He Instructs Us to be Watchful

“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” (Mt 24:42)

We are facing an unprecedented worldwide pandemic. Many countries have issued strong measures and advisories to combat the spread of the virus. We are advised to maintain high vigilance, exercise caution, practice good hygiene, and use social distancing as preventative measures to help prevent the spread of the virus. Many people heed the warnings and adhere to CDC guidelines. In times like this, we also ought to pay attention to Christ’s warnings about the end time.

The Lord Jesus described the signs of His return in the last days in Matthew 24. He also used several parables to teach us how to prepare. According to Jesus, the events signifying that the end is near include the rise of false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, and earthquakes. Jesus pointed out that we should be less concerned with knowing the exact date and more concerned with being prepared.

The parable of the ten virgins teaches us that the day of the Lord’s return is coming unexpectedly, and believers are to watch and prepare. Every person is responsible for his or her own spiritual condition. These bridesmaids were waiting to take part in the wedding banquet, but when the groom did not come as they expected, five of them let their lamp run out of oil. By the time they had purchased extra oil, it was too late to join the feast. When Jesus returns to take His people to heaven, we must be ready. Spiritual preparation cannot be bought or borrowed at the last minute. Our relationship with God must be our own, not our parent’s or pastor’s. Our spiritual condition depends on whether we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 and the parable of the housekeeper in Matthew 24 have similar themes. All believers must serve faithfully and wait for the Lord to come. Talents represent many kinds of resources that we are given. God gives us time, abilities, gifts, and other resources according to our abilities, and He expects us to invest them wisely until He returns. The issue is not how much we have, but what we do with what we have. It may mean participating in holy work out of love for God. We must not make excuses to avoid what God calls us to do. The parable of the housekeeper describes the consequences of two attitudes to Christ’s return. The worker who diligently and usefully prepares for it by investing his time and talent to serve God will be rewarded. The worker who has no heart for the work of the kingdom will be punished. God rewards faithfulness. Those who bear no fruits for God’s kingdom cannot expect to be treated the same as the faithful.

With false teachings and loose morals comes a particular destructive disease – the loss of the love for God and others. Sin cools our love for God and others by turning our focus on ourselves. We are to be vigilant and know what we should change and prepare for the Lord’s second coming. The people of Noah’s generation ignored Noah’s warning. The flood came suddenly and destroyed them all. We must be watchful and not lose sight of Christ’s coming.

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