Prepare for Jesus' Coming
       Various Passages

      By Paul Robison

Let's start with a little test.  See if you can add the last word to this phrase: “Stop, look, and blank!”  Yes, “listen” is the correct response. Now, if you answered correctly, would you hold up your hand?  Question: Why did most of you get that correct?  It is not by chance.  There's an interesting history behind: “Stop, look, and listen!”  It all goes back to the beginning of railroads in our country.  As early as 1811, a Pennsylvania state report had these words: “Failure to look and listen before crossing a railroad is negligence as a matter of law.”  In 1915, an Alabama Supreme Court ruled: “... it was her duty to look and to listen for the approach of the engine and if her injuries were directly caused by her failure to look and to listen for the approach of the engine on her crossing, then she has contributed to her own injuries ...”  With more cars coming onto the scene, a judge in 1927 thought the slogan ought to be changed to: “Stop, look, and climb out” (All examples from Google search).  So, in the 1930s, “Stop, Look, and Listen” [was] plastered on every railroad crossing sign from Maine to California (http://www.survi-valblog.com/2011/01/situational_awareness_by_ps.html), and every vehicle was required to stop at those crossings (http://www.starkville-dailynews.com/node/5787).  Despite all those efforts, however, “according to the Federal Railroad Administration, in the last ten years, about 3,000 railroad crossing accidents have taken place with an annual rate of 1,000 deaths (http://humancapitaladviser.com/?p=497).  Today's main idea is this: Prepare for Jesus' Coming!  In order for you to prepare, this sermon will utilize this well-known slogan with just a little bit of an addition.  Since the New Testament doesn't state explicitly the order of the events associated with Jesus' second coming, my sermon could be somewhat mistaken, but, hopefully, the sequence will be close enough to help you prepare.  When the apostles stood in outside of Bethany, Jesus “was taken up, and a cloud received them out of their sight,” and then two angels told the apostles: “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw him go up into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).  Some of Jesus' final words recorded in the New Testament are: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:12-13).  The angels and Jesus Himself have said that Jesus will come again!  Are those words just a flimsy fairy tale or do they foretell a solid victorious reality?  Prepare for Jesus' coming!
 
First of all, stop at Jesus' coming!  We can stop because time will stop. Jesus gave this explanation to one of His parables in Matthew 13:39:
   “The enemy who sowed them [i.e. tares] is the devil, the harvest
    is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.”
The end of the age is the same as saying the end of history.  Paul supports this with his words in 1 Corinthians 15:22-24:
   “For as in Adam, all die, even in Christ shall all be made alive.  But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.”
We see here that governments will cease when the end comes.  Time will stop.  Stop at Jesus' coming!
 
We can also stop because the world will stop.  Notice how Peter argues in 2 Peter 3:7 that the earth perished through flooding in the past, but it is being reserved for another destruction in the future:
“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.”
The apostle John also affirms that the environment of our present existence will be no more in Revelation 21:1:
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.”
What has passed away or is no longer in existence?  The first heaven and the first earth is the environment in which we presently live.  So our world will stop. Stop at Jesus coming!
 
We can also stop because our physical nature will stop.  The apostle Paul explains it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:50-53: 
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.  Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet with sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
Our physical existence will become a spiritual existence, which will no longer be subject to death.  Paul also affirms that our new nature will be similar to Jesus' glorious nature in Phil. 3:21:
“... who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
Our physical nature will stop.
So stop at Jesus' coming because time, our earth, and our physical nature will stop.  Prepare for Jesus' coming!
 
Secondly, look at Jesus' coming.  Look at Jesus coming because He will be visible. Jesus declares in Luke 17:24:
“For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.”
This is exactly what the angels told the apostles, as we saw earlier.  The apostle John also affirms in Revelation 1:7: 
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.”
Isn't this teaching that Jesus will be universally visible at His coming?  One commentator rightly noted: “When Christ returns, His coming will be so spectacular that everyone will know He has arrived” (NSB).  All the so-called modern prophets who say that Jesus has come “spiritually” and not visibly have not understood the Scripture's plain teaching!  Look at Jesus coming because it will be visible.
 
Look at Jesus' coming because a gathering of all changed humanity will be visible.  The apostle Paul gives this description in Romans 14:10-12:
“For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  For it is written: 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.'  So then, each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
One commentator states: “Verse 10 states without equivocation that all believers will be judged … There will … be for every believer a judgment of the quality of his or her life. … In the long run, the validity of faith is established by the quality of life it produces” (Mounce).  The inspired writer Jude gives this description in Jude 14-15:
“'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
All changed humanity, both faithful and ungodly, will stand together before Jesus as He sits to judge each one.  Look at Jesus' coming because a gathering of all changed humanity will be visible.
 
