Let’s pick up our study in Revelation 2:2-3 where it says, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.” Notice the compliments paid to this church. The first is their "patience." I believe that the patience spoken of here is in regards to their waiting for Jesus’ promised return. He spoke of this return in John 14:2-3 when He said, “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Also, the last words spoken to them by the angels as Jesus was taken up into Heaven in Acts 1:11 was, “…Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” This church was patiently waiting for the return of Christ. Of course, they had no idea when that return would be. Maybe the disciples hung around the Mount of Olives where Jesus had ascended for a few hours or days. They simply did not know, but the early church definitely lived in the expectancy of the return of Jesus.
Some even believed that Jesus would return before the death of John the Apostle because of what Jesus said in the Gospel of John to Peter in regards to his question about John. John 21:20-23 says, “Peter seeing him (John) saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” Of course, John did die and Jesus had still not returned to the dismay of many. (Just as a side note, I do believe that what Jesus said in John 21 was fulfilled in that John did see the return of Christ when he wrote the book of Revelation.)
So, here we are today patiently still waiting for Christ’s return just as the church of Ephesus. That’s called living in expectancy. Here is another way to look at it. What if I told you that my family and I were coming over to your house tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. for dinner? What would you do? How would you prepare? You would surely clean the house just a little bit. I’m sure that you would also put things out of sight that you might think “the preacher” would question (i.e., questionable magazines, movies, CDs, etc.).
Now, that’s what you would do if you knew that I was coming. What would you do if I knocked on your door unannounced? Hmmm…maybe you wouldn’t answer it at all? Close the blinds and be real quite? Maybe you would yell, “Just a minute”, while running wildly around the house trying to tidy on the fly? Why would you do that? It’s simple, you were not ready or expecting me.
Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” In other words, Jesus is going to come at a time when you least expect Him. Jesus said in Matthew 24:43-44, “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
The conclusion of the matter is that you and I need to live in expectancy. Jesus could return at any moment. It will unannounced and unexpected. The question is, “What will you be doing when He comes?” Will you be ready or surprised?