“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. - Luke 21: 34-35 (NLT) What are we watching out for beloved? Are we so busy watching out for the blessings of God that we are neglecting His warnings to us? Are we so content to watch out for the next great leadership seminar or seemingly profound quote that we neglect to be prepared for what God has specifically said we need to be prepared for? Have we so purposefully driven our churches to be seeker friendly and culturally relevant to a dying world that we have lost sight of what is coming in these end days? Have we prayed the prayer of Jabez, expanded our territories and drawn circles in the sand only to find ourselves no better prepared than when we first started? Watch out! These are the Words from Jesus Himself in our key verses. You would think that as the church we would pay particular attention to the things Jesus said Himself. Following a long sermonette regarding what will happen in the end days, the key verses see Jesus beginning to wrap up His teaching on the matter. His opening line here is "watch out!" This is a serious matter for Jesus and He expects us to take it as seriously as He is teaching it. But we have become bloated and lazy as the church today. We are more prepared for the next three day seminar to discuss things in abstract what we should be doing in reality. We are not watching out but sadly enough we are not even talking about watching out. The kumbya church is too happy to be holding hands and singing songs to bother with the more difficult Scriptures. Tomorrow starts a four week series on how God wants to bless your blessings but nary a word about the warnings from our Lord and Savior. The first such warning in the key verses is to not allow our hearts to be dulled by carousing, drunkenness and the worries of this life. The first reality we need to embrace today is that our hearts can indeed become dulled. We fancy ourselves as impervious to the enemy because we are no longer taught to resist him. Instead we are taught that the grace of God allows us to safely ignore him. We do so only at our own peril. The Bible says that he is like a roaring lion waiting to devour someone. The sad reality is that we are becoming woefully unprepared as Christians for the war we are in. No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house. - Mark 3: 27 (NKJV) When we refuse to take heed and watch out we are allowing ourselves to be bound. We have routinely spoken about being bound by sin, shackled to our past, or bound by things such as unforgiveness but there is one other we overlook. Too many today are bound by church. The very things Jesus warned us specifically about have infiltrated the church. The term carousing means to be partying hard. Go into any Pentecostal church this Sunday and you will be hard pressed to feel as if the church you are standing in is not really just a concert. Leonard Ravenhill once said that entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy - and we have far too many churches now being built upon the foundation of entertainment. Unsaved musicians employed because of their musical talent. Matters of sin ignored for the sake of using the best voices possible for the choir. Strobe lights and fog machines are the new normal. Drunkenness has also been problematic within the church. For many years we saw the revival of the latter rain movement within the holy laughter heresies. Routinely today you still have pastors claiming to be drunk in the spirit. Moving past that obvious correlation however is the dramatic increase in fake spiritual experiences within the church. We are no longer chasing God but rather the next big experience. Churches employ mood lighting and rhythmic drumbeats to build up the false sense of a spiritual experience. When someone goes up to receive prayer the norm is for someone to stand behind that person in case they are "knocked out" by the Spirit. Television hucksters have entire sections of their crowd go down in unison at a mere wave of their hand. People being slapped in the forehead for healing. Rolling around on the ground. Making animal noises. Claiming to have been "soaked in the river" or whatever other nonsense we can create to feel as if we are more spiritual than we really are. Entire schools now exist to "teach" the gifts of the Spirit, such as speaking in tongues. The manifestation of tongues in churches today has become more a sign of true carnality than the move of the Spirit. We hear songs that glorify man. We hear sermons that glorify man. We are positively drunk with ourselves. Along with carousing and drunkenness Jesus warns us to guard our hearts from the worries of this life. How can we be ready for the eternal if we are constantly distracted by the temporal? The role of the church should be to prepare the saints for the eternal. To get our focus on the things of God instead of the things of this world. What do we see instead? We see earthly prosperity being sold from pulpits across this land. Wannabe pastors daring to write books exclaiming that this pitiful stretch of life which James compares to a vapor - is your best life. We see God being sold as a cosmic ATM who exists for our whims. Best selling Christian books designed to teach us how to demand things from God in prayer. We see churches so heavily involved in politics that they forget that we are not to place our trust in the princes of this world. Other churches so desperate to fill their pews that they are on a relevance-quest. The Apostle Paul did not try to be relevant with the cultures he encountered. Jesus did not try and be relevant to the culture He lived in. We are supposed to be different. We are supposed to be a shining city on a hill. We are supposed to be salt and light to a dying world; not pepper and glitter. People are supposed to look at their culture and look at the church and see a difference! Instead we encourage the carnality of the world's leaven within our churches under the guise of being relevant and along with it comes all of the worries of this life. Those worries will dull our hearts to the things of God. That is what Jesus is warning us for. Watch out! We see this theme taught by Jesus throughout the Gospels: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. - Matthew 24: 36-44 (NKJV) What does Jesus mean by comparing the last days to the days of Noah? Well it took Noah a 100 years to build the ark. He built it in a land that had never seen rain. The mere building of the ark was an act of absurdity to those who lived there. Just as absurd as the things of God are to those who are perishing today. Noah did not seek to be relevant to the culture around him because he understood that the culture around him was sending everyone to their demise! But he preached the coming wrath. He preached the coming flood of judgment from Almighty God. Those around him did not care. They still carried on with their carousing. They still carried on with their drunkenness. They still carried on with the worries of this temporal world. Right up until the day the rain came and the judgment of God swept them all away. The key verses today conclude by Jesus warning us to not let the Day of the Lord catch us unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. The nature of a trap is that the prey is unaware. We cannot stand by as in the days of Noah, caught up in the revelry of this world. We cannot be caught up in seeking relevance to a culture that has no relevance to God. Enough of the carousing for the next great slice of entertainment. Enough with the drunkenness of the next pseudo-spiritual experience. Enough of the focus on the temporal worries of this life when the promises of the eternal await us. AW Tozer once lamented that when we step into eternity and see all of the riches there are in Jesus Christ how sad and humiliated we will be to come to the judgment seat of Christ as such a pauper. One day the trumpet will sound and our faith will be as sight. Watch out beloved, watch out. Rev. Anthony.