Jesus is at the Door

James 5:7-9

  1. Intro
  2. Is Christ’s Coming Imminent?
  1. Today we are going to wrestle with the question. Is Christ’s Return Imminent? And if so, what difference does it make.
  2. Look at Heb 10:24-25 “ And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
  3. Friends, the Bible is saturated with the anticipation of the return of Christ. I mean, it is dripping from it’s pages.
  4. It’s clear that the first believers felt that Christ was coming during their lifetimes.
  5. Since, He didn’t many today believe that He is not coming at all. Much less anytime soon.
  6. Many folks say that Christ will not come until the Antichrist and the 7 years of Tribulation comes to an end.
  7. Those who believe this often cite 2 Thess 2:1-3 “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,[a] not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction”
  8. The key to this verse is understanding that these believers thought they had missed the Rapture and that they were now living in the Tribulation.
  9. They believed that they had missed the boat. Here Paul is essentially telling them that the Rapture hasn’t happened, and that if they were living in the great tribulation they’d certainly know it!
  10. We know from 1 Thess 3:13-18 that the Rapture is next on the prophetic calendar and that it will happen before the Great Tribulation.
  11. “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[d] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
  12. Now why did the early Christians think it was happening during their lifetimes?
  13. Because the ‘signs of the times’ are general signs that happen throughout the church age. They have been fulfilled, and they are being fulfilled.
  14. Apostasy, unbelief, self- love, sin, wars, rumors of wars and disasters characterize the entire church age.
  15. What’s different now? 2 things. First is Israel, second is the intensification of these signs.       

        III.  What does it Matter?

  1. It matters tremendously because living in the understanding that Christ’s return is imminent has a purifying effect on His children.
  2. I John 3:2-3 “ Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
  3. The fact that Jesus is coming ought to motivate us like crazy to pursue Christ with all of our hearts, minds and spirits.
  4. Look what Jesus says in Luke 14:25-27 “Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
  5. Paul says this in Romans 13:8-10 “ Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
  6. Then stresses it in vs 11-14 “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
  7. My friends the time is now!! Every moment that passes draws us a moment closer to Christ’s return.
  8. Time is precious.
  9. man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to  God. "God", he said, "how long is a million years?" God answered, "In my frame of reference, it's about a minute."
     The man asked, "God, how much is a million dollars?"
     God answered, "To Me, it's a penny."
     The man then asked, "God, can I have a penny?"
     God said, "In a minute."

  10. Industrialist Charles Schwab was a key figure in Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire. Frustrated with his inability to get everything done, he once reluctantly agreed to meet with a consultant named Ivy Lee, who was recommended to him by John D. Rockefeller. Schwab had little use for consultants, but since Rockefeller recommended Lee so highly, he scheduled the meeting. Lee’s proposal was elegantly simple.
  11. He told Schwab to make a list of the six most important things he could do the next day to further the overall health and function of U.S. Steel. At the end of the day, Schwab was to review the list, move anything that had not been finished to the top of the next day’s list, and then add enough items to make a total of six again. Within fifteen minutes, the meeting concluded. Lee told Schwab to follow this practice for thirty days, and then send him a payment based on how much Schwab thought the advice was worth. After the month ended, Schwab sent Lee a check for $25,000

        IV.  So what do we do with the Time?

  1. First, we Wake Up!
  1. Vs 11 “Awake out of sleep!” Look how Paul describes the urgency in this passage.
  2. He says ‘now it is High time’, ‘our salvation is nearer’, ‘the night is far spent’, ‘the day is at hand.’
  3. If it was this urgent 2000 yrs ago, how much more ought it to be in our minds today?
  4. We can’t be lulled to sleep by passing time.
  5. When Paul writes ‘and do this knowing the time.’ (Rom 13:11) The word that he uses for time is a word than means an ‘age.’
  6. It’s saying that we need to recognize the times in which we live.
  7. In Rome there were lots of distractions. The people there were being lulled to sleep.
  8. We are easily distracted. We’ve got cell phones, internet, Netflix, satellite radio, amusement parks, sports, tablets, computer. You name it. We’ve got it.
  9. The great golf legend Arnold Palmer tells the story about being on the final hole of the Masters tournament and he had a one-stroke lead. He just hit a great shot off the tee and felt confident he would win the whole thing. As he approached his ball for his second shot, he saw an old friend standing on the sidelines.
  10. The man waved at Palmer to come over, stuck out his hand and said, “Congratulations.” Palmer took his hand and shook it, but as soon as he did, he knew he had lost his focus. His next shot he hit into the sand trap. Getting out of the trap, his ball sailed over the edge of the green. Then he missed his putt and lost the whole tournament.
  11. Palmer said he would never forget that mistake and was determined not to do it again. Focus matters!
  12. Think about how people got frantic and worked up about Y2K. What about the Millenial King?
  13. Look at Eph 5:14-15 “ for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,  and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise

