Summary: Are you truly preparing for Heaven as much as you have planned for next year? We'll examine 6 ways to prepare for eternity.
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Prepping for a New Year or Preparing for Eternity
Scripture Reference: Mark 13:32-37
Preached at Mount Zion Baptist Church on December 30, 2018
Delivered by Rev. John Daniel Johnson
Back in May of 2017, my father passed away after a long battle with cancer. This past Christmas, my brother and I found a home video of our father’s last Christmas with us. We made this video into a DVD and presented it to our mother for Christmas. As a family we sat around on that special day and wept like two year old children. All those thoughts came rolling back into our memory of all those special times we had with our dad.
After the video we sat around telling old stories about my father. It was one of those stories that shaped the outline of this message. A few weeks after my dad’s passing, my two smallest girls went to go visit their grandmother, my mother. A few minutes later, the girls came back home and quickly ran into their room. We had bought both of them little pink Dora the Explorer suitcases and they were pulling these pieces of luggage into the living room. They opened up their little pink cases and begin throwing in Barbie dolls, some books, some clothes, and their toothbrush. After packing their bags, the girls zipped them up, waved to me “goodbye”, and started pulling the luggage towards the door. Before they headed out of the door, I stopped them and asked where they were going. Without missing a beat, Charity replied, “Grandmama told us that Granddaddy is in Heaven, and she wants to go be with him. Me and Tiffany have decided that we’re going with her.” Oh the innocence of a child!
This morning I want to begin by asking you a simple question: Are you truly preparing for Heaven as much as you have planned for next year? Are you truly prepared to go to that heavenly home that awaits the true children of God? Jesus declared in Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
James 4:14 adds:
“ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
My friends, if this was the last message that I could preach to you before I died, I would want to tell you this. Jesus is coming again one day. Once He returns, He is going to take His church home, and we better be ready.
There is an old story of a king of bygone days and his 'clown' or 'jester', who sometimes said very foolish things and sometimes made very wise utterances. One day the jester had said something so foolish that the king, handing him a staff, said to him, 'Take this, and keep it till you find a bigger fool than yourself.'
Some years later, the king was very ill and lay on his deathbed. His courtiers were called; his family and his servants also stood round his bedside. The king, addressing them, said, 'I am about to leave you. I am going on a very long journey, and I shall not return again to this place: so I have called you all to say "Goodbye".' Then his jester stepped forward and, addressing the king, said, 'Your Majesty, may I ask a question? When you have journeyed abroad visiting your people, staying with your nobles, or paying diplomatic visits to other courts, your heralds and servants have always gone before you, making preparations for you. May I ask what preparations your Majesty has made for this long journey that he is about to take?'