Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Second Advent

 The Second Advent

According to the Oxford dictionary, the word advent means "the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event." Some Christians celebrate the advent season during Christmas as a special time of religious observance.  


The first advent signified the birth of Jesus Christ. He came into this world as a humble baby born of virgin Mary in the town of Bethlehem. The reason for His first advent is to save the helpless human race. "God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:17, NLT). How is he going to save the world? "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). 


Many people thought He was going to fight the Romans and deliver the Jews from their oppression from Rome. But, Jesus came to deliver them from the problem of sin and eternal death through His death on that cruel cross. His first advent was "spiritual" and more than "earthly." He fulfilled dozens of prophecies concerning Him at His first advent. 


The second advent or the second coming is when Jesus Christ will come to this earth to rule and reign. This is the event that will take place roughly seven years after the Rapture of the church, the bride of Christ. The Rapture could happen at any moment. The Rapture of the church will be addressed in a separate article. The focus here is on the second advent. 


There are more prophecies concerning the second advent than the first. In the first advent, Jesus came to save the world. In the second advent, He is going to judge the world. The second advent is not about entertaining the people. It is going to be a terrible day of judgment. Paul wrote to Timothy about that judgment day, "I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:1). 


Jesus Christ is going to come back to setup His kingdom. John the apostle wrote about the second advent and said, "Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!" (Revelation 1:7). People who rejected Jesus Christ and followed after other gods will be terrified to see Him coming back to judge the nations. In the first advent, He came as a lamb. In the second advent, He will come as a lion. "Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?" (Revelation 6:15-17). At the second advent, I do not have any words of comfort for those who rejected Jesus Christ. 


After judging the nations, Christ sets up His kingdom on earth, it will be like Paradise on earth. The prophet Isaiah described about that kingdom in Isaiah 11. 

"In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.


Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the LORD. In that day the heir to David's throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place." (Isaiah 11:6-10).


Dear reader, have you repented of your sins and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow is not yours.





Saturday, May 29, 2021

What is the gospel? Your eternity depends on it


 What is the gospel? Your eternity depends on it

The Background

Let me take you on a brief journey to the creation account as a way of providing some background to the gospel. In Genesis chapter 1, we read, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, … God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them’” (Gen. 1:26-27). How can God create us in His image and yet create male and female? Once a young lady asked me, brother, is God male or female? Bible says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). 


When God said, let us create man in our own image, He is not talking about the physical body, but about the spirit of man to be in the image of God. That spirit will not die—it will last forever and ever, as it was created in God’s image. The spirit within you is the real you. Then God put that spirit in a house to dwell, what we call—the body. Then how are we different from animals. Or have we evolved from animals as the evolutionists would advocate? 

Bible says God spoke into existence all the animals, birds, fish, and everything that lives on the earth. “Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so” (Gen 1:24). Evolutionists struggle with the “missing links” in explaining their theory of evolution. But God said He created everything of its kind. There is a separation from one kind to the other kind. That explains why you have those missing links. When you believe in the theory of evolution, you believe that you came from a monkey. Then you cannot believe the creation account in Genesis 1. If you cannot accept the first chapter of the first book in the Bible, you will have trouble believing anything else in the word of God. If you do not believe in “first man Adam,” you cannot have faith in the “last Adam,” who is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:45). Since you do not have the sin that comes from Adam, you don’t need a Savior. That is the danger of evolution Satan wants you to believe.  

Listen, God spoke the animals, birds, and fish into existence. He just spoke, and they appeared. But, God uniquely created man. The Bible says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). Listen, here is the critical difference between humans and the rest of the living beings. When an animal dies, that is the end of its story. There is no spirit to go to heaven or hell. When you swat a mosquito, there is no soul of that mosquito to go to heaven or hell. The human soul is not going to die. Our physical body may die and be buried, but the soul will never die. I can take off my coat and put it in my closet, but that is not really me. How foolish it will be for anyone who wants to talk to me but goes to my closet and talk to my coat. That coat is not really me. Similarly, the physical body is only a house for the real you. The soul, which is really you, must go to either heaven or hell and spend there for eternity.  

Sadly, people only pay attention to the physical body, outward appearance rather than the inward soul. People buy life insurance, medical insurance, and other insurances for this body but never pay attention to their soul. The Lord said to Samuel, “…the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). Paul calls this body a tent. “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is dismantled, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Cor. 5:1). So God created our spirit in His image and put that in a human body. When we think about eternity, it is a very long, long time. Eternity makes the bad news or the good news even more significant. 


What is the Gospel?

