Watch and Be Ready For the Coming of the Lord

by Thomas W. Finley

A Final Word

Why it is imperative to watch and be ready:

Let us recap why it is imperative for the believer to heed the Lord’s warnings to be spiritually alert and ready for His coming. Our Lord desires us to gain all that we may gain by being obedient and faithful to Him. Also, our Lord desires that His children not have to suffer loss.

Firstly, by being prepared, if we are alive when He comes for the first fruits in rapture, we will escape the terrible tribulation that is coming upon this world in the final years of this age. Do you wish to be left on the earth to endure the greatest time of trial the world has ever witnessed? If you truly believe the Lord’s warnings, then you will want to be utterly serious about obeying God, maturing in Christ, and serving Him.

Secondly, there is the matter of participation in the blessings of the coming Kingdom age (1,000 years) when Christ rules over the earth from His throne in Jerusalem. This reward is available to all generations of believers, not just those who are alive at His coming. Do you desire to be a partner with Him in this rule? Do you wish to enter into the joy of this Kingdom? Do you wish to be part of the bride that has prepared herself? Or, do these things mean little to you? Those who now believe that these things are of little importance will be enlightened when He returns. They will see how momentous these positive rewards truly are. Once they realize that they will miss out on what they could have gained, they will weep with deep regret and self-blame.

Thirdly, there is a distinct warning given to Christian teachers and shepherds (and perhaps other “leaders”) concerning possible severe judgment upon them if they fail to exercise proper stewardship. This warning indicates that their failure begins with an attitude that the Lord’s coming (which includes accountability) is delayed.

Today the ministry of many churches (at least in the West) is focused on meeting the “felt needs” of the believers. There are messages on topics like how to have a successful marriage and family life, how to overcome feelings of loneliness and disappointment, or cope with other pressures of daily life. It is not that we do not need some ministry to help people with these daily issues. But, the focus of most believers has become an improved life in this world, not preparation for the next. There is almost no understanding by many of today’s believers of the very real need to love Christ’s appearing and to be purifying one’s life for the coming day of judgment. In fact, if believers would realize the necessity of being ready for Christ’s return many would change their ways and their attitudes and family life would improve. Some of the seemingly huge problems of daily life would also become much smaller in perspective.

All of us must deal with the trials and pressures of daily life, and we must lean on the Lord and trust in Him during such trials. Yet, if we see the monumental importance of the coming of Christ, the Judgment Seat of Christ, the marriage of the Lamb, and the glory of the 1,000 year kingdom, we must learn to daily lift our eyes beyond the issues of today and be those who are truly “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Tit. 2:13). O, that the coming of the Lord Jesus would once again capture the hearts of God’s people!

God has purposely arranged this life as a test of the faithfulness of His believers. Those who decide to be fully faithful to Him at the cost of self-denial will be richly rewarded. Those who refuse to value the rewards and choose to live in some measure of self-indulgence will be denied a positive reward and may undergo some discipline from Christ. The Lord’s return may begin at any moment with the first fruits being reaped. The Judgment Seat of Christ is coming. The hour is late. The results of our choices in light of these things are profound. Let us be wise in our choices.

Signs of the Times:

As we think about the coming of the Lord we should also consider what Jesus said about the need for men to recognize the signs of the times:

“The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, ‘When it is evening, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.” And in the morning, “There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.” Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?’” (Matt. 16:1-3)

This passage indicates that the Jews in Jesus’ day should have recognized that what they saw happening at that time indicated the presence of the Messiah. In the same way, with much prophecy given to us in Scripture, we should be able to recognize when the time of Jesus’ return is drawing near. In fact, when Jesus gave His great prophecies on Mt. Olivet He said: "Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door” (Matt. 24:32-33). Included in “these things” would be the sign of the fig tree itself coming back to life. The fig tree is a symbol for the nation of Israel, and in 1948 this nation came back to life and its growth is continuing. [1] This is the greatest sign that Jesus’ return to earth is very near. Yet, if we have spiritual insight we can also see other signs. God is doing something in the Middle East. The rise of radical Islam is giving much credence to the view that a prophesied Islamic-led invasion of Israel belonging to the end-time is drawing near (Ezek. 38, 39). The turmoil beginning in 2011 among Middle Eastern nations is changing things dramatically, no doubt in line with God’s plan for end-time events. The nations of the world are becoming more anti-Israel, including the United States. Apostasy is becoming more evident among traditionally sound church groups. The world seems on the verge of a currency and/or sovereign debt crisis, which may lead to significant changes on the world scene.

With these things in view, it is most reasonable to conclude that the Lord’s coming again is not only imminent, but near. With this in mind, and considering the counsel of the Scriptures presented in this writing, what should we do? I believe it is time for a renewed seriousness about being prepared for the coming of the Lord. It is time for us to live in a heightened anticipation of His return! It is time for us to learn what it really means to look for the blessed hope, to be sober for the purpose of prayer, to love one another, and to love His appearing (Tit. 2:13, 1 Pet. 4:7-8; 2 Tim. 4:8). May God grant us strength to do this hour by hour.

Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13, NASB)

[1] For more study on this parable of the fig tree and its significance to the timing of Jesus’ return, please see the author’s booklet entitled, “The Return of Jesus is Near – Now Learn the Parable of the Fig Tree.”