Summary: Be ready! It's a repeated theme in Scripture. But what should I do to get ready for heaven?
(I opened by singing 2 verses of an old hymn "There's A Great Day Coming")
“There’s a great day coming, a great day coming. There’s a great day coming by and by. When the saints and the sinners will be parted right and left, Are you ready for that day to come?”
CHORUS: Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready for that Judgment Day?
2) There’s a bright day coming, a bright day coming. There’s a bright day coming by and by. But the brightness will be only for the ones that love the Lord. Are you ready for that Day to come?”
(Will L. Thompson, Boston, Massachusetts: 1886 – I tinkered a little with the 2nd verse. I used the style reflected in this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVNo2oR5k-c)
That’s a repeated question throughout Scripture: Are You Ready? In fact, one of the major teachings of Jesus was - you need to BE READY!
For example: Jesus told the story of ten virgins who were part of a wedding ceremony. Back then marriages were more elaborate than the ones we have today. Part of the ceremony required the bridegroom would parade through city by night and fetch his bride from her father’s house and take her to the wedding party at his parent’s home. Part of that wedding procession included the virgins Jesus spoke of (they were kind of like bridesmaids).
Jesus explained that, as these virgins were waiting for the bridegroom to arrive, 5 of them were very foolish – they had no EXTRA oil for their lamps. But the other five were wise because they’d brought along extra oil – just in case. It was a good thing too, because the bridegroom was delayed, and by the time people shouted that he was coming the 5 foolish virgins were nearly out of oil for their lamps. They begged the other 5 virgins to give them some of their oil, but the wise virgins answered that there wouldn’t be enough for all of them – and that the 5 foolish girls would have to go get some for themselves.
While they were gone the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the foolish virgins came and asked the bridegroom to let them in. “But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Jesus closed the parable with these words: Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (From the story found in Matthew 25:1-13)
Again and again, Jesus warned us ... BE READY!
In our text today, Peter tells us that very same message. He says: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness” II Peter 3:10-11
The day of the Lord will come … like a thief. And when that happens, there will be no more time to prepare. If you’re NOT ready, that ship will have sailed, and there won’t be another one, ever!
ILLUS: Let’s say a very wealthy person approaches you and says that he wants to send you on a 2 week trip to someplace you’ve always wanted to go to – all expenses paid. (Would you like that?).
There’s only one catch – because of the paperwork in lining up the trip he can’t tell you exactly when you’ll be leaving. It’s gonna be in the next few months. AND when he calls you may only have a few hours to get down to the Airport and catch your flight.
It is inconvenient… but you really want to go. So how are you gonna prepare for this trip? Well – you might have to clear things down at the office or factory, or wherever you have commitments for the next few weeks. You’ll have to get your passport. You’ll have to get shots. You’ll have to ask someone to take care of your pets and get your mail. And then you’re going to pack (SUITCASE).
When are you going to start preparing for this free trip?
Not later, because you don’t know when you’ll have to leave and if you want to get on that plane you better prepare now!!!! You realize – if you ain’t ready, you ain’t going.
And that’s what Peter is telling us. Prepare NOW!!! Because if you ain’t prepared, you ain’t going.
But, how do you prepare for this trip – this trip to heaven? Well, you don’t have to get a passport or shots, and you don’t have to have anyone take care of your pets or your mail. And the suitcase isn’t going to do you any good (you’re not going to be able to take anything with you anyhow).