Sunday – August 18, 2019
Word On Worship – Sunday – August 18, 2019
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
According to a survey published by U.S. News and World Report in late 2017, two-thirds of American adults believe that Jesus someday will return to Earth. However, most who believe in Christ’s return placed it well beyond their lifetime, with 33 percent saying it will happen more than a few hundred years from now. Among us, I would guess that belief in Christ’s return is near 100 percent. Yet I wonder how much the awareness of His return affected your life this past week? Did it figure in how you spent your time? Did it fill you with hope as you faced a trial or crisis? Did it enable you to resist temptation, as you thought about what it will be like to stand before Him on that great day? Did it determine how you spent your money as a steward who will give an account? Or did you even think at all about Christ’s soon coming as you went about your week?
If the second coming of Jesus Christ is not a major factor in your normal Christian life, you are missing one of the most powerful biblical motivations to be a disciple of Christ. Our text does not deal with the question of whether there is a separate rapture of the church, but rather focuses on the second coming of Christ. If you believe that the church will be raptured some time before the second coming, then this text does not directly apply to you. But if you believe that there is only one second coming of Christ for His people, then it is quite applicable.
Though our Lord has little interest in satisfying the curiosity of His disciples concerning the timing of these events, He has a great interest in teaching them about their conduct in the light of these events. How different is His focus from our own. There are many differences and much debate about the timing and the sequence of events in matters of prophecy, but there can be little doubt as to what our Lord’s emphasis is here—on the disciple’s conduct. The conduct of the disciple can be summed up by saying be prepared.
In July of 1959, Queen Elizabeth was scheduled to visit Chicago. Elaborate preparations were made for her visit. The waterfront was readied for docking her ship, the city was cleaned and a red carpet was ready to be rolled out for her to walk on. Many hotels were alerted to be ready. But when they contacted the Drake Hotel, the manager said, “We are making no plans for the Queen. Our rooms are always ready for royalty.” That’s how our lives should be in light of Christ’s return. We shouldn’t have to make any special or unusual preparations. We should live each day alert and ready, dependent on Him in prayer, and obedient to His Word. When the world is gripped with fear because of frightening events, we should look up, filled with hope because our redemption draws near.