What to do now!
Jesus is coming back!
Acts 1:11 He will return the same way he left
Anticipation of His return is growing
His return has been anticipated since He ascended!
-The Apostle Paul had to discuss this in Thessalonians
-Every major world event has triggered talks of His return
-I remember the Cold War, everyone thought
The world was going to end soon, Jesus would return
Jesus told us what to do until he comes back
What to do now (until Jesus comes again)
1. Don’t predict the end of the world
-We aren’t supposed to know
-Even Jesus submitted to His Father regarding end times
-Prepare as if Jesus is coming at any moment, plan as if he isn’t
2. Trust Jesus with your whole life!
-Place your faith in His sacrifice for your sins
-Place your faith in His resurrection from death
-God’s plan right now is for everyone to trust Jesus
3. Tell others what you know is true
-Sharing the good news about Jesus Christ is our #1 task!
-We are Christ’s witnesses- whether good or bad witnesses!
-Jesus has empowered us to be His witnesses (vs 4, Holy Spirit)
-Be more excited about sharing Jesus than sharing your opinion
about how Jesus is coming back to fix the world!
-Helping people trust Jesus with their whole lives IS how Jesus
fixes our world!
-“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth”
-this only happens when people surrender to Jesus Christ!
4. Share Jesus with the whole world!
-Jesus provided a logical plan, go from local to global
-Take the next right step to tell others about Jesus
How everyone can share Jesus globally
Consider this thought: If you believe the world is about to end, are you spending all your resources to help people go to heaven instead of hell?
-Is the return of Christ something you are hoping for because
you don’t want to deal with this world?
-Who do you know will be eternally separated from God forever
in hell if Jesus returned right now?
-I pray we will be as excited and convicted to share the good
news with our friends and family as we are about the return
of Jesus Christ!
What to do right now
1. Make your decision public
-Website contact page
2. Depend on Christ’s power to obey Him
-Jesus is the best leader anyone could ever follow!
-His ways are perfect
-His plans give us purpose
-He gives us the power!
Today is Sunday, April 18th, 2021, and welcome to St. Joe Community Church. Today’s message is entitled: What to do now, and it’s taken from Acts chapter 1, verse 11. Be sure to check out Pastor Greg Byman's outline notes available at the St. Joe website. Just visit www.stjoecommunitychurch.org, click on the sermons tab, and find today's broadcast. So now, let's open the Bible, get a notepad, and pen, and prepare to hear from God's word. Here's Pastor Greg.
Pastor Greg Byman
What to do now? Last week we read an account of Jesus who was resurrected from the dead. He appears to his disciples. The third time he restores Peter from his shame of denying Christ three times. He kind of recommissions them to say, let's move forward guys, come on, we’ve got work to do. And now we see another account of his resurrected body, his human body, who is not in the grave any longer. He's appeared to these hundreds of believers and his disciples gathered around him, and he's giving them the last few words of instructions before he goes up into heaven. Now, before we read verses 7 and 8 in Acts chapter 1, I want to declare to you what our church believes, what the Bible says to be true, what I'm staking my life on is that Jesus is coming again.
Jesus is coming back. He is returning. It says there if you read down a little bit further in that text that we're reading this morning in verse 11, it says men of Galilee why do you stand looking up into heaven? What are you doing standing around here? There's nothing to see here, move on, move it on. He says this same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven. We know that in John chapter 14, you don't have to turn there, but you can put down if you're writing any notes today that in John chapter 14, it says, don't let your heart be troubled. Jesus is telling his disciples to believe in God. Believe also in me, in my father's house are many rooms. If not, I would have told you I'm going away to prepare a place for you.
In other words, I'm going away, but I'm preparing a place for you to be with me forever. And there's someone in this building that believes that more than anybody else; it’s our friend, Corey. I think every week he comes to work in our church he tells me that God's preparing a place for him, and for you, Pastor Greg. He believes Jesus is coming again, and when he takes us back to be with himself, he's got a place for us to be. And I love the translation, I think it's more appropriate to the Greek language than the original Aramaic Greek that the New Testament was written in where it says not mansions but rooms. In other words, we're going to have attachments to the mansion of God. We're not going to be in all these different houses and our little plot of land so that we can have our own little spot.
No, we're all going to be together with God. And who's going to be the light of heaven? God himself. He's the energy source. He is the one we're attached to. He's the one that we're going to see and be with forever. And he says, I will go, come again. I will take you to myself that where I am you may be also. You know the way I'm going. And of course, Thomas says, we don't know where you're going. How can we know the way? And this is the famous passage we often hear people talk about. And we say, and I've said many times from this stand right here, it says, Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through for me. The way to get to eternal life, the way to get to where God is preparing a place for all of us, is to get to Jesus.
