Today Pastor Choi talks about Christ’s second coming in three aspects: A. Why He comes again? B. How will He come again? C. When is it going to be? In conclusion, he reminds and exhorts the congregation that they must be on the alert in prayer while they await their Savior.
Following is a summary of the sermon:
Mark 13:32-37 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
32 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
33 “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. 34 It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. 35 Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’”
According to the Church calendar, today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent consists of four Sundays before Christmas Day. During this Advent season, we remember the spirit of Christmas from awaiting the promised Messiah to witnessing His actual coming as our Savior and Lord.
In the past, God communicated with His people through many means such as nature and people, dreams and visions, signs and wonders. Today He mostly communicates with His people through the Bible (because the Bible is freely available—the best-selling book in history). However, when the Scripture was not available, for instance, in the Old Testament times, the primary way of communication was prophets. For hundreds of years God has spoken to His people through prophets (Hebrews 1:1). Through the prophets He promised to Israel that He would send them the Messiah who would restore God’s reign on earth. That promise had been fulfilled 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. God sent His Son to humanity. In fact, that’s what Christmas is all about. Jesus Christ was born with a mission: to save His people from their sins. Let me assure you again the very reason for Jesus’ first coming: (as His name says the Lord saves) He came to save humanity from sin and to give them eternal life.
Now, our Lord Jesus Christ lived on earth for 33 years. Especially, the last three years of His earthly life, He did many miracles, healed the sick, preached the good news, and taught the Word of God. At the cross He completed the work of salvation: His body was broken so that we may be healed. His blood was shed so that the wages of our sins may be paid. The best part is this: He arose from the dead in order to show us that death is not final. We do have hope of eternal life.
After His physical resurrection, for the next forty days, the risen Christ repeatedly appeared to His disciples and performed many more miracles. Eventually, He ascended into Heaven to be seated at the right hand of God. As He was ascending to Heaven, He promised His disciples saying, “I will come again.”
Since His ascension, 2,000 years have passed. We Christians still await the fulfillment of His promise. We are still waiting for His second coming. In the New Testament Jesus in His own words had already told us about His coming (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21). So, it would be foolish of us if we fail to take heed to what He said about His own second coming. That’s our topic this morning.
One day Christ’s disciples asked Him about His second coming (Mark 13:4). Today’s passage is part of His answer to them. If Jesus were here today in our midst, and if we asked Him the same question (that is, when He is coming to us and what signs we should look for), I doubt that He will change His original answer. He would give us the same answer and say to us, “I already have given you. Read My Book—-Mark 13.” Based on that chapter, I am going to explain to you three parts of His promise of coming: A. Why He comes again? B. How will He come again? C. When is it going to be?
- A. Why will He come again? (Hebrews 9:28)
One thing I know about His second coming is this: He will come to judge the world. It is going to be different from the first time. When He came first time, it was for salvation for all. But this time it’s going to be for judgment. The Bible says He will come to judge the ungodly. Listen to 2 Peter 3:7: But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
Christ will come again for the judgment of the world, not for its redemption. It is not going to be pretty for those who refuse to obey God. It is going to be miserable for those who are ungodly. We don’t have to be afraid of His coming, though, because it is going to be our salvation and deliverance (Luke 21:28). It is going to be our glorious day to meet the Lord in the air. Listen again to Hebrews 9:28: so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. Folks, His coming is great news for us! Rejoice! Let’s share this great news with others so that they too can be included in salvation not in judgment, Amen?
B. How will He come again? (Acts 1:11, Matthew 24:26-27, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
In what manner He will come, first, Jesus said that He will come in the same way as He was taken to Heaven (Acts 1:11). In other words, as the disciples of Jesus witnessed with their own eyes Him taken up into Heaven, we too will be able to see Him come down with our own eyes. Furthermore, when He comes, everyone on earth, with no exception, will be able to see Him simultaneously. It won’t be like: we Americans see Him, but folks in Australia won’t. Rather, everyone in the world, from America to China, from Antarctica to Greenland, even people in North Korea will be able to see Him at the same time. How do I know? The Word of God says so. Listen to Matthew 24:26-27: So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Next, He will come in clouds with great power and glory (Mark 13:26). He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven (Mark 13:27). He will come in the clouds with the trumpet sound. No one will miss His coming. It’s going to be loud and clear to all ears. Listen to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. [play Handel’s Messiah: The trumpet shall sound].
- C. When will He come again? (Mark 13:32)
We must know that His coming is the appointed time (Kairos) (v. 33). It is firmly written in God’s schedule book. He has every intention to keep it. Therefore, Christ’s second coming is not a matter of “if” it happens, but “when” it happens.
As far as the exact time of His coming is concerned, no matter how curious you are, don’t waste your time in speculating, because no one knows the day or hour, neither the angels in Heaven, nor Jesus; only the Father knows (Mark 13:32). In the past 2-3 years, many God’s servants say that we are getting close to His coming. Don’t blindly believe what they say. Rather, check yourself with what’s going on in today’s world. Collect all the news yourself and compare them to the words Jesus has spoken in Mark 13, Matthew 24, and Luke 21. Here are some of the signs of the end times that I checked myself in recent months: wars, rumors of wars, nation against nation, earthquakes, famine, darkening of the Moon, persecution against Christians, and false prophets. Consider also other signs in our society. Paul the Apostle prophesied about them well in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.
In terms of what we must do while we await His coming, the Lord Jesus commands us not to panic (Mark 13:7), or be deceived (Mark 13:5, 21), nor worry (Mark 13:11). The first and foremost of Christ’s command for us is to be on the alert [γρηγορειτε]—four times in today’s text (v. 33, 34, 35, 37). ‘Watch’ in KJV. By the way, how did the disciples of Jesus understand the word ‘watch’? Here’s how they understood: watch means to ‘remain awake’—Oxford Dictionary— ‘for a period of time.’ It is also used in the context of ‘pray.’ So, ‘to be on the alert’ means ‘to watch and pray.’ And, ‘to watch and pray’ means ‘to stay spiritually awake and keep on praying.’
Why do we need to stay awake and pray? Because, we don’t know the day or the hour of His coming. He will come like a thief at night (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Since we don’t know the time of His coming, we relax our attitude and our expectation of His coming. Consequently, our hearts will get dull to the signs of the times so that we live out our lives as business as usual. Our hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness, and the worries of life. Another translation (the Message Bible) puts this way—Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. We must watch lest we live a life of dissipation, our hearts be drunk with the worldly pleasures and wrapped with the worldly cares. And to those souls, the Lord warns, the day will come upon suddenly like a trap (Luke 21:34—NASB).
Don’t think that His warning is just for some pastors. It is for every believer in Christ. Jesus says in v. 37: What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’ Listen again. But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
Be on the alert. We can do it, until He comes, Amen?
Next Sunday, we are going to listen again to the Word of God: this time what kind of life we should conduct while we await His coming.
Let us pray.