Are You Prepared for His Return?
Seven signs that you know Jesus—and He knows you
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the story of the wise and foolish virgins. In the chapter right before this parable, He is teaching the disciples about end times subjects like the Tribulation, the Second Coming and the Rapture.
Remember, the Bible wasn’t originally written with the text divided into chapters and verses. People see this passage at the start of a new chapter and don’t always understand that the Parable of the Virgins is an end-times parable. It’s about how to prepare for the return of Christ.
Here’s the full parable:
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”—Matthew 25:1-13
There were ten virgins, but five of the virgins were unprepared for the return of Jesus. They wanted to go with Him but He said, “I don’t know you.”
These virgins represent the Church. So in this parable, Jesus is prophesying that, when He returns, half the Church will be false. Half! Fifty percent of the people worshipping on any given Sunday will not be taken in the Rapture because they don’t truly know Jesus.
That might lead you to ask some questions: How can we know that we're prepared for the return of Jesus? How do we know for sure that we're prepared for the Rapture and we won't be left behind? How can we help our children and our family members and friends prepare for the return of Jesus?
This article will help answer those questions. I believe there are seven signs that you’re a true believer in Jesus.
You have confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord of your life. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
We have to make Jesus Lord of our lives, surrendering our lives to Him and submitting to His authority.
You believe Jesus is the only way of salvation. He is the only way to God the Father. One of the main heresies in the Church today is universalism, which says that all roads lead to God—whether you’re a Buddhist, a Muslim or an atheist—and everyone will be saved regardless of what they believe.
But only the death of Jesus atoned for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead to attest to the fact that the Lamb of God took away our sins. That’s what the resurrection means. So if you don’t believe in the resurrection, you’re effectively saying, “I don’t believe Jesus’ death was the only way to God the Father.” Romans 10:9 says you have to believe this to be saved.
Your life has changed since accepting Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” This doesn’t mean you have become perfect, but it does mean you have changed.
I got saved when I was 19 years old. Before that, I was immoral and rebellious. I cursed all the time. I barely had a conscience. After I was saved, I wasn’t immediately the holiest person in the room, but when I said a bad word, I would become convicted about it. That was a significant change.
You hear God’s voice or sense His presence. This doesn’t mean you have to audibly hear the voice of God or see visions, but do you have any sense that God is interacting with you? In John 10:26-27, Jesus tells the Jews, “you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
No one ever taught me about hearing God or told me how to listen for God, but that still, small voice has guided me throughout my career as a pastor. In fact, the Lord spoke to me and called me into ministry. He may speak to each of us in different ways—He knows how to speak to you in the way you understand best—but as a Christian, there should be some sense of God’s voice in your life.
You believe you’re saved by grace and not by works. Salvation doesn’t come from being a good person, but from faith in Jesus. In a 2020 survey by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, only one out of three adults embraced salvation by grace—even though that’s a core Christian teaching:
Huge proportions of people who attend churches whose official doctrine says eternal salvation comes only from embracing Jesus Christ as savior nonetheless believe that a person can qualify for Heaven by being or doing good. That includes close to half of all adults associated with Pentecostal (46%), mainline Protestant (44%), and evangelical (41%) churches. A much larger share of Catholics (70%) embrace that point of view.
If we could get to Heaven by being good, then the step Jesus took on the cross was unnecessary. If you’re not saved by grace, then you’re not saved. If you think being a good person gets you saved, you don’t know Jesus. I’m telling you right now.
You receive God’s Word. In John 8:31-32, Jesus told the Jews, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
In that same Barna survey, 58% of Americans said they did not believe absolute moral truth exists, and that truth is sometimes based on factors or sources other than God. Another 59% said the Bible is not God’s authoritative and true Word. In other words, the vast majority of Americans do not believe there are absolute moral laws. If you don’t have a relationship with the Word, you don’t have a relationship with Jesus. Do you accept God’s Word?
You love God’s family. True believers in Jesus love the Church. Jesus makes this clear in John 13:34-35. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
1 John 4 extends this teaching:
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
—1 John 4:20-21
We are all imperfect people, but a true Christian will love the family of God. The way we treat people reveals our heart. It tells who we are and it reveals our relationship with the Lord. Are you a kind person? People who love Jesus and know Jesus will have a concern and compassion for fellow believers.
I hope these seven signs help you prepare for the return of Jesus. I hope your friends and family are also prepared, because I believe His return is soon. Half of the Church may be left behind during the Rapture, because they didn’t really know Jesus. I don’t want this to happen to you or to those you love.
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