Summary: The delay in the return of Christ Jesus represents the present period lived between the first coming of Jesus and his expected return.
Intro: Almost every Sunday morning I begin my sermon with a cute or funny story. This morning I start with a sad story. Bob and Betty were 2 of my dearest friends in Indiana. A strong, loving example of what a married couple should be. However, this couple was always at least 15 minutes late for everything: church, fellowship dinners, or parties. Bob contracted cancer and died. The funeral was to be in the church sanctuary. That afternoon, the funeral director came to my office all upset. Betty was outside in the limo and would not get out. I went out to the limo expecting Betty to be upset not wanting to accept the reality and finality of Bob’s death. I pleaded with Betty to get out of the limo. She insisted she was NOT getting out. Finally, clinching her teeth, she looked at me and said, “That man made me late for everything for 45 years because he waited to the last minute to prepare and I will not be on time for his funeral.” (A true story whose names have been changed to protect the guilty.)
I At an intersection, the green light changes to yellow; at a theater the house lights flash; at a railroad crossing the lights begin to flash; a car in front of you on the freeway the turn signal flashes. A voice in the wilderness of Judea a voice is heard declaring, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”
A What do these have in common? They are all warnings for which you need to be prepared.
B VS, 13 “ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
C Mt. 25: 13 is taken from MK 13: 35 where the GK word gregoreo is translated as “Keep awake” which is more accurately translated as “be prepared.”
II This story is unique to MT. where the theme is being ready for the coming of the Lord, despite his apparent delay.
A The question remains: How do we live until the end of time? It may be relatively easy to be a Christian for a day; however, it is much harder to do it for a lifetime.
B Knowledge, faith, and love are tools for living in the time before eternity, not tools to gain entrance.
C We may assume we have all the time in the world to tend to matters such as a broken relationship, learning a skill, replacing bad habits with good. We think “DON’T DO TODAY WHAT YOU CAN PUT OFF UNTIL TOMORROW” or expect someone else to do it for us.
III Understanding of this passage leads us to understand that our purpose as Christians is to live faithfully, courageously, and hopefully until Jesus comes. Christ Jesus comes when:
A Christian people live in hope and never give up.
B Faithful disciples express love and compassion while working for justice.
C Critically ill people know they are ultimately safe in God’s love.
D Women and men live in hope and give themselves to the work of God’s kingdom.
Concl: It is difficult to know how to stay ready for an uncertain future or what to take care of right now.
Being ready is a way of life more than a check list of dos and don’ts; it is an orientation to the world that looks for Jesus in the stranger and is ready to respond to the neighbor in need.