own will, we will experience eternal torment.

So we show that we are ready for Jesus’ return by continually living according to His will, by continually living as a faithful servant.

Clarification – Not a Works Based Salvation

Now, when I say we are judged according to our faithfulness, I am not advocating a works based salvation. Instead what I am saying is that our works reveal our true nature. The way we live reveals our heart as it really is, which means we can’t just rest in a decision we have made in the past. Instead, we must rest in how we are living for Jesus now.

And so, if you are not living as a faithful servant, if you are not living according to God’s will, if you are not continually growing in your Christian walk and becoming more like Christ, if these things are not taking place in your life, then you are not a faithful servant no matter what decision you made in the past.

It is not about what we “have done” rather it is about what we “are doing.”

I bring this up because a lot of people think they are going to heaven based of some decision they made years ago. While there is a time when our heart is given to Christ, we can’t base our eternal destiny on a decision alone, especially if that decision hasn’t affected the way we live.

Those whose hearts are given to Christ, those who “decide for Christ”, change. They change to become a faithful servant – someone continually living according to Jesus’ will. If that has not happened in your life, then you haven’t given your heart to Jesus. You are not going to experience eternal life because you aren’t a follower of Jesus.

Jesus is looking for followers not just deciders

Sure, you might have changed for a short time, but if you are not living as a Christian now, if you aren’t living as a faithful servant now, then when Jesus returns, you are not going to be rewarded, rather you are going to be punished.

Faithful servants of God are prepared for Jesus’ return, and they show they are prepared by continually living according to Jesus’ will.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you see a continual change in your life, or are you just resting in a decision you made in the past?

Resources

Adapted from my sermon: What does it look like to be a faithful servant of God?

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Two Reasons the Resurrection is a Necessity

Resurrection

Yesterday was Easter Sunday – the day Christians all over the world celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave.

But why? Why celebrate the resurrection? Why was it necessary? There are at least two reasons the resurrection is a necessity.

Two Reasons the Resurrection is a Necessity

(1) The resurrection was necessary to prove Jesus’ death actually satisfied God’s wrath.

In Philippians 2, we learn that Jesus is glorified. He is highly exalted and made to be our king because He humbled himself on the cross.

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Php 2:8–11)

Jesus wouldn’t have been resurrected and made our King, He wouldn’t be exalted, if His sacrifice wasn’t sufficient and satisfied God’s wrath.

So Jesus’ resurrection was a necessity because it proves His sacrifice was sufficient to pay for our sins. Without it we are all still damned to hell.

(2) The resurrection was necessary because without it we couldn’t experience eternal life.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians,

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:20-22).

If Christ had not raised from the dead, then we wouldn’t either. Death is the end. Eternal life doesn’t exist. Heaven doesn’t exist.

Thankfully that isn’t true. Thankfully the resurrection happened, which means this world isn’t the end for us. Eternal life is to come. Life in a perfect world, ruled by a perfect King is to come. There is hope. There is something for us to look forward to.

Question for Reflection

  1. What reasons would you give for the necessity of the resurrection?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon: The Seriousness of Sin and the Necessity of the Cross and Resurrection

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What is Jesus’ Mission and How Does it Affect Us?

Mission

What is Jesus’ mission? How does it affect us? A good summary of Jesus’ mission and how it affects us is found in Ephesians chapter 1. In verses 3-10 we learn three things:

(1) Jesus’ mission was given and prepared before the world was created (3-4; 9-10a)

Everything that has happened in this world is no mystery to God. He knew Adam and Eve would eat the fruit in the garden, that they would rebel against Him. He knew the world would turn out the way it is today.

God was prepared. He had a plan to save His people, so they could experience life with Him. His plan involved Jesus, His Son.

Ephesians 1:3-4 says,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Eph 1:3–4)

And Ephesians 1:9-10a says,

making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time,” (Eph 1:9–10a)

So Jesus’ mission was God given. It was a plan that He and the Father came up with before this world was even created.

(2) Jesus’ mission was to take our punishment for us (7)

As sinners we are separated from God and we deserve His punishment, but Jesus came to die in our place, to take God’s wrath on Himself.

Ephesians 1:7 says,

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Eph 1:7)

The way we experience redemption is by Jesus shedding His blood. The way Jesus shed His blood was by being nailed to a cross. While He hung on that cross, the Father’s wrath was poured out on Him. The wrath that we deserve was poured out on Jesus as He hung in our place.

So Jesus’ mission was to take our punishment for us.

(3) Jesus’ mission was to unite us to God for all eternity (10b)

We know this because the second half of Ephesians 10 tells us the plan that was revealed in the fullness of time was,

to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Eph 1:10b)

So Jesus’ mission then is designed to restore all creation back to God. To restore shalom or peace first between us and the Father. Second between us and each other. Third between the Father and creation. Fourth between us and creation.

So Jesus came to unite us to God for all eternity through His shed blood on the cross and this was a mission that started before time even existed.

The Good News

The good news is that all those who would repent of their sin, who would turn from living how they want, admit Jesus is their Savior – that He came to die in their place, and follow Jesus will experience salvation.

So have you done that? Have you turned from your sins to follow Jesus? Have you given your life over to Him? Do you recognize Jesus’ mission was to come and die in your place so that your relationship with the Father could restored?

Or do you deny Jesus’ mission? Do you refuse to repent? Do you refuse to recognize Jesus as the Messiah? The Savior? Do you try to come against Jesus and destroy Him?

Questions for Reflection

  1. What do you believe?
  2. What have you done?
  3. Where are you at?

Resources

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Post developed from my sermon: Those who Come Against Jesus Don’t Win in the End