13/09/17 - Pastor Young
Are we living in the end times? Wars, natural disasters -- we hear about them consistently. Are we there yet?
It's hard not to wonder about this when reading a passage like Luke 22:5-38, which we looked at this past Sunday. But if this becomes the big question in our minds, or if the answer to this question takes centre stage for us, then I would suggest that we've become distracted.
Imagine your life as a road trip. The destination itself is clear. As a follower of Christ, you are headed toward the end of this life like everyone else, but at the end is the doorway of death. Through this doorway you will walk into eternal life with the Lord Jesus. If you are not yet a follower of Christ, hopefully you are heading toward belief in Him so that you may be with Him in paradise.
But a strange phenomenon occurs when we are on this road trip. We know the way we are to take in order to get there, and yet we sometimes veer off. "I know a better way," we tell ourselves, before becoming inevitably lost. Other times, we become distracted by roadside attractions that have little to do with where we're headed, and we lose years to these pit stops. What got us on this path in the first place takes the back seat to our own thoughts, and the many other sights along the way.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest distractions is an obsession with how it all ends. The last leg of the road trip will be littered with signs pointing toward the destination, but it would be foolhardy to become engrossed with these signs, rather than where they are pointing. No successful trip ends with the vacationer camping out in front of a sign pointing them toward where they wanted to go.
None of this is to say that it's bad to learn and become well-rounded in our study of God. It is simply to say that we cannot become enamoured with the details. Some of us have well-formed thoughts after years of research; others have leanings based solely on the bias of people they respect, and what they have taught. Whichever the case, it is too easy to become bogged down in the details, rather than in the command that was given to us.
The call from Christ was for His disciples to remain alert and faithful in these times. Rather than specify when the end will be, Jesus reminds the disciples that in the midst of these signs, the end has not yet come. He warns them that there will be persecution for His followers, and much suffering; in fact, their beloved city will fall, and the temple will be destroyed. Yet rather than focusing on these things, the reminder is to remain faithful and alert.
Why? Because God is faithful.
We have a good destination to end at because of the faithfulness of God. Jesus has made a way for us, so that though we die, yet we will live. We may suffer, but nothing is outside of God's sight, and we can rest assured knowing that our destination is secure, our navigator is sure, and we are in His hands.
Though the road may be long, we are headed in the right direction because God is faithful.
Though the road may be hard, we will get to the end because God is faithful.
And though we may become distracted along the way, the call to remain alert and faithful remains constant -- and we can fulfil this call, because God is faithful.
Psalm 119:9-16 says,
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
Riding along with you,