Are You Ready?

Hello again! After this command there will be only eight commands left before we have looked at all 49! Woohoo! Another bonus is that on the week that I send out the last command it will be Christmas week! Woohoo! Okay enough woohoos, but really Christmas is just around the corner! Back to present…this week we will be talking about the command ‘Await My Return.’ “Watch therefore for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house would have known in watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of Man cometh” (Matthew 24:42-44).
Imagine you are a night guard and your shift is from 12 a.m. to 3 a.m. You get word that someone is planning to break-in sometime after midnight. So you decide to grab a bag of chips and play some solitaire or read a good book…NO! You are on full alert, your eyes have never gone so long without blinking, you are aware of every creaking and rustling noise, your attention is completely devoted to watching for the intruder, and you are looking for signs that the criminal may be near. This is what Christ told His disciples to do—‘Therefore be ye also ready…’ 
A similar parable gives an analogy of a bridegroom coming for his bride and the coming of Christ. After a couple was betrothed, the man would customarily go back to his father’s home to prepare a room for them. It took him many months and he would prepare it especially for his wife-to-be. The bride would be waiting at home, not knowing what day he would return for her so that they could have the wedding celebration. He could even come in the night to get her, as seen in the parable where the virgins are waiting in the night with their lamps. The virgins who were waiting and were prepared were brought to the bridegroom. Jesus also wants us to be waiting so that at any moment we will be ready for the gathering of His bride the church. (see Matthew 25:1-13)
This command does not require us to know if Jesus is coming pre-trib, post-trib, or mid-trib, but it demands that we be ready for when He does come. How are we to be ‘watching’?
1) Know the signs of the time. In the previous example, the watchmen who had the earlier shifts were probably not as alert as the watchman who had the shift after midnight. Why? Because he knew that the thief would come then. We are told in Scripture of what the world will be like in those days. They are looking an awful lot like today’s culture! “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and with great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:25-28). (see also Matthew 24:5-14)
2) Walk blameless. “But ye brethren are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye 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” (I Thessalonians 5:4-6).Walking in darkness is often associated with sin and separation from God, while light is associated with knowing and abiding in Christ. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:5-6). Walk in the light of His way and do not get tangled up in the cares of the world. Loving this world will put our focus on earthly things rather than being watchful of the times.
3) Redeem the Time. The days are short whether we live a long life, or Christ returns today. In the scope of eternity, we are like grass that withers away with the heat of the sun. It is hard to keep the right perspective when our biggest concern is our next meal or the latest Facebook updates. We will give account for how we spent our hours and our minutes. Were they spent ‘tweeting’, ‘pinning’, ‘liking’ everyone else’s life or will we be diligent to spread the gospel, grow in the faith, encourage others, and do things that will matter in eternity. I am speaking for myself, because I am usually temporal minded and spend my time in idleness or ‘busyness.’ Let us encourage each other to love and good works so that we can redeem the time! “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:14-16).
Arthur Stace was born in Australia in 1884 to a poor family. He often had to steal for food, was uneducated and soon followed after his father and spent his days in drunkenness. One day he heard the Gospel and understood his need, and that day made Jesus His Savior. At one of the church meetings he attended, he heard the preacher say that he wished he could shout the word ‘eternity’ for all of Sydney to hear.  Arthur was so moved that he went out, got a piece of chalk and began writing the word ‘Eternity’ on the sidewalk. He began writing this word everywhere he went and it is estimated that he wrote ‘eternity’ 500,000 times. He became well-known for his mark, and was nick-named Mr. Eternity. After his life ended, his ministry continued. During the biggest New Year’s celebration in all of history, the world watched as Sydney, Australia hosted the Y2K countdown. As the fireworks exploded over the Sydney harbor, there was one word seen that was suspended from the Sydney Bridge: ETERNITY. Possibly 2 billion people watched this celebration and could see this word that Arthur Stace had faithfully spread. He was waiting for our Savior and was redeeming the time so that others would have an opportunity to also be ready for when the Lord returns.
-Do you plan your day based on the fact that you will be judged for everything you do?
-How can you be redeeming the time?
-Have you studied and know the ‘signs of the times’?
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldy lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of that great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).
Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide

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