Some of you may be aware that this past week I was in Lynchburg, VA at Liberty University participating in an intensive for the degree I am working on. The trip was a long one that entailed considerable planning. I did not simply go on the trip on the spur of the moment. The decision was not a sudden spontaneous act that I thought might be a good idea one morning. Instead, a lot of preparatory work went into not only the physical trip but also the work that had to be done prior to my arrival.
Preparation was key to the success of my trip. For instance, there was great need for lodging so I reserved a hotel room no less than a month in advance. This allowed me to get a good rate as well as guarantee a hotel room. A car was also needed so one was reserved well in advance. Not only were these major things reserved but also the financing for the reservations as well as gasoline, food and other incidentals. I also had to study and otherwise prepare for the intensive in order to be successful.
My trip to Liberty is a parallel to the things Christians need to do in anticipation for the return of Christ. I Thessalonians 4:15-17 reads, “15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Attention is drawn to verse seventeen where the phrase “alive and remain” points to those who have prepared for the inevitable return of Christ. The indication is that these are those that chose to put on the whole armor of God. They have cleansed their hearts and laid aside the works of the flesh. Moreover, these that seek the return of Christ have built relationships with Him by prayer, Bible reading, church attendance and the like. They wait with anticipation while doing all possible to do the will of the Father.
Matthew 24:44 admonishes its audience with the words, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Mankind is to be ready at anytime. In order to be ready preparatory things must take place. Among the very first things in getting ready to go with Jesus when He returns is to receive Him and Lord and Saviour. This is not a mere belief in His existence. Instead, it is turning away from those things that offend Him in return for a life that seeks to please the resurrected One. Getting ready to go means the old man has been discarded in exchange for a new person in Christ.
There is no doubt that Christ will return and it is certain that no man knows the day or the hour. Yet it is encumbered upon all looking to His coming to get ready to go.