What Will He Find?

by Walter Olsen, June 1, 2018

Introduction: Jesus promised that He will return for His own. That is a wonderful and glorious promise that all believers can rejoice in. Yet, Jesus has a concern about what He will find when He returns. It is not that He does not know, but He asks a question certainly for us to contemplate. The question is, “…when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). I’m thinking  particularly of the professing church, the church that professes to know, love and honor the Lord Jesus. Certainly there will be some whose faith is strong and true, but there will be many whose worship bears no resemblance to the truth of God’s word.

Thus, there is a problem in much of the professing church today. This any discerning believer can see. Beyond that, and more importantly, the Bible speaks of a departure from the faith in the last days. Note Paul’s words, “Preach the word… for the time will come when they shall not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:2-4).

I would like to discuss this subject from two sides. First, what are some things the undesirable things the Lord will find when He returns and then, what kind of faith would be pleasing to Him.

Consider first, then, what are some undesirable things the Lord will find in many professing churches.

He will find a pride in the churches’ accomplishments. However, the accomplishments of many will be more of men rather than of God. Men can build great and beautiful church buildings without the help of God. What I mean is, so called great things can be done by men who neither pray nor consult the truth of God in His word. In some cases, however, God is given a token acknowledgment so as to appease the conscience.

Regarding beautiful church buildings, they are often wonderful and very useful. However, if God is not worshiped in Spirit and truth in such a building, it is of no use to God. A small group of people who may not even have a building but who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ are the ones accepted of Him. The issue is not the building, but the churches relationship to God.

Sometimes churches take pride in all of their programs of ministry. Again, they are good if they truly honor God. The problem is when programs become an end in themselves.

Pride in one’s accomplishment is a challenge for all of us. We like to be well thought of and have the approval of men. That is the way of the natural man, the man who does not walk in faith with God. Even believers, to the point they are not walking with God, can fall prey to this condition. We need the reminder of Jesus Himself who said, “I am the Vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5).

He may find huge crowds “worshiping.” In some cases, that is good. In many cases, however, huge crowds may be a diversion from the truth. People may assume a right relationship with God just on the basis of being a part of a large crowd in church. This, of  course is not to diminish  crowds of people, only to remind us that it is not the number of people that counts, but the condition of the hearts of those worshiping.

He may find ornate worship ceremonies. I think it is important to realize that the things that please men do not necessarily please God. A careful reading of Revelation 17 bears this out. For a very long time there has been the effort to create a one world religion as well as a one world government and a one world economy. The one world religion will be an apostate religion fitted only for the eventual judgment of God. This religion is referred to as a totally corrupt woman. Note what John says about her, “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication” (Rev. 17:4).

Ornate and “beautiful” accompaniments of worship often appeal to men but they do not really appeal to God. Man cannot determine of himself the conditions of true worship. What appeals to God is the condition of the heart.

He will find men worshiping other gods and another gospel rather than the God of heaven. This has been a condition of man since the beginning, but it will be more pronounced as time progresses. Paul warned in his day, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another [of the same kind]; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:6-7). It is so significant that local churches continue to teach and preach the gospel of the grace of God! So many in these days have removed themselves to a message foreign to the word of God, the Bible. The loss to humanity is incomprehensible!  

Let’s now consider some things the Lord would desire to find when He returns:

He would desire to find people trusting in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for their salvation. This rules out all other “avenues” to heaven. Spiritual life is found only in one place, the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I Jn. 5:12). To seek spiritual life in anything other than Jesus Christ Himself is to seek the stamp of spiritual death. True believers know this, but so many attend services where other means of salvation are either taught or at least approved. What is not approved of God, though, is not approved! We must remember, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II or. 5:21).

He would desire to find believers growing in their love for God and for one another. Paul said to the Colossians, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints” (Col. 1:3-4). One of the sure marks of believers is that they love one another.   Jesus said, “ By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples , if ye have love one to another” (Jn. 13:35).

This love is not something we give because we ought to, like following orders, but is something that is characteristic of our life because of who we are in Christ Jesus. God is love and, because He dwells within the believer, our love should be an expression of His love.

Our love for God grows as we study His word. We may hear the teaching of the Bible in church services or in study groups which are good and useful. Still, our greatest learning comes through personal study of His word. As the Psalmist said of the blessed man, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (Psa. 1:2). The results of serious personal Bible study will follow, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psa. 1:3). Sometimes believers may feel their lives are not very productive and that there is an emptiness in their souls. Serious, meditative Bible study may help greatly.

