Paul Lyon - Return of Christ

Twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, regarding His coming again.  I certainly don't feel I have all the answers, but there are a number of things here.  It says, "Fear not."  I think all of us would agree as to their meaning and if we can just talk a little bit about their words and about the power that they should have in their lives, and what they can do for each of us.

 

It tells us in the beginning of the chapter about the disciples coming to Jesus and pointing out the huge stones in the buildings. Jesus said, "The time is coming when there will not be one stone left upon another."  These things are not important things.  It is easy for us to get taken up with the events of what is going on around us today. People are certainly doing great things and they are getting greater and greater.  But the Lord would like to turn our attention from that to something that does matter,  and something that is going to last forever.  We sing in that hymn, "All the kingdoms of the earth, all their pride and power, shall be humbled to the dust in that promised hour." Then the things that are going to remain will appear.

 

The disciples came to Him then and asked Him to tell them about this. It so reached their hearts and they were so concerned about it that they asked Him questions, some of them. I remember one companion of mine, an old man of God, used to say that he often prayed to God, "Lord, please tell me certain things that I need to know.  Tell me what does this scripture mean so it can be applied to my life?"

 

Let's say that the two of us were reading a book.  One of us would say it means this and the other would say, "No, that is not what it means."  I know quite well what it means.  How would we settle this?  We would go to the author and say to him if he was still alive, "What did you mean by that statement?" Then, if he said what he meant by that statement, the argument would be settled.

 

If we can have the answer as to what the Lord means by certain things He said, and if we go to Him and say, "Please tell me," we would then know exactly what He meant.  The disciples did that on this occasion.  They came to the Lord and they asked Him to tell them. Jesus began to tell them about His coming again.  He began to tell them about the end of the world.  Those are not just the same.  Sometimes people confuse the two. The Lord's coming again is not the end of the world. According to what we read in the book, the Lord's coming again is at least a thousand years before the end of the world.  It seems as though His coming is in two stages.  He comes to meet His people in the air and it is at that time the angels gather up His children.  It's then that the first resurrection takes place.  It's then that the dead are caught up with the living - the living changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.  It says so shall we ever be with the Lord.

 

I used to think that the dead in Christ that rose first would get there first. It doesn't really matter, but it doesn't sound like it.  It sounds like both will get there at the same time.  Caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.

 

The second stage of His coming is when He comes back with thousand, thousand of His saints to execute judgment.  The first is like the thief.  He comes as a thief.  The next was when every eye shall see Him and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.  It was this that Jesus was telling the disciples about.

 

I noticed that He mentioned when He started to explain certain things that first of all, they were not to believe.  There are five things in this chapter that Jesus encouraged them to be careful about being deceived regarding.  We don't need to be deceived because Jesus makes them crystal clear.  In the fourth verse, the first thing was He was simply saying, "Don't be deceived about who I really am.  Don't let anybody deceive you about who I really am, because many will come in My Name saying, 'I am Christ.'"  There will be a lot of people who will be claiming this honor and claiming this name.  He said, "Be sure in your mind who I really am.  Then, if you are sure in your mind who I really am then nobody can deceive you on that point." He tells in this chapter about being able to deceive the very elect if it were possible.

 

Our brother here has told us one time. He said, "It is not possible to deceive the elect because they have the Holy Spirit. You can't deceive people who have God's spirit because they have the Author's approval."  Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

 

One time, some us were talking about the Lord's coming again.  I was asking this brother, "Do you think that the overwhelming theory that is on the hearts of Gods' servants and people might be one of the greatest evidences that we have, that the Lord's coming is nearing - the overwhelming theory that this time is here?  We sing it in our hymn, 'Art thou waiting for the day of the Lord's appearing?  He has promised He shall come and time is nearing.'"  That brother said, "I think this is one of the greatest evidences we have existing amongst us today.  It is the overwhelming theory in the ears of God's servants and people that the coming of the Lord is drawing near.”

