1 Corinthians 15:20-28

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At Christmas time, we sing the well known and well loved Christmas carol, "Once in royal David's city." It speaks of Christ's first coming. It also speaks of His second coming. There is a great contrast between Christ's first coming and His second coming. At the heart of Christ's first coming, there is "a lowly cattle shed ... a stable and ... a stall." In His first coming, Christ lived among "the poor and mean and lowly." Christ's second coming is quite different. The hymn writer describes it this way: "And our eyes at last shall see Him ... not in that poor lowly stable, with the oxen standing by, we shall see Him, but in heaven, set at God's right hand on high."

When Jesus Christ comes again, He will come in power and glory. Christ's second coming will be a Day of total victory for Christ, a Day of full salvation for those who belong to Him. When Christ comes again, the conflict will be over. Christ will be proclaimed as we sing of the Christ who reigns. We sing, "Majesty, worship His majesty; unto Jesus be glory, honour and praise.

Majesty, Kingdom authority, flows from His throne unto His own, His anthem raise. So exalt, lift up on high the Name of Jesus, magnify, come glorify, Christ Jesus the King. Majesty, worship His Majesty, Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings." Now, we have the promise of Christ's victorious reign. When Christ comes again, we will have the fulfilment. At His Return, Christ will reign over "every rule." When Christ returns, He will be Lord over "every authority and power" (1 Corinthians 15:24). To "those who belong to Christ", the Lord's Return will bring full salvation, complete deliverance fro, the power of Satan, the enemy of our souls. No longer will we have to contend with Satan. His rule, his authority and his power will be brought to a complete and final end. When we think of Christ's Return, we must emphasize that it is a total victory over Satan.

In our day, Satan is busy. He tells people that it doesn't really matter whether or not they trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour. He tells people that God is dead. Satan is doing all that he can to lead men and women away from God. He is desperately seeking to undermine our faith in Jesus Christ. Why is Satan so busy? The Bible is very clear about the answer to this question: "He knows that his time is short" (Revelation 12:12).

There are many people who have doubts about Christ's first coming. They hear the words of the hymn: "He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all", and they say, "I can't believe that!" Such people also have doubts about Christ's second coming. They hear Christ's words, "they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30), and they say, "I can't believe that!" Satan has no such doubts about either Christ's first coming or His second coming. He knows only too well why Christ came to earth: "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). He knows only too well what will happen when Christ returns. Satan faces absolute and certain defeat. This is how the Word of God describes Satan's downfall: "The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world - he was thrown down ... the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down" (Revelation 12:9-10).

This is the fearful prospect of judgment which faces Satan, the enemy of our souls. Satan's defeat will be completed on the Day when Christ comes again in power and glory, the Day when it shall be declared, "Now the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come" (Revelation 12:10).

The great Day of Christ's Return will be a Day of power and glory. Christ's power will be absolutely superior to Satan's power. On that Day, Christ will shine with a heavenly glory with which the glory of Satan (or Lucifer, the shining one) will not even begin to compare.

What relevance does all this have to our live here and now? The message of Christ's Return in power and glory is a message of tremendous relevance.

It is a message of hope. It gives us confidence to face the future with the assurance of final victory.

It is a message which gives us strength to face our present conflict, armed with the victorious power of our Lord Jesus Christ. When the Word of God speaks of Christ's victory over Satan, it speaks also of our victory over Satan - "They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death" (Revelation 12:11).

How are we to live, if we are really looking for Christ's coming again in power and glory?

- We must confront Satan on the basis of Christ's death for us: "Satan, I don't belong to you. I belong to Christ."

- We must stand up for Jesus, standing in His strength alone. We must stand up for Jesus, knowing that "the strife will not be long"; "This day, the noise of battle; the next, the victors' song."

- We must look beyond our present conflict to our final victory: "To Him that overcometh, a crown of life shall be. He, with the King of glory, shall reign eternally."

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