Daily Update #160

Readings: Luke 17: 26 – 18:34. 2 John 4 – 9. Psalm 119: 1-8
Do you ever stop to consider the Kingdom of God? My earliest recollection of how it was explained to me, was that the Kingdom of God is in two parts: ‘the Now’ and ‘the Not Yet’.
The ‘Now’ as far as we are concerned is today, when we become Christians we become part of God’s Kingdom and come under his rule and protection. We suddenly see glimpses of God’s kingdom all around us, not only in our own lives, but also in the way God intervenes in the lives of others.
The ‘Not Yet’ refers to when Jesus will return in glory to judge every single person. And it is this second part that we are going to look at this morning.
On Sunday, Matt spoke about the parable of the ten virgins with their lamps and how we need to be ready for Christ’s return. Today, we have two real life examples of what happens if you don’t heed the warnings.
Both Noah and Lot lived when all those around them were utterly corrupt and depraved. People had rejected God and decided to get on with their own lives in the way they saw fit. Everyone was more concerned with their daily lives, the struggles and joys, the pleasures of living their best lives now. Nobody was interested in God, let alone why He had created them or that He was going to judge them for how they lived their lives.
Suddenly, disaster struck. No warning, no time to plan an escape. First, a flood then a fire. But only Noah and his family and Lot and his daughters escaped to safety – one to an ark and one to the mountains. Heart stopping fear and panic mingled with relief and gratitude and finally sorrow for those destroyed, must have overwhelmed both Noah and Lot.
It is difficult for us to imagine what these events must have been like – although television footage of events like the Indonesian tsunami give us an a very small idea.
“It will be just like that” says Jesus.
Take a moment to think about these words.  “It  WILL  be  just  like  that”
Jesus’ return will be as cataclysmic as the flood and the fire. I have to admit that I don’t often think about the fact that Jesus could return before my life is done. My day to day life is often more centred around how I live now, retiring and eventually ‘going to be with Jesus’. This is how I would like it to be. 
But Jesus’ words break through our cosy plans to remind and warn us not to get complacent or caught up in our lives here. We cannot hold onto what we have now. If we do, we will end up like Lot’s wife, who looked back to all she had left behind, instead of where God was taking her. Genesis 19:26 tells us that she was turned into a pillar of salt!
Indeed, Jesus goes on to tell the disciples that when he returns in judgement, nobody will have time to pack a suitcase, let alone put their affairs in order. The warnings are not like a week’s notice for a lockdown. No.
Only one question will remain. To which Kingdom do you belong? Jesus will return to judge each and every one of us. Those who have loved Christ will stay with him in his kingdom. The rest who have loved the world instead will be cast down to hell.
Jesus is plain in his warnings and they are echoed again and again throughout the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:1-4 spells it out for us: “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”  Does that sound like our country today? A quick scan of the news headlines will confirm that we are indeed living in these last days. Now is the time to decide. His kingdom is coming and we need to prepare.
How do we prepare for the unexpected? Firstly, we have to know to the depth of our beings whether we have truly committed ourselves to following Jesus or do we secretly long for all that this world can give us?
Then, we choose to how we live our lives now. We can choose to submit to Jesus as our Lord now and trust Him as our Saviour. We can show our love for Jesus by walking in his commands.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to read those words “it will be just like that…” and be afraid. Instead, I want to look forward with joy and anticipation to Jesus’ glorious return.

Let us pray. Lord Jesus, thank you that your word brings us both comfort and challenge. Thank you that you remind us in so many ways that we need to be careful about the choices we make every day. Give us a heart to listen to you and follow your decrees Please show us where we have turned away from you and help us keep close to you.  Prepare us spiritually for life in all its fullness and death in all its glory. Where we are fearful, fill us with joy and hope for your return. Amen