Living in light of Jesus’ Return

A lot will say time flies. I agree. I am in my late twenties and this is a season in my life where I see people getting engaged, married and starting a family. Some of my friends being new moms and new dads. That made me think, how would it feel actually to be a dad?

Baby Waiting for DaddyWhile thinking about this, I tried searching and saw a cute picture of what it would be like for your son or daughter actually to wait for you to come home.

 

It such a wonderful picture to ponder upon. If you would relate yourselves to this picture. How do you feel about Christ’s return? Do you have same Joy and Excitement? Do you anticipate the return of Jesus Christ? Are you living in light of Jesus’ Return?

When we look at 1 John 2:28 – 3:3 we would see that this should be our hope. His return is what we should joyfully hope for that we prepare for it.

 

28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

When we look at these set of verses, we will see the return of Christ commonly being talked about. The word “appear,” appears in Chapter 2 verse 28 and Chapter 3, verse 2

When verse 3 said, “And everyone who has this hope” John was referring therefore to Christ appearing again or His return – the hope that should we anchor ourselves into, which produces Christ-likeness.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

Perhaps you’re thinking, why it is important for us to understand that this is the hope that we need to have to be able to go through the process of becoming more like him.

To become more like Him means to be unlike the world. To become more like him means to bear His image and not the image of the world.

When John wrote this letter one of his focus was to help believers understand how they would know if they are in the faith (in Him) and not the world. We would see this in the previous chapters of the book: Living in the Light (Chapter 1), not loving the world (Chapter 2) and the evidences:

  • Obedience (2:3-6)
  • Love for Fellow Believers (2:7-11)
  • Moral Likeness (1:5-7)
  • Not loving the word for “the world is passing away, and also its lusts” (2:17)

This is what separates you from the world. This is what bearing His image means. This is what a Child of God looks forward to – not the things of this world which passes away, but what is ahead for us upon his return.

That’s why if you would ponder upon that picture again do we bear the same hope and desire? Are we excited and expectant of his return?

We may not have that attitude and joy because we have been exposed too much in the world. We might have invested too much of our time, effort and love for things that have no eternal value?

The child of God will look forward to His return – His Abba or Papa. That’s why verse 28 start this way.

28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

 

Take note how verse 28 started. It mentioned “little children.” There is a relationship being mentioned here.

John is saying. You as a child of God should abide in Him because one thing is certain there will come a time where you will see your creator face to face and the last thing that you want to happen, in that glorious moment, is to be ashamed of the things that you have done.

We will all face the Lord someday upon His return, so be careful – abide. Abide that you will not give in to the temptation, lose your eternal focus and be drawn in by the world. Abide that you may not lose sight of what is ahead of you

What does Abiding mean? John has constantly been using the word abide.

  1. But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. - 1 John 2:5-6
  2. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. - 1 john 2:10
  3. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. - 1 john 2:24

Abiding means remaining. It is remaining in fellowship. Remaining in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ and remaining in fellowship with God according to the truth. That’s why it says in Galatians 5:16.

  • Galatians 5:16 – So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
  • John 15:5 – I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

You need to abide. You need continuously to be connected. I see the connection as a cross – remaining connected vertically (God) and remain connected horizontally (believers).

In verse 29, John was again answering the concern how would you know if you are in the faith (in Him) and not the world;

29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

 

That’s why is important to understand why you are address as “little children” because as a child everything that you will be doing will reflect the Father that you have.

Since you are a child of God, you are, therefore, responsible for bearing his image, his righteousness in this fallen world. And the key to help you desire to stand in confidence when you face him and not be ashamed is to know that He is righteous.

What a joy it would be to be able to stand that day with confidence in your heart that you’ve run the race well and you’ve shown His righteousness in your life.

That the Lord was seen and not you. You became more like him, that “Marc” can no longer be seen.

So fix your hope on the return of Jesus. Desire to see him face to face with confidence. That is possible through abiding and remaining in fellowship with Him, but also understanding that He is righteous and you are to bear His image (His righteousness) in your life

And may all of these things be motivated out of love. That’s why John suddenly shifts his tone in Chapter 3 verse 1 and really focuses on your sonship.

