27th June 2023
Read (Matthew 24v36-51)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
An American evangelist by the name of Harold Camping once promised that Jesus was coming back on the 21st May 2011. We're now twelve years past that date and, needless to say, Mr Camping was wrong. I've listened to Camping speak and he always struck me as a genuine man who truly loved Jesus but I can't for a moment fathom why he felt qualified to make a prediction about the return of Christ.
The Lord said “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." (v36). It couldn't be much clearer. No one knows when Jesus is coming back and if anyone ever tells you that it is definitely next Wednesday, then you can politely tell them that they are talking nonsense.
Did you notice that Jesus said that not even the Son knows the time of His return? How can this be so? Our Christology says that Jesus is true God and true man and our Confession speaks of Christ's "two natures" saying "So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion." Therefore Christ could truly say that in His human nature He did not know the day or the hour of His return. He isn't a hybrid man nor is He a lesser God. Jesus is true God, true man, without sin and with two distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood. Jesus the man does not know the day or the hour.
Nevertheless, although the time of Christ's return is known only by the Father, we can be certain that it will definitely happen. What will Christ's return be like? In a word - sudden. Jesus said that when the flood came in Noah's day, people were going about their business unaware that disaster was upon them (v37-39). Christ's return will be exactly the same. Two men will be at work in a field and one of them will be taken and the other left (v40). Two women will be grinding at a mill, one will be taken and one left (v40).
Where will these people be taken? Does the Bible teach a "secret rapture" with men and women simply disappearing and planes falling from the sky before life goes on? No. When Christ returns, His angels will gather the elect from every corner of the earth. It won't be secret but public, dramatic and extraordinary. If the owner of a house knew when his house would be broken into, he would stay awake and make sure the robbers were confronted (v43). In the same way we are to respond to the reality of Christ's return by staying alert and awake (v44). Jesus will return when the world least expects it, therefore Jesus says "you must be ready."
How can we be ready? Primarily by repenting of sin and putting our faith in Christ. Additionally we can busy ourselves with the work of the Lord (v45-46). Woe to the man who convinces himself that Jesus is not coming. Woe to the woman who rejects Christ because she thinks she has time on her side. Woe to the Presbyterian who stays at home instead of attending to the ordinary means of grace. The Christ denier will certainly be cast into hell where there is only weeping and gnashing of teeth (v51).
The temple was destroyed and remains in ruins to this day - here is our warning! Every word of Jesus has and will come to pass and none will fall to the ground empty. He is coming at an hour we do not expect and even now is at the gates! My friends...be ready.
Q83 Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous? Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.