A few weeks back I wrote an article on this subject. In our Tuesday night meeting at Solomon’s Porch we have been studying Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonians. In my last article on the topic, out of 1 Thessalonians 4, there was a push to get us to examine how we hold all our stuff, or rather how all our stuff has a hold on us. I challenged us to ask ourselves the hard question. “Is He is going to return to find us putting all on the altar for King and Kingdom? or “Is He going to return and find us cradling all the junk we own like it has some use beyond this life. If we are to live in Light of the Second Coming of Christ, we have to be living in a way that is oriented toward generosity, love, and faithfulness. The question really becomes, “Where is our treasure?, The place He is taking us too or the place He is delivering us from?
This past Tuesday night at Solomon’s Porch we approached the subject from a different angle. The question revolved around the imminent way in which Paul presents the return of our Lord. Paul, in the first century preached it like it was an any minute sort of thing. “Sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman.” God has chosen to leave us sort of in the dark on this one. Paul didn’t really know the time of Jesus’ return, Jesus himself said that it was not for Him to know even as the incarnate Son of God. Our race is loaded with procrastinators and procrastination. If we knew it was going to be next week we would wait til the day before. If we knew it was going to be 50 years from now we would leave the work to our grandchildren. If we would have known from the beginning that it would be over 2000 years, imagine the progress that would have been made. I’ll venture a guess and say, very little would have gotten done for the Kingdom. God left us in the dark, told us to live as if always to be ready, and pushed us into action.
So exactly how should the Second Coming affect our day to day life? Paul says it should cause us to live in such a way as to not waste a bunch of time, be sober is the way he puts it. Take life seriously, take your profession of faith seriously, and live a life that has a purpose. Paul also tells us to “be watchful”, in other words, pay attention to what’s going on around you. Live in such a way that demonstrates that you care in little ways, ways that you would have to be paying attention to have noticed their importance. There is one word that I think sums up a sober and careful existence here on this ball of dirt, and that is intentionality.
The Gospel comes into our life and changes the way we think. I mean, most genuinely brilliant men outside of Christ believe that we all crawled out of some lightening struck primordial soup that was predated by an un-caused big bang of dense matter. Never mind all the philosophical problems with it, let’s just stick to the bottom line conclusion of that premise………..nothing matters and life is void of meaning. Christ and His Gospel step into that and say “No, God created you, loves you, loves you so much he sent me to live and die for you, God has accepted my sacrifice, released me from the prison of death, received me and by extension you into the heavenly places again, and when I return from there you are either coming back with me or me and the family are coming for you.” How’s that for a big bang? Meaning floods back into the empty chasm of human existence, all of a sudden what we do matters, there is a future. The Gospel has to be given to others, this new life has to be demonstrated to others, every sphere of human existence needs a Gospel understanding. My wife or husband needs to hear and experience the Gospel, my children need to be raised in the Gospel because the Gospel gives purpose to every sphere and relationship is life. The Gospel causes us to live on mission for Christ and the Second Coming is the conclusion of all Gospel work and should drive us to what I call “Gospel Intentionality.”
If we are going to live in Light of the Second Coming we have to ask what does Gospel Intentionality look-like for you? Well for starters, do you ask good questions of your self? Are you a person given to openly examining your heart with the Scriptures as your guide? Are you actively pursuing a relationship with God through the person of Jesus? When and with whom should I practice living out the Faith?
Then, are you being a husband according to the biblical description of what a man does and does not do? Wives are you asking the same kind of question? What is your hope for your children and grandchildren? Is it truly a biblical hope or is it a worldly hope? How is that hope going to be accomplished in this life? These are some good questions to start asking.
Next, are you living intentionally toward the body of Christ? Are you asking hard questions of your spiritual companions? Are you in a place to answer their hard questions honestly your self? As the body of Christ how should we live toward those outside of us? What should that look like in salt of the earth sort of ways? How are we going to get into the spaces and places of the broken, piercing the veil that keeps them covered from our eyes?
The Gospel should breath an intentionality into everything we do because the Gospel culminates in our coming face to face with the risen and glorified Christ. This alone should cause us to do everything, as if it were, on purpose. Is your life intentional, that maybe where you need to start. Have you bought into a sound bite culture that believes that if it has to be thought about for more than 30 seconds its probably not worth thinking about in the first place, or has Christ’s Spirit been poured into you, filling you with hope for future, meaning for the present, and filling your actions with purpose. Are you living intentionally in every sphere of your life for Jesus Christ?