Acts 1:11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (NASB)
Christ established His church upon the revelation that He was, is, and always shall be, the Messiah. He is the deliverer of all who put their trust in Him. The church has been Christ’s ambassadors on Earth for centuries, and yet, we have continually focused our attention on the wrong question. We have been asking, “When will Christ return and take us into Glory?”
Our focus should be, “Are we ready for His return?”
Because I believe the return of Christ is imminent, the focus of my messages for the near future will reflect the theme READY or NOT. Jesus promised when the “Son of Man” comes He will bring justice, but He questioned the presence of FAITH when He returned. It is past time that we stop asking “When will Christ return?” and start asking, “Are we ready for His return?”
READY or NOT Christ is coming again! The first step in being READY is living a repentant life-style.
Repentant – Psalm 51:16-18 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. (KJV)
To be ready for the return of Christ we must humble ourselves. God is more concerned with the condition of our hearts than in the abundance of our offerings. He will openly receive us when our hearts are broken over the same things His heart is broken over. God’s desire is that ALL would turn to Him and accept the Gift of salvation through Christ. When we recognize our wickedness and turn away from our desires God will create in us a desire to seek and serve Him.
Excited – Acts 15:2-4 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
Disagreements and arguments are not a 21st century arrival within the church. People can always find issues to divide us. However, if we are living a repentant life-style, excitement about all that God is doing in and through us breaks down the dividing walls we construct. Being enthusiastic about the life changing power of God unifies us. Repentance and excitement propel us into the realm of servanthood. Step one, be repentant! Step two, get excited about what God is doing! Step three, make yourself available!
Available – 1 Samuel 3:7-9 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. (KJV)
Isaiah 6:4-9 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. (KJV)
These two examples demonstrate the willingness of God to use those who make themselves available to Him. Samuel was an answer to prayer for his mother. Out of obedience she gave him back to the Lord to serve in the temple. Even before he knew the Lord God called him. He answer the call.
Isaiah had an unmistakable experience in the presence of the Lord. He (Isaiah) recognized his inability to stand up to God’s holy standard, and yet he accepted the purification offered and willingly answered God’s call.
We hesitate to put ourselves in the position of these two prophets. We can readily list reasons God will not use us, but the truth is God is looking for willing servants. He is not interested in our excuses! He is well able to sanctify and empower us to answer the call. God wants to use you! The fourth step, is being devoted to God’s purpose.
Devoted – 1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the Lord God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the Lord. (KJV)
Building the sanctuary of the Lord has been transformed from a physical building. It is the knowledge that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God has chosen each of us to respond to His calling. He is building us into a royal priesthood of all READY believers. The final step, allow the yearning for God’s Kingdom to grow within us. We need to hunger for the things of God.
Yearning – Romans 8:23-26 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (KJV)
Our weakness, our lack, our inability is overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit! READY or NOT Christ is coming again! My prayer for all of us is that we be READY when He comes.