Summary: First Sunday in Advent, Year B
Mark 13: 24 – 37 / Keep Awake!
Intro: My cousin Leonard and his wife, Wanda live within 20 ft. of a set of railroad tracks. When visiting them one evening for dinner, a train rushed by shaking the whole house. I was ready to lung for cover under the table; but, Leonard and Wanda just sat eating their dinner as though nothing was happening. It is amazing to what we become so accustomed that we don’t react.
I. It seems that Christmas comes earlier every year. Is it just me or do you also feel that we go straight from flip flops and shorts to singing Christmas carols with a brief stop at Halloween and an even shorter stop at Thanksgiving?
A. A pastor friend of my recently wrote on Facebook that it would be wonderful if people would sleep out in tents beginning on Friday night to be sure they had a seat for services on Sunday morning.
B. Many have become complacent when it comes to worshiping God. You’ve heard the old adage, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” I think many have modified it to say, “Don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”
C. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “It’s not important to go to church as long as I live a good life.”
II. VSS. 24 – 27 . . . Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the 4 winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
A. The popular “Left Behind” book series and movies leave many with questions. What will happen to airplanes piloted by believers who are “raptured” out of the cockpit. Or what will happen on expressways to cars suddenly without drivers because the Lord has raptured them of the earth?
B. What if Christ returns at that split second when you are having a “discussion” with your spouse, or using profanity when someone cuts in front of you when you are driving? What if Christ comes on Sunday morning at 11am?
C. It is easy to become complacent while waiting for the return of Christ. Each advent we light the advent candles, we sing the hymns and we wait.
III. VS. 30 I tell you the truth this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” That would be great! But, those words were written nearly 2,000 years ago and we are still waiting. We have become an impatient society. We expect instant gratification and don’t like to wait.
A. We don’t like to wait in lines at the drive through bank. We are impatient with lines in the grocery store. We complain about long waits in the doctor or dentist office.
B. The sadness of our waiting is when we lose the excitement of anticipation to the dreariness of apathy.
C. Even Christmas day has lost its excitement. The packages are opened and their contents put away, the decorations come down and the long-awaited day passes with a sense that nothing has happened, nothing has changed.
Conclu: The problem isn’t with having to wait. The problems is HOW we wait. Have you ever noticed that when you keep busy, time seems to pass more quickly? VS. 37 – “And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.” We can begin to make the kingdom of God a reality here and now by staying awake to opportunities to love and serve others; by sharing the gospel in word and deed; by keeping busy doing what Christ Jesus would do. Christ Jesus says, “And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”