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It occurred to me, I can't remember the last time I heard a pastor preach about the second coming of Christ. In fact, I don't think I recall an expository message based on prophetic scripture since my youth.
The late A.W. Tozer wrote about what he called "the decline of apocalyptic expectation" in the contemporary church. Mind you he lived from 1897 - 1963. I wonder what his commentary would be on our modern-day church?
Christ is coming again! I believe the church has forgotten this truth. Christians, rather than being distinct from the world around them and living in expectation of their Lord's return, have become so much like the world that sometimes you can scarcely tell the difference between the two. Many churches reflect an apathetic, rather than serious, attitude toward the coming of the Lord.
Some church-goers view talking about the end-times and Christ's coming again as a downer -- a negative subject. Who wants to hear about Armageddon and ruin a perfectly good Sunday morning?
The events surrounding the second coming of Christ do come with a stern biblical warning and judgment is a prominent theme. BUT...I believe the coming of Christ is the brightest, most radiant star on our bleak horizon.
Others plead -- please don't spend an hour teaching "end time" matters on Sunday morning to people with family struggles, business and marriage failures, and a host of other emotional and physical problems. That is SO irrelevant!
In his book, The Book of Signs, Dr. David Jeremiah says this, "I can promise you with a strong degree of assurance: One minute after the Rapture, the subject won't be "irrelevant" at all. It will be the very definition of relevant."
If it's been awhile since you've read about Christ coming to catch away the saints to the marriage supper of the Lamb, while the earth is plunged into the Great Tribulation, take a gander at Matthew 24:36-44 and see if goosebumps don't rise up on your arms.
Q: What's the difference between ignorance and apathy?
A: I don't know and I don't care.
I believe that's kind of the way many feel about the Rapture. They don't know and they don't really care.
Jesus warned about three different attitudes about His coming again. Let's call them the Three "C's":
Cavalier Attitude: Just as the days of Noah were, so also will be the days before the coming of the Son of Man. Before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark.
Genesis 6:5 tells us that when the Lord looked down upon His creation He "saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
When you read all the horrible stuff reported in the news, do you wonder how could anyone ever think up something so evil? That's the way it was just before the Flood.
Noah preached and warned about the coming flood for one hundred twenty years. That's a long time to preach one message, but no one wanted to hear about "judgment." Quite possibly they told Noah he was irrelevant and politically incorrect.
In 2 Peter 3:3-6, Peter is saying the time immediately before Christ's return will be just as it was during Noah's day. I wonder if they wished they'd heeded Noah's warning?
Careless Attitude: 1 Thessalonians 5:2 reminds us, "For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night." Just because the Lord will come suddenly and unexpectedly, and just because we don't see this taking place right under our noses, doesn't mean we can become careless in our attitude.
Other people get robbed, develop fatal illnesses, have their marriages fail, or lose their savings. Jesus warns against a careless, reckless, self-deceptive attitude that keeps insisting, "It can't happen to me." It can and it will. One day God will say, "That's enough."
Callous Attitude: I believe many put off making a decision for the Lord because it's "not convenient." Perhaps they've got some wild oats to sow or some crazy, self-indulgent things they want to do. They think they've got it all figured out -- at the first whiff of Jesus coming again -- then they'll pull their life together. It's kind of a callous procrastination.
This same attitude goes for believers. One of the greatest lies Satan deludes us with is this: There is plenty of time. I know I've thought to myself, I'll have that conversation with my neighbor tomorrow. I'll write my son about the hope that lies within me -- tomorrow.
Stubbornly, we always think there will be a tomorrow, but just as the door on the ark closed, so is the Son of Man coming at an hour we do not expect. Let's not wait until the time is convenient. Even if the world mocks you like they did Noah, let's have an attitude of radiant expectation vs. lackluster apathy.
Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for having an "I'll get to it tomorrow" attitude when it comes to sharing with others the greatest truth of all time. Let me not be cavalier, careless, or callous when it comes to getting right with you or sharing hope with those who need to know even if they don't want to know. I thank you for your persistence in your long-suffering so that the whole world may know your abundant and saving grace. Let me be your messenger. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
What about you? What's your attitude? Are you willing to be like Noah even if the world mocks you? What holds you up? What urges you on? Will you share? Be blessed...
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