Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Behold He Cometh

How do I know if I am ready?
Revelation 1:7, 1 Corinthians 15:51:52

This movie called life is wrapping up gradually, yet swiftly. Every movie has its final moments, either of war, love, pain or loss. However, the world is awaiting the most significant event since creation; an event that will make irrelevant every other event that has ever happened on earth, an event that concludes the movie of life… behold He cometh!

The first coming of our Lord Jesus was for the salvation and remission of sins (Acts 2:38, Mark 2:17, John 3:16), deliverance for the captives of the mighty (Luke 4:18) and respite to hearts in need of grace. The Lord’s first coming paved the way for man to have peace with and of God, justified the burdened sinner who by faith believes in Him and showed man the pathway to eternal rest in God (Matthew 11:28-30). The sad reality is that many Christians soon forget that Jesus is coming back again, and that shortly too. This time, He is not coming for peace but to make war, to deliver judgement and eternal destruction to the unbelieving.

However, it should worry every true believer of the widespread focus of the church on prosperity, miracles, breakthroughs and the “toys” of the Kingdom rather than soul winning, holiness and righteousness in view of the Lord’s imminent return. In Christ’s own words, He affirmed “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Of course prosperity, miracles and breakthroughs are good and biblical but they are mere echoes of the core of Christianity. We live in societies today where many churches hardly preach the true gospel of Christ’s imminent return for His saints. The question is not whether or not He will come; He is coming. Rather pause and ask the question, “Will I be ready when He returns?”

The Bible is replete with warnings about the second coming of Christ and Christ’s call on us to eagerly await His return. In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus told a parable of the ten virgins to illustrate his second coming; five wise virgins and five foolish virgins. The reality of this parable is so weighty that we cannot but draw out poignant lessons for our own application. As we explore this parable, be wise to find answers to the question of whether or not you are ready for the Lord’s return as you stand.

In Matthew 25:1, Jesus likened the Kingdom of God to 10 virgins. There is a very instructive lesson to learn here; heaven is for the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8). Virgins represent Christians that are sold out for and consecrated to God. I find this parable to be one of the most heart-rending of all the parables that Jesus told for many reasons. Firstly, they all had their lamps (vs. 1). Psalm 119:105 says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”. They knew the Word of God without any shadow of doubt. But was that enough to last the race? Secondly, they were all called virgins, meaning they were born-again Christians (vs. 2) There is a lot in a name but your life and works must be one in Christ, else there will be no power in the name “Christian”.

Thirdly, they all went forth to meet the bridegroom (vs. 3). They did not go to the disco hall to club, rather they went to meet their Lord. However, the true beauty of the Christian race is not in starting well, but finishing well. Fourthly, they all tarried and waited during the moment of delay (vs. 5). None of them complained about the delay, none said the journey was a waste of time; they all waited. Fifthly, they all fell asleep while they waited; both the wise and the foolish (vs. 5). So what made the difference between the two groups? The oil of grace!
The line of difference between the wise and foolish virgins was very thin and it is the same today. There is a great danger for Christians who are in spiritual sleep in these last days because no man knows the exact moment the bridegroom will come. That’s why Jesus said in Mark 13:32-37, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”

The call to watch is for all Christians; both to the wise and foolish virgins. To the wise and watchful virgins of Christ, the call is to ensure we daily renew God’s grace on our lives to run the race to the very end. To the foolish, sleeping and careless virgins in the church today, the call is to awake from slumber, repent from backsliding and renew the oil of grace in your lamps. If the Lord tarries, only grace can keep us in His love.

So you may be asking the question, “How do I know if I am ready?” One of the tools of the devil against Christians is fear. Many become uneasy when they hear the theme of the second coming of Christ. This ought not to be so. 1 John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” You can measure how ready you are for the return of Christ by how much your love for the Lord is increasing daily. You look forward to seeing the one you love, not fear. Do you look forward to the rapture? Do you look forward to seeing the face of the Lord? Measure how ready you really are by your sincere answer. Only foolish virgins quiver with fear and uncertainty at the mention of the rapture.

There is no better way to prepare for Christ’s second coming than being engaged in effective evangelism; corporate and personal evangelism. In John 9:4, Jesus said “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” It is unfortunate that many churches have lost the focus on the heartbeat of God. Jesus did not die on the cross to make us rich, wealthy and comfortable. The Cross was not to enlarge our bank accounts or make us “enjoy” Sunday worship services. These are mere echoes of the heartbeat of God. Mark 8:36, 37 says “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

God is seeking after the souls of men, not their temporal, earthly comfort. Charles Spurgeon said, “Send sickness, poverty, losses, crosses, persecution, what thou wilt, thou hast forgiven me, and my soul is glad.” All that really matters is the salvation of people and God is seeking Christians that are willing to do His work. By so doing, you show that you understand the times and are eagerly awaiting the second coming of the Lord.
You must also guard against every besetting sin, bitterness and flee all appearance of evil. Paul said every man must work out his (or her) own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Furthermore, saturate yourself in scriptures, don’t be idle in the church but be involved in the work of the Kingdom. Then pray, pray, pray, pray. Never underestimate the power of a praying Christian. And when you have done all, immerse yourself daily in the grace of Christ. Remember, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). And while you wait, ponder these words with me:

The sky shall be turned to blood
Bright clouds darkened at the stretch of the angel’s
The air shall be filled with howls of tears; many
Wailing for respite to no avail
Many seeking death but death itself running for
The pain of motherhood shall greatly increase, fathers will seek their
Sons but none will answer, for none shall find
Strength for words
The heavens shall be opened, all shall see it,
The dead shall rise first to glory.
Alas, O sons of men! Behold the Lord cometh in the
Every eye shall see Him as He is but not all shall
Behold His glory
Many shall behold Him, but not all dare embrace Him.
Behold, He cometh! Brace thy soul to meet thy Maker.
Behold He cometh! Guard thy heart against unbelief.
Behold He cometh! Are you ready to meet thy Lord?
Written by Joseph Iregbu (

1 comment:

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