Summary: This message calls upon Christians to prepare now for the challenges and opportunities that will be here tomorrow in America. Jesus taught this truth using the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Find out what preparations you need to be making now!
Prepared and Ready
We begin today with a conversation Jesus had with his disciples shortly before his arrest.
Matt. 26:31-35, “Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' 32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." 33 Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble." 34 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." 35 Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And so said all the disciples.”
Of course, what Jesus says would happen, did happen. All the disciples forsook Jesus and when the pressure got on, Peter denied him.
Now go with me to Acts 3 where Peter & John had healed lame man at Gate Beautiful. Incident happened on their way to prayer—on their way to prayer—on their way to prayer. That was their lifestyle. The healing stirred up a crowd and Peter preached Jesus. All of this upset the religious rulers and they & arrested Peter and John.
Acts 4:5-14 “And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, 6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked,"By what power or by what name have you done this?" 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." 13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.”
I read those two passages to show a CONTRAST: In the Matthew text Peter thought he was prepared for what was coming. In the Acts text Peter was prepared. What was the difference? The difference is found in Acts 2 where Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. In fact, Acts 4:8 points that out that crucial difference: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit….” Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit the story would have been much different. In Matt. 26:33 Peter had said to Jesus, "Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble." Was Peter sincere? I’m sure he was. But he was relying on his own strength to stand up for Jesus; he was thinking wrong about how that could happen. Peter was a man’s man. In the natural, he would have taken on anybody. But he overlooked the spiritual dynamics that would be in play. It’s seldom a sunny day when a person has to make a stand like that. There was a big difference between Peter thinking he was ready and really being ready. My subject this morning is: Prepared & Ready. Are you prepared and ready for what you will be called upon to do tomorrow?
When David walked into the camp of Israel in 1 Samuel 17, he was ready for the opportunity God had arranged for him. There were hundreds of Israelite soldiers there that had the same opportunity as he did. Anyone of them could have volunteered to fight Goliath. None did; because none were ready for the fight.
On the surface, they looked more ready than David. They had spears, and swords, and armor. They had been through Saul’s training as a soldier. In contrast, David walks in with shepherd’s cloths on and a bag of food. He didn’t even look like a warrior—a young, ruddy-faced kid.
David’s preparations had occurred at a deep level in his heart. He had not been working on outward appearances. He had not done a lot of the physical things that you would think a warrior should do in order to win a battle against a giant. God Himself had designed David’s boot camp experience. David had willingly received the preparations God offered him. What were some of the preparations David had gone through?