Summary: In our world, there are rivaling kingdoms! The world’s darkness rivals the light of Christ, His light and His truth with what is counterfeit.
WHEN CHRIST COMES IN VICTORY
Text: Mark 13:24-37
“ The story is told about one of the episodes of the French Revolution. A “… maddened crowd burst into one of the picture galleries of Paris, intent on devilry, destruction and death, they paused irresolute on the threshold. Those behind pushed the leaders on , but first one and then another tugged the cap from off his head, and the wild cries died away into silence as they gazed. There upon the wall was a great painting of Christ. Looking down upon them were the quiet majestic eyes of the Saviour. To their knees they went, one after another. Then slowly, uncertainly, some went forward, unhooked the picture from its place, and carefully carried it from the room. The spell was over. The silence was broken. A murmur began, increasing to a roar as the harsh, shrill cries for death and destruction broke forth once more; the crowd again surged on their work of devilry, unhindered now by the silent reproach of eyes they could not bear to face”. (John Trevor Davies. The Lord Of All. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1951, pp. 19 -20). When you hear this story, it seems that you cannot help but to see the darkness that exists when people try to remove God from the world and His adopted children in the world.
How does this picture compare to times that we live in today?
How many people do we see wanting to be the god of their own universe? How many people do we see trying to build their own Babylon?
How many people do we see following false Messiahs or bowing to idols like success, money or fame? Satan uses idols to deceive us and distract us from the Lord Jesus Christ!
In our world, there are rivaling kingdoms! The world’s darkness rivals the light of Christ, His light and His truth with what is counterfeit.
Having you ever noticed that the world always seems to favor the commercial side of Christmas? 1) Eclipse: Shouldn’t this factor serve as a warning light on our spiritual dash board? Billy Graham once said, “It is strange that the world accepts enthusiasm in every realm but the spiritual”. (Franklin Graham. Billy Graham in Quotes. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011, p. 365). 2) Business as usual: People are so conscientious about the commercial side of Christmas and yet complacent or agnostic about Jesus Christ! We can get so concerned about what Jesus called the “cares of this world” that we put Jesus on the back burner.
Why do worldly people and businesses favor the commercial side of Christmas? 1) Idol makers: Is it because they have made money a god? It is not money that is evil but the love of money (I Timothy 6:10). 2) Distorted focus: Is it possible that we get more concerned about the wrapping paper than the gift? Neglecting the gift of Jesus Christ is the most dangerous thing anyone can do because there is no alternative for eternal salvation!
Are we paying close attention to the signs? There is light in both of the Advent stories. In the First Advent, when Jesus came to us as one of us there was His star in the sky that was like a cosmic birth announcement in the sky---the star that honored Him in the east (Matthew 2:2). He had come to be our savior. In the second Advent, there will be definite signs in nature that will announce His coming to consummate God’s kingdom when He will judge the world.
Just as the fig tree tells us that summer is near, these things taking place tell us that Jesus is near. Again Jesus is telling us how to read the signs. Jesus has already told us everything (Mark 13:23). We already have the necessary information. But, are we prepared?
Forget the doomsday prophets and listen to the Word of God! Between the doomsday prophets and the word of God from the Son of God, Jesus Christ---I will listen to the Word of God. Are these doomsday prophets who are false prophets not crying "wolf" because they themselves have misunderstood?
We know everything but the day and the hour! The world was not ready when Jesus came the first time. Unless we stay awake and alert we will not be ready when Jesus comes again. We cannot just go on automatic pilot or press the cruise control button because staying alert does not happen by default.
Staying alert happens because we are intentional and diligent in our efforts to stay spiritually awake and alert!. I read the story about a mother and son who were both pilots--- David Riach and his mother Dorothy. They were flying a single-engine Piper Dakota over the Northeastern United States on their way to Saranac Lake, New York. After twenty-five minutes into the flight the radio tower radioed David three times. Dorothy his mother radioed back to the tower that he was not responding. A few minutes later she informed them that David was vomiting. Later, she too, began to feel bad and explained that she was getting tired. She radioed again and told them that now she was beginning to feel nauseated. On her final communication she just indicated that she wanted to get the plane down. The plane continued to fly for an hour and a half on automatic pilot until it crashed in Alton New Hampshire without any survivors. Authorities determined as a result of their investigation that the cause of the accident was a triangular hole in the muffler which allowed carbon monoxide to be pulled into the cockpit of the plane's heating system. "The chief investigator said that at the time of the crash the victims were unconscious but alive. Sleep can be dangerous in the wrong place. One such place is in your spiritual life". (Craig Brian Larson. ed. Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers & Writers. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998, p. 248). Their going to sleep was an accident. But, if we go to sleep spiritually it will be because of our carelessness. Will we be sleeping when Jesus shows up?