Monday, October 2, 2023

Coming into Focus

And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:3 NLT)

Without question there’s a blessing in having a proper and balanced understanding of what the Bible teaches about the last days. It is not to drive us into a state of panic or needless alarm, but it should have a purifying effect on our lives spiritually.

John wrote, “And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:3 NLT). Scripture does teach that the Lord is coming back, and we need to be ready.

Jesus said of His return, “No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows” (Matthew 24:36 NLT). However, when we see certain things happening, these should alert us that His coming is near.

The Bible says that we are moving quickly toward the Lord’s return, so we need to pay attention to the signs of the times.

Sometimes we get so bogged down in details that we don’t get the big picture. We can get confused as we study Bible prophecy because we don’t understand how the prophetic books unfold. That should not discourage us.

Luke 21 is commonly known as the Olivet Discourse. A direct parallel of Matthew 24, it gives us a bird’s-eye view of end times events. It begins with the emergence of the Antichrist and ends with the return of Jesus Christ. In addition, it describes the tribulation period that is yet to come upon the earth.

The occasion for this message was the disciples’ admiration of the temple. There also was a sense among the followers of Jesus that He would establish His kingdom then and there.

Against that backdrop, Jesus took the opportunity to bring things into focus and help the disciples understand that He hadn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom at that time. Rather, He came to die on the cross for the sins of the world.

At the same time, Jesus described for them how His kingdom ultimately would be established. He also predicted something that would happen within their lifetimes as well as things that are yet in our future—things that very well could happen in our lifetimes.

Then Jesus closed with a personal exhortation: “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth” (Luke 21:34-35 NLT). 

Not only does Jesus warn us against living in an ungodly way, but He also warns us about living in such a way that we don’t walk with God as we ought to. It’s so easy, even for Christians, to go through life without a concern about God, His Word, and what He has to say to us. 

But that is not how we should be living. We need to be living in such a way that we’re ready for the Lord’s return. We need to make every moment count.

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