Summary: The Bible teaches us that we are to be alert watching for the return of Jesus
There are many Christians WAITING for the return of Jesus Christ -- but not that many who are WATCHING for the return of Christ! The Bible doesn’t teach us to wait for His return; we are to WATCH for His return! What then is the difference between WAITING and WATCHING?
Would you rather have when the enemy might attack, someone on guard-duty who is simply waiting for the enemy to show up or someone on guard-duty who is watching to see if the enemy has showed up? The difference between “WAITING” and “WATCHING” here might mean the difference between life and death! – Source Unknown
The Bible teaches us that we are to be wide awake watching for the return of Jesus, not just waiting for it. Those who watch for it will keep themselves alert and self-controlled; those simply waiting may slip into sloppy business with other things and let their priorities slip!
2 Tim 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
I. NEED FOR ALERTNESS!
1 Thess. 5: 1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
Why do we need to have a watchful attitude?
The momentum of fallen man will be toward getting worse and worse if we are not on GUARD, we might allow ourselves to slip slowly away from a firm commitment to Christ!
Paul’s point in saying that Jesus will come “like a thief in the night” is to emphasize how those outside of Christ will be caught OFF GUARD!
And for unbelievers, they will be caught off guard by Christ’s coming!
But for those watching for Christ’s return it will not be a great surprise!
Paul describes these "last days" in his letter to Timothy:
2 Tim. 3:1-7 “They will be terrible times.”
“People will be lovers of self, money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having forms of godliness but denying its power” ... depraved minds.
This sounds like CNN.
1 Thess. 5: 3 For when they shall say Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child and they shall not escape
The use of the illustration of a woman in labor is to illustrate the fact that the return of Christ is a fact of certainty ... just as labor pains prove a baby is soon to come, so will the rot of sin in increasing measure around the world prove the soon coming of Jesus Christ!
During those last days people in the world will think things are really getting good, they will be thinking “PEACE AND SAFETY!”
While the world is saying "PEACE AND SAFETY" doom will hit them at that very moment!
The world will be caught OFF-GUARD!
According to Mark 13 we as God’s people are called upon a number of times in this passage concerning the future to be “WATCHING” ... “BE ALERT” … “DON’T BE DECEIVED.”
Christians should never be lulled into contentment!
II. NATURE OF ALERTNESS
1 Thess. 5: 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep as do others;
“We are not in darkness” (meaning without understanding!)
It won’t be a surprise to those watching for Christ’s return ... we expect it!
Because we are not “ASLEEP” like the world, we need to be alert!
To be alert means to be mentally sharp!
This means being knowledgeable about the enemy, understanding of warfare, alert to dangers, planning for the future!
Those who simply wait for the future are not alert to the issues of the day; those who are watching out for the future are alert to the need now to be ready for tomorrow!
ILLUS: Years ago in east Tennessee there was an old man would fill a shoulder sack with acorns and take a sharpened stick and head out each morning to the forest area and the mountains. Here and there he would poke a hole in the ground and place an acorn in it, covering it with dirt with his shoes. He did this every day for years. When asked about it he stated, "Someone has to think about the future!" He wasn’t just waiting for the future; he was watching it come ... and doing something about it ... alert!