Getting Ready for Eternity

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” –Matthew 24:35, NIV.

We worry a lot about the temporary.

During those last days of Christ’s earthly ministry He warned His listeners about what was to come. The first section of Matthew 24 outlines some of the disasters, natural and otherwise, that would be the lot of believers. Actually none of those things was new information. Wars between nations, famine, earthquakes, persecution, deception and unfaithfulness to God had been part of the human experience since the fall of man back at the very beginning of time.

However, the Lord did add some new information. The destruction of Jerusalem, and the temple that was so dear to the Jewish nation, was not far away. Jesus also reminded His followers that He would return at some point in the future, but until He did, and they would know Him when they saw Him, they were not to be deceived by the fakes that would come along or by the false prophets who would send them scurrying to the hilltops waiting to be raptured.

But they were to be ready.

How can you be ready for something that doesn’t have an expiry date on it? I think my verse for today holds a key to that question.

We worry about earthquakes and false prophets but we really should be concentrating our concerns on Jesus’ words. The rest of Matthew 24 reminds us that life will be going on as normal when Jesus returns. He will come when He is least expected (14:44). The only way we can be ready is to spend whatever time we have before that event in speaking His words, living them out, so that those who are now lost can have the opportunity to hear those words, see them in action, and perhaps prepare themselves spiritually for what is to come. The only way we can be ready is to be in His Word and allowing it, through the working of the Holy Spirit, to change our lives in conformity to the character of the Son.

Isaiah 55 is a beautiful salvation chapter tucked away in the middle of the Old Testament. Isaiah, speaking for God, says: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon...As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish...so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” –Isaiah 55:6, 7, 10, 11, NIV.

Jesus knew that the longer He delayed His return the more likely it would be that even His followers would slack off. He talks about “the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12) and the servant who says that “My Master is staying away a long time” and begins to abuse his responsibilities (Matthew 24:48-51). I think we see both of those tendencies today–to our shame. That word "most" is particularly scary to me.

But if we are conscious of His coming, and committed to His Kingdom, we best prepare for those things by focusing on His words–living them and speaking them. It is only through how we handle those eternal words that we can be ready for eternity.

Comments

  1. The second coming is something that has been on my mind lately because of the many natural disasters etc that have been happening lately. You are right Lynda, they've been happening forever and will continue ever day. It doesn't mean anything and even if it does, I agree with you that we should focus on God's word and drawing near to Him rather than waste time trying to figure it out. We should expect it any day and diligently live according to His word and spend time sharing about Him to all we encounter so they can also know Him.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Amen! Powerful, powerful message! So glad God directed me here this morning! Hugs!

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