Many times, people have predicted the rapture would happen on this date, but it never happened. Why did they get it wrong? They were so sure they had it figured out. How could they be wrong? The Bible says in Matthew 24:36, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” The next time you hear someone say, I know for sure that Jesus is returning on this date; ignore them, but be ready. Matthew 24:44 states, “Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” 1Thessalonians 5:2 states, “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
How should we be ready for Christ’s return? Over the next several blog posts, I will explore the meaning of each statement listed in 1Peter 4:7-10, which tells us what we must be doing when Christ returns.
1Peter 4:7-10 (NIV) states, The end of all things is near.
―Therefore, be alert (ESV says, be self-controlled; NAS says, be of sound judgment) and
―of sober mind so that you may pray.
―Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
―Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
―Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
What did Peter mean when He said the end of all things is near? First, let’s review the context of this chapter. Chapter four begins by explaining Christ’s suffering and how our purpose is to suffer in the flesh (also means tempted) until we cease from sin and live for the will of God. Hebrews 2:18 states, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” God will help you to endure your suffering. The chapter ends by elaborating again on how suffering will test our faith.
These posts explain how to suffer well: Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well and 7 Ways to Suffer Well: (Part 1).
This next Scripture passage explains how we are to live our lives and how to keep from being distracted from running our life’s race. For me running is suffering, so I think it is fitting that a race is a metaphor for suffering. Hebrews 12:1-2 states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Each of us is running the race of life in different lanes. My lane may require I suffer persecution and hardships; your lane may require suffering afflictions. We each need to keep our eyes on Jesus and encourage one another to love and do good deeds. Hebrews 10:24-25 states, “And let us consider how to stir up (encourage) one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day (of Christ return) drawing near.“
Jesus’s lane was not easy. He was born in a smelly, cold stable only to suffer persecution for speaking the truth that God was His Father. Then He paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross to save us from the wrath of God. 1Peter 2:21-23 states, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”
The next Scripture passage encourages us to entrust our souls to God, who is faithful and to do good. 1Peter 4:16-19 states, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”
“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
“And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’”
“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
Jesus warned us that the world would hate us because it hated Him, so expect it and don’t be surprised. John 15:18 states, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” Then John 17:14 says, “I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” And 1Peter 4:14 states, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” Finally, Romans 8:16-18 (ESV) states, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Nobody wants to suffer unless you volunteer to join the military. But when you do suffer, keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Heb. 12:2), and He will help you endure to glorify you with Him. Matthew 24:13 states, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Be encouraged by the truth that nothing can separate you from the love of God explained in the following passage. Romans 8:35, 37-39 stares, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I hope you will keep your eyes on Jesus and the truth of God’s Word and not be distracted by your suffering, the problems in the world, and the allurements of your sinful flesh. We do not know when Christ will return but we need to be ready and watching. I am praying for you, please pray for me. I would love to know what your thoughts are.