Summary: His return is certain – it will happen. It is imminent – that is, it could happen at any time. It will be sudden – like a thief in the night. Luke 12:40 tells us that we need always be ready so that His return will not catch us off guard.

“Be Prepared”

Luke 12:35-43

Lord Baden Powel, the founder of scouting gave the Boy Scouts their motto: “Be prepared”. What he was seeking to do was to instill in his scouts a readiness for any emergency. The scout should never be taken by surprise. He is always to be ready. He is to “Be prepared.”

Christ in teaching His disciples told them that He was going to His Father and preparing a place for them and that He would return. He would come again. While the time of His coming is unknown, His return is certain – it will happen. It is imminent – that is, it could happen at any time. It will be sudden – like a thief in the night. Luke 12:40 tells us that we need always be ready so that His return will not catch us off guard. We are to be prepared!

I. Being prepared means being properly attired

A. Luke 12:35a “Let your loins be girded about…”

B. By being spiritually ready in the matter of salvation

1. Matthew 22:11-14 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen."

2. This was a royal wedding, and it is likely that a special garment was provided by the royal host for his guests on an occasion such as this. If so, the failure of one of the guests to be clothed with the marriage garment indicated that he had spurned the garment provided by the king when it was offered to him.

3. A person can be well dressed but that does not mean that they are properly dressed. Only with the garment provided by the King can one be properly dressed.

4. The wedding garment represents holiness, which we are given by God in exchange for our sin, at salvation. Holiness, without which, no man will see God. Our wedding garment is the righteousness of Christ, and unless we have it, we will miss the wedding feast.

5. To insist on covering ourselves is to be clothed in “filthy rags”

6. Isaiah 64:6a “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags”

C. By having the right mindset

1. The HCSB translates the first part of Luke 12:35b “Be ready for service...”; the ESV “Stay dressed for action...”; the NIV “Be dressed ready to serve…”

2. Men in Israel during Bible times wore long, flowing robes. If you were going to go into action or wanted to get work done, wearing a flowing robe was a very inconvenient way to be dressed. So when they wanted to get some work done they would tuck these robes into a belt around their waist so that they would not get in the way. They would pull in all the loose ends. Today we would say, "Roll up your sleeves."

3. 1 Peter 1:13 “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

4. Peter says we are to pull up the loose ends of our lives. So that we are focused on the spiritual and not the temporal things of this life because He may come any day. Since he may come any day, it is well to be ready every day.

5. Being ready means to roll up our sleeves and work until He comes

a. Titus 3:1 “to be ready for every good work”

b. 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”

6. Oswald Chambers said, “The only way to wait for the Second Coming is to watch that you do what you should do, so that when he comes is a matter of indifference. It is the attitude of a child, certain that God knows what he is about. When the Lord does come, it will be as natural as breathing. God never does anything hysterical, and he never produces hysterics.”

7. The great preacher F. B. Meyer once asked D. L. Moody, "What is the secret of your success?" Moody replied, "For many years I have never given an address without the consciousness that the Lord may come before I have finished." This may well explain the intensity of his service and the zeal of his ministry for Christ.

II. Being prepared means having your lamps ready

A. Luke 12:35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning” – Keep your lamps lit.

B. As believers we should not be walking around in darkness.

C. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”

D. Be alert, be aware, be watchful, have everything ready.

E. Matthew 24:42 “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

F. Mark 13:35 “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh , at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:”

G. 2 Peter 3:8-11 “But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved , what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

H. Luke 12:37-38 “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.”

I. As believers we should also shine our light for others to find their way.

J. Matthew 5:14-16 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

K. A saintly Presbyterian pastor Robert Murray McCheyne was known to on occasion ask people, “Do you believe that Jesus is coming today?” If they replied in the negative, he would say, “Then you had better be ready, for He is coming at an hour when you think not!” - copied

III. Being prepared is being ready to meet Christ and give a full accounting of your stewardship.

A. Luke 12:36, 43 “you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.”

B. A waiting expectancy for His return.

C. Pastor Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) lived in the glow of Christ's coming. As he would conclude his day's ministry, he would draw the curtains of his window and utter as he looked upward, "Perhaps tonight, Lord!" In the morning, as he awoke and looked out on the dawn of a new day, he would pray, looking up into the sky, "Perhaps today, Lord!" - copied

D. There is to be in each of us a constant conscious permeating thought that Christ may come at any moment and that when He comes we will give an accounting of our stewardship.

E. 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done , whether it be good or bad.”

F. 1 John 3:3 “And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.”

G. What a wonderful practical tie there is between the truth of the coming of the Lord and our appearing before Him, and the living of our daily life! "Everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure." Let me illustrate that by the life of Martha Snell Nicholson who, for more than thirty-five years, was so transcendentally triumphant through those many weary years that she wrote some of the finest Christian poetry which has ever been written. A number of years before she died she wrote about her hope of the coming of the Lord. This is what she says: The best part is the blessed hope of his soon coming. How I ever lived before I grasped that wonderful truth, I do not know. How anyone lives without it these trying days I cannot imagine. Each morning I think, with a leap of the heart, "He may come today." And each evening, "When I awake I may be in glory." Each day must be lived as though it were to be my last, and there is so much to be done to purify myself and to set my house in order. I am on tiptoe with expectancy. There are no more grey days—for they're all touched with color; no more dark days—for the radiance of His coming is on the horizon; no more dull days, with glory just around the corner; and no more lonely days, with His footsteps coming ever nearer, and the thought that soon, soon, I shall see His blessed face and be forever through with pain and tears. - copied