Opening Prayer Thoughts.
Praise God that the Lord Jesus Christ completed his work on the earth, was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven, was crowned Mediator King, and is going to return to consummate his Kingdom for eternity. Philippians 2:8-11, Acts 1:9-11, Revelation 1:7.
Confess the sin of not making the most of every spiritual blessing that God has given you towards preparing yourself for Christ’s return.
Are you Ready? Please read Luke 12:35-48.
Seek the help of the Holy Spirit as you turn to read his Word.
V35. Be ready.
Jesus is still speaking to his disciples. He has been instructing them not to worry because their Father in heaven will provide for them. The fact that God feeds the ravens, and enables the lilies to grow, is proof of that. And anyway, 'worry' is for the godless because they don't have a loving and good Father to watch over them and meet their every need. Their sole task is to set their heart on the treasure of the Kingdom, which the Father, in his good pleasure, will give them. But when should they begin setting their heart in that direction; after all, there is much to do in life? That is the unspoken question that Jesus now addresses.
When is a good time to get focused on the Kingdom of God? Today! There must be no delay. The staying dressed, the keeping of lamps burning, the waiting on the master coming from the wedding feast so they can open the door when he knocks, these are all pictures of readiness. Like the disciples, we are to live today, as though the full consummation of the Kingdom is about to happen. And when tomorrow morning dawns, they and we are to live that 'today', as though the full consummation of the Kingdom is about to happen.
v37. Be ready and be blessed.
Those who are ready when the Lord returns will be blessed. The picture is of the owner of a large household coming home, and his household is awake and ready for his return. On his arrival, he doesn't go to bed tired from his labours and journey; instead, he changes into the clothes of a servant and calls his servants to come to the table reserved for him. He gives them a seat at his table and then personally serves them the best meal of their lives. What a promised blessing it will be to sit at that table.
"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
"Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure" –
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God."
V38. Be ready because we don't know when he is coming.
The critical thing is to be ready. Day or night, the servants are to be ready. The Romans divided the night into four watches, the Jews three, Judges 7:19. Whatever the number of duties, men were to stand watch on the city walls for attempted enemy encroachments, and in this case, servants waiting for their master’s return; the point is that those who are awake and stand ready will be blessed. The hour of the Lord's return is unknown, but what is known is the need for us, his people, to be ready. We must judge every thought, every word, and every deed in that light. We are to ask ourselves, 'am I ready today if the Lord returns?' and if not, what do I need to do to be ready? Is there a sin to be confessed and repented of? Is there a decision that I need to make to place me in a better state of readiness? Everything in your life and mine should flow through the funnel of seeking the Kingdom of God and readying ourselves for the King's return.
V39. The consequence of not being ready.
As if the positive illustration to be ready is not powerful enough, Jesus follows it up with a picture that paints a warning. This warning sounds a note of judgement for the one who does not watch. Although knowing his home is under threat of burglary, the man doesn't stay awake to guard his home. Why? Because the information he has is not specific enough for him. With the result that he loses his valuable possessions because he is not prepared to take the good information he has and act on it. Jesus says, 'don't be like that man'.
V40. The Son of Man is coming!
The Son of Man is coming. Remember that the Son of Man is coming! We don't know when, but that is irrelevant; the issue is, are you ready? There have been thousands of pages of printed, and numerous hours of programs broadcast speculating on when Jesus is going to return. It's all pointless; nobody knows when Jesus is going to return; what we do know is that the Son of Man is coming, and you and I must be ready.
V41. We can't play at being in Christ.
Of the three synoptic accounts, only Luke tells us that it is Peter who asked the question. It is a reasonable question. Essentially, he's asking if this command of Jesus applies to just them, i.e., will the disciples alone sit at the table, or does it apply to others as well? Jesus' answer is simple, but it is also caringly informative, this is not a 'few words' rebuff. The essence of Jesus' response is that everyone in his household will sit at the table, but they must understand the necessity to be productively watchful.
Jesus focuses on the role of the steward in a household – typically a slave who was given the task of managing all household affairs. By fulfilling his role well, he was the man who would free the master of the house to pursue his career, business, etc. As such, the steward was someone who had considerable freedom within the boundaries of his power and the accompanying responsibility. If the household ran well, he would do well. The number of duties assigned to him would increase as he demonstrated his faithfulness and ability. And if he didn't fulfil what was assigned to him but took 'advantage' of his master's absence, indulging his whims and abusing his power, then there would have been consequences, serious consequences.
We cannot play at being in Christ. We cannot say we love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and then do as we generally please. We must pursue after his Kingdom with daily, diligent readiness, for we know not the hour when he will return.
V48. Knowledge means culpability.
Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but it also means that we are culpable. You and I know who Jesus is. Not just the fact that he came to earth and was a good teacher and did miracles, but we know him as he is revealed in God's Word. You and I are so incredibly privileged. We are part of a church community where our worship, faith, and practice are rooted entirely in God's Word. In reading this passage of Scripture, you are engaging with God. There are billions, and I am not using that term in the abusive sense that the advocates of evolution do, of people who will never experience what you have just done in reading these fourteen verses in the Bible. There are billions of people who will never participate in the public worship of the one true God. Not once in their entire lifetime. They will never be exposed to the Spirit of God working through the preaching of God's Word. His work will never be an effective means of convincing and converting them as sinners. We have received so, so much. Our ears should constantly be ringing with the words – "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more."
Please think about what you are doing with the much you have received. Are you taking and making the most of every opportunity you have to get ready for Jesus' return? I challenge my own heart as I write, and challenge your's.
A Psalm to Sing.
Psalm 91B. Link to the words. Link to it being sung. Sing with joy in your heart to God.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
"Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 90 - How is the Word to be read and heard, that it may become effective to salvation?
Answer - We must attend to the Word with diligence, preparation and prayer, receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practise it in our lives, so that it may become effective to salvation
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Thank God for how he has blessed us with – the much knowledge of himself, the Lord Jesus, God the Holy Spirit, the sinfulness of our nature, the only way of salvation, the way of godliness, his Kingdom, …. Pray that we make the absolute most of what we have been given as we strive to be ready for Jesus’ return.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC