Watch Therefore

Do you think about the day of the Lord? Do you look forward to His coming? Are you aware of the signs of Christ’s coming, which signs are being increasingly fulfilled roundabout us? Are you sober and watchful—mindful that the coming of our Lord will be as a thief in the night?

It is the evident instruction of the Lord that we indeed ought to be able to answer yes to all the abovequestions. For this instruction, we are reminded of several texts of God’s Word. 

In Matthew 24 Jesus calls His church to sobriety and watchfulness. And John says to us that the time is at hand: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (I John 2:18). 

On the other hand, many there be that are characterized by the Scripture when it speaks of the last days and of those dwelling therein. In Matthew 24:37-38Christ says, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark.” Or again, the Scripture characterizes many in the last days in II Peter 3:3-4 as follows: “Then shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 

The temptation to follow this way of thinking is real, and we must confess that we can easily fall into its trap. We would all too easily live our lives without considering the coming of our Lord. Is it not indeed easy to become partakers of this sin? I heard the remark just the other day, “I hope Christ doesn’t come for a long time—not until after my life time!” But such a remark is not made from the faith that abides in us. It is a way of thinking that arises out of the old man of the flesh, in which we still dwell.

The temptation is to so sin by living completely engrossed with this life, and its ends and goals. This characterized the world at the time of the type of final judgment—the time of the flood. This is evident from our quotation above from Matthew 24:37-38.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with eating, drinking, marrying or giving in marriage, as such. We do that every day and may do this as pilgrims and strangers in the midst of the world. But when this becomes the focus of life, as it was in the days of Noah, then one walks in sin—sin that, if not repented of, will lead to eternal desolation. Many there be in this world that are just so walking. 

In the days of Noah the world was given over to seeking itself. Men were concerned only for the day in which they lived. All their thoughts, desires, and activities were channeled into living unto the things of this world. They were concerned only about how they would obtain the most this life had to offer. 

This was done in the face of the pure preaching of God’s Word by Noah. It was a preaching which emphasized that God is a righteous God, and a God Who is holy. This preaching called them unto holiness and called them to seek the things of the kingdom of heaven. It was a preaching of the coming of a righteous judgment. But they would not take heed, they continued their eating, and drinking, and marrying, as though nothing would happen. They were concerned only with their daily life. Their homes, their occupations, their entertainment, etc., constituted the object of their whole life. 

And the flood came and destroyed them! 

The days in which we live can be likened unto the days of Noah. And rather than being content with what we have, rather than seeking our very happiness and blessedness out of the Word, out of Christ, we find ourselves attracted to the philosophy of the world. The attitude that we must keep up with our neighbor, and a constant striving to have more and more of this life and its things, become all too ingrained into our way of life.

Such a philosophy and striving must be recognized as having its source in the prince of the power of darkness. It has its source in hell! 

When we follow the above reasoning we find that our young people believe that they have an inalienable right to a new house, new furniture, new car with which to begin life together as husband and wife. And if that means that both must work in order to make the payments, then so be it, even if it means that we put off the God-given calling to bring forth the covenant seed. In such reasoning the wife’s occupation becomes more important to the family than her being a godly mother in the home, and than her caring for the needs of her husband and children. 

Life so often consists only in eating, drinking, and marrying or giving in marriage! 

Let us continue for a short space yet to consider the effects of this worldly attitude upon our lives. Often even for us, our work becomes more important than time with the family, or time for the increasing of our spiritual life through church attendance, Bible studies, good Christian fellowship, etc. 

Further, families have become so involved with activities of one sort or another, that there is left no time for true fellowship together. When is the last time that you sat together with your whole family for the reading of the Bible and its discussion, or even for family prayer? How much time do you take for family fellowship, and to do things together as a family in the Lord? We could go on and on with such searching questions, but let this suffice. 

One becomes so very busy with this life and with its activity and its things—without a thought, or with but a mere thought now and then, that our Lord is coming. So often we do not consider the significance of the coming of our Lord, and we are indeed tempted at times to hope that He will not come for quite awhile yet.

But, over against this our Lord says to us, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). 

And in the light of God’s word, indeed we have to confess that, yes, we too have fallen all too often into the snare of this sin. It is obvious that the world’s attitudes and philosophies have made their inroads into our lives. 

But our Lord says to us, Repent, repent and turn from this way! It is not the way of life! And by means of the second text we quoted, that from II Peter 3, Christ shows us the foolishness of those who continue so to walk. They act as if God does not judge, and as if Christ does not come. But He comes most assuredly—and that in judgment! 

Natural man foolishly says, “Where is the promise of His coming: for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” But to so speak is to close one’s eyes to the reality. For it is not true that all things continue as they were. The flood changed the world as God brought judgment upon the wickedness of man—so much so that the Word of God teaches us that we dwell in a different world from that before the flood. So changed is it! Read in this connection II Peter 2:5II Peter 3:5-6. God speaks through this text, and says He brings judgment upon the scoffer—the wicked. And to think lightly of this is to have a spiritually dead attitude. For indeed God brings judgment! And those who have the attitude expressed in the text from II Peter 3 shall be destroyed, even as the first world was by the flood. And all things of this creation shall perish with a fervent heat. 

But you who are in the Lord Jesus Christ, and who by grace are given eyes to see the promises of God, hear Christ’s Word, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. . . .Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:42, 44). And, “According to His promise, look for a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13). To be so led by the gracious Word of God is also to be assured of rich blessing. For Christ says, “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matt. 24:46). 

And be comforted that, as your God gives you ears to hear His Word, and leads you in the pilgrim’s pathway, and as your eyes are set upon the things of His kingdom, you shall grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For the work that God has begun in you, He will perform until the day of Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ comes even as a thief in the night, you shall be prepared and shall receive true peace and joy eternally in heaven. May God grant us grace to seek fervently the true proclamation of His word. 

May He grant us grace to flee the foolish ways of darkness by giving us grace to hear His warning, “Watch therefore!” Thus indeed we shall be kept in the hope that fadeth not away.