READ: Matthew 24:36-51
THINK: Do you know what's coming in the days ahead? In this passage, Jesus continues to describe the events surrounding His second coming. Jesus' statements here have a double reference, with implications to two distinct "stages" of end-time events. The first stage is the "rapture" when Jesus returns suddenly at an unknown time to take His faithful followers from the earth prior to the Tribulation period. The second stage is His return to earth at the end of the Tribulation. (See 24:37 and 24:44 notes.)
RESPOND: Why will Jesus' return take people off guard? What does it mean to "keep watch" for His return? (See 24:42 first note.) How will Jesus' coming at the "rapture" (prior to the Tribulation) differ from His return to earth at the end of the Tribulation? (See 24:42 second note and 24:44 note.) Why is Christ's coming compared to a thief breaking into a house? (See 24:43 note.) How should the fact that Christ will return for His followers at an unknown time affect the way you live right now? (See 24:48 note.)
PRAY: Pray that God would keep you alert to Christ's soon return so that you will remain faithful to Him. Pray for people you know who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, asking God to use you to reach them with the message of forgiveness and new life before it is too late.
ACT: Think of someone close to you who does not have a personal relationship with Christ and would be left behind when He returns. If you see that person today, make it a point to spend time with them and try to talk about things that will bring them closer to accepting Jesus. If you won't see the person, give them a call or send a note or e-mail letting them know that you are thinking about them and praying for them.
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