1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
New American Standard Version
1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
I know that you do not need further instruction about the futility of trying to predict the exact date that Jesus will return to this earth. As you remember from our times of teaching together, we told you that the Lord has revealed that the day He returns will be just as unexpected as a robber breaking into a home in the dark of night. It will be a time when people who don’t know the Lord will be saying, “All is well in the world” and then the mighty judgment of God will befall them as suddenly as an expectant mother feels the first sharp pangs of labor. They will seek to escape but when God’s judgment comes, there will be no place they can hide.
“How does this help me become more like Him?”
One of the saddest stories in American history is the story of the Titanic. Touted as the ship “that even God couldn’t sink”, it never completed its maiden voyage. As the story has been told in numerous books and movies, the ship had passengers from all walks of life. There were levels that were restricted to the common people who had little means but had somehow purchased passage on the ship. There was another level that was reserved for the affluent and was lavishly decorated for those with expensive and ornate tastes. They sailed into the night with little thought of eternal things and with a tragically false sense of security. They had no idea that catastrophe lay ahead for them all and death for many of them.
Even when the great iceberg tore into what was thought to be the impenetrable hull of the ship, many would not believe they were in danger. Their tragically misguided sense of security and confidence in the safety of the ship kept them in denial of the impending doom that awaited them until it was too late. The great ship that they misguidedly placed their confidence in broke in half and sank like a stone to the depths of the ocean.
The story of the Titanic is a historical illustration of the foolishness of so many to ignore or even ridicule the certainty of Christ’s return to this earth. Because God’s mercy and patience has allowed them time in this sinful world to turn to the only One who can save them – the Lord Jesus Christ – they have mistaken His patience for His absence. The moment of the Son’s return is known only to the Father but the certainty of His return is known to all of His children. Like the sinking of the Titanic or the tragic attack on our nation of 9/11, for those who stubbornly and arrogantly refuse or ignore the Savior’s plea for them to receive His salvation, His return will come unexpectedly and with tragic and fatal consequences.
What does the certainty of His coming mean to those who desire to live more like Him? Just as the Savior’s heart is broken over each one who turns a deaf ear to His call to redemption, so must our hearts be burdened for them. We understand that we cannot make that decision for them but we must be vigilant and compassionate to do all that we can to point them toward the Savior. This does not mean that we become obnoxious and heavy handed as if we could force them to receive His grace. It means that we take very seriously the matter of living so that they can see the Savior in us and being constantly willing to share His story of redemption when the Lord opens the door of conversational opportunity.
We do not know when our Lord’s return will be. For we who are His children, it will be a grand and glorious reunion with the Master. For those who are not ready, it will be the Day of Judgment. Let us do all that He will allow and empower us to do to help those who do not know Him to meet Him now as Savior rather than on that day as Judge.
“How should I pray for Him to change my life?”
Thank the Lord that you are ready and watching for His return. Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit so that you might let others see Him in you and want to know what makes such a difference in your life. Pray that He will help you know when He gives you the opportunity to tell someone how they can meet Him too.