Be Wise; Be Ready

Posted: May 7, 2017 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 12:35-48, “Be Wise; Be Ready”

An amazing feat happened in the world of running yesterday: someone came within 25 seconds of breaking the 2-hour barrier on the marathon.  Currently, the official world-record for the men’s marathon is 2:02:57, set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.  Early yesterday morning, Eliud Kipchoge (also of Kenya) ran 2:00:25 at Nike’s Breaking2 event, where they set up a “moon-shot” attempt to see what might be possible with the right athletes, the right technology, and the right conditions.  Although the barrier wasn’t broken, history was made, and no doubt someone will soon succeed in the future (perhaps at Adidas’ own sub2 event, date TBA).

Not everyone thought it was possible, some predicting flat-out failure with all the athletes “bonking” and producing sub-par performances, even under “normal” conditions.  Others obviously had hope.  Eliud Kipchoge was one of them, and took concrete actions to prove it.  It’s one thing to talk about possibilities; it’s another to take the steps necessary to bring them to fruition.  People can talk all they want, but at some point, the rubber has to meet the road.

A similar thing is true in regards to our faith.  Do we really believe what we say we believe?  If we did, our actions ought to reflect the things we say.  Take Jesus’ return, for example.  People say all the time that they believe Jesus is coming back, but do they really believe it?  They do, if they ensure that the rubber meets the road.  They do, if they actually prepare themselves for Jesus’ return, and live every day as if that day might be THE day.  That’s true faith, and it’s also true wisdom.  After all, if we really can see Jesus at any time, then it would be prudent for us to get ready.

Wise Christians are Christians ready to see Christ.

This was the point Jesus drove home with the disciples as He continued speaking with them through the events of Luke 12.  Jesus had mentioned the idea of a personal judgment from God already, originally in the context of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, but also in the process of telling the Parable of the Rich Fool.  That parable was primarily designed to point out the sin of selfishness and greed, particularly to a man who had brought Jesus into a family dispute regarding his inheritance.  To him, Jesus told the story of a rich landowner who made many preparations for his future years on earth, but none for eternity.  This man was going to see God for judgment, and he wasn’t ready.  He had laid up treasure for himself, but none towards God.

Jesus followed that up with an exhortation to the disciples to have the right perspective: an eternal one.  The material things of this world didn’t need to consume them or stress them out – they could trust that they belonged to God & that God would care for them.  Their ultimate home is the kingdom of heaven, and that is where their (and our) treasure needed to be.

Jesus apparently continued speaking at this point (Luke does not indicate a break of any sort), and it would seem that the subject changed – but it hadn’t.  All that really happened is that Jesus went back to the idea of judgment, and being ready to see God.  By believing in Jesus, the disciples had already taken the first steps towards building treasure in heaven – now they needed to be encouraged to keep at it.  Their eternity was certain, but work still needed to be done.  They needed to be ready to see God at any time, for they could be called before Him at any time.

It’s no different with us.  Whether by death or by rapture, any one of us could look into the eyes of our Lord Jesus at any moment.  Not a one of us is guaranteed another heartbeat.  Would we be ready to see Him today?  If we truly believe we can see Him at any time, are we living as if we might?  Does the rubber of our faith meet the road of reality?

Luke 12:35–48

  • Parable #1: The Ready Servant (35-40)

35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.

