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Will Jesus find you ready?

June 15, 2015

cross and crownIf you follow popular authors and speakers about prophecy you might be tempted to think the Christian’s watchfulness as he waits for the return of Jesus consists in knowing when all the right political, geological and meteorological events are going to come together in the proper combination to finish the preparations for Jesus’ return. Jesus does not say this. The New Testament does not tell Christians to study today’s newspapers to know the times and seasons. The fascination with correlating the headlines with Revelation has the tragic tendency to distract from the true watchfulness Christ commands His servants to maintain.

The New Testament is consistent in its descriptions of what makes up Christian watchfulness. 1 Peter 4 says the soon return of Jesus should drive the believer to sober-mindedness, prayerfulness, sacrificial love and hospitality.  Revelation 3 connects watchfulness with repentance of sin and steadfastness in faith. 1 Thessalonians 5 connects watching with sober-mindedness, steadfast faith, righteousness, sacrificial love, comfort in salvation, edifying relationships in the church and holiness in all relationships with men and God.

In His parable in Mark 13 Jesus uses three examples to illustrate the Christian’s watchfulness for His return. The first is that of a steward given power to act on behalf of his master. The steward is given authority to do the work of His master in the name of His master. Christ empowers His servants to do the work of the master’s household. A watchful Christian is faithful with the Master’s work and always acts for the increase of the Master’s interests.

The second is that of a servant diligent in the work assigned to him. Every Christian has a task assigned to him. The supreme task given to all believers is to glorify God. All other tasks are subservient to this one overarching end, exalt the glory of God. To paraphrase the words of Jesus, the prime task of every Christian is to love God supremely. Second to loving God supremely is the command to love others sacrificially. These two statements summarize all Christian duties. Diligent service in preparation for the return of the Lord is the way of obedience to His commands and ministry to others.

The servant is to be faithful, diligent and vigilant. Many of wealthy land owners were surrounded by heavy stone and block walls. They were fortified against roving bands of robbers. Men were assigned to stand watch at the gates, restricting access, announcing special guests and warning of approaching threats. The watchman’s job was not an easy one of dozing beside the front door. His job was a challenging job of being always on the alert, always ready, always watchful to not miss a thing. Christians are to be standing in constant readiness, watching he will not caught by surprise when Jesus returns. This watchfulness is not trying to figure out when He is going to return so the Christian can scramble and get everything ready in time. The watchful Christian is always in a state of readiness. Be vigilant that everything be prepared and we not be caught by surprise. Vigilance is not easy, but it is necessary.

The right response to the sorrows of this world, the coming tribulations and the certain return of our Savior is not stock piling food, selling all one’s belongings or  fearing the end of the world. The right response is faithful, diligent service that the Christian may be always ready for the moment of Jesus’ return. Heed the words of Matthew Henry,  “Learn to look forward in a right manner.”

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