Tuesday, June 06, 2006

#49 "Are You Ready?"

June 6, 2006
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24: 36)

So they're out there again. And if you want to believe them, today is the end of it all...the Apocalypse, the end of the world. If you're like me you didn't even notice that the date is 6-6-06. Or maybe you did. You can even bet on whether it will happen or not. There is an online sports book, BetUS.com who gives 100,000-to-1 odds that the world will survive today. You can bet $500 and win half a penny if we survive. And if you bet $100 that today is the end of the world and it is, you can win ten million dollars. Good luck collecting that! (accessed via the Internet at http://news.aol.com/topnews/articles/_a/a-calendar-date-to-end-all-others-nears/n20060605074509990001) As a Bible believing Christian I'm going to sit back for a nano- second and say, "Hmmmm....NOT!"

Over the centuries, many people have tried to predict the date of the coming of the end of time. These include Christians and non-Christians. Obviously they were wrong! I "googled" the word "apocalypse" and found 38,500,000 items and 22,700,000 on the Second Coming of Christ. A whole lot of subject matter on a very popular subject, I'd say. Because I like to know the truth and because I simply don't have the time to go through that many articles, I'm going to stick to what my Bible says about the return of Christ.

In their book, "Are We Living in the End Times?", Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, authors of the "Left Behind" series, say, "A study of "signs" of the end of the age or the return of Christ should always be undertaken with a degree of restraint. Date setters are to be ignored or, even better, rebuked as false teachers. It mystifies us that men would try to set dates for the return of Christ in view of the warning of our Lord Himself: "Of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." (Matthew 24:36) "It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority." (Acts 1:7) Those two verses alone should warn us that anyone who suggests a date for the return of Christ is wrong."

I would also have to note that some are not even referring to Christ's return when they talk about the end of time. They refer to nuclear holocaust, burning up from the sun's rays, and a host of other things that will end life as we know it today. Spontaneous combustion? I guess if you believe that it all started with a "big bang!" you can believe in spontaneous combustion, right? That would take a whole lot more faith for me to believe than what my Bible says.

Since this is my article and I believe that Christ is coming back again, we'll look at it from that perspective, okay? Jesus Himself said that He's coming back. "They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." (Matthew 24: 30b) When He was taken up to heaven, two men dressed in white stood beside His disciples and said, "Men of Galilee why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1: 11) "These verses describe the Lord's Ascension but they also anticipate His return. He will come back in a cloud, bodily, in view of people (Rev. 1:7) and to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4)-the same way the apostles saw Him go." (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, Walvoord and Zuck) The apostles saw Him go visibly, literally and physically. He will come back in the same way. Again, Jesus said, "For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." (Matthew 24: 27) I suppose that's why EVERY eye will see Him on that day! (Revelation 1:7)

It could happen right now as I'm writing to you. It could happen before I send this to you. It could happen right now while you are reading this. Be assured...it WILL happen. There is more evidence today to suppose that we have more reason than any other generation to believe that He will come in our lifetime. More signs have come to pass in the last fifty years than ever before in history. Some would say that there have always been wars, earthquakes, hurricanes and famine. (see Matthew 24: 6-8) But just as literal birth pains increase in intensity and frequency the closer the baby is to being born, the "birth pains" that Jesus spoke of are more frequent and more intense than ever. You just have to read the morning news to validate that. And that's not even scratching the surface of what's going on in the Middle East. So, if I may borrow from the words of Peter, "what kind of people ought you to be?" (2 Peter 3: 11) How should we live in light of what we know?

Jesus instructs us to "keep watch" (Matthew 24: 42) and to "be ready". (Matthew 24: 44) We don't know when He will come and He promises that it will be "at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24: 44) If you read the story of the master and his servants in Matthew 24: 45-51 you will see that Jesus wants to find us faithfully carrying out His will. Peter tells us that we should live "holy and godly lives". (2 Peter 3:11) Holy lives literally means "holy conduct", living not like the world, but set apart for God. "Godly" means living faithfully and devoted before God. Looking forward and anticipating Christ's return should spur us on to live holy and godly lives. Being doers of His word, not just hearers (or readers)." (James 1:22)

We should also be living for others. Evangelism, witnessing and missionary work become ever more important because Christ is coming soon. There are countless numbers of people who need to accept Christ as Lord and Savior before He comes so that they can have eternal life in Heaven with Him. The book of Jude tells us in verse 23 to "snatch others from the fire and save them." Understand that any day could be THE DAY. It is no surprise that the Bible gives us 318 promises of Christ's return and made 28 percent of the Bible prophetic in nature. (The Beginning of the End by Tim LaHaye, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1972, 1991)

Keep watch, be ready, live holy and godly lives and evangelize the lost. And if today you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I urge you to stop right now and ask Him to come in to your life. Just as you are, right where you are. Nothing is more important. Tell Him that you are a sinner and that you are sorry for your sins. That you need a Savior. That you believe He died on the Cross to pay the penalty for all of your sins, past, present and future. Tell Him that you believe that He rose from the grave and that you want Him to be King and Lord of your life. Thank Him for the indescribable gift of salvation and promise to walk with Him for the rest of your life. If you do this you will never have to wonder again if you're going to heaven when you die or when He comes again. You're adopted into God's family now. Welcome to the family! Let me know if you prayed this prayer so that I can rejoice with you and give you some practical further steps that you can take as a new believer in Christ.

I had some friends stay with me this month. Anticipating their arrival, I spent some time in preparation. I put fresh sheets on their beds and food that they liked in the cupboards. I bought some new towels for them to use and made sure that their room was just right. Just as I prepared for my friends' arrival, I believe we need to prepare for the coming of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the most honored, important visitor we will ever receive. We need to put more into being ready for His arrival than in anything else we do.

If you're reading this right now, the Glorious Day of Christ's return is still to come. Look up at that eastern sky and know that He is coming back. For you. "Yes, I am coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22: 20)

Looking up,

Donna Schultz

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