But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 1 Thessalonians 5:4
I take issue when people bring up the scripture that no one knows the time when Jesus will return for the church. I know that in Matthew, Jesus Himself said: “no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen in Matthew 24:36 However, He also rebuked the Pharisees because they could not discern the times. (Matthew 16:3) Jesus expected the priests and the religious people of His day to be able to recognize the timing of His arrival here in the earth. He expects the same thing of His people today. How do I know? Today’s verse is only one of a number of passages that says the church, His family, are not in the dark and will not be caught off guard. In fact, Peter tells us not to be taken off guard. (see 1 Peter 4) We are to be watching and noticing what time it is. Look around, it’s pretty easy to see that the time is close. Sure, we don’t know the day or the hour, but we can certainly discern the time and it is now.
Let’s go through a short list of scriptures that tell us how we can know: 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Matthew 24:7 says nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. Daniel 12:4 says people will be running to and fro, and knowledge will increase.” Matthew 24:14 says the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 1 Timothy 4:1 says in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, Luke 21:11 says there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. Matthew 24:12 says lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 2 Peter 3:3-4 says scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” Luke 21:25 says there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves.
The world is not headed in this direction, we are there right now. It’s easy to take a look around and shake your head to show your disapproval, but really, the way the world is today should be no surprise to us. By looking at the scriptures, it is clear that we are in the last days. The good news is, God is still saving people. The fact is, more people are getting saved than ever in history. As quickly as the evil can be spread in the world today, the good news of salvation can move just as fast. The resources we have available today are making it possible to reach the nations of the world with the love of God.
Today I want to encourage you to discern the times and know that Jesus’ return is soon. Even if we are here another 10 or 20 years, we are closer than we have ever been before. Use this time to reach out to the world around you. Serve and love others like you never have before. Look for opportunities to bless and build up those who are lost and hurting. We are not in the darkness and we know time is running out. Make the most of every day and follow the Holy Spirit’s direction so that you can be a part of all He is doing in the world in these last days.
Today’s scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10