1 Thessalonians 5:6, “Let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober”
The story has been told of a teacher who told his class that he would be going away for several weeks, and he offered to give a prize to the student whose desk he found in the best order when he came back. But he didn’t tell them what day he would return. Because the prize was big, each student was determined to get it, including a little girl whose desk was normally quite messy. Her classmates jeered, “Janet, you’ll never win. Your desk is never neat.” “Oh, I plan to clean it the first of every week from now on.” “But,” someone said, “suppose he comes at the end of the week?” “Then I’ll clean it every morning.” “But,” another classmate persisted, “He may come at the end of the day.” For a moment the child was silent in thought. Then she said decidedly, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll just keep it clean!”
My friend, in the book of Mark we are told “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is … And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13:32-33, 37). When Jesus spoke to His followers about His return, He said, “Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” What does it mean for a believer in Christ to be ready for his return? Jesus said that instead of worrying about material things, we are to trust God’s provision and make His kingdom our priority (Luke 12:22-31). Like faithful servants, we should expect our Master at any time, because He will return at an unexpected hour. Thus, every believer, in all places and times, has been commanded by Christ Himself to watch for His return. Since we cannot know the day nor the hour, we need to be actively watching and be ready always, just as the student in the above story.
Jesus Christ is coming back! That stands as both a warning and a promise. There are at least eight references in the New Testament commanding us to watch for His coming. Thus, it will be either good news or bad, depending on who hears it. Many individuals have tried to calculate the date of Christ’s coming. However, Jesus said, “In such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44). If anyone “thinks” he has figured out the time, we can be sure that calculation is wrong! If even the Lord Jesus Himself, within the self-limiting confines of His humanity, didn’t know the time of His return, it is unscriptural and presumptuous for any person to think they can determine it. In fact, the very reason for its uncertainty is to stimulate watchfulness on the part of the believer who has accepted Christ as Savior of their life.
When a believer starts to “say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming” (Luke 12:45), there arises a real danger that he will fall into sinful habits. Our daily attitude of “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” is a real incentive for one to “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” As believers in Christ, we should continually “abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28). In church we sing songs like “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.” As we take the Lord’s Supper, the pastor says that we “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). On Sunday morning, the second coming of Christ sounds like great news. But during the rest of the week are we as ready for His return? Jesus is coming back! It may be soon. It will be sudden. Is that good news or bad? The question that remains for every person is:
(1) If He came today would you be prepared to meet Him?
Jesus’ second coming is as certain as His first coming.