His Return as King and Friend

His Return as King and Friend

Scripture: Hebrews 9:28, Matthew 24:1-51, Luke 21:28
Date: 06/28/2008  Lesson: 13
The "blessed hope" for Christians is the return of Christ in glory, to become our king and friend, and to take us to Heaven, to live forevermore.

The Surprising Truth About the Rapture (Signs of the Times) by Pacific Press

The Surprising Truth About the Rapture (Signs of the Times) by Pacific Press
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Good morning. Happy Sabbath. We'd like to welcome you to "central study hour" coming to you from the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church here in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome those of you who are listening on the radio this morning, watching on our website live at saccentral.org, or watching 3 weeks delayed on the various television networks. We welcome you.

And we're so glad that you are tuning in to be a part of our family this morning here at central church. We're doing things a little bit different. And that's okay. We have some visitors this morning, joining us from pacific union college. It's the PUC string quartet conducted by leroy Peterson.

And they are going to be playing two special Numbers for us this morning. The first one is "Andante Contemple" by Tchaikovsky, and then also "praise to the Lord." We welcome them. And I know that you will be blessed by their music this morning. [Music]

Aren't you looking forward to being in heaven when you have a harp, a violin and a cello? Amen. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for bringing us here this morning to worship you. I pray that we will have clean hearts and pure minds as we open up Your Word this morning to study together. Please come and live inside of us, and fill us.

And be with our speakers in a very special way this morning as they bring us your message. I pray that you'll be with each person that's here. And those that can't be here, but are joining us from across the country and around the world, be with them in a special way as we open up Your Word and study together. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Amen. Thank you, debbie. Boy, that was beautiful. I sure appreciate the music of the PUC string quartet. That was a special treat.

And this is a special Sabbath school study program for a number of reasons. One is not only the special music we've had, but we're getting ready to study the last lesson in our quarterly for this quarter dealing with the second coming of Jesus. And if adventists can't get excited about the advent, then we need an injection of something. We'll be getting ready to go into the new quarterly. And I'm looking forward to this.

It's talking about agents of hope, God's great missionaries. And so I want to encourage all of our friends to--if you don't have a quarterly, we know we've got a lot of friends that are studying with us, that watch from other parts of the world, we'd invite you to go to your neighborhood Seventh-day Adventist Church and ask them for one. I trust they'll give one to you. You can study along with us. We also know that we've got friends who study with us from all over the world.

Just this week in our office, melissa, our secretary, handed us a note from some friends who watch in norway. It says, "we are a couple of Seventh-day Adventists living in west norway district. We are weekly together with you in Sacramento central church and are highly blessed during the Bible studies on the tv program. I'm a retired pastor, 76, my wife, 70 years of age." Hope I wasn't supposed to not say that. "And a special thanks to you, pastor Batchelor, for your teaching and dealing with so much personal experience.

" And then it goes on, says some very kind things. They even sent us a little wooden soldier that they made, wearing the armor of God. And I thought that was sure sweet. And this is from pastor, is it, beon and yon ronalay. Hope I'm pronouncing that right.

But this represents hundreds of letters that we get from our extended class around the country and around the world. Now just before we get to our lesson today, I thought it'd be a good idea right now as we are right between our quarters to, for one thing, highlight that this is the time when we focus on what the 13th-Sabbath offering address. If you look on the back of your quarterly from this last lesson that we're studying right now, you'll see that there's some special projects that are coming from the inter-America division. And it'd be good for you to just become acquainted with those two things, because that's where the special 13th-Sabbath offering is directed. Another things that came to my mind is right about the time this program's going to be broadcast, we are in a window of limbo between typical school seasons.

A lot of graduations have transpired, all the way from elementary up through college. And people are preparing for another year of education. And I thought, you know, it would be a good idea for us to take a few moments during out Sabbath school program and talk about the benefits of Christian education. So I've got my friend pastor don mackintosh. And he's gonna come up and I'm gonna just visit with don a little bit.

You got a microphone there. And we're gonna talk about Christian education. You had a few thoughts that you were gonna share. I'll probably interrupt. Well, you know, Christian education, that's what this is, "central study hour.

" And it's a very important part. But there are other parts of education. You know, going to elementary school, going to academy, perhaps home schooling. I like to say I was home schooled. My parents tried to send me to a school, but I never finished anything during the year so I had to home school during the summers at least.

