Monday, August 10, 2009

Jesus is Coming Soon...

"...morning or night or noon..."

Robert Emmett Winsett wrote this song and it made it's way into the "Gospel Music Hall of Fame", I grew up singing this song and pretty much know it by heart. It wasn't until I attended a Winston-Salem Church of Christ that I found it (to some) suffers from stigmatization not originally intended by it's writer.

The preacher at the Church that I attended for about 12 years (who was also an elder) all but banned this song from being led in worship - I knew this because I led it and found out pretty quickly after I was done that day. The problem with "Jesus is Coming Soon" is not the message, which I'll get to in a moment, but that it was perceived (by some) to be the "theme song" for the premillenialist movement. Soon after this I realized that I was an amillenialist and just didn't know it. The ridiculous thing about banning this song to me was that (as far as I can tell) "Jesus is Coming Soon" is an amillenial song!

In 2nd Peter 3, Peter (yeah, I know it's debatable if Peter himself wrote this book, but it is God-breathed word) addresses "The Day of the Lord" and makes if very clear that the people of that time believed that Jesus would be returning soon. I would suggest reading the entire chapter, but just to point out a couple of statements from the Holy Spirit through Peter.

"By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." 2 Peter 3:7

"But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him."
2 Peter 3:13,14

Peter was reminding the Christians of his time that they needed to be ready because Jesus would come soon - possibly in their lifetime. He also states that "the day of the Lord will come like a thief..." (v.10), quickly and without warning.

Sunday, our teacher asked the class to name some things that led them to believe that the end times were approaching. The class listed a number of things that - for me - were irrelevant because Peter made it clear that the "end-times" are now - meaning when he penned the words of the Holy Spirit.

But even if you allow yourself to enter into a discussion about "end-times" it's all academic. Like many theological discussions of our time, it's interesting at best, but serves no purpose in our personal salvation. Peter says all that really matters to us..."make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him".

I love my new Church, but I get tired of this academic discussion...

Jesus IS coming soon and the reason it seems like it is taking so long to us is that "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (v.9), thank the Lord for that....

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"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18