Jesus is coming back. There's an anticipation of his return; it's growing. People think he's coming again. If you're on social media is sort of like, you know, you see all these different people putting posts on the properties. Oh, what chapter of revelation are we looking at today? You know, all these sayings and clichés and everything. And I want to say to you, I'm not that old, but I'm old enough to remember that in the 1980s when I was in Sunday school they had it all figured out that Jesus was coming. Like within moments, he would be there because there was mutually assured destruction through nuclear annihilation. The cold war, anybody remembers this? Some of you say no, our history books maybe, but I'm too young for that. But many of us remember, and I was at the tail end of it.
Remember when we used to have those tornado drills? I used to have a tornado drill where I got underneath the desk and put a book on my head or we'd go out in the hallway and put a book on our heads. Like that was going to do anything. Anyway, who knows? Actually, some of them say that wasn't necessarily a tornado drill. In Ohio, that's a serious business for tornado drills, but it was also for nuclear fallout drills because we were under the constant threat of annihilation by the nuclear Holocaust. When we went out west with our kids five years ago or so, we saw in South Dakota these decommissioned missile silos. It looked like a huge washing machine with the agitator in the middle of the top load. And you look down there's that missile pointing at you. And this one was decommissioned hopefully, but they'd taken out the nuclear warhead that was on it.
And that thing right there speckled all around the west and some are still commissioned in order to protect us. The reality of the fact I was on a ship, a nuclear submarine that my cousin used to be the commander of, and I remember just putting my arms around one of the 22 nuclear warhead silos, the tubes that held these ballistic missiles and they were multiple heads. Each of the 22 had multiple heads that would come off of it and be assigned to particular cities and our enemy territory in Russia and other places in order to assure that our enemies were annihilated the submarine went underneath the water and it just made sure that it was deterrence. Hey, we're here and at any moment we can push the button and everybody's gone. And I remember putting my arms around that down in Kings Bay, Georgia going wow, this right here could destroy millions of people, what I have my arms around.
It's mesmerizing, Lord Jesus comes quickly. There's this excitement that he's coming. There's this anticipation. There’s this foreboding that he's coming. Wars and rumors of Wars, calamity, earth lead destruction, hurricanes, and all kinds of things. I mean this was actually true back in Thessalonians in the first century the people were dying and they said, well, Jesus is coming back. They missed it. They're dead. And Paul had to write to the church and say, no, no, no, no, you don't get it if he hasn't come back yet, he will. And you can know that he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write that the dead in Christ will rise first, and then those who are alive will be caught up together. That there's a plan for those who have died in Christ. In other words, his coming again hasn't happened yet.
And God has a plan for those, even if we die before it happens. You see, Jesus told us he was coming back. The Bible declares he is, but it's been 2000 years and I'm planning for great, great-grandchildren to actually live a life on this earth unless he comes back, and I'll be happy for that too. We don't know when he's coming back, but there is this anticipation that he is going to. But I believe that Acts chapter 1 declares for us, and I believe it, I am convicted that the Bible tells us that Acts chapter 1, verses 7 and 8 these are our marching orders until he comes again.
What to do now until Jesus comes again? Let me read for us verses 7 and eight,
Jesus said to them, it is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
What are the things that Jesus is asking us to do? He’s not asking us, he's telling us what to do until he comes again. Well, first of all, number one, don't predict the end of the world. When we were visiting churches in my middle school years of life, we were in transition and we went to a church in Dayton, Ohio, a good solid church and nothing was. But one thing they did do is when I went into the Sunday school classroom for the youth they had this chart, and I don't think literally it was as far as from that wall to that wall, a chart that explained how Jesus was coming again. It had nations mentioned of that Bible this was the nation. This was the nation, some of the nations on that they don't even exist anymore.
They had it all figured out. I can guarantee you of every chart that you've ever had from somebody who says this is exactly how Jesus is coming again. I can guarantee one thing true about all of those charts, they’re not true because Jesus himself says it is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. Even Jesus said, now, I'm not saying Jesus didn't know. He may or may not have known, but in the Trinity of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit he was submitting to the will of the Father regarding the times and periods of how things would pan out for his kingdom to come, his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus himself was submitting to the Father. I submit to you that we must submit to the Father and we must listen to Jesus, does not predict the end of the world. I say we ought to prepare as if Jesus is coming at any moment, but plan as if he isn't. I think at any moment he could. At any moment, in fact, that's why in a moment I'm going to share. You need to be ready. You need to be ready if he's coming at any moment. We need to prepare. We need to plan and continue to live our lives according to the plan that God has for us even if he doesn't come back at this very moment.
