Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Gary Petty] God is calling you to receive the blessing of Christ’s first coming now and to be prepared by Him for His second coming.
The disciples were confused by what Jesus did after His resurrection. Now, He spent time with them continuing to teach them, but they were anticipating something else. The prophets taught that the Messiah would set up God’s kingdom on earth and the disciples believed that Jesus was that Messiah.
And one day Jesus took them to the Mount of Olives, and they asked Him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus told them that it wasn’t time for them to know when the kingdom would come to this earth. He told them that they would receive power from God to tell people the gospel, and then they watched as He visibly ascended out of sight into heaven. And they just stood there and watched. Well what happens next? Finally two angels had to show up and say, “Go off and do what you’re supposed to do now.”
Have you ever wondered why Jesus comes to the earth twice? I mean they didn’t understand entirely what was happening at that time. Why didn’t He just come one time and then save us from all this mess for the last 2000 years? Well today we’re going to actually do a Bible study and explore three reasons why Jesus comes to the earth twice. When we compare the two advents of Christ we find that He came the first time to initiate steps and God’s plan of salvation. But He comes the second time to complete those steps.
There is continuity between the first and second comings of Jesus Christ. And understanding of this continuity of these two great salvation events helps us better understand God’s plan of salvation, and that’s important for your life today because we live in between those two great events, and to better understand our present relationship with Jesus Christ. So we’re going to talk about that.
So let’s get into the subject. The first reason Jesus Christ comes twice. Well He came the first time to be the substitute sacrifice to reconcile humans being to God. Okay here’s the bad news. We bring this gospel, the good news. Here’s the bad news. Because of sin humanity is cut off from God and we have no way of saving ourselves. And God, whose character is righteous and just, He believes in justice. That means He requires us to pay a penalty for our sins. But He also loves us.
And in Christ what we find that the Father has applied the perfect way to express both His justice and His love. He comes as a sacrifice for us. The Apostle Paul talks about this in the book of Romans. Listen to what he says, “For when we,” okay us, all of you, “when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die. Yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
You know the greatest love a human being could show another human being is to die for them. You know we hear stories of people who die for their children or a husband who dies for a wife. We’ve also all heard stories about a soldier who jumps on a hand grenade. These kinds of stories go back a 100 years, that jumps on a hand grenade to save his buddies. We say what a great sacrifice of love that someone would do this. What Jesus Christ did though was all different. He jumped on the hand grenade for His enemies. He jumped on the hand grenade. He died for those who were His enemies.
What Paul says here he continues on, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, the blood of Christ, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies.” Do you understand that? God looks at us and He loves us but our actions are as if we are enemies towards Him. Now we have to recognize that if we’re ever going to come into a relationship with God.
“If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life,” by His life. Christ died for us when we were sinners. He died for us when we were conducting our lives as enemies of God. He died for us to take the just penalty that you and I deserve.
Now notice Paul wrote that we shall be saved by His life. We are saved not only by His death for us but by His resurrection. And through His first coming Jesus is calling people to be His disciples. He came to die and be resurrected and call people to be His disciples, to be called into what is called in the New Testament the Church. And He reconciled to God so that they can become the children of God. So that’s why He came the first time.
But what does that have to do with His second coming? Jesus comes the second time to apply His sacrifice to all people. So I want you think about that. He came the first time to be the sacrifice. He comes the second time to apply it to everyone. He’s calling people into the church now that received that sacrifice in their stead, the Old Testament prophecies that those disciples were waiting to happen.
You know when are you going to set up your kingdom on this earth told of these events. Isaiah 11 is a great messianic prophecy and in that prophecy Isaiah showed that this Messiah who we call Christ, which is another word for Messiah, would be a descendant of Jesse, the father of David, and Jesus was a Jew who was a descendant of David.
This Messiah who the New Testament reveals as Jesus Christ is to establish God’s kingdom on the earth. When Jesus Christ does return, and this is what those disciples started to figure out over time, and you can see it as the New Testament progresses. Wait a minute. He comes twice. He comes to set up that kingdom on this earth.
