Is Jesus coming soon?

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In Revelation 22, Jesus talks to John and tells the church, Look, I am coming soon! Then John ends the chapter with, “He who testifies these things says “Yes, I am coming soon.”

If Jesus is testifying that He is coming soon, then this is exactly what we should be doing. Before Jesus was crucified, He had this as His mission. Before He gave us the Great Commission, His mission was to tell the world He was coming soon. Matthew 24:14 states, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

When will we, as a church, wake up and smell what He brews? I am a Seventh-day Adventist because I anticipate with great Joy the very soon coming of Jesus Christ. I believe that every Christian should also celebrate this. This is the good news: Jesus Christ is coming soon!

The early church took risks to spread this message. Risks that we are too chicken to do now. Rather than dismissing our teens because of some things they didn’t do, we need to take risks and guide them to a better future. Rather than placing our pastors as heads of multiple meetings, committees, and other tasks, we need to take risks on them and release them to fulfill the great commission. Rather than discussing the carpet, the walls, and the building itself, we need to take risks in preaching the Gospel. Rather than letting our parents send their kids to free public schools, we need to take the risk and give them the choice of sending their kids to FREE Christian schools.

Jesus took risks. He risked it all for you and me. This world is a dangerous place and God had a perfect plan of one the Father risked the life of His Son for. So, where do we start? How do we get back to taking these risks?

In my childhood, my mother did everything with bear feet. I am unsure whether it was for financial reasons or because she enjoyed the earth beneath her feet. One Sabbath morning, as was her custom, she took my brother and me to church, but she forgot to put some Sabbath shoes on. As we approached the door, there were gasps of disbelief from a few concerned saints, but I’ll never forget the reaction the pastor and his wife took. They stopped us immediately at the door; the pastor’s wife took my brother and me by the hand and corralled us toward the sabbath school classrooms while the pastor ran to the back room to grab something. I just knew he was going to rope her and tie her down or something. As I disappeared from the sight of my mother, I forced my way from the pastor’s wife’s hands and ran toward my mother as if to rescue her. But, to my amazement, the pastor was on his hands and knees washing my mother’s feet using a communion foot-washing bin. That is taking a risk. That is the same risk Jesus took when he washed His disciples’ feet, the same risk He took by writing in the sand freeing a sinful woman, the same risk He took by giving a woman at the well living water.

The church is not a place for privileged members to sit and listen to a powerful evangelist every weekend. The church is not a place for privileged members to send their kids to a school that others cannot afford. In a sermon I preached a while back titled “We are the sent ones,” ” quoted Theologian Lesslie Newbigin, who puts it this way, “[the church] exists for the sake of those who are not members, as sign, instrument, and foretaste of GoGod’sedeeming grace for the whole life of society.”

“Sign, instrument, and foretaste. What do they mean?

The church is a sign, pointing people to the good news that is just around the corner: that Jesus is coming soon. The church is an instrument, God’s tool for shaping the future of the planet, this country, this community, and this church. The church is a foretaste where people can get a taste of the future in the present, demonstrating what living under the rule and reign of the soon-coming Jesus Christ is like.

In another sermon titled Surprise the World, I mentioned I picked up a book of the same title listing 5 habits that I have now adopted, and I think, as a church, we need to as well. 1. Use your table to listen to others tell their story. 2. As you listen to others, learn from the Holy Spirit how to incorporate their story into your story, one filled with grace, mercy, and the reign of the soon coming of Jesus. 3 Bless others by taking risks with your financial means, physical means, and other acts of kindness. 4. Learn your story and the story of Jesus so you can tell it well. And 5. Be willing to be sent into the lives, homes, communities, and places we might not have chosen for ourselves.

Use the word BELLS to remember this. Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn, Sent.

Scripture talks about a table where we will all sit around and fellowship. It is in heaven, and we will be eating a meal with Jesus. He will be blessing us. We will be listening to others tell their stories. We will be learning about how we were sent and what we learned from these experiences.

Let us use our table here on earth to give others a foretaste of what that will be like. Use our tables to tell the world about the soon and glorious coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.

With Love,
Pastor Merlin

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