Bible Devotion Week 4

My denomination growing up, The Assemblies of God, had a boys program similar to the Boy Scouts but way better (trust me I did both). It was called “Royal Rangers.” Similar to the Boy Scouts we had a pledge, a code, and a motto. The motto has always stuck with me. The Royal Ranger motto is “Ready.” Meaning: Ready for anything! Ready to work, play, serve, worship, live, and obey God’s Word. We were trained to be ready at all times for whatever challenge or opportunity might present itself. We were also, as good Pentecostals, always ready for the Lord’s return. I turned 14 the beginning of the year 2000. All of year 13 (1999) was filled with sermons about the end times. It was afterall the end not only of a century but the millennium. Surely the Lord was coming soon and we needed to be ready.

As the years again tarried and as I left the Pentecostalism of my youth, I also left behind that motto - “ready.” I became Reformed and haughtily looked down on my dispensationalist forebears as having bad theology compared to my superior Reformed theology. I ditched the charts and embraced amillennialism. Within the past few years, the Lord has humbled me for forgetting the motto of my youth and its rootedness in Scripture. In Matthew 24-25, we read Jesus’ end times discourses and parables. The first part of chapter 24 is filled with various signs of the end times, including the destruction of the temple (vv. 1-2), the rise of false Christs (vv. 4-8), and coming calamities (vv. 15-31). Jesus says that no one knows the day or the hour (v. 36), but this doesn’t stop him from warning his followers to “be ready,”  “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (v. 44). To illustrate this teaching, Jesus shares a series of parables  in chapter 25 about being ready for the Lord’s return. I especially like the parable of the Ten Virigns in 25:1-13. The foolish virgins took their lamps but not extra oil. As the bridegroom tarried, their lamps ran out of oil and they were unable to join the bridegroom. The parable concludes, “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”

Our confession also includes this theme of being ready. WCF 32.3 - “so will he have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.” WLC 88 - “Immediately after the resurrection shall follow the general and final judgment of angels and men; the day and hour whereof no man knoweth, that all may watch and pray, and be ever ready for the coming of the Lord.” Our Reformed Standards make clear that we are to be watchful for the Lord’s return.

Saints, I would encourage you to no matter your eschatology (theology of the end times), be ready for the Lord’s return. Be found at work in the master’s vineyard, be found with your lamp trimmed and filled with oil, and be found ready to greet him at his return. If you make yourself ready for his return, then should death come first, you will find you are already ready to meet him.

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