Updated: May 18, 2022
May 30, 2021
This weekend, we honor the 1.1 million men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. And we thank God for our Lord Jesus who gave His life up for our ultimate freedom. If you love Christ for giving us hope and new life...
Q: What should your love for Christ be producing in you?
A: It should develop in you a longing for Christ to return.
Over 300 verses (1 in 13 verses) in the New Testament refer to Christ’s Second Coming.
I should stir up my own anticipation and desire for Jesus to return, like anticipating the return of someone I love with all my heart.
Living in Expectancy
What would living in expectancy do in me?
What makes me wait expectantly?
What am I waiting for?
Verses to study
What effect would living waiting expectantly for Christ’s return have in my life?
What should my love for Jesus be producing in my life?
Let me welcome you in again, God's presence is all around us. And as I have said already, for those of you who have joined us through our broadcast, thank you so much for joining us. I'd invite you to join us in person, as soon as possible; it's an incredible environment. And so, we're going to gather around the word. And before we do that, if you don't mind, I’d just like to mention, that today's honestly a really special day for BJ and me. Today is actually our 35th wedding anniversary, can you believe that it’s our 35th wedding anniversary? And so, as you know, at a moment like this is typical to put our wedding picture up. And so, if you turn your attention to the two side screens, you'll notice that it's not going to come up because I'm not that open to being publicly humiliated. Alright, and so I want you to know that I'm so grateful for how you've embraced us and, and how you've embraced BJ, as she is the love of my life and I love her with all of my heart. I'm so grateful for the godliness that's in her life. God has blessed me so much in her and so thank you for your embracing her as well. And absolutely, we love her, don't we?
Speaking of love, I want to ask a question. If you love Christ, follow this. If you love Christ, I mean by that if you've learned to love Him with all your heart, if you've come to love him deeply, because you've seen what he's done on the cross for you, that he went there for you, he took your punishment, that you are owed for your separation and sin from God. And you've seen that, and it just has drawn love out of you. If you adore him, for the love poured out for you. Or if you you've come to love Him because you've experienced his care, and his presence all around you, especially when you have gone through a hard or distressing time. And you've known Christ; Christ has been there; the presence of the Lord has been around you. And it's just elicited love out of you for him. I mean that if you've come to love him for the grace poured out on your life, not just the unconditional mercy and forgiveness of God for your sin, the grace that never stops pouring out on you, but also the grace that's empowering, change. And you see it, and you feel it and it just makes love flow out of you, because he is changing your life. You love him for what his grace means, his patience toward you. The fact that he will never give up on you, his grace is poured out on you, has caused such love. If you love him, here's the question, what should your love for Jesus be producing in your life? What should your love for Jesus produce in your life? I want to ask that if you love Christ, it should be producing something in you. What is it? I want to let a portion of the Word of God speak into us and tell us what it is. So, it's found in Titus 2. Titus is one of the small little pastoral epistles that are near the end of the New Testament. And in Titus 2, the Holy Spirit says, through the pen of the Apostle Paul, he writes, “For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men.” That is a way of saying all that Christ has done in Christ coming and going to the cross and dying for us, and then resurrecting from the dead. That is the grace of God appearing, bringing salvation to all, meaning bringing the potential for you to know Christ, and to know all of this power, for when the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men, verse 12. What does it do in your life? Instructing us number one, to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly and righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope of appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Okay, so that sounds familiar, right? If I genuinely love Christ, it makes me want to deny ungodliness in my life, everything that doesn't put God at the center of my life. It makes me want to put that away. In fact, I've loved Christ, I want to go to battle with the world's influence on me, that tries to pull my heart away from following after Jesus. Yeah, I want to live sensibly; that word means self-controlled, and righteously, often righteously, the context is to treat others justly. Yeah, I want to live like that; it produces that in me, and to live godly, full heart devotion toward God in my life right now. That's the answer. This is what it should produce: my love for Christ. Those are the things that ought to come out of my life, that express my love for God; answered, done. Except the answer is not done. There's one more part of the answer. Except there's one more that doesn't seem to register in our brains. It's written right in front of us, but it just doesn't register in our brains. There's one more that never seems to produce a thought in me on any given day. There's one more that that could change everything about how I live every day, how I respond to the things that happened to me every day. There's one more that could change everything about how I see the hard and the difficult things that I'm going through right now. There's one more that could make me stronger than I ever thought I could be. But it hasn't passed through our brain yet. Verse 13, was the culmination of the passage, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Do