And according to Isaiah He will bring justice, see that word justice is there, and goodness to the earth. He’s going to change society and also He’s going to heal the environment. Jesus is coming back the second time, not as the sacrifice, but to apply the sacrifice. And then there’s this remarkable statement in Isaiah 11 that He’s going to stand as a banner to the people for the Gentiles, which just means all the nations. And they shall seek Him and His resting place shall be glorious. He’s going to stand as a banner to the whole world.
When Jesus Christ returns He’s not coming back as some baby. He’s coming back as King of kings and the whole world will be drawn towards Him. He came the first time to perform the sacrifice. He comes the second time to apply it to everyone. Today God calls people once again into what the Bible calls the Church, an assembly of people who worship God in a world that denies Him. Christ comes the second time to establish God’s kingdom on the earth and bring that sacrifice and that opportunity to everyone.
And you know this is great news in a dying world. And let’s face it. You and I suffer a lot of frustration and anxiety in the world that we live in. It seems like everybody’s anxious all the time. Everybody’s fearful all the time because of what’s happening in our world. I’m going to say something here. You say you know, “Where do you get that from?” Listen. The world is not going to end in a nuclear holocaust. It’s not going to. Climate change, you know the environment is going to get destroyed before Christ comes back. But you know the earth isn’t destroyed by climate change.
You say, “How do you know that? Because Christ says He’s coming back before that happens. We live in this fear and anxiety when Christians should be absolutely focused in on this incredible truth. We live between these two great events. And we know what happened the first time and we know what’s going to happen the second time.
So how does this help us relate to Jesus Christ because I said this would help us relate to Jesus Christ? Well those who have received God’s forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice relate to Christ as Savior. He saves us, and we’ll tie that in a little bit later to some other things. Now to help you understand what we’re talking about today and how the first and second comings of Jesus Christ is what God is doing, these two events, the set of His Kingdom on earth, you need to order your free copy of “The Gospel of the Kingdom.”
Now this study guide contains references to many biblical passages and the purpose of this study guide is to help you in your personal Bible study. Now as you go through the study guide what you need to do is look up every Bible passage and read it for yourself. You need to be in the Word of God. Now you can order your free copy by calling the toll-free number on your screen or you can go to beyondtoday.tv where you can download a copy or order a copy right there online.
So the first point was that Jesus came the first time as a sacrifice and He comes the second time to offer that sacrifice to all humanity. Another reason, our second reason why Jesus comes twice. He came the first time to leave His followers an example and give them the power to follow that example. Remember what those disciples were told who were waiting for the kingdom, “Go out and preach the gospel and you will receive the power to do this.” You see the work of Jesus Christ is more than just dying for sin. Remember we read what Paul said we are saved by His life.
He set an example for His followers, His disciples on how to live God’s way. And any true follower of Jesus Christ, anyone who actually really accepts Him wants to be a disciple. And when we study the Bible’s explanation of salvation, we see that those who respond to God’s call of reconciliation received the Holy Spirit. The mind, the power, the love of God comes into that person. And it’s through the power of God’s Spirit that God the Father and Jesus Christ can literally live in us.
I want to read here now from the book of Ephesians, once again the Apostle Paul. This is actually a prayer. I won’t read all of it but at the end of the prayer, he says amen. This is a prayer he has for the Christians at Ephesus. He says, “For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.” I want you to think about that, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.
Jesus Christ didn’t come back just to die for our sins and then we just sort of stay the same. We just stay sinners doing whatever we want. Religion must be more than going to church and singing songs and doing rituals. It is being changed in the inner person. Anything less than that is not true Christianity, is not accepting Jesus Christ for who He really is.
He goes on and he says, listen to this, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” It’s not just being forgiven. We’re saved through His life so that we are filled with all the fullness of God. I just love this phrase in English, “Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly.” Wow, exceedingly abundantly. Well he talks about hyperbole here.
