Summary: He's coming - are you ready?
When will everything be OK? Have you ever asked yourself that question? You’re sitting on the couch, watching the news. You see that the economy has gotten a lot of attention lately. Banks are getting bailed out. Car makers are begging to get bailed out. So many foreclosures, you see. You get tired of watching all of this, and so you change the channel, and now you see stories that show that the moral climate of our country isn’t so good, as government officials fight with each other over what the definition of marriage should be. People seem to be more and more accepting of sinful lifestyles, you notice. You get tired of watching that, and so you change the channel again, and now you see people fighting over how the war against terrorism should be handled. Finally, you turn off the TV. So many problems in the world. When will everything be OK?
And then you think about your own life, and you know that not everything is perfect. Not everything is just right for you at home, or at work, or with your health, your finances. When will everything be OK?
What’s the answer? When will there finally be peace on earth? “Keep watch,” Jesus says. Because that day is coming. A day when all problems will disappear. A day when the economy will be perfect. A day when everyone finally agrees with each other. There will be perfect morality and no war. A day is coming when your life will be perfect, and there will be no more stress or worry at home or at work or anywhere else. “Keep watch,” Jesus says. In our verse of the day, Jesus told us, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Our text for this morning tells us to be on guard. To be alert. But what does that mean, to be alert? Would you be ready, right now, if Jesus opened up the sky and came down to this earth at this moment and looked into your soul, and judged you? Today we will think about all these things as we consider the theme “Waiting for Christ.” We wait, ready and alert. And we wait, filled with hope.
As you can see, we are in the season of Advent, and today is the first Sunday. The color purple is a royal color. It reminds us that a king is coming. The word advent means “coming” or “arrival.” During this time of the year, we celebrate the first arrival of Christ, when the King and Creator of all things, became the creation – when God became man. What an awesome day that was, that first Christmas, many years ago. In Advent, we also look forward to the second coming of Christ, when the King will return on Judgment Day.
Jesus tells us why we need to be alert: “You do not know when that time will come.” In other words, it will be an unexpected moment. The normal flow of your day will be interrupted, and you will be caught off guard. Jesus paints the picture of an owner of a house leaving, and putting his servants in charge, each with his assigned task. We are those servants, and Jesus is that owner. “Keep watch,” Jesus says, “because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back.” And here’s the warning… “Do not let him find you sleeping.”
This is a warning intended for you and me. Do not let God finding you sleeping, when he returns on Judgment Day. How is your faith – is it awake and alert? Or, is your faith asleep? Do you know the difference? Some Christians read the Word of God on a regular basis. And they regularly pray to God. And they come to church faithfully and pay attention. And whatever they do in life, whether it be at home with their family, or at work, or in their neighborhoods and communities, they are striving to glorify God with their thoughts, and words, and actions. Their faith is alert. Is that you?
There are others who do not read the Word of God on a regular basis. They just talk about it how they should start doing that, but they never do it.. They really don’t pray all that much – just when they’re in trouble. Maybe they come to church, but their mind is far far away. When they’re at home, or at work, or in their neighborhoods and communities, thoughts of glorifying God are far far away. Which one are you? Is your faith awake and alert? Or is your faith asleep?
Are you ready for your soul to be inspected by God, if Judgment Day were to come today? If we are honest with ourselves, we all would have to admit, that at times, we have been asleep spiritually. As our Old Testament reading said for today, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. No one calls on your name, or strives to lay hold of you.” Isn’t that us, at times? And so we pray with Isaiah, “Do not be angry, beyond measure, O Lord. Do not remember our sins forever.”