 

I was reading a book a while back and it was telling about a hunter who was hunting man-eating tigers.  A lot of people have been killed and eaten in India. He said he had an unfailing instinct, and that unfailing instinct was that he always knew when that creature was near.  He said it never failed.  There was never a time when he was stalked by that creature that it failed him.  Call that whatever you may, a sixth sense, or whatever, but he had it. God's people have an unfailing monitor, and that unfailing monitor is the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and the wisdom that, that power is unfailing. Jesus said first of all, "Don't be deceived about Who I am."

 

Then he said, "Don't be deceived about where I am."  There is a possibility about being deceived about who he is and then there is the possibility of being deceived about where he is.  Then he said, "Don't be deceived about when this time is going to be,"  because nobody has the answer.  He said that himself.  He said, "I don't know."  He said , "The angels in heaven don't know; only My Father in Heaven knows."

 

Then he said, "Don't be deceived about what He is going to do when He gets here.  Don't be deceived about Who He is.  Don't be deceived about where He is.  Don't be deceived about when He is coming. Above all, don't be deceived about what we ought to do in the meantime."  These five things Jesus made abundantly clear in this chapter.

 

One of the first things that the angel told Mary, "Jesus is the holy thing that shall be born of thee and shall be called the Son of God."  Two times when Paul was writing, he wrote about the awful possibility of hearing about another Jesus and another gospel.  The popular gospel that is written here in the world today presents another Jesus than the Jesus who came to this world in His simplicity, in His humility.

 

You wouldn't recognize the Jesus that God's servants preach in the popular gospels of today.  It is an altogether different Jesus. Oftentimes, Jesus is presented just as the One who died for us.  He did that and we could never emphasize that too much.  But Jesus is more than just the One who died for us.  Jesus is the One who lived for us before He died.  Those years that He lived count for some things.  They count for something now and they will count for something throughout the countless ages of eternity.

 

Those years that Jesus lived are important because Jesus was teaching during that time by His example as well as His words. He was teaching whom He really feared.  He was teaching what He would like you to believe about Him.  We have heard from the very beginning that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light.  Jesus is not just somebody who died, but Someone who lived to show us the way.


When we listened to the gospel we understood real well that this is not just something that we accept, but Somebody that comes into our hearts and lives with us.  The life that we receive is not just something that comes from God, but Somebody who comes and lives in our hearts and walks the way with us. We are so thankful that we are not dealing with "something," but that we are dealing with "Someone."  One time, our brother George Walker was speaking of the fact that Jesus was God in the human flesh. If we accept anything short of that, "God with us," then we are being shortchanged.  "Be not deceived," it says, "about Who He is."  Then He said, "Be not deceived about where He is." Remember one of the first questions that was asked by the wise men?  It was, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?  Because we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him." It is impossible to worship Him if we don't know where He is.

 

These wise men almost missed it.  They almost missed it because the Lord had given them guidance. He had sent the star, and as that star crossed the heavens, they followed it. As long as they followed that star, they were on the right track.  Then when they refused to follow that light any longer, it was then they had to go right back to the very place where they missed it - right back to the very light they had refused to follow.  As they continued following that light, they found Him.

 

There are a lot of people in this world today that have the right idea of who Jesus is.  They believe Him to be God's Son, and they certainly believe that He was God's image, the statement of His very Father, the statement of His image.  But they don't know where He is.  It is very touching to hear the testimony of a people who have found Him.  Very touching to hear the testimony of a people who saw a light.  A light in God's servants or a light in God's children. Maybe it was somebody they worked with.  Maybe it was somebody who knocked on their door.  Maybe it was somebody they were related to and had grown up amongst, but they had to see the light.

 

Now as long as they follow that light, they are getting closer and closer to where He is. Then if they stop following that light, they miss the way and they never find Him.  We feel very thankful that we know where He is, that He dwells among His people today.  It says of Him in those first chapters of Revelation that He is still the One who walks amid the golden candlesticks. If there is anything we have to be thankful for today is that He is still there, walking among the candlesticks.  Still there among His people.  As we meet together this evening, it is as we sang this morning, "God is here amongst His people."  As we meet together this afternoon, we know again that the Lord is here.

