Summary: ready for Christ’s return

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Intro: years ago at Bible College one of the hot topics of many students was figuring out who the anti-Christ would be, what part of the world he would come from, was the mark of the beast just 666 or three sets of six numbers, and of course tabulations for the month and year of Christ’s return. Since most eschatological studies run too deep for me, today in conjunction with the showing of the movie Left Behind, I would like to give a practical sermon on this subject. How Not To Be Left Behind

How Not To Be Left Behind

I. Keep Plenty of Oil In Your Vessel—Matthew 25:3—took no oil with them. Oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit throughout scripture and in this story it seems to apply.

· The people who will miss the return of Christ will have no supply of the Holy Spirit working in their lives. They will have no fire in their hearts and no light in the darkness.

· They will be looking for oil when the midnight cry takes place. I think this is a classic picture of people who are running to and fro in our society chasing down the anointing, and never possessing the power of God in their lives.

· No oil—religion offers no oil, rules and regulations, formalism instead of true moves of the Spirit of God leave people dried up.

Ill) I have been quite fortunate over my lifetime because I am famous for running on fumes. As long as the gas gauges say it has some gas, it is good for another 50 miles. But at least 4 or 5 times that I know for sure, I have been the guy heading for the gas station on foot with a gas container. That is how many people live their spiritual lives, not running on full, but living near empty.

II. Avoiding Worldliness and A Critical Spirit—Luke 12:45-46

· The Lord delays his coming—these are famous last words because when someone begins to say to themselves, I can live unprepared, I can get away with some things, I have all the time in the world, they are in trouble.

· Beat fellow servants- I know for some this may seem funny, but growing up ministers were the most respected, loved, and looked up to men in the community. But in our society, most are criticized, scorned and reviled by every form of media. To prove this: a million ministers can be doing great things for God, but one who fails in any way is the topic of every news agency in our society.

· Party time—eat and drink and get drunk. I know in some circles drinking alcohol in moderation is acceptable, but over the years I have met very few people who can drink moderately. This is the case in this story, someone who should be ready for the Lord’s return is drunk and is caught unprepared for the Lord’s return.

III. Keeping Hope Alive—2 Peter 3:3-4 there shall come in the last days scoffers—not only will there be a sin problem for many in the last days, but a faith problem.

We all have to guard against a negative, doubt filled, pessimistic spirit in our lives. Some of you may feel like Eeyore. You remember Eeyore? from Winnie the Pooh. Eeyore the old donkey stood by the side of the stream and looked at himself in the water. "Pathetic," he said, "that’s what it is. Pathetic." He turned and walked down the stream twenty yards, splashed across and walked slowly back to the other side and he looked at himself in the water again. "As I thought" he said, no better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that’s what it is. Then behind him Winnie the Pooh came in. "Good morning Eeyore, said Pooh. "Good morning," Pooh bear, said Eeyore gloomy, if it is good morning. Which I doubt!

· You have to contend for the faith, when Jesus comes will He find faith on the earth (Luke 18:8). I tell people all the time that one of the sure signs of the rapture is the amount of people explaining why the Lord cannot return or why the rapture of the church is a false teaching invented by Darby in the 1800’s.

· It is so amazing, even with so many natural disasters all over the world, and so many scriptures being fulfilled, still people say things like, there has always been bad weather, and there are always problems in the Middle East.

· Willingly ignorant—v.5—not acknowledging the hand of God in these times takes a lot of ignorance. The beginning of sorrows is upon us, and men’s hearts are failing them for fear.

Ill) years ago an older couple had a grandfather clock that was in need of repair. One night it chimed 16 times, and the old man said to his wife, dear it is later now than it has ever been before. No matter how many scoff at us, it is true, we are in the last days, and the time of the Lord is near.

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