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. His people are no longer held captive by Satan but have been set free from the bondage of sin and death.

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

John 8:36

How do God’s people not only get ready but stay ready when it seems the battle is long?

They have to prepare.

The 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 for 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 God’s Kingdom do not shirk away in fear. The King rides victoriously into battle, He leads with power, and His justice is served without delay. All God’s people must follow His lead and how He leads is in righteousness and truth.

Where can they find strength for the hour? How can they approach every situation in confidence?

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

When God’s people place their hope and trust in Christ, He gives them confidence for the future. Regardless of where the culture is leading, they can find solace in knowing that the Lord is fully able to overcome this world….because He already has overcome the world.

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.”

The way the Lord overcame the world is the same faith He has placed in His servants. Faith has been described as trusting an unknown future to a known God, but in reality, we do know the future. The descriptions of a future Kingdom 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.

The Heavenly Home

The descriptions we have of Heaven are just enough to know it’s a place we will want to be one day. Contrary to world philosophy, not everyone will be there, only those who have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb will have this privilege.

Some of the things God’s people will experience are:

* Mansions. The mansions of many rooms are for all to dwell together. The New Jerusalem will be 1500 miles cubed. The spectacle of God’s glorious city will be united with Christ to 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.”

* Rejoicing. God’s people 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,”

* Jesus will be worshipped by all His people. God’s people are quite aware of why they have hope, Jesus is everything to them.

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!”

* Physical limitations will be gone. The old flesh stained with sin will be replaced with perfect bodies.

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.”

* The Power of God will be on display. The authority of the King that was once denied by the world will be have a spectacular revelation in Heaven.

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.”

* Jesus will lead His people. Just as Christ led His people on earth, so He will continue to lead them forever.

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.”

* Heaven will be adorned with jewels. The Spirit of God is precious to His people, like a precious jewel they have been given honor by His Seal.

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.”

* Gates of pearl and streets of pure gold. The purity of God’s righteousness will symbolically be on display in the new Jerusalem. Entry into this city will be a reminder of it’s great worth.

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.”

* The Tree of Life abides there. As the Lord breathes life into His people, the Tree of Life will remind them of how they have been grafted into His vine.

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.”

* The glory of the Lord illumines the Heavens. As the Lord enlightened the hearts and minds of His people, they have been called to shine that light to the world.

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.”

The return of the King is expectant among His people. He is everything to them for a reason.

Jesus is the bridge by which they have attained eternal life.

The second coming of Jesus will be a day like no other. He will come like a thief in the night. When the world is least 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. His people stay ready by keeping steadfast in purity, serving Him not only in thought but in action— simply put, His people live for Him.

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

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