“They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,”they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”Acts 1:10-11
As we watch the senseless slaughter of Ukrainian citizens and the decimation of their homeland at the hands of Russian forces, more and more people are sensing the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is drawing ever so near. We are indeed drawing closer to that glorious moment in time with each passing day, but we are not quite there yet. Why? Other prophetic events must first occur, such as the church’s rapture, the seven-year tribulation, the arrival or revealing of the antichrist, and all the nations of the world turn against Israel.
All of that will culminate in the final battle between good and evil in the valley of Megiddo, known as the Battle of Armageddon. That final battle will see Jesus’s return and the beginning of His Millennial reign, a time when God’s righteousness will blanket the earth in peace and love. Until that future time, the church has a mission with work to be done! There are lives, spiritual lives that weigh in the balance on what the church does or fails to do.
Just before Jesus ascended into the clouds to return to His heavenly place, he gave His disciples specific instructions. He told them to go and make other disciples, to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to teach them all that Jesus had taught them during His three-year ministry. But when they watched the Lord disappear into the clouds, they stood looking up, waiting for Him to return. That is precisely what many Christians are doing today, sitting idle with their heads in the clouds, waiting for the Lord’s return. At the same time, billions of people still need to hear the good news about what Jesus did on the cross at Calvary those many centuries ago.
However, there is more to discipleship than sharing the gospel; it’s about building a relationship with the people you disciple. Discipleship is a lifelong commitment in service to our Savior and Lord. Jesus did not simply teach His disciples; He built a relationship with them and called them His friends. If you are a follower of Jesus, He considers you His friend too, and if you have not yet given your heart to Jesus, He wants to call you His friend. Sure, we risk being hurt by those we invest our time and trust– people we allow into our hearts. I have been there, done that, and felt the sting, but there is risk in everything!
So what do we do? Where do we go from here? First, we need to get our heads out of the clouds. We need to pray, asking God to empower us and set us up for some divine appointments to share the good news about Jesus Christ. We need to build eternal relationships and make disciples for Jesus, just as He commanded us to do. As for the disciples, they took their gaze off the clouds where Jesus ascended into heaven, and they went back to the room where they were staying. Then the Holy Spirit empowered them, and they got busy serving God. Are you ready to get busy and serve God? I know I am!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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