  • What does it look like to wait for Jesus?  It looks like servants who are ready to respond at a moment’s notice.  We don’t often use words like “girded” anymore, so it’s no wonder many other English translations say something like “be dressed in readiness” (NASB) or “stay dressed for action” (ESV).  Yet the literal wording is as the KJV/NKJV, and it paints a very specific picture of a man hiking up his robes/tunic through the middle of his legs & tucking in the excess cloth through his belt.  It’s as if he fashions some make-shift pants, clothing uncommon in the ancient near-east.  The benefit is that it makes it easier to run.  There’s a reason marathoners aren’t clothed in full-length tunics: they’d trip up pretty quick!  Instead, they wear clothing that allows for maximum amount of movement.  For ancient near-eastern cultures, the way to do it was to gird up their loins – to hike up their robes to be ready to run.
  • Not only were their waists to be girded, but their lamps were to be lit.  Remember that these weren’t flashlights that could be turned on with the click of a button – these were oil-filled lamps, lit much like candles.  Thus, these needed to be oiled-up and lit, already in use.  Lighting it might not take long (especially in a culture that used them daily), but during a time when every second counts, it was better to have them already lit.
  • Why all the preparation?  They were waiting for their master.  Their master (literally “lord,” but in a non-divine sense) was away at a wedding, and they didn’t know the precise moment of his return.  When he came knocking at the door, he wouldn’t want to wait in the dark streets waiting for his servants to finally come shuffling to the door half-asleep.  They wouldn’t want to open the door to their master in a manner that caused him to wait while they got their stuff together.  These house-servants wanted to be ready at a moment’s notice to open the door to their master.  The moment he knocked, they wanted to immediately respond.
  • “Great illustration!  So what’s the parallel to us?”  Remember that with parables, we’re not looking for point-by-point parallels; we’re looking for the main point.  Obviously Jesus doesn’t use the word “parable” here to describe this scenario, but from vs. 41 it’s clear that Peter thought of it in this way.  So we don’t really need to look for a line-by-line type/antitype with the girding, the lamps, the opening, etc.; we just need to look for the main point.  What’s the main point?  Readiness.  These servants actively waited for their master, expecting him to come at any time, and they were ready to respond at any time.
    • Have you ever been in a situation when you needed to be prepared to drop everything and leave at a moment’s notice?  Parents sometimes do this towards the end of pregnancies.  They don’t know the precise moment of their baby’s arrival, so bags are packed & ready to go at any time.  The point?  If you want to be ready to move, then you need to prepare yourself.  There’s always something you do to ensure you’re ready to respond.
    • What have you done to ensure you’re ready to respond to Jesus?  What steps have you taken to prepare yourself to see Him, should He call you today?
  • Those were the servants, but what about the master?  Vs. 37…

37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

  • The master found them “watching.”  He knew their readiness.  They were awake & alert, ready to respond, and the master knew it because that’s how he found them.  How pleased do you think he was with his servants at that time?  They were exactly as he would have desired…he would have been overjoyed!
  • Thus he treated them appropriately – even going over-the-top in his appreciation of them.  Arriving home after a long day (even after a wedding feast), it would have been expected for the master to be hungry & the servants would have had food waiting for him.  Yet here, the master not only invites the servants to recline (sit) at the dinner table with him, but he actually gets up to serve them the meal!
  • It’s no wonder he was so pleased: he did not tell the servants exactly when to expect him; he only told them to expect him.  Be it the “second or third watch” of the night (i.e. the middle of the night), the master might arrive at any time.  He wanted them to be ready at any moment.  And they were ready, so the servants were “blessed”!
    • Isn’t this what we desire: to be blessed of the Lord?  Not necessarily “blessed” as in riches, health, and prestige – but “blessed” as in happiness and joy.  As Christians, we want our Master to be happy with us!  We want to live in His joy, knowing that He is pleased with us.  Most children just want their parents to be proud of them & it is so good to hear those words from their mom & dad.  How much more with our heavenly Father?  When God is happy with us, we are happy ourselves – it couldn’t be any better!  To have God happy with us – that is true blessedness!
  • So the servants were watching – and for good reason.  They needed to be ready for anything.  Vs. 39…

39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.

  • The scene changes a bit, and it’s no longer the servants who are watching, but the master.  And the master is not waiting for an honored guest to arrive, but he’s waiting for a thief. Again, be careful of trying to match the parable point-by-point.  The main point is still the main point: watchfulness & readiness.  Whether the disciples Jesus was speaking to saw themselves more as masters or as servants, everyone had a reason to maintain a sense of readiness & expectation.
    • Jesus is actually going to tie into the idea of a thief in just a moment, but consider the fact that we do have an enemy who is actively looking for ways to take us down.  We don’t necessarily know when the next spiritual attack will come, or in what exact way it will present itself – but we know it will come.  Just as we need to be ready for Jesus, we also need to be ready and prepared for attacks from our enemy.  It’s when we get spiritually lazy that we most often fall to temptation.  We may not always be watching our enemy, but it’s almost certain that he (and his minions) hardly ever stop watching us.  The devil roams about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  He’s actively looking for Christians to destroy.  Be active in your vigilance against him!
  • But again, the thief in vs. 39 is just an illustration.  Jesus actually uses the idea for Himself.  Vs. 40…

