I was privileged last week to speak along with my dean, Greg Thornbury, at the Second Coming of Christ Conference at FBC Goodletsville (TN), sponsored by Union University, the Tennessee Baptist Convention and several local Baptist Associations. The people in attendance were wonderful and we had a good time studying the scripture. The messages (with links to audio) were:
Session 1 - Greg Thornbury - 666, The Apostle John, Emperor Domitian & What 'Left Behind' Didn't Teach You
Session 2 - Ray Van Neste - How the New Testament Applies the Truth of Christ's Return
Session 3 - Ray Van Neste - Pastoring and Serving in Light of Christ's Return (2 Cor 4-5)
Greg’s address focused on the historical setting of Revelation making the point that this book is not about abstract speculation but is the ultimate tract of political resistance. It is a clarion call to remain faithful to the one Lord, Christ, in the face of persecution by would-be gods.
In my first address I sought to survey key NT references to Christ’s return demonstrating the the NT does not encourage us to speculation. Rather, when the NT refers to Christ’s return it uses this doctrine to urge us to holiness and to the task of taking the gospel to the nations.
In my second address I examined 2 Cor 4-5 noting how the truths of Christ’s return and the resurrection empowered the Apostle Paul to endure in difficult, unpopular ministry. These are not idle, abstract ideas but bedrock truths to help us look beyond what is seen, to live in light of eternity, and to endure joyfully.