Expounding the More Perfect Way….Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Acts 18:24-28

Watchfulness

The second condition that will result in the Christian’s worthiness to be included in the Rapture is that of watchfulness. The Apostle Paul said:

“Let us WATCH” (I Thess. 5:6).

There are four words used in the New Testament for “watch” that are used in relation to Christ’s return. Incidentally, these four words are used also in Passages dealing with moral and ethical conduct.

Two of these words—gregoreo and agrupneo—mean “to be on the alert, to be wide awake spiritually. The force of these words is to point up the urgency of the situation.

If we do not set an eternal vigilance on the Return of Christ, we are in danger of missing out. The Apostle Peter’s thinking went along the same lines as the Apostle Paul’s when he warned:

“Be sober, be VIGILANT [gregoreo]; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8).

Let us turn to the Gospel of Mark to illustrate the use of these two most significant words of warning to the Christians concerning watchfulness.

“But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the Angels which are in Heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

“TAKE YOU HEED, WATCH AND PRAY: FOR YOU KNOW NOT WHEN THE TIME IS.

“For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, Who left His House, and gave authority to His Servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to WATCH.

“WATCH you therefore: for you know not when the Master of the house comes, at evening, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:

“LEST COMING SUDDENLY HE FIND YOU SLEEPING.

“And what I say unto you I say unto all, WATCH” (Mk. 13:32-37).

This Parable illustrates the necessity of watchfulness. The word “watch” is used in this Parable four times. Let us look at each use of this word “watch.”

In Verse 33 Jesus said:

“Take you heed, WATCH.”

The word here means “to chase sleep, to be sleepless,” and expresses not mere wakefulness but a watchfulness of those who are intent upon doing anything.

In Verse 34 He commanded the porter to watch. The word here is sometimes translated “vigilant alertness,” not as the same word in Verse 33.

Verse 35 begins with “watch” and again the urgency of watching is emphasized.

“You know not when the Master of the house comes”

… so be watching. Again, the warning in Verse 36:

“Lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.”

In Verse 37 the last use of the word is capitalized emphasizing the force of the word—the urgency of the hour.

“For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, Who left His House” (Vs. 34)

… and does not say when He will return. But He said, considering the urgency of it:

“What I say unto you I say unto all, WATCH.”

When a person is going on a long-sought-after vacation, he usually spends a restless, uncomfortable night in anticipation of the upcoming departure. For the true Christian it is hard to rest comfortably in the world when he is anticipating something so much better.

We have often seen the picture of the restless, sleepless mother and father, looking down the trail waiting for the long-lost prodigal to return.

The helmsman of a ship fights back sleep to maintain his bearing, knowing that the mightiest wave will slide under the heel if the prow of the ship meets it head-on. Our Captain says, “Take heed, be watchful,” just as a sea captain says, “Mind your helm.

Notice again in the Parable that the Son of Man …

“commanded the porter to WATCH” (Vs. 34).

Here, as in Verse 35, the Apostles are compared to doorkeepers (porters); as the captain of the guard made his rounds at night through the Temple, the guards were to rise and salute him. Any guard found asleep on duty was beaten or his garments set on fire.

It is self-evident that under that severe penalty not many guards would drowse off to sleep. This use of the word was mentioned again by Jesus as He spoke to the Apostle John:

“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he who WATCHES, and KEEPS HIS GARMENTS, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Rev 16:15).

What a warning! What an incentive to alertness!

One lexicon says that the word gregoreo comes from a root word meaning “collecting our faculties. In the light of the soon Return of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be “collecting our faculties,” lest we lose our garments and “walk naked” and ashamed.

The Christian who drowses away at his Christianity is imperiling his Salvation. All too many Christians count on God to keep them alert. They feel it is God’s duty to warn them as each new wave approaches. Unfortunately, it is not the duty of the captain of the ship to stand the wheel watch; it is the person at the helm who must maintain constant vigilance if he is to see the voyage to a successful conclusion. The helmsman who falls asleep and endangers the ship is eligible for grave and disciplinary action. Christians who fail to maintain their vigilance can expect no better. There are consequences for our every action. Spiritual consequences are no less real than worldly ones.

This is the reason the Apostle Paul said:

“I die daily” (I Cor. 15:31).

The great Apostle of Christ brought his body …

“into subjection”

… every waking day …

“lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (I Cor. 9:27).

And if such a magnificent man of God found it necessary to remain ever vigilant (lest he fall by the wayside), who are we to become overconfident?

Yet Christians are becoming smug. Christian attention is wandering. Clergy and laity are becoming immersed in this world. It is a new day in which we live. The old Scriptures no longer count. Practices that would have been denounced a short time ago are accepted now. Everyone is doing it. It is a new day.…

But is it?

King Solomon wrote:

“There is no new thing under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9).

Satan knows there is nothing new under the sun. The modern morals and the new permissiveness are nothing new to him. He has promoted the same things in Greece, in Rome, in Sodom and Gomorrah, and in Babylon.

“Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it has been already of old time, which was before us” (Eccl. 1:10).

The new morality is new to us only because we were not alive in ancient days to see the old morality. And if we fall for the new morality now, the same consequences that befell Greece, Rome, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Babylon will befall our civilization.

Satan is breaking through the doors of our once moral and Spiritual Strongholds. Today he is bombarding our mind through pornographic movies which come right into our living rooms, billboards, magazines, indecent dress, public scenes that once would have caused people to blush. Many Christians sit through these movies, laugh at the openly obscene jokes, and then wonder why their relationship with God is not what it used to be.

These Christians have been lulled to sleep. They have been put under a hypnotic trance by Satan because they have not watched. They do not WATCH what they see, where they go, and what they say—and all of this despite the fact that the Holy Spirit has enjoined them to WATCH. Not to watch and pray is to prove oneself unworthy to be included in the Rapture.

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