This following article is based on the message "Suddenly" by Pastor Arthur Green March 25, 2020.

It’s easy to feel alone and displaced in these times of social distancing, shelter-in-place, and quarantine not to mention a little confused. In times like these, it’s good to consider a familiar verse: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1) In this verse, Jesus is the Shepherd. In fact, Jesus said He is the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11) who cares for us. He tends to us, feeds us, leads us, and protects us from harm. All of our needs are met through Christ our Shepherd. In Him, we are refreshed and renewed in times of uncertainty.

The world outside of Christ will always be anxious and taken by surprise by end time events and Christ’s coming; but not us. Jesus said the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night and many will be unprepared. There are those who walk in darkness without light of the revelation of God or His Word. They neither see nor hear the times in which we live. Sadly, many will find themselves unprepared at the coming of Christ and it will overtake them SUDDENLY as a pregnant woman going into labor. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)

The signs of Christ’s coming will get noticeably closer and closer together. This is what labor pains do right up to the time of delivery. In Noah’s day, people were consumed with life as they knew it, right up until the time the flood came. They were unprepared. God doesn’t want you, me or anyone to be unprepared. Jesus wants us to make sure we’re spiritually ready because when He comes, He will come SUDDENLY at a time people won’t expect. (Matthew 24:36-44) We are not like the children of the night who walk in darkness but are children of the day who walk in the light of God’s Word. We know what time it is. Therefore, let us be sober minded and holy in our conduct, walking in the light as He is in the light in all godliness praying for all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. This we can do, even during times of social distancing.

God has a way of working SUDDENLY. In Chapters 28 and 29 of 2 Chronicles, we’re told King Ahaz was a very ungodly king. He committed great sins. He forsook the Lord and made sacrifices to pagan gods. This was the ruin of him and the people of God. He desecrated the temple, shut up the house of the Lord, and made altars to pagan gods in every corner of Jerusalem. After he died, his son Hezekiah reigned in his place. Unlike his father, Hezekiah did what was right in the sight of the Lord. He immediately cleansed the temple and reopened the doors to the House of the Lord and reinstated temple worship. He called the people back together and they all rejoiced and worshiped and praised God for all He did. For the thing that God had done was done SUDDENLY.

Years later, from the time of Malachi until Jesus, there was about 400 years of silence from God to His people. God told Malachi that before He comes He would send His messenger to prepare the way before Him. Then, when they seek the Lord, He would come unto them SUDDENLY. (Malachi 3:1) John the Baptist was God’s messenger who prepared the way for the Lord. When John saw Jesus coming he said “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29) SUDDENLY Christ had come into the world. Many saw Christ as the Messiah others did not. Many heard the voice of God from heaven testify of Jesus saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17) while others said it was only thunder. (John 12:29)

God doesn't want anyone to be without knowledge of His coming. Jesus said a lot of things that only those who had had eyes to see and ears to hear could understand. Those who didn’t understand mocked Him. Similarly, we are told in 2 Peter 3:3 that in these last days there will be scoffers who will mock the coming of the Lord. They’ll say, “People have been saying that for years.”  This certainly characterizes the general attitude of society today towards the coming of our Lord. This is another indication that Jesus’ return is getting close. We would do well to remember the days of Noah and the long-suffering of God who, in saving eight souls by water, waited while Noah built the ark. As soon as the ark was built, the waters came SUDDENLY.

When we consider our current events, it's as if the entire world woke up one day to find the Coronavirus (COVID-19) upon it and there was nothing to do but hide. It has SUDDENLY revealed our limitations. The lack of an immediate vaccine reminds us that sin and death are both very real and we cannot overcome it on our own. While the world struggles to know how to cope, let us proclaim the remedy of salvation of God through Jesus Christ.

God has a way of working in the "suddenlies". God is giving us time to seek Him. He wants everyone to be saved. It is not His will that any should perish. If we’ll seek Him, we’ll find Him. If we ask, we’ll receive Him and for everyone who knocks it shall be opened (Matthew 7:7) and God will come to us SUDDENLY.
To hear this message as it was presented live by Pastor Arthur Green on March 25, 2020, please visit us on Facebook @RiverALIVEchurch.
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