Monday, March 24, 2014

Something's Missing!

For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day...And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Luke 17:24 and 26-30

The LORD Jesus gave the church specific instructions on their mission in the world--it was to be a witness that preserves, protects, prevents, and prepares mankind for eternity by sharing the everlasting Gospel.  In short, the Lord wants a church that is both salt and light in the midst of corruption and darkness.  However, in this passage which speaks of His coming as lightning where some are taken and some are left (see Luke 17:34-36), He reveals a problem that is keeping believers from accomplishing their mission and that is averting the church's attention to the signs of the shortness of the hour just before His return.  First, we must be certain that the message here is specifically for believers and then we must see what is missing in order to understand what the message is for the church shortly before the Blessed Hope unfolds.

It is certain that this message is a statement for believers only.  Just prior, he was addressing the Pharisees about their false preconceptions on the purposes of God and the establishment of the kingdom of God.  Before Jesus could set up His heavenly kingdom on earth, the power of sin had to be destroyed at the cross so that the kingdom of God could first be established in the heart of those trusting in the work of the cross.  He had to deal a death blow to the sinful issues of the heart through His own vicarious death.  Anyways, as the LORD goes on, he changes the audience, "
And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it (Luke 17:22)."  Much could be said here but let's set it aside for another time.  It is enough that we see He is addressing His church about a last days problem.

This brings us to what is missing in His description of the last days because it seems He forgot to list something.  When Paul twice addressed Timothy, he discussed how sinful and wicked the world will become in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 and 2 Timothy 3:1-9.  He called it perilous times!  "
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (2 Timothy 3:1-5)."  

The idea that the world will become a cesspool of evil at the end of days is a consistent message in the writings of John, Jude, Peter, and Paul.  It is why Jesus mentioned the days of Noah and Lot.  Genesis 6:5 tells us, "
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."  In Lot's time, men would attempt to rape angels--how much worse could it get? So where is the sin in Luke 17?  Yet, in Luke, Jesus does not mention sinfulness.

What is wrong with any of these things Jesus mentioned?  He said that most would be eating and drinking, giving children away to marriage or getting married, buying and selling,  planting or building.  These are not sinful actions in and of themselves.  God created marriage so that can't be wrong.  He surely wants us working and making a living.  We all have to eat.  So what is He trying to say?  Did Jesus not understand?  Since, again, this is a message specifically for the disciples, it is certain He understood.  In the last days the church would cease to be a witness because they were preoccupied with the things of life.  So much so that they would ignore the plethora of events showing the soon coming of Messiah.

It seems that He saw our day perfectly.  Most are overly devoted to the normal everyday things of life and under devoted to Christ.  This is distracting their attention away from the obvious signs of His coming while also keeping them from being a witness to a world that is about to experience the cataclysm of the Tribulation.  How can they share Christ when sports, and pleasure, and prosperity, and relationships, and personal kingdom building, and...? Even "church" is a distraction as most are just there to sing a few songs, feel a dab of joy bumps, and get their ears tickled by their "life coach" rather than mourn like Jeremiah and the other prophets who saw that writing on the wall in their day.  Noah heard God and suffered through building an ark for his family.  Abraham saw a distracted relative and stood in the gap in prayer until deliverance came.

Can you, dear distracted Christian, hear the urgency of the alarm ringing in the words of Jesus?  "Remember Lot's wife (Luke 17:32)."

Father, forgive us for being distracted from the task at hand.  Help us to hear the LORD when He says to seek first the Kingdom and then the things we need for life here will be added.  Inspire us anew and empower us with a Divine move of the Holy Spirit to win all we can, to redeem the time for the days are evil, and to properly discern any and all distractions that keep us under committed to Christ.  May we not be like those who have the seed in the weeds that choke out fruitfulness in Christ. May we hear our Lord's warning to watch. Help us Lord even now as we know the Jesus Christ is Soon2Come.

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Luke 21:34-35