So I had the best of both worlds. What are some of the benefits of Christian education? Well, you know, someone has said that Christian education is not costly. It's priceless. And I think what it does is it gives you a picture of Christ that's real. Your teachers, I can remember many different teachers like mr.

Penny. I'd always say he gave us his two cents worth. But he was just a Godly person. And many others through the journey, they just lived Christ out in their lives. And you know, it gives you the idea of the basics, the fundamentals.

Did you go to Christian school for most of your education. Yes. I still sort of am in Christian education now being a teacher. And so yes, throughout my years I went to, thankfully, adventist Christian education. And you know, parts of the world where we aren't blessed to be able to have a school system like we do here in North America, I would say the next generation kind of really struggles many times to make that connection.

I mean not everything's perfect about any educator. I know, 'cause I am one now. But it just seems where there is that commitment made by the parents and by the students, there's just a real benefit. Now, for instance, in europe I know some of the laws don't provide in all countries where they can have Christian education. They probably have more attrition of young people from the church than in countries where they do.

Yeah, I think that's very true. And then of course they're not as friendly as like some places to home schooling and what not. You know, and they think it's an organ of the state. And it's a blessing to be able to have Christian education. And I'm just thankful for it.

Now I don't know the statistics, but I would guess for young people that go to Christian college, a lot higher percentage end up finding mates for life of the same faith. That's right. You know, the old saying is, "the most important things in life are you're hatched, you're matched, and you're dispatched." The place where many times people are matched is when they're at school. And that is so significant. You want to be surrounded by many people, have friendships with many people.

And then making those friendships with those whose parents and the people that have surrounded them have a commitment to Christ. Did you meet mrs. Mackintosh in a Christian education environment? As a matter of fact, I did, but you know, I'd have to say it was kind of bizarre. I decided the way to kind of triage through who would be my mate was to take them out and read a chapter of "the Great Controversy." It saved a lot of money. Does that sound a little incongruous to talk about "the Great Controversy" in the context of marriage and dating? Maybe we should have been reading, "the Desire of Ages.

" That would have been more appropriate. Now probably--something I wanted to mention since you're up. You're right now the interim director of the weimar college. That's right. I mean my teachers out there from past are probably gasping, "ohh!" But yes.

Now you had one teacher; don told me he had one teacher, he--i don't know what grade you were in--you locked in the closet for a couple hours or something? Oh, thank you for mentioning that on television. I appreciate that. But she's out now and she probably knows where I am and she's headed this way. Well, I hope that you got the victory over that. You know, we wanted to--we did want to mention, "the review," last "review" magazine, we didn't get word to 'em soon enough.

And they still had the announcement about the weimar college closing. But just this last week, or I guess 2 weeks ago, the board of Amazing Facts and weimar voted that the college and the academy are open, going strong, full bore. Is that right? That's right. We're excited that it's open. Of course, you know, many schools already have known that they're open.

So we're kind of figuring out how everything works. But I can tell ya, it's gonna work. It's gonna be exciting. The Amazing Facts center of evangelism where afcoe is moving up to the weimar campus. We already have about students signed up for that August course.

That'll be our first semester in the college. There's still some room for that, so look, go to our website. Also the academy, we had a wonderful graduation there. Twelve of our students graduated. We had a robust 40 people last year in the academy.

And we're looking forward to another good crop this year. Amen. Well, I like what you said. Christian education is not costly; it's priceless. That's right.

Amen. Well, thank you very much, don. I just wanted to interject that, because we have friends that are watching that don't belong really to any church. You'd be surprised. And you might consider looking for good Christian schools for your children, because it makes a difference for eternity.

Now with that, we want to get to our lesson. We've got a lot to cover today. And I also want to remind you for those here at central church, following our study today, we do have some of the new quarterly. You'll need this for our next study. We are finishing "the wonder of Jesus," dealing with the second coming of Jesus.

And it's dealing with his return as king and friend. And we have a special offer that goes right along with our study today. It's called "the ultimate deliverance." Call the number. It's 1-866-788-3966, or that's -study-more. And ask for offer number 105.

