Return of the King
Have you ever heard someone say, “They love each other like brothers?” That usually means that the people being discussed have their agreements and disagreements, but they always stick together in the hard times. Well, having four boys in our house, I can tell you that brothers don’t always get along, but when they do, it’s wonderful. And you can bet that when something happens to one, they all come to the rescue. I have an older brother and sister, and recently my sister sent me a framed picture of “then” and “now” — an image from when we were very young along with an image of a recent get-together. When we were young, we would play together, and although she was a little older than I was, she would help me with things when I needed help. Every once in a while…OK, fairly often, we would get on each other’s nerves and have to spend some time apart, but she was always there to stand up for me in time of trouble. And I remember on more than one occasion of our disagreements, mom would say, “Play nice” — meaning we had better get along or there would be unfortunate parental intervention.
Sometimes, even in our Christian family, we don’t always see eye to eye with others. Sometimes we have trouble “playing nice” with others. People from different denominations may have some beliefs that differ from ours, and sometimes we tell jokes or rib others about who’s wrong and who’s right. But when we stand together, even agreeing to disagree about the less important things, we can get along with each other. In our community, we may struggle with racial or economic or political differences. I am certain that in the nation of Israel from the days of the Psalmist, not everyone agreed with everyone else. In fact, show me even a handful of people who always agree on everything, and I will show you a great deal of compromise. Sometimes, we have to just put aside our differences and stand together as brothers and sisters. We can’t spell “community” without the word “unity.” How wonderful it is when we can all get together, forgiving each other for our shortcomings and loving each other through our difficulties.
On Saturday, Aug. 11, we will have an opportunity to “play nice” with others in the community as we come together to pray together for one of our major common concerns — the new school year. Each of us is touched in some way by the school systems, public or private, and each of us can pray for those who help shape the lives of so many children and youth as well as for the students themselves. As we come together at 7 p.m. on the square, let’s remember to “play nice” with each other as we gather together to pray for each other. This will be a great opportunity to show that we do have “unity” in our community.
Where do we need to accept those who don’t necessarily agree with us? Where can we ask God to help us to have unity in our community?
There is a day that is coming that swells great joy in the hearts of millions. A day when broken hearts will be mended, a day when loved ones will be reunited, and a day when hopes will be realized. This is a day that I have been longing for since I was a child, and a day that millions more have longed for with an eagerness that is stronger than that of a bride awaiting her groom. What is this day you may be thinking? I am talking about the day when the King of the universe, the one who has all authority in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth returns. I am talking about the second coming of Jesus Christ, the day when Jesus will return to earth to rule and to reign. He will bring justice to the wicked and peace to the righteous. It will be a great return of the King.
You can learn a lot about yourself, by considering what comes to your mind when you think of this day. As mentioned above, for many of you thinking about the return of the King brings great joy and peace to mind. For you, this is the day, more than any other that you look forward to. But for many others of you, this day strikes a deep terror in your heart. When Christ returns there is a very stark difference between those who are with him and those who are against him. One of the most vivid passages of scripture comes in Revelation 19:1116 when the return of Christ is described:
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is the word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
On which side of Christ will you be on when the King returns?
If you are interested in learning more about the return of Christ, and what will happen in the end of time come to First Baptist beginning Wednesday night Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. for a 17-week study of the book of Revelation called “Return of the King.”