Monday, July 26, 2010

Can You Long for Christ's Return AND Want Him to Delay?

A couple of people have asked me something based on the content of yesterday's message at WBC (Luke 18:1-8 - "Prayer Conditioned: The Second Coming of Christ"). In the message I argued that God's elect will be recognized when Jesus returns by their longing for Him. In other words, genuine believers have a deep desire in their soul to want to be with and see and enjoy their Savior for eternity. The question that I have been asked relating to this is, "Is it wrong to want Jesus to delay in returning so that others might have an opportunity to respond?"

Being that I have had the same question asked by different people, I thought others might be curious as well.

For anyone interested, below is a modified version to a response I sent to one of the inquirers via e-mail. Perhaps it will help...

"Yes, it is totally right to pray for people you love to know Christ prior to His return. Nothing at all wrong with that! This is why, I believe, Jesus is patient in returning now (see 2 Peter 3:9). So, YES, pray and long and hurt for those who do not know Christ to know Him quickly! The apostle Paul himself said in Romans 9:1-3 that, if possible, he would wish to be cursed and cut off from Christ if it would mean the salvation of his fellow Jews. He hurt for them to know Christ.

"Having said that, however, it is possible to make ministry and evangelism and 'good stuff' our god instead of the One, true and living God. The genuine believer longs to know and be with Christ more than anything else in the universe. This doesn't mean we don't love our lost friends and family members. I think you can do both. In fact, the same Paul who wrote what I mentioned above in Romans 9 also wrote in Philippians 1:23 that he wished he could depart and be with Christ (for that was far better!). So, I think we have to live with the tension. Doesn't Jesus even say in several places in the Gospels that when one comes to Him he/she must hate mom, dad, sister, brother, etc.? This, of course, does not at all mean we should not long for them to know Christ...but it does mean Christ MUST be first and foremost in all of our thoughts and affections and relationships, etc. Make sense?

"The main point (I think!) of the passage I preached yesterday was that when Jesus returns, those who are His will be recognized by their love and passion and longing for Him. It will change the way we pray and live and think and pursue.

"So, keep praying for those you love to know Christ. Keep diligently telling them the Gospel. But do it while you grow in a love and knowledge of Jesus, that fosters a greater longing to be with Him for eternity."

Discussion Questions from 07/25/2010 Sermon at WBC

It was great to be back in the pulpit at WBC yesterday. As was no surprise to anyone, I preached out of Luke's Gospel. My text was Luke 18:1-8 and the title was - "Prayer Conditioned: The Second Coming of Christ."

Hopefully, you will be able to listen/watch the message and view the outline here later today.

To aid in further study/application of the truths presented, here are a few discussion questions:

1. Bro. Matt argued that Luke 18:1-8 was about praying for the 2nd coming of Christ. What are some 'pointers' from Luke 17:22-37 that verify that?

2. According to Luke, in verse 1, what is the purpose of Jesus' parable?

3. Who are the two characters in the parable (verses 2-5)? What are some obvious characteristics of each?

4. What is Jesus obviously communicating to the disciples about God and the way He responds to their prayers?

5. Does Jesus mention all this simply so His children will add another request to their already full prayer list? If not, why not?

6. What indicators are there in the text that (see also Luke 17:22) praying for Jesus' return is to be a state of mind/heart for the believer?

7. If longing for Jesus' return is the 'cry of your heart,' how will that impact your pursuits, your surrounding environment, and your future hope? (Be personal here...evaluate how this will impact your heart and your behavior). What do you think Jesus meant when He said what He said in Luke 17:30-33?

- Are there some things that you long for more than you do Jesus?

- Are there some people you long to be with more than you do Jesus?

- What would upset you the most if Jesus were to come back this afternoon?

8. According to Luke 18:7-8, how can one know whether or not he/she is one of God's elect?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Articles and Books Used and/or Referenced During E-Family - July 14th, 2010

Tonight, my topic for E-family is "Culture Shock: Christians and Entertainment". I referenced several articles and used others for this specific talk. Below is a list and links of what was used.

"Video Games, Idols, and Your Child's Heart" by Chad Mahaney (son of C.J. Mahaney)

I also referenced a talk Dr. Mohler gave at a conference in June. The title of his message was "The Hypersocialized Generation." The link to the message is here.

"When to Buy Your Child a Cell Phone" by Stefanie Olson (The New York Times)

"Hooked on Gadgets and Paying a Mental Price" by Matt Richtel (The New York Times)

Notes from Ed Stetzer's talk at the 2010 Ligonier Pre-Conference.

Two books of interest are these:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Discussion Questions from 07/11/2010 Sermon at WBC

This past Sunday morning I continued preaching through Luke's Gospel, closing out chapter 17. My text was Luke 17:20-37.

The title was, "The Kingdom of God and the City of Wynne." You can watch and/or listen to it here.

Here are a couple of questions to help you think further on these verses:

1. What are some differences between Jesus' 1st coming to earth and His 2nd coming?

2. What had to happen the first time He came? Why is this so important?

3. Why do you think Jesus elaborated on the Noah and the Lot account when referring to the last day?

4. According to Jesus, there will be massive destruction when He returns. Why?

5. How does knowing this affect the way you view your neighbors and friends and family members who do not know Christ?

6. What did Lot's wife do that was so detrimental?

7. In what ways do you currently try to preserve your life when Christ calls you out of your comfort zone to follow Him? Is there anything your heart loves more than it does Christ?

8. What are some practical ways you can impact the city of Wynne (or wherever you live) for the sake of the kingdom having studied these verses?