Summary: A message on the sure second coming of Jesus
“Ready or Not Here “I” Come”
An adult Sunday School class was studying sayings about “the end time” in the Gospels. Some were troubled and confused by Jesus’ use of symbols to describe the coming judgement: lamps lit, loins girded, wise and foolish maidens, a thief in the night, and so on.
In an attempt to modernize the language, the pastor asked if they had seen or experienced something that made them think the end was near. One woman recounted her fear during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960’s. Another described feelings of horror when her ancestral home in Hiroshima was destroyed in a nuclear attack. Still others noted destruction of the environment or threat of collision with a comet. Everyone present agreed that helplessness and dread compounded their fears.
Are there any of us hear today who have not wrestled with the end? I know I have. The good part is that Jesus has given us some instruction that should at the very least focus our fear on the right things and at the very best, put our fears to rest.
Our passage for today may on the surface show Jesus giving conflicting instructions to his followers.
On the one hand, in vv. 32-34 he tells us not to be fearful, to trust their loving Father, and to free themselves of possessions in order to help the poor.
On the other hand, Jesus tells us to be watchful and on guard lest we be found unprepared when the Son of Man comes again.
How can we be on guard and have no fear at the same time? The answer is obscure if we look at this passage in isolation; however, when examined in light of other end time sayings of Jesus, the seeming contradiction is resolved.
Three consistent threads run through the New Testament sayings about the end. Lets take a look at those today and see if we can learn how to watch without fear.
I. Jesus will come again!
A. In this passage we are looking at today, deliberate mention of the Son of Man does not come until verse 40. There are many titles and metaphors used in the NT to describe Christ’s return. Things like the bridegroom, the householder, Alpha and Omega all refer to the second coming of Jesus. Although the language varies, the message is consistent; Jesus Christ will come again! (amen)
B. The ultimate victory and power are God’s and yet we fear. I read a story about a man who visited his son’s school as a classroom observer one day. What he remembers most is a teacher’s use of an obstacle course as an object lesson. She randomly placed chairs in an open area of the classroom. She then selected a volunteer to help make her point. The student was given time to walk through the course to memorize each obstacle; he then was blindfolded. Immediately, the teacher put her finger to her lips to quiet the class and quietly removed all the obstacles.
The boy began to search around the room, zigging and zagging with his arms outstretched. Slowly, he made his way through obstacles which now only existed in his mind.
C. Truly, most of what we try to avoid in this life is not real at all, it’s merely an image printed on our minds. God has already removed all of the obstacles that could prevent us from being the people he wants us to be. Yet, the reality is that our progress is much life the progress of the student: ignorant, fearful, erratic, and slow. (Pause)
D. The promise of victory and power was a great comfort to early Christians suffering persecution, and it should be an encouragement to us today in whatever fear or threat we find ourselves. Ask yourself what fear or threat do I face or does my Church face. How do we deal with this crisis?
E. We have got to focus! Evil will not have the last word. God in Christ will return and reign forever! (Amen) We need to focus!
F. A store owner in Dallas Texas has built his business selling nothing but water. Now building a business on sale of something most people can get for almost nothing is quite an achievement. This store is successful because it focuses on one product. You can buy distilled, purified, spring, artesian, filtered, extra filtered, carbonated, mineral, flavored, unflavored, imported or local water.
G. The problem with our church is not so much a lack of resources or even the commitment of them. The problem is that we lack focus. You don’t give to the Van fund because you don’t see the Van being used. Trust me that is about to change. You don’t pay your tithe the way you should because you don’t think you can afford it, trust me you can’t imagine what your missing out on by not paying what God requires. You don’t think the Church needs any more money with all that money we have in the bank. Trust me, Lord willing by this time next year not only will we need that money for a new building but we will need what you haven’t been giving.