THE PREPARATION TIME
Anita Clark – PastorGrace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas
The coming of Christ Jesus is imminent. Jesus, our Lord warned in Matthew 24:37-39, 42-44 -”But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away so shall also the coming of the Son of man be ... Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come? He would have watched and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
The word “watch” in this text, in the Greek language means, “be alert, give strict attention.” The Amplified Version states, “...be cautious, and active in faith.” Verse 43, referring to “the thief” coincides with Paul’s writing in I Thessalonians 5:2, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night,” and in verses 3-4, it states, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then suddenly destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” Verse 4 says, “But ye, brethren, are not in the darkness, that day should overtake you as a thief.” When it is night time, and someone is asleep that is usually when a thief will come into the house to rob someone. A thief comes only to steal precious jewels.
II Peter 3:10-12 says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night...Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of person ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. Looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God wherein the heavens being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” Verse 14 says, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”
As we look around the world today, more and more we feel the nearness of Christ’s return. We ask, “What are we to be doing until He comes?” These are some of things God desires to see in our lives: Yielding completely to Him and His will. Let Him work in us, - be faithful, be walking by faith. God wants a yielded, tender heart, willing to be in God’s perfect will. This PREPARATION is the Lord’s work in us.
Psalm 10:17 says, “LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble; thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.” The word “desire” means “longing, a delight, pleasant desire.” Note the word “humble,” in the phrase “Thou wilt prepare their heart,” the word “prepare” means “to make ready, to direct.” Then it is said, “Thou (the LORD) wilt cause the ear to hear.” Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” The word “perform” means in the Gk., “perfect and complete, to fulfill completely.” The day of Jesus Christ is when He reigns on His throne. Philippians 2:13 says, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Note: God is doing the work. He is strengthening us. He is looking down on us delighting that we are yielding and following Him.
What are we to be doing until He comes? Let Him work in us! More and more we feel the nearness of Christ’s return. Everyday we should walk with God, believing, and trusting Him to do His work in us, giving up trying to be good in our self, surrendering to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Our desire should be to be prepared for Christ as His bride. “He causes our ear to hear.” Isn’t it wonderful that our God is doing His glorious work to draw us to His prefect will. This divine work goes on until the Lord calls us home to be with Him.
Apostle Paul was at that point as he wrote II Timothy 4:6-8 while in the Roman prison. He was not defeated at all, but resting in the Lord. He says, “For I am now ready to offered.” He is not just saying, “It’s about my time to die.” He was ready to go. He was looking forward to being delivered from this life and be present with Christ. Will we be able to say what Paul did when it’s time for us to depart this life. Will we be prepared to meet our Beloved Lord Jesus? History says Paul was beheaded. In Acts 20:23-24 Paul states, “...the Holy Ghost witnesses in every city; saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy; and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
Verse 7 Paul says, “For I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” What an outstanding testimony of God’s work through him, a yielded vessel. These great achievements are illustrations of an overcoming life of walking in the truth and yielding to God. I Timothy 6:12 says, “Fight the good fight of faith” which speaks of victory in our lives over all trails and problems. “I have finished my course”- performing everything that God has spoken to us to accomplish, walking in victory no matter what comes our way. “I have kept the faith.”- The word used here “the faith” speaks of “a persuasion or conviction of truth, or belief, with fidelity (which speaks of faithfulness to a belief demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.) This is very important and speaks of a guardian against error.
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord will give to me at that day and not to me only but to all them who love His appearing.” Vs. 8. This speaks of the preparation for the Bridal company of believers spoken of in Revelation 19: 7-8. Let us yield to the Lord as Apostle Paul did and be prepared to rule and reign with Jesus Christ in heaven.