I want to speak to you today on a theme that I thought about twenty years ago. And I've never preached on it. I was listening to a preacher preach --- I don't even know now who the preacher was. It may have been my own father, but I'm not sure of that. Over twenty years ago, I was listening to a preacher preach --- I'm not even sure if it was in person or on the radio. And I got an idea and this title for a sermon.
I jotted it down on the back of a sermon outline that I had already prepared that I was preaching later in the day myself. And then that sermon outline got piled in with some papers, you know how you do. And I just found it about three weeks ago. And I feel like it's the message for today. So, I want to preach on that today. The first time I've ever preached on this idea or this theme. It is based on the idea that if I knew this was the last and only time that I'd ever get to preach, what would I preach? What would you preach, if you knew that right here and now was the only time you'd ever get to preach the gospel? That's the idea behind this message today.
If I could preach but one time, I'd preach three things. And I'm going to try to preach them to you today. The first thing that I'd preach if I could preach but once, I would preach that man is a great sinner. If I knew that I'd drop dead as soon as I walked out of the pulpit today, this is what I'd preach. If I knew that I'd never see the evening service, this is what I'd preach. If I knew that Jesus was coming in the next hour, this is what I'd preach.
You know, we don't know about when any of those things might be true. And we really ought to preach each message as if it might be our last. And we ought to live each day as if it might be our last day to witness for the Lord.
But let's think for a few minutes, there are three things that I want to preach to you today, and these are the things that I would preach if I knew that I could preach but once. And the first one, as I said, is that man is a great sinner.
You know, men don't like to hear this kind of message. It even bothers Christians sometimes. All men are sinners, just as the Scriptures plainly teach. This is the very first thing you have to think about when you start preaching on the idea or the fact that man is a great sinner. All men are sinners. It's not just some of us, it's not just those pagans over there, not just those who are outside, but it's men right here in Africa, (or anywhere else you can name) all men everywhere are sinners and the Scriptures plainly teach this.
The first Scripture we want to read to you is in Psalms chapter 53. If you'll turn over there and read in verse 3, of Psalms 53 --- You'll find if you read previous verses and read the context here, that he's speaking of mankind in general or of all mankind in general, when he says here in verse 3, "Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
And we need to get this in our minds and keep it there --- Both we who are sinners saved by grace, and those who are sinners not yet saved by grace but who need to be saved by grace. We need to recognize the truth of this verse 3, chapter 53 of Psalms, that all men are sinners. " Every one is gone back," he says, "and men have become filthy. There is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Another verse we need to call to mind at this time is a very short one that many of you have memorized in Sunday school. It's Romans 3:23, where it says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." You know, a lot of people like to think that they're different from the rest of us and they're not really sinners like we are. But all men are sinners. And the Scriptures repeatedly tell us this.
And by the way, you visitors, you'll notice today and anytime in the future that you ever come to hear me preach, we emphasize the Word of God here. If we can't show it to you from God's Word, then there's no need for you to believe it. It doesn't matter --- and it's not important if we can't show it to you from God's Word. But if we can show it to you from God's Word, then you'd better believe it because it is important and it's necessary for your own salvation and growth as a Christian after you are saved. So, you'll notice we use a lot of Scriptures here. You noticed Brother Lind, even in his Sunday school lesson, brought in quite a few references as well. And you'll notice that in all of our preaching and teaching here at the church.
If you turn over to Galatians chapter 3, verse 22, there's another verse. There are hundreds of these that we can use, but I've just chosen two or three good ones to begin with. Galatians 3:22 says, "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."
Now, you notice a central theme or a common idea that runs through all of these three Scriptures that I've read to you thus far is what? It is the fact that all men are sinners. That's everybody. That's you, that's me, that's everybody. All men everywhere are sinners. Not just those pagans out there somewhere, that we like to think are much worse than we, but rather that all men, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, pagan or civilized; all are sinners. And this is the thought which is most distasteful to man. To recognize, to realize, to admit that he's a sinner. In fact, oftentimes they get mad when preachers preach about the fact that ALL men are sinners.