We'll send you a free copy of the ultimate deliverance, talks about the second coming of Jesus. Now these weekly studies are brought to our friends by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And we here at Sacramento central are a Seventh-day Adventist Church. Sometimes people here will say Sacramento central and they forget central what? Seventh-day Adventists, we get our name because of course we believe in all Ten Commandments, including the seventh-day Sabbath. And adventist means we believe in and are looking forward to the eminent advent, or return, of Jesus.

Jesus--and when Seventh-day Adventists stop getting excited about the eminence of his return, then something's wrong. We need to change our name or something. So this ought to be a lesson that excites us. "Return as king and friend," is the title. We have a lot of verses we're going to consider.

Say the memory verse with me if you could please. It's right in your quarterly, Hebrews 9:28. Hebrews 9:28. You ready? "So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear the second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." Now, I was reading it out of the lesson, which is revised standard version. Jesus is coming back as our king and as our friend.

Now, one of the things the lesson is dealing with is the subject or the issue of how should we view the second coming? Is it good news or is it bad news? Well, it depends. If you're ready, it's good news. If you're not, it's bad news. If you're ready, it's good news. But if your loved ones aren't, you probably feel conflicted even if you're ready.

It's like Paul said, you know, I'm paraphrasing. He said, "I'm torn between the two. I want to depart and be with the Lord." What he meant by that is his next conscious thought was to see the Lord in the resurrection. But at the same time, he knew the church, what would happen to the church? And there was so many that weren't ready. And so he felt this paradox, this tug in his heart.

When I think about the second coming, it's very exciting for me, but there's a little anxiety there because there are so many that aren't ready. And I've got loved ones I worry about. Do you? And so you feel this inner conflict. It's exciting and you long for the Lord's coming. It is the blessed hope.

And yet you're anxious for those who aren't ready. And you want to work to get as many ready as you could. Now let's face it; if you believed the Lord was coming in one week, you would live your next week differently. I'm not even asking for a show of hands. I just stated a fact.

I can guarantee you that. Matter of fact, if we got a negative or a discouraging report from the doctor and we found out we had something terminal where we had a week, that would affect your life. Right? Everybody. And you'd calculate how you spend your remaining time very carefully. And if we believed the Lord was coming in a week, I think most of us would want to first make sure we had our house in order, that we were ready.

And then we'd feel a tremendous burden. We'd feel an earnestness. We'd feel this great energy and boldness about telling others to get ready. If you hear that you're living in an area that is prone to tornados, well, you might take some precaution. If you hear on the weather that there's potential of tornados in the coming week, well, you'd want to make sure you have batteries in your flashlight.

If you look out your window and see a tornado coming, there's a different urgency. You see what I'm saying? Well, friends, it's not just the predictions in the Bible that say Jesus is coming back again. I think we can almost see it out our windows right now. There is a lot of signs. And we're gonna get to some of those signs that deal with the eminence of his coming.

And I think that that ought to be mobilizing us to be ready for his return. Well, let's get into our lesson for today. There's a lot of material we want to cover. "Jesus coming back as our friend and as our king." Now the first section is dealing with "waiting in the outer court." Now I've given out some verses. I think somebody has Luke 12:40.

" Be ye therefore ready, for The Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." All right, one of the main things that's being emphasized here is "be ready." We ought to be living with a state of expectancy. We ought to believe in the eminent return of Jesus and be excited about that. Now when the Lord says he's coming in an "hour that you do not expect," or "that you think not," what does that tell us? Does anybody know the day and hour of his coming? Can we know when it's near? All right, now in the Bible it tells us--there are a number of prophecies. We can know something about the eminence or the nearness of Jesus' coming. But no man knows the day or the hour.

And I think that you ought to be very careful when you meet people that say, "well, most people don't know, but I've done some math and I've got this date." Or, "I've narrowed it down to a month." I think you ought to be very careful about that. You ought to live in a state of expectancy. We shouldn't be motivated--how many people do you know that wait until April 13th to start thinking about their taxes? They just, 'cause they say, "oh, the deadline's coming." And when it comes to the second coming friends, you cannot file an extension. All this "left behind" theology--and I should probably pause here and say a little bit about that. There are three major views concerning the second coming about how he's going to come and the timing.

I'm not talking about a date. You've got some who believe in what they call a pre-millennial rapture--a pre-tribulation rapture. There's a mid-tribulation rapture. And then there's a post-tribulation rapture. People want to know: where is the coming of Christ in connection with the tribulation? Everybody believes there's a tribulation.

