For the inhabitants of Pompeii on a certain day in AD79 it was simply just another day, or so it seemed. Little did they realise that the very next day a volcanic eruption would bring a sudden end to their existence. Similarly the thousands of people killed by the tsunami in December 2004 were taken by surprise.
The uncertainties of life
Our lives are full of uncertainties and we do well to remember that. The Apostle James, in his usual direct manner, writes in James 4:13-15 “Go to now ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there, and buy and sell and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that': In a world of uncertainty it is important to look to the eternal and unchanging truth revealed in God's inspired and living word, the Bible.
The certainties of God's Word
The Gospel of Luke opens in chapter 1:4 with a reference to “ ... the certainties of those things wherein thou hast been instructed':
There is no question about the truth and importance of the gospel message. The death and resurrection of Jesus marks the central point of God's master plan for the world. This is still a work in progress as we await another crucial step, namely the return of Jesus. It is recorded in The Acts of the Apostles that as Jesus ascended into heaven a promise was made in the most plain and simple words as follows:
" ... Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven': (Acts 1:11). For all of us the return of Jesus cannot be more than our lifetime away and in fact is likely to be near at hand as the signs show.
The Bible tells us of signs indicating that the return of Christ is near. The Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy in
2 Timothy 3:1-3 states 'This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, (without self-control; NKJV.), fierce, despisers of those that are good': This looks like a perfect snapshot of society today when man places himself and his desires at the very centre of God's universe.
Jesus spoke of the similarities of the days of his second coming with the days of Noah when, as we are told in the book of Genesis that the earth was filled with violence. In Matthew 24:7 Jesus speaks of the time when "Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places': which ultimately will herald his return. Does that picture seem familiar? With the world economic situation full of uncertainty the words of the prophet Haggai seem relevant. "Ye have sown much but ye bring in little; ye eat and have not enough ... and be that earneth wages earneth wages to put in a bag with boles':
What a good description of inflation! The plain words of Paul give certainty in a troubled world.
God will act
Paul told the Athenians that God
" ...hath appointed a day, in the which be will judge the world in righteousness by that man that he hath ordained,' whereof be hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead': (Acts 17:31). Writing to the believers in Thessalonica Paul says "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night': (1 Thess 5:1-2)
While none of us knows his/her immediate future God has revealed His ultimate purpose in the pages of scripture. God is not the author of confusion but He gives us a hope that cannot be shaken and a promise that is sure and certain. Let us believe God's message in this day of our opportunity and prepare ourselves for the return of Jesus by serving him now.