ARE YOU READY?
Good morning church!
I am glad to be here with you all this morning and thankful to God for this great opportunity of sharing His word.
Let us begin our time with the word of prayer: Pray
I would like to begin our time together with a real incident that took place in Nepal few years back. There was a rich business man living in our community in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. He lived a luxury life with all the facilities at home including a huge garden and swimming pool inside his compound. His house was in the corner of the city and it was quite far from other houses. He might have thought of the potential danger of the thieves and security of his properties; but he never did anything about it. He was so busy with his business and comfortable in his mini-palace that he didn't put security guards, dogs, auto lock gates and so on. He used to wear a lot of golden jewelries and his wife and kids too. He even had a kind of mini-bank at his house as he used to keep huge amount of cash at hand. He was enjoying his life with his family in such lavishness. One day, when he woke up in the morning, he realized that his house was broken by the thieves at night and got away with most of his valuables, cash and jewelries. It was a huge shock for him as he never even thought of that and was never prepared for that kind of robbery. It took him several days to accept that fact and he almost lost his mental balance because of that traumatic experience. What would you do to safeguard your property if you were in that man's place? Let us see what the Bible says about this.
Let us turn to the Gospel of Luke 12:39-40.
39 "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
40 "You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect."
Let us pray for the revelation of His Word. Prayer…..
The Topic that I am going to share with you this evening is:
"Are You Ready"?
According to Craig Blomberg, This little parable of the householder and the thief depicts two human characters, one trying to guard himself against the other. It contrasts with those of earlier verses because here Jesus wants about being prepared for His return. He encouraged them to be ready by noting the reward and blessing that the return will bring. This same parable is found in the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 24 verses 42-44. This is an allegorical parable where the householder stands for the person who is not well-prepared disciple of Jesus; and the thief represents the Son of man.
I would like to share three important things from this parable about the reasons to be ready:
1. The Son of Man is Coming.
2. The Time is Unexpected.
3. The Command is to be Ready.
Let us look at these three reasons one at a time to understand their importance for readiness.
The Son of Man is Coming.
Merrill Tenney says that the second coming of Christ is one of the most prominent doctrines in Scripture. In the NT alone it is referred to over 300 times. The term 'Son of Man' is used to refer to Jesus Christ. The write of this Gospel, Luke portrays Jesus as the Son of Man in order to emphasize His humanity. The metaphor of the Son of man as a thief does not mean that Christ is a robber. The allegory is that He comes like a thief at an unexpected time. Jesus is teaching Hid disciples to be freed from worldly cares through trust in the care of God and hope in His second coming. They are not to be allured by the temptations of laziness, self-indulgence and self-assertion but to be ready to serve the Son of man when He comes. The most important fact here is very clear that the Son of man is coming.
As this doctrine is one of the most prominent doctrines of the Scripture, it is also one of the doctrines with differences in people's opinion. This doctrine has been discussed in many occasions but still the debate remains there. Some people believe that the second coming of Jesus took place already on the day of Pentecost. Others believe that His coming refers to our conversion as He comes into our hearts. There are many views regarding the coming of the Son of man. Christ Himself clarifies in John 21:23 that He will come again. His coming will be the time of completing His redeeming work of the whole world, which is yet to come. The coming of the Son of man is still to come and it will be the climax as the result God will be the all in all.
There are many false prophets in the world who claim themselves as the Christ. A man among those false teachers was Sun Myung Moon. He was a Korean guy who claimed to be the Christ at the age of 15 on the Easter day. He also claimed himself as the Lord of the second coming at the age of 15. His followers considered him as the Christ and believed that the Son of man has already come and Sun Myung Moon is that Son of man. This heresy is called "monism" and it has spread all over Asia and even in the world these days.
As we know the fact that the Son of man is coming. It’s the second coming which He had spoken many times before his death and resurrection. He has just gone to prepare the place for us and He is coming to take us there. We should be ready because He is coming to take us our eternal home which is heaven. We must be careful with the false teacher and prophets who come up with such false teaching. If anybody claims to be Christ and says that I'm from Christ, we must deny them. We must be able to defend ourselves from those wolves who try to put us into their false trap. If anybody comes to you saying that I'm Christ; you just reject them. And also be careful if anybody comes to you saying that Christ came already; you just reject them too. We know the Christ has not come yet. Let us be careful with those monism and other false doctrines that are trying to spread the false teaching about the coming of the Son of man. Let us know that He will come as He has commanded us to be ready for His coming. So, we must be ready because the Son of Man is coming. Are you ready for the coming of the Son of man?
The Time is Unexpected.
The metaphor of thief is used to communicate that the Son of man will come on an unexpected time just like a thief. A thief never tells a householder before going to rob his house. The householder can not even imagine the time when his house gets robbed. The point here is; thief does not tell the time so that the householder does not know the time of coming of the thief. Thief normally comes at times when the householder is not expecting the coming of the thief. Likewise, the Son of man is also coming at the time which is unexpected. Jesus compares His coming with a thief breaking into a house which clarifies that His coming is uncertain and unexpected.
Jesus never told the exact time of His coming. Even Jesus did not know the time of His coming. Only God the Father knows about the exact timing. It is a total mystery for us as there is no way of calculating the time of His coming. There are people in the world who have been spreading the false teaching about the time of the coming of Christ. They even come up with certain dates with exact times when they think that the Son of man will come. They use the tragedies of the world like; wars, famine, earthquake and so on to calculate the time. And they say that these are the signs of the last day and the coming of Jesus will take place after these things. But they have been proven wrong many times and they will be proven wrong if anybody comes to tell us the exact time.