I mean Jesus is so clear that there's this great time of trouble such as there never has been. It is the time when the seven last plagues are poured out. But when are the saved caught up? Now in the "left-behind" scenario that was made very popular by a series of books written by a tim lahaye and, I think--is it jerry jenkins? That whole series is based on kind of the hal lindsey theology that was at first just embraced by our pentecostal, charismatic brothers and sisters, but it's become very pervasive. It is a new teaching. If you look into the teachings of luther and the great church fathers and spurgeon and the reformists, they all believed that this time of trouble came just before the second coming.

And so they believed in a post-tribulation rapture, that the rapture was after this time of trouble or really at the end of it. You read in Daniel 12, it says, "at that time, Michael will stand up. There'll be a great time of trouble such as there never has been since there was a nation even unto the same time. And at that time, thy people will be delivered." That's why Jesus says in Matthew 24, "he that endures to the end will be saved." Endures what? You gotta endure the tribulation. So some people think, "well, if I'm not ready when Jesus comes, then you know, my wife is, she's a Christian, and she gets raptured, then I'm gonna file for an extension.

I got a 7-year extension to get ready." No, that's exactly what the devil wants you to think. When he comes, that's it probation closes. It says the wicked are destroyed by the brightness of his coming. "But Pastor Doug, doesn't it say, 'the Lord is coming as a thief?' And then after he comes like a thief, then it's gonna, you know, he's catch people away. And there'll be 7 years of tribulation?" Turn in your Bibles to Peter 3.

I want you to look at something. Sometimes people quote a snippet of the Bible and they don't read it all in context. And they say, "well the secret rapture is when Jesus comes as a thief." Let's read what it says here. Verse 10, "but the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." And people stop there. "See, he's coming as a thief.

" That's a secret rapture. Let's keep reading and find out. Does life go on 7 more years after he comes as a thief? "A thief in the night, in which," in other words in that night of his return, "the heavens pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." Keep reading, verse 11, "therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you be in all holy conduct and Godliness." When the Lord comes as a thief, what happens in the world? Heavens dissolve, great noise, elements melt with fervent heat, the earth and the things that are in it are burned up. Is life going on for 7 more years when Jesus comes as a thief? No. When he comes as a thief, it says the wicked, they're either saved, you're caught up to meet him in the air, the dead in Christ are raised, they're caught up to meet him in the air.

Those that are behind are destroyed by the brightness of his coming. They're the wicked. Jesus said, "all the tribes of the earth will look and mourn and call for the rocks and the mountains to fall upon them, and hide them from the face of the lamb who is sitting on the throne." So when Jesus comes again, this whole idea of 7 years of tribulation that's gonna come after the rapture--let me ask you a question. Can anyone in here--and not everybody here's a member of our church, but I'll invite anyone to raise their hand and I'll repeat what you say. Show me one verse that says years of tribulation.

How many of you have heard about years of tribulation. How come something everybody's heard about that's so popular can't be found in the Bible? There are seven plagues. The Bible does speak of a tribulation. It doesn't talk about 7 years of tribulation. Where do they get that? Well there are 7 days when Noah was in the ark while the world went on outside before the rain came.

Some people have taken the last 7 years of Daniel's prophecy in chapter 9 of Daniel. And they sort of tear it off that 490-year prophecy and they hover it at the end of time. And they use that to say that must be the 7 years of tribulation. But it doesn't teach that in the Bible. Everything about the second coming is gonna be anything but secret.

Matter of fact, we got kind of a little list here that explains this. First of all, it says that his return, there'll be audible evidence. "the Lord will roar," Jeremiah 25:30, "from on high and utter his voice from his holy habitation when he comes." It's loud. Thessalonians 4:16, "the Lord himself will descent from heaven with a shout." The voice of the archangel, the trumpet of God. Psalm 50:3, "our God will come and shall not keep silent.

" So is there anything silent about the second coming? There's visible evidence. "Behold, he's coming in the clouds and every eye will see him." You know that, Revelation 1:7. "As lightening shines from the east even to the west," Matthew 24:27. Then Matthew 24:30, "then the sign of The Son of man will appear in the heavens, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see The Son of man coming." There's physical evidence. Revelation 16:18, "noises, thunderings, lightenings, great earthquake, great hail upon the earth.

