Are You Expecting?

Encouragement for Your Heart and Mind from Pastor David Staff

There are moments when, as a pastor, you could wish for all the world that the earth would open up beneath your feet and swallow you up instantaneously.   Self-inflicted, pastoral moments of extreme embarrassment.

“What moments?” you ask?
Two that I can vividly remember, on two separate occasions.  Twice (you’d think I would have learned after episode #1) I have stuck my foot in my own mouth asking a woman in my congregation, “So, you’re expecting!  When are you due?”

“I’m not expecting” came the reply, each time.

So it is with some hesitation that I ask you, “Are you expecting?”
 No, I’m not inquiring about whether or not you are great-with-child.  I’ve learned my lesson.

But I am asking about whether or not you are anticipating the coming of the Lord Jesus, the Christ.   How often do you think about this?  And, should the Lord Jesus return today, would you be prepared to meet Him face-to-face?

The Lord’s imminent return was a huge factor in my own spiritual journey.  As a boy, hearing preaching about the Lord’s return moved me to a step of faith in Christ.  I didn’t want to be left behind.  I was discipled in a church that spoke often and taught often on the coming of Jesus.  By the Lord’s grace, I was permitted to attend a theological institution in which the coming of the Lord Jesus was consistently emphasized.  I recall the chapel in which Dr. Walvoord humbly said, “I rise each morning asking the Lord, ‘Is it today?’.”

So I ask you, again, “Are you expecting?”  Are you expectant?  Do the Apostle John’s words inform your hope about today, or perhaps tomorrow?
And now, little children, abide in Him so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at his coming.  If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.
Beloved we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared.  But we know that when he appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.  Everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure (1 John 2:28-29, 3:2-3, ESV).
If the Gospel accounts accurately describe the level of expectation which existed when God the Son first came to earth, very few were expecting.  It is startling to realize that only a few awakened shepherds, Simeon and Anna in the temple area, and a few more foreign magi, were fully aware someone truly special (and foretold!) had arrived.

Even Joseph’s quest for Bethlehem lodging met with a “we have no room” response.  A small picture of the larger problem.  No awareness nor room for the arrival of the Maker of heaven and earth?  You’re kidding.

The world was not kidding.  “He was in the world—the world that was made through Him—yet the world did not know Him.  He came to His own (i.e., Israel), and his own people did not welcome Him” (John 1:10-11).

Truly today – though some mention of Jesus’ return surfaces now and then – we are so often just as unaware and unexpectant as were those when He came the first time.

Here is a quiet call for us to eagerly expect the Lord Jesus to come.  He will be returning.  Such is the promise of Scripture from a God who cannot lie.
As you come to worship at the Free Church during the weeks of Advent, come expecting.  Our teaching series messages, entitled “Eager Expectation,” will tune our hearts with anticipation for the arrival of Someone of whom it is promised  ”Behold! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him” (Rev. 1:7).
Posted in
Tagged with ,