Are You Ready for the End?

By Steve Mathewson (D.Min. '00)

In addition to serving as pastor of a nondenominational church near Manhattan, Montana, Steve hosted a daily radio program for men,"RiseUp," that aired on station KGVW. During the week after the multiple tragedies in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania, he addressed key theological themes raised by the devastating events of September 11, first in his September 16 sermon, and then on the program. His topics included: "The Foundations Are Not Destroyed, " "How Could God Allow This Attack?" "Is It Right to Retaliate?" "What Does This Attack Have to Do With the End Times?" and "Are You Ready for the End?" Following is his script of the final program in the five-part series.

No one knows the day or hour when Jesus will return! Jesus was adamant about this in Mark 13:32: No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Jesus had just finished reminding his followers that the same signs which precede the end are always with us. Therefore, we can't jump to conclusions. We must be alert, because Jesus could come at any time.

Last week's terrorist attack on America may or may not be a prelude to the end. But if it is, are you ready? What if you were on a plane, when suddenly it's hijacked and turned into a powerful missile which explodes in a ball of fire. Would you be ready? What if you sat in an office building high in a towering office complex, and suddenly, your life was rubbed out by a terrorist attack? Would you be ready? Are you ready for the end?

That's a concern of some I've talked with this past week. Am I ready for the end? Am I ready for death? Am I ready for Jesus to return?

In 2 Thessalonians 1, the Apostle Paul talks about the time when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. Verses 8-10 say, At that time, He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. What a sobering insight from Scripture! Those who do not have a relationship with God will be punished. Those who have not responded to the gospel will experience everlasting destruction. But that terrible moment can also be a good moment! Another group of people will showcase his majesty. They will marvel at his presence! What makes them ready?

The answer is faith. These people have believed the testimony about Jesus Christ . . . the gospel . . . the claim that Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for sin, and that he was raised on the third day. That's the gospel. All those who put their faith in Jesus receive the gift of eternal life. For them, Jesus' presence will be a joy, not a horror!

C. S. Lewis, in his novel, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, writes: "People do not understand how something can be good and terrible at the same time." He's writing there about the Lion, Aslan, who in this story, represents Jesus. I hope you look forward to the coming of Jesus. I hope you're ready, that you've accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. If you have not, do it right now. In the privacy of your car, your office, or your shop, you can tell God that you know you're due to face judgment for your sin. Tell him that you are accepting His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as your Savior.

Is it really that simple? Yet bet it is! In John 5:24, Jesus says: I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. It's time to be ready! Make sure that you're ready for death. Make sure you're ready for the end!