The term ‘gospel’ (in Greek εαγγέλιον Evangélio) means good message or good news. If we want to define the gospel in another word, it is the word ‘righteousness.’ “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed…” (Romans 1:17). It is the good news of sin washed away. If we really want to appreciate the value of the good news, we need first to recognize the bad news. 


The Bad News

When God placed Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, in the garden of Eden, they disobeyed and sinned against God. As a consequence of their sin, death came into this world. The scripture says, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23). This death is not just physical death but spiritual death, eternal separation from God in hell. Because we all came from Adam, we are under the curse of that sin. The Bible says, “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Rom. 3:23). If a person wants to go to hell, they do not have to do something because they are already under the condemnation of sin. The default destination for us is hell unless we recognize it and change that course or change the direction. It is fashionable to joke about hell these days. “Oh, devil, and I will go to hell with my buddies and have a beer.” Really? But, Jesus described hell as a place of eternal torment. The rich man cried out, saying, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24). The wicked will be thrown into the fiery furnace…(Matt. 13:50). The unbelievers ‘will be cast into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 8:12). In Mark 9:43, Jesus said about hell “…where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.” And this torment, this pain, is forever and ever. Once you understand the seriousness of hell, you do not want to gamble or take chances with eternity. You do not want to go there. You do not want your loved ones to go there. 


The rich man cried out from the place of torment for his five brothers that they should not come to the place where he is to join in his predicament. If any of your friends or relatives may have died without Christ, they might be crying from the place of torment for you. Father Abraham, please send someone lest my brother, my sister, my son, my daughter, or my friend also come to this place of torment. This place of torment is originally not prepared for you and me. We read in Matthew 25:41, “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…” The lake of fire was originally prepared for the devil and his angels. The whole human race is condemned because of Adam’s fall. That is the bad news. 


The bad news is even compounded when we realize that there is nothing we can do about it to save ourselves from our sin and the wrath of God. In many religions of the world, people realize that there is a sin problem. Their remedy is for you to earn your salvation by doing good deeds to outweigh bad deeds. Unfortunately, our good deeds will amount to nothing before the Holy God in our fallen, sinful state. “And all our righteous deeds are like polluted garment” (Isa. 64:6). You and I need to be saved from the wrath of a holy and just God.


The Good News

Because God is loving and compassionate, He does not want us to be condemned to hell for eternity. He sent His only Son to pay the price for the sins of all mankind. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). The Bible says, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4). The good news is also multiplied when we realize that God not only delivered us from the curse and penalty of our sins but made us joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. 


This good news was proclaimed to the shepherds nearly 2000 years ago. “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord!” (Luke 2:10). When we repent of our sins and place our faith in Christ, he will forgive our sins and deliver us from the evil one. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13). 


And some falsely say that God is love and He will not send anyone to hell. How can a loving God send someone to hell for eternity? My dear friends, because God does not want anyone to perish in the eternal lake of fire, He sent His son. Christ died for all and gave us the gift of salvation, but you and I need to accept that gift in faith. If you do not accept that gift of salvation through faith, it does not belong to you, and you are still under condemnation. And you cannot blame God for your refusal to accept His gift of salvation. 


Gospel – Theme

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures… For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:3-4, 21). If there is any other way to earn your salvation, Christ died in vain. Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him” (Isa. 53:10). 

Jesus died and rose again, and the tomb is empty. He is going to come back as the Judge. Timothy Keller has written: “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said?” Understanding His incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection is key to one’s salvation. 


When writing to the Corinthians in his first epistle, Apostle Paul says, “My brothers and sisters, I firmly affirmed (declared) the gospel to you.” And he lists four things: 1) First, he says, I preached the gospel to you, 2) you received it, 3) you stand on it, and 4) you are saved by it. 


Paul preached the gospel

Paul did not back away from preaching the gospel. In fact, he says in 1 Corinthians 9:16 “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” Sadly, some churches stopped preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will tell you how to live a moral life. They will tell you how to have a happy life. In fact, I saw a book written by a well-known preacher, “Your Best Life Now.” Really? I thought our best life is yet to come when we see our Lord and Savior face to face. 


Jesus also said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel…” (Luke 4:18). Not only he preached the gospel, but he also sent His disciples to go and preach the gospel. (Luke 9:2). He later gives the great commission by saying, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone.” (Mark 16:15). Preaching the gospel has to be the primary goal of the church. Paul makes a compelling case about the importance of preaching the gospel. “1How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14). “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). What is Paul’s argument here? If you don’t preach the gospel, how can the people get saved? 