Look at Jesus' coming because the books will be visible.  Paul once wrote in Philippians 4:3:
“And I urge you, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.”
That Book of Life is also mentioned by John in Revelation 20:11-13:
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away.  And there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.  And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.  And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.  And they were judged each one according to his works.”
A couple made their way to waiter who was standing behind a stand before a door leading into a hall that had been prepared for a bridal reception.  The waiter asked their names, and they replied.  After looking over a list, he said, “I'm sorry, that name is not on our register.  I cannot allow you to enter.”  The couple left very upset, but when they got home, they discovered that, sure enough, the registration card with the wedding invitation had not been mailed.  It made the man think: “We failed to have to have our names on that register and missed out on a great occasion, but we going to miss out on eternity with the saints if our names aren't found in the Lamb's Book of Life!”  Look at Jesus' coming because the books will be visible.
 
Look at Jesus' coming because the separation will be visible.  Jesus said in Matthew 13:47-50:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.  So it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Jesus gives another description in Matthew 25:31-33:
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on His left.”
Look at Jesus' coming because the separation will be visible. Look At Jesus' Coming because Jesus will be visible, a gathering of all changed humanity will be visible, the books will be visible, and the separation will be visible.  Prepare for Jesus' coming!
 
Thirdly, listen at Jesus' coming.  Listen at Jesus' coming because there will heavenly noises. Jesus reveals in Matthew 24:30-31: 
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Paul affirms in 1 Thessalonians 4:16:
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God!”
Listen at Jesus' coming because there will be heavenly noises.
 
Listen at Jesus' coming because there will be destructive noises. Jesus said in Luke 21:25-26:
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming upon the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
And even louder noise is spoken about by the apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:10:
“But the day of the Lord 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.”
The word for “noise” that Peter uses can be used also for the rumbling of thunder, the rushing of might waters, and the crackling of flames; it is as if Peter has rolled many horrors into one (Green). This time of destruction will be the true big bang!  Listen at Jesus' coming because there will be destructive noises. 
 
Listen at Jesus' coming for there will be Jesus' voice of judgment. Jesus said in John 5:28-29:
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
Revelation 1:14 16 gives this description of Jesus:
“His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.”
Listen at Jesus coming because there will be heavenly noises, destructive noises, and Jesus' voice of judgment.  Prepare for Jesus' coming!
 
We have stopped, looked, and listened to Jesus' coming.  But what happens next?  At a railroad crossing, you then proceed to make the crossing.  So now let's proceed after Jesus' coming.  All of changed humanity will proceed to their eternal destinies.  There will be two distinct pronouncements.  Matthew 25:34-36 states:
“And the King will say to those on His right hand: 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
On the other hand, Matthew 25:41-43 states:
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and you did not take Me in; I was naked and you did not clothe Me; I was sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me.”
We just heard two distinct pronouncements.
 
There will be two distinct groups. Revelation 21:7-8 state:
“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.  But [another group] the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Jesus warns in Matthew 13:40-43:
“Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then [another group] the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear!”
 
There will be two distinct destinies.  Revelation 20:14-15 affirms: “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” 
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 promises:
“And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus, we shall always be with the Lord! Therefore, comfort one another with these words.”
Proceed after Jesus' coming knowing there will be two distinct pronouncements, two distinct groups, and two distinct destinies. Prepare for Jesus' coming!
 
In March 1942, General Douglas MacAuthur and his family left the Philippines and promised the people there: “I shall return.”  Two and a half years later, he kept his promise saying: “This is the voice of freedom. People of the Philippines, I have returned.”  If you can appreciate that kind of credibility from a military leader, then realize that Jesus, the Son of God, has made the same promise with far more credibility than any human being ever could.  If you wrestle with Jesus' return, you can be at peace.  If you accept the historical reality of Jesus' resurrection and ascension, then you have no room whatsoever to doubt the promise of His historic, yet future, return.  Rest assured, it will occur.  Prepare for Jesus' coming!
 
Let's pray.  “God we thank You for Your Word, which reveals to us very clearly that Jesus will come again.  Help us to be prepared and ready.  Thank you, Jesus, for this promise, and we pray You will come quickly.  In Your name, we pray, Amen.
 
The last verses of the Bible report Jesus as saying: “Surely, I am coming quickly.” And then John, a disciple of Jesus adds: “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Perhaps an old hymn says it best: “There's a great day coming, a great day coming, there's a great day coming by and by.  When the saints and the sinners shall be parted right and left.  Are you ready for that day to come?  Are you ready?  Are you ready for the judgment day?”  Prepare to Jesus' coming now!  It will be a solid victorious reality!  Won't you come now before He comes again?  Make Him your King today!