Night is Coming


Night is Coming

Richard Hollerman

During His three-year ministry, Jesus was constantly aware of His limited time on earth and the need to testify to the truth of God (John 18:37) and eventually to die for our sins as a ransom sacrifice (Matthew 20:25-28). Our Lord knew of this limited time and ordered His life accordingly.

While in Jerusalem, Jesus and the disciples saw a man born blind. He said to them that the purpose of the man’s blindness was that “the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). He knew that he would heal this man by giving him full sight (vv. 6-7). But in His words to the disciples, Jesus declared:

We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world” (vv. 4-5).

With these deep and crucial words, our Lord said that He was in the “day” of His earthly ministry. But this day was very brief and His purpose must be fulfilled. As a farmer must diligently work while the sun shines, so Jesus had a task to do and wanted the disciples to know how crucial it was that He fulfill this task while still alive. When the “day” of life ended, no one would be able to work. While in the world, Jesus was the “light” of the world. His light was to shine as long as the Father would allow it to shine. But, beware, the night was fast approaching!

You and I also have a “day” in which to labor but the “night” of our life will soon come. Now is the time to work. Now is the time to labor for the Lord and do what needs to be done. Now is the time to shine as light in the world (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:15-16).

As we leaf through the New Testament, again and again, we are reminded of our limited time on earth and the necessity of serving our God while we may. Paul writes, “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Has this gripped your heart? Are we careful about our life? Are you a wise person who makes the most of your time in view of the evil surrounding us?

As in Jesus’ day, we are living with a “perverse generation” (Acts 2:40). We are in the midst of “a crooked and perverse generation” (Philippians 2:15). This is the “present evil age” from which Christ rescues us (Galatians 1:4). Do you take this seriously—so much so that you are determined to preserve yourself from the condemnation of this present evil world? If you see this truth, this means that we are to “make the most” of our time or “redeem” the time. We never know when our life will end!

Some people are convinced that they have a divine blueprint of the future and know just when Christ is returning in judgment. Sadly, many follow their misguided predictions. It is true that Jesus is coming back to this earth and He presently withholds his arrival to give more time to people to repent and get right with God (2 Peter 3:9). Peter continues his shocking view of the future by saying that everything will be destroyed (v. 10). The apostle then urges his readers: “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (v. 11). Our present perspective and behavior should reflect the absolute truth of Christ’s coming and the judgment of the world!

Again, Peter says that we are looking for the day of God in which the creation will be destroyed. He then makes application of this solid truth to our life: “According to His promise, we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless” (2 Peter 3:13-14).

The world that we now see—with its trees and grass, its flowers and mountains and streams and prairies, with the vast galaxies in space—this world, this universe, will pass away. In light of this, we are to be diligent to be found by Christ in peace, spotless and blameless. Christ’s return with power and glory should motivate us to live holy and devoted lives now!

Thus, whether we die a natural death in a few years or whether Christ will come before we die, are you and I prepared to meet our God? If Jesus had to work the works of God while the “day” of His life continued, we also must labor for the Lord while our life remains.  If Jesus was aware that “night” was coming when no one would be able to work, so we are to know that “night” is coming for us when we will be unable to complete the tasks we want to do for the Lord. Do you keep this in mind at all times?

Every year we should have a fresh commitment to diligently work for the Lord while we may.  Neither you nor I know when we will breathe our last. We don’t know whether we will get into our car, drive down the street, and be hit by an 18-wheeler, ending our life immediately. We don’t know if we will go to bed one night and not awake the next day. We don’t know if we will receive a diagnosis about our physical condition and hear those words, “I’m sorry, but there’s no use. We’ll give you three months.” Are you prepared for this?

Just yesterday, I attended a funeral for the human resources director of a company where I used to work. Dennis was a middle-aged man, seemingly in good health. One day he came to work and his leg wasn’t working. In a day or two, he was on his back with pain. The medical establishment treated him for what they thought was his problem. Only a month before he died did they discover that he had a rare form of cancer. It was all downhill from there. Before anyone suspected his condition, Dennis lay in a coffin and all kinds of nice things were said about him—and that was the end. This could be said of you and me!

Each day I check the obituaries in the newspaper.  I’ve never ceased to be amazed at the number of 26-year-olds, 47-year-olds, 34-year-olds, 58-year-olds, and 65-year-olds whose pictures appear in print, along with a description of the person’s date of birth, date of death, and what the person did during his life, along with the family he or she had. I just commented to my wife that these people whose photos appear on the page were alive and well at the time the photographer took their picture. And now they are dead. People say that they “passed away” or they “are gone.” But let’s be plain: they are dead. And one day you and I will also be dead—unless we hear the trumpet sound and the voice of the archangel, then see the glory of Christ as He descends (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18). Are you ready?

Besides the need to work for the Lord today since we don’t know when the “day” of our life will end, even more basically, we need to make sure we are prepared to meet the Lord. Are we even saved? Now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). Now is the time to repent and turn to God. “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). If you have been reluctant to turn from your sin and selfishness and beg the Lord for His mercy, now is the time to cast off your prideful self-sufficiency and cast yourself on God’s grace through Christ Jesus. He is our only hope!

We could say much about this theme for it is found repeatedly in Scripture. But what we need to somehow remember is that this day could be our last. This year could be our last. We never know. What are we doing about it? Why don’t you join with me in the commitment to study God’s Word with greater devotion. Let’s determine to pray more often, with greater sincerity and involvement, with greater faith and obedience. Let’s decide to stop playing “games” with God—for He wants us to view life with utter seriousness.

Let’s resolve to renounce all sinful compromises and live fully for the Lord while we may! Let’s commit ourselves to running the race of life with greater intensity and with clearer vision. Let’s turn away from all sin and pick up the cross of discipleship and suffering, and follow the Lord with complete abandon. Let’s be willing to “lose our life” that we might gain the life that is real and lasting (cf. Mark 8:34-38).

Remember, night truly is coming. There is no doubt about this. The question for you and for me: What are we doing today—while it is daytime? What will we do during the day while the night is fast approaching? How will we answer?

 

 

 

 

 

   

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