Sermon preached at Poole Christian Fellowship on 16 February 2013
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Reference: Luke 12 v 35-59
There is nothing like the frustration of needing to be somewhere and finding out that though you ought to be ready to go, in fact you are not. Maybe someone is holding you up or circumstances are against you. When you need to go – you need to go!
Such things are frustrating when there is an appointment that you have the time and place of. But what happens when the appointment is to be somewhere, or go somewhere – and you don’t know when that appointment is for? The only solution is to make sure that you are ready all the time.
We all have an appointment ahead of us. The appointment is the most important appointment that we will ever have. It is the day when we will stand face to face in front of Jesus, and be called upon to give account for our lives.
There are four things that can be said about this appointment:
- It is the most important day of your life
- It is totally inevitable
- It will come in one of two ways
- Jesus will return
- He will come for you
- You have no idea when it will happen
So the only logical approach is to make sure that you are ready. Jesus gives us a series of pictures to help us understand the need to be ready.
Picture One – the Master returning from the wedding feast
Wedding feasts then were affairs that could last for a week or more. Add to that travelling time, and maybe visiting and business affairs and it would not be unusual for someone to be away for a month. It was the servant job to take care of the masters affairs and to make sure that they were ready for his return though they did not know when it would be.
The language used indicates servants who are ready for action, dressed, lamps in place and busy about the master business. Such are the servants that Jesus looks for. And what a reward is promised! Incredibly this master will serve them when he returns. What a wonderful picture of the blessings to come as Jesus serves us in His Kingdom. What an incentive to be ready!
Picture Two – The Thief
Thieves ply their trade by being unexpected and sudden. For those who are not ready the return of Jesus will be as unwelcome as a thief in the night. The correct response – be ready all the time!
Picture three – The Wealthy Landowner
It appears that Jesus is directing this picture to those who have been given authority. Those who misuse it will be dealt with very severely, and in fact will be treated the same or worse than unbelievers. At least unbelievers have the excuse of ignorance. Those who have been given responsibility have no excuse.
Those of us who are privileged to have heard the word of God and had it applied to our lives will have no excuse when we stand before Jesus. We need to pray that God will cause the prodigals to take responsibility for their lives and the come to their senses. And for those who have responsibility, they need to make sure that they are not using their power to manipulate, gain status and money for themselves, but to serve God and his people.
Picture Four – The Divided Family
Jesus as the prince of Peace, also causes division. When we choose to follow Jesus we automatically place ourselves in conflict with those who do not. Following Jesus, and living in the light of his return means that it can cost us dearly in our closest relationships. The question will ultimately be: what is more important to you – your family or Jesus? If we are going to live in the light of the imminent return of Jesus, it will cost us.
Picture Five – the weather forecaster
Science has enabled us to be very clever at predicting events, whether weather or health. Even the most basic weather forecaster knows that if the sky is red at night it will be a nice next day. We can interpret the sky and the weather – but we don’t interpret the times we live in. we often don’t live in the light of the fact that we will stand very soon before Jesus. So the challenge is clear. Interpret the times we live in – and live every day in the light of the fact that you will stand before Jesus.
Picture Six – the Court Case
Finally Jesus presents us with the picture of a man being taken to court. He urges us to settle matters with the adversary – in this case – the God who is taking us to court. There is very little time left. We will stand before God the judge and he will ask us to account for the life we have lived. The message is simple. Settle things now. If we are a believer we can resolve to live the rest of our days for Jesus. If we are not, the matter is even more urgent. Forgiveness is only found in Jesus. We must turn to him, cast ourselves on his mercy and ask him to defend us.
The return of Jesus, and our own death will either be a day of joy and celebration or it will be a day when we will have to face the judgement of god. We need to make sure that we settle things today with God.