Summary: prepare for the coming of Christ

December 1, 2002 Mk 13:32-37

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

Well, it’s already started. This past week my son has started the interrogation. With a raised eyebrow, a dark look in his eye, and a persistence that would make even the most hardened criminal crack - he asked me - “when is it going to be Christmas?” When I answered, “a month,” well, that wasn’t good enough. A child doesn’t really grasp the concept of a month - but that it’s a long time. So he continued it the next day, the next day, and the next. I had to finally promise to make a chart today - where we would do a count down to when Christmas would be here. That’s the only way that I could finally figure out how to show him how close it was.

Jesus had promised the disciples a wonderful paradise through faith in him. We have this promise as well - that since Jesus died and rose from the dead, we too will go to heaven. The disciples, like anxious kids, wanted to know when the end of the world was going to come. Even today, many people try to calculate when the end of the world is coming. Jesus was able to give some clues as to when the end of the world would come - how false prophets would come, how families would fall apart, and how Jerusalem would be destroyed. But ultimately he said in today’s text, “no one knows about that day or hour, but only the Father.” He couldn’t make a chart and say, “the end of the world will come on this day and at this time.” So instead, he simplified it for them. Instead of focussing on when it would come, he gave them -

A Different Way to Prepare for the Second Coming of Christ

I. Don’t let him find you sleeping

Jesus said, you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. All four of these times have something in common - they are all times that we are sleeping or want to sleep. Jesus even draws this connection when he says, If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. Paul expounded on what this “sleeping” would represent when he said, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self_controlled. Therefore, instead of telling us not to physically sleep, Jesus is warning his disciples to be alert and self controlled when he tells them not to sleep.

Why does Jesus use night time as an example? Think about when sins usually occur. When the structure of a nine to five job loosens it’s shackles, there is more time and freedom. This is a good illustration of what state Christians are in - because we are loosened from the chains of the law and set free in the blood of Christ. Jesus is calling for self control in freedom. That’s when it’s the toughest to obey - when you have the freedom NOT to - when no one is LOOKING and you can’t get CAUGHT - that’s where SELF CONTROL is most necessary. Why? Because all sins are addictive in nature and carry guilt. They make you say to yourself, “I’m doing something I know is wrong. I don’t know if God will forgive me.” They effect you spiritually, so you make excuses for your sins, and they even effect you physically, when you have to stay up late to “get away” with sins you can’t do during the daytime. Sin makes you say to yourself, “I know this kind of a magazine is evil, but Jesus died for me, so I’ll just indulge myself this once.” You think that just doing it once will have no lasting consequence. But even doing them one time carries guilt along with it. So Jesus says, “don’t be caught sleeping” - because it can lead to unbelief and ultimately a fall from faith. Beware of the dark.

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