Friday, 9 September 2016

WATCHFUL AND READY


Will Christ return to earth as a baby or sacrificial lamb? Or will He come again as the Judge and King of Kings?

Why did Jesus refer to the days of Noah and Lot while speaking about the end times?
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17: 26-30, 32).




What is the end time scenario like?

First, it is business as usual. Man is caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of life without any thought that life on earth will come to an end. They will be eating, drinking, marrying, buying and selling, planting and building up till the point when Christ makes His second entrance.

Second, man’s evil continues unabated in these last days. This scenario is similar to the days of Noah, when “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God was grieved in His heart and regretted that He had made man (Genesis 6:6). It will be like the days of Lot when men view homosexuality not as a sinful sexual deviation but a mere difference in sexual orientation (Genesis 19:4-5). http://bit.ly/1T504sn

                                                                       
Notice that not many were saved in the days of Noah and Lot. Only eight persons got saved in Noah’s ark and only three escaped the destruction of Sodom. The majority perished because they lived as if God did not exist or willfully lived in sin. Indeed, narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:14).


                                                                    
Thirdly, deception abounds. Of the various end times characteristics—deception, persecution and turbulent times—mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24 (Olivet Discourse), deception seems to be the most prominent. Even the elect—supposedly mature leaders—can be deceived. If leaders are deceived, don’t you think the flock will fare even worse? In fact, in Matthew 24, Jesus warns believers to be wary of deception not once but four times:
  • Take heed that no one deceives you (vs. 4).
  • For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many (vs. 5).
  • Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many (vs.11).
  • For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (vs. 24).
Next, there will be an illusion of social, political and economic well-being. But just when people say there is peace and security, sudden destruction will come upon them as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman. For Christ comes suddenly like a thief in the night to judge the earth (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).

The end times will be marked by spiritual decline—the great falling away. Christ warns that many will fall away due to persecution, sinfulness and deception (Matthew 24: 9-13). Paul also writes that Christ will not return unless there is a falling away first and the antichrist is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2: 3). http://bit.ly/1PFkRlh

And when the antichrist comes, he will perform false signs and wonders through satanic power and deceive many—even believers, who think that he must be on God’s side.

“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11).

In these end times, men are clinging not to ancient statues of wood and stone but modern-day idols—whatever money can buy. They are consumed by the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). Man are lovers of self, lovers of money and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4). They no longer want to listen to sound teaching but look for teachers who tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3).

At this juncture, we would do well to take heed of this: “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). Though short, this verse is pregnant with meaning. Before God rained fire and sulphur on the sin city of Sodom, she managed to escape with Lot and their two daughters. Angels had earlier warned them not to look back while fleeing the doomed city.

But Lot’s wife disobeyed. As she looked back to see the flames engulfing the city, she turned into a pillar of salt. Why? Why did she look back? Though her feet carried her away from the comfort and pleasures of Sodom, her heart could not bear to leave the worldly lifestyle she cherished so much. Jesus warns in a parallel verse that if we put our hand on the plough, and then look back, we are not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).

We too need to guard our affections. Watch our hearts for they influence everything else in our life (Proverbs 4:23).

And what will happen when all is about to end? The rapture will occur just before God sends down judgment on an unbelieving world. Christ will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:31). Believers will be airlifted to safety before judgment descends upon earth.

Before judging the earth, God always rescues the elect—just as He rescued Noah from the global flood and Lot from the destruction of Sodom. Believers do not have to face God’s wrath, having obtained salvation through Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9).


                                                                                            
Will Christ return to earth as the gentle babe or sacrificial lamb? No. He is coming back as the Lion of Judah to judge the earth. His return as the ultimate Judge reflects His character—for He is the personification of grace and truth, not grace alone (John 1:17). That’s why He repeatedly warns all to be watchful and ready to stand before the King, not distracted by worldly attractions, fleshly cravings, and the cares and concerns of life.
  • Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21: 34-36)
  • "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17)
To reiterate, will believers be judged? Yes, they will be called to account concerning what they have been entrusted with. Let's choose to be faithful servants whom the master has set over his household (Matthew 24: 45-51). Let's be the faithful stewards who utilise and multiply the talents given to us (Matthew 25: 14-30).

We must be watchful like the wise virgins, not complacent like the foolish virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13). All who eagerly expect Christ’s return will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure (1 John 3:3).  http://bit.ly/1MA1h8F

So we must keep watch! For we don’t know when our Lord is coming (Matthew 24:42). Though we will never know the exact day, we won’t be caught off guard when Christ returns if we are vigilant (1 Thessalonians 5: 4).

Hopefully, as we reflect on Christ’s end time warnings with special reference to Noah, Lot and Lot’s wife (Luke 17: 26-30, 32), we will be better prepared for His coming.

RELATED POSTS

WATCHFUL IN A WATCHING WORLD
What does it mean to be watchful in light of Christ’s second coming?

HOW THEN SHALL WE LIVE?
To live soberly and purposefully during these perilous end times, we need to arm ourselves with wisdom and discernment.

IS THE WAY TO HEAVEN EASY?
Two different views—easy and difficult ways to heaven

BRACING FOR TOUGH TIMES
Will many lose faith in God during these perilous and tumultuous end times? Is this is a fact or a figment of someone’s imagination? Let’s explore the biblical basis for the great falling away.

LOSS OF REWARDS VS LOSS OF SALVATION
Some believers may lose their eternal rewards BUT eventually they are saved. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, did the foolish virgins merely lose their rewards or much more?

AGAINST THE ORDER OF NATURE
Some say that the gender of one’s sex partner is a matter of personal preference—just like some people relish spicy food while others delight in milder, non-spicy food. After all, isn’t He a God of love? Won’t He accept our choice of sexual partner, even if it is the same sex, as long as everything is done in the name of love between consenting adults?

ONCE SAVED, FOREVER SECURE?
Some Christians believe, once they are saved, absolutely nothing can happen to them to alter their destiny. Even though they might live in sin or deny God, they believe that one day they will surely reach their final destination in heaven.

EXTERNAL LINKS

JESUS AS JUDGE
Bible verses on Jesus, the Judge
http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Jesus-Christ,-Judge

PROOF OF GOD'S JUDGMENT ON SIN CITY OF SODOM
Ruins of Sodom found
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2xv3XwOVaQ

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