How to Avoid Being Ashamed at His Appearing
October 12, 2008
Pastor Sean Harris
1 John 2:28
And now, little children (You, if you are rescued), abide in him (Jesus); that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
You can be sure that if you were rescued from sea, you would remember that time in your life. If you cannot remember a time when God rescued you, you may never have been rescued before. Birth is not rescued. Baptized is not rescued. Member of a church is not rescued. Rescued is the decisive moment in which God reconciled you unto Himself through your faith in Jesus Christ.
You can be sure that if I was able to set the date and the time that the Lord Jesus was coming back, and I could assure you in the same way I can assure you of typical earthly things, that you would begin to reorganize your life and change your priorities. Pastor, how do you know that would happen? I know it by your own behavior. Pastor, can you prove that? Yes, I can. You can be sure that if you went to the doctor today or tomorrow and the doctor looked you right in the eyes with as much seriousness as he could muster and he said that you are suffering from a fatal disease. And you only have 4 months to live. Mark my words, you only have 120 days to live, no more. In fact, it may come earlier than that. I performed the test and I know for sure that the disease advances quickly. It will radically change your life. You will begin to lose your mind and in 120 days you will be dead. If you believe that doctor to be true, you would begin to change everything about your life. Your priorities would change. The things you do would change. The trips you take would change. The way you relate to your children would change. Everything about your life would change. Well, do you know what? Doctor Bible is telling us that Jesus is coming again. I am going to show you from the Word of God how you can avoid being ashamed and how you can have confidence. Would you like to have confidence when He comes again? Yes, I do too.
The first step to NOT being ashamed at the Second Coming of Jesus is to order your life based on the fact He could come at any time. Begin to establish your life. Begin to order your life. Change it and adjust your priorities. Begin to think in terms that He is coming again. In fact, He could come at any time. He could come on a Sunday night when you are sitting at home. You are not at church and you know you should be at church; the Holy Spirit has been wearing you out about skipping church on Sunday nights for a year. You say, Pastor, that is just a guilt trip that you are putting on us to try to get us to come to church. Choose whether or not you want it to be a guilt trip. That is your individual decision, but I am here to tell you that He could come back at any time. So the question for us is how much do we order our life and our priorities. How much do we order those based on His Second Coming?
The Bible makes it very, very clear that Jesus Christ is coming again in the most personal and real sense possible. The first time He came, He came through a virgin as a small baby. He’s not coming as a baby this time. When He comes back the second time, He is coming back as a King. He’s sneaked into civilization and history as a little baby the first time 2000 years ago. When He comes the next time, there is not anyone that is going to miss His coming. The first thing that is going to happen is the Church is going to be raptured. What does that mean? The Bible indicates that in just the blink of an eye, a trumpet is going to sound, and we who are in Christ are going to be called up to be with Jesus forever in glory! And so what could happen this very day is that Christ could come and, in the blink of an eye, half this auditorium could be cleared out, and the others are going be looking around at each other. You can be sure this stage is going to be empty because Jesus is my King. I can’t wait for my King to call me home. And if you are left, you will look around and you will say, now what do we do? And do you know what? There is no point assembling next Sunday because God is done with His church at that point. He’s raptured the Church. He turns His attention to the Jews and there are seven years of Tribulation—utter misery. Read the book of Revelation; it will scare you to death. At the end of the seven years, Jesus will come to occupy a thrown in Jerusalem and reestablish an earthly kingdom as King on the throne of David. He is going to rule and reign for 1,000 years. You say, “Pastor, I’m saved. Wait a minute! There are a lot of saved people who according to 1st John 2:28 are going to be ashamed ‘at His Coming.’ They are going to be ashamed. What are you talking about?”
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. This is a promise from the Lord Jesus Christ, and it does not get any better than that. He said to all His followers, I am coming again, and I will bring you where I am. Do you understand that life on this earth is not going to last forever?
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (carousing), and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. Let me tell you something; let me make sure that you completely understand this. You are not going to get a text message ahead of time to alert you to Jesus’ Coming. There’s not going to be a mass email that says you have seven days until Christ comes back. Get ready! That is not going to happen. FOX News is not going to report that Jesus is coming at a particular time. He’s not telling anyone. So what does that mean to me? That means that there are Christians who are going to be involved in carousing, drunkenness, and foolish behavior. They will be doing what they should not be doing, and He is going to come back at that moment. And I promise, you will be quite ashamed of yourself if you get called to glory in a drunken state. Does that mean I lose my salvation? No, it does not mean you will lose your salvation, but it says you are going to be pretty ashamed. You won’t have confidence. What is my intention? To help you have confidence.