3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

 

See how great a love or behold what manner of love contains heavy emotions that John is saying: “what is this kind of love?”

  • This love is hard to comprehend
  • This love is out of this world
  • How can we be called a child of the creator of the universe
  • How can we be called a child of the God of everything
  • Such wonder is hard for me to comprehend

It’s really hard to grasp this love that the Lord has given you, when you understand your sinfulness but…but…such as we are.

That’s just it. You didn’t deserve this. You didn’t deserve to be called a child of God, but the Lord, in his great love, choose so.

And because you are a child of God. He will finish the work. Just like in Philippians 1:6 and in 1 John 3:2

  • Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
  • 1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

This is part of your hope that when Christ returns for his Church. He shall conform every believer to His image. In view of His return; In view of the hope that we have, we should keep our lives pure, clean and righteous. Striving daily to become more like him and abide in Him

3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

But it starts first with the Hope that you need to anchor yourself into.

You may be enjoying life right now and everything looks great. Don’t lose what is ahead of you. Don’t hold on tightly to the things that you are enjoying right now in this world. Let the hope of seeing Him face to face, move you in love not to desire sin in your life. Serve the Lord so you may stand in confidence upon his return that you used your time, talents and treasure for his kingdom

Or you may be suffering in life right now and everything is problematic. Don’t lose sight of what is ahead of you. Don’t focus on your problem – it will be but a blink in the eye. You have eternity to look forward to. Let the hope of seeing Him face to face, move you to respond well in this situation. Despite the pain and problems, trust God and wait on Him. And even in your darkest hour, serve the Lord – He deserves it. Let is all be motivated out of love

If I’ll leave you with one thing to remember this is it: More like Him through Hoping in Him.

I know it’s easy to lose our focus that there is eternity to look forward to. Maybe you can help give suggestions how we can keep our focus on the hope that we have? Let’s desire to Live in light of Jesus’ return.

Note from the author: This is an transcript of my message during one of the Mid-year Fasting and Prayer Night Service in CCF Alabang.

How I felt after my first speaking engagement for a company

It was almost a week ago since I spoke in a company for the first time. I remember getting a text a month ago that someone was interested in our love, sex and dating series for their office. It was exciting for me since I have always desired to start a corporate ministry. It was something that I envisioned B1G South would actively do as a movement.

I was nervous at the thought though that speaking in a company is totally a different audience than the people I usually speak to during our single’s service. I had questions in mind. How would I go with my message? How will my listeners react? Will they like me? Do I need to be as innocent as a dove and as wise as a serpent? How do I share the gospel?

While I was thinking about these things for a couple of days, I came into the conclusion that I just need to do what the Lord wanted me to do. Sometimes, as someone who delivers the Word we may get too caught up in desiring to be “liked by our audience,” and this maybe from your desire for them to understand what you are sharing. But in reality, if you understand that this is the work of the Lord and not you, you can only do so much. The primary goal is  not to be liked by your audience but handle the Word of God with care that you share the Word as is and not twisting it to be “liked” by your audience. Some may accept it and some may not, your responsibility though is to be faithful to God’s word.

I was scheduled to speak at 4:30pm in the afternoon and I arrived before 4pm. I usually want to be early to setup my PowerPoint, get a feeling of the environment and pray. I was assisted to the multi-purpose hall and was shocked to see how it was setup. I saw bibles and song guides in chairs. Then I realized; this is an organization that supported the spiritual well-being of their employees; a corporation that I was blessed to be speaking to. Around 200 employees were expected to come and as they went in, I saw the room being filled slowly. I gave my talk and even had a short Q&A session in the ending. After the talk was over, I was just blessed to realize that this was one of the talks that I felt I was able to engage the audience and  calmly deliver the Word. I was just very thankful to the Lord for the opportunity He has given and all glory should only belong to Him. I was  very nervous before the talk but as it started I know in my heart God was the one who empowered me to deliver a message that He has laid down in my heart.

