Tuesday, December 05, 2006

And the Church Voted "No!"

It is a rare thing for me to blog about anything specific that goes on in my Church. In fact, this will be the first quasi-specific thing that I have blogged on since the beginning of my blogging. I only mention it here because I think that it is indicative of where we are as evangelicals, indeed, you may share the opinion of those I polled during Sunday School.

During one Sunday School lesson in the not too distant past, I asked this simple question:

"If it were up to you, and Jesus asked you if you'd like Him to return today, what would you say?"

The answer to this, I believe, is a good measuring stick to see how effectively I am teaching the glory of Jesus Christ. I will tell you now that the answer should be an immediate, unequivocal, "Yes! Come, Lord Jesus!" The overwhelming answer in that group, however, was a squirmy "No, Lord. Not today." Before you begin to think that I pastor a church filled with pagans and half-hearted Christians, let me give you the reason that most of them want Jesus to tarry: They worry about their lost loved ones.

On the surface, that seems to be a good reason to put off the Lord's return. But it isn't. Not by a long shot. Imagine if, which thank God this isn't the case, it required a Church vote for Jesus' return in glory. Can you imagine the majority of the Church voting No? It could happen, and it probably would at your church, and the reasons may not be so noble. Don't believe me? Poll your Sunday School class.

I have loved ones who, if Christ returned to judge the world tonight, would spend the rest of eternity in hell. Yet, I would be thrilled for Christ to appear in the Eastern sky. Why? Because I understand the reason for hell and the rightness of it. The Lord God will not punish anyone more than they deserve, and when we see His righteous judgment, we will marvel and agree that we could not have done better ourselves. Indeed, we will believe that any judgement other than hell would be utterly repulsive. So this excuse will not do. Hell is the proper place for the unrepentant. Come, Lord Jesus.

Others may object to Christ's return because they want to experience things in this life such as marriage, children, grandchildren, or a new Corvette. These things are only dim shadows of the joys of heaven. One moment in the presece of God will forever drive such flitting fancies away. This reason to vote no is only given because we have a poor image of the wonder and joy of being in Christ and of being in His presence and of sharing in His joy.

The good news is that Christ will never poll us as to when He can return. He will come just at the right time, and He will come when it pleases Him to do so. It is my desire as a pastor that everyone in my local church will live for this day, and that when it comes, they will meet the Lord with no regrets.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The very reason for my blogger namesake...


Even So .(Come) .(Lord) .(Jesus)


Even So...

pilgrim said...

I remember several years ago after a conference one of my friends said he was ready for Jesus to come--he felt so convinced of GOd's glory he wanted Jesus to come back before it faded.

I hope those who would vote yes--and I agree that's the correct response--I hope they're not saying yes as escapism from responsibilities, but from faith.

St. Lee said...

My instant reaction was a resounding YES. Upon reading Pilgrim's comment, though, I had to consider if my reaction was based on escapism or not. My conclusion is that it was, though I would say it is from the desire to escape this sinful flesh. Perhaps that boils down to the same thing as escape from responsibilty. I'll have to give that more thought.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

JD, now it all makes sense.
Brad, was the class composed of mostly young people?

Sojourner said...

JD,

I kinda figured that.

Pilgrim,

Could you elaborate on escape from responsibility? I am not convinced that's sinful. I look forward to getting off work at the end of the day, and I look forward to the day when I can enjoy the fruit of my labor.

Jonathan,

Not really. Mainly late 30's to mid 40's.

Lisa said...

I vote YES! Come! Quickly!

I have a friend whose husband would kind of chastise her a bit for yearning for heaven in order to escape the frustration of living in this world. He reasoned that was only selfish as there are many unsaved needing to hear the good news. But I wonder with Brad, is it sinful to want to leave this world for our real home...or does it not reflect the understanding and appreciation of all that awaits us?

Yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:26-27

pilgrim said...

I mean getting out of what we have to do. Almost a suicidal tendency.
It's almost like giving up. Life can be hard, and so often it would be easy to give up.

That sort of thing is what I meant.