By: Patrick Sanga
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s written ‘Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at AN HOUR YOU DO NOT EXPECT’ (Mathew 24:42-44)
Mathew 24 in general tells us about the signs of the end times and second coming of Jesus. Relating what was prophesized and what is happening in our times, it is obvious that we are at the close of the age and thus it is a wakeup call for the church to be prepared for their master. Now in regard to preparation, an understanding of the times is a key factor and we will look at it from the following three important areas.
- Don’t underestimate whatever happens to the nation of Israel
The bible in Mathew 24:32-33 says “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, WHEN YOU SEE ALL THESE THINGS, you know that he is near, at the very gates”.
If you read different verses in the bible regarding Israel in connection to end times you will realize that when Jesus said ‘when you see all these things’ in one side he referred to the earlier predicted signs and on the other hand he meant things that will be happening to the Israel as a fig tree. That is, we should be very much concerned on what is happening in Israel because it is connected to the future events and thus foretelling our destiny as well.
The advancing international efforts and decisions towards seeking peace solution in the region, the tension in regard to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and Israel security in general reminds us of what has been prophesized and thus signifying that, the second coming of Jesus is very near. Therefore, if you real want to have a clear understanding of times according to the Bible prophecies, don’t underestimate whatever happens to Israel. This is because whatever happens there tells us something and it has a crucial meaning to the church on earth, and thus we must be prepared.
- Thinking in terms of time and purpose
The bible in Ecclesiastes 3:1 says ‘For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven’. Also in Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says ‘He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does (GNB).
This implies that we are called to think in terms of time and an understanding of the times will help us to do the right thing at the right time. We should learn to have an inquisitive mind in whatever we want to do. This include meditating and praying for every matter while questioning our self about its times in mind. Indeed we should learn how to interpret what is carried in each season and ensure it is done efficiently, because each season contains a package of things which need to be accomplished during that particular season.
In another way, there is a distance to be covered in every season, if you fail to finish it, you will not be in position to know the next route and its distance as well. Consider the input – processing – output syndrome of production cycle, each cycle represent a season. In the input stage there are things that should be done for the second and third stage to take place as well.
Remember what God did during the six days of creation, whatever was done in each day was connected to the future. Yes, everything is beautiful/perfect and produces the intended results if it is done in its proper time. Thus for us to reap and enjoy the beauty/benefit of every matter we must learn to think in terms of time and purpose, like the children of Issachar (1Chronicles 12:32).
- Making the best use of time
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul alerted the saints, writing “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Paul was arguing them to use their time carefully because time is fasting running out, and this truth should help us make better use of it to serve God’s purpose as each of us is called.
If you read Psalm 90:10 it says ‘The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away’. It is obvious that our time on earth is very short and therefore we should live as God would have us live by making the best use of our time.
Having knowledge that we will have to give an account to the One who gives us time, we should then have a clear understanding of the seasons and times we are in. We should have knowledge of what do seasons and times demands us to do and on the other hand we should always ask our ourselves, what is that should be done today in connection to our destiny and God’s will in our life. Having such knowledge, the Psalmist once said “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12)”.
Brethren, having seen the three above important things, Please, don’t allow the pleasures of this world to take control of your life because we are warned that we should not conform to the pattern of this world, for the world is passing away along with its desires (1John 2:17). Don’t let them pull you in different directions and thus get swallowed up by them. It’s my payer that, may this sermon motivate you to invest your time in doing right things and give value to every minute that you have thus preparing yourself for the Lord’s return.
Glory to Jesus, may his grace be with you.