Getting Ready

Mark 13:36 “Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping”

The congregations of the land in part have become spoiled! For most of the people they have lost their sense of urgency about the return of Christ for the body of believers. We’ve have laughed so hard with the world, we can’t make ourselves get very serious about going home to glory. We are laughing when we ought to be lying before God with broken hearts and contrite spirits.

In reading the gospel of Mark 13:33 the Lord is making an appeal for us to watch and pray: “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” Also, Mark 13:35, “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning:” At even, midnight, breaking of the day, and the morning time – Christ affirms that His return for the faithful of His church could occur at four possible times. This points to the fact that His coming for the church body could be at anytime and emphasizes the unexpectedness of the His coming, when the faithful will be caught up from the earth (i.e., the rapture). Since it is imminent and unexpected, all born again believers must be spiritually alert and faithful.

The word “watch” (Gk. Gregoreo) is a present imperative, indicating a constant vigil at the present time. The reason for this vigil today instead of only in the future is that present-day believers do not know when the Lord will come for them. There will be no warning signs, and they may never assume that He cannot come today. In other words, they must be committed to the historical possibility of Christ returning at any time.

In Mathew 24:44, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Once again Christ refers to His return for the faithful of His church at an unexpected and unknown time. This warning is not for tribulation saints. The only way to harmonize Christ’s teaching about His unexpected coming is to assume two phases to His coming. The first stage involves Christ’s return to catch up believers from the earth at an unexpected time, and the second stage is His coming at the end of the age, at an expected time (i.e., after the tribulation and cosmic signs, vv. 29, 30) to destroy the wicked and begin His reign on earth.

We cannot over look Matthew 25 and the parable of the ten virgins. The parable of the ten virgins emphasizes that all believers must constantly look to their own spiritual condition in light of Christ’s coming at an unknown and unexpected time. They must perservered in faith so that when the day and hour arrives they will be received by the returning Lord. Failure to be in a personal relationship with the Lord at His return means being excluded from His presence and kingdom.

Rev. Dan L. Cox is the Pastor of the United Pentecost Church in Warsaw, Indiana and Editor of the Indiana Apostolic Trumpet.

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