 

Jesus tells how the Lord's people are going to be drawn to Him on that day.  It is an infallible thing that they will be drawn to Him.  He gave that answer in verse 28, "For wheresoever the carcass is there will the eagles be gathered together."  There is a side to that.  Some will reject it because of the outward appearance.  The point is the infallible instinct in the eagles to find the body.  One of our brothers explained it like this, "This infallible instinct in God's children that brings them to Jesus is the very same instinct that will moves them to pray in the morning, the same that moves you to read your Bible, the same that will make you feel, 'I haven't read today.'"  I need to read my Bible.  That is the very same instinct that will bring you unfailingly to the Lord when the Lord comes back.  The very same instinct that causes you to love the fellowship of those who love the Lord.  That is the instinct that brought you to meeting today. It is the instinct that will bring you unfailingly to Jesus.  You won't miss Him because He wouldn't miss you.

 

You depend on that instinct that was born within you when you received the gospel and received the Lord in your heart - trusted with all the heart that you had and trusted with your soul. I will never forget the testimony of a woman whose husband went out to work one morning and she has never seen him again.  She lost complete track of him.  She has no idea today where he is as far as I know. He never returned.  The only thing is, his father was connected with the Mafia before they left a certain eastern city.  That is the only evidence they have.  Whether that has anything to do with it, we don't know.  Her first testimony in convention that fall was, "When this first happened to me, I thought the Lord had forsaken me and our little children."  But then she said at her next convention, "When I think that I trusted God with the salvation of my son and daughter, then I am sure I can trust Him with everything that happens to me between now and eternity."  That is the instinct that will draw us to Jesus.  That is the instinct that will never fail us in this life and it will bring us to Him.

 

Then how does He bring them in?  He draws them. He always draws them, but in verse 31, He gives us a double assurance that we will not miss the Lord when He comes.  It says He shall send His angels with the sound of the trumpet.  We will hear a trumpet sound and by that trumpet sound, He will gather together His elect from the four corners of the earth.

 

Just let me go over that now with this assurance and reassurance.  The very same little voice that moved us to pray will be as urgent on that day. The very same little voice that moved us to seek His Word won't fail you in that critical hour.  The very same little voice that brought you here and spoke to you in this meeting today is the same voice that will bring you home.  The very same voice that moves the love of God's people in fellowship, more than they love their own lives and that moves you to love His people with all the being that you have, is the very same instinct that will assure you of being at the right place and at the right time when Jesus comes.

 

Then the next thing that He said was, "What will we do when He comes?"  I just want to mention it briefly.  We will be gathered together, His elect, from everywhere.  That is what He is going to do, the first thing when He comes.  It says there were two in the field, one taken and the other left.  Two being in the bed, one taken and the other left. What makes the difference?  It is because one has obeyed that little voice.  The other has somehow disobeyed.  We have told some that when we first listened to the gospel we heard a voice that we had never heard before and every time that we have listened to that voice, we have thanked God for it. Every time we have disobeyed, then we have been sorry.  This has been without intention.  Can you say the same thing?  You have a little voice in your heart and that little voice tells you the right thing to do.

 

Have you ever been glad when you disobeyed it, ever?  Have you ever felt better off for having disobeyed it?  I don't think so.  Every time that it's true, you have been sorry when you disobeyed it and you've been glad when you obeyed it.  That has been without exception in my life, and it is the unfailing thing that will bring us to Him when He comes back.

 

Then it mentions the last one that I spoke about.  That is what are we supposed to be doing in the meantime?  The next is what is he going to do whenever He comes back?  Then as He comes there, where is He? There is where we still find Him, in the same place, among God's people and among those who have been used to preserve His life here in the earth.  The last one is what are we supposed to be doing while we are waiting for Him to come back? There are a number of things we need to be doing.  One man said in a meeting, "If you knew that this was going to be your last day on earth or if you knew that the Lord was coming back today, what would you be doing?"  He just spoke right out in that meeting, "Man, I would be praying."  I just thought, that's part of it: we should be praying.


