Now that we are seeing further signs of the return of Jesus it is a real shame that the actions of some Christians would sew confusion for the world. Jesus gave us some signs to watch for so that we would be able to discern the season. We also have the prophecies of the Old Testament that reveal a lot about the second coming of the Messiah. So there is much material available to us enabling us to discern the season we are in. Again I remind us of Jesus' words I used in yesterday's blog:
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door." (Matthew 24:32-33)
This is what we are beginning to see now, the tendering of the twig. We know it is near, right at the door, but we do not know the day and hour. Many of us get upset by Christian leaders and groups who make a big public display of the month, day and year of Jesus' return, completely ignoring what Jesus said:
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36)
We don't know the day but we know the season. In fact, the Spirit seems to be preparing us as well because as I talk to different pastors and disciples of Jesus, they all have an expectancy. Some are a little apprehensive because we know there are going to be "light and momentary" days of trials ahead. We know there are going to be "birthing pains", as Jesus put it. Others are longing for the day, having spent a life-time yearning to see Jesus. Whereas others are scared of the thought of the End Times. This is the calm before the storm which allows all of us to check ourselves, to check our hearts, to check our relationship with Jesus.
Although we know the season we do not know the day which means Jesus will return without warning. We will not have time to be prepared because the time for preparation is now. Remember how Jesus described it:
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. (Matthew 24:37-41)
We need to go beyond checking ourselves, making sure we are in a proper relationship with Jesus; we also need to be warning and encouraging others. We have gotten far too comfortable and lazy in the Western Church. We like the best of both worlds but such people will be vomited from Jesus' mouth. We don't have time to play games any more. This is a time of urgency. Just like when neighbours help neighbours preparing for floods and hurricanes, this is a time when we need to help each other. When the storm hits the weak will be swept away. When Jesus returns for his Church will anyone be left standing? Is that not the question he asked? As he told a parable about persistent faith Jesus said:
"And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8)
Many Christians have never had to exercise any faith except the type that says, "I believe in Jesus". This has never been tested. They have not spent nights in great anguish, throwing aside what the flesh is saying and choosing to trust Jesus instead. Life has been good for us and what storms there have been were like nothing compared to what is coming. As Jesus described, it will seem like the earth has shifted its axis. In the blink of an eye everything changes.
This is the reason we must make sure we are wearing the full armour of God every day and that we are encouraging others to be wearing it as well. You will not have a chance to put it on when Jesus returns, it will be too late. However, we need the armour before the return because we have to resist the enemy and the enemy is going to appear to become very large to us. He is going to use all his tricks and force to try to separate us from Jesus, and we have been told that it is our duty to stand against him:
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)
Now is the time of preparation. Now is the time of the encouragers. Now is the time of the Watchmen. Now is the time to sound the warning so that those who have fallen asleep will wake up and those who are simply going through the motions will find their passion rekindled. Now is the time for revival in the Church because the Groom is on his way. Don't be swept away by the storm. Don't be found asleep. Exercise your faith and trust in Jesus, get your armour in place and take your stand. The Day is approaching.