“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11
Since the first moment I was saved, I have had the feeling that Jesus was coming today. Every day is the same. He’s coming for His own.
The apostle Paul must have felt the very same way. He knew what he was being told by the Spirit regarding his ministry, where he was going, who he was to speak with, and how to live this life, but his writings contain this feeling of there being no time to waste. The Holy Spirit is He Who gives us this feeling, that we might not sit still and might share the gospel with any and all who will hear.
Jesus said that no man knows the hour or the day, and He warned us to be ready, looking forward to that day, in fact and with parables, most notably the parable of the ten virgins and the oil lamps. We must be ready at all times, never knowing if this is the day, and be filled with the Spirit, continually.
Today, beloved Pastor Chuck Smith went to be with The Lord after a long fought battle with cancer. He did not know today was the day he’d be called home, and yet he lived every day, even through his illness, like there was no time to waste. He was truly submissive to The Lord and was all about His work and loving others. Pastor Chuck lived like Jesus was coming today. Now he lives in glory.
God even warned us in the Old Covenant not to wait. We are not to be slothful. We are to repent of our sins and turn to God now. Tomorrow is not promised. Etc, etc. Every day is precious and is a gift from God, which He desires for us to use to glorify Him.
The earliest message I received from the Word was through the death and resurrection of Lazarus. It felt as though Jesus was coming that day, too. I assumed every one felt this way, but the Holy Spirit said that wasn’t true. When Jesus first told the disciples that Lazarus was dead, He didn’t outrightly say so. He said that Lazarus was sleeping. The disciples took that literally and said to let him sleep. Then, Jesus said he was dead.
Why did Jesus say Lazarus was asleep? Because Lazarus represent the body of Christ to we who read this today. Lazarus knew Jesus. He had eaten with Him, seen and heard of the miracles and healings that Christ had done, and had abided with Jesus in his own home. His illness happened while he was apart from Jesus and he died apart from the actual Presence of Him. The Bible does not say what he was or was not doing for The Lord when all of this happened, so on that I cannot comment, but he still represents the church in this scenario.
Jesus said he slept because today, much of the body is not doing the Lord’s work. They have accepted Christ, but they have gone back into their daily routines, living for themselves and not others. When it comes to the things of the Spirit, they are asleep. They are not dead, mind you, for in Christ they are alive. They simply are not sensitive to the Spirit. They are more concerned for the things of the world, and have set Jesus in the backseat, and in doing so, they have become slothful and they are asleep in spirit.
But, there is good news! Jesus has not given up on the church, nor will He. As in Revelations, He may be standing without, knocking on the door, but He calls to His bride to wake up. He calls us to “Come forth!” Awake and live this life more abundant!
He calls to His bride today, as He does every day. He calls through the Spirit, and if we listen, He says today is the day. There is no time to waste. No longer should we sit on our salvation without sharing it with others. The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. But the second is like the first, and that is to love others as we love ourselves. To love others means to be truthful in all of our ways towards them.
If tomorrow isn’t promised, and it’s not, then we need to awaken and share this good news with the world, and do so every day until we, too, are called home. That is how Jesus lived His life. That is how the apostles lived their lives. That is how our beloved Pastor Chuck lived his life. Let us honor God, as did our fathers before us, and live this life for others, concerned no longer for ourselves or our own comfort, but for them, that our lives may glorify God, and in turn, that their lives may, as well. For God so loved the world…
We’ll see you soon and very soon, Pastor Chuck, and we’ll all see His Glory as one. May today be the day, and should Jesus tarry to call the rest of us, then may we arise and proclaim Him, as you so faithfully demonstrated, for His glory.