Encouragements for our troubled times No. 19

COVID-19 Series | Date: 30 July 2020

The Elders and Deacons want to encourage the members and those who regularly meet with us through this weekly letter. If you have news which you would be happy to share with the fellowship or request for prayer, then please let us know.

A pastor's revisited letter

1 Titus 2:13

"Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ"

Looking forward to Christ's Return

The apostle Paul is writing to Titus, a young Greek convert who assisted Paul in the work fo the Gospel. Paul left Titus on the island of Crete to correct various matters in the church there. In chapter two, Paul reminds Titus of the qualities expected of believers, both young and old. Slaves also should "adorn" the confession of the Gospel with attractive lives, full of good works, as they wait for the "glorious the appearing" of Jesus Christ. The reference is to Christ's Second Coming, which believers are said to be "looking for" (Titus 2:13) which suggest eager anticipation of the event.

Now, the Apostle Paul tell us that believers must stand before the the "judgement seat of Christ" to give an account (Rom 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10). In light of this, Christians may not anticipate the return of Christ with the eagerness that they should. And this is not surprising if they are not walking and "abiding" in Christ as they ought, for then they will be "ashamed before Him at His coming" (1 John 2:28). But if they live in a Christ-like manner they have much to look forward to when He returns, as we shall now see.

Christians should eagerly wait for Christ's return. They are citizens of another world, not this one. This world is not their home so they should not put their roots down here. When Christ returns it is to gather the dead in Christ, and harvest them for His heavenly kingdom; something they should await with eagerness. For this reason, Paul says "our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ". And when Jesus says He is coming quickly, the Apostle John responds with the eagerness that should characterise every Christian when he says, "Even so come Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).

Christians should eagerly await the grace that will be theirs at Christ's return. The apostle Peter tells believers to "gird up their loins" of their mind and to rest their hope "fully" on the benefits they will enjoy at Christ's appearing (1 Peter 1:3). It suggests that we are all by nature somewhat lethargic when it comes to focussing on the coming of Christ. We are told to mentally "pull ourselves together", like the long-robed person of the East gathers up the folds of cloth around his loins in the effort to set off at a faster pace. There is, after all, a prize to be had if we press on (1 Philippians 3:14) and run according to the rules (2 Timothy 2:5). Yes, there is a crown to be bestowed on "all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8). And beyond our comprehension, is the glory of being "joint heirs with Christ" on condition that we suffer with Him (Romans 8:17) and the honour of being used in the judgement of men and angels (1 Corinthians 6:2-3)

Christians should eagerly await the destruction of their final enemy at Christ's return. Man can tame animals and even tyrants with the help of the United Nations. Man can, to come extent, harness the power of wind and waves to grid flour and supply electricity. But there is one thing he cannot control and that is death. Modern medicine and techniques may delay death but they cannot prevent it. Death is the ultimate stalker that, do what we may, will get its prey! But Christ's coming spells the destruction of death (1 Corinthians 15:20-26). Man's last and the fiercest enemy will be destroyed by His appearing and for this simple reason, He will raise the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Then follows the new heavens and earth in which sin will have no place and perfection will reign. Death, sorrow, tears and pain will be a thing of the past and God will make "all things new" (Revelations 21:4-5).

For all the above reasons, Christians should anticipate the coming the lord with pleasure and delight.