Last week we looked at the overarching theme of deception: that we should be very careful and not be deceived by a “false prophet, false Christs, or a false messiah.” Today I want to look at the next major theme of Matthew 24 which is watchfulness. Again we discern this major theme because our Lord repeated it three times using three separate illustrations to stress its importance and if that were not enough it was followed up with a parable about the ten virgins in the next chapter. In the first illustration it indicates that the world will be happily busy or involved in the pleasantries’ of life eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage when suddenly without any warning people will be swept away in the same way as those who lived during the great flood. Sudden planetary events are more widely accepted as we fast approach the end of days. As tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanoes increase in numbers and severity around the globe the possibility of a global catastrophe is even more certain yet less predictable. In recent months we have witnessed an increase in asteroids flying ever closer to the planet with almost no warning. An asteroid the size of a small truck buzzed the Earth on Saturday four times closer than the moon. These asteroids are popping up out of nowhere with absolutely no warning until the last moment. The day and hour is unknown.
Watchfulness goes much deeper my friends than just keeping track of what is happening in the world or following the signs. Quite frankly, there is a reason why we don’t know the day or hour of Christ coming, so that we will be ready at all times! Are you so involved in the pleasantries of life and the busyness of your schedule that you have forgotten His commandments to love God and your fellow man? It is clear from the text that not everyone will meet sudden death but some will escape through the providence of God, perhaps to witness the glorious coming of our Lord in the air. Clearly some (or most) will be swept away by death and destruction on a global scale with no warning. “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:40-41). In a much smaller scale we have seen tornados and tsunamis sweep people away to a sudden and unexpected death. If this is on a planetary scale then over three and half billion people could suddenly perish with no warning. The calamity would be sudden and would come upon them before they were aware. The day and hour is unknown.
Yet to this day many are still looking for that one sign to appear or that one event in world history to occur to usher in the final days prior to Christ’s Second Coming. I am rather amazed that they have not discerned that for over two thousand years people have been swept away by every manner of death with no warning. Think of the thousands in our day who have died in school shootings or on the streets of this country with no warning. Think of those who have died at the hands of recent tornadoes, earthquakes or other natural disasters with no warning whatsoever. To do so will bring us to the next illustration about the owner of a house. (See Matthew 24:42-44) Clearly if he had known when his house would be broken into he would have kept watch. The point is we do not know! We don’t know when we will die and held accountable for what we have done in these bodies any more than we will know when Christ returns to earth at the sounding of the seventh trumpet. So what manner of life should we live not knowing when we will die? At death there are no second chances. At death there is no opportunity for repentance. At death there is no opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as the true Lord of your life. The day and hour is unknown.
In the final illustration we observe the faithful and wise servant put in charge by our Lord to help his children stand firm by administering their food at the proper time. Most will agree that this food is righteous instruction for ones fellow servants to nourish them in their times of affliction, despair, and dryness of spirit. “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). The wise servant always speaks the truth in love helping his fellow servants to walk circumspectly in the midst of their greatest trials; whereas the wicked servant has little regard for the spiritual well being of his fellow servants. Not to force the analogy, the wicked servant beats his fellow servants by withholding what’s useful and administering the food and drink of drunkards keeping them in a confused state by chasing a multitude of signs and seasons with little thought to their own spiritual condition. Their signs, seasons, and timeline still show Christ return a long time off (See Matthew 24:48). But once again Christ says, “The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of” (Matthew 24:50). The day and hour is unknown. Dear friends, I more than anyone keep my eye on world events, natural disasters, and global unrest, but I am also wholly committed to being ready for Christ’s return at the end of the age or at the sudden conclusion to my life. We must be ready at all times walking in a way that pleases the Lord. Be watchful!
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