Now is the time and the hour to awake from our sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Every day that passes is a day closer to the return of the Lord Jesus for His church. The Lord’s return is imminent and each day it gets a little closer than the day before. Time is short and we need to be awake, alert, ready and prepared to meet our Saviour.. but should we try to work out the day of His return to take us to be with Himself?
Should we search out a likely date of His coming on which to pin our expectations? Should we take note of the speculations, theories, dreams or visions of others? Are we to trawl biblical prophecy, extra-biblical writings or the news to discover a date? No! for lying prophets abound pretending to have additional revelation from God. We are not to try to date-set, but we are to recognise the season is fast approaching.
For 2000 years the return of Christ for His saints has been imminent, and it still is. Christ’s return is fast approaching. Each day it gets a little closer than the day before. His return is closer than it was last year, last month, last week or even yesterday, The return of Jesus is nearer than the day on which we first trusted Him as Saviour. As Paul told the Romans, “now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.”
But how should we prepare for the return of the Lord, what should we be doing? Well, Scripture is its own interpreter, and the writer to the Hebrews gives us a clue. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much more, as you see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
In this challenging verse, the writer uses the lovely word 'exhort', which is to encourage. We are to encourage others to be awake, alert, ready and prepared to meet our Lord – prepared all-day; any-day; every-day – for our salvation is drawing ever closer.
Just as God’s Spirit comes alongside to exhort us, we are to do the same for others.. we are to exhort, to encourage, to urge and become united in hope, one with another. When two or three are met together in His name, we should talk of His soon return. We are to draw near and meet with other believers, exhorting and encouraging, for we are in the season of His return – a season that has lasted 2000 years – and the Lord’s return is closer than when we first believed.
We are to be advocates one for the other – little comforters; trustworthy anchors. We are to draw alongside to support and steady, to balance and even to correct. We are exhorted to exhort other Christians when we meet together in fellowship – particularly in these evil days as the return of the Lord gets ever closer. What a privilege and honour – what a ministry and yet what a responsibility… we have been entrusted to be that good, faithful servant, toward other believers.
This should also be a time when we examine our own relationship with Jesus. We can scarcely exhort others to be spiritual ready if we are ill-prepared ourselves. We can hardly encourage others towards preparedness if we have become careless. We cannot draw alongside others aright, unless we are in fellowship with the Lord – and the urgency increases as we see the day of His return approaching.
The imminency of Christ’s return for His saints has lasted 2000 years! This was an important fact for the early church; as it has been down the centuries. So why this emphasis on exhortation “..as ye see the day approaching?” Well, Scripture as always is it's own best and unique interpreter. We are instructed of the apostles, that the end is a distinctive period for the Body. The end is to be characterised by unusual pressures and strains for God’s children.
There is to be a huge increase in satanic activity in the heavenly realms. The enemy knows he has only a short time to achieve his nefarious deeds. The enemy as a roaring lion prowls the earth, seeking whom he may devour. Scripture indicates that the saints of God will become abnormally weary. The Word shows that many believers will be unable to face the increasing pressures. The Spirit warns that Satan’s deliberate act is to wear out the saints.
In our society, we recognise many of the attacks he uses to achieve this end. Education, politics, news – unrest, uncertainty disorder and chaos all combine.. and fear of the future and a loss of hope is the inevitable outcome – and lack of faith is the insidious bedfellow of hopelessness and despair… UNLESS… Unless we can hold fast that what is good – hold on to the promises of God. Unless we can trust His Word, which tells us this disorder is only for a season.
Oh yes – divide and conquer is a very successful satanic warfare strategy… yet we are instructed how to foil his tactic.. we are to gather together to exhort each other and encourage one another, and so much more, as we see the day approach.
Believers may be divided by thousands of miles – separated by land and sea… but we can gather together in love and encouragement – in spirit and in prayer, reminding each other that the time is short and we are to look up. Christ is returning soon and our redemption draws closer with each passing day.
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