" "Every mountain and island fled away." I'm reading verse 21 now of Revelation 16. "Hail, every stone like a talent." So look at what's happening in the world when Jesus comes. You got a resurrection taking place. You got thunder. You got roar.

You got lightening flashing. You got the earth shaking. You got hail falling. And you gotta go wake someone up and say, "did you see it?" Text message your friends, "did you hear Jesus came yesterday? We missed it. We got 7 more years.

" The Bible doesn't teach that. It is a very popular fairy tale. Now, catch this. It's not only important to know Jesus is coming. We need to know something about how he's coming, because the Lord warns us.

First thing Jesus says in connection with his second coming, "be aware lest any man deceive you." There's gonna be great deception when he comes. Did the devil deceive the church regarding the first coming of Jesus? See, there's two ways Jesus comes. Jesus comes like a lamb, and then he comes like a lion. When Jesus came the first time, the religious leaders, the jews were looking for Jesus to come like a lion and to overthrow the Romans and to set them up as the world empire. And they were disappointed he came like a lamb.

The devil had twisted the prophecies and got them mixed up. When Jesus comes the next time, the devil's done the same thing. He's taken the time when Jesus comes like a lion, and he says, "no, he's coming like a lamb. Everybody's gonna just disappear. It's gonna be quiet.

" He's doing the same thing. He's deceiving the world and the church regarding how he's coming. Both times he does it to create great deception. When Jesus came the first time, he deceived the church so they did not accept him. They were not prepared, and many were lost and deceived.

The devil is getting the world set up now for his greatest act of all. He is going to impersonate Christ. And I think he's going to create this counterfeit rapture somehow. Or just maybe a few people disappear. I don't know.

But he's getting the whole world deceived about how he's coming, so that there's going to be great deception. All right, I just wanted to spend a few minutes about that, dealing with that subject about how he's coming. So there's to be an expectancy. Peter 1:6, "in this you greatly rejoice, thou now for a little time you might have been grieved by various trials that the genuineness of your faith being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tested by fire might be found to praise and honor and glory at the Revelation of Jesus Christ." We're going through trials now. Our faith is being purged to make it like gold.

What is it that makes it easier to bear our trials? The expectancy that this is temporary, that Jesus is coming. That should buoy our faith and bolster us up. Titus 2:11. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying unGodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." Very good. Thank you.

"Looking for that glorious appearing of our great God," "the blessed hope." How do you and I live a life of looking for? How do you live a life of expectancy of the second coming? What do you do different than what you're doing now? All right, I'm gonna let you raise your hand, but you get one sentence. How do you live a life where you're lifting up your heads and you're looking for his appearing? You live with a hope in your heart. I heard someone else say something. You're paying attention. Watching the signs.

Did I hear something else? Constantly studying in prayer. There's a special answer I'm fishing for; I'm not getting it. How about you're bold about telling people? If you're looking for his coming, you'd want to be letting folks know. Would you be happier? Is there an excitement? Do you get up with a little more zip in your hip every day when you're thinking that the Lord is coming soon? You know, when I was preparing for the lesson, and you're thinking about the conflicted emotions of being excited about Jesus coming and yet a little bit of fear, it made me think a little about d-day. Now, you'd be surprised.

Some people don't even know what d-day is anymore. That was this greatest army ever assembled in history to--and they landed on the beaches of normandy in France to liberate europe from the nazi occupation that had been spreading. And when the allies landed on the beaches there amidst all of the guns blazing and the fire, the people in France had two mixed emotions. The french citizens were exhilarated. They were thrilled.

Bombs were raining everywhere, and they were excited. They were celebrating. Because they knew that their liberation was eminent. Well of course the nazi occupation wasn't very excited. When the fog lifted that morning and they looked out on the sea and they saw thousands and thousands of ships and landing craft and airplanes coming in, there was terror.

They're all living in the same part of France when they saw that. The reaction was very different. Some were looking forward to liberation and being free. Others thought judgment. And it meant judgment and death.

It was terrifying for them. So it depended upon where your alliance was. Isn't that right? Where your allegiance is. If you're a Christian, you are an ambassador for another empire. This world has been kidnapped by an enemy.

