How to prepare for the end times. Or, the Centrality of Missions in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Many preachers give entire sermons on how to be ready for Christ’s coming. Many people lay awake at night wondering if they will be ready. The confusion around this issue may be because we haven’t really read what Jesus is saying in Matthew 24 and 25. For, I believe, He lays out exactly how, not only to get ready, but to “be” ready – to continually walk in a state of readiness for His coming and be like that at all times.
Matthew 24 is well known as being a chapter of prophecy, where Jesus takes us on a wide-ranging tour of what is to come:
“Nations shall rise against nations. There shall be famines, and earthquakes etc etc.”
He also says that all the terrible things we see happening in the world are NOT a sign of His coming. There is only one thing that will bring Him to the earth in glory and power. That is, according to Matthew 24:14, the preaching of the Gospel to all the world. There are many things I could say about this, many little trails to follow. But for now let’s keep to the main focus of the article.
Jesus spends about 40 verses talking about the end of times and what it will be like in general terms. Then, beginning in verse 42 He starts making it personal – how we are to deal with and survive, spiritually, in that environment.
Verse 44 gets specific: “be YE therefore also ready.” The NLT version says “You also must be ready all the time…” i.e. live in a constant state of readiness for His appearing.
But HOW do we get ready and stay ready?
That is an important question for sure! If fact it is the main question! We can answer all the other questions but if we miss this one we could be in the lake of fire without knowing that is where we were going!
But Jesus doesn’t leave us to wonder long. He explains how to be ready – and takes considerable time to do so. The next two verses are a tightly packaged teaching on how to be ready at all times.
Verses 45 & 46: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.”
Let’s look at this. A servant is you and I – a church member, a believer, one who calls Christ “Lord.” The “lord” in the verse obviously means Jesus. His household is the entire world, for He claims every single soul as His (Ezekiel 18:4). He has put His “church,” you and I, in charge of His household, the world. To do what? To give them their “meat in due season.” What does “meat in due season” represent? Present truth. So, we are to give present truth to the world, to feed them with the words of God. That is our job.
Then – verse 46 says that happy, or blessed, is the servant that is doing this when Jesus comes.
So, the teaching here, is that giving the Gospel to the world is HOW we are to constantly by ready for Christ’s appearing!
But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He goes on in his sermon. You’ll notice no break between chapter 24 and 25 – He just goes right on talking. It seems He changes subjects but remember the context is the last days and how to be ready. So He gives 3 parables. The first, the 10 virgins, is showing the need for more of the Holy Spirit. The second parable, of the talents, is showing HOW we can receive MORE of the Holy Spirit (by investing what we have been given) and the third shows us what to invest IN (inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren…).
The final lesson here is that we are to take the salvation which we have received full and free, and invest it into other people. Until Jesus comes. That is how we are to grow in the presence of the Holy Spirit and to remain ready for His appearing.
Simple but profound.
Most of us are not truly engaged in His mission to the world. Some are on a superficial level but the vast majority are not educated and not taught that it is their responsibility to care for God’s household. So they leave it up to the organization, not realizing that the work is best done through personal effort.
Let us individually take up this work, not waiting for any other.