Summary: This is part of a series I did on topics my congregation requested. Several of these messages are two parts.
YOU ASKED FOR IT
READY OR NOT HERE HE COMES
Sunday July 2, 2006
A. I have said many times before that I am not big into prophecy and trying to predict the end times. I know that there are some in the church in general who will feel that my attitude towards these things is both wrong and unchristian. I would say that the reason this response is invoked is because my comments are misunderstood. My attitude towards prophecy and the end times does not mean I do not care about these things or that I am not interested in them because I am. Let me share briefly with you why I have the attitude and take the position that I do in regards to this issue.
1. My first concern is this, when it comes to the issue of prophecy and end times I feel that many people are intrigued by this because it is sensational. It is something that it definitely outside the norm of everyday life. The subject of prophecy and end times is cloaked in great mystery and symbolism and most people find this very fascinating. Now I will tell you that this is not all bad. It is sort of like what we just experienced with the Da Vinci Code. That book and movie generated a lot of interested in spiritual things and for that I am glad, but now that we are almost two months past the movies release how much interest is there still in the Da Vinci Code? I would suggest to you that there is very little interest. In fact let me prove my point quite vividly. When we began the class on the Da Vinci Code here at our church the class started out with over 31 people. People who missed the first class asked me to order them a book because they said they wanted to be involved. By the end of the four week class there were only 15 people in attendance. It seems that even something like this could not hold our attention for very long.
2. Here is the problem I have with the attitude of many people towards prophecy. It seems that a great many people are fascinated with the mystery and details of second coming events but we have forgotten what these events are all about. I fear sometimes that people are more interested in trying to predict who the Anti-Christ is than they are with having a vital relationship with the risen Christ. This brings up my second concern over prophecy watching.
3. I have encountered people over the 30+ years that I have been a Christian who are so caught up in trying to determine the end of time that they are failing to live in the time God has given them. Do you remember what the angel said to the disciples in Acts one after Jesus ascended into heaven the final time? Here is what he said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?” It seems that the disciples had already forgotten what Jesus had just said to them in the preceding verses. Look at Jesus’ words in Acts 1:7-9 "The Father sets those dates," he replied, "and they are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth I want to share with you another portion of scripture that deals with this Luke 19:11-13 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. A nobleman living in a certain province was called away to the distant capital of the empire to be crowned king of his province. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ’Put this money to work,’ he said, ’until I come back.’ If you noticed in the first verse there the people were interested in when Jesus would restore the Kingdom of God to Jerusalem. This was what the Jews had been looking for years. The equivalent for us would be the second coming. Then in the last verse, verse 13 Jesus makes the point of telling them that they should not be standing around waiting for these things to happen but they should be busying themselves about his business before he comes.
3. I can give you my opinion and thoughts on the second coming of Christ in just two words. Now I will acknowledge that some will not care for my position and I am ready to deal with that, but here is my position on the second coming: BE READY! You can know a great deal about prophecy and the second coming but that does not mean you are ready to meet him when he comes. I will tell you this; I would rather have my hands busy and dirty when he comes than to have them clean and unoccupied when he comes. I am not saying to you today that learning about prophecy or the end times is not important for us because it is. My point is this, what difference will it make if I am successful at predicting the second coming of Jesus and yet I was so busy trying to understand the prophecies that I failed to tell those who needed to know the savior of whom those prophecies were about? Will Jesus say to me “Well done good and faithful servant, you figured out the date of my return.” Or will he say, “…’well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’