IT COULD HAPPEN AT ANY MOMENT
Initially Published February 27, 2014; Updated 2nd August 2020
Matthew 24.36—44 – “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels in heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Fro as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then two shall be in the field: one shall be taken, the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
There was a tragic loss in the movie and acting community just a few years ago in the USA. A young Australian actor, named Heath Ledger, famous for many movies and many roles in Hollywood, was found dead in his New York Apartment. He was only 28 years old. Heath Ledger was one of the rising stars in Hollywood, and was quickly becoming one of the top-level stars in the movie industry. His death has come as a shock to much of the Western World. He was very young, and basically had his whole life in front of him. Heath Ledger’s passing is a tragedy, especially for one so young. When a young person such as Mr. Ledger passes away, many questions arise. The questions for today, are, what about you? If today were your day to leave this earth, give up your life, and stand in front of God, would you be ready? Are you ready to meet God? Do you know when your time will come?
Jesus Could Return at Any Moment!!! In our Scripture Verse for today, Jesus is speaking of his return to call his followers home to heaven. In the Christian Church, there are many who believe that Jesus Christ, with a shout and a sounding of a trumpet, will call away in an instant those who love and follow Him. This event is called The Rapture. To be fair, the word “Rapture” does not appear anywhere in the English or Japanese, or, really, any other language Bible in the world today. The only place it can be found is in the original Greek translation of the Bible, where we see the word rapturos, a Greek word meaning to carry away. This is specifically what Jesus is speaking of here in this set of verses. Paul speaks of the event known as the rapture in II Thessalonians 2. We in the Church believe that Jesus will descend in the clouds (just as he came – the angels in Acts 1 spoke of how Jesus will come again in the same way that he left) and, with a shout and the sound of a trumpet, will instantly – in less than a blink of an eye – call away those who love him and serve him as Saviour and Lord of their lives. It is an event that Jesus says nobody knows when will take place. Even the angels in heaven do not know when this event will occur. Only the Heavenly Father knows the hour and the day that Jesus Christ will come to call away his Church. Are you a part of this group? If Jesus were to come in the next few minutes, would you be taken, or left behind? Jesus states in today’s Scripture that his coming will be the same as a thief. Do you know when a thief is going to come to your home? If you did know, what would you do to prepare? In the same way, Jesus will come, and he will take away those who have chosen him as Saviour and Lord. Are you ready to meet him, if he comes today? If not, you can be. There is another event in which nobody knows the hour nor the day…
Death: The Equal Opportunity “Employer” — Many businesses and industries use the phrase “An Equal Opportunity Employer” to show that they will accept anyone, regardless of race, nationality, religion, and even sexual preference. Such is the case with death. Death comes to everyone, in every walk of life, at every age, and in every country in the world. Death takes the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the wise, the foolish, the small and the great. The passing of Heath Ledger not so long ago, Chess Champion Bobby Fischer a short time later, and the recent passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman are just three examples of this sobering truth. Death comes to everyone, and will continue to come to people, should the Lord Jesus continue to tarry on his second coming.
Nobody Knows His or Her Day. This is a basic truth that cannot be denied. Nobody really or truly knows what day he or she will leave this earth. What is being spoken about here is death. Truly, do you know when you will die? Do you know when you will pass away? Science and medicine are constantly improving peoples’ lives. More and more people are living longer and longer lives. Just a century ago, living to be older than 60 was considered a remarkable achievement. Nowadays, we regularly hear about and see on TV people who are living into their 80s, 90s, and even their 100s. At the same time, people are still dying at young ages. Even though medicine and science are helping people live long lives, accidents, disease, murder and crime, drug and alcohol use and abuse, and simple bad living habits cause people to die at young ages. Heath Ledger, the famous Hollywood actor who passed away not so long ago, was just 28 years old. At the time of the writing of this message, the cause of his death had been ascertained as a drug overdose (Philip Seymour Hoffman, another young man and actor, passed away at the age of 46 on Super Bowl XLVII Sunday of 2014 from a similar method: drug overdose). Just a few years ago, Heath Ledger said, in an interview, that he did not want to die at a young age. The sobering fact is that this is just what happened to him, and has happened to millions of others down through the ages. And just like with the return of Jesus Christ, no-one truly knows when he or she will pass from this earth. Many people have hopes to live long lives, but the truth is, nobody knows when his or her heart will stop breathing, when that last breath will be drawn and released. Nobody knows when death will come to usher him or her into the presence of God Almighty.
The Bottom Line: When It’s Time, IT’S TIME! Friends, when it is time to go, IT IS TIME TO GO! There will be no deals, no bartering with the LORD when its time, both for the Rapture and for the day of one’s death. The Bible declares that once someone passes from this earth, their Eternal Fate is sealed………
“And he saith unto me, ‘Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.’” —Revelation 22.10—11
Friends, this is why it is imperative to turn to Jesus Christ and place your eternal destination in His Hands. To wait is to court folly and court destruction. To put off coming to Jesus Christ is an invitation to disaster! The Bible, again, is explicitly clear………
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…” —Hebrews 9.27“
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” —Revelation 20.11—15
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ And there followed another angel, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, ‘Write, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”‘” —Revelation 14.6—13
The choice is clear, folks! Heed Christ Jesus’ words……..
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” —Matthew 11.28—30
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” —John 11.25—26
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” —John 3.14—18
What say you?
Conclusion: Are YOU Ready? This is the warning that we receive from Jesus Christ today. In our scripture verses for today, Jesus reminds us over and over again that his return will be the same as a thief that comes in the night to break in, steal, and destroy. He warns us that when he comes again, many people will be living their lives the same as usual, and that many will not be watching. The same is true with death, as well. People by and large continue with their daily lives right up to the point of passing from this earth. The question is, are you ready to meet God? If today is your day, or if Jesus Christ should return with the shout and the trumpet, would you be ready to stand in front of God? The Bible says that the only way to truly be ready is to have Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. John 14.6 says that there is no other way through to the Father except by Jesus Christ. If you know him as Lord and Saviour, then I have Good News for you: You are ready. The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin, and should you pass today, the Bible says that the Father would welcome you home. If you don’t have Jesus Christ as Saviour, then there is still good news for you, too: Jesus waits to accept you, and come to you, if you will come to him and ask him into your heart and life. Just as death and sin are not bound by race, color, or culture, Jesus Christ, too, will accept all who come to him. The Bible says that whosoever comes to him, he will in no wise cast out. All you have to do is believe that Jesus is who he says he is: Truly God, really risen, and able to save you from your sins. If you don’t know him, don’t delay! Come and accept Jesus as Saviour today! He is the way, the truth and the life, and if you have him, you are ready to meet God when the time comes! Let us pray…
Prayer — Heavenly Father, death and passing from this earth are hard things to speak about. The passing of a young, talented person is always a tragedy. We pray today, Lord, that you will speak to us all. Help us to know that, if we have you, we need not fear death, need not cower in fear, and we can live fully, freely, and be ready to stand before you! Help those who do not know you, to realize that they can also be ready to stand in your presence. Help them to know, Father, that Jesus awaits, that you await, and that your word is true: he who comes unto you, you will in no wise cast out. Bless each person who reads or hears these words this week! Walk up close to us all, Father, and speak the words of truth into our ears, and help us to know, Lord, that death need not be feared. When we walk with you, eternity is assured! Bless thy wondrous name, O Lord, and be with us all this week, we pray, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!
THE LAST WORD: “Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” —Matthew 24.44
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