Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 6th December 1998
From the Pastor: Christ has Come and is Coming I
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10|
A notice in a church paper once announced "Christ is coming", and urged
their people to prepare for the coming of Christ (i.e. on 25th December).
No, He didn't come then, nor has He since, and He certainly doesn't come
every 25th December, which was the impression the notice tended to convey.
However, had the notice intended to use the Christmas season to focus on
our need to prepare for His glorious Second Coming it would have been quite
proper, and indeed, necessary. Our Lord constantly urged "watchfulness"
in regard to that great event, and it is proper to do so, particularly at
this time of year.
"Beware" is a familiar sight on signs and in verbal warnings from radio
or TV. We can be told to "Beware of trains" at a railway crossing; or to
watch out for an accident on X Street which is blocking traffic. In the
same way Christ warned us to "watch out", "beware" lest the day of His
return catch you unawares (Matthew 24:42; 25:13; Luke 21:36). Why so?
Because we do not know the time, either in specific terms or even in
general terms, hence we must be ready at all times. Lest anyone object
that 2000 years have passed and nothing has happened, Peter reminds us
that with God a thousand years are as a day and the other way around
(2 Peter 3:8). It is significant that he talks in terms of a thousand
years. As the year 2000 approaches such watchfulness needs to be enforced
more than ever.
What then is it to be "on the alert", "watchful" etc.? What it does
not mean is to be involved with date speculation. Far too many
have gone down that track and finished up with egg on their faces.
Instead, it is simply that we flee the corruptions of the world around
us, keep praying and pursue holiness in the fear of God, so that when
He does come we may have every reason to be joyful and unashamed. If we
die in the meantime this does not lessen the need one whit. So then,
as Christmas 1998 approaches let us sidestep the jollity in favour of
the joy in anticipating His appearing in glory.