Now as we begin to think a little further along this line, let's think for a minute about Adam and Eve, the first great sinners. We said we want to think for a little while about the fact that man is a great sinner. And we couldn't do any better than to use Adam and Eve as an example, could we? The very first great sinners.
Let's think for a minute about their situation. Here they are, they've been created in perfection by an all-wise and loving God, who desires a man of free choice to have fellowship with Him, not by compulsion, but because of a free choice which he himself has exercised, that he might have fellowship with God, that he might worship God, that he might obey God. This was the situation when man was created, when man was created and put in the garden of Eden.
You say, "You mean you believe that is a true story?" Of course, I believe it is a true story. In the first place, I believe it because God's Word says it. The second place, I believe it because even if this story of Adam and Eve and the story of evolution were both just stories of men, made by men, written by men, no connection with God's Word or God's inspiration in either case, even if that were true, then the story of Adam and Eve is much more reasonable and takes less faith to believe than the idea of evolution does.
Evolution, people like to think today, some of them, that evolution is a proven fact. But, of course, that's just not so. It's not proven at all. It's not only not proven, it never will be proven. And it is furthermore unprovable --- completely unprovable. The whole idea and basis on which they claim evolution as a fact is ridiculous, unprovable, and full of holes!
But be that as it may, let's get back to the thought here. Think of this perfect situation in which God placed Adam and Eve, our distant foreparents, the first great sinners. Here they were in a perfect garden of delight. All they had to do was to live there in joy and peace, and we find if we read and study the record as given in Genesis, that they had fellowship in the cool of the evening with God. It was a customary thing with them to have fellowship with God in the cool of the evening. And yet, remember there had to be this element of choice there, otherwise there's no glory to God if He creates a robot out here. An electronic man who has no power of thought or will of his own. A computerized creation which is forced to worship Him, to serve Him, to obey Him. There's no glory to God in that!
Now remember, we said right in the beginning that He created man with a will that man might make a choice, deliberately to worship and to obey and to serve Him. Only in this way could he have true fellowship with God and God have fellowship with him, and God could receive true glory from man. But in spite of all this perfect situation in which they were created and placed, you remember the facts, how they fell into sin and rebellion against God.
You might say, "Oh, how do you get rebellion against God out of that?" Well, any sin is rebellion against God, isn't it? When you start thinking about it, that's what sin is. It's rebellion against God, a refusal to obey and worship and serve God. That is sin by definition.
And they fell into this sin and rebellion against God. But that wasn't the end of it. Sin always brings forth more sin. It brings forth bitter fruit, doesn't it? Sin always produces more sin. And sin grew. And then, the first brothers of which we have a record, Cain and Abel, grew up and this sin that had started in the garden of Eden and for which they had been expelled from the garden of Eden, this sin grew in their children who followed. And Cain, as you know, killed Abel. He killed his own brother.
And sin didn't stop there. It just kept on going. Growing and growing, spreading and spreading. And then, at this point perhaps, we should stop to remember that God in this whole affair is completely blameless. He put man in a perfect position, didn't He? He created man without sin, but with the ability to make a choice. And there was only one little thing that man had to obey God in to maintain this situation of bliss and perfection. And that was to refrain from this one single prohibition that God had given to him. He didn't have a long list of sixteen hundred different things that he must not do, and five hundred more that he must do, and things that must be done in the morning, noon, and evening. None of that. Just one simple little thing. And yet, man fell. In spite of the complete blamelessness of God in the whole affair.
But the sinfulness of man continued to grow. Until perhaps about 1,600 years later or about 1,600 years after the garden, came the flood. The flood of Noah. And at that time, just before the flood, we find Genesis 6:5 tells us the situation to which sin had grown, when it says, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." That's the way it grew. And that didn't stop it either. After the destruction of the flood, when all of mankind was destroyed, except Noah and his family, even after that, we find that though Noah and his family had found grace in the eyes of God and had been spared from the destruction of the flood, yet even after all that mighty miracle of God in saving them alive, and they only out of all the people of earth, even yet we find that sin continued.
