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Watch and Pray

“”Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)

In our vocabulary today the word watch has become a passive word. The word watch itself has lost its original power. The word watch has become a passive activity such as watching television, watching the news, watching sporting events or the stock markets. We have become a spectator nation. Watching is an activity that has put us on the sidelines and not at the forefront of the action. This usage of the word watch is foreign to its original meaning and the context in which this Scripture was written. In the original translation the word watch emphasized carefulness, attention, and vigilance such as a soldier keeping alert for any sign of enemy movement on the battlefield.

Perhaps a better way to see this word is to use the word overcome. This word implies that we watch ourselves to spot a problem and then do battle with that problem. Paul tells us in his second letter to the Corinthians to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Corinthians 13:5) This is what we are to do, watch ourselves, correct ourselves, and be in prayer that He will strengthen us to overcome. We see clearly what is going on in the world today and we know that it is not just evil men but men under the influence of “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) Because of this we are to watch that we may overcome the battle that we are engaged in. If we watch and pray, then we have this assurance, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5)

We are to watch ourselves spiritually and overcome our human nature. The greatest enemy that most of us face is ourselves. From the time of our conversion to a life committed to following Jesus we are in a constant battle with our self. Self does not easily yield the throne to our Lord and Master and will strive to constantly place itself as the Most High. This is in our sinful nature and will always be till that great day when the flesh has finally departed us. That great day when we receive our eternal body. We are to be watching the world around us as it is constantly bombarding us with its influences. We are on the battlefield to fight against these worldly influences and the victory is ours through Jesus who overcame the world and its evil forces. (John 16:33) Satan will toy with us and use his worldly devices against us and we are to defend ourselves by our faith and trust in God’s Word.

Watch in the context of this Scripture is the process of overcoming the wiles of the Devil he uses against us. We watch to identify the problems, engage them, and putting them to flight. “So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6) As we draw to the near end of the age our adversary will become more intense as he becomes more desperate and we are to be aware of his work in the world. Our awareness will intensify our motivation to get the gospel message out because as the first message of Jesus is “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

The suggestion of this verse I believe is that those who actively at watch and prayer in the end times are those who will be counted as most worthy to escape and stand before Jesus in God’s Kingdom. In this verse Jesus has brought a concluding statement to all that He has said in this Chapter of the Gospel of Luke. If we, as followers of Jesus remain steadfast and watch and pray we will escape all the things of verses 7-33 and enter into God’s Kingdom.

This Chapter, Luke 21, is about the end time that is rapidly approaching today. In verse 36 Jesus is directly giving us spiritual instruction of living in these times. If we are actively watching the events of the day and in prayer about those events we will have the roadmap to our safety and salvation. What price would you pay to escape the tribulations to come in the last days? There are two tickets that exists and we find them here in this chapter of Luke. In this verse Luke 21:36 we see the tickets, watch and pray. Overcoming our adversary, overcoming the world, and overcoming our self is an everyday commitment and a constant activity that we must always be engaged in.

My father said something to me recently and it has become a guilt trip that I am striving to overcome. My dad said it is time to stop playing Christian and become a praying Christian. We cannot be slack in our prayer life. The Purpose of God is to restore man’s relationship with Him. You cannot have a relationship with someone if you will not talk to them. Prayer is talking to God.

If we miss either one of those tickets or only have a partial ticket, then we will likely have to buy those tickets at a very high price in the Tribulation. “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” (Matthew 24:9)

The Scriptures have many doctrines to produce certain results. But none of these doctrines stands completely on their own. They blend in with other doctrines from other parts of the Scripture in order to make a whole. In the Scriptures the doctrines that Jesus teaches are always root doctrines and they form the foundation from which all other doctrines spring from. The taught doctrines of Jesus gives direction and the boundaries that we are to advance to. The size of our spiritual house depends on the foundation that it is built upon. The best spiritual foundation is built on the teachings of Jesus. This verse, Luke 21:36, is an integral part of the spiritual foundation for His followers in the end times.

In this study from Luke 21 we have seen that watching and praying, overcoming and praying are vital to the Christian life now in the end times. “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.” (Luke 12:37)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, September 3, 2014

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