ARE YOU WAITING FOR THE LORD TO RETURN?
Text: LUKE 12:35-40
- My son and I have recently read the Left Behind books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. I do not agree with everything in these books (they are fiction), but they are interesting and based on Scripture.
- The major premise is that the Lord is coming back to earth and many will be left behind. If these books stir up interest in the Bible, and if souls are saved as a result, we can thank God.
- My major premise today is similar: The Lord Jesus Christ is coming back to earth. He will come suddenly, and He will come unexpectedly. He wants us to be ready. Are you ready?
- I have entitled this morningís message, "Are You Waiting For the Lord To Return?"
I. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO OUR LORD FINDS WATCHING (12:35-37).
- To "watch" means to be ready, to be alert, not to be caught by surprise. This must be our attitude toward the second coming of Christ.
- In the Orient, a bridegroom first had a wedding supper with his friends, then he went to the house of his bride to claim her. Then he returned to his house with his bride.
- Although it might be very late, he expected his servants to be dressed for work ("let your loins be girded about" Ė 12:35).
- And he expected his servants to be up waiting for him ("and your lights burning" Ė 12:35).
- Our Lord makes His application in 12:40. He is coming back at any time and we need to be ready. ARE YOU READY?
- The great evangelist, R.A. Torrey, was holding meetings up in Canada and a printer printed thousands of cards with just these words on one side: "Get ready to meet God," and on the other side was information for the meetings. Again, allow me ask, ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU WATCHING?
- The Bible uses different figures to describe the second coming. One is that of the bridegroom coming for his bride. This speaks of blessing for those who are watching and waiting (cf. Matt.25:1-13).
- While this is a joyous occasion for those who are ready, it will be a horrible time for those who are not. You can imagine the grief and despair of a man who is stood up at the altar on his wedding day, but what about the man who is rejected by our Lord (cf. Matt. 25:10-13).
- The key here is, "Watch therefore" (Matt.25:13). The Lord wants us to be watching for His return. Are you watching?
- Another figure seen often in the Bible is of a thief coming unexpectedly. This is a warning to those who are not watching and waiting (cf. Luke 12:39,40; I Thess. 5:2,3; Rev.3:3).
- Let me again remind you that no one knows the time of our Lordís return (Luke 12:40). Whenever you hear of some preacher setting dates, you can mark it down, he does not know what he is talking about (cf. Matt.24:36).
II. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO OUR LORD FINDS WORKING (LUKE 12:41-44).
- Peter asked our Lord to explain the first parable (12:41). Our Lord answered him by giving them another parable (12:42).
- Therefore, to properly understand the first parable, we need to understand the second. And to understand the second, we must understand what a "steward" is (12:42).
- Eliezer of Damascus was the steward of Abrahamís house (Gen.15:2). God has appointed us His stewards (I Cor.4:1,2).
- A steward is someone who manages anotherís affairs for them. Are you a "faithful and wise steward"?
- When a person ignores the fact that Christ is coming back, he is in grave danger (Luke 12:45,46; cf. II Peter 3:3-7).
- I tremble for those who come to church and hear Gospel preaching but refuse to get right with God. Our Lord says they "shall be beaten with many stripes" (12:47,48).
- If you hear Godís Word, then believe Godís Word. Get things right with God and start working. But you do not start working till you first get saved (John 6:28,29; cf. 3:16; 5:24; 6:47).
III. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO OUR LORD FINDS STANDING.
- It is not easy taking a stand for God in this wicked, sin-loving world.
- Genuine faith in Christ divides people, even families (12:51-53).
- Unsaved friends and loved ones often try to pressure us to compromise in our walk with the Lord. They often try and plan activities that will conflict with church services.
- When I first got saved my unsaved family members used to try things like that but they gave up a long time ago.
- Beloved, do not let worldly people keep you from serving the Lord. There can only be division till they repent and get saved (12:51; cf. Rom.5:1,6,8).
IV. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO OUR LORD FINDS WAITING.
- Our Lord is rebuking "the people" for their hypocrisy and lack of discernment (12:54-56; cf. 12:41).
- Men can predict a snowstorm or hurricane but are blind to spiritual things (12:54-56).
- As a matter of fact, worldly men are very happy when you talk to them about the weather. But start talking about the Bible and they soon get angry!
- But listen please, the storm clouds of Godís wrath are moving on the horizon. Prepare to meet thy God!
- When men are involved in a lawsuit, they usually try and settle out of court. They wish to avoid the lengthy and expensive process of a trial and possible punishment.
- Yet when it comes to the most important judgment bar of all, the one up yonder in heaven, men are very careless (12:57-59).
- Our Lord is trying to impress upon His listeners the urgency of getting things right with God. Because when God finally condemns a man, the penalty will be inflicted to the uttermost, and there will be no appeal (12:58,59).
- If most people received a letter notifying them of a lawsuit, they would probably contact an attorney.
- If they knew a big storm was heading up the coast, they would probably prepare for it.
- But something far more important is coming soon and they ignore it.
- A few years ago, I preached on the radio and referred to the Johnstown flood, which took place back in 1889. A radio listener from Johnstown called my wife and told her she had relatives who drowned in the flood.
- Civil engineers knew the dam was going to break and they warned the people but the people ignored the warnings.
- A few months later, the engineers again examined the dam and again said to the people: "You are in danger. Watch out." The people laughed and said, "Thatís what you said last time!"
- Finally, they came back yet a third time and once again they were ridiculed.
- Fifteen days later, a boy on horseback came racing down the Conemaugh Valley yelling, "Run for your lives! The dam has broke and the water is coming!"
- The people laughed at him too but in a few minutes the water came.
- Within thirty minutes Johnstown, Pennsylvania was in ruins and more than 3,000 people drowned.
- Our Lord is coming back. He has told us to be ready. But most people are ignoring His warnings and are laughing at His messengers.
- But once the flood of His wrath is released it will be too late to repent. Like the foolish citizens of Johnstown, lost sinners will be swept away in judgment.
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