Thursday, July 17, 2014

Next Time

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Matthew 24:3 KJV)

They’ve been walking with Him around Judea for three years. He’s almost at the end of His ministry – and they are looking past what is going to happen, asking for a sign about what they don’t understand.

Wait for it . . . . Wait for it . . . . and you’ll most likely be waiting for it through a lifetime (or several!) Let me assure you, I know He’s coming back, and I know there are signs that indicate it could be soon:

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (Matthew 24:6-7 KJV)

We certainly have wars – take your pick among several ongoing ones. And there are rumors of war – we wonder if/when things will escalate within many of the hot spots. We’ve had them for all time, not just now. These things are with us as much as the poor (only I’d rather be working for/with the poor instead of wars!)

Famines? Take your pick. The sub-Sahara has been in one since I was a child. Of course, there have been conflicts there since I was a child and famine has been used as a weapon of war. Pestilence accompanies poverty and war, but in the last hundred years we’ve bragged about wiping out some diseases (we haven’t) and groaned as we’ve found new ones.  Some old ones has followed migration paths and ended up in countries just now touched. As we intermingle around the globe, we share much more than we intend to.

Earthquakes are with us and there’s an app to keep us updated on the latest what/when/where, from the ring-of-fire Pacific rim to the most-likely-caused-by-fracking central plains. So, we have all the signs we were promised, don’t we. Problem is, we’ve had them all since Jesus described them. So, where is He?

That question rang out not too long after His resurrection:

And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (2 Peter 3:4 KJV)

They couldn’t wait a generation without saying, “He said He was going to come. Since He hasn’t, He isn't.” That’s the logic many people use. We’re two thousand years past that point and the logic hasn’t changed at all, has it?

What Peter wrote tells me he believed what Jesus said in that Mount of Olives lesson:

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 KJV)

By those words, it’s just been a couple of days. So, what do we do in the meantime? Jesus gave us that answer, too:

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (Matthew 24:44-46 KJV)

That, my dear readers, is just one thread through Sunday’s sermon. Pastor took us through Matthew’s 24th chapter and I do believe I could write all week and not cover all that I learned or confirmed in that one worship hour. Eventually that sermon will be posted on our First Baptist Church of Cottondale website. When it is, it is going to be on my iPhone and iPod. It will make good listening!!

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