Friday, January 22, 2016

Directional Commentary 1.23.16

The Time is Near

Last week we took a look at the three blessings given in Revelation 1:3. Today, I want to take a look at the last part of that verse where it says, “for the time is near." What does that mean? What time is near? Why did the Apostle John say that?

First of all, I believe that it was said as an encouragement to the reader. In other words, we should seek to obtain the three blessings of reading, hearing, and keeping those things written in the Bible because the “end is near”. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty good motivator for me, especially as a student of Scripture who has his eyes on the Middle East right now. Even a novice Bible reader should know that it will all end in the same place that it all began.

I’ve often asked my congregation how they would live their lives today if they knew for sure that Jesus was going to come back tomorrow. What would they do differently? What things would they leave unsaid? I guarantee that kind of knowledge would change most of our schedules! I know that it would change mine.

However, the Bible teaches that we are to live our lives like Jesus could return at any moment. Who knows, He may come back today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. No one knows for sure but the Father (Mark 13:32). The truth is that we do not know, but we should live in such a way that we are ready. Revelation 3:3 says, “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” Sadly, many will be caught by surprise. What about you?

The second reason that John may have said “for the time is near”was as an attempt to warn those who for whatever reason don’t find it necessary to read, hear, and to keep those things written in the Bible. It could have been John’s way of saying, “I’m warning you that the day is coming when it will be too late.” Unfortunately, many Christians are going to be heartbroken when they stand before God on that final day because they failed to read, hear, and keep the Word of God. I see them every Sunday. They come, they sit, they listen, (some of them sleep) and they leave. They are just too busy for God. God just doesn’t know how busy and important they are. Their cell phones and whatever else is going to happen after the service are just too pressing. If the truth be known, they are just there to check the box on their “to do” list.  You say, “Pastor, you’re being harsh.” No, my friend, I’m just being honest. No one knows the sheep better than a shepherd.

Can you imagine the day that we all stand before God? According to the Bible, the very first thing that we will see in Heaven, after the throne of God (Rev. 4:2), is our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Revelation 5:6 says, “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain…” What will go through our minds at that moment? Sorrow? Pity? Regret? Maybe that is why Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes…” What are these tears for? It may be because for the first time, they are going to realize just how much Jesus suffered so that they could have eternal life. Maybe, it’s because they are going to wish that they would’ve, could’ve, and should’ve, done more. Sadly, there are going to be many Christians with tears in their eyes on that day because they are simply going to be overwhelmed with the unfortunate reality of misplaced priorities. How about you? Where are your priorities right now? He hasn’t come back yet; at least, not at the time of this writing. 

I pray that we can all say as the Apostle Paul to his young disciple, Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:8, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

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