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. The Bible says the same way He went to Heaven is the same way He will return. Pastor, do you really believe that? Yes, I believe that because the Bible says it. So are you telling us that we are really going to see Jesus? Yes, that is what I am telling you. I am telling you that He is going to come in the most real and literal sense. I’m telling you everyone is going to notice His coming. How in the world can that be? Hey, He’s God. Are you going to tell me that He can’t make that happen? The same God who can speak matter into existence can figure out how to make sure every eye sees Him simultaneously. That is probably easy for Him. You might think “not in my lifetime. Preachers have been preaching that for years and years.” Do you know what the Bible calls you? The Bible calls you a scoffer. And I will show you that from 1st Peter in a moment.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. Are they talking about real garments? No, it’s a metaphor. It is talking about Christians who live ready for the coming of Jesus or Christians who don’t live ready for the coming of Jesus and it’s the analogy of getting caught naked. It is to help you understand the difference.
Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. Watch is a command! We are to live with the Second Coming of Christ in mind at all times. Do you know what have more Christians this week watching Wall Street than the Coming of Jesus Christ. They are living on FOX News Business. Is it up or is it down? Who cares in the grand scheme of things. What difference does it really make? Do you understand that Jesus does not have to check with Wall Street before He comes again? Do you understand He does not have to get the President’s permission? And the command for us, every single one of us, is to watch and live in anticipation. Order our life according to the things that matter with a Kingdom mindset.
Do you run your life like He is NEVER coming back? You are worried about your 401K plan or golf course membership, and you want to relocate to wherever because you are not interested in winning people to Jesus. All you are interested in is living your last twenty years in luxury. I don’t want Jesus to return and find me on a golf course. Pastor, is there something wrong with golfing? No, there is nothing wrong with golfing. Let me tell you something: if you are on your 40th hole in three days, your priorities are way out of whack. I can’t wait to retire so I can go golfing every single day. That doesn’t sound like watching or praying to me. Do you know what you ought to be thinking about? I’m going to retire so I can serve Jesus more. I am going to get my financial ducks in order so I can volunteer at the local church. Do your priorities indicate you believe Christ could come again today?
The imminent return of the Lord Jesus is generally disbelieved by the majority of people.
II Peter 3:3-9
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of godly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Let me tell you something: if you do not know God today, you should be very glad that He did not return yesterday. If you are not sure of your own salvation; if you are not positively sure that you are in Jesus Christ and He in you; if there has never been a time when you repented of your sins and received Jesus Christ by faith in Him and Him alone; if there has never been a time in your life where you bowed your knee to King Jesus and you have no idea of who He is as Lord, and if there has never been a time that you received God’s gift of salvation by grace, you need to be exceptionally thankful He did not return yesterday. So, what is the Bible saying? It’s saying that God delays His coming as an act of mercy and grace. Every single day He delays His coming is one more day that I can get my life in order and rearrange my priorities. It’s one more day I can receive Jesus Christ. It’s one more day that I can structure my life in such a way that I will not be ashamed at His coming. Instead of walking around as scoffers saying He didn’t come last year or the year before or the 1960’s or the 1800’s; He’s not really coming again. According to the Word of God what we should be saying is Lord Jesus Christ, come quickly! And every decision we make should be based on whether or not Jesus is Lord.
II Peter 3:10-11
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (The house you spend so much time and money on and the 401K plan will be burned up. You can’t take it with you. You cannot take a brief case with you.) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
II Peter 3:12
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? How does the reality that everything is going to be burned up impact you? With the understanding that only that which is eternal will make it into heaven, how should we order our life? What should our priorities be?
II Peter 3:13-14
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (Last week, some of you were as convicted as can be about needing to repent and receive Christ. You were as convicted as can be that you needed to respond to the alter call, you knew you needed to be baptized, you were convicted that you needed to change your life, and yet your hands were on that pew, white-knuckling. You need to be thankful that God delayed His coming one more week for you and gave you another opportunity to respond to the alter call. And if you delay it today, and He comes tomorrow, you will spend an entire eternity regretting that you did not respond to Jesus Christ. And you will not say, God I charge You with sin because He is being exceptionally merciful.) Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
The second step to NOT being ashamed at His Second Coming is to presently abide in Him. To presently abide—that’s means today, tomorrow, and next Wednesday. What does it mean to abide or why should I? He tells us,
1 John 2:28
And now, little children, abide in him; Why?
that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. You can read it like this, I will abide in Him so that when He appears I may have confidence. It’s not arrogance. You do not have to be ashamed. It is the understanding that by the grace of God you have done your best. You ordered your priorities as best you could. So ask yourself, have I done my best this week? Were my priorities right?