Jesus is coming to retake the world that has been kidnapped by satan. We are here basically living under occupied country. So as Christians, if you think about the approach of Jesus, that's liberation. It should be great for us. If a person is not ready and they have made friends with the enemy--you know, even among the french, there were some that were not happy to see the allies approaching.

You know why? They'd sold out to the enemy. And they knew that judgment was coming for them. They'd betrayed their own people. So how you view the second coming is gonna have a lot to do with your relationship with Jesus. And something can be done about that right now if you're not excited about his coming.

Amen? You need to do that. All right, let me see here. "Addressing the fear factor." We're gonna talk about that. Matthew 24:30. Does somebody have that verse? "And the sign of The Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see The Son of man coming in the great clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

" "All the tribes of the earth will mourn." Does that sound like good news? You know why it's saying the tribes of the earth? They're not of the tribe of Christians. Speaking of all the tribes of the earth, in contrast to the tribe of heaven. Now if you're a Christian, you're part of spiritual Israel. You are a part of different tribe. Right? And so we're excited, but the tribes of the earth are going to be mourning.

If we are ready for his coming, then we're glad for it. It doesn't frighten us. Revelation 22:12. I gave that to somebody. Got a hand over here.

"And behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." I always like to pause here and remind people that sometimes confuses folks. "'I'm rewarding everyone according to his works?' Well, I thought we were saved by grace." We are. We're saved entirely by faith and by grace, but our rewards are based on our works, 'cause our works demonstrate that we have been saved. I mean what else is the Lord gonna reward us on? Our words? Our profession? Our nationality? It's our works that demonstrate whose side we're on. And that's the cause really, rejoicing not because of our works, but because we can look forward to his return.

Now there's a story I used to like to tell when I talk about the subject of the second coming. Years ago before they had telephone and satellite telephone and radios and all the modern communication, when sailors and whalers in particular on the east coast went to sea, and they went on a whaling run, it could be months, indeed it could be years, before they came home. They're families often never knew, depending on how the whaling went and where the--how the Markets were buying the oil, when they came home. Sometimes their voyages took them all the way to the southern hemisphere. It'd be tough to be married to a spouse like that, huh? And so there would be this attitude among the wives.

Some wives, when they saw the ship coming across the horizon, first they'd see the mast 'cause of the circle of the earth, you know. First you'd see the mast coming up with the flags. And then you'd see the sails. And then you'd see the boat. And if there were other boats, they'd be coming together.

And some of the wives, who didn't know exactly when they're husbands were coming back, certain seasons they knew it was more likely than others, they'd be watching the horizon. Some would watch the horizon with joy and expectation. Others would be nervous. They'd say, "you know, when I see 'em coming, I better start cleaning up the house. And I'd better start getting the kids cleaned up.

" And some of them were not real excited about their husbands coming home. They were very nervous about it, because they developed other relationships when their husbands were gone. And they were very afraid about their husbands coming home, because they might be caught with their lovers. And they weren't very excited about their husbands coming back for reasons that are understood. Then there were those who loved their husbands and they kept a light burning in the window every night.

They did not worry about when he was coming. But they would frequently glance at the horizon with joyful expectation. And when the ships did come, the reaction of the different wives, some would run down to the port and just be waiting for them with open arms. Others were back at the house kicking out their boyfriends and trying to clean things up. So it depended on how they were living how they viewed the return.

If we're living in a way where he's the one we love. And we're living in a state of expectation and readiness, then we're excited about his coming. Right? That's the way it ought to be. Matthew 25:31 talks here about these two different types of attitudes. "When The Son of man comes in his glory and all the holy angels with him--" by the way, does that sound like a secret to you? How many angels are there? Billions.

I mean if everybody's got at least one guardian angel, perhaps you've got a guardian angel, some of us need more than one, like me. And you got a guardian angel and you maybe have a recording angel. Some of them probably multi-task, but who knows, you might have--and there's billion people in the world. And if you've got multiple angels, there's billions of angels. And one angel comes, and roman soldiers guarding the tomb of Christ fall down as though they're dead from the glory of one angel.

One angel of the Lord went through the camp of the syrians and the 185,000 people died in one night, one angel. That also happened to Jerusalem when David numbered Israel, one angel. Angel of the Lord stood over Jerusalem with a drawn sword, thousands died, one angel. Can you imagine when the Lord comes with a billion of those characters? Nobody's gonna have to elbow you and say, "did you see the angels that came with Jesus yesterday?" They're not gonna be hiding their glory at that time. "So when The Son of man comes in his glory and all the holy angels with him.

