Bella Vista Church of Christ



Randall Caselman


Behold I'm Coming Soon


  Because Jesus hasn't returned in two thousand years, we now take for granted that there will be a tomorrow just like or similar to today, that things will go on as normal. But Scripture reminds us that we should be: Always watching, always waiting, always ready for His coming! Jesus teaches us to be prepared, ready, regardless of the circumstances around us. Peter warned those of New Testament times to not forget that the Day-of-the-Lord could come at any time. His conclusion was: "Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him... Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position" (2 Peter 3.14 & 17).


  The early church, the primitive first century church, kept themselves ready with a Maranatha mindset. History tells us that they greeted one another on the streets and in their gatherings with "maranatha:" an Aramaic word meaning "come o Lord" or "Lord come quickly." This frequent greeting helped keep them mindful of Jesus' promise. We see this word in First Corinthians 16.22 in our King James, and footnoted in most modern speech translations.


  The early church used another word to speak of His return; parousia, a Greek word that speaks of the imminent, soon to be, for sure, event. Parousia says His coming is a guaranteed event. The primitive church watched, waited, anticipated; they wanted Jesus to come, expected Him to come soon, certainly in their lifetime. Where is our expectation?


  The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise… However, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming. They all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out, Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him! Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise give us some of your oil. Our lamps are going out. No, they replied, there may not be enough for both us and you. Go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves. But while they were on their way to buy, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. Sir! Sir! They said. Open the door for us! But he replied I tell you the truth, I don’t know you. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.


So the question becomes, are we ready; if not why?

Perhaps the answer is found in this parable…


  Some had a lack of foresight. The five foolish virgins didn’t count the cost of discipleship. It’s foolish to think that we can clothe ourselves with Christ in the new birth, and then sit down to do nothing, just wait! Paul indicates we must: "keep the faith, fight the fight, run the race, finish the course." James tells us that "our faith must compel us to be doers of the word." Peter speaks of those things that make "our calling and election sure." Paul ends his letter to the Ephesian church by admonishing us to "put on the whole armor of God" as we maintain readiness.


  Some were indifferent. For whatever reason, some didn't care enough to maintain their readiness. Chaplain Studdert Kennedy wrote about our indifference...


When Jesus came to Golgotha,

They hanged Him on a tree.

They drove giant nails through hands and feet,

And made a Calvary.


They crowned Him with a crown of thorns,

Red were his wounds and deep.

For those were crude and cruel days,

And human flesh was cheap.


When Jesus came to Bella Vista...

We simply passed Him by.

We never hurt a hair of Him,

We only let Him die.


For men and women had grown more tender,

And we would not give Him pain.

We only just passed down the street

And left Him in the rain.


Still Jesus cried, forgive them,

They know not what they do.

And still it rained the winter rain

And drenched Him through and through.


The crowds went home from Bella Vista...

And left the church without a soul to see,

And Jesus crouched against the church house wall

And cried... GIVE ME CALVARY.


  It’s called indifference! Are we guilty?


  Some were Presumptuous. They presumed they could borrow oil from others, not so. Judgment will be one-on-one: Not as a church, a family, a nation, but individually. This same chapter contains the Sheep & Goat judgment where Jesus indicates we're saved on our own actions and reactions. In the White Throne judgment scene of Revelation 20, "I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books... Each person was judged according to what he had done."


  Some were religiously correct, but without heart. All guests were present for His coming; they had their lamps and oil, but their heart was not really in it. They were correct in form, but only going through the motions, with no heart, no spirit. It was Jesus who said: "God is to be worshiped in spirit and truth." True worship, genuine God-pleasing worship, whether in the church building or in daily life, occurs when we are a hundred percent engaged! Where is our mind, heart, spirit? Jesus was frequently found chiding the Pharisees for their doctrinal soundness without proper motive. In our worship and service – Motive is Everything! Motive is Everything! God will have no rivals! We must seek first His kingdom Righteousness; love Him with all our being.


  Perhaps the saddest words in our narrative are found in Matthew 25.10, "And the door was shut." Perhaps the saddest words of all time will be "Depart from Me, I never knew you." Can we imagine, can we hear the Creator, Sovereign God of the universe saying these words to you or your preacher?... What a chilling sobering thought!


—Randall Caselman