Remember the story of Paul Revere? How he took off on horseback to warn everyone, yelling, "The British are coming! The British are coming!" He also arranged a "warning signal" from a Boston church, one lantern if they were coming by land, two if by sea. Revere rode through the countryside, warning every house he came to (this was 1775, remember, so stopping at every house wasn't quite the chore it would be today), as he made his way to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were on the way to arrest them.
This early warning gave many an opportunity to prepare, to be ready to fight when the British army came...without Revere's warning, many of them might have suffered a different fate.
Did you know that there was MORE than one rider that night? According to the Paul Revere House website, "After delivering his message, Revere was joined by a second rider, William Dawes, who had been sent on the same errand by a different route. .. Revere and Dawes were joined by a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. Soon after, all three were arrested by a British patrol. Prescott escaped almost immediately, and Dawes soon after. Revere was held for some time and then released. Left without a horse, Revere returned to Lexington in time to witness part of the battle on the Lexington Green."
Revere may be the one we remember, but the others were just as important--imagine how much different our history might be if only Revere had been sent and if he had then been arrested before he could warn others.
Today, we have lots of warning signals-- if a tornado is in the area, we have sirens that go off; nearly every home and business has at least one smoke alarm, to help us get out safely in the event of a fire; carbon monoxide detectors can protect us from an invisible gas that can kill us before we even realize there's trouble. Many schools, in reaction to recent shootings, now have a text-messaging alert system, where they can notify every student with a cell phone when there is an emergency.
But one thing all these warnings have in common is that they can't prevent the event they're warning us about; that's up to us.
A siren can't stop a tornado, but it can give us time to get somewhere safe.
A smoke alarm can't stop a fire, but it can give us time to wake loved ones and get out.
And Paul Revere couldn't STOP the British from coming, but he COULD make sure others were ready when it happened.
Did you know that YOU, and I, are God's warning system to the world? Jesus IS returning, and I am more convinced every day that the time is drawing near. No, I'm not an "end-of-the-world" prophet, I don't claim to have figured out the secret code that reveals the precise date of His return largely because there IS no secret code. Jesus was pretty clear on the topic--nobody is ever going to be able to figure out the day and the hour, but we CAN see the signs and know that the time is drawing nearer...
The day of Christ's Return IS drawing closer...the signs are clear. And I think the devil knows it too, because it seems to me like he has been on the attack like never before, not just in my life, but with my friends, and all around us. One thing we can know for certain--TODAY we are closer than we have ever been before to the Lord's return.
And so my question is, what are you doing to warn others? I'm sure that not everyone who heard Revere's shouts of warning really believed that they were about to be attacked by the British...but he didn't let their disbelief keep him from issuing the warning, and neither should we. It is NOT my job to MAKE anyone believe...it is my job to "go and tell." And it's your job too.
Christians--do NOT keep silent about the Lord's return. Do NOT let others intimidate you into keeping silent about your beliefs...GO AND TELL!
Tell your family, your friends, your co-workers, the guy in front of you in the checkout lane, the people stuck in the elevator with you...will they think you're some "fanatic?" Maybe...but would you rather please man or your Father? Don't wait until it's too late and then wish you'd taken that midnight run to warn a few more...
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. " Matthew 24:42-44