At The Door
“The Judge is standing at the door. James 5:9
“Behold, I am coming soon! Revelation 22:12
Since you are reading this today, it is safe to say you are living the first day of 2015. I do not know if that was a question for you or not in 2014. But do you fully expect to see 2016? I know of one believer who placed a placard above his desk fifty years ago which reads, “Perhaps today! What’s in his mind? Jesus was very emphatic when he spoke about his return, “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him…and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap…Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. (Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13) Just in the last month in a number of conversations some Christian friends said to me that they think there could be many more years before the Lord returns, and their leaning was more toward “no time soon than “soon; which is not really what you find in Scripture, particularly Jesus’ own words. It reminds me of Peter’s admonition, “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. (2 Peter 3:3-4) I am not saying these Christian friends are scoffers of Jesus’ words, but their current thinking is more prone to “we have more time than you think, than the emphasis of God’s Word, “The Judge is standing at the door!
As you draw near to the end of this Advent, November 30, 2014-January 6, 2015 you are reminded that the purpose of Advent is remembering the Lord Jesus Christ who came and lived among us, becoming “God in the flesh, AND you are also reminded He is coming again; looking back, looking forward! Paul promises a “crown of righteousness to all “who love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8), describing those who “eagerly anticipate Him coming again (Titus 2:13-14). This present life with all its “chains to what is going on in your life’s scenario, works against “eager expectations or “daily preparations for the Lord’s return with its closing curtain on what is happening.
C.S. Lewis writes about this very thing in What if Today Were the World’s Last Night concerning an expected birth, a wedding several weeks off, graduation from college after years of hard work, finishing an anticipated new house in the next few months, taking a once in a life-time vacation, running an upcoming big race after years of preparation…you get the picture. “At a time you do not expect the Son of Man comes! What is really your greater “expectation? His return or…? Can you properly blend present hopes with THE anticipation of what should be preeminent in the serious believer’s life? It’s a question to ask yourself repeatedly as you reconsider where your treasure truly lies. This is one of the weightier exercises of Advent; something to be seriously considered in this year’s final Advent week.
A sound perspective was given by Martin Luther five centuries ago: “If I knew Jesus was coming tomorrow, he said, “I would plant a tree today! It is not that it is wrong to have a five or even a twenty year plan, it is wrong to not prepare your mind and heart, your own soul, for the return of the Savior tomorrow. You cannot ignore or misinterpret the numerous statements from Jesus’ own lips that He is coming soon; no one knows when that will be, just like a thief in the night; therefore be on guard, be watching, be ready!
I have no idea how anyone can explain these warnings away, or support a spiritual procrastination and laziness which Jesus describes as dangerous and foolhardy; not just temporarily, but permanently. Some succumb to the idea that the grace of God is such a panacea that spiritual unawareness and procrastination is actually rewarded or excused by a God who still loves in the face of the sin of willfully disregarding His clear warning. If this is the case, Jesus’ parables concerning His Second Coming are irrelevant and unnecessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When you read the New Testament descriptions of the last days before Christ’s return and compare it to the culture today you cannot find any discrepancy between the two. We have always had those ages with immoral, ungodly living and erroneous thinking in a fallen world; but never so utterly widespread among all levels of society, with such rampant persecution and martyrdom of believers and the believing Church as today. But no matter how you prognosticate the Lord’s return by reading the tea-leaves of the culture yourself, you cannot escape the Lord’s oft repeated teaching that His coming is always to be thought of as soon! You can be sure that you will come to believe this as His coming will indeed prove to be SOON in your life.
Be very careful not to find yourself numbered among the “scoffers, either advertently or inadvertently, concerning the Lord Jesus’ return. What will you do today to be better prepared tomorrow? Begin by taking to heart the song, “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!
“See the Judge, our nature wearing, clothed in majesty divine; you who long for his appearing then shall say, “This God is mine! Gracious Savior, own me in that day as thine.
(2nd verse of John Newton’s hymn, “Day of Judgment! Day of Wonders!, 1774)
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