Summary: Jesus warns his disciples and to "keep watch" for the day and hour of his return is a secret to all except the Father. I begin with a "vest button" principle and have an illustration of Katrina... all emphasising the principle of "preparedness" and being

In Jesus Holy Name December 2, 2007

Text: Matthew 24:3,4,36,42 Redeemer

The Secret

This past summer and fall I’ve had the privilege of officiating in a number of weddings. Some were held in the back yard of a family home. Others on a golf course. One on the shore of a lake. Some were held in a church sanctuary. In September, our youngest son, Aaron and his finance, Meghan were married.

Every wedding had some things in common. The brides all wore beautiful wedding gowns, chosen with care. Every groomsman had visited a “men’s wearhouse” and been measured for a tuxedo. Every groomsman and every father also had a vest. Did you know there is a secret to wearing a vest?

It’s a secret every father should tell his son. It’s one of those manly things that has to be passed down from generation to generation. It rates up there with teaching your son to shave and used deodorant. It’s a secret every vest wearer must know. If you own a vest and you do not knows this secret, here it is. “Button your first button correctly.” (Max Lucado)

Take your time. Don’t be in a rush. Look carefully in the mirror and then match the right button with the right hole. If you get the first button right, then the rest will follow. If, however you don’t get the first button right, every button thereafter will be buttoned incorrectly. The result will be a lopsided vest. Put the second button in the top hole or slide the second hole over the top button and well, it just won’t work.

There are certain things in life done only one way. Buttoning a vest is one of them. Being ready for the return of Jesus is another.

According to Jesus, being ready for his return to earth is a vest button principle. Not everything is a vest button principle. The church you attend isn’t. The bible translation you read is not. But being ready for the return of Jesus is a vest button truth. Jesus will return. His words can be trusted.

But we human beings are curious lot. We want to know when. We want to know the day, the time. The disciples were no different.

Matthew 24 tells us that Jesus had been preaching in Jerusalem. He and his disciples left the temple area and walked across the Kidron valley; I’d call it a creek, and walked up the Mt. of Olives. It is a fabulous view back across the Kidron Valley of about a ½ mile, towards the city of Jerusalem and the temple mount.

The disciples were also looking at the ancient city with its beautiful limestone walls. Jesus said, “Not one stone will be left on another, everyone will be thrown down.” The disciples asked the expected question. “When will this happen?” “What will be the sign of your coming at the end of the age?”

Jesus said, “No one knows the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor do I, only the Father knows.” “Keep watch….many will come in my name, claiming to be the Christ, and they will deceive many. Keep watch, because you do not know the day your Lord will come.” Be ready! It’s a vest button principle.

In Acts chapter 1, when Jesus had ascended into heaven the angels spoke to the disciples and said, “this same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” When he returns the opportunity for preparation will be passed. Our eternal destination depends on the preparation that we have already made.

The exact day and hour of our Lord’s return is a secret. When that day arrives, “the voice of the archangel will sound forth with the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ will be raised from the dead.” The exact day and hour is a secret….but there are warning signs so that we can be prepared. When you approach a city street with a traffic light….and you see yellow…. You are to prepare to stop, not race through it. It’s a warning sign. “Prepare to stop… cross traffic is about to move.”

(take out your bible and look at these warning signs of Jesus.)

Jesus begins with a warning in v. 4. There will be false prophets, individuals who claim to be Jesus. Do not be deceived. Nations will be at war. There will be famines and earthquakes. Believers will be persecuted. Christians can expect to be hated because of their lifestyle which is committed to imitating Jesus.

V 37 Jesus uses the story of Noah and the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servants to emphasis his point. Be prepared. The people in Noah’s day were destroyed because of their wickedness, but that is not the analogy here. Jesus compares the normalcy of their daily lives with the normalcy that will prevail before His return. There is nothing wrong with eating and drinking, getting married, going to work, taking a vacation, enjoying the fellowship of friends, buying a house. The fault is getting so caught up in the routine of daily living that one takes no thought about one’s spiritual life.

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