In my driving around the state, a frequent post on billboards along the highways or on church marquees is the declaration and warning, "Jesus is coming back, Are you ready?
That is good news, a cause to rejoice for the household of faith. That is our blessed hope that He should return, put an end to this ungodly reign of injustice, evil intents and discord among the people and nations. The end-time Scriptures are unfolding before our very eyes.
There are constant wars and rumors of war, earthquakes in places heretofore unusual and unexpected. In the household of faith, there is discord and corruption. Immoral improprieties permeate the ranks of spiritual leadership and denominational organizations. In the family unit, the foundation of our society, in the homes father and son are at odds, mother and daughter relationships have turned toxic, sibling rivalry often turns violent to the point of death. It is no longer easy to discern the seasons and this worldwide Covid pandemic has purged the earth of millions. India is literally burning the bodies of the dead in street bond fires for lack of capacity in the crematorium.
These events, these signs of the times certainly give us cause to stop our mad rush of busyness to consider and assess ourselves, are we ready for the return of Jesus.
In Ephesians 5:27 we are told this about Jesus' expectations for the church He is returning for; "That He might present to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it will be holy and without blemish."
I don't know that we are there yet, I don't know that we are ready for His return.
Politics have crept into the church. Our righteousness is measured by how conservative we are or how liberal we are. We align our Christian views with political party alliance, and we are willing to do harm to those who would disagree with our positions. In Jesus' day, there were the Pharisees and Sadducees who took up this position. It led them to condemn an innocent man and hang Him on a cross.
We thank God, the Father for the cross, it has ushered us into oneness in Him. "For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, In whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph 2:18-22
It appears that God intends for us to dwell together in unity, in oneness. And He paid a very precious price to make that dwelling accessible to us, His life and the shedding of His blood. All who believe are in the blood bought body of Christ, blood bought, sealed with the Spirit of Promise and looking to the hope of His return. Are we ready?
I was gazing out our dining room window on a breezy overcast day last week. I took survey of the happenings in our yard. The grass was freshly cut and the birds were foraging for the provisions God provides. There were Blackbirds, Blue Jays, Sparrows and Robins all together walking around and enjoying the harvest in the grass. There was no strife among the feathered creatures, the Blackbirds exacted no dominance over the Sparrows, the Blue Jays sought no dominance over the Robins; they instinctively knew that God has provided abundance for all. I thought to myself, this is what God intended for His people. This is what the body of Christ should look like. We are one body with many members. We come from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds yet we are one body.
We are to dwell together, fellowship together without dominance of one over the other. We are to dwell together without strife.
When Jesus returns, and His return is imminent, He will be looking to present to Himself a church without spot, wrinkle or blemish. Are we ready? Many of the righteous will even be surprised.