Don't predict the end of the world. Don’t get on Facebook and say, it's coming right away. It’s coming, yes, you can say, he's coming. He's coming. He's coming. I can say that. I will say that I'm convinced he's coming. If he's not coming the Bible is false. It's a lie. Why believe any of it? He's coming. And by the way, there are some legitimate conversations I think, according to the word of God and according to the signs and according to all the different Daniel, Revelation, these are good things to talk about. And there are some, I think, very biblically responsible conversations to be had about how about it's going to come about. But don't be predicting it because nobody knows except the Father.
Number two, we need to trust Jesus with our whole life if he's coming again, right? In other words, we've got to put our faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ, just as I said, last week, I'm going to go backward. We need to place our faith in his sacrifice for our sins. Place our faith in his resurrection, from death. Romans chapter 10, what does it tell us? It says that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart resulting in righteousness and one confesses with the mouth resulting in salvation. For the scripture says everyone who believes in him will never be put to shame. This morning are you ready for the return of Jesus? Are you ready for this world to be completely over?
Every minute of your life you have a decision to make, whether you're going to put your faith in Christ or you're going to reject Christ and there's no middle ground. Well, I'll decide tomorrow. If you decide tomorrow, you have decided to reject Christ forever. And maybe you'll wake up tomorrow and have an opportunity to change that decision. Some pastors say everyone at church, so how many decisions did you have on Sunday morning? He says, well, everybody made a decision. They either decided to follow Christ or not follow Christ. They decided to tell us publicly what they thought or to decide to keep it to themselves. But everybody made a decision and everybody in this room is going to make a decision. Whether you're going to put your faith in Christ or whether you're not going to put your faith in Christ. For the Christian, you're going to decide whether or not you're going to keep on living for Christ or that you're going to start trying to take control of life your own way and do your own thing.
Whether you're going to do what he's asked you to do, or you're going to reject his plan and try to do your own way and see the discipline of God come against your life and say, man, that's not what I intended for you. And just like an earthly father would try to help a young teenager do the right thing. Indeed God himself helps us as our heavenly father. He helps us and disciplines us to move forward and do the right thing. Everybody's going to make a decision this morning. The question is, is your decision to follow Christ or reject Christ? There's no in-between. Right now you could put your faith in him by just saying, God, I admit to you, I'm a sinner. I believe you died on the cross for my sins.
I no longer want to live in the shame. I'm done living in my own power because I can't overcome this stupid stuff I keep doing. God helped me. Come into my life. I believe Jesus, you died and rose again. You died for my sins. I trust you with my life. If you'll just put your faith in him this morning, he says he will never put you to shame. His hand, his grip, his grip doesn't slip. He wants to hold onto you this morning. Will you reach out to him? I pray that you'll take that connection card that's on a window sill or you'd go onto our website on your phone or your computer at home and you just reach out to us and say, Hey, I'm making this decision today. I need some help knowing what that means.
We'd love next week to have a baptismal service and let you openly declare your faith and baptism. Would you let us do that? Would you let us help you put your faith in Jesus Christ? He's coming at any moment. I'm not here to scare you. I'm just giving you a reality. You need to be ready when he comes. You need to be ready before he comes. You need to be ready. Put your faith in Jesus.
And number three this morning as we get back to the text let's tell others what we know is true. Let's tell others what we know is true. We as believers if we've put our faith in Jesus Christ, we will be his witnesses. We are to tell others. 2nd Corinthians we read it, we are his ambassadors. An ambassador doesn't have their own authority. An ambassador doesn't tell people what they think it is. They tell people what the person who sent them the truth is. We are the ambassadors of Jesus Christ imploring people, encouraging them, begging them on Christ's behalf to be reconciled to God. Sharing the good news about Jesus Christ is our number one task as believers. We are his witnesses whether good or bad witnesses to be honest.
He's empowered us, he said you will receive the power it says here. From on high the Holy Spirit is living in our lives if we're a believer in Jesus Christ. And we need to be more excited about sharing Jesus than about sharing our opinion about how Jesus coming back to fix the world. How did Jesus tell us to pray? Your kingdom comes; yours will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Do you know how the kingdom comes into this world? One heart at a time yielding their lives to Jesus Christ.
