Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: There are some who are eagerly waiting for Christ's return, In fact some don't want Him to return now and desire to continue doing what they are and then there are those who believe this is just a hoax and don't believe that He will ever return. Which one

Opening illustration: A teacher tells her young students, “Class, I’m going down the hall for a few minutes. I don’t expect to be away long. I’m sure there won’t be any trouble. I trust you to work on your assignments while I’m gone.”

Fifteen minutes pass, then 20, then 40. Suddenly the teacher returns. Dennis has just thrown an eraser at Carol who is doing her math. Steven is standing on the teacher’s desk making faces. The students carrying out the teacher’s instructions are delighted at the teacher’s return, but Dennis and Steven wish she hadn’t come back at all.

Jesus Christ is coming back! That stands as both a warning and a promise throughout the New Testament. It’s good news or bad, depending on who hears it.

Let us turn to Luke 12 and catch up with the narrative of Christ’s return.

Introduction: I doubt that there is anything I dislike more than waiting. It may be that you can identify with me in my annoyance with waiting, especially when it is prolonged awaiting someone’s arrival. Husbands sometimes come to church in a mental “miff” because they have sat in the car, waiting for wife and/or family to get out to the car. Wives can get upset waiting for their husband to get home from work, especially if they have dinner in the oven getting extra crispy or on the table getting cold. I was watching the news a couple of weeks ago, during the ice storm, and much was made of the thousands who were forced to spend a day or more in the airport, waiting for the weather to clear and for the airline schedules to be untangled.

Our culture is not inclined to wait, either. Think, for example, of how many “fast food” restaurants there are in our city, as compared with those which cook food the slow, old-fashioned way. TV dinners are the solution for those who wish to eat at home, quickly. Credit cards have a great appeal to us because we can buy the things we want without having to wait till we have the cash to do so. The “sexual revolution” has also given our society a convenient philosophical rational for not “waiting” for sexual enjoyment, within marriage.

Let's keep away from arguing various theories of the Second Coming. We probably might have different views. These arguments will cause us to miss the point of JESUS' teaching, and transfer our thinking to someone else's teaching. Let us stay focused on the scripture before us.

(A) How to be ready for Christ’s return?

1. Waiting like a Waiter (v. 35-36)

I see three distinct characteristics of the “good waiter” as described by our Lord:

(i) Preparation—“be dressed ready”

(ii) Maintenance—“keep your lamps burning”

(iii) Expectation—“[and be] like men waiting for their master”

The preparation of the waiter consists of a readiness for action. In the imagery of our Lord it has to do with one’s clothing. Literally, one is to be ready by “having their loins girded.” One could hardly work with a flowing robe in the way, so it would be tucked in. In our culture we might say, “having your sleeves rolled up.”

Second, the “good waiter” is to “keep his lamp burning.” They did not have street lights in those days, nor did they have a porch light to keep on, so that the master could easily find and enter his door. The lamps (Greek luchnos) referred to are the small clay lamps. To keep them burning requires both an expenditure of effort and resources. Lamps kept burning must be refilled periodically with olive oil, the wicks must be trimmed occasionally, and they must be checked lest the wind were to blow one out.

Third, the “good waiter” is to be like a devoted servant, who eagerly awaits his master’s return, as if he were coming from a wedding banquet. The master shouldn't have to bang on the door and wait while his servants get up and come sleepily to the door, stumbling over things in the dark. When the master arrives, the servants are to be ready. His coming is their most important priority; their own weariness and self-indulgence isn't to take over. They are servants. Jesus did not suggest that the master was himself married, but only that he attended the banquet. It was both profitable and delightful activity, a good reason to be gone and even to be delayed in returning. The mood, then, of his arrival would be joyful and festive. The eager servant would be ready, able to immediately open the door to the master.

2. Watching out for Christ (vs. 37-38)

The word rendered "watching" is Greek gregoreo, "to stay awake, 'be watchful,' to be in constant readiness, 'be on the alert.' “It comes from a word meaning "to wake or rouse up someone."

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