7724 - Be Watchful

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Today we are investigating words, which Jesus spoke to his disciples late Tuesday before his arrest on Thursday night. Luke 21:34-36 gives these words:

"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

Why would Jesus tell his disciples to be careful not to be caught up in the world’s ways of dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life? This is a present danger in the nature of humanity. But Jesus likely spoke these words for your benefit, and for mine, and for every Christian since the church was born at Pentecost.

Put this in perspective. Jesus would soon be leaving. He had just told them that one day he would return to establish the kingdom of God on earth.

So he warns them that those who are to be future participants in the Kingdom will not be those who fall into habitual sinful living. They should purpose, by the power of the indwelling Christ, to not fall into a worldly lifestyle.

1 John (5:18) tells us: “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God [that’s Jesus] keeps him safe, and the evil one does not touch him.” Eugene Peterson put it this way: “The God-begotten are also God-protected.”

However, Jesus gives this warning knowing human nature. We are told that the greatest problem in the church today is apathy, indifference. You know, if things are going good you just slip into an easy mode of life. One becomes indifferent to the Word of God, to his promises, to his commands.

That was a problem among nation Israel. While they were still in the desert, after leaving Egypt, God told them that when they entered the promise land, experiencing abundance and riches that apathy would be a problem; because they would cease to serve their God with joyfulness and gladness of heart because of the abundance of things (Deut. 28:47).

Jesus is warning against that danger. While he has been training his followers he gave this command: ‘if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will [destroy] it; but whoever [forfeits] his life for me will save it.” (Luke10:23-24).

There should be a difference between the lifestyle of Christians who love God and desire to please him; and that of unbelievers who live self-centered lives of ease and pleasure.

A life dedicated to God is a fulfilling life on this earth. He gives us joy and peace in the midst of the strife and pain of the world. He is our companion and we serve him as light in darkness, as the pipeline through which his living water flows to a thirsty land.

Whereas, those who live for self, do not have the divine resources to forge the rocky rapids in the river of life; therefore, they are tossed about, and have no resource for comfort or help.

Furthermore, those who live to please the Lord are promised a glorious future after this earth in the presence of the Lord.

Whereas, those who do not trust Jesus have no pleasant expectations for after life. It will be horrible.

Notice, Jesus tells the disciples that the day of the Lord’s return will be sudden. Just think, although God’s announcements to the world have been coming for centuries, still the people do not expect that day. Many are not even aware of what is coming.

That day is coming unexpectedly like a trap. And friend, once the trap is sprung it is too late to make a decision, too late to change sides.

“Watch and pray that you may escape all this,” Jesus says. Then he concludes with the bottom line, that you may the able to stand confidently and unashamed before Christ.

Oh friend, yield to Christ, trust him in faith, serve him with His strength.