40 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

  • Who else is coming at a moment’s notice?  Jesus!  “The Son of Man is coming,” so be “ready.”  Be always ready!  The word in Greek means exactly what it’s translated as in English & most English Bible versions render it the same way.  Something/someone is prepared – is fully ready to do or endure the task ahead.  In this case, the disciples were to be ready for the coming of the Son of Man.
  • Notice Jesus’ use of His favorite title: “Son of Man.”  The last time Jesus used it was earlier in Ch. 12 regarding blasphemy against Him and blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. (12:10)  The arrival of the Son of Man in power & glory (in judgment & to inherit the earth) is actually the term is originally introduced in regards to the Messiah. Daniel 7:13–14, "(13) “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. (14) Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed."  The point?  This is how the disciples expected to see Jesus.  Every time Jesus used the title “Son of Man” (which was often!), this was the picture brought to mind.  This was the moment for which they waited.  Now Jesus references it in context, telling them what to expect when it happens.  And what He tells them is that it’s unexpected.  We might say that Jesus’ coming is anticipated, but unexpected.  We know for a fact that He is coming; what we don’t know is when He will arrive.  This is the doctrine of imminency.  I.e., the events surrounding Jesus’ 2nd Coming are imminent – they can happen at any time.  There is not a single thing that absolutely needs to take place before Jesus can call the church home in the rapture, which kicks off all the events following.  Thus we know He’s coming back – we just don’t know the exact timing of it all.
    • And we won’t know!  This is something that people get wrong quite often.  People often think that if they just piece together enough Bible prophecy, they can somehow guess the actual date of Jesus’ coming – and it’s impossible.  Most recently, Harold Camping famously predicted the date of the rapture to be May 21, 2011, and was obviously proven wrong.  (Camping later repented, publicly saying that his prediction was sinful and that no one can know.  He died in 2013.)  In a similar teaching in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus went so far to say that not even the angels know the day or the hour of the 2nd Coming of Christ – this is something that only the Father knew. (Mt 24:36)  Thus date-setting is an exercise in futility – it will always be wrong.
  • That’s not to say we know nothing about the timing.  Jesus will actually go on in Ch. 12 to discuss the need to discern the times around us, looking for His return – so there are some things we can know. We can know the general state of apathy towards God – we can know how much prophecy has been fulfilled.  What we can’t know is the specific moment.  We don’t know the day or the hour that His trumpet will sound, signaling the resurrection of the saints and the rapture of the church.  Even with a timeline of a 7 year tribulation, we don’t know the exact day or hour that King Jesus will return to planet earth in power & glory, conquering the armies of Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon.  Beyond those things, we certainly don’t know the timing of our own death.  No matter what your personal eschatology might be (i.e. your own personal view of the end-times), there is no getting around the imminency of seeing the Son of God.  It could literally happen at any moment.  Thus you need to be ready for any moment – for every moment.
    • Are you?  Are you sure?  There’s much we can say about Christians being ready to see Christ (which Jesus will soon address), but the first step is being a Christian in the first place.  Without being born of the Spirit, no one will even see the kingdom of God. (Jn 3:5)  The first step for anyone is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ – it’s to receive the new birth He offers, and to be saved.  Only then is someone ready to see God at a moment’s notice.
  • Clarifying Question (41)

41 Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?”