But he mentions something here.  It takes prayer like we were hearing this morning to have it.  It takes reading our book to have it. But He mentions something here that would be outstanding in the lives of those who are really expecting Him.  If we are found doing that, we won't miss it on that day. This is what it says in the last verses.  Verse 45, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his Lord has made ruler over his household to give them meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing.  Verily I say unto you that He shall make him ruler over all His goods.” He said here that may be one of the outstanding things.  All these others will be there.  Prayer because it is necessary in our lives and in the lives of others. Reading the book because it is necessary for us and for others.  Going to meeting because it is absolutely necessary to keep that life going.  Then visiting with others, well whatever, that's all there, and it seems to be all understood. But then one of the most outstanding outward characters that we are ready for daybreak to meet the Lord is this faithfulness in keeping apart to others and this faithfulness in standing for what Jesus left behind.

 

When He left Peter, He said to him, "Peter, do you love Me today?"  He used that statement three times.  The first time he used it, the word was ungodly love.  Then it's brotherly love, a love for a friend, a love for a family. Then there is divine love.  Peter always answered in terms of brotherly love, "I love you as the dearest friend I have."  I think that is the reason He asked him over and over.  Why would Peter never claim divine love?  I don't know but the thought in my mind is this, "Could I claim divine love, Lord, after having failed in the way that I have?  Could I claim to love You with the same kind of love that You have, never failing me?  Could I claim it?" Then Jesus said to him, “You feed My lambs and feed Ny sheep. If you really love Me, you love the body.  You show such love for the body that you will do anything under Heaven you need to do to see that body is well cared for.  You show such love for the body that you will be willing to give anything you have that the body will be comforted.”

 

In the Second World War, one of our friends was in that war and they had taken a little town that had been in the German hands for months.  The Germans had been keeping those people down with machine guns and threats.  When the Allied soldiers took over, they drove into town with a truck load of bread and other food.  This brother said, “We did more with a truck load of bread than the Germans had done with their arsenal.”   One of our old brothers told us when we first started out in the work, ”If you go out in this world and feed people as they have never been fed before; if you put something before them that they have never had; you show a care for their souls that nobody else has ever shown, then you will be able to bring those people back to you. They will come back to you,” he said.  It is a very simple thing.

 

I was talking with one of our brothers yesterday and he was telling us about an experience where God's servants were bringing the truth to people and some preachers came to interfere with them.  The preachers hated these servants of God and they didn't even give them a chance to talk.  They just kept going right on, pouring it into them, their hatred and their venom. Our brothers didn't understand very much of anything.  But toward the end of that session, a woman who had received the gospel spoke up and said to one of these preachers, "I went to your church. I went for years and you never fed my soul, never. The day came when two men of God knocked at my door and they have given me something that has fed my soul like nothing else.” Those men were dumbfounded.  They had no answer.  Our brothers could have argued with them all night.  But it was just like the testimony of that man, “Once I was blind and now I can see.”  Nobody could argue with that.  He could see.

 

What should we be doing till Jesus comes back? We are to abide in the body. We are to love it more than we love ourselves. We are to prepare for it with all the meaning that we have. One of our brothers was talking with one of the friends.  She seemed very discouraged, and this can happen in the lives of anybody.  She was so discouraged that she wondered if she was really saved.  He said to her, "Do you love God's servants?"  She said, “I most certainly do.”  “Do you love those who meet with you in the little church?”  She said, “I do, with all my heart.”  “Do you love the Lord above all else, and before anybody else?”  She said, “I love God, I love His people and I love His way.” Then our brother said, “You have no need to fear for your soul because you have what Jesus said.”

 

In closing, our brother asked the question, and he answered the question himself.  Jesus said in this chapter in verse 44, “For in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.”  Our brother said this, “When is the time that we least expect Him?”  Then he answered, "Right now!. Right now is the time we least expect him.”  Some day, His coming will be right now.