16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

  • Look what Jesus says in Mark 13:35-37 “Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows,[c] or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

       V.  Secondly, We must Throw Off

  1. Romans 13:12 “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
  2. The picture here is of a soldier who’s on leave. He staggers into the city, looking for something to get into. He winds us drunk and asleep.
  3. Now dawn is approaching. It’s getting time to wake up. It’s time to go to work, get up, throw off those filthy clothes and get ready!
  4. Paul says laziness lulls us to sleep. We’re like that drunk man. We are just lying there, not knowing that Dawn is approaching fast. We’ve got to get up and ‘cast off’ our night clothes and get ready for work.
  5. ‘cast off’ here is a word that’s only used 3 times in the NT. It means to ‘expel forcefully’ but it could also mean to ‘excommunicate.’
  6. Paul is saying since the Dawn is approaching, excommunicate yourself from the works of darkness.
  7. What are those?
  8. Eph 4:22 “ to put off your old self,[a] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,”
  9. Col 3:8-9 “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[a] with its practices”
  10. Notice that this is a 2 step putting off. First he says ‘you have put off’ and then he says ‘keep putting off.’
  11. In other writings Paul paints the picture of an athlete who is stripped of all weight and ready to run.
  12. Casting Crowns has a great song about this very thing called “My Own Worst Enemy”

I caught a glimpse in my rearview mirror of an old familiar face

Blurry image coming in clearer of a past I can’t erase

I could’ve sworn I put him in the ground, But looks like he’s found his way out

I’ll take a step and it’s right behind me, Always fighting for control

There’s a war that’s raging inside m,e I feel the battle for my soul

It’s like my shadow is dragging me around, And You are my only way out

God, help me get away, Break the chains and set me free

From the other side of me, I can’t fight this fight alone

I’ll never make it on my own Lord Jesus, rescue me

From my own worst enemy

  1. That’s what God is telling us to do. Time is short. Cast off the old you and embrace the new. Run, Run, Run.
  2. We throw off sin, presuppositions, pride, anything that hangs us up and we run!!!

       VI.  Finally, We must Put On

  1. We have to have the appropriate attire for the ‘New Day.’
  2. Romans 13:12-14 “So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
  3. Notice that we are putting on armor.
  4. The message here is clear, we are to fight like crazy until He returns.
  5. And we aren’t to fight with one another by the way. Our fight is not with people.
  6. Eph 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
  7. “If God declares that all is well, ten thousand devils may declare it to be ill, but we laugh them all to scorn. Blessed be God for a faith which enables us to believe God when the creatures contradict Him.”
  8. ― Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Based on the English Standard Version
  9. Now is not the time for slacking, it’s not the time for a nap or for sleeping.
  10. In fact, we are to fight harder knowing that the time is short.
  11. Rise up, walk properly, fight like crazy for the King is Coming!
  12. Look at what Jesus says again in Mark 13:35-37 “Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows,[c] or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

      VII. Conclusion

        a. Thanks to the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, everyone has heard of the "midnight ride of Paul Revere." But few have                     heard of Israel Bissel, a humble post rider on the Boston-New York route.

After the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, Bissel was ordered to raise the alarm in New Haven, Connecticut.  He reached Worchester, Mass., normally a day's ride, in two hours. There, according to tradition, his horse promptly dropped dead. Pausing only to get another mount, Bissel pressed on and by April 22 was in New Haven--but he didn't stop there! He rode on to New York, arriving April 24, and then stayed in the saddle until he reached Philadelphia the next day. Bissel's 126 hour, 345 mile ride signaled American militia units throughout the Northeast to mobilize for war.