Summary: The second coming of Christ will be a surprise to everyone
The 911 Terrorist attacks, the tsunami, more hurricanes in one season then ever before, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and Rita, the Pakistani earthquake, the mudslides in Mexico, fires in California, floods in Bangladesh and China, the war in Iraq, the Asian Bird flu, hundreds of thousands people killed. These are the signs of our times and to many they are the signs of Christ’s second coming. Books on the prophecies and predictions of the end of times are soaring off the book shelves. A search on Google on the words “end of times prophecies brings up 2 million hits. People are lamenting the end of the world looking at the events of our time touting them as the signs. If I have heard it once I have heard it a million times, “The signs are there; people better get ready because Christ is coming back soon.”
And yet, Christ himself said he did not know when this time would come. In Matthew he said there will be wars and rumors of wars, there will be famine and earthquakes that this would be the beginning of the end but they would not be the proof or indicator of the imminent time. In fact he said it would be like in the time of Noah, Matt 24:44 But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
The second coming of Christ will be a surprise to everyone. There won’t be any big fan fair or catastrophic event to announce it. It will come while people are eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, when they are in the field or grinding meal. It will come in the normalcy of the day – we should be more concerned that Christ is coming when nothing is happening then when there are natural disasters and wars happening.
Like the people of Thessalonica we are confused about the end of times. So Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and us to correct our misconceptions. He says it is certain Christ will come and for us as Christians, “children of the light” it will be no surprise when he does come but he says there is more useful things to be doing right now then worrying about when this will happen.
He says first and foremost you need to wake up, that we shouldn’t be sleeping
• Now I would be the first to tell you sleep is a good thing, in fact I need more sleep than I am getting but sleep at the wrong time is life threatening. You don’t want to fall asleep at the wheel, you don’t want to all asleep in the tanning bed, or in the bath tub, running machinery while on the third, shift, in a deer stand we understand that but when it comes to our faith- worse than any of those things is falling asleep in faith
• Paul is talking about having dull and listless faith
• Anglican Bishop Michael Marshall (in American Magazine) once said, “Many so called believers have accepted a “decaffeinated” Christianity. It promises not to keep you awake at night.”
• We have become a society of spiritual sleepwalkers – we claim spirituality, we claim to be ‘children of light’ but we live like we are in darkness. We have been lulled into a sense of stupor. There is no evidence, no proof that we are in the light, we have become careless with our faith and we do things the things of darkness. We live a life of moral laxity and complacency. We have indulged ourselves in a life of spiritual sloth and idleness.
• We have become drunks – drunk with pride, passion, sexual excesses, debaucheries, self conceit, and self gratification. A person who is drunk is out of control and inattentive, indulges in excesses.