He will sit on the throne of his glory and all nations will be gathered before him. And he'll separate them one from another as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats." There are two great separations that happen where you can apply this parable. There's a separation that happens right when Jesus comes. First of all, how are they separated? Well, there's only two kinds of people alive. And there's two kinds of people dead.

You remember Jesus said it's gonna be like two men sleeping in a bed. There's two kinds of people sleeping: the saved and the lost. Is that right? Is there a third category? Nobody's in limbo or purgatory. There's only two kinds: the saved and the lost. There's two kinds of people alive: those that have their names in the book of life and the others, the ones who don't.

When Jesus comes, the saved, alive and dead, are caught up to meet him. They're all with Christ. The lost are not. There's a great separation there. Then at the end of the 1,000 years when Jesus comes down and all the saved, they're all alive now, are in the new Jerusalem.

All the wicked who have ever lived will be resurrected. There's a great separation there. That is probably more accurate to apply, that great separation, to this parable, 'cause that's when there's a judgment. And he declares to the sheep on his right hand, "well done, good and faithful servants. Enter into the joy of the Lord.

For I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was sick and you ministered to me. I was in prison and you came to me. And I was naked and you clothed me.

" And they'll say, "Lord, when did we see you?" Of course, you know, I'm paraphrasing. I misquoted some of that. "When did we see you in these conditions and minister to you?" He'll say, "in as much as you did it to the least of these, my brethren, you did it to me." Then of course, he'll turn to the lost and he repeats the opposite to them. And say, "Lord, but we would have helped you." He says, "in as much as you did not minister to the least of these, you did not do it to me." So every Christian is to be ministering to those around us. Hungry? Give them the bread of life, give 'em physical bread.

Thirsty? We should give water and drink to the thirsty, give them the living water. Naked? We ought to clothe the naked. We should care. Bible says, "this is the fast that I've chosen that you clothe the naked and do not hide yourself from your own flesh." But we should also provide the robe of Christ's righteousness for those who are spiritually naked, right? "I was in prison." We should have prison ministry. A lot of people who are incarcerated, they come to the Lord in those circumstances.

It's a great opportunity. But there are people who are in prison by sin that need liberation as well. Those who are sick, we ought to have medical ministry. Healing, that's part of Christianity, but those who are sick with sin. So all of these things the church ought to be doing, there's both the literal and a spiritual application for those things as well.

So is the second coming good news or bad news? It's good news. Someone read Isaiah 25:9. "And it will be said in that day, behold, this is our God for whom we have waited, that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited." This is our God. Go ahead.

"Rejoice and be glad in his salvation." Yeah, so what's our attitude to be? This is our God. We've waited for him and he will save us. Let us "rejoice and be glad in his salvation." Christians ought to be excited about Jesus coming again. Let's face it; there's a lot of problems in the world. There's a lot of sickness.

There's a lot of death. There's a lot of trouble. What's going to be the ultimate solution for all the misery in this world? The great answer is the second coming. Man has no answers. If you're looking for man to improve life in the world, so we can have a little bit of repose before Jesus comes, Jesus said, "there's gonna be wars and rumors of war, but this is not the end.

" In other words, from his time to the present day, there's "war and rumors of war." There's all kinds of anxiety among the nations. Fear and perplexity. Peter 2:7. I gave that out, and I don't know who has it. "Therefore, to you who believe, he is precious.

But to those who are disobedient, the stone which the builder rejected has become the chief cornerstone." Here it's telling us that you've got a big difference. Jesus is the rock of ages. He's that chief cornerstone. You remember the passage where Jesus said, "whoever falls upon the stone," here's the stone, you fall on the stone, "he is broken. But on whomsoever the stone falls, it grinds him to powder.

" Everybody's gonna have something to do with that stone. We fall upon it. And we are broken. That means that we're broken-hearted. We surrender to the Lord.

Our hearts are broken. He has all of us. "Falls on us," Daniel 2, "the stone destroys the image in its judgment." So we gotta decide. For those who fall upon the stone were broken. Was Peter broken on that stone? Matter of fact, in the garden of Gethsemane was a big rock.

