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When Jesus returns, many Christians will be going about their business without any concern at all about the things of God. They will be concerned only with themselves and not others. If you look around at today's society, it isn't that hard to imagine such a time.
In studying the tradition of communion, the thought that always breaks my heart is that far too many Christians on both sides of the ocean reduce the Cross and the resurrection of Jesus to a meaningless tradition in their lives. If Christ is indeed risen—and He is—then it follows that the Bible is also true when it declares that Jesus is coming again. So how should that knowledge affect our love for God? How should we treat others? How should the awareness of Jesus' soon return reach into our everyday lives and compel us to live? These are the questions each of us should be asking ourselves in this hour we live in.

When Jesus returns, many Christians will be going about their business without any concern at all about the things of God. They will be concerned only with themselves and not others. If you look around at today's society, it isn't that hard to imagine such a time, when even those who may call themselves believers in God will simply be consumed with themselves and the pursuit of their own happiness. For people like that, their self-absorbed mentality can only produce misery—the opposite of what they seek.

Jesus warned that His return would be "…as the days of Noah were…" (Matt. 24:37 NKJV). He went on to say, "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (vv. 38,39 NKJV).

Jesus then went on to describe what a faithful servant is like: "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt. 24:44 NKJV).

Many theologians argue over the specifics of the coming of the Lord, and all of those discussions have their place. But our main focus should be Jesus' admonition to "…love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" and to "…love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:37,39 NKJV). The Cross, the resurrection, and the return of the Lord are truths that should transform us and affect how we live every moment of our lives. Will we be sheep or goats when Jesus returns? And what makes the difference?

In Matthew 25:33-40, Jesus declared that He will make a distinction between those who have acted right and those who have not.
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungrey, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Teachers often debate the finer points of this passage of Scripture and how it relates to the end-times. But I believe the more important point to focus on is how we should live in light of Jesus' words in this text.

We need to ask ourselves: How do I treat others? Do I demonstrate justice, mercy, and humility? Do I demonstrate acts of kindness and love throughout my day? Or do I think only about my own interests, desires, and self-preservation? Jesus is the Judge of our hearts, and He will help us answer these questions honestly. And as we draw close to Him, He will work through us to reach out with His love to others.

Rick Renner Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Denise Renner
Web site: Denise Renner
 
Today she and husband Rick are founders and senior pastors of the Moscow Good News Church. Denise also oversees the church's many "Making a Difference" outreaches that minister God's love to those who are hurting and neglected by Russian society. Meanwhile, Denise continues to minister with her voice in a wide variety of venues — whether a church platform, a concert stage, or the stark, bare room of a women's prison.
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