Read - 1 John 2:18a
Message - Alan Burke
2020 has came and thrown us curve ball after curve ball, yet life goes on. Yes everyday life has changed in ways that we could have never expected, we may even have learnt lessons from this year but the Covid-19 pandemic that has swept across the whole world has made us aware of the finite and uncertain nature of our lives. As John continues, his pastoral concern is at the forefront of all that he is writing, now he brings their attention to something that he wants them to be aware of, he wants them to know the times that they are subsequently we are living in. Look back to what John has just said in verse seventeen and you will see how he has already told us that this world and its desires are passing away, literally perishing. Now he tells us here in verse eighteen that this is the last hour. Put these two together and John is communicating to us that this world is approaching its end and the time is almost up.
You may think to yourself, two thousand years have past since this was written, but John isn’t giving us a time scale, rather he is speaking of the truth of how the world is approaching its end and the time is almost up both figuratively and literally. Figuratively in regards to the last hour for we do not measure God’s time by our clocks, after all a year is like a thousand years with the Lord (2 Pet 3:8). But also speaking literally in how the world is passing away (1 Cor 7:31) and in doing so he is stressing to his readers and to us that there is an urgency of what he speaks, an urgency in the time in which we live.
This world is coming to an end, not because of our consumerism and materialism that is filling the oceans with plastic, causing the ice caps to melt because of global warming but because Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead in final judgement separating the sheep from the goats, those who have trusted in him and those who have not (Matt 25:31-46). We now live between times, Christ has come and he is coming again. John wrote out of concern because of this truth, for the hour is coming, the end is near. He wants us to be in no doubt that right now, whether two thousand years ago or today, we await the second coming of Christ.
If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we cannot predict what the future will bring, none of us were prepared for or expected a pandemic that swept across the whole world, it has made us all aware of the finite nature of our lives once more. Pandemic or not, although we cannot predict the date we can be assured that Christ will return for these are the last days as Paul and Peter make clear and that John calls the last hour, the clock is ticking. Every hour that passes is an hour closer to his return or to the day that we will stand before him when this life comes to an end and as a result there is an urgency in the message of the Gospel of Christ. Have you heard it, responded to it? For all of us time is running out, not only because we age and how our lives will come to an end but also time is running out for the world itself. We weren’t prepared for a pandemic, we didn’t expect it, but we can be prepared for the second coming of Christ and we should expect it for these are the last days. We need to recognise the time that we live in.
What is the work of creation?
The work of creation is, God’ s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good. (Gen. 1, Heb. 11:3)
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