Lesson 13

The Promise of His Return

(Acts 1, Matthew 24, Revelation 21-22)
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Introduction: Silly scientists. They keep making failed predictions about the end of the world. When one prediction turns out to be wrong, they make another based on some different event. When I was young, they predicted an ice age where life would freeze. When I was old, they predicted global warming where life would burn up. They must be an ignorant and easily led faith group to keep predicting things that have never happened in recorded history. Wait! Isn't that what they say about Christians? That we keep predicting the end of the world because we are ignorant and easily led? Are we exactly the same as the silly scientists? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. History Repeats Itself


    1. Read Acts 1:1-2 and Acts 1:6-11. What did the angels promise to the disciples? (That Jesus would come back.)


      1. Our scientist friends predict an end that has never before been part of recorded history. How are Christians different? (Jesus came from heaven to earth. This is part of recorded history. The angels promised that Jesus would do it a second time, He would return.)


    2. Read 2 Peter 3:3-7. What challenge is this Bible text answering? (How can we know that Jesus will come again since it has been a long time since He left?)


      1. What answer is given? (Historical proof!)


      2. What historical proof does the Bible give in support of Jesus' Second Coming? (1. Jesus created the world. Therefore, He has both the power and the interest to return. 2. God destroyed His creation in the Flood. 3. This is further proof that God will return and destroy evil and this world.)


        1. Notice the phrase "deliberately forget." Is that true of scoffers today? Do those who deny the Creation and the Flood also deny the Second Coming?


    3. Read 2 Peter 3:8-9. What explanation do we have for the timing of Jesus' Second Coming?


    4. Let's go back to Acts 1. What are the disciples asking about in Acts 1:6? (They want to know if Jesus is going to throw off Roman rule.)


      1. What does this show us? (That the disciples still did not fully understand Jesus' first coming.)


        1. What lesson should that teach us? (We have the promise of Jesus' Second Coming, we have the proof of His first coming, but we need to be concerned that we might not have a correct understanding of it all.)


        2. From the verses we have studied, what can we know about Jesus' Second coming? ( Acts 1:11: Jesus went into the sky and disappeared in a cloud. At the Second Coming He will arrive in a cloud and descend from the sky. 2 Peter 3: We have a great deal of recorded evidence showing that God has the power and the interest to do this.)


    5. Read John 14:1-3. What important point does Jesus make about His Second Coming? (This is Jesus' personal assurance that He will return. When He returns it will be to take us to heaven.)


    6. Read 1 Corinthians 11:26. Is the Second Coming a minor teaching of Christianity? (No. God attaches reminders to those things He considers to be of special importance. The Sabbath is a reminder that He is our Creator. Communion is a reminder that He died for our sins and rose from the grave. God instructs us to keep reminding ourselves of this until He returns. That in turn reminds us of His promised return.)


  2. The Test


    1. Read Matthew 24:1-3. Did the disciples ask Jesus one or two questions? (Jesus had just described the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The disciples thought that when this happened, the world would end. They thought they were asking one question, but we know they were asking two.)


    2. Read Matthew 24:4-5. What is the first thing that Jesus tells us about His Second Coming? (That there will be imposters.)


    3. Read Matthew 24:23-25. What does Jesus warn us about? (That one of these impostors, a false Christ, will perform great miracles and signs.)


    4. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4. What will precede the return of Jesus? (An anti-Christ will come to impersonate God!)


    5. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. Who is one of these imposters? (The "lawless one." This is an agent of Satan who will perform "counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders.")


    6. Read Matthew 24:26-27 and Revelation 1:7. How can we absolutely tell the true Second Coming of Jesus from the false coming of the anti-Christ? (Jesus' coming will be a world-wide event seen in the sky by "every eye" at the same time. It will be like lightning around the globe.)


    7. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. What other unmistakable signs will we see? (The dead in Christ will come alive and rise. The believers who are alive will meet Jesus in the air.)


      1. Is Jesus going to be hanging around the earth? (No.)


    8. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:8. Does the counterfeit Jesus, the anti-Christ, hang around on the earth? (Yes. It appears that Jesus comes soon after the counterfeit comes. The counterfeit is destroyed by the spender and power of Jesus.)


    9. Let's review. How can we know Jesus' Second Coming from Satan's counterfeit? (If someone claims to be Jesus, but it is not seen by everyone world-wide, if the dead are not raised, and if we do not meet our Lord in the air to go to heaven, then we know this is not Jesus, it is a counterfeit.)


  3. The Future For The Faithful


    1. Read Revelation 21:1. What happens after the righteous are taken to heaven? (Jesus creates a new earth.)


      1. What is different about the new earth? (It no longer has seas. I've read that about 70% of the earth is covered by water.)


        1. What does this explanation suggest? (It suggests two things. That the earth will in other respects be recognizable. However, the added 70% means that the places for humans to live will be greatly expanded. I read a book which suggested that on the earth made new we will recognize places that we presently know.)


    2. Read Revelation 21:2-4. When Jesus came the second time, He took the righteous to heaven. What is happening here? (This makes perfect sense. The saved go to heaven, and Jesus destroys and rebuilds the earth and its heavens. Then the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven, along with God and us. Thereafter we will all live on the new earth. The earth made new will be the governing center of the universe, for God is dwelling with us! If you want to read a description of the New Jerusalem, read Revelation 21:10-21.)


    3. Read Revelation 22:1-3. The statement that we would no longer have any sea worried me a bit because I'm a guy who likes water. What kind of water do we find in the earth made new? (Apparently God likes water too, for He has water flowing out of His throne!)


    4. Read Revelation 22:4-5. What do you look forward to the most about the earth made new? (Being with God!)


    5. Friend, what a wonderful glimpse into our future! We all make predictions about the future. The difference between us and the silly scientists is that we have history on our side. Our God came to earth as a human. Our God created the earth and destroyed the earth. Our God promised that He would come again, take us to heaven, destroy the old earth, and then create a new one in which we would live with Him forever! I like that promise a lot more than the prediction of a coming ice age or global warming. How about you - would you like to have heaven in your future? Why not right now repent and confess to God your sins, and ask Jesus for the robe of righteousness that He is willing to give to you?


  4. Next week: We start a new series on Evangelism.

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