Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you heard a preacher preach on the second coming of the Lord? I am not referring to a “drive by” or quick reference to it but a heartfelt pleading for the lost to come to Jesus before it is too late. Let me narrow the results a little more. I am not talking about hearing it from a TV evangelist either. I am talking about live preaching, where you were sitting in a church congregation – listening first hand.
Maybe it is just a reflection on the places of worship that I have attended over the last several years, I’m not sure, but it has been a long time since I have personally heard this type of sermon. When I was a child, I heard these “hell fire and damnation” sermons much more often. One reason for this is because (at that time) I was associated with Independent Baptist churches where we had at least one full-week of steamy revival services each year. Often, these types of revivals were designed to scare the hell out of everybody! Now, now… before any of you bristle up at those last statements, I assure you there is no hidden agenda here. I am not taking a shot at either Independent Baptists or Southern Baptists. I am just recounting my personal experiences with this type of direct, impassioned preaching on the second coming of our Lord Jesus. Now, before I go any further, let’s consider a few verses of scripture:
Maybe this is old news to you. You might be a believer of many years, but you still need to be reminded now and then about the things Jesus said concerning the end times. Maybe you are new to anything related to the second coming of Jesus. If so, you need to pay very close attention to these verses. Jesus is trying to remind us of how the people on the earth behaved before the world was destroyed by the flood. Yes, He was speaking to the people who were literally gathered around him at that time, but we can easily compare the intent to what we see going on around us today. People were busy busy. They were caught up in their daily routines and rituals so much that their spiritual senses were numbed. They did not see nor sense the impending doom. When is the last time that you even thought about the second coming of Jesus? Have you become so busy with your social calendar… or rise to the top of the corporate ladder… or Starbucks life… or even the business of “ministry” that you don’t realize that we are living in the last days? Unplug a bit, read the scripture, actually meditate upon these things with the Lord God Almighty. He might just reveal a new sense of urgency about how to live your life and the short time available to witness to your loved ones.
Now, why do you think this type of preaching has declined? Many of our preachers today prefer to dwell on the grace and love of the Lord… I do too! We stretch and strain in an attempt to be more relevant… to use the proper buzz words… to not be offensive to anyone. We do need to preach in ways that reach and engage our audience, but we do not need to forget to preach the whole council of God. People need to get a balanced spiritual meal, so to speak. As much as we want to dwell in the grace of the Lord, the judgment is just as real.
Some preachers feel pressure to keep the church attendance numbers up. How else can we afford to build bigger buildings or reach those six figure salaries? Right? Some just want the hearers to feel “goooooooooood” about themselves. If we preach about holiness, purity, and judgment… well, we might lose a few attendees. But, we might gain a few new brothers and sisters in the Lord. After all, the fear of being left behind at the second coming of Jesus is a powerful thing. I know that for me, it helped push me over the edge from being a hearer to becoming a believer. Yes, it scared me to think about hearing the trumpet sound and missing the great catching up in the air. I am not sure if some staunch preacher in a black suit and cowboy boots was trying to manipulate me or not, but it did push me over the edge. In reality, I couldn’t fully understand love and grace until I became a believer.
If you are lost, a non-believer, then you should be afraid of the impending judgment of the Lord upon this world. Yes, He loves you. Yes, He cares for you. However, He is also the righteous judge… the soon coming King. Please don’t be caught unprepared. Read through Matthew 24 to see for yourself what Jesus said about it. There are other scriptures too, but this is a good place to start. If this line of thinking makes you nervous or upset and you want to discuss it with me sometime, I’d love to share my personal salvation story with you. It is heavy on the second coming part. Time is of the essence, don’t allow your personal world to become like it was in the days of Noah, take time to consider the truth about Jesus. Slow down and consider what He means to you – to the world. He is coming back again… soon. Come Lord Jesus… amen.