“Holy Week…Tuesday”

“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left.  Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.”

Matthew 24:37-42

So many things happened on this 3rd day of Holy Week including one of Christ’s most famous teachings, the Olivet Discourse.  This was one of the last recorded public teaching sessions of Jesus as he stood atop the Mount of Olives and taught a great multitude.

Knowing His time was short, (He was only 2 days from His arrest,) we should listen carefully to what He chose to share with us.  The discourse covers several chapters in the Book of Matthew, and I encourage you to read through them for yourself.  See what the Spirit has for you in these sacred scriptures.

For me, I seem to be drawn to this particular passage.  We are so close to celebrating Easter Sunday, the Resurrection Day!!  Christians all over the world will sing and dance and speak of deliverance.  For me, Easter is more joyous than Christmas.

But do we ever sit and truly think about the “BIG DAY?”  That day when Jesus promises He will return for us?

Some scripture relates it to a great wedding feast: the Lamb and his bride – the church.  Can you imagine?  Sitting at work, washing your car, wandering lost inside Walmart? And all of a sudden trumpets begin to blow, a mighty wind and thunder begin to sound and you know – IT’S THE LORD!

He says there won’t be any doubt.  His angels will begin gathering the faithful from all corners of the earth.  He says we will see Him coming on the clouds with His army of angels.  I can only imagine the sight with music and colors, and singing, and celebration.  We can’t comprehend what that day will be like can we friends?

But amidst the chaos and the celebration, He says there will also be great fear and weeping and pleading.  And where is all this despair coming from?  Church folks.  That is right friends, us.  He says there will be a multitude of religious people calling out to Him, only to be told, “I am sorry, but I don’t know you.”  (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+7&version=NLT)

I know this may be a downer, but consider why He chose this message friends.  Because He desperately wants us to get it while there is still time.  We don’t know when He is coming back.  But we are assured that He is, He said so.  So we have to be ready.  And what does that mean?

For me, it means living each day by giving my whole heart, soul, and mind to Him.  It means allowing Him to be Lord of my life and living obediently to what He commands.  It means staying in daily communication with Him through prayer and Bible study.  And it means accepting this wonderful gift of grace He has to offer instead of lying to myself and telling myself I am just fine on my own.  It means being a disciple, and not just a fan.

Jesus says there are many Christians who will be left behind because they lack a personal relationship with Him.  Be clear on this, these folks:

  • Attend church
  • Serve
  • Give money
  • Support missions

But they don’t have a relationship with Him.  And that will be all that matters on that fateful day.  Jesus cries out to us from the Mount of Olives friends: “Come to me now, while you still can.”

Please don’t let another day pass without reaching out to Him brothers and sisters.  If there is any doubt in your heart about where you stand with Him, talk to Him and receive that assurance that you are one of His beloved.  Now is the time, and He is overjoyed when you approach Him in faith.  That is what Easter is all about.

Grace to you my brothers and sisters.

King of Glory,

I pray to You now.  If there is anyone in my midst that doesn’t know You as Savior and Lord, please let today be the day.  Please unleash Your Holy Spirit upon us and help us to find our way to You.  Speak to us in ways that we can understand.   Help us now, while we still have the opportunity.  Let Your grace and mercy flow in this holiest of weeks.

In the Savior’s name I pray,

Amen

For further study, consider:

Matthew chapters 22 – 25:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22&version=NLT

Mark chapter 12:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12&version=NLT

John chaper 12:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+12&version=NLT

“Your Soul Is At Stake…”

Our reading today comes from Matthew, chapters 23-25

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2023&version=NLT

We are coming down to the end of Christ’s passion, and as we journey forward we can feel His anxiety and His sense of urgency building throughout these chapters.  It is almost as if you can see Him, speaking more loudly and in a more rushed tone of voice.  In these final days before His death, He seems to be desperately trying to get one point across:

Get your heart ready, time is short!

We see multiple parables and encounters that relate to this theme, and I am struck by the intensity of them.  What I am taking away from these 3 chapters is this:

Jesus is going to come back, and most of us won’t be ready.  Frightening isn’t it?  When He returns, and His angels begin gathering up the faithful, will I be one of them?  Will you?  I don’t claim to know anything more than what these particular scriptures tell us.  But these are the main points that I am hearing loud and clear:

1.  Jesus will come back

2.  He will gather up the believers

3.  Many people will be left behind

4.  Religious activity will not get you recognized.

5.  Faithfulness is the key

6.  It takes a lifestyle of daily faithfulness to prepare ourselves for the judgment.

7.  No one knows when He will come.

 

As I read these passages, I was overcome with grief for those that were left behind.  In all the stories, those folks that thought they were doing the right things, those folks that thought they had more time – they were tragically mistaken.  And the door closed on them.  Forever.  I don’t know about you, but a life sentence in eternity, with no chance of parole, is a harsh thing to imagine.  And yet, Jesus says, many church folks will end up there.

So what does it mean to be faithful?  I think that is something that each one of us needs to really spend some time with.  We need to be praying and asking God to show us the paths of righteousness and help us to walk them.  But I do believe that going through the religious motions is definitely not the way.  This is just my opinion, but going to church, serving on a committee, and throwing a $20 in the plate every now and again is probably not going to cut it.  As He says Himself, even being a devout tither won’t get it either.  So what will?

As I said earlier, we each need to be seriously asking that question for ourselves.  But two things were pretty clear to me.

1.  Heart condition – I believe that Christ will judge our hearts, minds, and attitudes without giving a second thought to our public activities.  Did I love others? Did I forgive?  Did I do my best to lead other people to Him?  Did I take care of those that couldn’t take care of themselves?  Did I give and serve with a cheerful and generous spirit?

2.  Relationship – Do I have a deep relationship with Him?  Did I spend time with Him daily?  Did I immerse myself in His word, so that I could be transformed into His likeness?  Did I put Him above everything else?

For me, only by doing these things daily will I become like Christ.  Connecting with Him occasionally, worshiping Him only through convenience, and serving Him on a couple of days a year will not prepare me for His coming.  I don’t think on that surprising day, I want to try to explain to Him why He hasn’t heard from me in a while and why I have been too busy to attend worship this month.  My soul will ride on that conversation.  I want it to go well. I just want to hear those grace-filled words, “Well done good and faithful servant. Come into the joy of your master.”

This message was so very clear for me.  I would love to hear some feedback about your impression of these parables and encounters.

Blessed Maundy Thursday Friends.

 

Heavenly Father,

You try so hard to get my attention.  And You wait for me to get it, so that I will not perish.  Praise be to mighty Jehovah!  For you are merciful, slow to anger and quick to forgive.  Speak to me Lord, in ways that I can understand.  Show me the faithful path.  Walk with me each day, and lead down the path to salvation through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Show me how to finish well.

In the name of my Savior I pray,

Amen