Get Ready and Stay Ready!
A lot of people have interest in the end times. When will Jesus come again? And what are the signs that He may be coming soon? On Tuesday, following His triumphant entry into Jerusalem two days earlier, Jesus’ disciples asked Him these two questions as they sat on the hillside of the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. In what is often referred to as The Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25), Jesus makes clear that we must get ready and stay ready for Him to come again!
In The Olivet Discourse, Jesus talks about both the near future and the far future. In the near future the temple would be destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, just as Jesus predicted in Matthew 24:2. Many scholars believe this marks the beginning of the end times. In the balance of the narrative, Jesus shifts the focus from the near future to the distant future. While there is some disagreement among scholars and amateur theologians about where the close future stops and the distant future begins, one truth is indisputable, it is imperative that we get ready and stay ready for Jesus’ return!
How to Get Ready and Stay Ready for Jesus’ Return
1) Don’t obsess or stress with predicting when Jesus will return because nobody knows!
The Apostle Paul uses some of the same imagery in his letter to the Thessalonians that Jesus used in The Olivet Discourse. Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
With birth, the pains are evident when they come, though we may not know exactly when the baby will arrive. But one thing is for sure, the arrival is imminent, so get ready and stay ready!
2) Count on encouraging, and being encouraged by, fellow Believers when life is painful.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness…. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5;11
Even as we wait for Jesus to return, we remain in this dark world, though we are not of it. And because this world is dark, harsh and wicked, Christ-followers desperately need one another for support, strength and encouragement. We are not created, or expected, to walk life’s faith journey alone. Jesus established the local church, the family of Believers, to serve, to love and to encourage one another. In fact, the New Testament is filled with dozens of “one another” commands that tell us how we can build each other up!
I need my church family to lift me up, and truthfully, you do too! All Believers do. I love the encouragement I receive from my fellow Watermarkers, especially in the life groups I’m in. With one another, we can endure all the pains this dark world throws at us.
3) Remain diligent, urgently sharing the Good News with all who are lost and far from God!
2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2. This is the same language Jesus used to describe His return. 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:42-44
Since Jesus is coming when we least expect Him, we must urgently share the Gospel with people in our lives who do not yet believe. Jesus doesn’t want us to get complacent about that; and let’s face it, sometimes we do. We just forget, or neglect the fact, that Jesus could come at any moment. Open your eyes to the opportunities to build relationships with lost people so you can share the good news of salvation that comes in and through Jesus Christ!
4) If you have not yet done so, Surrender your life to Christ without delay!
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father….42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Matthew 24:36;42
Jesus will come again, so we must be ready! Most believe that in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus is making reference to the rapture and the time of tribulation, a seven year period of extreme hardship that those who are left behind after the rapture must endure. The bottom line is clear, you do not want to delay this decision. If you have not done so, invite Jesus to be your Savior and Lord today! If you would like to talk more about that, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to talk with you more about this life-changing decision.
For much more, click here to listen to: The Week That Changed the World - Part 3 - Get Ready and Stay Ready!