Motivational Monday-This is Your Sign, Part 4
This is our final segment in This is Your Sign series. We have been considering a riveting conversation between Jesus and His disciples about what things will look like as we near the end of this earth’s history found in Matthew 24. In part 1, we discovered Jesus does not want us to be deceived regarding the events leading up to His return. (Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 24-25). Christ warns us about false teachers, false prophets, and false “christs” three times in this one chapter and also many times throughout the Bible.
In part 2, we shared how Jesus desires that we should understand what is going on in the world and not to be surprised when things get worse, to take courage, and not be afraid. Matthew 24 helps us understand what is going on in this world so we do not need to be fearful, but we can trust God is leading us to the climatic event of Christ’s soon return. Matthew 24:6-8 revealed how we will see an increase in frequency and intensity of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes the closer we come to Christ’s return. Although things will get worse the closer we come to that great event, we can have peace and faith through Jesus, Who has everything under control (John 14:29).
In part 3, we discovered the last days of this earth’s history will be filled with violence and imaginations will be only evil continually. We considered some sobering statistics regarding violence in our world today.
Today we will discover, Jesus has a commission for each of us before He returns. Jesus has told us to watch for specific signs that will point to the nearness of His second coming and those signs are happening now.
The Bible tells us in Revelation 16:15, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” We are commissioned to watch. Does this mean we are to just look up into the sky and watch for Him as a dog waits for his master to return? Or does this have a deeper meaning? Why would Jesus use the word thief to describe Himself? Doesn’t Jesus call the enemy (satan) a thief? In John 10:10, Jesus does refer to the devil as a thief, saying, “The thief comes not, but to steal and to kill and to destroy.” And then as a direct contrast He continues, but “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Why then does Jesus describe Himself coming as a thief?
Jesus helps us understand His true meaning in Matthew 24:42-44: “Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Again, Jesus tells us to watch for His coming. He wants us to always be ready. A thief is unexpected. If we are looking for Jesus to return, we will not be surprised.
We will consider one more passage that will help pull this together perfectly. “But of the times and the season, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety:’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6.
In the third verse we read sudden destruction will come as travail or labor pains of a pregnant woman. How do labor pains come on? They gradually get more intense, more frequent, and longer in duration the closer the time comes for the baby to be born. The Bible consistently teaches, the signs of Christ’s return will get more intense, more frequent as we near the end of this earth’s history. Verses four and five tell us we do not have to be in darkness; we do not have to be taken unawares. The second coming of Jesus will not be as a thief to everyone; the children of the light are not taken by surprise. Who are the children of the light? Jesus says in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (See also John 9:5, 12:46 and Proverbs 4:18). Are the saints of God's children of light or of darkness? Of light, of course! This passage tells us that only those who are in darkness (preoccupied with the world) will the second coming overtake them as a thief.
A thief is unexpected; he comes unawares. Jesus tells us to watch so we do not fall prey and are not surprised. God wants us to be expecting His return. If we are expecting Him, it will not be a surprise. But to those who are not looking for the imminent return of Jesus Christ, He will come as a thief. Therefore, God commissions His children to watch in verse six. Do you think it is important that we watch?
What are we to do while we watch? “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14. The complete Good News of the Gospel is to reach everyone on this globe, just like it did in the days of Noah.
While the message of the Good News is being spread by some, God gives each of us this same personal commission. “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth. Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20. God is calling all His followers to be witnesses of His true character. We can share what we know, what we have seen and heard and felt, how we have tested the promise of God and found the promise true. We are to bear witness to what we know of the grace of Christ. This is not something that is restricted only to clergy but is given to all believers. God reminds us in 1 Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
When will the end come? When the Good News, the Gospel of God the Father and God the Son has been shared with everyone and everyone has made up their minds as to whom they will serve. God has given us a job to do; each one of us has a part to play. Have you been blessed by the Gospel message? If you answered yes, then God is calling you to tell your story and His story. There is no need for you to sweat this, only ask God to give you an opportunity to share what you know and have tasted regarding the love of God. Then morning by morning spend time with God that He may prepare you for such divine encounters (Psalm 34:8; Isaiah 50:4-5).
The Bible calls Christ’s second coming “the Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:13) and Matthew 24:33 tells us, “So likewise, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”
Christ is faithful Who has promised to come! No man knows the day nor the hour, but the signs are fast being fulfilled. Jesus wants us to be watching and sharing the truth of God so we can be ready when He returns.
Is it your desire to be watching and ready to stand on the Rock with Christ (Daniel 2:44-45; Matthew 21:44) when He returns? Would you like to partner with God in sharing the Good News of His soon return?
Beginning October 29, 2023, Eureka Springs Convention Center will be hosting the Days of Noah. Come hear, learn, and join in the discussions of the greatest events of history and see how it all culminates with the second coming of Christ. Only eight people entered the ark in the days of Noah. Will you be among those safe in the ark of Christ? I look forward to seeing you there.
Would you like to learn more about God?
Join us Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm CT at
Abundant Health Wellness Center, 240 Huntsville Rd., Eureka Springs, AR 72632