Longing for God in Christ to Return – Session Six
Longing for God in Christ to Return – Session Six
In this final session we explore the longing to see Christ return and how this impacts how we live now.

This study guide was produced by Keswick Ministries. Keswick Ministries hosts a Convention for 3 weeks each summer in the English Lake District. They also run year-round teaching and training events and produce digital and printed resources. The central vision of Keswick Ministries is to see the people of God equipped, encouraged and refreshed to love and live for Christ in his world. We hope you are blessed by this series.

Getting Started

Yes please, but not now . . . ’
As a child, I remember looking forward to Jesus’ return. But, as December rolled around, I started to pray that he would wait until after Christmas Day! As an adult, I still wrestle with conflicting emotions – longing for Christ’s return but still wanting to cling to what I know and to those I love. As our bodies start to creak, and more and more of our loved ones go to be with Jesus, I imagine our focus on the new heavens and the new earth becomes sharper, and this world’s grasp on us weakens. But for all of us there is a restlessness, an acknowledgment that things are not as they should be, that we are not home yet. The writer of Ecclesiastes explained this longing as God setting ‘eternity in the human heart’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Sonny, in the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, was spot on: ‘Everything will be all right in the end, and if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.’ There is much of life that is definitely not all right. But it will be. One day.

From the Bible – Revelation 21:1–7

1 Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the
first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw
the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard
a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! 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. 4 “He will wipe
every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning
or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ 5 He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything
new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy
and true.’ 6 He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the
Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from
the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all
this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.’

Discussion Points

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy,
the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

(C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 35)

Personal Application

Is not some of the pain and sorrow in this life used in God’s providential
hand to make us homesick for heaven, to detach us from this world, to
prepare us for heaven, to draw our attention to himself, and away from
the world of merely physical things?

(Don Carson, in Nancy Guthrie [ed.], Be Still, My Soul, p. 116)

The more deeply you walk with Christ, the hungrier you get for Christ . . .
the more homesick you get for heaven . . . the more you want ‘all the fullness of God’ . . . the more you want to be done with sin . . . the more you want the Bridegroom to come again . . . the more you want the Church revived and purified with the beauty of Jesus . . . the more you want a great awakening to God’s reality in the cities . . . the more you want to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ penetrate the darkness of all the unreached peoples of the world . . . the more you want to see false worldviews yield to the force of Truth . . . the more you want to see pain relieved and tears wiped away and death destroyed . . . the more you long for every wrong to be made right and the justice and grace of God to fill the earth like the waters cover the sea.

(John Piper, A Hunger for God, p. 23)

Prayer Time

In your group, share the names of those individuals you are praying for to
become Christians. Pray together for opportunities to demonstrate God’s love, share the gospel and lead your friends/family to Christ. Ask God to
increase your longing for Christ’s return and, with that, a passion for the
salvation of those who don’t yet know him.