Remember the story of the shame of Noah and his son Ham? How Noah became drunken and exposed his nakedness. And his son committed evil with him. And this all, remember, was immediately after the great deliverance from the flood that they had experienced. And yet, they went back into sin again. So, man is a great sinner. There's no question about it.
And then, man the great sinner, continued on with his attempt to build the Tower of Babel. Genesis chapter 11, verse 4 tells us about that. There are several good verses there, but we'll read only one. Genesis 11:4 says: "And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth."
You might say, "Well, what's so terrible about that? They wanted to build a big city and consolidate their strength there and everything." Well, one thing that's wrong about it is that God had given them a direct command before this to multiply and replenish the earth. You don't do that by building a big city and staying in that one spot, do you? When mankind has been wiped out from the face of the earth, except for one little group, and they're beginning to replenish the earth again, God has given them the direct command to multiply and replenish the earth. They were thwarting (or trying to thwart) God's plan and God's will and God's command here by consolidating in one place and staying in that place. Not only so, but they were also attempting to reach unto heaven, as it says here, by the works of their own hands, by building this tower up to heaven. When they should have been scattered abroad on the face of the whole earth as God had intended and directed that they should do. So even then, after the flood, we still have man, the great sinner.
This dispensation of Noah, as it's sometimes called, or the dispensation of the human government, ended again in judgment. And then came the fourth dispensation, which we usually call the dispensation of promise. This is the one that begins with Abraham and goes through a portion of his descendants, called the dispensation of promise, the fourth dispensation. And then the fifth dispensation came along after that fourth one ended in judgment because of man, the great sinner. The fifth dispensation, the dispensation of the law came along. And then, that one ended in great judgment because of man, the great sinner. And now, we're living in the sixth dispensation which is the dispensation of grace. And we already know from reading the end time prophecies, that it also will end in a great judgment. It will end in the apocalyptic judgments that are going to come at the end of this dispensation because of man, the great sinner. Man is a great sinner. There's just no question about it.
You might say, "Well, you've been talking all this time about men from olden times, what about modern man? He's getting better and better, isn't he?" Oh, man. There's just no use even talking about that, is there? There's no use in even talking about that. Man's certainly not getting better and better. He's learning more and more of the things that don't matter, and less and less of the things that do matter. He's becoming smarter and smarter in how to destroy life, how to deny God, how to do this and how to do that that is bad. But in the things that really matter, man isn't improving a bit; he's getting worse and worse. He's not improving at all. Man is STILL a great sinner.
When we think about modern man, it doesn't take a smart person to know that if you just look around you, you can see that modern man is an even greater sinner than they were in the days of Noah. Sin is running wild. It's just everywhere about us. Running rampant. Murder, rape, theft, and just anything else you want to name. Every kind of immorality that you can imagine is running wild. Right here in South Africa, right here in Pomona, right here in Kempton Park and Benoni and Pretoria, in Johannesburg; it's running wild, anything you want to name.
The rejection of Christ as the ONLY Savior is becoming more and more prevalent. And that's the greatest sin of all --- rejecting Christ as Savior. These other sins --- we like to classify sins, you know, we men do. We like to think, "Well now, because I didn't commit murder and because I didn't commit adultery and because . . ." But, of course, if you go back and read the Bible, you find out that in biblical terms, you HAVE committed murder and adultery. Even if you've never killed a man and even if you've never known a strange woman. But we like to think because we don't commit adultery and we don't commit murder and we don't steal, that only those other people are a lot worse than we are. But it's not so. The greatest sin of all is the rejection of Jesus Christ. That's the greatest sin. Man is a great sinner. And that sin is becoming even more prevalent today than it was in years gone by.
Self-righteousness is a leading part of modern man's exceeding sinfulness. Yes, self-righteousness. Romans 10:3 tells us about this, where it says: "For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." Now, what's he talking about? He's talking about men trying to save themselves, men trying to justify themselves, men trying to, through their own self-righteousness, attain to heaven or attain to perfection or attain to that state of goodness which will allow them to go to heaven. And, of course, it just can't be done. There's not any way. Self-righteousness is rampant today.
