Waiting and Watching

By John Thiel

Matthew 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;  50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and in an hour that he is not aware of,  51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Am I going to be alive when Jesus comes?

The day is at hand. For the lessons to be learned, the work to be done, the transformation of character to be effected, the time remaining is but too brief a span. {Ed 184.2}

This statement suggests that in the time it was written they wouldn’t get to the end of their lifetime. There was so brief a span to develop character and it was written by one who could be the mother of my grandmother. These thoughts go through the mind and Satan comes along with his suggestions.

A company was presented before me in contrast to the one described. They were waiting and watching. Their eyes were directed heavenward, and the words of their Master were upon their lips: “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.” The Lord intimates a delay before the morning finally dawns. But He would not have them give way to weariness, nor relax their earnest watchfulness, because the morning does not open upon them as soon as they expected. The waiting ones were represented to me as looking upward. They were encouraging one another by repeating these words: “The first and second watches are past. We are in the third watch, waiting and watching for the Master’s return. There remains but a little period of watching now.” I saw some becoming weary; their eyes were directed downward, and they were engrossed with earthly things, and were unfaithful in watching. They were saying: “In the first watch we expected our Master, but were disappointed. We thought surely He would come in the second watch, but that passed, and He came not. We may be again disappointed. We need not be so particular. {2T 192.1}

It’s easy to say that when one generation after another has been watching and died. We are not in the third watch anymore we are in the fourth and fifth watch.

We are in the third watch, and now we think it best to lay up our treasure on the earth, that we may be secure against want." {2T 192.1}

Jesus didn’t come in their lifetime so why not just become secure while we are still on this planet to live comfortably on the earth as Jesus is not going to come in this lifetime anyway.

Many were sleeping, stupefied with the cares of this life and allured by the deceitfulness of riches from their waiting, watching position. {2T 192.1}

They weren’t watching. The necessities of life and its riches and making ourselves comfortable on this planet, we are going to be here longer yet so we may as well buy houses and have families and enjoy our repast as Jesus isn’t going to come in our lifetime anyway. The watchfulness and sharpness of being ready for Jesus to come is no longer the focal point of their mind activity.

I saw that it was impossible to have the affections and interests engrossed in worldly cares, to be increasing earthly possessions, and yet be in a waiting, watching position, as our Saviour has commanded. {2T 193.2}

It is impossible to have our interests in earthly cares. It’s impossible to combine the two.

Said the angel: "They can secure but one world. In order to acquire the heavenly treasure, they must sacrifice the earthly. They cannot have both worlds." I saw how necessary a continuance of faithfulness in watching was in order to escape the delusive snares of Satan. {2T 193.2}

Delusive snares, be calm and occupied with making a living on earth and consolidating your possessions on earth.

He leads those who should be waiting and watching, to take an advance step toward the world; they have no intention of going further, but that one step removed them that much further from Jesus, and made it easier to take the next; and thus step after step is taken toward the world, until all the difference between them and the world is a profession, a name only. They have lost their peculiar, holy character, and there is nothing except their profession to distinguish them from the lovers of the world around them. {2T 193.2}

A name only, Adventists.

I saw that watch after watch was in the past. {2T 193.3}

She sees us.

Because of this, should there be a lack of vigilance? Oh, no! There is the greater necessity of unceasing watchfulness, for now the moments are fewer than before the passing of the first watch. Now the period of waiting is necessarily shorter than at first. If we watched with unabated vigilance then, how much more need of double watchfulness in the second watch. The passing of the second watch has brought us to the third, and now it is inexcusable to abate our watchfulness. The third watch calls for threefold earnestness. To become impatient now would be to lose all our earnest, persevering watching heretofore. The long night of gloom is trying; but the morning is deferred in mercy, because if the Master should come, so many would be found unready. {2T 193.3}

If the master had not delayed his coming the people would be unready so he has delayed. Why? Because they are not watching.