“Above all that we ask or think.” Above all that we can ask Him. Above all that we can think. And I have a big imagination. He says, “Beyond all that according to the power that works in us,” the power that works in us. Christ came to give power. Christianity without this power is Christianity without Christ. So He came to leave an example and to teach and to give the power to follow that teaching. So what’s that to do with His second coming?
Well let’s look at an Old Testament prophecy about the coming of the Messiah. This is in Micah, what it called one of the Minor Prophets. Now listen to this. “Now, it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains.” This is a Hebrew poetry. The mountain is a big kingdom and these other kingdoms hills are little nations.
“And shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills. And people shall flow to it.” So the house of the Lord, God’s kingdom is going to be established on this earth. And here’s what’s going to happen. “And many nations shall come and say, ‘Come and let us go to the mountain of the Lord, the kingdom of God, to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His path, for out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”’ He comes back to offer as Savior that sacrifice. He comes back to leave an example to teach people and give them power.
You know, the prophets from Ezekiel to Jeremiah to Joel all prophesy a time when God’s Spirit is going to be poured out and Joel especially isn’t just to you know, the Old Testament talks about the house of Israel or the house of Judah. It’s to everybody, all humanity. His Spirit is poured out. That very power that Christians have the opportunity to receive right now today, is poured out on the world.
Wow how does that help us relate to Jesus Christ? He came to leave us the example and give us power. He comes back to bring the whole world. All nations are going to come to Jerusalem. Well when this happens will you understand this? We see Jesus Christ as mentor. He shows us how this works. He shows us what it is. Well we say we’re Christians, right? He shows us what it is. He shows us how we live it, how it relates to every day what we do. And we literally become disciples but we must see Him as mentor.
Now the free study guide, “The Gospel of the Kingdom,” contains sections by the way, showing biblical prophecies about the Kingdom of God. We just looked at the one in Micah. There’s a lot more and how Jesus is that Messiah who’s going to set up God’s kingdom on this earth. Now you can order your free copy by calling the toll-free number on your screen or by going to beyondtoday.tv, and there you can download a copy or just even read it online if you want. Now, there’s one more reason, one more reason that we’re going to talk about, the third reason Jesus comes twice.
Jesus came the first time to die and be resurrected. We talked about that. Not just to die, right, to die and be resurrected. But in that process of resurrection something really important happens. He becomes the firstborn elder brother in God’s kingdom and this helps us understand the gospel is about how God is creating a family.
That’s why every one of you were made and born. That’s why you’re in this world. It’s because God wants children. And it says He’s the firstborn. In fact let’s go ahead and read that in 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians Apostle Paul again writes. He says, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep,” the first fruit of those who have fallen asleep. Okay. He shows the way. He came the first time to become that firstborn. He’s an elder brother and in fact, Hebrews, the book of Hebrews talks about that. It’s how we can relate to him. So when does that happen for the rest of us?
Well just a couple verses later he says, “But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” He came to go through the process to show how human beings can enter into the literal spirit family of God. He comes back the second time to actually do it. He did it. I mean in the book of Romans Christ is called the firstborn among many brethren. Brethren it says there, whatever Jesus Christ the Son of God, and he calls us brothers and sisters. It’s part of this Gospel message.
So He came the first time to become the elder brother. I mean He was already God. He came here to become the elder brother. He comes the second time as that firstborn elder brother to bring other children. I mean what good is it to be a firstborn if there’s no other children? See He had to go through the process himself to show us the process.
Death and resurrection is how we become the children of God. It’s very interesting. We’re going to be spending a lot of time with Paul here. I’m going to go to something that John writes. I’ve actually read this on a previous “Beyond Today” program because it’s one of my favorite passages in all the Scripture.
John says, “Beloved, now, now, in relationship, now we are children of God and it is not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him. For we shall see Him as He is.” This is the purpose for us. We will see Christ as our elder brother who we will be following into this Kingdom, and we will see God the Father.
