The Clock of the end of the World is Ticking Down

Jesus will return as the victorious King over everything and everyone.  He will judge everyone according to their faith or unbelief, their richness in Christ or their rejection of Christ.

No one knows when Jesus will return and the world, as we know it, will perish.  Jesus’ return could be before the end of this day, the end of this week, many years from now or before you finish reading.

When Jesus does return, believers can look forward to the full salvation of all believers and the renewal of the world.  Jesus will bring a wealth of Spirit and of his kingdom.

In this “between-time,” we want to live as Jesus said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him (Matthew 24:42-44).

Jesus puts his encouragement in terms of our human wealth.  If we knew when our house was going to be broken into and our things stolen or family harmed, we would take steps to secure our home.  Jesus wants us to have a similar attitude of watchfulness regarding our spiritual life, the true wealth in Christ, and our relationship with Him.

Jesus’ words are good advice for our spiritual lives, not just our physical.

 

                         Most People are Watchful about Physical Life

We are more watchful about our physical life and wealth than we are about our spiritual. We watch what groceries we have and as we run low, we get what we need.  We plan and consider how to obtain greater physical wealth  At work we proactively watch what is happening with our responsibilities so that we can react accordingly.  As our schedules become more cluttered and complex we need to spend more time doing some planning so that our schedules and lives do not fall into chaos.
Certainly, watching (being mindful) our physical life and wealth is good stewardship.  Yet, worldly wealth can wear out, be stolen, or wasted.  More importantly, watching our spiritual life and relationship with Christ Jesus, which is true wealth in Christ, is imperative.

                                      Spiritually People Tend to Drift

Spiritually, we tend to drift through life with little or no watchfulness. We stroll through spiritual life in a daze, glassy-eyed, oblivious to the sin and temptation going on around us or in us.  We observe the rise and fall of our worldly wealth and take action to preserve them.  Only when the problems of temptation and sin invade our life creating huge and awful problems do we pay attention to our spiritual wealth or poverty.

We “swim through the ocean” of our world with her emphases upon wealth and power and too easily “swallow the water.”  We walk in a world filled with the “floating viruses” of temptation and greed, and breathe them into our lungs.

 

                                                            Be Observant

What do you observe about the sinful environment in which you live and work?  Are you watching your relationship with the Lord and the world around you spiritually?
•    Do you perceive any greed surrounding you?  How is that greed showing up in your life?
•    Do you perceive anger around you?  How is that affecting or even molding the anger in you?
•    Is your personal culture engulfed with the sexual promiscuity of our world?
•    Are the people around you self-centered?  How about you?
•    How might the pleasure seeking of the world flow around you like a wave of water?  Are you drowning in that wave or trying to swim above it?
•    Modern America has a huge problem with love of money?  Does the lure of money-love flow in your veins?
•    How might you be absorbing through your skin the world’s disregard for God and his Word?

About such sins and temptation Jesus said, “Keep watch and do not let your house be broken into.”

Abraham’s nephew Lot did not pay attention to the sinful world around him and how it affected him.

 

                                                           Lot’s Example

When Abraham talked to Lot about separating their flocks because together their herds were too large for the land, Abraham offered Lot the choice of the place to settle (see Genesis 13).  Lot chose the low land because it was lush and fruitful.  Logically, his flocks would thrive in that valley.  What he did not consider was the effect that the sinful people living in Sodom and Gomorrah would have upon him and his family.  If he did consider the consequences, he must have foolishly concluded, “We can handle it.”  We especially see the destructive effect of sin in the life of his wife.  The angels had to drag Lot and his family from the town and his wife looked back on the cities as if longing for the life she was losing.  She was turned into a pillar of salt.  Lot lost almost all of what he had in worldly wealth.  We hope that he retained his faith, but can’t help but wonder about his daughters, for the children and grandchildren that were born to Lot’s line were, generally, an ungodly group.

Lot had allowed the life that is his house to drift along with the current of his time and the current of the sinful world   Sin engulfed his house, tore apart his foundation, and drown his godliness.  It would have been much better for him to watch his life and empower his life with the LORD, the promise of the Messiah, and his Word rather than with the world.

Peter states the watchfulness that Jesus encourages in a slightly different way, … what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  (2 Peter 3:11,12a)
•    Watch out for sin and replace sin with repentance and thoughtful correcting of life.
•    Watch for opportunities to act with godliness.
•    Say “No,” to sin and “Yes,” to righteousness.
•    Learn and meditate upon God’s Word, especially the gospel so that your faith is strengthened and your spiritual strength renewed.

We may not know when Jesus will return, but we can prepare and be watchful.  The house of our life is immensely more important now and in eternity than is sin and temptation.  Don’t live in a daze, but be watchful in Christ Jesus.   As Jesus said, But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:20).

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