Thought for the Week - 28th July

Pastor Gareth Watkins

Titus 2: 11-13

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,
righteously, and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ

1 Thessalonians 3: 12-13

12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all,
just as we do to you,
13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
These verses give us a few things to think about in that day when Jesus Christ appears.  We should be standing there blameless at the coming of our Lord and Saviour.


When we come to Christ, He will show us the right way to live.  Most of us have made a mess living in our own way.  Jesus Christ shows us the right to live.  He removes our filthy stained clothes, our sins and He reclaims us from the accuser, and gives us a new life.  We can walk on because He gives us a new life.

Last week I wrote of the experience of being taken out of the court of the accuser, being made free from the accusations, and walking into a life where God shows us how to live.


It’s not a knowledge based thing, or something you learn, it’s an experience.  It’s something you know inside your heart and your life.  You know if you’ve had that experience.  If you’ve not had that experience, it makes you wonder where you are before God.  If you know you’re in a place of sin, and you can’t get free from it, it’s a physical feeling.  If Christ has come into that court room and has set you free – a new person with a new life – you know that too.


Is there more?  That experience happens, but is there more to go?  Yes there is.  There is much more to go.  That is just the very beginning, where you find Christ.  In yourself, you come to a place where you know where you’re not right with God.


The verse above in Titus spoke to me this week.  We should be living and looking for the appearing of our God and saviour Jesus Christ.  This life is not all about what’s going on now. There is an eternal plan for our lives.  There is a coming day when all this stuff we’re involved with finishes, and a new life comes.  A new heaven and a new life.  Eternity and a life with Christ.


This thing that we’re going through now with struggles and sin, will all be gone.  We should be looking forward in a new step to the appearing of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.  Not many churches talk about this.  This transition that needs to go on mentally and physically – where we’re looking forward to something that’s yet to come.  The New Testament is full of these sorts of things.  The disciples lived in a time where they look forward to their Christ returning.  They expected him to return straight away.


Are we living in that state ourselves?  Are we looking forward to that day when He’s going to come back?  It affects you.  It affected them.  They went across the world.  They got shipwrecked, they were beaten, and they were martyred because they were living in a place where Christ was appearing imminently.  I think one of the things that’s missing in the church today is the importance of looking forward to Christ appearing again to all men.  This glorious appearing.


A few things will happen if we’re longing and desiring this appearing of Christ:


Firstly, we will know that our salvation will be complete.  Our salvation is completed when Christ comes back again, we’re resurrected from the dead and we’re given a new body.  When we long for this day, we look forward to a day when we’re not bound by illness, injury and insecurity.  We will be like Christ, resurrected from the dead.  We will be in union with God, Christ and the other Christians who are the bride of Christ.  This is the completion of our salvation.


Secondly, we will see Christ’s reign on earth.  There will no longer be suffering, pollution, wars, and illness.  That will all stop.  We will be given new garments to wear – fine, clean and bright linen – given for that time.  Christ had the same.  His earthly garments were wrapped up and left in the grave.  He emerged with new garments.  All the buildings you can see will be gone.  They were made by sinful men, and anything to do with sin will be gone.  A new world that God is making will come.  We are called into something way greater than we can think of.  This is the consummation of our salvation.  It’s glorious.


We should long for this day.  Live for this day, and hunger for this day, when the glorious appearing of Christ will come.


Titus is telling us that we are part of something far greater than this little life that we’re living now.  We should make ourselves ready and prepare ourselves.  A bride doesn’t just turn up for a wedding and hope for the best.  We should prepare ourselves in advance, ready for the day where we will meet Christ and live forever.


What is the preparation?  It’s in love and holiness.  In 1 Thessalonians 3 above we read:


12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.


This Holiness and right living is something we have to work at.  It’s something we grow in.  We’re not born in.  We start in it and go on.  We read the word “increase” – there is a sense that holiness is growing before God.  That holiness is going to be there establishing you at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all the saints.  All the saints will be coming with Christ.


We need to put our sins behind us.  We need to increase and increase until that day when He comes again. We need to be longing for the day He’s coming.  We need to be getting better, more righteous, more holy, with more love in us, and the day is coming when we’ll be clothed in bright white linen with all the saints.  That’s the culmination and consummation of our salvation


We have to prepare.  We have to do as we’re told. We have to increase in our love.  We have to increase until we are blameless and we stand there without any guilt in a natural sense.  This is the heart of the Christian message.  We’re going to be part of this coming army of people and finally be with Him in eternity. We need to make ourselves ready.  We will have a new body with new garments, and those garments are being prepared ready for us to walk into.


Once we get saved, there’s a plan for our life that we’ve never seen before.  A plan comes that’s not just “you’re in church now you’re okay”.  When you get saved, it’s beginning of days with God.  A plan will be unfolded to you about how you fit into this army of saints, church body, and bride of Christ.  There’s a plan for you how you fit into that and take your part, ready for the day He comes.  You’re not meant to be on your own.  This takes you onto the plans that God has for you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.


We need to be asking God about this plan that He’s got for us.  Ask Him were you fit in.  The days will finish faster than we think.  A friend of mine recently died.  They had everything in a natural sense, but they could’ve found another life in God.  That life would’ve given them hope, healing, protection and He would’ve stopped the accuser.


This life is only for a season, and then this world is gone.  A new life will come.  When we meet Him, all the things of sin – the pain and the suffering of this world – will finish.  We will be radiantly attired. A sin free earth will appear, a purposeful earth. Christ will be in the centre of it.  He will stand there with the saints, all the families, and all those blessed by God.  Millions of people there for eternity.


Are you looking forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints?  That’s the consummation of your faith that you’re working at right now.


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