Our life group discussion time, facilitated by Joe, has been so encouraging as we talk about sharing the gospel, the hope of Christ with the world around us. If there is any reason to talk about Christ, it centers around the hope of salvation. Salvation from what? Just this past week, something stirred my thoughts about a matter seldom considered. It is called judgment. You see, the devastating effects of sin have eternal consequences outside of the redemptive work of Christ. During His ministry, Jesus Himself spoke of a place where “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth…” (Luke 13:28, Matthew 8:12; 13:42; 13:50, etc.), a place where no one in their right mind would want to be. What’s the point? The fact of the matter is simple; we seek to share the good news (like Jesus did), in part, because there is some bad news attached to it. As I considered this, my attention drawn to something Jesus taught in Matthew 24:36-44. Something I believe can help us grasp the urgent need to talk to others about Jesus, let alone encourage us to continue to walk in His grace and mercy.
But of that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
Over the years, I have watched numerous religious shows that claim to have insight into the return of Jesus. Various religions have unintentionally made a mockery of this subject matter by predicting it, only to see nothing happen. The bible seems clear on the topic of Christ’s return; that is, it will happen, and only one knows the time. After His resurrection, just before He ascended, Jesus was asked a question by His disciples, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) The minds of the disciples were still earthly; even so, Jesus responded, saying, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:7). The apostle Paul, as he encourages the church in Thessalonica, writes, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1st Thessalonians 5:1-2). You see. Man’s concern should be not to figure out when; but rather, be ready for it when it happens.
For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark.
“Hurry up and wait.” Seems to be a motto of our culture. We truly hate to wait. Time seems to be the enemy of such a belief in judgment. Life goes on. Our day-to-day routines consume our thoughts and become our focus. Judgment? That is just a scare tactic of those religious nuts. It was not long after the establishment of the church that the apostle Peter speaks of how “scoffers will come in the last days…saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation'” (2nd Peter 3:3-4). It has now been 2,000 years! Days pass. Calendars are replaced with new ones. We see life enter this world and gather after it has left. Life goes on. Will there be a judgment? Paul confronted such words from scoffers, saying, “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them” (1st Thessalonians 5:3). The passing of time should not dissuade us, for we understand that “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day” (2nd Peter 3:8).
Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
We don’t know the time, but we do know a time is coming. As Jesus’ disciples, we posture ourselves as Paul taught the church in Thessalonica, saying, “Therefore let us not sleep [become spiritually lazy], as others do, but let us watch and be sober” (1st Thessalonians 5:6). The glorious gospel is the message of hope for us. It is also for those who have yet to hear about the love of Christ. It is our mission to share that good news to a lost and dying world. A world we were a part of at one time. For one day, this world will no longer exist as we know it. Help us, Lord, to speak of Your amazing grace.