See part 1 of this sermon on Jesus the Promised Messiah.
IV. Messiah Departs
3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.Acts 1:3
· Jesus was going to be leaving, and the ministry was going to be turned over to these guys, so it was critical that they were convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead and was indeed alive. So Jesus supplied many convincing proofs. You know these guys were convinced because eleven out of the twelve of them died a martyr’s death because of their commitment to follow Jesus.
· Remember, I mentioned in the introduction that the dominant theme in the Bible was the Kingdom of God. Well, just look at what Jesus is teaching them during this critical forty day period before His departure. That’s right. He’s teaching them more about the Kingdom of God.
Jesus personal training program for these guys is now complete and it’s time for Him to leave!
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11
Notice what their very last question to Jesus was before His departure. Has the time finally arrived Lord? Are you going to establish your Kingdom now? They knew He was going to set it up and they were ready for Him to do it right then.
Well, it’s been almost 2,000 years since Jesus ascended to heaven. Today, there is still much speculation over the precise timing of Messiah’s return and when His Messianic Kingdom will begin. Christ made it clear in v7 when He departed that “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”
So, when you hear “date setters” declaring when Christ will return, you can be absolutely certain that they don’t know what they’re talking about because the Father has specifically withheld that information from us. Why? Why doesn’t He tell us when Christ is coming back? The answer is because He wants us to live each day as if it will be the day when He comes back for us. Given human nature, if we knew when Jesus was coming back, we’d tend to wait until shortly before that time to start being diligent in serving Him! The knowledge that Christ can come back for us at any time should motivate us to lives godly lives for Him all the time! This is called the doctrine of Christ’s imminent return.
So, how do we know now that Jesus is coming back? We know the same way that they knew in Jesus’s day that Messiah was coming! God’s Word clearly states it, but here’s an interesting thing. Jesus isn’t going to just come back once, but He’ll come back twice! His return will be in two parts!
V. Messiah Returns – Two Parts
· 2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Jesus left and went to heaven where He said He’d prepare a place for us. He said He’d come back and get us so that we could be with Him there. Paul supplies some of the details to us of exactly how this will take place.
· 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 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.
1 Thess 4:15-17
· 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1 Cor 15:51-53
Note a few elements of the rapture:
· Christians who have died will rise first
· Then Christians who are still alive at His coming will be taken up
· Jesus comes down from heaven and meets us in the clouds
· We’ll never again be separated from Him
· Our mortal body will be replaces with an immortal body.
Not mentioned in these verses, but communicated elsewhere:
· We will go to heaven with Him for a little over seven years. (that’s the 70th week of Daniel)
· During that period, He will judge our works and dispense rewards.
· Also during those same seven years, he earth will have tribulation and be ruled by Anti-Christ
At the completion of this 7+ years, Jesus 2nd return to earth takes place. This time He comes to establish His Kingdom on earth.
B. Second coming
· 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.
12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.
13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.
15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
After defeating His enemies, Messiah establishes his earthly kingdom. Both Old and New Testaments give us many descriptions of this Messianic Kingdom.
VI. Messiah Reigns
1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.
7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.
10 Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious. Isaiah 11:1-10
Time doesn’t permit us to examine additional aspects of His Messianic reign in other passages, but we’ll note a few from Is 11.
· Christ will judge with righteous judgment
· His authority and rule will be absolute
· The wicked will be slain
· The predator and prey relationships of animals will be replaced by peaceful coexistence
· Animals also will no longer attack and harm people
· All people will have the knowledge of the Lord
· In general, the curse of sin is curtailed but not eliminated.
To get the big picture in our flyover, we had to pass over a lot of important details, but I hope this has whetted your appetite to dive into some of the details and study this issue more on your own.
We’ve looked at prophecies of the Messiah, His being offered as King but rejected, His departure and subsequent returns, and finally His reign here on earth
I’d like to ask the worship team to come up now. I want to conclude by asking you to carefully consider what your response to Messiah should be as I read a passage written by the apostle Paul about Christ’s place in history and the rightful place He should have in our lives.
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:5-13
See part 1 of this sermon on Jesus the Promised Messiah.