Watching and Working
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 20:1-9 | Exodus 21:22 – 23:13 | Matthew 24:1-28 | Proverbs 7:6-23
Today’s Scripture Focus: Matthew 24:1-28
“Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:12-14 NIV)
The Disciples wanted a timeline. They wanted a detailed roadmap of prophetic events. Jesus gave them a few general characteristics of the “end times,” but seemed more concerned to give them an exhortation: “be ready, be prepared, be working to bring back the King.”
Yes, there would be wars, famines and earthquakes. There would be great deception. There would be persecution. Most telling of all the signs: “because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”
We certainly do live in an age where wickedness seems to be increasing–an age where the love of many seems to be growing cold. We can certainly see the other signs as well. So shall we set a date for his coming? That is never a good idea. Not even Jesus knows the day or hour—it’s going to be a surprise.
I’m reminded of the words of the great preacher, C.H. Spurgeon: “A man says to me, ‘Can you explain the seven trumpets of the Revelation?’ No, but I can blow one in your ear, and warn you to escape from the wrath to come.”
I think that is exactly Jesus point. He doesn’t give us a specific day or hour–and the implication is that it is not our job to be concerned about such speculation. What he does make clear is this:
• We need to be ready at all times. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
• We must fight the complacency and apathy of our age that causes our love to grow cold. Wickedness may increase all around us, but we dare not let it take away our spiritual passion. We must not let our love grow cold.
• We must stand firm to the end. Whatever happens, we must persevere. We must press on. We may endure persecution or suffering. We will certainly be misunderstood. There will be trials of our faith. But whatever happens, we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and press forward.
• We must work hard for the sake of the Kingdom. There is a job to be done before the end will come. The gospel must be preached to every people group, then the end will come. As we pray, give and go, we work to bring back the King: “And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”