Summary: Encourages us to be ready for Christ’s return by focusing on eternity and God’s Kingdom.

Behold He Comes

Matthew 24:36-50 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 45 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, `My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.

I. We must be ready for the coming of Christ.

A. The coming of Christ is at an unknown time. (vs. 36)

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

B. The coming of Christ will be instantaneous.

1 Corinthians 15:52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

C. So there is no way we can prepare at the last minute—we must be ready! We know the “thief” is coming, we just don’t’ know when. So, we must be constantly on the guard.

Example: NSAG break-ins; When I was young my church was broken into. We started having people stay inside the church to protect it. There were no break-ins for awhile. So the people stopped staying at the church. And within a few weeks, there was another break-in.

D. The coming of Christ is sure—don’t confuse the long time it has taken for thinking it will not take place.

2 Peter 3:3-7 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this `coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

The long time in coming is instead an example of the patience of God.

II. Many will not be ready for the coming of Christ. Some because they think they have plenty of time—and others because they think he is not coming.

Example: The first date--A woman spent hours making herself up for a first date. After waiting a long time, the boy didn’t show up, so she cried and dressed for bed. Finally, 3 hours late the boy shows up. He takes one look at her and says, "I got here 3 hours late and you’re still not ready yet?"

A. Some will just be caught up in everyday living. Just as in the days of Noah.

Matthew 13:22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

We must live in this world. But the danger comes with an overemphasis on this world. When we love this present world.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

B. Others will try to get away with living a sinful life—thinking they have plenty of time—because his heart is wicked. (vs. 48,49)

Example: Connecticut lottery--A man didn’t realize he had won. When he went to turn in the ticket, it was a day late.

C. Others will be waiting, but be ill-prepared. (Ten virgins) Like the virgins, some may know that Christ is coming—and even be anticipating that he is coming—but they are missing something. They have an intellectual assent to the coming of Christ—but somehow their living doesn’t match up with their belief. They don’t dedicate time to their spiritual formation—and then they think that someone else’s spirituality will get them in at the last minute. They thought their 5 friends would be good enough to get them in. They hung out on the edge of the church—but didn’t have the full experience themselves.

III. How can we be ready?

A. By focusing on eternity. Your eternal soul is more important than anything else!

Matthew 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

We must be in this world, but we ought to have our eyes upon Jesus! Our eyes to the skies waiting for his coming. [Example: waiting for company]

B. By living a righteous life.

2 Peter 3:14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

Example: The girl with the clean desk.

C. By doing the work of God.

Revelation 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

Philippians 1:22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

Paul had an understanding that this life is for the purpose of labor!

Example: Furniture salesman getting a job; the gardener in Italy.

D. All of this is done by the constant presence of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Conclusion: Two kinds of responses: Ready or not, here I come. [Example: President Eisenhower]

Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon."

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.