M.Y. SanI know this is just the start of a wonderful journey for me. My next speaking engagement for this company is on June 24th for the second message of this series. I don’t have pictures to show because nobody was there to take them. Of course, it would be awkward for me to take a selfie in front of everyone just as a remembrance. Hehe. All I can share is this picture of the front of their building and the free cookies that they gave me.

Thank you M.Y. San for the privilege of speaking in your company.

 

What is the essence of fellowship?

I would like to start by going through Acts 2:42 because this is where we see the start of the church and fellowship.

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

 

After Peter’s astounding preaching in Acts 2, that three thousand people received Jesus Christ and were baptized. Starting with this huge number is mind blowing. We’re talking about 3,000 people who are just beginning with their faith; they most probably still have a lot of issues and concerns that they are dealing. They need to devote themselves to hearing sound doctrine, regular fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer in order to keep the faith and grow. When verse 41 mentioned the breaking of bread, it was probably meeting on a regular basis with food. Although it was not just to eat food and be merry, breaking of bread is part of the Lord’s Supper and thus, they were continually meeting with food on the table and having the Lord supper to remind them of what their Saviour has done. This is part of fellowship

Small Group FellowshipWhat is fellowship? When we talk about fellowship it can mean association with people who share the same interest. We can be in fellowship because we have the same hobbies, we like to eat the same food, or we play the same sports. When we talk about Christians who fellowship though, there is only one common interest that should unite us together and that is Christ. The early church modelled that fellowship. After their conversion, they gave their devotion first to listen to the apostle’s teaching. They spent time listening and studying about Christ because they were in fellowship, desiring the same thing – to grow in their relationship with Jesus.

The early church was also constantly discussing things of Christ and encouraging one another.  While they were devoting themselves to the apostle’s teaching they were most probably in constant communication about the things they are learning. They just don’t listen to the message and then go and do their own thing. When you would read verse 42 it says “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship. Having healthy and facilitated discussions about the word of God is part of a fellowship. It is part of growth. If we are united about “one” thing wouldn’t it just be best to discuss that “one” thing always? If there is a group that loves photography, wouldn’t it be part of their culture to discuss photography? It would be weird to have a photography group and in fellowship, talk about video games? That doesn’t seem right. It’s the same when we are to be in fellowship with other believers, one indication that we are in true fellowship is when we gather together as a group and discuss Christ – what He has done for us, what He is teaching us, how are we getting to know Him more, etc.

One area that we need to develop in our fellowship with men and women of Christ is prayer.  We go to activities that happen within the premises of our church building but when it’s time to have a prayer meeting do we have the same excitement? I believe this is a crucial discipline we need to instil in our fellowship. Prayer should unify us since we are coming together to seek Christ and in prayer, reaching out to Him together. It’s amazing to see a group of believers gathered together in their knees for prayer. In that moment of group desperation, God is glorified because of unity in Christ. Think about it. If you would see a multitude praying to reach out to the lost, they are in fellowship. They share the same battle cry, praying to their Lord and acknowledging that they cannot do this task without divine guidance and help. That’s a powerful sight to see.

My desire for the B1G South ministry is this fellowship. That’s why we have weekly fellowship for singles every Saturday at 6pm. It is to be in fellowship. Aside from being part of a small group fellowship, big group fellowship is also encouraged. Oh, how I desire that I grow together with these individuals as we study God’s word and encourage one another every week. It’s only once a week, it’s not even as regular as the early church which was meeting daily.

I know life can get busy. Believe me when I say, I understand that part of life right now.  Despite our schedule though, I pray that we will not neglect to be in fellowship with other believers. The true essence of fellowship is Christ. He unites us and we gather because of Him. If you want to be in fellowship with other singles, may I just invite you to attend our service every Saturday? If you are interested, just leave a comment below.

The grace of the Lord keep you and sustain you as we wait patiently for His coming. God bless you!

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