Pentecostal Sermons & Bible Studies by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

‘So Shall We EVER Be with the Lord’
God’s Promise of an Awesomely Joyful Eternity


Summary:  Do you know Jesus personally as your Lord and Savior? If so, there is a promise to you in the Bible that should bring joy, hope, and peace to you every day of your life. Here’s the promise to all of Christ’s followers: “So shall we EVER be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17, KJV). That promise covers every moment from right now to the limitless reaches of eternity. “So shall [you] ever be with the Lord”!
 

Matthew 28:19-20  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations… [20] And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This is Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Great Commission. Mark’s account in his Gospel (ch. 16) goes hand in hand with Matthew’s. Followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are charged to go into all the world, to all nations, and to preach and teach the Gospel, leading lost souls to Jesus and training them into Christian maturity. As the old saying goes, for the entirety of the Church Age the Lord’s Church is called to “win the lost and train the saved.”

Right now in this lifetime of ours, in pursuing this great and noble labor for the Lord, His followers are told by Jesus Himself, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Whether you’re preaching the Gospel from a pulpit or sharing your testimony with a friend over coffee, the Lord Jesus is “with you always.” If you’re teaching a Sunday school class or discussing a Bible verse with your children at the kitchen table, Jesus is “with you always” in your efforts to win the lost and help the saved to mature in their Christian faith. In sum, from Christ’s first coming some 2,000 years ago all the way to His second coming, Jesus has given His 100% trustworthy promise to Christians: “I am with you always!” OK, now what about from His second coming on into the future?

1 Thessalonians 4:14-17  For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

This is one of the Bible’s clearest accounts of Jesus’ return to this earth — what we know as the “second coming.” In His first coming from heaven to earth, Jesus the Son of God was born of a virgin — adding sinless humanity to His eternal Deity. He was raised to adulthood, ministered the message of the kingdom of God for 3-1/2 years, then died on the cross to take upon Himself the sins of the whole world. Having risen from the dead on the 3rd day, Jesus soon after ascended back to heaven, where He sits victoriously to this very day at the right hand of God the Father.

In His first coming to earth, our Savior came to bear our sins and to redeem us back to God. But as the writer to the Hebrews (9:28) says, “He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonian Christians (above) tells us that our Lord Jesus Christ will come down from heaven at the last trumpet and will raise the dead in Christ from the grave and together with them will catch up the Christians living at that time to “meet the Lord in the air.” In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul amplifies on this, showing us that deceased believers’ bodies will be raised from the dead and the living believers together with them will be transformed instantly by Jesus into glorified, immortal bodies — He will “take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own” (Philippians 3:21, NLT). Imagine that! — bodies like Jesus’ own glorified body.

Then Paul concluded that remarkable message to all believers with this statement: “And so we will be with the Lord forever.” The first chapter of Revelation gives a great insight into this. Recall that the apostle John spent 3-1/2 years as a close friend and disciple of Jesus when the Lord was on earth. But many years later, as recorded in Revelation chapter 1, when the resurrected, ascended, glorified Lord Jesus appeared to John, we see John being so overcome by the magnificence and splendor of the glorified Savior that John collapsed at Christ’s feet as though dead! (Rev. 1:9-18).

Just imagine the indescribable joy of having eternal access to the presence of the risen, ascended, glorified Savior Jesus Christ for all eternity — the One whose countenance as John beheld it was radiant, like the sun shining in full strength! (Rev. 1:16) At His coming the Lord will have changed us from earthly mortality and corruptibility to divinely-granted incorruptibility and immortality. Now would be a good time to explain the biblical concept of the Millennium, which is not well understood by many Christians.

Revelation 20:5b-6  This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

In Revelation 19 we have the account of the victorious second coming of Jesus Christ. At His coming (described above in 1 Thess. 4) is the resurrection of the redeemed believers of all ages. We saw in Paul’s description that the deceased saints are raised and are caught up with the living believers, transformed into their glorified bodies to meet the coming Lord in the air.

Revelation 20 picks up the narrative at that point and adds a great truth. Paul wrote that the redeemed — both the resurrected and the living ones “caught up” — now in glorious, transformed bodies will be forever with the Lord. Looking forward from that Second Coming/resurrection event, Revelation 20 describes the “Millennium.” That fancy-sounding term from the Latin simply means 1,000 years. It refers to a thousand-year period of time, beginning at Jesus’ second coming to earth and the “first resurrection.” The redeemed, glorified believers from all generations “will reign with Him for a thousand years.” [Note: six times in the first 7 verses of chapter 20 we see the words “1,000 years.” That makes it very clear that this is a real, countable 1,000 years, not just a spiritual symbol.]

Although the Scriptures give some hints, the Bible doesn’t give us much information about the Millennium. But we can safely imagine that it will be a time of intense joy, peace, and righteousness as we live and reign with our matchless Savior in the total absence of sin, Satan, and death for 1,000 years.

Revelation 20 tells us that the lost of all generations are resurrected immediately after the Millennium (vs. 5). They face God at the “Great White Throne” judgment (vss. 11-15) and are thrown into the eternal “lake of fire,” where they join Satan and the Antichrist and his false prophet for all eternity (vs. 10). At the same time, the redeemed saints, with our wonderful Savior Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit, enter into a timeless, joy-filled eternity described in chapters 21-22, the conclusion of the Bible. Some key points are noted below.

Revelation 21:1-3; 22:3-4, 20  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…[2] I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God… [3] God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God… [22:3-4] The throne of God and of the Lamb [Jesus] will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face… [20] Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

We will inhabit “according to His promise, new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13, KJV). No sin, no anger, no greed or lust, nothing but blameless righteousness in thought, word, and deed. God will now live among the redeemed, “among the people, and He will dwell with them…and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” And in the Lord God’s glorious presence the redeemed “shall reign for ever and ever” (22:5).

The throne of God and of the sacrificed-risen-glorified Lamb Jesus will be right among the saved of all ages. “And they will see His face.” It’s no wonder that the apostle John closes His great prophetic book, and the Bible itself, with the exclamation: “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.” From the moment you accepted Him as Lord and Savior, He has been with you spiritually, in a very real and personal sense in your hearts (Ephesians 3:17). And from the moment you hear that last trumpet and look up to see your Savior coming back in triumph to earth, you’ll see His face, you’ll receive your eternally glorified body, and — thank you, Jesus! — “So shall we EVER be with the Lord!”


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©2021, James H. Feeney.
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Pentecostal Sermons & Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.