I dare say the vast majority of the people in the world today who call themselves Christians, know nothing whatsoever about real Christianity. And know nothing whatsoever about real salvation. And have no chance whatsoever in their present course of attaining heaven and avoiding hell. Because they're mostly depending on self-righteousness. Most are without any experience whatsoever of the personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which is the only way to heaven. Self-righteousness, it's everywhere around us today.
Men think, "Oh, if I do this, and I do that, and I do something else, and I don't do that, and I don't do that, and I don't do something else, then I'm all right. I'll get to heaven." Or they believe, "Because I was sprinkled as a little baby, that'll get me to heaven if I do this and do that and do something else and don't do that. That'll get me to heaven." And, of course, that has nothing to do with real salvation. The Scriptures, as we'll show you in a minute, plainly teach there's ONLY ONE WAY to heaven, and Jesus is that way. He is the only way. There are not any other ways to heaven.
Isaiah chapter 64, verse 6 speaks of these self-righteous people, these people who think they are going to make it themselves, when it says this: "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." That's what God's Word says about self-righteousness --- about the righteousness of man. That righteousness which he thinks he can have in and of himself, he says, "It's just like filthy rags." Like the rags that come off of an old, corrupt sore. That's what it's talking about there. A rag that's full of the corruption from an old running sore. That's the righteousness of man in the eyes of God.
Again, over in I John 1:8, it says this: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." We all have sin. We all have sin and we have no way of justifying ourselves or of making ourselves righteous by our works or by anything that we do.
Isaiah 53:6, has this to say: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." That's what God says about it. Again, in Romans 6:23, it says these words: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23. That's one that some of you have memorized in Sunday school as well.
Now, I said I wanted to preach to you today about three ideas, three things that I would preach if I knew that I'd never preach another sermon. And the first one that we've just been talking about is man is a great sinner.
The second one that I want to think with you about for just a minute is this. If I could preach but once, I'd preach that Jesus is a great Savior. If I knew that I'd drop dead five minutes from now, that's what I'd preach. I'd preach that Jesus is a great Savior.
Jesus is a great Savior in many ways. It would take two weeks to even think about listing the ones that we could think about. But I want to mention a few of them to you today. Jesus is a great Savior because He came for that special purpose. That's what He came for. He came from heaven for that special purpose, to be the Savior. Not to be "A" Savior, but to be "THE" Savior. The on and only Savior.
We have a song that we sing sometimes that I want to read to you --- don't worry, don't run, I'm not going to sing it to you, I'm just going to quote it to you as a poem. It goes like this:
"He left the glory of heaven, knowing His destiny.
Was the lonely hill of Golgotha, there to lay down His life for me.
If that isn't love, the ocean is dry.
There's no stars in the sky.
And the sparrow can't fly.
If that isn't love, then heaven's a myth.
There's no feeling like this, if that isn't love."
And then another verse of it goes like this:
"Even in death, He remembered, the thief hanging by His side.
He spoke with love and compassion, then He took him to paradise."
Jesus is a great Savior. He's the only Savior.
There are not many ways to heaven. I know that's popular today to say, "Oh, there are many ways to heaven." That's the biggest lie that's ever been told from hell. There's not one tiny speck of truth in the whole idea of saying that there are many ways to heaven. THERE'S ONE WAY, AND HE'S IT. He's the only way. There has never been another way, and there never will be another way. He is it. That's it. Not because I said it, but because God said it. He's the way, He's the truth, and He's the light. No man cometh unto the Father but by Him. Or but by Me, as He, Himself said it. Jesus is a great Savior because He came for that special purpose.
Angels, announcing His birth, said that He would save people from their sins. Now turn over to Luke chapter 2. This is, of course, a passage which we often think of as a Christmas passage, but it's a good passage to read anytime. Luke 2:10-11. This is the angel announcing the birth of Christ. And to whom was he announcing it here? He was announcing in this particular passage to the shepherds, wasn't he? Humble shepherds out on the hills watching their sheep. "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Over and over again as we go through the Scriptures, we find that Jesus Himself said He came to seek and to save the lost. That's what He came for. There was no other purpose in His coming. He came to make a way of salvation for man, for fallen creation.
