Wednesday, March 19, 2014

'Therefore Keep Watch'...''Be Ready'...Be Immersed

In the words of Jesus:

"So be on guard, I have told you everything ahead of time" (Mark 13:23)

"Even so, when you see these things happening, you know it is near, right at the door." (Mark 13:29)

"Be on guard! Be Alert! You do not know when the time will come." (Mark 13:33)

"Therefore keep not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Keep Watch.'" (Mark 13:35-37)

"Be dressed 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." (Luke 12:35-37)

"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." (John 12:38)

"You must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (John 12:40)

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." (Matthew 24:42)

"So you must also be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24:44)

What's the point? We need to watch for His return. Most of us have that part covered. 

But He also said to be ready. How do we do that? What does that mean? Isn't that the entire purpose of watching - so that we indeed can be ready?

We know from the scriptures that we, the Church are viewed as the bride of Christ. And we also know that when He returns, He is actually coming for His bride. 

"Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Trust in God, trust also in me. 

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.

I go there to prepare a place for you. And If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

(John 14:1-3)

For a detailed description of the ancient Jewish wedding customs and the passage above see link below:

So Jesus is directing His bride to be ready and to be prepared. Again, what does that mean?

How does any bride prepare for her wedding day? As the wedding date approaches, it would be fair to say that the bride is immersed in planning for that special day. Almost every waking hour involves some combination of planning, preparing, anticipating, and focused on that day. One could say that the bride is immersed in anticipating that day as it approaches. And with every passing day, that focus and anticipation increases and dominates more and more of her thoughts. 

Is the bride of Christ doing the same, as that day approaches?

We have the knowledge of prophecy and we have the huge advantage of watching things play out on the world stage that dramatically confirm that He is coming soon for His bride. We know this. 

But are we using this knowledge to take our relationship with Christ to the next level?

Are we immersed in Him? Yes? As much as a bride-to-be is immersed in her wedding planning? 

How will He find us on that day

Hopefully He will find us - immersed

Immersed in His love and mercy for us.

Immersed in our love for Him.

Immersed in prayer. 

Immersed in thoughts of the day that is coming.The day that we actually meet Him.

Immersed in worship.

Immersed in the thoughts of what He did for us on that cross. 

My suggestions (and as usual, I am really directing these thoughts to myself)

- Prayer: Maintain constant prayer as much as possible: whether driving, working, getting up, going to bed - keep prayer constant. Keep the communication lines open. 

- Praise and worship: (Praise music as much as possible or whatever you prefer - hymns, Psalms, etc.) Whenever possible, as opposed to secular music, radio, news, tv etc., all of which are just distractions these days. It helps maintain that focus. 

- Witness: Nothing makes you feel closer to God than to witness to a non-believer. 

- Encouragement: With our brothers and sisters in Christ with the good news that Jesus' return is imminent. Just as the apostle Paul directed us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11). 

- Fearless and optimistic:  We may face adversity. Even if not, there may be some scary days ahead: "see to it that you are not alarmed" (Matthew 24:6)..."Do not let your hearts be troubled" (John 14:1)..."When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your head, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28)

And as stated in 1 John 2:28

"And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming."

We're almost there. The good news is - we all have time to be fully prepared, ready and immersed in Him at the time of His coming. 

And when that moment finally gets here - He will find us ready and waiting - just as a bride should be on her wedding date. 

Maranatha! He is coming soon!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful exposition on we live daily!

ChristineInCleveland said...

Amen, Scott! This is on my mind every day and I find myself prefacing the plans I make in the weeks ahead with ...."if I'm still here..." cuz I can truly sense how near the hour is when we will meet our beloved Savior! Awesome time to be witnessing!

Unknown said...

Amen Amen Amen !
Thank you Scott.

George said...

Wonderful article and a beautiful picture of Groom and bride. I have found other articles of the Jewish wedding traditions, they all say basically the same thing. I think it gives a greater understanding of the Bible. I have been told that the Bible is a love story and never got it. After reading and understanding the Jewish wedding traditions it becomes clear how much Jesus loves us and sees us as his bride.
God bless you Scott and thank you for all your hard work and devotion.

harnessandleash said...

Scott - your message is taken to heart. Am doing a check on a reverent "fear of the Lord." The notion of standing before Him (immanently) makes me ask myself, "Do I think of Jesus primarily as my friend & counselor, and not put enough emphasis on His all consuming power?" I have to say I am guilty of this. I know we will all fall at His feet when the day is finally here, but a heightened sense of healthy "trembling" can begin here & now. Thanks for making us think.

Scott said...

Many thanks - I appreciate the encouragement a great deal. God Bless you all :)