Summary: Jesus has told us we will not know the hour of His return. He does not wish us to spend our time in speculation on His return; instead He teaches us that we ought to be prepared at all times.
Be Alert And Be Ready
Text: Matthew 24:42-44
There is much being said today about the “End of Times” in various circles by people who believe that we are in the midst of apocalyptic prophesy fulfillment and that the return of our Lord and Savior is imminent.
A well known Christian wrote, “the last days are upon us. Weigh carefully the times. Look for Him who is above all time, eternal and invisible.” That was not written by a modern prophecy expert. It was written by a man named Ignatius about 110 A.D., just a couple of decades after the apostle John wrote Revelation.
Another Christian wrote, “There is no doubt that the Antichrist has already been born. Firmly established in his early years, he will, after reaching maturity, achieve supreme power.” That was written by an influential Christian named Martin about 375 A.D.
Another early church father, Hippolytus, wrote in the year 236 A.D. that Christ was sure to return by 500 A.D.
In the 1500’s, Martin Luther wrote, “We have reached the time of the white horse of the Apocalypse. This world will not last any longer…than another hundred years.”
A little known fact of the life of Christopher Columbus is that he was a student of biblical prophecy. He wrote a volume called “The Book Of Prophecies,” in which he predicted that the world would end in the year 1656. He even wrote, “there is no doubt that the world must end in one hundred fifty-five years.”
The year 1666 saw an explosion in end-times speculation. One pastor wrote in his journal that every time a storm hit that year, his people would go to the church building to await Christ’s second coming.
In the 1800’s a man named William Miller predicted the return of Christ. He laid down the date of somewhere between March of 1842 and March of 1843. In a Philadelphia store window this sign appeared, “This shop is closed in honor of the King of Kings who will appear about the 20th of October. Get ready friends, to crown Him Lord of all.” A group of about 200 left the city. They waited, but the days past and nothing happened. Five years later, another date was set, and another date passed.
It never stops. About 1992 there was a book written by Harold Camping titled “1994.” Another date set. In 1993, he wrote another book called, “Much More Evidence That 1994 Could Be The End Of The World.” 1994 came and went. Today you can walk into a Christian bookstore and see many books predicting the return of Jesus. Searching the web will return an overwhelming volume of information dealing with the topic.
The truth is that no one can actually answer the question of Jesus’ return: Read Matthew 24:42-44
I. Be Alert And Be Ready
A. Be Alert
1. From the Greek: egeirō - means to keep awake, be on the watch.
2. Paul compares sleep to being in a sinful state:
1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 (NASB) But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
3. Being in a state of grace, awake and watching, says we not only believe that our Lord will come, but we desire that he would come, we are often thinking of his coming, and always looking for it as sure and near though the time be uncertain.
Philippians 3:20 (NASB) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
B. And Be Ready
1. It is not enough to look for such things; but we must therefore give diligence
2 Peter 3:13-14 (NASB) But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,
a. Jesus spoke multiple parables which enforced the exhortation to be ready.
2. The parable of the doorkeeper: Mark 13:34-37 (NASB) It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. "Therefore, be on the alert--for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning-- in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. “What I say to you I say to all, Be on the alert!'"