What is Jesus expecting from us right now? In these last days - given that we have knowledge and understanding of biblical prophecy and the fact that we know time is growing short - what should our focus be in the last minutes of the last hours?
The Bible actually has a lot to say about this - some things will be highly repetitive (my apologies, but repetition can be a good thing, especially with scriptures) and some things are new as far as previous discussions here.
The first is one that we, by definition, already know:
1. WATCH AND BE READY
Simply put, it is extremely important to Jesus that we are watching (constantly) and prepared for His return. The reasons for this could be discussed for days, but given how many times Jesus brought this up, it is obviously of great importance to Him, so I'm in on that basis alone.
Matthew 24:42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come"
Matthew 24:44 "So you must also be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."
Matthew 25:13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."
Mark 13:33 "Be on guard! Be Alert! You do not know when that time will come"
Mark 13:35 "Therefore keep watch..."
Mark 13:37 "What I say to you I say to everyone" 'Watch!'"
Luke 12:35-40 "Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.
It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes (37)
It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.(38)
You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.(40)
2. DEALING WITH LIES AND DECEPTION IN LAST DAYS:
It strikes me that we are living in an age now in which lies and deception rule the day. Is is very difficult to know the truth behind most of the news that we are fed today. Unfortunately, the same can apply to some churches and some pastors who are teaching false doctrine. Not to mention those atheists who are on a mission to divert our young people (and old for that matter) away from God with their nonsensical pseudo-intellectual writings that seem to appeal to so many these days:
"Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals - these are the very things that destroy them. (10)
"But dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the spirit. but you dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.(17-21)
"Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out in the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (7-9)
1 John 2:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and he boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of the Father lives forever. (15-17)
Who is the Liar?
It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. (22)
I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray (26)
3. OUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS:
Simply put: Jesus wants us to "take it up a notch". This is something that He strongly desires - I believe He wants our full and unabated attention, love and devotion now, in these last hours, as we approach the day that we find ourselves in His glorious presence:
1 John 2
"And now dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed at his coming"
"And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (11-14)
1 Thessalonians 3
"Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen our hearts so that you are blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes..." (11-13)
1 Peter 1
"Praise be to the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."(3-9)
4. LOOKING UP, NOT DOWN
In other words, our focus doesn't need to be concerned with what is happening on earth, regardless of how ominous things appear. Jesus has directed us to bypass these earthly concerns, and instead, focus on what awaits us in the heavenly realm.
"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near"
"Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near."
To summarize, our directions for living in these last days are clear.
Jesus wants to be our focus. He wants us to turn away from the fear and apprehension that these days bring, and shift our focus to Him and what awaits us - after all we are the Bride of Christ and we have a wedding to attend!
Additionally He wants to be our obsession. Yes - obsession. Look at the words that are used to describe our desired state of mind:
- "Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus"
- "Continue in him"
- "May the Lord make your love increase"
- "In this, greatly rejoice" even though we may "suffer grief" in "trials" (in these last days)
- We should be "filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy". Why? Because we "are receiving the goal" of our "faith"
- these things will result in "praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed"
Wow. Those are some major promises.
But look at the overall picture of what Jesus expects from us in these days. Our full attention. Our full love. Our abundant joy in what awaits us. To be immersed in Jesus and thoughts about Jesus. Thats how we are "clothed" in Him and how we "continue in him".
Even in the face of our fears, concerns and worries in these last days.
Jesus is telling us that none of that really matters, as our focus should be on Him, directly and unequivocally. Him exclusively. It is through that focus on Jesus we will experience great joy which is "inexpressible" as we await His coming.
Its time to turn it up a notch.
Jesus is waiting for His moment to be with us as well - in fact we were on His mind at the Last Supper.
"Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you...
I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:29)
That's the Wedding Supper of the Lamb that Our Lord is referring to and is waiting for.
As you can see, He was anticipating that moment 2,000 years ago - that moment when we will all be together in the Kingdom.
In the meantime - our obsession and sole focus should be on Jesus Christ.
He will be coming soon!