you know what that means? It's means looking for the second coming of Christ, and being anxious about it, being expectant about it. Listen, here's the connection. It should be an expression of your love for Christ, looking expectantly for the appearing of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; that should be an expression of your love for him. This desire, this longing for him to come again, that is the forgotten element of the gospel in our generation. You should develop a longing for Christ to return. Think about what love is, we talk about this aspect all the time; that one aspect of love is that because we love someone, we want to please them. We talk about that all the time. Here's something we don't talk about so much, that if we love them, we want to be near them; we want to be close to them. We want to be with them if they're away, and we want them to return to us. And so do you know that that living in an expectant anticipation of Christ's return is at the core of loving him; I really want to make that point today. I want to say embrace that and learn to begin living that out. It's the forgotten way of living out the gospel in our generation. And I want to raise it up in our family I want to raise it up in in, in our fellowship. It could change you in such good and profound ways. If this longing for Christ to return, if it became as important a spiritual expression in your life, a spiritual discipline or practice in your life; it is as important as reading the Bible, stirring this desire. It is as important as praying daily. It is as important as connecting to spiritual community. It is just as important. In fact, I want to lay this foundation; it's a priority for living a Christ-centered life in the New Testament. The New Testament makes this this longing for his coming again, it makes it a priority for anyone who lives a Christ-centered life. How do I know that? I know it because there are more than 300 New Testament verses that refer to a second coming. That's something like one in 13 verses; that means on average, it's basically on every page of the New Testament. I mean, if I wanted to give that parity in preaching or teaching, if I wanted it to be in balance with all other teaching, that means that every 13th sermon or message ought to be on the Second Coming. It should mean that every 13th verse that we read in our worship service ought to be about longing for his second coming. I mean, it is that core to what it means to live out your love for Christ. The Bible is telling us the point is that we should be constantly stirred to look for his coming again, and to live in anticipation of that. It's the lost element of living out the gospel in our generation.
And that's what I want to stir in us, for the moments that we have left. Listen to this, James 5, I Peter 4, Philippians 4, I John to Revelation 22. And more, all say that the coming of Christ is near. In fact, most of those verses say he is near, his coming is near. It means biblically speaking, it means it's (his coming) is imminent. That on God's timetable, it's next; there's nothing that stops it. And we should treat it that way, in the way we live. This is according to this passage; this is an expression of how we love him. We want to deny ungodliness. We want to walk away from worldly desire. We want to live sensibly, we want to live godly, and we want to live in anticipation that Christ is coming. So, we should treat it in that way in the way we live, that it really could that it because here is reality. I know, it hasn't crossed your mind. And so therefore you're skeptical, but I'm telling you, it really could be today. And the Bible is calling on you to want it to be today. Here's what your attitude should be, as a Christ centered follower of Jesus, I want to lay this out. Listen to these four verses of scripture. How should we feel, what should be our response about the second coming of Jesus? Philippians 3: 24 says that our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait, wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus. I Corinthians 1:7, we are awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming. Jude 21 says, keep yourselves in the love of God. This is what we're talking about. How do I keep myself in the love of God? What should my love for God be producing in me? Waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
II Timothy 4:8 says it in a different way, but a way that I just absolutely adore. Paul, in his last will and testament, knows he's facing execution. And so, in II Timothy 4:8, he says in the future, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord. the righteous judge, will award me on that day and not only to me, but to all who love His appearing. There's the emotion, there's the attitude, there's the heart attitude that the Bible calls on us to have about his coming again. I love his appearing; I want it to happen. That's what I want for us, that we will love his appearing. And so that word used over and over that I've just laid down the foundation for, there are about six places in the New Testament where it says we are waiting anxiously. I've given you the core three, there that word “waiting anxiously” is used over and over. It's a biblical Greek word prosdechomai or apodechomai. There are these intensive forms that mean anticipation and expectation. Do you get that the Bible is commanding you, calling on you to stir that in your life? It is a part of the output of your love toward Christ. If I love Christ, what: I want to obey Him, I want to live godly, deny worldliness and I want to long for His coming. And so, is there a big idea somewhere in all of this? Yeah, there's a big idea. Here it is, it's a to do. And this message is this, I should stir up my own anticipation and desire for Jesus to return. There's the action point, there it is, I should stir up my own anticipation and desire for Jesus to return, like anticipating the return of somebody I love with all my heart. And so how do we do that?
