AS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH
Matthew 24:37 “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
If there is a mortal enemy to man of whom man is not aware of, it would have to be Neglect; and if that enemy had a partner in crime, it would have to be Complacency; and if they were headlining a Hollywood movie the title would be The Twin Killers.
Someone once said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
After officiating at a gravesite funeral for a deceased person that I did not know, as I walked by the grave markers I wondered how many of those buried there had died before fulfilling what God had destined them to be while on this earth.
I guess what prompted my query was the fact that there were only a handful of people there as they laid her to rest, and I did not have much of a clue as to the life history of the elderly person we had just buried.
Out of all the funerals that I officiated, that particular one always reminds me of the rapture for some reason. For as I was walking by the many gravesites the Lord revealed to me the reality of how many of us while on this earth neglect our fiduciary duties to life and become complacent about our many responsibilities to the Creator.
Matthew 24:38-39 “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
In life we quickly learn that our actions always incur reactions, but the one lesson that it is harder to learn is that our inactions also have reactions, and usually they are unwanted negative reactions, but many a times we come to that realization just a little too late.
Jesus makes very clear in His teachings that life is full of uncertainties.
But the one area of life that I want to focus on today is in our responsibility before Him at His soon return.
What does Jesus expect from us at His return?
Matthew 25:14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.”
In the parable of the talents Jesus is clearly teaching about the responsibilities of those who have been saved and gifted with God’s many goods and their having to give an accounting before the Master upon His return.
In the parable Jesus puts the emphasis in the multiplication of the talents and not on how many talents each of the servants were given originally. For those who multiplied their talents received the same reward regardless of how many talents they started with.
Matthew 25:21,23 “His lord said to him (the one who had received five talents), ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’...His lord said to him (the one who had received two talents), ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”
The only difference between the two is that the ones that were faithful are the ones that had been dead and were bodily resurrected at our Lord’s return, and the ones that have been faithful are the ones that are alive and rapture when our Lord returns, for they are still in the salvation process.
But look at the fate of the one who failed to multiply, or at least increase the talent that he was given, for it was a horrible fate.
Matthew 25:25-27 “‘And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.’”
Jesus uses currency as an example for the lives of those who are His, remember how the parable began? The master called his own servants and delivered his goods to them, so that Jesus is not dealing here with unbelievers, but rather He is dealing with the believers at His return.
Now the word wicked that Jesus uses for the servant that failed the master when He called him you wicked and lazy servant, is the same that He used earlier in reference to a believer that failed to forgive.
Matthew 18:32-34 “Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.”
Who are the torturers? The demons of fear and torment.
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
What was it that Jesus told us that the wicked servant first said to the master? And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.
This may come as a shock to some, but not all believers will be rapture! They will all be saved but not all will be taken up to be with Jesus when He first returns, some believers, if not many, will be turned over to the tormenting demons that will be released during the first five months of the Wrath of God upon the earth.
Psalm 78:49 “He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility—a band of destroying angels.”
So that in both cases, the servant that refused to forgive as he had been forgiven and the one who feared being accountable to the Master, neither of them had been made perfect in love, so that fear and torment will be the catalysts that God uses to perfect them into the kingdom.
Fear and Torment will drive Neglect and Complacency out of the believers that refuse to be perfected in love!
What is it then that Jesus expects from us at His return?
Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
What does it mean to watch? I think it has to do with expectation; what are your expectations of Jesus as He returns? Is He coming to save you, or is He coming to judge you? What will His return be like?
If you are complacent and neglectful about someone’s imminent visit, it would seem that you really do not care much about them. Your attitude may be that of, Well if I am not home when they happen to come, too bad. If the house is a mess when they come, who cares.
That type of attitude implies that you own the house and that He is only a visitor, but if you are a believer you need to realize that He owns you and that He has invested into your life the gift of His life.
He is not coming back to sit down and chit chat with you, He is coming back to claim the rewards from the gifts that He has invested in you and in your life.
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Let me ask you this, if I may; Does your life transcend this life?
Matthew 16:25 “For whosoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
What light am I suppose to shine? What does it mean to lose our lives for His sake? What is transcendence?
Jesus invested His life into our lives so that our lives can transcend and become one with His life. And just like He gave up His natural life to obtain a higher physical/spiritual eternal life, so must we.
There is no hope in this life of death outside of the resurrection from the dead into eternal physical and spiritual life.
Now if the return of Christ completes the natural life that is totally surrendered to Him, a life that is dead to the things of this world and alive in the hope of the resurrection from the dead, then His return is the most important event in all of life, and just a hint that it may be nearer should cause us to focus more closely into His possible return in our day.
What is the engine that drives you? What are the predominant thoughts that preoccupy your mind as you fall asleep every night? Do you think about those love ones that may not be ready when our Lord returns? Are you planning your strategy for when the skies turn dark and the unbelievers fear? Are you prepared to tell them that Jesus is coming and that if they call on His name they will be saved?
Psalm 116:10 “I believed, therefore I spoke…”
A light shines through us as the result of a fire that is burning within us.
If the Lord is our passion, if His Word is our compass, and if we make our lives His life, living for that wonderful moment when He appears to take us away with Him that we may be like Him, then we have already transcended this present life and are more than ready to be rescued.
John 21:15 “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’”
The only thing outside of our preoccupation with His soon return, should be our preoccupation with feeding His sheep with the sincere milk of the Word of God, preparing them for our Lord’s soon return.
Is not the grandeur of our destiny that we should be eager to attain, but rather, in the grandeur of His coming that we should be eager to not only participate, but also to prepare as many as we possible can to participate in it as well?
2 Corinthians 4:11 “For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”