He would desire to see believers growing in their faith. Our Christian life begins with faith and should be sustained by a growing faith. Apart from faith, there is no real way to please God. The people of Jesus’ day asked Him, “…what shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent’” (Jn. 6:28-29).

The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).

The problem many have is that they let a certain form substitute for reality. Rather than growing in faith by the hearing and study of His word, they assume spiritual growth and well-being by participating in a form of religion. It is a form that is mostly constant and so there is little spiritual growth.

Note, this can happen to people in about any kind of church. People can get so used to even good preaching that they fail to hear the message! If we really have a growing faith, our lives will continue to be conformed to the image of the Son of God! [Rom. 8:29]. This is the glory of the Christian life, both internally and externally in our ministry to others.

He would desire to see believers using their God given talents and gifting for the glory of God. Every believer has some special talent God has given him for the benefit of others, specifically in the context of the  local church. Paul, in speaking of such gifting said, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (I Cor. 12:7). That is, the gifting is not given for the individual’s benefit, but for the benefit of the church. Of course, it is a blessing to be used of God in the ministry of the gift He has given us.

Every believer should consider the special gift God has given him or her for ministry. It is not always a public service such as in music or preaching, but often in doing other necessary things around the church.

Perhaps a word of caution should be noted here. When performing publically, it is so easy to get caught up in pride, in wanting to be noticed and appreciated for our service. Yes, people should be noticed and appreciated for their special talents and performance. A word of encouragement can be very useful, but when one performs for the purpose of being noted by others, it can lead to problems. The important thing is that God is given the glory whether one preaches a sermon or mops the floor.

He would desire to see believers separated from the world and unto Himself. Of course, when one is saved, he is separated positionally  from the world and its certain condemnation. Because he has come to Christ for the forgiveness of his sins, he is no longer under judgment for his sins. Jesus took his judgment when He died on he cross.

God is concerned not only with our positional sanctification, but with our practical sanctification as well. In speaking to the Ephesians, Paul exhorted them, “…that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

When one is born again, his life changes because of the indwelling presence of God in his life. He cannot and does not remain the same. If he does remain the same after making a profession of faith, he should reconsider whether he has really come to Christ in believing faith for the forgiveness of his sins. John made this point very clear when he said, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I Jn. 215-16). The word world here does not mean the physical things of the world we live in, but rather the word here has a moral connotation. These are things that are opposed to the nature and being of God.

We should keep in mind, too, that one is really not separated from the world until he is first separated to God.

He would desire to find His people looking forward to His return. The Bible speaks often of the Lord’s return. His return is in two parts, the first being  His return in the air for all believers, the church. The Biblical account is, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:16-17).

This return could be at any moment and believers should be waiting and looking forward to it. Paul commended the Thessalonians in that, “…ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (I Thess. 1:9-10).

The second return of the Lord is when He returns to earth to set up His earthly kingdom as He promised to the nation of Israel. This kingdom will last for 1,000 years and, as promised, will be a glorious time on earth. Many places in the Bible speak of this time, such as the following, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).

Many churches do not teach much of Biblical prophecy these days, but it is to the loss of the hearers. Knowing what God has said about the future is a great encouragement to all believers. It is part of the wonderful hope we have in the Lord.

Conclusion

What will the Lord find when He returns for His church?! Some will be rejoicing and looking forward to His return. Many, on the other hand, will be more taken up with their own concerns than with God Himself. The loss will be great. Perhaps this is a good time to consider our walk with God. Are we consumed with His will and work and looking for His return, or do we maybe need to make spiritual some adjustments?

Special ministry in May has included preaching at the Community Bible Church in Spring Valley on May 6th and the Gospel Mission Baptist Church in Knapp on May 20th.

Each month in Wisconsin is unique and enjoyable, but after a long snowy winter, May is really a delight. The blanket of white snow is gone and we now have green grass and even many flowers in evidence.

May also means the Syttende Mai observance when it’s good to be Norwegian! This is especially so if you enjoy lefse, rommegrat, rosettes and Norwegian meatballs!! Syttende Mai is Norwegian Constitution Day and our hometown of Woodville celebrates this day every year. Many folks who have moved away come back to enjoy the festivities, so it’s fun to renew acquaintances.

BJ is able to work outside in the flowers without a lot of hindrance. She had a shot of cortisone in her right knee recently that has been helpful. Her right wrist is ok but can’t tolerate much weight lifting. She is thankful it works at all!

Isn’t it wonderful that our relationship with the Lord never wears out? The Lord remains so faithful, so helpful, and so giving. We just need to give Him the preeminent place in our lives to see more of His glorious life and work. 

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not onto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

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