God’s unwillingness to have His people perish has been the reason for so long delay. But the coming of the morning to the faithful, and of the night to the unfaithful, is right upon us. By waiting and watching, God’s people are to manifest their peculiar character, their separation from the world. By our watching position we are to show that we are truly strangers and pilgrims upon the earth. The difference between those who love the world and those who love Christ is so plain as to be unmistakable. While worldlings are all earnestness and ambition to secure earthly treasure, God’s people are not conformed to the world, but show by their earnest, watching, waiting position that they are transformed; that their home is not in this world, but that they are seeking a better country, even a heavenly. {2T 193.3}

Instead of concentrating on the thought that Jesus is going to come in my life time, I should be concentrating on the thought that the Lord is delaying his coming as he looking to see if I am thoroughly prepared for his coming or not. That should occupy the mind. The delay, the glitch in the thought is the Lord is delaying therefore I can settle down. Why is he delaying? See the glitch? God’s unwillingness to have his people perish has been the reason for so long delay.

In consideration of the shortness of time we as a people should watch and pray, and in no case allow ourselves to be diverted from the solemn work of preparation for the great event before us. Because the time is apparently extended, many have become careless and indifferent in regard to their words and actions. They do not realize their danger and do not see and understand the mercy of our God in lengthening their probation, that they may have time to form characters for the future, immortal life. {4T 306.3}

When Sr White wrote time is too short a time, it was an anguish for her generation. God said I will extend the time. Instead of settling down and saying it’s so long in coming, it’s meant to cause us to be more watchful.

Every moment is of the highest value. Time is granted them, not to be employed in studying their own ease and becoming dwellers on the earth, but to be used in the work of overcoming every defect in their own characters and in helping others, by example and personal effort, to see the beauty of holiness. {4T 306.3}

You can see all through the generations since the beginning of the Advent movement this problem. We are in the same danger today as Satan puts a mentality on us how do we know that we won’t be dying as well? We have plenty of time. The Lord is saying I am delaying it as I don’t want you to be lost. We are not to occupy ourselves on this planet but we are to get ready for Jesus to come.

God has a people upon the earth who in faith and holy hope are tracing down the roll of fast-fulfilling prophecy and are seeking to purify their souls by obeying the truth, that they may not be found without the wedding garment when Christ shall appear. {4T 306.3}

In our knowledge of the delay that was written that some people would die from hence forth, people were getting ready for Jesus to come in their lifetime so God says keep on doing that even if you are going to die as there will be a special resurrection for those who are preparing themselves. We have every moment to concentrate to develop that. Whether it is a whole lifetime or a little time before Jesus comes, the issue is that we have too little time to get ready as character development is an ongoing labour so there is no slackening to settle down to a life of mere earthly occupation. Live for my family, my house and my possessions, sit back and enjoy the issues of life on this planet, that’s all. As I look around me, wouldn’t it be nice to have a family and to sit down and enjoy them? To just think of getting a nice house and biding the time and waiting for Jesus to come occupying myself by planting my garden, to potter along. My grandparents tended to be like that. When you finished the day its evening time, it’s time to just enjoy the evening. We’ve worked hard all day and we see the fruit of our labour and we just sit and enjoy. Yes that’s really nice.

Every moment is of the highest value. Time is granted them, not to be employed in studying their own ease and becoming dwellers on the earth, but to be used in the work of overcoming every defect in their own characters and in helping others, by example and personal effort, to see the beauty of holiness. {4T 306.3}

We are not to Study Our Own Ease

What should we be studying? What it means to be ready for Jesus to come. Be occupied with the earnest of overcoming every defect of our character and in helping others, the cause for the coming of Jesus. I have been involved in this ever since I made my decision when I was 21. It’s been forty years. Forty years of continual working and not settling down from my own ease, travelling all over the place and never a moment to sit back and enjoy living. Everything I do is associated directly in getting ready for Jesus to come. Where can I find enjoyment of real inward pleasantness? Instead of go, go, go, is there such a place of enjoyment in this preparation?

