When Is Jesus Returning?
There are many Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah; Jesus fulfilled all of them. Did you know there are even more prophecies about his return, about the second coming of Christ and the events surrounding it? Matthew 24:3 records Jesus’ disciples asking him, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?” And ever since, as Christians have looked forward to that time, upsetting world events have led many to ask, “Is this IT?”
Have someone read Matthew 24:36; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Gene gave some reasons why people might avoid studying Bible prophecy: irresponsible preachers have made wacky surmisings, some going so far as to predict specific dates, then looking foolish as those dates pass by; end-times prophecies describe scary events; and it’s too controversial a topic.
Can you relate to any of these reasons? Which ones?
What are some crazy end-time prophecies you have heard over the years?
There are disagreements among Bible scholars as to the order of events described in end-times prophecies. Gene likened the human situation to getting into a lifeboat when the Titanic was sinking, pointing out that what would matter most to you is that you are IN the lifeboat rather than the timing of the events surrounding it. He also encouraged us that as believers the only news that Bible prophecy has for you is good news.
Have someone read Revelation 1:7.
What does this scene look like to you when you visualize it?
In response to his disciples’ questions about when Jesus would return again, Jesus told a number of parables. Among them is the parable of the ten bridesmaids.
Have someone read Matthew 25:1-13.
Jesus described the five bridesmaids who ended up being shut out of the wedding as “foolish,” an unflattering word meaning dull in understanding, thoughtless, lacking a grip on reality, stupid. It’s actually the Greek word moros, from which we get the English word “moron.” Gene observed that the disappointed bridesmaids were mainly disappointed in themselves because they’d allowed themselves to be foolishly unprepared for their participation in the celebration.
Gene shared his belief that this parable also communicates believers should keep their spiritual reserves high. The bridesmaids had plenty of time to acquire enough oil for their lamps, but when the time came, their lamps were empty, and they weren’t ready.
In Matthew 25:13, Jesus reminds His followers that “you don’t know either the day or the hour” that He will return. What things are distracting you from always being alert for Jesus’ return?
Have someone read Ephesians 5:18.
How can we be alert, diligent and intentional about keeping our spiritual tanks full?
Gene stressed the importance of building relationships with fellow believers, so we can encourage each other as we all grow in spiritual maturity. God designed us to be in community, to encourage and help each other, to both mourn and rejoice together, to love and be loved.
What relationships have you had with fellow believers that have helped you grow in your walk with Christ? What did they do to challenge or encourage you?
Share a time someone mourned or rejoiced with you in a difficult season? How did that impact you?
warm up and prayer
If you would like to do this as a small group this week, consider taking communion together. If you choose to do so, have someone read Matthew 26:26-29 and then take communion together.
Share one action you can take this week to be more alert?
How can this group better challenge and encourage each other to live expectantly?
Have each person share their prayer requests. Ask someone to type them up and share with the group. This week spend time daily praying for your group.
Spend time in prayer, asking God to show each of us how to grow more spiritually, what we need to do to keep our spiritual “lamps” full.
Reach out to someone you consider spiritually mature and ask them about their spiritual journey. Share your learnings with the group next week.
Consider starting a GroupMe thread for your group to share prayer requests and spiritual wins you all have throughout the week with each other.