How do we learn to live in an expectancy of his return? Well, let's just ask three questions, in light of living that way: these three core questions. If I ask and answer these questions, these answers can start the process of stirring my desire, my longing, stir my expectancy for Christ to return. This is how you get there; number one: ask of living expectantly, ask this, what would living with it do in me? What would living in expectancy of the return of Christ actually do in me? This answer ought to stir you to that expectancy. And the short straight answer is what would it do in me living with that expectancy could radically change who you are, I mean that, I think it's literally true. So, I did some work for you. You should have had to do this, but I did it for you. So that's why you should come here because I do this work for you. So, I walked through the entire New Testament recently looking for passages of scripture that reveal what living for Christ's return will actually produce in me, if I live with that attitude. I found 10 passages of Scripture that say these things would be produced in me if I just turned my thirst and longing for, I cannot wait, I cannot wait for the moment that Christ returns. If I lived with that attitude, how would it change me? Here it is. I'm just going to list them, just catalog them here. Here it goes: first, peace comes into my life. Number two, my life will become prayer filled. Number three, I will become very spiritually awake. That one's awesome. Number four: A desire for spiritual community will rise up in me, holy behavior will be produced. A godly attitude will be produced, a heart of kindness will be produced, a pure and blameless heart will be produced in my life. All coming with a single attitude to stir up the spiritual practice of just longing, longing, longing for Christ to return. Let me put it another way to you. How would living with the expectancy change me? Just how would it change me in a daily way? Well, here’s number one: not much in a day could make me upset, agitated, worried, anxious, envious, jealous, or afraid. Why? Because if Christ is coming soon, none of this stuff I'm worried or anxious about or envious about even matters. It puts everything in my life into perspective. Number two, not much in a day could take away my energy to just live for him. Why? Because I'm longing for him to return, and I cannot wait to see him, and it could be today. And so, it just keeps my energy focused on I want to live devoted to him. Number three, not much in a day could disappoint you or discourage you or put you in despair. What is it that disappoints you? What is it that discourages you? What is it that that puts you in despair - really short-sighted things? But what if your perspective was what I'm living for? This is not this stuff that disappoints me. What I'm living for is the moment that Christ returns. Number five, not much in a day could take away your joy.
And so, there’s the first is to ask living with expectancy: How do I stir that in my life? Well, ask this question: What would he do in your life? And I've just begun to answer, but number two, let’s ask a second question; two out of three. Here's the second one. What makes me wait; what is it that makes me wait expectantly? What would they do in my life? But what is it exactly that makes me wait expectantly? Well, there are two things that do that, according to our core passage here, the Philippians 3: 20 and 21. There are two things that make me wait expectantly and the first one of those is: I'm not a citizen here. That's the first thing that makes me wait for Christ's return. Verse 24 says that our citizenship is in heaven. One of the things that would make me expectant for Jesus is, I don't really belong here. You're not a citizen here. If you stir that in your life, it will make you want the return of Jesus. And so, look, do you know where it says our citizenship is in heaven? Do you know we get we get our word politics from the Greek word translated citizenship? Yeah, you’re ready for me to offend everyone equally here, I'm going to offend everyone equally. For a Christ follower, your politics are in heaven. It means that at your core as a devoted follower of Jesus, you're not looking for red to govern, and you're not looking for blue to govern. You're really looking for Jesus to govern. And as a Christ follower, the way you live with others, the way you conduct yourself in the world, the way you relate to the world's culture should be as if you're a guest here, I don't really belong here. And that you represent your king while you're here. Did you get that? This, this is temporary, and I don't ultimately belong here. What am I waiting for? What makes me wait anxiously or expectantly is that I'm coming into this perspective, this reality of I'm actually not a citizen here. And so, I don't belong to this present world, I don't belong to this present culture. Do you get that the generations of Christians that have actually transformed their own generation, did you know they're the ones who actually live out their distinctiveness, they live out their I don't belonginess? They live it out in the culture in which they live, and it actually transforms that culture. They make the greatest difference. You know, the ones longing for the second coming of Christ, they make the greatest difference in the generation around them, not so much with the with the generation of Christians who want to just blend in, though. This is why the Bible says in I John 2 do not love the world, or the things in the world. anyone loves the world; the love of the Father is not in in him. All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the boastful pride of life, that's not from the Father, that's from the world. Verse 17 says that the world is passing away. This is temporary, and I don't belong here. But the one who does the will of God lives forever. What's he doing in verse 18? What is he making a reference to? Children, it’s the last hour. I don't belong. This is so temporary. I don't belong here. My engagement is in my desire for Christ, my longing for Christ to return. It means even though you're living here, you shouldn't really fit in all that well. It probably means that your most important values will not fit the values of this present world. It means you got to come to grips with that. That what it means is to live in a world where you don't belong. As a Christian, you’ve got to seriously come to grips with that.