  • Poor Peter.  You can almost hear the concern in his voice.  Although we’re not told specifically why he asked Jesus this question, it’s not difficult to imagine.  Perhaps he’s afraid that Jesus thinks he’s not ready.  After all, Jesus had been speaking to the disciples.  Although the original Parable of the Rich Fool was told to all the crowd who surrounded Jesus, it was to the disciples that Jesus went on to speak of God’s love & care for them, more than ravens & flowers.  It was the disciples that Jesus instructed to have an eternal perspective & build up treasure in heaven.  And seemingly, it was still the disciples who Jesus addressed.  So Peter probably had a natural & reasonable concern.  Was he & the other disciples ready?  Did Jesus believe they were unprepared?  Or was this something that now needed to be said about the crowd in general?
  • It begs a good question for us today: Can born-again Christians be unprepared to see Jesus?  Yes!  Just because you’re eternally saved doesn’t mean you’re fully ready to see Jesus face-to-face.  Sure, you have forgiveness – but what about a clear conscience?  We still engage in sin, though hopefully rarely & occasionally.  But what if Jesus came at that moment?  Maybe you have unfinished business because you’ve put off stuff you know that God has told you to do.  Maybe you’ve become complacent about the things of God in general.  Maybe you’ve become aware of a lack of compassion towards others & you haven’t changed.  Are you sure you’re ready to see Jesus today?
    • None of this undermines your salvation.  We aren’t saved by the grace of God, but then fully reliant upon our own works to keep us saved.  We are saved by grace, and kept by grace – all to the glory of God.  But our works do matter.  Our attitudes matter.  How we live as born-again saved Christians matters to our Lord & God.  We will be judged for those things at what is called the Bema Seat / the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Paul described it to the Corinthians, contextually writing of the gospel that had been given to them, how they were built up in Christ: 1 Corinthians 3:12–15, "(12) Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (13) each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. (14) If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (15) If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."  The foundation is the same for all born-again believers: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ & the gift of His grace.  What gets built upon that foundation is what varies from individual to individual. Those are the works we do in this life after we’ve been saved.  And at the Bema Seat, a lot of those works are going to be burned away.  (And it’s a good thing, too!)  What isn’t burned?  Our foundation.  Born-again Christians remain born-again Christians, to the glory of God.  It’s just that some Christians will find that they’ve wasted much of their lives.  That’s exactly what we want to minimize – that’s what we’re trying to refine in order that we’re ready to see Jesus.
  • So Peter asked the question.  Did he receive an answer?  Yes & no, depending how you look at it.  He certainly didn’t receive a straightforward answer from Jesus (at least, none that was recorded by Luke).  But Jesus did answer in a roundabout way.  Was Jesus speaking this parable to them?  It all depended on whether or not they were prepared for His return.  If they were ready, then Jesus was speaking to everyone else in earshot.  If they weren’t, then yes – it applied directly to them.  So…how would they know if they were ready?  That’s where the second parable comes in…
  • Parable #2: The Wise Servant vs. the Evil Servant (42-48)

42 And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.

  • What Peter (and all of us) wanted to be was the “faithful and wise steward.”  Before we get too far, break down that description.
    • He was a “steward.”  ESV & NIV both render this as “manager,” which helps clarify the idea a bit.  The Greek word is οἰκονόμος, where we get our word “economy,” meaning “the management of resources.”  In the case of this Greek word, it referred to a special servant who would be the manager of the household, or someone entrusted as an able administrator.  The term is actually a compound word of house + law, thus someone who has authority over the house.  There are two key ideas here: (1) The steward was not the owner of the house; just the manager of it, and (2) The steward was entrusted with responsibility.  There was a task expected of him.
    • He was “faithful.”  Although the translation is accurate, it could just as easily be translated “believing.”  It not only could refer to someone who is trustworthy, but someone who is trusting.  In this case, it happens to be both.  The faithful steward is a faith-filled steward.  He believes his master/lord.
    • He was “wise.”  Think “sensible, prudent, thoughtful.”  This steward didn’t just merely react to things as they happened – he didn’t just let life roll past him.  He thought things through, knew what he was doing, and acted according to plan.
  • The faithful & wise steward is made a ruler.  He is appointed with more responsibility.  He was already entrusted with the household, but due to the pleasure of his master, he will be entrusted with more.
  • The faithful & wise steward is active.  He didn’t simply sit around, waiting to be told what to do; he took the initiative in giving out food.  When the master found him, the steward was “doing” (pres act ptc) – he was actively serving in the role assigned to him.
  • The faithful & wise steward is blessed.  Like the servants in the earlier parable, this steward experienced the happiness & good pleasure of his lord.  His master would have been overjoyed to bless him as the master honored him with even more responsibility than what he had before.
  • We want to be faithful & wise stewards!  Although the context is different, this is the same general idea from the famous Parable of the Talents.  Matthew 25:20–21, "(20) “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ (21) His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’"  Whatever it is that God has entrusted to us, we want to be faithful to use it for His glory.  Contextually to Luke’s gospel, we have been entrusted with a ministry until the coming of Christ.  We want to be found faithful, and thus find the blessing and joy of our Lord Jesus.
    • So put it together: the faithful & wise steward was a ruler, was active, and was blessed.  If you know you’re a born-again Christian, then you know you’re a “ruler” in the sense that you also have been entrusted with certain gifts and resources.  Every Christian is a steward of something, God the Holy Spirit having given to each one according to His will.  As far as blessedness is concerned, that is also in the hands of God – something we can experience both today, but mostly in the future when we receive the confirmation of blessing.  The only real question is whether or not we’re active.  Are you using what the Lord has given you?  Are you a faithful steward of the gospel – the gifts – the resources – the opportunities which God has placed in your hands?  May we be active, and thus assured of hearing the words “Well done, good & faithful servant!”
  • The faithful & wise steward is contrasted with an evil servant.  Vs. 45…

