“Therefore you also must be ready, for in an hour when you least expect, the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 24:44)
The Lord Jesus often spoke about the need to be ready, mostly addressing this subject when speaking to His disciples, His closest followers. He would tell them that they had to make a conscious effort to always be prepared (see Matthew 24:44 and Luke 21:34-36).
If the disciples had to be ready back then, how much more ready must we be today? The obvious implication of this is that merely being a Christian doesn’t necessarily make you ready. Some so-called Christians become angry on hearing this idea. However, this is the obvious direction from the Holy Spirit; He Himself having shared this with us all. A person who isn’t ready for the second coming of Jesus, isn’t going to be saved. Moreover, these warnings are not simply addressed to unbelievers; it’s Christians who have to make a conscious effort to be ready.
So the question becomes: What must we do to be ready?
There are three basic requirements that can be discerned from the Bible – two things we “should” do and one thing that we “must”:
- We should really expect the Second Coming;
- We should have a biblically sound idea of what is really going to happen;
- We must be spiritually prepared. This is the only step guaranteed to help. You may get by without meeting the first two requirements, but there is absolutely no way that you will get away with not meeting this one.
So, what do we have to do to be spiritually prepared?
Jesus did not leave us without answers to this question. In fact, there are two distinct passages in which He speaks about this issue. The first begins in Matthew 24:45, directly after His final warning to be ready. Bearing in mind the placing of these passages, we can be sure that the following parables are concerned with ensuring we are ready. This is further indicated by the fact that each passage concludes with a scene that is to feature in the Second Coming and/or on Judgment Day.
The second passage is from the Book of Revelation, chapter 3, in verses 19-20, but especially in verse 18. This passage is addressed to the Church of Laodicea. The state of this ministry, and the state of many Christians, is represented by the Seven Churches of Revelation 2 and 3; they represent the seven different ages of the history of the Church. If it is the case that the Second Coming is indeed close, then surely we are living in the age of the Church of Laodicea. Therefore, what Jesus advised them to do to correct their spiritual situation is what we have to do today, in order to be ready.
“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments, that you may be dressed, that the shame of your nakedness may not appear, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be zealous and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:18-20)
The Church of Laodicea is described as being in a very bad spiritual state. In fact, out of the seven churches, it was one of the two worst. The Laodicean Christians believed that they were spiritually rich, when in fact they were poor – that is to say, they were in deep trouble! We could summarise Jesus’ description of their problems by saying that they were both proud and deceived. Having shown them their wrongs, the Lord proceeded to tell them what they needed to do to change. To make it very simple for all to understand: Jesus is saying, “Put your entire faith, hope and trust in Me and you shall be saved!”
Bishop Randal Brito