Luke chapter 19, verse 10 speaks of this. And this is the Lord Jesus Himself saying this in that passage. It says: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." And He repeats this in various ways, but in similar language in many places. That's what He came for. So, He's a great Savior because He came for that special purpose.
Again, if you will turn over to John 10:9 and 10. You may remember this is part of the discourse on the Great Shepherd. Again, Jesus Himself speaking here, when He said: "I am the door," He didn't say, "I am a door, I am one door, and there are many others," He said, "I am THE door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not," speaking of the false shepherd, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
The only way to have this abundant life is in Jesus. There's not any other way. There is no other source for it. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the [what?] the life." Not only is He the only way to have life, but He's the only way to enjoy this abundant life which is freely available by faith in Him.
Jesus is a Great Savior because He tasted death for every man and made a complete atonement for all sin. Imagine this, if you will. Think back in your mind with me, and take a picture in your mind of this idea. He tasted death for every man. Here's Jesus now, the Creator of angels, the Creator of the universe, as John chapter 1 tells us. "All things were made by Him, without Him was not anything made that was made," and so forth, from John chapter 1. Here's Jesus, Creator of angels, Creator of the universe, the one who is the light of heaven, the very glory of heaven itself and yet, immortal, eternal, all-powerful, omniscient, and you just go ahead and put on all the other omnis you want to in front of other words that fit. And that fits Him, too. And yet, He tasted death for every man.
It is not like another man dying for one of us. That is a very heroic thing for a man to die to save his buddies. And it happens sometimes in our boys on the border. Or sometimes in bad accidents, it happens, that a man will deliberately take great chances and even lose his own life in saving the life of a friend or of friends. And that's a great thing, it's an heroic thing, but it's not comparable at all to Christ's tasting death for every man because that man, the great hero, who loses his life to try to save another, he's going to die. He's already subject to death. And his heroic act may cause his death to come sooner, but it won't change the fact that he would have died anyway --- Eventually, sooner or later.
But in the case of Christ, He had no need to ever die. He was immortal. He had no need whatever. He was not subject to death at all. And yet, He deliberately took upon Himself the body of a man in order that He might be in the form that He would be able to taste death for every man. Jesus is a great Savior --- Oh Jesus is a great Savior!
Remember now what John said, over in John 1:29. And then he said it in somewhat different words down in verse 35 of the same chapter. He said this:, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Jesus, the Lamb of God, the great Savior. He suffered for all men, that all who would believe might be saved.
If you read over in Hebrews 2:9, there's a good passage which deals with what we're thinking about now. It says: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels," now one could spend a long time explaining what it means there by this "made a little lower than the angels," but basically what it means is that He took upon Himself the form of man for a little while in order that He might be in a form capable of experiencing death, which the angels are not capable of experiencing. So, in that sense, for a short time, He was inferior to angels. But as you'll read if you read the context here in Hebrews when Paul wrote it, you'll find that in all cases and in every possible way, except this one particular narrow instance, He was greatly superior to angels. In fact, even being the Creator of angels.
But in this one particular thing that we're talking about, that is that He might take upon Himself the form of man, becoming subject to death, thereby becoming inferior in that one thing, to angels. And for that one period of time, as it tells us here in Hebrews 2:9, reading it again, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." He did this or us. He did it for you and He did it for me. He did it for mankind. And all who will come to Him in simple, childlike faith and believe and receive Him as their Savior and Lord, can have this great Savior as their own personal Savior. They not only can, they will, if they come to Him in simple faith and receive Him.