The kingdom of God is in the heart of men, and women, boys, and girls, people who have surrendered the authority of their lives to the authority of Jesus Christ, his kingdom. Do you want to see our world change? So many people as said he's coming again because they're tired of the system we're living in. They're tired of the injustices. They’re tired of seeing babies slaughtered in the womb and politicians elected that are happily and gladly telling people that it's everybody's right to do so.
They're happy that bad things are being called good and good things are being called bad and Christians are going, Oh, I just want to get out of here. Jesus come quickly. And some people say, well, we need to just reform our nation. We need to get a bunch of people in there and elect the right people. You know, as responsible citizens we are responsible and the blood is on our hands if we voted for somebody who does not believe in God. But you know what, how do you know who does that? Because who does or doesn't believe in God. And I've cast my vote going well, I think this is the most godliest choice, but I don't know if they believe in God. So I know it's a mesmerizing moment, but do you know what I know for sure? I pray for the salvation of our leaders. I pray for the salvation of our elected leaders, whether it's from the White House Congress or Supreme Court, I pray they trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
I pray that they'll get Daniels in their life. You know, Daniel in the Old Testament, I pray that godly men and women will be advisors to ungodly men and women in office so that they will know the truth of Jesus. They will know the truth of the Bible and start living that because what will really fix our world is when people put their faith in Jesus Christ. That's what changes Fort Wayne. That's what changes Allen County. That's what changes Indiana. That's what changes the United States is when people put their faith in Jesus Christ. People who God changes will change the world. That's what we need to pray for. That's what we need to look for. We need to tell others what we know is true. We need to share Jesus with the world.
And number four, we need to share Jesus with not just Fort Wayne, but with everybody, the whole world, Jesus gave us a plan here. It says you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and to the outermost parts of the world. You will be my witnesses in Fort Wayne in the 05, 46805 districts, and the other districts around Fort Wayne. You'll be my witnesses in Allen County, in Indiana, United States, and to the outermost parts of the world. If you were to go up to my office and you're welcome to do so at any time, you will see that I have two maps. I put a call out to say I was looking for a map of Fort Wayne that I could write with a dry erase marker on. And they have them for sale. And I was in the process of buying one and Tom Garrity who went home to be with the Lord last year, he said, I got something for you on your desk. And I went up to my office and he had taken a full-size map of Fort Wayne, cut it into fourths, ran it through his laminator at work, and brought me a map of Fort Wayne.
That's just the kind of guy he was. He would just serve. If we needed leaves picked up, he was out there picking up. Do you know why we had leaves all over this yard, over the fall and winter? It’s because Tom died before he did it. Honestly, a week before he was planning to do it, he passed away and we didn't have any other Tom get up and do it, shame on you. No.
But that’s just the guy he was. I didn't mean to do that I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to guilt you’ll, but he was awesome. But do you know why I had that map? I got sidetracked here because of Tom, he was awesome. I love Tom. Pray for Gina. She's still going through, she's going towards his birthday and anniversary and all that. His widow needs prayer right now. And if you're listening to us, Gina, we love you. If you're listening to us online. Tom gave me that map. Do you know why I wanted that map? I wanted that map so I could have a visual aid of where God has called us to share Jesus and penetrate darkness and lostness. And I have a little dot right where 2900 North Anthony is, right here on the map. And then I have a circle around it. So is that a mile radius? No.
That's about a size of a masking tape reel that I drew around it. It's just a way for me to get a target thought of this is where God's called us to reach people for Jesus. I've got the demographics I can tell you all about it. I can tell you how many percentages of ethnic groups are in here. I can dice it down to the median income. I mean, boy, the Census Bureau, you'll give a lot of information out and so do I, and we have that. Of course, credit cards tell our story too, you know, every time you go into that Kroger plus card, you know, whatever it is. They just figured out everything about you so that they can sell stuff to you, right? Well, we get that information as a church so we can learn what our mission field is. And it drills down, and we can know those things because God's called us to share Jesus right here in Fort Wayne.
And we want to be missionaries in our own backyard, but we also need to be sending missionaries beyond our backyard, sharing Jesus with the whole world. See Jesus provided a logical plan here and everywhere to the outermost parts of the world. And the last I checked, we're pretty far away from Jerusalem. I think the plan is working. What do you think? Do you know why you're here today in Jesus Christ? If you know Jesus is because somebody outside of Jerusalem told you about Jesus. And I'm praying that somebody outside of Fort Wayne hears about Jesus because we sent them because on the other side of my office on the other wall is a map of the world. And I have a dot where we've sent mission teams to other places in the United States and around the world to share the good news of Jesus.
