Summary: The return of Christ is nearer today than it was yesterday. Christians must lived prepared every day.
Luke 21: 25 – 36 / The Time Is Coming
Intro: In my time with the children a few weeks ago I spoke with them about road signs. As I prepared this message I thought about how we have become a nation of signs: some of them are helpful and some are not. Some signs cause us to pause and ask, “what were they thinking?” Some examples: “Fishing for children only/ Limit 3” ~ Bottomless Pit / 65 ft. deep ~ a sign on a balcony, “Please be aware that the balcony is not on ground level” ~ “Caution: Blind Drivers Backing Out” ~ “Antique tables made daily” ~ “Happy Easter! We Rent Handguns”
I. Humanity has a tendency to misread, misunderstand or just ignore signs. For example, every native Texan knows that the posted speed limit is just a suggestion.
A. History books report that WW II began on Sept 1, 1939 when German armies invaded Poland. The original plan was to invade on August 26th. The order was sent out to stand down because of a last minute change in plans. All units but one received the news. That unit moved forward on the 26th, captured an important mountain pass and several prisoners. When he radioed his success to his superiors, they told him of the plans. He released his prisoners, turned around and led his soldiers back into Germany. This should have been a sign to the Polish government that something was being planned. They ignored the incident.
B. VSS 25 – 27 These cosmic signs are also mentioned in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel and Jeremiah.
C. Signs of the end! --- Perhaps, they are signs of God’s new beginning --- labor pains are the sign of the end of a pregnancy but they are also the signs of a new birth.
II. Most people fear the end of time. VS. 28 “. . .stand up, look up, your redemption is drawing near.”
A. Redemption in GK apolytrosis – used originally for buying back a slave or captive, making him or her free by payment of a ransom.
B. This is the only occurrence of the word in all the gospels. What Luke is telling us to be careful to not misinterpret the signs.
C. A young customs official noticed a woman crossed the border every day riding a motorcycle with a wooden box strapped on the back. He suspected she was smuggling something; but, each time he searched the box there was nothing but sand. Later, a more experienced guard searched the woman and arrested her for smuggling motorcycles into the country.
III. VS. 34 – “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”
A. Dissipation – GK kraipalé - used only here in the NT = a wasting or squandering, an idle or frivolous amusement or diversion, indulgence in pleasure to the point of harming oneself.
B. A security guard worked at a drug company for 15 years. At first he was very alert and watchful. As the years passed with not even a hint of a thief, he became relaxed and lazy. One evening the company was robbed of thousands of dollars of drugs while the guard slept. The guard was fired for not watching.
C. I love the cartoon character, Maxine. She is often full of wisdom. One recent piece of advice I read was, “Always keep a few get well cards standing on the mantel in case you have unexpected guests. They will think you’ve been sick and unable to clean.”
Conclu: Recently I was asked why we decorate our home to such an extent at Christmas because it’s not about the decorations and gifts. That’s true! It is not about the gifts and the decorations or the trees. It’s about getting things ready for the arrival of the King of Kings. It is about reminding ourselves that the King is coming and we want everything to be beautiful including our home; but, most importantly, our lives because the time is coming when Christ Jesus will return.