When we as a church do not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will become just a circus, juggling a few things here and there. 


You Received it 

When Paul preached the gospel, the Corinthians received it. If one does not receive the word of God that was preached, then Satan comes and takes away the word of God. Jesus compared this to a way-side soil where the birds came and take the seed that was sown. So, when a person hears the gospel one needs to respond to it by receiving and understanding it and applying it to their lives bearing good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt. 7:19). 


You Stand on It 

What does it mean to stand on the gospel? Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24-25). If you want to stand on the gospel, you need to obey His word. “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). 


The Hymn writer Edward Mote wrote these words: 

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. 


On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand. 


You are Saved by It 

Paul makes it abundantly clear that it is by the gospel you are saved. “…(that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:8-10). 


Many people are deceiving themselves. They think they are saved because they go to church on Sunday morning. Others believe they are saved because they believe in a god. Many believe in the God of their own making. James says in his epistle, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” (James 2:19-20). James calls this dead faith. From Monday thru Saturday, no thought of God. Their language and lifestyle will be the same as that of the world. “…Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). 


Sometimes when people say they believe in Jesus, I was tempted to ask them, which Jesus? Is that the Jesus of Islam or the Jesus of Mormons? Or are you believing in the Jesus of the Bible? Is that the Jesus who died according to the scriptures? “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). Is that the Jesus who said take up the cross and follow me? Is it the Jesus who said, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” ( John 16:33). Is it the Jesus who said there are two gates broad and narrow, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). 


Have you ever convicted of your sins by the Holy Spirit and asked God for forgiveness? We see Peter repenting, “And he went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:61). “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7: 10). Peter’s sorrow was godly sorrow, that led him to repentance. Judas’s sorrow was worldly sorrow that led him to hang himself and die. 


“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-9). 


Sometimes we justify our sinful behavior. We say, “everyone is doing it. The culture has changed, and we will follow the culture.” My dear people, let me remind you that our Lord, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings…” (Heb 13:8-9). 


Jesus told Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again (or born by the spirit) he cannot see the kingdom of God….” (John 3:5). When you are born of the Spirit there will be fruit evident in your life. Jesus said, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:19-23). When a person is truly saved he or she will desire to have fellowship with God and fellowship with God’s children. “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:7-9). Are you walking in the Spirit or walking in the flesh? 


The Power of the Gospel

It is one thing to say, “Humanity fell into sin and Christ died for sinful human beings” and quite another to say, “I am a sinner and Christ died for me.” The gospel is the relational connection between you and Jesus. You need to have a relationship with Jesus not a religion. 


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” (Rom 1:15-17). 


“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11). 


There is another life to which we are now being prepared

This life is not the end; this is the beginning. Christ has purchased for us eternal life. God refines us through sufferings in this life to make us to be like Christ. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Cor 15:19). 


As God is preparing us on earth to be Christ-like, He is preparing a place for us in heaven. “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). 


The second coming of Jesus Christ

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thes 4:13-18). 

“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:18-21). Paul, writing to his protégé in 2 Timothy 4:1, says, “Jesus Christ will judge the living and the dead at His appearing.” 



“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:2-4). If you are convicted by the Holy Spirit, that is a good think. Do not quench the Spirit. Godly sorrow produces repentance which leads to salvation. Submit to God. Surrender your life to God. All the time you are failing trying to be good, because you are trying to do the religion in your strength rather than walking in the Spirit.


For those who are already saved and washed in His blood, Do you fear sharing your faith because you might get rejected and feel like you failed? You always win when you share Christ. If they respond in faith in Christ, then it is obviously a win. If they have no response at all, then you have won by planting a seed. Trust God with the results. 


“Reminding ourselves of the gospel is the most important daily habit we can establish.” Do you remind yourself of the gospel every day? Do you recount the joy of your salvation? If you want to grow in the relationship with Christ, share the gospel with others. It is not optional for you and I to share this glorious gospel. Jesus commanded, saying, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15). Was there a time in your life that you repented of your sins and confessed and accepted Jesus as your personal savior? If not, you are not saved. You need to be saved by the Spirit of God. Please do not gamble with eternity. If you truly understand the horrors of hell, you do not want to go there; you do not want your loved ones to go there. Are you saved? I mean, are you truly saved by His blood? Do you have a relationship with God? If not, you are just hanging by a thread to fall into the lake of fire. Our life is like water vapor; it will soon disappear. C.T. Studd, the British cricketer and missionary to China, wrote: 

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, 

Only what’s done for Christ will last.” 


 This article was transcribed from the following video message: What is the gospel? your eternity depends on it

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