Sunset with light and beams

The Reunion

Sunset with light and beamsDenver International Airport

Yesterday, Michelle, Augie, and I got up a bit early for a Saturday, headed over to Denver International Airport and picked up…

Who did we pick up Augie?

That’s right! His big brother Mikey…or “Michael” as he is more formally known to most others. ūüôā

And although mom and dad were also excited for his return, clearly Augie couldn’t wait…telling lots of people all week that his big brother was coming home.

We look forward to reunions with the ones we love, don’t we?

And speaking of Denver International Airport…although it basically stopped the latter half of this year, many of you know that, historically, I have travelled a lot for work. One of the blessings in doing that is, while at the airports, seeing couples and families reunited. The same joy and happiness we three felt yesterday when Mikey came up the escalator and crossed over into our “un-secure” area in the airport is repeated millions of times a year all over the world.

We are blessed by reunions with the ones we love, aren’t we?

Now, I have to admit that if I drove out to the airport to watch something it might be the planes taking off and landing…but sometime, if you are in a funk and want to break out of it, you may want to drive 30-40 minutes to DIA and watch the holiday reunions. Joy and happiness are infectious. Even watching the anticipation itself is fun and spirit-lifting. People just can’t wait for that special someone to suddenly come in sight, because…

We look forward to reunions with the ones we love, don’t we?

We are blessed by reunions with the ones we love, aren’t we?

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

Biblical Reunions

Of course, the Bible has reunions in it too. Perhaps my favorite is one is with Peter. Evil King Herod has killed one of the other apostles, James, and arrested Peter. Acts 12:5 says, “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.”

Those prayers were answered, and an angel woke heavily guarded and chained Peter up, the chains fell off…and Peter followed the angel, thinking it was a vision. They went past the first and second guards and then to the gate for the city, which opened on it’s own…they went in…and the angel left. The narrative continues:

11¬†When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12¬†When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13¬†And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14¬†Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15¬†They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16¬†But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17¬†But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place (Acts 12:11-17).

Was Rhoda excited at Peter’s return?

Yes! She was so excited she ran to tell everyone else, leaving “Peter standing at the gate.”

You could almost see the situation being used in a modern-day TV sitcom, where someone is so happy in a reunion they ignore the one they are so excited about seeing. ūüôā

And it was easier for those inside to believe it was an angel versus Peter!

We are especially blessed by reunions with the ones we love when they are unexpected, aren’t we?

Reunions with the Ones that Have Gone Before

I mentally vowed to keep this, the first time Mikey has heard me preach in a long time, short…so after church you should thank him. ūüôā

As such, I am going to discuss only two more reunions…future ones…both of which have come up before.

Just as reunions with loved ones bring joy and happiness, separation from them by death brings pain and sadness. For atheists, death is equivalent to saying there will not…cannot…ever be a reunion with them. But, not so for us Christians. As 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says…

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Think about it. The joy and happiness felt so often at Denver International Airport is great, but it won’t compare to what we just read. This won’t be a reunion with those who are just hundreds or thousands of miles away, but with loved ones who are separated from us by uncrossable chasm…people who we do not see daily…and cannot see at all…not even with Skype or FaceTime. People whose death left us in uncontrollable tears.

And whose resurrections will leave us with unmeasurable joy. Because…

We are blessed by reunions with the ones we love, aren’t we?

Oh, and you have to admit that being able to fly with them will make it all the more amazing. ūüôā Kids, just imagine not waiting at the top of the escalator at the Denver International Airport, but floating up from the ground and meeting someone special 10,000 feet up in the air!

Now, that’ll be cool!

The Ultimate Reunion

Having said all that, there is no reunion with a relative, friend, or other loved one…even in the clouds…which will compare to the ultimate reunion.

Who is that reunion with?

Of course, it’s with Jesus! ūüôā

We look forward to reunions with the ones we love, don’t we?

Because of “Augie’s Sermon on the Second Coming” we know a lot about that reunion…for instance, we discussed this from a bit later in 1 Thessalonians:

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2¬†For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3¬†While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).

Kids, do you remember what coming “like a thief in the night” meant?

That it will be when people aren’t expecting it. That the Second Coming is unexpected.

We are especially blessed by reunions with the ones we love when they are unexpected, aren’t we?

Now wait…you could rightly argue that we cannot call Jesus’ Second Coming a reunion, because we have never personally met Him. But, is that so? What does Matthew 25:31-40 say?

31¬†“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32¬†Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33¬†And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34¬†Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35¬†For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36¬†I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37¬†Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38¬†And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39¬†And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40¬†And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

That parable reminds me of a Christmas song/story sung by Johnny Cash that Michelle especially loves titled “The Christmas Guest.” A shopkeeper is waiting for the Lord to come to dinner, and shows kindness to three down-and-out people. It becomes clear to him the Lord isn’t coming, and the song wraps up with:

Then as he entered his own darkened door
He knew the Lord was not coming today
For the hours of Christmas had all passed away.
So he went to his room and knelt down to pray
And he said “Lord, why did you delay?
What kept you from coming to call on me?
I wanted so much your face to see.”
Then softly in the silence a voice he heard,
“Lift up your head, I have kept my word.
Three times my shadow crossed your floor
Three times I came to your lonely door.
I was the beggar with bruised, cold feet.
I was the woman you gave something to eat.
I was the child on the homeless street.
Three times I knocked, three times I came in
And each time I found the warmth of a friend.
Of all the gifts, love is the best.
I was honored to be your Christmas Guest.”

Like the shopkeeper in Johnny Cash’s song, those “blessed by my Father” knew Jesus, and it changed them to be compassionate and loving. If you are a Christian, you do know Jesus…otherwise, what exactly did you choose? What do you have faith in? A concept? An idea? A myth?

No, a divine person epitomizing love. You may have been introduced to Jesus by a man or woman, but you came to know Christ through the Holy Spirit.

So, yes…it will be a reunion for you…one when you do not expect it.

We look forward to reunions with the ones we love, don’t we?

We are especially blessed by reunions with the ones we love when they are unexpected, aren’t we?

The Other Side of the Coin – Do You Look Forward to Your Reunion with Jesus?

Are you looking forward to your reunion with Jesus?

Or does it make you hesitant? Worried?

If it makes you hesitant or worried it does not mean you are not saved. If you are a Christian…it probably just proves you are human, where we have fear of the unknown. Yes, Scripture tells a lot about His return, but knowing what we do about that future event is not the same as knowing the sun will rise tomorrow. Questions, doubts, and concerns are natural until the veil is removed from our eyes.

However, if you are not a Christians, you should be worried. We could continue where we just were in Matthew, but instead I’d like to go back to Matthew, chapter 7 and read versus 21 through 23:

21¬†“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22¬†On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23¬†And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’ (Matthew 7:21-23).

They prophesied in His name. They cast out demons in His name. They did mighty works in His name.

But, did they truly know Jesus?

No…and as such…He didn’t know them.

Or, as it says a bit beyond what we reviewed in Matthew 25:

42¬†For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43¬†I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me’ (Matthew 25:42-43).

They did not know Jesus when He came knocking at their door. Their reunion will not be joyful and happy.

Christian, are you looking forward to your reunion with Jesus?

You should! It will be unmeasurably joyful and happy.

We look forward to reunions with the ones we love, don’t we?

We are especially blessed by reunions with the ones we love when they are unexpected, aren’t we?

20¬†He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

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Alan is an ordinary guy, living in a small, high plains Colorado town...and humbled to be a minister of God...

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