To follow Christ is not freedom from conflict. It is not child’s play. It is not spiritual idleness. All the enjoyment in Christ’s service means sacred obligations in meeting of stern conflicts. To follow Christ means stern battles, active labor, warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Our enjoyment is the victories gained for Christ in earnest, hard warfare. Think of this. {UL 217.2}

We who look for enjoyment. Young people are looking for enjoyment and think that we must give our young people enjoyment. We think like so many churches do, let’s go and have some fantastic outing for the children, something really expensive, big excursions and that is the enjoyment people are looking for. Not only young people but adults too. To saunter along and have an excursion and just have fun, just that, that is enjoyment. The enjoyment we are to be looking for are to be the victories gained for Christ in earnest hard warfare. You are a soldier and your victories are what you gain against Satan. What a joy. That is enjoyment and the next challenge comes up. That’s the enjoyment of the watchers, nothing else. As Sr White said to have a picnic every so often and time with the children in nature in simple enjoyment. To go out simply for the sake of enjoyment and wear ourselves out and we’ve had an excursion that we need a holiday from. I’ve seen this. People sometimes ask me do you go away for a holiday? What do I want to go away for? That’s a burden. I want to relax with the Lord. It’s focusing on the enjoyment of the work.

“We are labourers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9). Christ engaged in the great work for which He lived and died. We are to be instant in season and out of season. And why? “For ye are bought with a price,” and have enlisted under the banner of Prince Emmanuel. We are enlisted for labor, “not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (John 6:27). We are to work out our own salvation with fear and with trembling. We are not our own. We are bought with a price, to glorify God with our bodies and spirits, which are His. A work is to be done. There is a faithful work to do in His vineyard. And to every man is given his work. If we are privileged with the bread of life, we must work in the Lord’s vineyard. A charge comes to us to deny ourselves and take up the cross and follow Christ. We are to run the race set before us with persevering earnestness. This oft requires energetic movements. We cannot be idlers. We are urged, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” . . . {UL 217.3}

We must keep constantly before the ones who are pledged to the service of Christ that it means diligence. It means to be faithful workers, to do all possible to win souls to Christ. It is a constant watchfulness to be faithful unto death, to fight the good fight of faith until the warfare is ended and as overcomers we shall receive the crown of life. {UL 217.4}

We are not to occupy ourselves with shopping and what we wear.

This means much more than we take in. Christ is our example. The Christian warfare is not a life of indulgence to eat and drink and dress as self-indulgent worldlings. The Lord Jesus came in human nature to our world to give His precious life as an example of what our life should be. He is the specimen, not of spiritual indulgence, but of a life constantly before us of self-denial, self-sacrifice. We have the correct view that Christ our Pattern came to give us. There is before us the Prince of heaven, the Son of God. He laid aside the royal crown and the princely robe and came to take His position in our world as a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief. How few take it in! {UL 217.5}

Many times I have been tempted, others around me settle down and enjoy their life and I am there plugging on. I look over the fence and I think I would like to be able to do this. Then I wake up yes I can enjoy life. I love driving. I don’t drive for the sake of driving. Some people like travelling overseas I never cared about travelling overseas. To travel to go somewhere for the kingdom of heaven is fine. In every area of life, it is for the purpose of glorifying God, nothing else. The Lord wants us to get this into our system. He is waiting for a people that will enjoy the enjoyment of victories for Jesus.

To follow Christ is not freedom from conflict. It is not child’s play. It is not spiritual idleness. All the enjoyment in Christ’s service means sacred obligations in meeting oft stern conflicts. To follow Christ means stern battles, active labor, warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Our enjoyment is the victories gained for Christ in earnest, hard warfare. Think of this. {UL 217.2}

Our watching and waiting and getting ready for Jesus to come is not based on whether he will come in my life time but is based upon my total readiness.

Amen.

Posted on August 7, 2010, in Prayer Meeting Sermonettes. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. K-South Pathfinder Director

    Wonderful message!

  2. GLORY TO GOD!!!!!!!!! This was truly a blessing!!!!!! As always…thank U so much! Thank u for the obedience on ur part of diligently doing the work of the LORD becuz ur toching so many lives!!!! Ur Work and Labor are not in vain! To GOD BE THE GLORY FOREVER AND EVER! It shall be done in the name of JESUS CHRIST!!!!

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