And then he says something very important, and this is an important message for us. “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” The point he makes here is you know, if you really understand this, if you really understand then you want to follow Jesus Christ as mentor. So okay we see Him as Savior who came to die for us. He comes a second time to apply that to everyone. We see Him as mentor and the one who gives us the power.
The Holy Spirit comes because of His resurrection, and we receive that Spirit. We have power from God. Okay, mentor, Savior, mentor, but our relationship with Him is this elder brother. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is elder brother in the family. You see coming twice is part of the plan. If we don’t have a Savior we can’t get there. If we don’t have a mentor we can’t get there. But with an elder brother, we have someone who says, “I love you so much. I’ll show you how it’s done.” And this is the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
This truth has changed my life. I started to learn this when I was a teenager. I didn’t understand it entirely but I started to learn it. Understand that I had a need for a Savior, a desperate need. I wanted God to be my Father but how do you get there on your own? As I’ve always said to you, how do you build a ladder tall enough to get to God?
And then you understand, “Oh, I had only to have a Savior. He shows me how to do it.” See, you try to follow. You try to follow. You try to follow. And He gives you the power because you can’t do it on your own. And somewhere in that process, it really starts to go in, “He’s not only that. He’s my brother.” This is very personal here. Just like my relationship, your relationship with God is as a Father. It’s very personal.
Your relation with Jesus Christ is as a brother. It’s incredibly personal. And God is offering you to become a member of His family where you can experience God as your Father and Jesus Christ as your elder brother. This is why you need to order your copy of “The Gospel of the Kingdom.” You can call the toll-free number on your screen or go to beyondtoday.tv where you can read it or download a copy for yourself.
So what have we looked at here? Let’s recap some of this okay? Jesus Christ came the first time to be the substitute sacrifice to reconcile human beings to God. Without that you and I can’t get there. God’s justice demands something, and people don’t want to accept that. We want to talk about God’s love, but we will not accept God’s justice. If you don’t accept God’s justice yu’ll never accept Jesus Christ. Oh you’ll say, “I believe in him.” But no, you don’t understand who he is and what He’s done.
He comes the second time to apply this sacrifice to all peoples. Okay. So what was our second point? Our second point, Jesus Christ came the first time to leave His followers an example and to give them the power to follow that example, so we become disciples. He is our mentor. He comes the second time to teach all humanity how to live and to make God’s power available to them. Do you realize how much it is the grace of God, what it is a favor, what it is a privilege to be called into His family now to have that relationship that John talked about and have this future to be part of this future?
Then the third thing we talked about. Jesus came the first time to die and be resurrected as the firstborn brother. You know I think about this sometimes I think there had to be an easier way to do this, but this is the way God did it. See how personal this is. Everything in it is personal from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, so much so He’s dying to say, “Now, I can be your brother because you can accept me. I’ve been like you for a while. I know what’s like to be like you.”
He comes a second time as the firstborn elder brother to resurrect those who are prepared, to resurrect them so that there’s actually a lot of children in the family. Imagine if you will, the confusion of the disciples as they watched the glorified Jesus Christ ascend into heaven. I mean the Messiah was supposed to set up God’s Kingdom on the earth. That’s the reason they asked Him, “Aren’t you going to do this now?” “No, I’m not. I’ll come back.” “But you’re supposed to do it right here in Jerusalem.” “Yeah. Well, I’m not doing it now. I’m coming back.” They still just stood there until the angels came and said, “Go do. You got a job to do.” Well those prophecies are still going to happen. Jesus Christ already came the first time.
He came and fulfilled those first steps, and you and I live in between these two great events. He laid the foundation to prepare a people for His second coming. God is calling you to receive the blessing of Christ’s first coming now and to be prepared by Him for His second coming.
Think about that, to receive the blessing of his first coming now in your life and be prepared for his second coming, To be there. This is the gospel of the Kingdom of God and God is calling you to His kingdom. Now, what are you going to do about it?
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