And these are mission trips that are not vacations with a little bit of Jesus in there, you leave, you leave ready to serve. You use the money that people raise to give you in a very careful way. We worked you hard and you're ready for a vacation when you come back because you're there to share Jesus. You're there to work the field that you've been given when you get there. And over a hundred of us have been mobilized in the last 18 years to go share Jesus. Why? Because we believe that it's to share Jesus, not just here, but everywhere. And I want people to have a world vision of the kingdom of God, not just their own backyard vision of the kingdom of God.
And we have missionaries that we support. In fact, here's how we do it at St. Joe, and I pray that you'll be a part of this with us. We pray for people who are sharing Jesus globally. We give over 10% of our resources away to missions, causes, beyond ourselves. And we go, we send people out and our money actually helps pay for people that are sent out on a full-time basis, and they go and don't come back as far as that's where they live to share Jesus somewhere else.
Now, I want you to consider this thought if you believe the world's about to end, are you spending all of your resources to help people go to heaven instead of hell? Is the return of Christ something you're hoping for because you don't want to deal with this world any longer, or is it motivating you to tell more people about Jesus? I have a friend she was a student at Indiana Tech and she named all her cows, steers. She was from Wisconsin and she had names for all of them [inaudible 26:13]. In fact, she actually had one on her Christmas card. Heidi and the herd, Merry Christmas. That's crazy. Heidi and the… I think that was awesome. I said, well, do you eat any of them? She says, oh yeah, we butcher some of them. I said, really? She says, yeah, we butcher the ugly ones. I said, but like when you name all the herd... She says oh, we don't name them. We don't name the ones that we eat because that would be too emotional.
I mean, you know, Daisy. Daisy the cow. Now, for some of us in the room, us guys were like, that's red meat, I'm dealing with it, no big deal. Whatever. When you think about all the masses of people that will miss heaven, and facing an eternity without Jesus, what does that do for you? And I'd like for you right now to think of men and women, boys and girls that you know personally their names, family members, friends, neighbors. I mean, no one knows anybody's heart, but you and I know, and I know plenty of people that unless they're really Buffalo on me, they don't know Jesus. And if he were to come at any moment, they're gone. I just woke somebody up, sorry. They're dead. Sorry, Sean. They are without Jesus and they miss heaven.
What are you doing with the resources, the time, the energy, and everything God's given you? Are you spending it so that more people go to heaven? Store up your treasures in heaven the Bible says. Store up your treasures for retirement so that you don't have to do anything for another 20 years, and then you die. I love retirement thoughts. I love the fact that you don't have to work for a living. You can live off what you worked for, but are you doing it in order to leverage your time and energy for the kingdom of God? Or are you doing it just to float around until you go to heaven?
Who do you know personally? Names? People? Because see if we don't start identifying by naming the people that aren't going to heaven we will have zero emotional attachment to sharing Jesus with them. We won't care. Joe's going to hell, I don't care. It ought to bother you that Joe doesn't know Jesus. And you’re there to help him find and follow. Now, I got people on my list who don't want to hear from me ever again. I'm still praying for them. A few of them have actually come around and asked me questions and I'm starting to talk to them again. Some of them, I just see them, I do business transactions with them, I encourage them. I'm just being Jesus to them the way I can. We've got to share Jesus with people until he comes again.
2nd Peter 3:9 says, The Lord does not delay his promise as some understand delay but is patient with you not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. It could be that someone listening online or right here in this room, Jesus, didn't come back this morning because he's waiting for you to put your faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus didn't come yet because he's waiting for one more person to know him.
Thank you for joining us today. St. Joe is located at 2900 North Anthony Boulevard, just a few blocks south of the campus of Purdue University at Fort Wayne. Pastor Greg Byman serves as the senior pastor and the entire St. Joe Church family welcomes you to join us for worship service each Sunday morning at 8:30 and 10:30. Currently, masks are optional for the 8:30 service and required for the 10:30 service and most indoor activities. St. Joe is dedicated to helping people learn about what it means to place one's faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and hope of eternal life. If you or somebody you know is interested in what it means to know God personally, please contact the church today. Please visit www.stjoecommunitychurch.org. Email us at email@example.com or call (260) 471-4704. Thanks for joining us today. We'll see you next week.
B: Bible book