What does it mean to abide in Him? It means:
• to remain stable or fixed in a state
• to continue in a place
• to conform to Him
How do I know if I am abiding in Christ? So much fruit is the evidence
of whether or not I am abiding in Jesus. If I am in Jesus, there is going to be fruit
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
The more I remain in a stable, fixed position with Jesus Christ as my Lord—in a state of obedience—I will bear much fruit.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:
The more I produce fruit, the less I will have to be ashamed of at Jesus’ Second Coming.
Four Types of Fruit:
Fruit: A Godly Attitude
Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. I need to manifest this all the time. The more I manifest this, the more I’ll not be ashamed at the 2nd coming. The less I manifest this, the more I will be ashamed.
Fruit: Righteous Behavior
Philippians 1:11: Being filled with the fruits of righteousness (Obeying the Word of God), which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Christians who remain in Christ SIN less.
Fruit: Praise to God
Hebrews 13:15: By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. People who abide in Christ praise God! Think about every time this collective corporate audience sings praises to God, it is a offering to God. We say be pleased oh, God with our offering of praise. Take every word, every heart, every emotion, love, appreciation and we hold it up to God and we say this is our offering of praise. People who don’t abide in Christ don’t praise God. How does a teenager who is abiding in Christ say this is lame? The Word of God is lame. This music is lame. If that teenager is saved, they are going to be very ashamed. Do you know what that teenager is counting on? He is counting on Christ not coming again. According to Peter, that teenager is a scoffer. Every scoffer is going to bow the knee. Peter says there were scoffers then, there are scoffers now, and the closer we get to the Second Coming the more scoffers there will be.
Fruit: Converts of Christ
Romans 1:13-15: Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. Paul is talking about a particular kind of fruit and it is called a convert. Paul wants some fruit in Rome. Do you want some fruit in your neighborhood? Would you like some fruit where you work? How about in your military outfits, or your company? What about in your small business, would you like some fruit there? Paul wanted to preach the gospel in Rome so that souls would be saved to His account or because of His human effort to share the truth. Does this mean I have to lead them to the Lord to have fruit?
1 Corinthians 3:6
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. According to the Word of God one plants, another waters, but God gives the increase. Five, six, or seven people may be involved in one single person’s salvation. Who sorts out who gets all the credit? God does. God knows about the grandma who has been praying for years. God knows about the mother who has been begging God to save her son. God knows about the First Sergeant who has been living his life in front of the soldiers as a Christian. God knows about the Squad leader who is going to help him come to Jesus. God knows everyone who was involved in someone coming to salvation and God will give credit to all involved. So how are you going to get involved this week? Who are you praying for? That is why we have our prayer list. Every single person who prays for someone’s salvation is seeking fruit to credit their account. How else can I get involved, Pastor? If you are not doing anything Monday nights at 7 o’clock, come on out for visitation. Preacher, you want me to be there Sunday nights and now Monday nights? It depends on whether or not you believe He is coming again. Take a chance; gamble on it.
What if I am not sure I am abiding in Christ? For those of you who believe you have salvation let me ask you this question. Have you been arranging your life in such a way that you believe that Jesus could come again today? If I was to open up your check book, what would I see? Would I see evidence of someone who believe He is coming again? What are some things I would look for? Do you put more money in the 401K plan or in the local New Testament church? Do you spend more time in the Word of God or watching FOX News? Do you spend more time preaching the Gospel or trying to get a politician elected? Whoever gets elected this coming year has got four years and then we’ll get a new one and then another one after that. And do you know Who is going to be King the whole time? Jesus. So keep things in perspective. Whether the Democrats get into office or the Republicans get in office, people still need to be saved. The Gospel still needs to be preached no matter which party is in Congress. Missionaries still need support no matter who is in Congress. The local church is still going to move forward no matter what happens on Wall Street. There was a Depression in the 1920’s, and Christians still got together and worshipped God. In fact, I believe they believed they needed Him more than before. So Christians, if you say “you know what, I need to get my priorities right”, I invite you to make a decision today.