Sunday May 07, 2023
Sunday May 07, 2023
Sunday May 07, 2023
Matthew 25: 1 - 10 and John 14 : 1 – 3
A Bible study group was discussing the unforeseen possibility of their sudden death. The leader of the discussion said, ” We will all die some day, and none of us really know when, but if we did we would all do a better job of preparing ourselves for that inevitable event.”
“Everybody shook their heads in agreement with this comment.”
Then the leader said to the group, “What would you do if you knew you only had 4 weeks of life remaining before your death, and then the Great Judgment Day?”
A gentleman said, ” I would go out into my community and minister the Gospel to those that have not yet accepted the Lord into their lives.”
“Very good!” ,said the group leader, and all the group members agreed, that would be a very good thing to do.
One lady spoke up and said enthusiastically, “I would dedicate all of my remaining time to serving God, my family, my church, and my fellow man with a greater conviction.”
“That”s wonderful!” the group leader commented, and all the group members agreed, that would be a very good thing to do.
But one gentleman in the back finally spoke up loudly and said, “I would go to my mother-in-laws house for the 4 weeks.”
Everyone was puzzled by this answer, and the group leader ask, “Why your mother-in-law’s home?”
“Because that will make it the longest 4 weeks of my life!”
The day before Thanksgiving a man in Phoenix called his son in New York and said to him, "I hate to ruin your day,
but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years is enough. We’re sick of each other. So please call your sister in Chicago and tell her."
Frantic, the son called his sister, who exploded on the phone. "There’s no way they’re getting a divorce," she shouted, "I’ll take care of this." She immediately called Phoenix and said to her father. "You are NOT getting a divorce. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing. DO YOU HEAR ME?"
The man hung up his phone and turned to his wife. "Okay, honey. It’s done. The kids are coming for Thanksgiving, and this time they’re paying for their own flights."
Well, I guess that sometimes people do strange things or go to extraordinary lengths in order to accomplish their purposes.
For example, think about “Surprise” parties or events and all the effort put into planning and putting them on
and making sure that the guest or guests of honor are properly surprised.
For those who are involved, such an event can turn out to be something really special and precious.
Folks, we should ALL be ANTICIPATING a very special event, too. In fact, Jesus Himself talked about it the last night that He spent with His apostles before His arrest and crucifixion.
Do you remember?
Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen to Him.
He had told the apostles again and again that His kingdom was not of this world,
and that the time would come when His enemies would kill Him,
but that He would rise again. But somehow it just didn’t sink in.
They couldn’t understand how that could possibly happen to Jesus,
their Messiah and their Lord.
But on this last night, in the upper room, Jesus told them plainly that the time had come, and that one of them would betray Him. Jesus even went on to say, “You will all fall away.” That’s when Peter declared, “‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.’” Luke 22: 33 & 34
You can imagine the confusion and gloom that settled over them.
And then Jesus began to speak some of the most familiar words in all the Bible:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am John 14: 1 – 3
Did you hear His promise? Jesus is coming again!
A few weeks later angels repeated that promise.
Forty days after His resurrection Jesus met with His disciples on the Mt. of Olives for the very last time, and Luke says,
“They asked Him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’
“After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly
two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go...’” Acts 1: 6 - 11
It is true! Jesus is coming again!
B. Years later, the apostle Paul writes to the Christians in Thessalonica: “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope...
“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” 1 Thess. 4: 13 – 18
It has been stated that the books of the O.T. from Genesis through Malachi could be summed up as saying, "Jesus is coming."
The N.T. books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John proclaim, "Jesus is here."
The remaining 23 books of the N.T. tell us, "Jesus is coming again!"
There is NO DOUBT about it!!!
God’s Word tells us more than 300 times,
Jesus is coming again!
But when He comes, some will REJOICE and others will be TERRIFIED.
The apostle Paul tells us,
"The coming of the Lord will be like a thief in the night" 1 Thess. 5: 2
However, for the Christian it won’t be a terrifying experience.
It will be an exciting experience, like the anticipated arrival of a long...awaited friend.
The Bible also says, "We who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" 1Thess. 4: 17
Does that excite you? If you’re a Christian it should thrill you.
However, there is an old Biblical principle that will trouble many.
It is that we will surely REAP what we SOW Galatians 6: 7
A story is told that many years ago a man conned his way into being a member of the orchestra of the emperor of China although he couldn’t play a note. Whenever the group practiced or performed, he would hold his flute against his lips, pretending to play but not making a sound. As a member of the orchestra he received a salary and enjoyed a comfortable living.