There is a big festival in Nepal during the month of August season which is normally celebrated for a week. All the offices, companies and schools, colleges would be closed and people would be in the mood of celebration with having relatives at home and going to visit relatives as well. The crime rate would be real low during that period of time and city centers, shopping malls and even the streets would be quiet and peaceful. People normally do not even think of crimes, accidents and bad things during that period of time. In the midst of such a celebration with low rate of road accidents and bad incidents, my friend was stabbed and was almost dead. One fine afternoon, as he was withdrawing some money from the ATM, he noticed two guys following him on a motorbike. He didn't realized that it would lead to such a tragedy as all the people would be in the celebration mood. After five minutes of following, they stabbed him from the back in the middle of the road. He never imagined that would happen to him during the festive season.
Many times we do not expect certain things to happen in certain times. But the problem is, we are not in control of things happening around us and even in our very lives. Only God is in control of everything in and around us. Everyday is a mystery for us as we do not know what happens the next. According to our parable, we know the fact that Jesus is coming but we are not certain about the time of His coming. So when do we expect His coming since we are not sure about the time? We should be expecting the coming of Jesus in "Every Moment" of our lives. Let us not be deceived by the people who come with exact time of the coming of the Son of man. We must reject their false teaching. As Jesus says in His word that let no one deceive us in His name because there will people coming in His name saying that they are Christ. We never know the exact time when, so we must expect His coming all the time, in everyday moment of our lives.
Are you ready for the coming of the Son of man?
The Command is to be Ready.
The NIV translates verse 40 as, "you also must be ready, because the Son of man will come at an hour when you do not expect him". It emphasizes the command of Jesus which is must for all His disciples. Jesus commands His disciples to be ready because they do not know the exact time of His coming. Unless they are diligently looking forward to His coming, there will be a great risk of being unprepared at the time of His coming. Jesus is showing them both the positive rewards of being ready and the negative risks of being unprepared. His ultimate desire is to see that the disciples would be ready to look forward to His second coming. The word 'ready' here is not an one time event but a regular process of everyday life. It is being ready continually up to the time of the coming of the Son of man. It is not a choice that we make, but it is the commandment that Christ Himself gave.
Since we know that the Son of man is coming for sure but we do not know the time. And the command is there for us to be ready. He illustrates a protected and unprotected home in verse 39 in order to emphasize His reinforcement of being ready in verse 40. being ready involves every aspects of our life and specially our spiritual walk with God and work for His kingdom. There are many things in the world that holds us back from walking with Him. There are many physical, spiritual, social and material obstacles on the way as we walk with Him and work for Him. But the good news for us is that; Jesus' command is greater and powerful than any of those hindrances. He does not only give us command to be ready but He also gives us the capacity to overcome those obstacles to be ready.
I remember a sports event among the seminaries in Manila called ISSF (Inter-Seminary Sports Festival) few years ago. There were four different seminaries competing with each other in several games simultaneously. I was the captain of our volleyball team and we went to the court for our fist game. As all the four volleyball teams arrived at the court, the referee called the captains and told us the rules and regulations. One of the important rules was about the preparedness to play anytime as it was a knock-out game. Two other teams played the first game and we all watched them playing. It was around 1 pm in the afternoon under the hot sun. After 10 minutes of break, the referee called our team and the winning team to play the second game. The captain of that winning team came to the referee said that his teammates have gone for shower as it was so hot. The referee had no choice but to tell that captain that they automatically lost the game because of not being prepared on time. So our team won the first game without playing that game. We won that game because we followed referee's instruction to be there prepared to play anytime.
The most important lesson I learned from that event is that; I must be ready at anytime with everything I need to play. Are we ready for the coming of Jesus Christ? We will loose the game if we are not ready to play. Likewise, we will be left out if we are not ready for the coming of Jesus Christ. We must prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ at all times. He will be coming like a thief and we will not have anytime to prepare at that moment. We should start preparing ourselves from right now. We should prepare our heart and spirit to meet Jesus when He comes. We must be prepared with everything that we need to be lifted up with Jesus. Let us not be the ones to be left behind but be the ones to be lifted up with Him.
How do we get ready then? First of all, We need to check our spiritual, physical, social and material aspects of life. We have to obey the command that Christ has given us to be ready at any cost. We may have to sacrifice our habits, our interests and even our friends in order to be ready for the coming of the Son of man. If there are spiritual obstacles like; lack of prayer, devotion, worship and fellowship in our life, then we should be ready of that area. If there are physical obstacles like; laziness, procrastination, lustful desires and hidden physical sins, then we should work on those physical aspects of our life. We have to search our hearts and find out what is in us that is hindering us to be ready. We must figure out those things and cast them out of our lives to be ready for the coming of the Son of man. We must be ready because Jesus commanded us to be ready.
The coming of the Son of man is the completion of His redemptive work of salvation of the humankind. We have to be spiritually prepared for the coming of the Son of man. As we have looked at the three things for which we should be ready all the time, we should always remember these things. The first thing is to know that Jesus Christ, the Son of Man is coming. The second one is to expect that Jesus Christ may come at anytime. And the third one is to be ready all the time. It is obvious that if the householder knows the time when his house will be robbed; he will definitely be prepared for that particular time. Since the time is unexpected and the coming of the Son of man is certain, the only way to be secure is to be ready.
Are you ready?
Are you ready for the coming of the Jesus Christ?
Are you ready if Jesus Christ comes right now?
What are you doing to ready yourself for the coming of the Son of man?
If a man safeguards his household so much that he never allows a thief to rob his house if he knows about it, how are we preparing ourselves to safeguard our souls when we know that the Son of man is coming?
The Son of man is coming, the time is unexpected and the commandment is to be ready.
Are you ready?
Let us pray.