The evidence was compelling back in '93...but Jesus didn't return. Here we are twenty years later and yes, the evidence is infinitely more compelling. But as the years pile up, many of us have lost that urgent sense of expectation. The early church eagerly hoped Jesus would come at any moment. Do we?
Before answering that question, let's take a moment to consider How close are we? Not to Jesus' return, but to Jesus. Deuteronomy 16:5 says: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength."
Imagine demanding that kind of commitment from someone...unless of course, we planned to spend the rest of our lives with them. Under those circumstances, we'd feel we had a right to expect genuine devotion. Few of us would be content with a half-hearted, lukewarm commitment. It would be demeaning, insulting even. But isn't that what so many of us offer to God?
The Bible calls Jesus 'the Bridegroom' (John 3:29) and the Church 'the Bride'. It says He has chosen us to spend eternity with Him. In John 14:23, Jesus said: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words."
Is loving God a feeling? It can be, but the word translated as 'love' in Deuteronomy means "to make one's choice in." God commanded His people to choose Him with all their being, and in the process, to deny themselves (Matthew 16:24). Oh. So that means loving God isn't all warm fuzzies. It costs something.
Yep. And God will hold us accountable for how we live this life (1 Corinthians 3:14-15). After all, He left us detailed instructions in the Bible and commanded us to follow them. If we choose not to, we probably haven't chosen Him with all our being.
Someday Jesus will return for His Bride. How close are we? In terms of world conditions, we are undeniably very, very close. In terms of the heart? You be the judge.
"Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me that Day, and not to me only, but to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8)
"There is no judgment awaiting those who trust Him. But those who do not trust Him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God. Their judgment is based on this fact: The light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the light..." (John 3:18)
"...there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. Their future is eternal destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and all they think about is this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. 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." (Philippians 3:18-21)
"For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay." (Hebrews 10:37)
"Let us be glad and rejoice and honor Him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and His Bride has prepared herself...these are true words that come from God." (Revelation 19: 7-8)
A wise man once said: "The key to being able to participate in the wedding banquet is faithfulness to God."--Earl D. Radmacher, ThD.
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