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CHRISTIAN LIFE: Watch!

Our Saviour’s vital call to us…..

 

Anyone who reads the records of our Lord’s own teaching will be aware of the emphasis that He gave to His return. At the close of His discourse on the Mount of Olives, opposite the temple in Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus stressed the need for His disciples to watch. He had warned them of deceivers and false messiahs, of wars and unrest, of opposition and situations of grave danger for His people, and of unusual signs in the heavens. But He repeatedly cautioned them to be on their guard and not to be deceived. While speaking of “the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory” (Mk.13:26), He emphasized that the day and hour of His return is known to no human being (v.32). “Take ye heed,” He continued; “watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is” (v.33).

 

We can never be reminded too often of this fact. We simply do not know when Christ will return, and it is not within our ability to work out the date. Many have attempted to do so and have failed miserably. The Lord Jesus compared Himself (“the Son of Man”) to someone taking a lengthy journey. The man in His brief parable gave authority to his servants before departing, issuing them with instructions. There were tasks for them to complete in his absence and – most importantly – the porter must watch. Making a very practical application, the Lord Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping” (v.35-36). He could return at any time!

 

 

COMING AGAIN

The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again. He has left us with a definite promise, “I will come again” (Jn.14:3). We may believe the promise with our minds, but sometimes we do not allow it to affect our hearts as it should! We need reminding, often, of our responsibilities in His absence. Each believer has his or her own “work” to be engaged in. While He is absent we must not sleep and fail to grasp the opportunities which there are for service! As we do not know when He is coming, it is vital that we watch. Shame is implied in the thought of us sleeping at His return – shame on our part as well as on His. For this reason the Lord Jesus concluded His message to the disciples with the statement, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, ‘Watch’” (v.37). It was vital for them to remain in a state of alertness, constantly aware of their responsibilities as His followers.

 

Those final words (“what I say unto you I say unto all”) make it plain that the teaching was not for those disciples alone. We who are living some 2,000 years later are included in this practical application. We must live our lives in the light of His return. We must watch for opportunities to serve Him while waiting for Him to come, and we must pray.

 

 

SIGNS

Although we cannot predict the day when Christ will return, we have been given certain “pointers” to consider. The Lord Jesus spoke of “the days of Lot” preceding His return (Lk.17:28-30). Believers in many countries today are aware that those days have returned, with the legalizing of homosexual practices. In Lot’s day such behaviour merited the judgment of God, and fire and brimstone fell from heaven. The reemergence of this behaviour which God detests will result in His judgment once more, but this time it will be at the coming of Christ. The emergence of “Sodom” indicates the nearness of our Saviour’s return.

 

Another sign we have been given is Israel. After a long exile from their homeland, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14th, 1948. On the same day U.S. President Harry S. Truman gave recognition to the new nation. A new nation, yet it was an ancient nation which had been restored to its homeland. The Bible teaches that Israel, as a nation, will exist in its own land at the return of Christ, and that the temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Evidence exists today to prove that this is indeed an item in the nation’s agenda. Ancient rituals have been researched, and plans actually have been drawn up for there to be a functioning temple once more in Jerusalem.

 

Before returning to this earth, Scripture teaches that the Lord Jesus will return to the air to gather His Church (1 Thess.4:17). We do not know when that event will take place, but many Bible scholars feel that the scene is now being set for His return. The Lord has not seen fit to tell us when, but He has told us to watch. He has enlightened us so that He may not find us sleeping when He comes. We must cling to that final word in His discourse and seek to be living in such a way that we shall be ready to meet Him, without being ashamed, when He comes. His word is this: “And what I say unto you I say unto all, ‘Watch’” (Mk.13:37).