John 3:14, 15, and 16. Remember, we're talking about the fact that Christ tasted death for every man. And these words that I'm about to read to you now from John 3, verses 14, 15, and 16, were spoken by Christ quite some while before His crucifixion. Probably at least a year earlier. Possibly even more than that before His crucifixion, when Christ Himself spoke these words. And here we see that, by anticipation, He was already tasting death because "He left the glory of heaven," as we said in the poem a while ago, "knowing His destiny, was the lonely hill of Golgotha, there to lay down His life for me."
John 3, beginning with verse 14 says: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Now that's plain enough, even for a child to understand it, isn't it? It plainly says that God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in order that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus is a great Savior. God the Father gave His only begotten Son.
If we turn over to Hebrews again, to chapter 7, and remember what we said to you earlier. It doesn't make any difference what we say about salvation. It doesn't make any difference what anyone says about salvation. The only thing that really matters is what does God say about it! In fact, that's the only thing that really matters about any important matter --- what does God's Word say about it? What we say about it doesn't matter at all, unless our word completely agrees with God's Word.
Hebrews 7:24-25, says this: "But this man," referring to Jesus, the great Savior, "But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood." An eternal priesthood in other words. This man Jesus. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Jesus is the way, the only way to salvation. And a personal relationship with Him is the most important thing in any person's life.
Jesus is a great Savior because He overcame every foe of the human soul in order to become the complete and perfect Savior. A few of these outstanding enemies or foes of the human soul that we could list today are these. He overcame Satan, didn't He? And that's shown in many places. It's shown very clearly in His own temptation in the wilderness, which is recorded in Matthew 4 and again in Luke 4, the first fifteen verses.
Not only did He overcome Satan, as is shown in the reference I gave you, but He met and overcame the world. As He Himself said in John 16:13: "I have overcome the world." So, He's a great Savior because He's met and overcome all of our enemies --- Every enemy of the human soul.
He overcame opposing forces in the Garden of Gethsemane. And one could preach a whole sermon on that, to try to figure out exactly what it was that He said, "Father, if it can be Your will, let this cup pass from Me." You could spend an hour or two talking about that, but we don't have time today. But He overcame those forces there, in spite of the agony in which He was at that time. Remember, He was in such agony that He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood. "His sweat was red with blood," the Scripture tells us.
He overcame sin. These are enemies of the human soul. He overcame sin by living a pure life, and by His death on the cross. If we read in First Peter 2:22-24, it says: "Who did no sin," speaking of Jesus again, "neither was guile found in his mouth." Then verse 24, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." So, He in His own body, overcame sin by living a pure life and then died on the cross to pay for our sin.
Look at Hebrews chapter 9. Let me give you just a little background before we begin to read there. He's dealing here, basically, with the same idea that He was dealing with in chapter 7 of Hebrews. About the eternal priesthood, and the one sacrifice that He made Himself for our sins. Let's read there now in 9:26 of Hebrews. It says: "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world," (or in the end of the dispensation we might say today, or in the consummation of the ages some people would say there), "but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
One could go on and on with this idea, showing how Jesus is a great Savior. Another thing though that we just must mention, He overcame death by His resurrection. By His resurrection He overcame death, which is another enemy of the human soul. You find that recorded in I Corinthians chapter 15, verses 20 through 26.
And then the last thought that we want to give you today is this. If I could preach but once, I'd preach that Jesus is coming again. Yes, I'd preach that Jesus is coming again.
You may ask, "Do you really and truly believe that Jesus is coming again?" My answer to that would be, "Absolutely, a resounding yes." I know He's coming again, because He told me so in this love letter that He wrote to man. He said, "I go to prepare a place for you." In John 14:3 He said: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Yes, a thousand times, yes, I would answer to that question. If someone said, "Do you really and truly believe that Jesus is coming again?" The only answer is yes, absolutely!
At the time of His ascension, angels said He would return. Is that a good enough witness for you? Angels from heaven? That ought to be a pretty good witness, shouldn't it? Angels from heaven. If you turn over to Acts 1:10-11, you'll find there that these angels witnessed to the fact that He's coming again. Men in shining white apparel. It must have been angels. There's no reason to think they were not angels, and every reason to think they were. And this is the witness of these angels here at that time, when the Scripture says: "And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up," this is at the time of the ascension of Christ remember, in front of a lot of witnesses, "while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel." That's the angels I'm talking about. "Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus," notice that, "This same Jesus," he didn't say some spiritual creature is going to come back in 1914 like the Jehovah's Witnesses claim happened.
