Summary: Helping people understand the end times. What Christ’s return really means!
Our Gospel Lesson this morning continues to deal with a subject that can frighten many, make many try to predict its coming and can catch many off guard, the subject is the second coming of Christ. Even Christ says in Mark.13:32-33 “But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come."
Be on guard, be alert! That is the warning cry!
But many don’t care about meeting Christ as seen in the following story: "The devil was planning to destroy the world. He called in his chief assistants. Anger stepped in and said that he would set brother against brother. Lust said that he would replace love and turn people into beasts. Greed advocated his passion for turning loose all the covetous cravings of the soul. Gluttony, Envy and Jealousy each had their audience with the devil as they presented their plans for destroying the world.
The devil was not satisfied. Finally the last one came in and said, “I shall talk to people about what God wants them to be. I shall encourage them to follow the plans and purposes of God.” The devil was aghast at such talk. But the little devil went on, “However, I shall tell them there is no hurry. Wait until tomorrow. Don’t start until things are more favorable.”
The devil laughed and said, “You are the one who shall go to earth and destroy it. You shall be called Procrastination.”
Ted Williams’s story…good day at the plate, walk on water!
We chuckle, we laugh, we smile at our procrastination, but the stories have elements of truth.
Jesus saw that kind of attitude in his day. As He and the disciples were in the temple, the disciples couldn’t help themselves at being in awe of the splendor of the temple; the accomplishments of those who built it were thought to be powerful enough to save them.
The temple was to many Jews the Messiah, and in Jesus’ eyes it was a false messiah so he says in verse 6, “As for these things which you see, the days will come when
there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
Then Jesus warns them of other false messiahs, advises them to be prepared, to be ready for the coming of the real Messiah, and assures them he will always be with them.
Those same warnings apply to us, also.
In the next moments I would like to look closely at each warning as it applies to our lives.
First, false messiahs. One false messiah we have already seen in the story of Ted Williams, that being a false sense of pride in ones own accomplishments.
Our technologies, our wonder drugs, our star wars defense systems, our own egos can be false messiahs. Jesus warns the disciples about them in v. 8 as he says, “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name saying I am he and the time is at hand! Do not go after them.”
But we do, don’t we? We are a people who are easily led astray by the latest fads, the comforts of our abundance, the power of our business community, the false sense that somehow through the Lotto, or reality shows, we can become rich, and then life will be secure. False messiah, yes!
The next warning takes place in v.9 when Jesus speaks of God’s time coming as He says, “And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
Jesus is saying that God’s time is beginning but not in an expected way, maybe through a way of suffering and upheaval. God is in control, God is breaking in, maybe not the way we expect it.
Or maybe God might be saying, “Look my people I have tried it your way, now it is my turn.”
I read somewhere that being a Christian is like being in a holding pattern in an airplane above a busy airport. You circle and circle. You know eventuality you will land, but when you don’t know. You wait and wait. Then all at once, the announcement comes fasten seat belts and you land.
As Christians we are in a holding pattern for meeting Christ. When? We don’t know. Are you ready? Only you and God know that. But have you thought about it in a serious way, or do you take your relationship with Christ in a causal way, a take it for granted way. No seriousness no thought of how your faith life is growing and maturing with the help of the Holy Spirit. Are you in a constant state of preparedness?