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Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Take heed to yourselves…

The admonition that Jesus begins with in the King James, “take heed to yourselves”, is presented in other versions as; “be on your guard”, “constantly be on your guard”, “beware”. The sense of the Greek is to turn your attention in a direct and intentional way towards self. To closely monitor something that is going on within your own self. Jesus gives us the location that we must direct our attention towards- our own hearts.

“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts…”

This warning follows a set of prophecies that Jesus delivers to His disciples concerning events that would be fulfilled as the Day of Judgment approaches and His return draws nigh.

In Luke 21:7-28 we read where Jesus describes events that would unfold as history unfolds; verses 7-19 describe signs and persecutions that would increase in occurrence and severity as times draws to a close. Verses 20-24 deal specifically with the destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in 70 A.D. and also points to a future time when vengeance would be directed once again towards Jerusalem. Verses 25-28 speak of events that occur in the days just prior to the Second Coming of Christ and the final Judgment of man, events which are also described in much detail in the book of Revelation. (Revelation 6:1-7; 8:1-13; 9:1-21; 15:1-8; 16:1-21; 17:1-18; 18:1-24) Verses 29-33 serve to emphasize that the events foretold could be recognized by the watchful and most assuredly would take place.

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

This brings us back to verses 34-36:

Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Take heed: A warning to the disciples and the coming generations (us) to be aware of the times as they unfold and dispite all the aforementioned signs; persecutions, natural disasters, wars, calamity, distress and perplexity- the place from which the greatest threat arises, we are told, is our very own hearts!

Knowing how vain men scoff and cynics disbelieve, through all the distractions of applying these prophesies to specific times we must recognize the warning of the threat from our hearts has never been witnessed in the context that we experience today. Never before have we seen so many of society being drawn away in such great numbers to distractions of self-indulgence.

Just consider the increasingly hedonistic environment we inhabit, a large portion of society revels in satiating physical appetites; food, drink, wealth and power- gluttonous appetites seemingly without end. Parallel these with those of society that feed on vanity and physical beauty, worshiping the body itself- still, both groups are able to agree that personal leisure and entertainment must be the common goal of utmost value and importance. All the while contrasted with a world increasingly ravaged by violence and despair- yet somehow just on the peripheral of our awareness. So fleeting is our understanding that we can at times pause for a moment to consider their predicament, perhaps even to reflect and comment upon it, but then as quickly as the realization came it is gone, and we are back to the desperate endeavors of pleasuring self, oblivious to the fast approaching destruction.

Why make such a point about it, has this not always been the way of sinful man?

Yes it has been. But remember this warning is not directed to unsaved peoples, this is Jesus communicating with His disciples and through their accounts- to us. This admonition goes out to the church itself. Never before have we seen a church (so called) so engrossed in, so consumed with carnal cares and concerns. The descriptions of society presented in the previous paragraphs sadly fit perfectly well in our modern church.

“Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting,”

one version states it thusly,

“Constantly be on your guard so that your hearts will not be loaded down with self-indulgence,” (ISV).

How self-indulgent has the church of today become, how inundated and compassed about are we with our corporeal needs and desires.

Luke 21:34-35 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

How obese we are, corporately and individually weighted down with excessive consumption of the pleasures of this life! I want more! And bigger! Oh, give me a bigger congregation, a grander building, a more fantastic program- it matters not if the people in the pews actually serve Christ. We are intoxicated with our Christian liberty and having allowed the casks containing our original wine to run dry, we are now consuming the wine brought in by the congregations won with pragmatism rather than the true gospel.

Our homes are no different. Our cares and concerns mirror those of the broad path travelers heading directly toward destruction. Give me more so that I can build greater; it is our reward to live in fine houses, drive nice cars, and to have plenty! That is what it means to be a Christian, right? The defining mark of a follower is blessings on top of blessings, and all of them directly associated with my wallet.

In this pragmatic church I can speak using any language I want (whether cursing or blessings), dress how I please, watch whatever programs I desire, my needs, wants and desires trump any actual need for true spiritual change- that is legalistic, antiquated, and out of style. God doesn’t really expect a “new man” He just wants my “old man” to be a slightly better old man.

Not so.

Jesus warns that to give ourselves over to the indulgences of the spirit of this age is to have the day come upon us unawares, and He plainly states that this is a trap that will catch all those who allow it to do so.

Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

How can we sit idly by as others are martyred for Christ? Even worse, how can we so constantly pursue the follies of this temporal place chasing after that which will fade away and still call ourselves followers of Christ?
The disciple Peter puts it rather plainly, that all such pleasures of our past life should be abandoned as we will most assuredly give an account to Him who is to judge the living and the dead, or perhaps, the saved and the lost…

1 Peter 4:1-7 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

It is time we remember that we are not called to live for ourselves, but rather are called to deny self and pick up our cross and follow Christ… Where did He lead? To the cross so that salvation might come to all men.

It is time we join our Christian brothers and sisters in prayer, watching, suffering, and proclaiming Christ- even unto death. It is surely needful we quit worrying over this temporary life and follow hard after that which truly matters- shining the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ!

Let me echo Peter’s words…
The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

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