When Jesus returns back as King
We maybe about 5 months away from Christmas but as you know, at Christmas, we celebrate Jesus Christ coming to earth as a human. Christmas is a time where the Church and our community celebrate Jesus Christ’s first coming as a baby. The community like to think of Jesus as a baby, because a baby can be controlled. Somewhat. Though that is coming from the perspective of somebody who has never had children!!! Society in general, is comfortable with leaving Jesus as a baby. However, Jesus is not a baby now, He is King and what a King. He is coming again, not as a baby this time, but as King and judge. Both ideas are affirmed by Jeremiah and John.
Have you ever wondered what the book of Revelation was all about? The writer is the Apostle John, now approaching 100 years of age and he is almost blind. John was in exile on Patmos, put there by the Romans due to his witness for Jesus. There was open persecution of Christians at the time. This is the same John, who was the apostle Jesus loved. John saw Jesus walk on the water. He seen and heard Jesus command a storm to cease! He saw Jesus weeping. He saw Jesus in righteous anger clearing the Temple courts. He seen Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons. He had his feet washed by Jesus. He saw Jesus transfigured. He saw Jesus die. He had seen Jesus risen and ascended. John now sees Jesus in all the fulness of His glory and Jesus shows him the new city!
When I have to go away by myself, I know that when I get home, I know I am expected and loved. My wife has my favourite meal prepared. The heating is on and the proverbial pipe and slippers are ready. Everything I like, that makes it a home for me, is done for me! After my first week down here, I returned back there, and was showered with balloons and all manner of things, because I was expected and she loves me!!
Similarly, when we get to heaven, Jesus has prepared a place for those of us who love Him, trust Him and obey Him as King. Our King is waiting for us! He is expecting us, wanting to lavish His love upon us. We know He loves us now, but that is only in part. When we are with Him eternally, we shall have the full picture of Jesus. He is with us now in Spirit, but then we shall be with Him physically and face to face. Heaven is a prepared place of majestic beauty. John portrays his visions for us, building up layer upon layer of words, as a painter painting a painting. Laying on the colours, layer upon layer until finally the painting is finished.
Heaven is a prepared place. Secondly, it is a pure place. We all suffer in some way. For myself in the recent past, I have suffered a brain haemorrhage and I have lost three days, I will never regain. I continue to take medication for blood pressure and hypothyroidism in the morning and in the evening I take anti-convulsants. I take so many pills I rattle when I walk. With the medication, come all manner of side effects. I find it difficult doing certain activities. Sometimes my entire body aches and groans in protest at my actions. We suffer, don’t we. My father died 10 years ago from a misdiagnosed hiatus hernia. My mother suffers with arthritis and hyperthyroidism. One of my brothers suffer with clinical depression. A lady I know back in London, Pam, is sleeping in her front room because her leg is so swollen she cant get up her stairs to her bedroom. We suffer don’t we?
One day soon, we will have perfect bodies and full health. We only have to look at the news on TV or read the papers to see global suffering. When our King returns, there will be no more terrorism, missiles, guns, wars or bombs. No more will man’s inhumanity to man be allowed. No more torture, rapes, muggings or robberies. No more poverty or famine. No more religion, idols or icons. No more gossip, fornication, adultery, lying or debauchery. No more cowardice. No more pain. No more death. No more suffering. No more sin. Suffering of any kind leaves some sort of scar or mark. Do you have scars? Physical, emotional or mental scars due to sickness, somebody else sinning against you or as a result of your own sins? Scars come as a result of human life. Much like a house that has lovingly lived in. Scratches in the paintwork. Dents and knocks in the wood. Our human bodies are the same, yet…
Yet, one day they will be gone!! Vanished!! A pure body you will have!! And I will have! No need for annoying spectacles. There will be no Specsavers or Stannah stair-lifts in heaven!! No more wheelchairs. No more walking sticks or frames. No more hearing-aids. No more braces or dentures. No more doctors or dentists!! Perfection attained and it is to the glory of God and His majestic doing, that this will occur. Do you believe it? Do you live it? Are you suffering today from sickness? Are you suffering today because of somebody else??