45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

  • The thoughts of the evil servant.  This servant knew just as well as the faithful servant that his master was due to arrive – he just chose to ignore the imminent nature of it.  He did not truly believe the reality of his master’s arrival, which affected everything else he did.
  • The actions of the evil servant.  Thinking himself to be totally unsupervised, he acted out his evil desires.  He beat his fellow servants, men & women who were beloved by the master. (The Greek terms imply almost a child-like relationship between the servants and the master.)  In addition to his violence towards others was his laziness & selfish living.  He used the resources of his master for himself, considering it his own personal party-time. 
  • The outcome of the evil servant.  When the master came, the servant was punished…and severely!  The servant wasn’t expecting the arrival of his master, having talked himself out of the possibility, and when the master came, he acted in force.  The servant was actually dismembered, slain as an enemy of his lord…which he was.
  • Notice how this evil servant is treated: he is given a “portion with the unbelievers.”  The word used for “unbelievers” in vs. 46 is basically the negated version of the word translated “faithful” in vs. 42.  None of these people are faithful to the desires of their master.  They don’t believe him in the first place, and neither did the evil servant.  He was counted among their number because he acted the same way.  Actually, he acted worse.  He knew the goodness of his master, having lived in his home.  But he despised the goodness of his master, and acted as if he was his own master.  It’s no wonder he was punished so severely.
  • Question: Is the evil servant a Christian or non-Christian?  Good question.  He certainly would have the appearance of a Christian, being that he is seen as a servant of the same Master, and be around the other “male & female servants” of the Master, but he is treated as an unbeliever in the end.  The most likely scenario is that he represents a false convert.  He is someone with the initial appearance of a believer, but in reality, has no faith.
    • Sadly, this is a common occurrence today – especially in American churches.  We are blessed in our culture to be surrounded with so many Christian influences & other God-honoring things.  The downside to it all is that it becomes very easy for someone to hide among the church, claiming he/she is a Christian when they’re not.  Not that it’s always intentional…some people don’t know!  Maybe he/she was baptized as a baby & was told that made them a Christian.  Maybe he/she signed a decision card somewhere & was told that was what made them a Christian.  Maybe he/she has always gone to church, and figured that made them a Christian.  Whatever it is, his/her confidence is in the wrong thing.  The only way someone becomes a Christian is through active faith in Christ.  We must intentionally trust Him as Savior & Lord, and that’s the only way we are saved.  Romans 10:9, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."  Do you believe?  Have you told God you believe?  Do you actively trust Jesus today?  If your hope for eternity is not actively based in Him, you have no hope of eternity at all.  Trust Christ!

