- Read Acts 1:1-11 here.
- If you missed Sunday’s sermon (13 June), you can listen to it here.
- Follow the rest of this discussion here.
This week I continued my sermons series on the implications of the name “The Church of Christ”. I proposed that The Church of Christ should eagerly seek the Return of Christ. When I think back over my own preaching and sermons I’ve heard others preach, I’m alarmed at how little we discuss this subject.
The Churches of Christ that I’ve been around tend to study passages relating to the return of Christ, and the end of time, mostly to point out what they’re NOT talking about. While I do NOT subscribe to a premillenial interpretation of Revelation, Daniel, etc., I need to teach those books describing how they DO relate to the church today, rather than what they do NOT mean.
But it’s not only in study of specific books that we overlook the return of Christ. I believe that the purpose of the church can only be completely fulfilled when it is reunited with Christ. But if this is true, why do we not anticipate Christ’s return more? We discuss the resurrection of Christ, and the hope it gives for our own resurrection and eternal life, but fail to describe the scene of Christ coming through the clouds, blowing his trumpet and calling his people home.
Why do we participate in the Lord’s Supper each week and spend so much time looking backward to the cross, and so little time considering the hope that accompanies the phrase in 1 Cor. 11:26, “…until he comes“? Why do we know Acts 1:7 so well and spend so little time discussing Acts 1:11?
I am convinced that not giving due emphasis to the return of Christ creates problems in the church that we’re often don’t recognise. The main problem I detect is that people confuse the church and the kingdom of God. Because we don’t regularly teach the return of Christ, we create the impression that Christianity can solve all one’s problems in the here and now. Our preaching can give the impression that following Christ on earth, provides the benefits of eternal life immediately. There’ll be no more tears, no pain or sorrow, because we’re walking in the footsteps of Jesus.
When we minimise our discussion of Christ’s return we also remove the powerful victory motif from the Bible. Christ’s return will be a victorious return. At that time, death, sin, evil, pain, and sorrow will cease to exist for His followers. When the church points to a future victorious event, we not only provide hope, we also create realistic expectations for life in Christ in the present.
Matt Dabbs demonstrates Revelation’s teaching along these lines on his blog.
- The substance of this post is based on my CoC experience. Have you witnessed a CoC that regularly draws attention to the victorious return of Christ?
- Do you agree that churches sometimes create unrealistic expectations for new converts?
- Does the prayer “Come Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20) seem foreign to you? or an inspiring way to conclude a prayer?