Are you observing the times?

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Winter is officially over, and spring is here! How do we know? Is it just merely by the calendar? Not totally. We also observe it from the changes around us. We see God’s creation changing according to His calendar as the seasons change. His creation obeys his creation command to “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen 1:22) as we see that even birds prepare nests to birth their young and actively protect them. They know that spring is the best time for the survival of their chicks, and so they change their habits when they sense the warmer weather come after winter, without the need for printed calendars or humans to tell them to do so. God made them to do so, and they observe the times.

You must be willing to act based on the knowledge when you see the signs. Watching the weather plays an important role in our daily lives. If we are planning to travel, we worry about extreme weather. We plan our laundry days based on the forecast, and when we see dark clouds looming, we rush out to keep our laundry. When it comes to our physical life, we are generally very apt in planning based upon what we see and observe.  This was what Christ said of the Pharisees and Sadducees who came asking Him for a sign from heaven.  “… When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring.” (Matt 16:2-3). Yet, we are often less ready to “see” or respond spiritually based upon what is already made known to us “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”. This reluctance was demonstrated by the Pharisees and Sadducees, who while already having been told of God’s will, knowing and seeing the Messiah and His miracles, yet rejected Christ and brazenly continued to ask of a sign from Him. Many today are not unknowing about the end times, that there will be an end. They may agree that these are the signs that God has pointed us to. But it makes no difference in their lives.

You must observe the signs of the times. Christ has explicitly told us to look out for 4 signs that precede His Return. So, as Christians, we must not be ignorant of signs. It begins with the knowledge of what they are. Christ tells us “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Mt 24:5-8). 1) False Christs. A simple google search will bring up many pages of the people who falsely claimed and continue to claim to be Jesus. Besides this, we have many who, even under the umbrella of Christendom, brazenly teach another Christ. Even after the Protestant church broke away from the Roman Catholic church, there continue to be many who propound another gospel. In our current times, these include the signs and wonders movement, the health and wealth gospel, and the charismatic movement. Followers of these Christs now form the majority, rather than the minority, of professing Christendom today. 2) Wars and rumours of wars, political unrest. International relations between countries are at a significant low. Why would there even be an interest in the obviously controversial nuclear submarines by 7 key world powers if there was world peace? Why would there be talk of an arms race if nations were friendly? Cold war tensions remain unresolved, and new tensions have been added to the political arena. Test ballistic and hypersonic missiles have been fired by North Korea. Tensions between China and Taiwan have increased dangerously and Taiwan is talking about being prepared for war with China. Unmasked hostility simmers under the surface of political blame and manoeuvrings. Besides the tension between nations, there is civil unrest. Coups have taken over and changed the infrastructure of nations like Myanmar and Afghanistan. In short, the whole world is suffering from a sore lack of peace. 3) Famines and pestilences. We live in a world that has been changed by COVID-19. Nations are struggling at best to manage this pandemic, while others have thrown up their hands in helplessness, knowing that little can be done since the continued spread of COVID-19 is a likely certainty. To give some light at the end of the tunnel, vaccinations were touted as the way out of lockdown, but news that highly vaccinated countries were still experiencing surges in cases have been downplayed for want of good news. The death count keeps ticking up every day, but man has almost become immune to these “statistics” even while hospitals in developed nations run out of body bags. They have just become a part of life to us. We acknowledge “the new normality” without learning the lesson behind them. 4) Earthquakes. A bit more than a week ago, many of us woke up to the news that a 5.9 Richter scale earthquake had shaken our Eastern states. Online, we are still seeing images of a volcanic eruption in Spain with lava spewing out rocks and toxic fumes, destroying towns and homes in its destructive path. So, here are all the signs in partial fulfillment of Christ’s imminent return. What is your response just because they are almost “common” scenes now? “That’s just normal life, nothing to get excited about,” you say? Well then, learn from history which shows how in World War 2, nations were unprepared for invading forces coming while the nation was lit up with parties and people going on their normal everyday life. Learn from Noah’s days, when the people “knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Mt 24:39).

You must prepare to meet Christ. 1) By being ready. “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Mt 24:44). If you are entrenched in the world, your career, your family, lift your eyes to look higher, beyond the mundane. Today is the day to return to God. Don’t delay your obedience till “tomorrow”. Even the birds (and we call a silly person “bird brain”) know how to obey His commands when they see spring arrive. Let man return ourselves to live entirely for Him. Live today ready to meet Him today. 2) By doing God’s will. “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Mt 24:46). We will have to give an account in that day when He comes, of what He has given to us as stewards to use for Him. He gives us today so that we can do His work and will today. Shake off the slumber and lethargy, throw off the slothfulness, and throw your heart’s energy into serving Him in whatsoever He commands.

Christ leaves us here for a purpose – His purpose. Don’t lose sight of that. Until He comes, let us in our individual lives and as a church fulfill our purpose for His election. We were chosen to witness for Him in this dark, dark world that is fast screeching into its end days. It is time for us to “send the light”!

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations;
and then shall the end come” (Mt 24:14).

Yours in our Lord’s service,