Well one day, one glorious day, all suffering will be banished for those of us who love Him. Read with me verse 4, “God will wipe away our tears. There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and no more pain, for former things have passed away.” Take that verse to heart. What a glorious day it will be for those of us who love Him now. God Himself, with our face in His hands, wiping away our tears… It will be a place where we will live the fruit of the spirit eternally. A place where “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal.5:22-23) are both permanent and universal. That is part of our King’s manifesto. What a day, that will be!! We will enter those gates, thanking Jesus, looking back at how we suffered. Not only medically, but also for His sake under persecution. We will be able to say with Jeremiah and John “It was worth it all. The sufferings I endured and overcame for the sake of Jesus, was all worth it, so as to be here eternally and living with our King.”
Pearly gates (v.21)
Heaven is prepared for us and it is a pure place. Lastly we enter through giant gates of pearl. Do you know how a pearl is formed? When an oyster gets an irritating grain of sand within its shell, it covers the grain of sand over with layers of mother-of-pearl until the irritation and the suffering is no longer felt. Now what do you think the suffering was that created these giant pearls that are the gates (v21)? I think they are to remind us of the cross and the suffering and pain that Jesus endured. People denigrate the cross. I have had people say that “the cross doesn’t matter” and “your religion is as good as mine thank you very much.” Others state “that all religions lead to heaven”.
However, the very gates of heaven tells us that these things are wrong. They tell us that it is only through the cross, that we get to pass through and enjoy heaven in worship and service of God. Only through the pain, the agony and the suffering that Jesus endured, culminating in His death as He cried out “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken me?” Our King Himself has suffered for us, so that we may enjoy His company forever and ever, if we only trust and obey Him now and place our faith in Him while we are here in this our temporal home on earth. We know in part now, but then we will know in full. This makes the sins that we commit while we are here on earth trying to follow Him, even more serious.
Sometimes we take a rather blasé attitude to sin. We excuse it as only a minor thing and of no consequence. Each time we sin as believers, it is as if we are spitting in the very face of Jesus. Our desire should be, to be Jesus and to be like Him. I long to be perfect. When I make a mistake and sin, I cry out in frustration to be perfect now! However, I also know that God is taking off my rough edges to continue making me purer, more like His Son and our King, under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit. I won’t be entering heaven because I am Australian and showing my Australian passport. Although I consider that a very close second. You won’t even be able to claim your entry into heaven by showing your British passport, let alone as a member of the European community. No… we can only enter heaven, our new home, through the cross. When we first decided for Jesus and turned over our lives to Him, that is when our eternal life with Him commenced.
Be encouraged, heaven is for you if you are trusting and obeying Jesus and have Him as Lord of your life! Remember. Whatever your attitude and how you judge Jesus now, is how He will judge you when He returns! Are you following Him and treating Him with respect and reverence? If you aren’t, then it isn’t too late to change your mind and then the reward of eternal living in heaven will be yours! Are you suffering? Suffering will soon be gone. When you sin against God, keep a short account and ask for forgiveness as soon as you recognise that you have sinned and the Holy Spirit has convicted you of it. We yearn to be with our King for ever and ever. Yet, we are to keep one part of our mind on Heaven and the other on the responsible work we have been set to do, here on earth. We are not to be so heavenly minded, that we are of no earthly use.
Conversely, we are not to be so earth bound, that we are not tied to King Jesus in our eternal home. Go tell somebody. Won’t you go tell somebody this week, this message. Heaven is a great big place, and there will be room for everybody in this town, this county, this nation and this world to enter through one of those twelve gates! Go and share this good news with somebody this very week, so that there may be somebody in that magnificent City, because you told them. Christ is our King of Righteousness. Trust Him and live a life worthy of Him. Look for His coming! Be expectant, the King is coming back for us soon! Critics of the church sneer “Where is your God?” and “The end of the Church is surely near”. They are so impatient!!
Well… our God will appear soon. He is coming back as King of Righteousness, judging evil and rejecting those who reject Him whilst rewarding those who patiently trust and obey Him.
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