Lesson 5

The First Coming Prepares for the Second Coming

(John 3&5, Ephesians 1, Hebrews 4&12, 1 Thess. 4)
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Introduction: "Well, you can't get there from here" is a common comic line for what appears to be an impossible task. In some cases it might be true. My wife's elderly step-father used to talk about driving to see us. He could certainly drive. We just were not sure he could find his way through the several states to our home.

Can God "get here from heaven?" Does the fact that Jesus came a first time give us confidence of His Second Coming? Let's explore Jesus' first appearance and see what that teaches us about the Second Coming!


    1. Read John 5:18. Why were the Jews trying to kill Jesus?

      1. Let's put the claim of Sabbath breaking to one side. Why not rejoice that Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah? They were looking for the Messiah. (They obviously did not believe Jesus was the one.)

      2. Aren't we all sons and daughters of God? Why was Jesus' claim to be the son of God understood as a claim of equality, a claim of divinity? (We do not have all of the evidence the Jews had, however, I think we can trust their judgment that Jesus was claiming to be God. He was claiming to be the Messiah.)

    2. Let's read on. Read John 5:19-24. What claim(s) does Jesus make here that confirms the belief of the Jews that Jesus was "making himself equal with God?" (The power of life, the power over death, the right to judge, and the only path to God.)

      1. If Jesus is right, do we have the ingredients for the Second Coming? (Yes! The power to resurrect and the power to make the final judgment of the world are essential parts of His Second Coming.)

      2. If He is right, and we do not believe Him, what will happen? (Verses 22-24 make clear that they will not "cross over" from death to life.)

      3. As an aside, when did the Father raise the dead to life (v.21) without Jesus?

    3. Let's read on. John 5:25-29. What do you think Jesus is describing here? (The Second Coming!)

    4. Let's step back for a minute. Describe for me what we have just heard Jesus say in these verses? If we believe, what will happen?


    1. Read Ephesians 1:6-10. Was it an accident that Jesus came to live with us the first time? Was it a last minute change in plans to fix the sin of Adam and Eve? (Verse 8 tells us the Father "lavished" grace (through Jesus) on us "with all wisdom and understanding." This was a smart, calculated plan God put into effect.)

      1. Did God share this smart, calculated plan with us?

      2. Verse 9 tells us that God revealed a "mystery of His will" to us in Jesus. What mystery is that? Why is it called a mystery?

        1. Verse 10 gives us a clue. It tells us this mystery will be put into action "when times have reached their fulfillment." What is this "fulfillment" and what does that tell us? (Jesus' life here is a revelation of what God has in mind for us in the Second Coming. To give yourself up to win is indeed a "mystery." The mention of "fulfillment" is another indication God has a clear plan.)

          1. Do you agree Jesus' life here a revelation of the Second Coming? If so, please explain this? (God is willing to go to heroic efforts to save us.)

    2. Let's skip down a couple of verses and read Ephesians 1:13-14. We have a couple of legal terms here: seal and deposit.

      1. We still use seals in the law, but it is less common than it used to be. What do you understand to be the purpose of a seal? (Shows the document is authentic.)

      2. What is the purpose of a deposit? (To guarantee performance of a promise.)

      3. What is this spiritual seal and deposit? (The Holy Spirit.)

      4. You are going to have to explain this. Who gets the seal? (You)

        1. Does that mean that if you do not have the seal (the Holy Spirit) you are not an authentic Christian?

          1. Do you see the gifts of the Holy Spirit manifest in your life? In your church?

            1. If not, what does that tell you?

        2. How is the Holy Spirit a deposit? (A deposit is generally a portion of the final payment. The Holy Spirit living in our lives is a portion of the full plan that we will live in the presence of God forever.)

      5. If you are concerned that this 2,000 year old story about Jesus and the promise of a "return" is not true, that the whole thing is some sort of hoax, Paul argues two things: first, that the Holy Spirit in your life is present proof Jesus was the Messiah and proof of the promise of His Second Coming; and second, that Jesus' first coming is proof of God's interest in us and His partial fulfillment of the plan to take us home with Him.


    1. Read John 3:14-18. What was the purpose of the snake that Moses lifted up?

      1. Read Numbers 21:8-9. Are we bitten by the snake of sin?

      2. When John 3:14 says that Jesus must be "lifted up," to what does that refer? (Jesus' death on the cross.)

        1. The snake is a symbol of sin. Why would Jesus be compared to a snake? (Jesus became sin for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21)

      3. What does John 3 say is the purpose of the cross? (To save us and give us eternal life.)

      4. Is it fair to say the purpose of Jesus' first coming was His Second Coming?

    2. Read Hebrews 4:14-16. What was the purpose of Jesus being "lifted up" at the cross? Why did He have to suffer? (He showed Adam could have lived a perfect life. In a parallel to the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, this text reveals that Jesus, our High Priest, is our substitute who lived a perfect life in our place. Compare 2 Corinthians 5:21)

    3. Read Hebrews 12:1-4. How does your struggle with sin compare to what Jesus suffered on your behalf? (Verse 4: you have not yet resisted "to the point of shedding your blood.")

      1. Was part of "the point" of Jesus being lifted up on the cross to encourage us in the midst of hardships? (Yes, see verse 3.)

      2. What, as a practical matter, does it mean to (v.2) "fix our eyes on Jesus?"

        1. Does that mean we should study His suffering?

      3. Verse 2 tells us that Jesus is the "author" and "perfecter" of our faith. In what way is He the "author?"

        1. In what way is He the "perfecter?"

      4. Notice v.1 says that sin "so easily" entangles. Do you agree? If so, is that a warning to be sure to "fix our eyes" on Jesus?


    1. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:14-16. How does Paul link the first coming of Jesus with His Second Coming?

      1. Is Jesus' victory over death dependent on His first coming? (It turns on His rising from the dead. Paul says he believes in the resurrection of the righteous because Jesus "rose again.")

    2. Read on, 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18. What is our final destination?

      1. Paul says "encourage each other" with this promise. How does this encourage you?

        1. Remember I asked you before how Jesus' suffering on the cross encouraged you? Is this part of the same picture of encouragement? (Yes! Jesus not only suffered as we do (us suffering in a lesser way), but His victory over death signals our victory over death in Him!)

    3. Friend, have you suffered enough? If you accept Jesus as your Savior and your Substitute, He promises to share His victory with you - to take you with Him to "be with the Lord forever." Will you accept His offer?

  1. Next Week: "Salvation and the Second Coming."

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