Text: Luke 17:20-37 | Listen to Message
If That…Then What?
Jesus claimed that he would return one day – suddenly and unmistakably – to judge the whole earth. On that day, a separation will be made: the faithless will go into everlasting punishment and the faithful (those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior) will go into eternal life in the kingdom of God.
About 2,000 years have passed since Jesus made these promises, and obviously he still hasn’t returned. So people tend to have one of two reactions:
1) A microscopic percentage of people engage in endless speculation over the exact moment of Jesus’ return.
2) A massive percentage of people don’t ever think about Jesus’ return.
Jesus says this first response is utterly foolish. For one thing, no one is going to correctly predict the day and hour of Christ’s return. No one. Yet when it happens, every one will know.
Jesus spends significantly more time on this second response of apathetic indifference. And he says this, too, is utterly foolish. If the eternal fate of a few billion souls will be sealed in a single blink of eye, we’d have to be crazy not to consider the impact that moment must have on all our other moments!
So you don’t have to be excessively wicked to miss the point of your life; you just have to be indifferent. Distracted. Lulled to sleep by the cyclical routines of ordinary life. Functionally convinced that all your tomorrows are going to continue on just like today.
Meanwhile, Jesus is saying, “I’m coming soon! You have no time to lose!”
If you don’t believe this, there’s probably nothing a short article can do to convince you of the certainty of Christ’s promise. But if you do believe this, here are three practical ways to let that future hope shape your present reality each and every day:
1. Commit your soul’s security to the King.
The future kingdom is not reserved for high-performing super saints. It’s for broken sinners who repent and trust in Jesus alone. That’s pretty much the message of the whole Bible in a nutshell: Treasure the King and you get the kingdom for free.
2. Seek your identity and satisfaction in relation to God.
If you build your identity or satisfaction on anything other than Jesus Christ, one day you will leave it behind and lose it forever. You’re not taking your education, your money, your success, or your reputation or acclaim with you. To the degree that your identity is built on things that are perishable, one day you will lose your own self. But if you lose your self now for the sake of Christ, you will gain your true self forever.
3. Share the Gospel with a sense of urgency.
If you knew that Jesus would come back tomorrow, would it change the way you spoke and lived the Gospel today? Of course it would. So why doesn’t it change the way you speak and live, knowing that he could come back tomorrow?
The fact is we’re surrounded by people who are spiritually bleeding and dying without Jesus. And we cannot simply go on about our business as usual. We cannot just not care. We must move toward others in compassionate courage and do something to introduce them to the Healer.