One of the most frequent questions we hear is, what’s is the time?
Frequently we want to know the time to prepare for an event or to prepare for an appointment.
On God’s schedule, the world is one a timer as well, every day takes us closer to the end of the World. It begs the question, what time is it?
Jesus spoke quite plainly to his disciples about the end of the world, the events that would precede his coming again, as we read Matthew 24:1-14
Matthew 24 and 25 is what is known as the Olivet Discourse, where Jesus talks to his disciples privately. Jesus begins with a warning; “Watch that no one deceives you!”
In this the information age, it is so hard to know what is truth and what is deception. There is only one sure foundation and that is the Word of God. We must know and study the Bible, not simply read it on Sunday morning, or listen to sermons on the radio, we need to be digging into the word of God for ourselves. Without a solid knowledge of the truths of the Word of God, you will be deceived. Truth is under attack all around us, and if you don’t know the truth, you will be deceived, and that will affect your eternal destiny.
Jesus continues in verses 6 to 8 and says that his followers will hear of wars, nations rising against nation, famines and earthquakes. Sound a lot like our day and age. But Jesus said, don’t be alarmed.
This is not the end, it is merely the birth-pains or a time of suffering before the end.
In verse 9 Jesus shifts from the suffering happening over there to the very personal persecution and suffering happening to his followers. V9; “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”
This is very personal and real, we are seeing this kind of persecution happening to Christians all over the world. We in America, have no idea of some of the persecution taking place against followers of Jesus Christ. We get upset if someone hints that the churches tax exempt status might be removed!
We had better wake up and take stock of where we stand, we have been lulled into a comfortable Christianity that is socially acceptable, but Jesus clearly warns that this is not part of his plan for the church, the true followers of Christ.
The book of Revelation is a book comprised entirely of what is known as Apocalyptic material. That word Apocalypse comes from the similar sounding Greek word which means unveiling or revealing, hence the name Revelation. I know some of you when you read the book of revelation, you come to believe that it is anything but a revelation. But I encourage you to not shy away from this book because of the many varied theories and speculations. Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Don’t you want to take God up on his offer to bless you?
Here is the great truth about the Bible, we have a promise from God that by his Holy Spirit, we will be given insight and understanding. Before you sit down to read, ask God to speak to you and reveal his truth to you. You may not be able to understand all the details, but as you read God will begin to reveal new truths to you.
John’s Revelation and the book of Daniel predict a threefold process of the end of times.
There are several prominent beliefs regarding the sequence of events that include a time of tribulation, Jesus reigning on the earth for a thousand year and the final judgment, where everyone will stand before Jesus to be judged.
Theologians have wrestled with these scriptures for hundreds of years. And unfortunately, because of the strong opinions of some, we have seen churches split and Christians falling out of fellowship with one another. I know this is not part of God’s plan for the church. The bottom line is that just as the angels promised in Acts 1:11; Jesus is coming back. We do not know when, but one thing is certain, it nearer today than it was yesterday.
Are we eagerly longing for that day?
The more a Christian gets caught up enjoying the good things of this life, the more we neglect genuine Christian fellowship and our daily personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the less likely are we to desire his coming.
On the other hand, our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who are experiencing real suffering and persecution, or an elderly person who is suffering on a bed of illness, or someone who’s walk with the Lord is genuine and deep – these people have a real tangible desire for the Lord to return.
The depth of your desire for Jesus to return is a good measure of your Christian walk and your relationship with the Lord. Are you desperate for Jesus to return?
We might not know the time or the day, but we can see the signs around us that Jesus is coming soon. However, by being lulled into this world of entertainment and comfort, it seems unreal to think of the reality of the return of Christ.
So why do we need to know the time? Are you looking at the signs and getting ready? Preparing for Jesus to come back again.
One of the most terrifying verses in the Bible is verse 10 and 12 of Matthew 24. Jesus said in verse 12, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,”
Let us never grow cold in our love for the Lord, rather let us provoke on another to live every day for him with the intense desire for his return.
Verse 13 is our hope; “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved”
I challenge you to be one of those who stand firm on the Gospel, the only way of salvation.