Of course, that's just one of the thousands of lies that they preach and teach all the time. He said, "This same Jesus," "this very same one that you're looking at, you see Him going up." "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." And if you go ahead and read the whole story there, you'll see that He was taken up into a cloud. And that's the reason we sing these songs that Jesus is coming in the clouds of heaven and other songs that are using that type of terminology. But these angels here, the two angels, said, "This same Jesus," is coming again. "The same one is coming in the same manner, or in like manner as you've seen Him go into heaven." And they were seeing Him with their physical eyes. A large group of the church. The First Baptist Church at Jerusalem.
Notice again, the angel said, "This same Jesus." "This same Jesus," not a different Jesus, not a spiritual Jesus, not some other form, but this same Jesus. And they said, "He's coming back again," didn't they? They said, "He's coming again." Not only that, they said, "He's coming back in the same manner as He went away." That is, He is coming personally, visibly, bodily, in reality in other words, so that we can see Him and know Him and touch Him. He's coming just as they saw Him go up, "in the same manner," it says.
Luke 21:27, Jesus Himself was speaking here, said: "And then shall they see," He was speaking of the last days, the end times, and He went ahead to say this, "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." I'm glad it said that. He's not coming back with a thorn crown. He's not coming back to hang on the cross again. But He's coming in power and great glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords. Aren't you glad?
Matthew 24:44 says this, Jesus again Himself speaking here: "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." He's coming when men don't expect Him. And I've never known a time in my fifty-three years, when there were so many who made fun and made light and laughed and poked fun at the idea of Jesus literally coming back again. It's become a regular habit, even of some so-called religious people. But let me tell you, if you don't believe He's coming back again, I sure would be worried about your religion. I'd really be worried about it. Because if it could be so wrong about the key point to which all our history has been working all these years, the coming of the Lord in power and great glory, then it may be wrong in a lot of other things, too. In fact, certainly is wrong in a lot of other things, if your religion doesn't believe that. "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." HE'S COMING! HE'S COMING! HE'S COMING!
As the old Christians used to say in the times of severe persecution, when they would pass each other in the streets, they would whisper, "Maranatha. Maranatha." That means, "Our Lord cometh." They used to whisper that to each other as they passed in the streets, knowing that if someone heard that who was not a Christian, it could mean their life. It could mean their life in the arena. It could mean being torn apart by lions. It could mean all kinds of terrible things and yet, they used to whisper that to each other as they'd pass each other in the streets. "Our Lord cometh. Our Lord cometh."
Christians should await His return joyfully. Titus tells us about that. Christians should await His return joyfully. Titus 2:13 says: "Looking for that blessed hope." It's not a fearful thing, the coming of the Lord; it's a great thing, a blessed hope. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." OH! HE'S COMING! HE'S COMING! HE'S COMING! Maranatha.
Then if you turn over to First Thessalonians 4:16-17, and read together. This passage is about the Second Coming of Christ, in case some do not remember. The Second Coming of Christ is in two phases. He's coming first in the clouds, to call up all the saved to meet Him in the air to go away with Him to heaven. Then following that, there'll be seven years of terrible tribulation here on the earth --- Such as has never been known before. And then, at the end of that seven years tribulation, He (and we) be coming back and actually coming down to the Mount of Olives, when He will come down to rescue the Jews, to defeat the armies of Satan, and to set up His kingdom for a thousand years literal reign here on earth.
But this reference here in Thessalonians is referring to the time when He comes in the clouds. We usually call it the Rapture, when He comes in the air and calls up all the saved, the saved dead in Christ and the saved living are called up to meet Him in the air at the same time. And this is the account of that we're reading now, as we close this message.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 -- "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
YES! HE'S COMING! HE'S COMING! ARE YOU READY?