There's a second thing that makes me wait expectantly. First is the reason we’ve said is I'm not a citizen here. Secondly, what makes me wait expectantly comes out of verse 21, and that is that I will be completely transformed. When he returns. I something will happen to me, and it will be utterly amazing and supernatural. I will be completely transformed. Listen to what happens the moment Christ returns, verse 21, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of my humble stay. That's the body now that we're in, into conformity with the body of His glory. It's talking about that we will be transformed; our bodies will be transformed into the kind of body that Jesus expressed when he resurrected from the dead. He resurrected to a resurrection body. The Bible says your body will become a body like Jesus’, a resurrected body that will never die again. It will never get sick again, never break down again. It means that everything that's going wrong right now, will be healed. That ought to make you long for his coming. Your diabetes, your heart malfunction, your Parkinson's, your MS, your neuropathy that's keeping you from walking the vision, that you're losing the hearing - that's going away, your cancer will never come back. All healed in the moment, that Christ returns. Think about your anxiety or depression, your PTSD, the effects of the trauma that you experienced long ago that still live with you today, all of them is wiped out the moment that Christ returns forever. But your inner life; everything in you that's weak, fragmented or broken, will be made whole. Your battle with despair, will be wiped away, and you'll only know joy and energy. Your battle with the dark things that go on inside of you will be burned away, only purity and virtue will be left. Every disordered thing will leave you in the bright, shining glory of Christ. Your weaknesses, your tendencies to hurt your relationships will be turned into only good things. Think about your inability to concentrate, or your difficulty learning, every other limit you've ever experienced here will be opened up to its fullest potential in the moment that he returns. And I should long for it. What if you were confined to a wheelchair right now, what if you could not move? And in this illustration, what if a drug had been developed that injected into your spine would quickly regrow the nerve cells actually reengage movement, but the FDA has not approved it yet. There has to be all this time and these trials, and it hasn't been approved, yet. How would you live your life? How would you live your life every day in absolute hope and expectation? This could be the day, this might be the day that they approve it, and I can get this, and I'll be made whole again. That describes how you should live waiting eagerly for the blessed hope and the appearing of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. It should become a spiritual discipline in your life, a spiritual practice in your life. I read the Bible, I pray, I gather in spiritual community, and I stir my longing for Christ to return.
Last question: What am I waiting for? Asking this question and finding its answer is a way to stir your longing for Christ to return. What am I waiting for? Philippians 3:21, the exertion of power he has to subject all things to himself. It is hard to imagine what that means. What I'm waiting for is the exertion of power, he has to subject all things to himself. In the moment that he returns, he returns as the ruler of everything you see. And you cannot see every molecule, every atom, every quark, every neutrino. I don't know what's smaller than a neutrino. I graduated a long time ago. So, I don't know, but everything visible and invisible, comes to be subject to him. What am I waiting for? I'm waiting for the exertion of his power to become the ruler of all reality. We're waiting for him to exert the power that transforms all of creation. That's the moment of Revelation 19 that we're waiting for. When he appears in the sky, when Christ returns, what happens then is everything good that you might have ever dreamed of begins to come true. The Bible says that, at the moment that Jesus returns, he establishes a 1000-year rule on the earth. I mean, that singular thing is what almost all of the 200 Old Testament passages about his coming are about: his establishing his rule over all of creation, where he's the one and only King and ruler and the devil, and every demon are locked away in the abyss. And what happens, listen closely to this, every evil institution every violent force, every corrupt government, every destructive philosophy, every evil person, and injustice will all be removed by him. And every Christ follower will be a part of living and restoring and renewing this reality; we begin to live it out. What am I waiting for? I'm waiting for the exertion of his power to subject everything to himself. I mean, there's so much more that could be described. But look, do you listen to this? Do you really long for justice and compassion in the world around you? I'm wondering if you really hate human trafficking and sex trafficking? I mean, do you long for the 313,000 people in Texas right now who are in sexual slavery to be freed? What should you do? Well, you ought to do everything you humanly can in the name of Christ in order to free them now. But you should also long for Jesus to return and smash it, destroy it. Do you really hate racial