Concluding our brief series of sermons “Watching and waiting for the return of Christ”.
Do you know everything that there is to know? Or are there things of which you have no knowledge of? Ignorance of certain things is part of being human, which is why Jesus had no knowledge of the day of his return to earth; it was a proof of his humanity. But he was not the only one; the same applied to the heavenly angels, even though – “they always see the face of my father in heaven” (Matthew 18 v 10.) The only one who knows the date of the Son’s return is God the Father, and he’s not telling, which is why all human speculation is unhelpful and dangerous.
So where does all this leave us? Well we know with cast iron certainty that one day Jesus will return; we know the signs to look out for in the world, the church, the Middle East and the sky; but what we don’t know is the actual day and hour, hence the need to be ready and prepared. This is the repeated mantra of this discourse, beginning with a comparison between the last days before Jesus returns, and the time of Noah and the great flood (Genesis 6 – 8.)
The people of Noah’s day were not ready or prepared for the flood because they were concentrating on the pursuits of life, such as eating, drinking and relationship building. They ignored all the warnings from this – “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2 v 5) and as a result went to a watery grave. So it will be in the days before the return of Christ, people will prioritise worldly matters; will ignore warnings; and then when Christ returns, it will be too late to respond and they will be left behind.
Two parables are then used to hammer home the importance of the need to be ready and prepared for Christ’s return, because he will come unexpectedly like a thief, a familiar Biblical picture (1 Thessalonians 5 v 2; 2 Peter 3 v 10 & Revelation 16 v 15.) Such readiness and preparation involves being engaged in faithful service, which will result in greater responsibility in this world and the next. While a lack of such readiness and preparation involves thinking that the return of Jesus is some far off future event with little relevance to the present and then having to face the eternal consequences.
Challenge – Are you ready and prepared for the return of Christ, or are you hopelessly preoccupied with the concerns of this life?
Theme: “Are you ready for the return of Christ?”
Reading: Matthew 24 v 36 – 51
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Bev Sills