And after Peter denied Jesus for the third time, you read in the book "Desire of Ages," he went back to that place. He went to that cold stone that was still wet with the blood and sweat of Jesus. And he fell upon it and he sobbed out his repentance. He fell on the stone and was broken. He became a new man.

And so the second coming for him was precious. But for Israel that rejected Jesus, that stone that the builders rejected, it becomes the cornerstone--it becomes a rock of stumbling, a stone of offense and judgment for them. And so then you've got that part of the lesson says, "now on the other hand, when Jesus comes for us, he's supposed to be a personal friend." I'm gonna read to you Philippians 3:20. "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body, that it might become like his glorious body, according to the working by which is he able to subdue all things unto him." Anyone here have a dual citizenship? Any of you have a dual citizenship where you're still--you know, I know some people, they were born in one country. And they will always have citizenship there, because they were born in that country and yet they immigrate to America.

Or maybe their parents were Americans and they were missionaries when they were born in another country. They got citizenship. They got two passports. Nobody here? Yeah, a couple people do. I've got dual citizenship: California and New York city.

You've got both. If you've been both places, you know they're two different countries, aren't they? And I can speak either one. Understand both languages, I'm bilingual. You know a Christian is an ambassador of another country. I've got a few thoughts here.

What is an ambassador? No, really, we ought to be thinking of ourselves as ambassadors. It is "a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as a representative in residence by one government or sovereign to another, usually for a specific length of time." If you are a Christian, you are an ambassador of another country. Your first loyalty is not to the president of the United States or whatever government you live in, or the governor of California. Your first loyalty is to the King of the universe, right? You're an ambassador that represents Jesus. "It is a diplomatic official heading over his or her countries permanent mission to certain international organizations, such as the united nations.

" In other words, you are sent from your country to represent the interests of your country in a foreign land. And do ambassadors typically have embassies that they operate out of? If you're an ambassador for Christ, then what is the church? This is his embassy. Do you know embassies in a foreign land represent a place of sanctuary? If you're an American and you lose your passport, or you get into some kind trouble in a foreign land, if you can get inside the American embassy, in the American embassy all over the world, there are American marines that guard those places. Right? I've been there. I've seen it.

And it becomes a little piece of territory that represents your country in a foreign land. Our churches are to be like embassies in this world of another nation, right? So when you and I come on the grounds on this church, this sanctuary, this 3 acres here at Sacramento central, this is a little bit of heaven. It is an embassy for God in a foreign country. We ought to remember that. It's a sacred place.

We ought to think about what's going on in the courts of heaven and see if we can model the behavior of angels here, right? Model the representatives of heaven here. And then, when we go from this place, we go as ambassadors. Do ambassadors--you ever been to New York city around the united nations, you see people walking around wearing funny clothes? You know why? They're wearing the clothes of their country. They speak the language of their country. All around the u.

n.--I used to live in New York city on st street, east side. And we'd go right down, walk, as kids, down to the u.n. They got all these international restaurants there. You know why? People from all over the world. They eat differently.

They talk differently. They dress differently. They act differently, 'cause they represent their countries. And as Christians, we know that our king is coming back soon. We ought to be living lives that represent his country too.

Amen? Well, we just about run out of time for the lesson, but before we go, I do want to highlight the free offer one more time. A lot of information I shared in our study today about the second coming, the secret rapture, and some of those misconceptions. It's in the lesson called, "the ultimate deliverance." We'll send it to you for free. I hope you'll ask for it. It's offer number 105.

And the number to call is -788-3966. I want to remind our friends, when we get together again, we're going to be in our new quarter dealing with "agents of hope, God's great missionaries." Looking forward to this. If you want to start studying with Sacramento central, even if you just get on the phone, call your neighborhood Seventh-day Adventist Church. Ask them for a copy of that. And I'm sure that they'll be happy to share one with you.

Or visit the church and study with them there. Amen? And do that. God bless you friends. We're out of time. Until next Sabbath.

In a world surrounded by darkness, there is a voice that whispers to ever young heart, calling them to find the treasure of truth. [Music] Those who follow the path will discover eternal riches beyond their wildest dreams. Join us for an "Amazing Adventure: a journey for life with Jesus," a satellite evangelistic series just for kids, live from Dallas, Texas on 3abn, September 12-20. Register now.

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