Then one day the emperor requested a solo from each musician. The man was terrified. So he pretended to be sick, but the royal physician wasn’t fooled. On the day of his solo performance, the impostor took poison and killed himself.
The explanation of his suicide led to a phrase that later found its way into the English language: He couldn’t “face the music.”
Today someone can pretend to be a part of God’s orchestra by just blending in with the crowd and going through the motions.
No one notices, because you say the right things, go to the right places, and hang out with the right people.
But there will come a day when you and I must “face the music.”
On that day you will stand alone before God and give an account for your life, your decisions, and your relationship with Jesus.
2Thess. 1: 7 says, "This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels."
Some will rejoice, but others will be terrified.
For in that moment when Christ appears in the sky,
they will suddenly realize that it’s too late. They will reap what they have sown.
They gambled with their future, and lost!
God allows us the freedom to make our own choices, but as Christians, we have a responsibility to warn the world that Jesus is coming again!
EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE READY
I know there are many predictions and calculations concerning His Second Coming, but Jesus said, "No one knows the day or the hour" Matt. 24:36
That’s why we must always be ready and constantly helping others to get ready, too.
God stands waiting and willing to forgive. He has patiently postponed His judgment to give us more chances to come to repentance, and more opportunities for people to see and hear a sermon through our lives.
Eventually that patience will be replaced by justice, and evil will be punished.
Some years ago an old time minister was Johnny Carson’s guest on the "Tonight Show." At one point Carson asked him, "Sir, what do you think would happen if Jesus came to earth again? I’d bet we’d betray Him and probably put Him to death once again."
To which the minister leaned forward in his seat and said, "You know, Johnny, Jesus said that He would return.
But the first time He came in love.
The next time He’ll come in power, and no one will do Him in."
Believe me, when Jesus returns, He won’t have to announce His arrival.
He won’t have to say anything, for every eye will see Him, and every knee will bow.
When you see a glorified being riding on a cloud with trumpets playing in stereo –
trust me, it will be Jesus.
On the dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, is the following inscription, "One God, one law, one element, and one FAR-OFF DIVINE EVENT toward which the whole creation moves." Folks, we must be prepared, for Jesus is coming again!
Had you been on the British Coast in 1845 you might have seen 2 ships boarded by 138 of England’s finest sailors setting sail for the Artic. Their task?
To chart a Northwest Passage around the Canadian Artic to the Pacific.
The captain, Sir John Franklin, hoped this effort would be the turning point in Artic exploration.
History shows that it was.
Not because of its success, but because of its failure.
You see, the ships never returned. Every crew member perished. And those who followed in the expedition’s path to the pole learned this lesson: "Prepare for the journey." Apparently Franklin didn’t.
Though the voyage was projected to last 2 or 3 years, he only carried a 12-day supply of coal for the auxiliary steam engines. But what he lacked in fuel, he made up for in entertainment. Each ship carried a "1,200-volume library, a hand-organ, china place settings for officers and men, cut-glass wine goblets and sterling silver flatware."
Was the crew planning for an Artic expedition or a Caribbean cruise?
The sailors carried no special clothing to protect them against the cold.
Only the uniforms of Her Majesty’s fleet, thin and inadequate.
Strange how men could embark on such a journey ill-prepared, more equipped for afternoon tea than for the Artic sea.
But stranger still how we sometimes do the same. Just like Sir John Franklin, we sometimes act as if life is just a cruise. We have little fuel but lots of entertainment.
We are more concerned with looking good than with being prepared.
We give more thought to table settings than to surviving the journey. We give little thought to the destination.
If we sail unprepared it’s not God’s fault.
He left detailed instructions. His Word is our map. The Holy Spirit is our compass.
He outlined the route and described the landmarks we should seek.
And someday, if we follow them, we will stand before Him and hear the words,
“Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
But the sad thing is that the Bible says that there will be many who will not choose to prepare themselves. We can read one example in Matthew 25: 1 – 10
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said unto the wise,
Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 13“Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
And we come together this morning with wonderful news - Jesus is coming again!
WE should ALL be looking forward to that day with anticipation.
I don’t want to hear the words, “Depart from me, for I never knew you.”
I want to be a part of His family. Do you?
It is our privilege to make known the joy that we have, and to invite others to share that joy, to lift each other up when we fall, to strengthen each other when we are weak,
to cry together, to pray together, to rejoice together. That’s a privilege that we have.
I offer you the forgiveness of your sins through Jesus.
I offer you a heavenly home and a heavenly family. He invites you to come to Him this morning as together we stand and sing.
by Melvin Newland