So we come to the final questions for our series, and the first is, why must Jesus come again? Acts 1:1-11 is about the ascension of Jesus, it seems to be out of place for us to read at this time of the year.
When we look at the prophets that I mentioned in the first part of the series, I said that there were some prophecies about Jesus that are still to be fulfilled. For example Isaiah 9:6-7 is a scripture that we read every Christmas, but verse 7 is still not fully realized, we wait for the day when justice and righteousness will be established and continue forever.
This is not unusual in the writings of the Old Testament prophets. It is much like looking at a mountain range from great distance, this is how the prophets saw what God was giving them. All the mountains look the same distance away, but as you get closer you see that there are valleys and great distances between the mountains. The Old Testament prophets saw from a distance, but the disciples who walked with Jesus saw the first “mountain” being fulfilled in the presence of Jesus. They believed Jesus when he said that he must go and that he will return again one day. From their vantage point, they looked to another distant mountain, the great Day of the Lord, when Jesus would come as a warrior king, to judge the world and establish his rule and reign.
The first coming of Jesus was a mission of humility and sacrifice, he came to deal with the problem of sin and he came to conquer death. But the next time Jesus comes, he will come on a mission of triumph and justice.
When Jesus comes again, it will be with a loud trumpet blast and fantastic Glory, far different from his humble birth in a manger (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16). Jesus must come in order to receive his Bride the church, and to judge the World. Both the living and the dead, both believers and unbelievers, everyone will stand before the judgment throne. At this time, Jesus will separate his faithful children from those who refused to believe in him. One to eternal reward, the other to eternal punishment. At this time Jesus will establish the New Heaven and the New Earth, all things will be made new. God’s people will live together in perfect fellowship with one another and with our creator. No more sin, no more pain, no more tears. That is why Jesus has to come again, and we eagerly await that day.
We come to our next question, why do you and I need to believe in Jesus? As we look at the Bible’s account of the birth of Jesus in Matthew and Luke, we see many facts, we see the account of Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds, the wise men, and even Herod. All of these people were real people, but only people who witnessed the greatest miracle of all time. The story of Jesus that we remember this week is not simply a story of a life two thousand years ago. The story of Jesus affects all of history and all of mankind. The disciples were given the privilege of seeing Jesus in person, they believed in him because they saw his miracles, and they witnessed his resurrection from the dead. But we have something even more wonderful than that, when Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised the Holy Spirit would come and live within us. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity actually resides in all who believe in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is our comforter, our counsellor, and our guide in life, we are not left as orphans, we have become Children of the living God. We must believe in Jesus, he is our only hope. When Jesus comes again, it will be too late to then decide to believe in Him.
But I want to challenge you today to consider that believing in Jesus is not enough. In James 2:19 we see that belief in God is not enough unless it is accompanied by a life of faith and action. Merely giving mental agreement to the virgin birth, accepting that Jesus is the Son of God even believing that he came to be a sacrifice for our sins is not enough. Someone who is truly saved is someone who takes the truth of the Gospel, believes it and then acts accordingly, the Gospel message must change our lives. So the third question is why do you need to make Jesus Christ Lord of your life?
In Acts 1:10-11, we see the disciples standing on the Mount of Olives gazing up at the sky. They were staring in a stunned silence, paralyzed in a mixture of confusion, wonder, fear and anxiety. Jesus has just left, what will they do now?
Then almost as if to wake them up, two angels appear in human form, and give them some comfort that Jesus is coming back again. But the truth is that they had a job to do, Jesus had just given them his final instructions (Acts 1:8), and there was work to be done. The disciples needed to be reminded that they were not called by Jesus to sit on top of the Mount of Olives, stargazing and waiting for his return. They were called to go and change the World with a message that was life changing and revolutionary.
And that is our calling too. We are not saved in order to sit back and continue life as normal. How can we continue as normal, when we have received the Holy Spirit? We have the presence of the Living God within us, we have been called with a purpose to give our lives to Christ as living sacrifices. That is what it means to be a Christian, the most incredible privilege and calling any human being can have, to be the representatives of the Living God. As we wait for Jesus to come again let us be about His business, let us be found faithful, doing what God has called us to do.