Summary: Message about how we should be living in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ


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Thomasville, NC

Dr. Russell Brownworth, D.Min., Pastor

November 23, 2003

1But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3For 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. 4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (KJV)

There are times when people are not ready for what happens, even though they should be ready. My friend Curt Hatch went to Moody Bible Institute. He paid his own way by working at a night job. Curt had to choose, at times, which classes in which he would stay awake. One of those was not a first period study of church history. At the start of each class the professors at Moody call the roll, then call on a student to pray for the class. Curt normally waited until the prayer began, and then he would go into "deep meditation" for the duration of the lecture.

One day Curt didn’t last through roll call. By the time prayer had been offered by another student, Curt was nearly comatose. A "friend" of Curt’s sat next to him in this class, and could sometimes barely contain his jealousy over the fact that Curt was getting an hour’s sleep while he took notes. His "buddy" poked him in the side and whispered, "Hatch, wake up...He wants you to pray." Curt stood bolt upright and bowed his head, "Father, thank you for this day, and this gathering of students...bless us as we study." When Curt sat down, after a brief pause, the bewildered professor finally said, "Thank you, Mr. Hatch, for moment of spirituality; you may return to your normal activities."

The First (and only) Baptist Church of McIntosh, Florida had invited me to preach a sermon in view of a call as pastor. I was a newly graduated seminarian. At the appointed hour the brethren gathered, all 42 of them. Mrs. Bateman, a charter member of this congregation (since 1903), was in her seat, second row, one seat in from the center aisle. Dear Mrs. Bateman was stone deaf!

Somewhere between the Doxology after the offering, and the choir special from the "shape-note hymnal" the dear saint slipped off into personal meditation. Her hair, like a covering of newly fallen snow was resting gently against the back of the wood pew; her eyes were prayerfully closed, and her mouth was wide open. The ethereal sounds punctuated the points of my sermon like "Amens". Some of those sounds would have awakened the dead, but since Mrs. Bateman hadn’t heard anything for years, she slept soundly through even her own snoring!

The vote on the new pastor was to be taken after the evening service. However, Tommy Mack, chairman of the pastor-search committee, took a straw exit poll after morning worship. Tommy questioned Mrs. Bateman on the way out, "Good morning, Mrs. Bateman; what did you think of the man’s preaching?" Thoughtfully stroking her chin (pulling on those two pesky chin hairs), Mrs. Bateman responded, "Well, to give you a truthful answer, I believe I’d have to hear another one of the young man’s sermons."

Catching a few winks in a college course, or hearing a new preacher’s sermon may be lower on the scale than this morning’s topic, the return of the King of Kings, Jesus. We want to be ready when He comes!

A preacher shared about "…two misguided attitudes that people today have about the second coming of Christ. The first attitude is fanaticism. These are the people who think that every single thing that happens in the Middle East must be a sign of the end of the world. "Oh…. [t]here was a suicide bombing in Israel today. We’re one step closer to the great and terrible day of the Lord prophesied by Malachi! And I’m not ready yet! (sob, sob, sob sob)" And I feel like saying, "Calm down. Have some milk and cookies. Take a deep breath."

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