September 9

The Day Is Approaching

Introduction

As we conclude our week on living for heaven, today we’ll explore the return of Christ and what that means for us. How can you be best prepared for the return of Jesus? What does God expect of you as his child? May your heart only grow in anticipation and joy at the thought of his return after today.

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Scripture

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Matthew 24:36

Worship

You Are My One Thing | Bethel Music feat. Hannah McClure

You Are My One Thing (Official Lyric Video) – Hannah McClure | We Will Not Be Shaken

Bethel Music’s collective of worship leaders aim to write and record songs that carry the culture of heaven and the heart of God. We exist to pursue the heart of God. Together, we express who God is and who we are in Him.

Devotional

Have you ever counted down the days until you’ll be able to see a good friend? Have you ever felt anticipation and butterflies as the time separating you and a loved one grows smaller? I grew up knowing that I should feel this way about heaven, but if I am honest I never truly felt the same anticipation and longings for perfect communion with my Savior as I did for a dear friend.

I think the idea of an eternal worship service scared me. Having to worship God for all eternity sounded far worse than spending time hanging out with my best friends here on earth. The truth is I didn’t have a true, tangible revelation of God’s love for me. I didn’t have an understanding of the incredible, deep, overwhelming satisfaction I feel when my heart touches God’s heart in worship. I honestly didn’t know the person of Jesus enough to want to spend all of eternity with him. Jesus teaches in Matthew 25:1-13,

Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise answered, saying, “Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.” And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” But he answered, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.” Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The day of Jesus’ return is approaching. Matthew 24:36 says, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Our Savior, the King of kings, will return with love in his heart for all those who have come to know him. The question before us today is this: are we like the five wise virgins who have prepared ourselves? Are our lamps burning with the intimacy of unveiled relationship with our Creator while here on the earth? Are we preparing for the return of our King by cultivating a lifestyle of love for both our bridegroom and others around us?

I’ve spent most of my life declaring I knew God by going to church, going on mission trips, saying the right things, and trying to do nothing wrong. My actions represented fear and a desire for inclusion in the Christian culture more than actual love and desire for Christ himself. Take time in guided prayer to truly analyze your heart. There is abundant grace today for wherever you find yourself in relation to your Savior. Be honest with yourself and look at how you feel about heaven. Are you prepared for the return of the King or living for the earth over heaven? Is the oil of relationship with Jesus in your lamp or are your fumes running out with the cares and pursuits of the world? May the Holy Spirit draw each of us into greater depths of intimacy with Jesus until the day our bridegroom returns.

Prayer

1. Meditate on the parable of the ten virgins. Allow Scripture to stir your heart toward deeper relationship with Jesus.

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Matthew 25:1-13

2. Are you prepared for the return of Jesus? Truly look at your heart. What longings are driving you? Are you living for heaven or pursuing the things of the world? Is the oil of intimacy with Jesus in your lamp or are you running on the fumes of cultural Christianity?

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into greater depths of relationship with Jesus. Ask him to reveal to you the depths of God’s love and grace.

Go

God has a plan to guide you to a path of greater relationship with him if you will simply choose to follow his leadership. If you will daily say yes to him over the world, you will begin to feel a fire growing in your heart for Jesus’ return. Once we experience the relationship with God we were created for, nothing else truly satisfies. His love is greater, purer, more real, and more powerful than anything else we will ever experience. Choose today to follow the leadership of the Spirit and grow in intimacy with the King who laid down his life for you to know his love.


Extended Reading: Matthew 25
or watch The Bible Project’s video on Matthew 14-28.