47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

  • There is another comparison here, still including the evil servant, but the faithful & wise steward is not in view.  Instead, there are other evil servants, though perhaps less evil than the one initially described.  Everyone mentioned here deserves punishment of some sort, but not everyone receives the same punishment.  What determines the difference?  Knowledge.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but flagrant rebellion against the law that is known only makes things worse.
  • People are responsible for what they know.  Anyone without faith in Christ will be punished in eternity, and rightfully so.  The Bible makes it clear that God has revealed Himself and His righteousness to all the world. (Rom 1:20)  It tells us that the law of God is written upon our hearts, so that all cultures everywhere inherently have a sense of right & wrong. (Rom 2:15)  It tells us that one of the jobs for the Holy Spirit in the world today is to convict people of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (Jn 16:8)  Even the resurrection of Jesus is proof to all who hear that Jesus is the Son of God & the one through whom God will judge the world. (Rom 1:4, Acts 17:31)  Put it all together, and it answers the commonly asked question of “What happens to people who never hear the gospel?”  The answer is that they still have enough evidence of the perfect & holy God for them to seek out the perfect & holy God in repentance, and those who don’t face God’s righteous judgment.  — That said, as bad as that is, what’s worse is for people to fully know and understand the gospel of Christ, and still choose to reject it. Those who know more will be responsible for more.  Those who knowingly reject the grace of Jesus will be judged for what they rejected.  They were given much, and much will be required of them.
    • That includes everyone in this room – everyone within the sound of my voice.  You have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.  No doubt you heard it long ago in many other places, but there is no doubt that you have heard it today.  To reject it is to place yourself in a terrible position.  Think of Pharaoh and Moses: Pharaoh repeatedly saw the works of God with his own eyes, and continually hardened himself against the Lord.  As a result, he experienced terrible judgment.  How much more for those who knowingly reject the Son of God?  Don’t make that mistake!
  • This applies to more than just basic salvation.  It applies to all kinds of Christian stewardship.  What has God entrusted to your care?  What knowledge has He given you?  Skills?  Finances?  Family?  How are you using those things for God’s glory?  How are you applying those things to being ready for Jesus’ soon appearance?  And it can get even more basic than that.  Each one of you have a Bible in your hands (or one in the chair in front of you).  How many Bibles do you own?  Have you ever read even one of them all the way through?  Why not?  It’s not as if you haven’t had enough time.  Several Bible reading plans can be accomplished in a year, and some intense plans can be completed in just a few months.  How long have you been a Christian?  Surely you’ve had enough time to read God’s word by now.  None of this is said in order to weigh anyone down with guilt – but sometimes we need a bit of kick in the pants. (I know I do!)  We have been entrusted with much…especially as American Evangelicals!  We have zero excuses for not using our resources in faithful stewardship.  Comic book fans know the classic charge to Peter Parker as Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.”  With all due respect to Stan Lee, Jesus said it first (and better): “To whom much is given, much is required.”

Are you ready?  Are you wise in how you use the time & resources you’ve been given?  Are you a faithful & wise steward?  If you truly take Jesus at His word that He’s returning, then you’ll be living as if He actually is.  If you believe you might see Jesus today, then you’ll make preparations to see Him today.  That’s where the rubber meets the road.  Two people can be told about an approaching airplane jump.  Which one actually believes it?  The one who puts on his parachute.  If you believe it, then you’ll act upon it.  That’s true wisdom.  Wise Christians are Christians who are actually ready to see Christ.

Some of you aren’t ready.  Sure, you’re saved – you know you put your faith in Christ believing Him to be God crucified for your sins & risen from the grave.  You know you trust Him for your eternal salvation & have no hope without Him.  But if you’re being honest, you know you’re not ready to see Him.  There’s more to do, and you know what God has been telling you.  What are you waiting for?

Still others of you aren’t ready for a more fundamental reason: you’re not saved.  Maybe you know you’re not saved & you’ve never pretended otherwise.  Today, you can put your faith in Christ Jesus and have your life forever changed.  Or, maybe you’re more like the 2nd servant in the 2nd parable being a false convert.  You might have looked like other Christians on the outside & even associated with Christians at church & other places.  But inside, you know your heart is evil, untouched by the grace of God.  Today, everything can change.  You can be transformed from the inside out, move from unbelieving to believing, and have the assurance that one day you will enter into the joy of the Lord.

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