Impending Joy

Matthew 24:44 “For this reason, you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.”

There is an old idiom that was used in the early 1800’s which said “At the ready“. This idiom was originally a military term in which the ready denoted the position of a firearm prepared to be raised and aimed or fired. It was a defensive posture that trained the soldier to be on guard, under control, and ready to fire.

The battle for the souls of mankind is being waged all around us and yet the culmination of this war will end in a victorious shout from the people of God. You see, the war has already been won, Jesus triumphed over sin and death at the cross. We are no longer held captive by Satan but we have been set free from the bondage that sin entails.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

John 8:36

How do we not only get ready but stay ready when it seems the battle is long?—-preparation.

Preparation

Luke 12:42-43 “And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.”

According to Jesus, the expectation of His servants isn’t circling the wagons or building up the fortifications. Maybe in times past it was expected of a culture to protect themselves from imminent attack but the people of the Kingdom of God do not shirk away in fear. Our King rides victoriously into battle, He leads with power, and His justice is served without delay. As God’s people we follow His lead and how He leads is in righteousness and truth.

Strength

What gives us strength for the hour? How can we approach every situation in confidence?

Isaiah 26:4 “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:”

When we place our hope and trust in Christ, He gives us confidence for the future. Regardless of where the culture is leading, we can find solace in knowing that the Lord is fully able to overcome this world….because He already has.

1 John 5:3-4 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

Faith has been described as trusting an unknown future to a known God, but in reality, we do know our future. The descriptions of our future aren’t given in complete detail but we do know enough that it will be a future that is good and will have no end.

Heaven

The descriptions of Heaven are just enough to know you will want to be there. Contrary to the world’s philosophy, everyone doesn’t go there, only those who have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb.

Some of the things they will experience are:

  1. Mansions. The mansion is for all to dwell together. The New Jerusalem will be 1500 miles cubed. The spectacle of God’s glorious city will be one we will share with Him. John 14:2-3 “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.”
  2. Rejoicing We will join the Angels in a heavenly procession of rejoicing. The old sinful nature will be gone and we will be united as one people forever. Hebrews 12:22-23 “Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to myriads of angels in joyful assembly, to the congregation of the firstborn, enrolled in heaven. You have come to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,”
  3. Jesus will be worshipped by all people. Revelation 7:9-10 “After this I looked and saw a multitude too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
  4. Physical limitations will be gone. Revelation 7:15-17 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
  5. The Power of God will be on display. Revelation 11:19 “Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.”
  6. Jesus will lead us. Revelation 19:11-12 “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.”
  7. Heaven will be adorned with jewels. Revelation 21:10-11 “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.”
  8. Gates of pearl and streets of pure gold. Revelation 21:21 “The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
  9. The Tree of Life abides there. Revelation 22:2 “In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
  10. The glory of the Lord illumines the Heavens. Revelation 22:4-5 “They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.”

Why do we want to be ready for Jesus’ return?

Jesus is the bridge by which we attain eternal life.

The second coming of Jesus will be a day like no other. He will come like a thief in the night. When we are not expecting Him, the time of His return will appear.
How are we to stay ready?
Jesus speaks of the “faithful and evil servants” or the “wise and foolish virgins” in Matthew 25. The faithful ones were keeping watch. They were keeping their lamps lit and their eyes looking for His return. We stay ready by keeping steadfast in purity, serving Him in not just thought but in action— simply put, we live for Him.

Are you ready for Jesus’ return?
The signs are clear. The time is at hand. Look up.

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