Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of January 13, 2008

Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Luke 21:34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.

One of the truths that motivated the early church and kept it energetically serving the Lord was the truth that the Lord was coming again. When the Lord ascended to heaven, angels reinforced this truth. They said, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven (Acts 1:11).” They were expecting the same Jesus who had died, who had been buried and who had risen again to come and set up His Kingdom. In that passage, they asked if the Kingdom was going to be restored to Israel and they were told that they were not to going to be told WHEN the Lord would come to set up His physical kingdom, but they were to be witnesses to the truth WHILE they waited.

The teachings of Paul have given us a clearer understanding of the return of the Lord than these early disciples may have had. They expected the Lord to come to set up His kingdom. We understand that the Lord will come to “catch away” the church before He sets up His kingdom according to 1 Thessalonian 4:13-18. This is not two comings of the Lord but two events that occur when the Lord comes the second time. In the Gospels, the Lord talks about His coming again, but it is often not obvious that that He will come to rapture the Saints and then come to set up His kingdom. But both events will occur when He comes again.

Believing in the imminent (any moment) return of the Lord Jesus has always been true of those who are fervent in the work of the Lord. In the 1800’s, when there were great revivals, one of the truths that was recovered was the truth of the “rapture” or “catching away” of the church. Those who believe that the Lord is coming will not want to be ashamed at His coming (1 John 2:28). They will want to be “pure” when He comes (1 John 3:3). They will want to be watching and not sleeping (Romans 13:11) when He comes. His coming is the “blessed hope” that motivates those who are saved (Titus 2:13).

Today many of us have become like the unbelievers around us. They are questioning the promise of His coming (2 Peter 3:4). We have become earthly oriented instead of heavenly oriented. Our treasure is down here and not up there. The Lord’s coming has been preached so long without the Lord coming that it seems like an academic doctrine rather than a living reality. When the Lord comes, will we be among those who are so weighed down with the cares and “fun” of this world that the Lord’s coming will be unexpected?

I know that when we are expecting company at our house, things start to get done. We pick up the house, we vacuum the floors and mop the kitchen. We want to make a good impression. We then wait for the company to arrive even if they are late. If we believe that the Lord is about to return, I suspect we would be getting things in order so that we would make a good impression on Him as well.

Does the promise of the any moment personal return of the Lord move our hearts anymore? When I was unsaved and wars broke out in the middle east, I expected the Lord to return momentarily, and it moved me because I knew I was not ready. Now I am ready and when things happen in the middle east that we didn’t expect to happen until after the rapture, I am not nearly as concerned. I know I need to be touched once again by the reality of the Lord’s promise to his disciples, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:3).”

Bruce Collins

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