injustice? Do you hate the way the poor are oppressed all over the world? I mean, both of those things are scourges in every continent of the world, people across the entire globe, are suffering from the effects of hatred and racism. And you should hate it, in any form. You should speak out in the name of Christ, you should speak out against it, you should do whatever you can do now to create a world of love that chooses love over hate in the name of Christ. But you should also long for the moment of Christ's return. Because in that moment, racism and injustice is wiped from the earth forever. Do you hate the crisis of starvation in our world? Do you know that over 800 million people on our globe right now are malnourished, or are starving to death? And this moment, and the most infuriating thing about that is there is enough food supply on the earth to feed them. There's just no will do it. Corrupt governments greedy warlords, uncaring societies, they keep food from reaching dying people right now. Do you hate that? As a follower of Christ, you should do whatever you can do right now to bring relief in the name of Christ, to those who are hungry, but you should also long for the day that Jesus returns, and he wipes hunger off the planet. All over the Old Testament, the Bible declares that at the moment that he returns all injustice will end. And there will be 1000 years of righteousness and love flourishing in every part of our lives, and we ought to be thirsty for it. And it ought to be a part of our love for Christ's that I'm looking for and waiting eagerly for the return of Christ to this earth.
Here's the last word. The Apostle John wrote in I John 3: See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God. And such we are. He goes on, Beloved, (verse two,) beloved, now we are the children of God. And it has not appeared as yet what we will be. But what John is saying is we don't know everything, but it has not appeared exactly what we will be. But we know this, that when he appears, we will be like him, because we will see him as he is. Do you get what that moment means? Christ comes with the glory of his person shining out of him, and the moment as children of God, the moment that we set our eyes on that, every unworthy thing burns out of us. And we're like him. verse 3, everyone who has this hope, fixed on him, purifies himself.
Let's bow together, just a moment as we pray. First, I want to speak to you as our heads are bowed. I want to speak to you if you're a person who claims Christ and in your own heart, you say I love him. I could grow him. I love him. I want to love and more, but I love him. I want to just challenge you in this moment, that the way you pray, in this next moment or so, the way you pray is this: God, stir me to living expectantly for the return of Jesus. And may that change me in profound ways. As a person who maybe has never put your faith in Christ, putting your faith in Christ means you turn away. You turn away from everything that you're following, everything that gives you meaning, significance, power, everything that gives you safety and security. All this flat earthly stuff, you turn away from that, mostly you're turning away from you, being the god, the source of your life. To place your faith in Christ means to turn away from that. And to look to Jesus, and everything he did on the cross, to cause you to be able to know God, have a relationship with Him and have eternal life. So that, in the moment that he returns, you will not shrink away, you will turn with joy. And you will look into his face and let his glory overwhelm you. You know, if you're not a follower of Jesus, but your heart is stirred in this moment. Can I just tell you, that's the holy spirit doing that? And can I also tell you that he does not, he will not strive with you forever. Can I tell you that if you're feeling that, and you're sensing that, then this is the moment, this is the day of salvation for you. Because the Word of God says it's not, that stirring is not always there. And I want to invite you, if you're sensing that, if you're feeling that in this moment, you've never asked Christ into your life or you're not sure that you have, then pray right? In this moment, let me just help you pray something like this: Dear Father, thank you for your son, Jesus, who you sent to this earth to die on the cross for me. I ask for what he's done on the cross to count for me. Your mercy poured out on me Your grace, the forgiveness of all of my sin, I ask you to forgive me of all sin. And I ask you to give me eternal life, come into my life, plant your life in me and begin to grow there. And I embrace you as the Lord and leader of my life. I'm turning away from all my substitute sources. And I'm turning and embracing Christ as the leader of my life. I want to say with absolute confidence that if you've just prayed that, and you meant that, Christ has come here, you’re a child of God, now. Father, I want to thank you that you've done, that in all of those who prayed in this moment, and we praise your holy name, and we pray in Christ's name, amen, and amen. Could we celebrate that we've been in God's presence. Thank you for leading that. Praise the Lord for that. Father, thank You that You love us, and I pray that you will make a part of our love for you a longing, a stirring in our heart for Christ to return and we pray that now in Jesus’ name, amen. Amen. God bless you. Thanks for being here.