I don’t put sermons here very often, but I thought I would share one I did today at my church.
Find Us Faithful
Chapter 24 of the Gospel According to St. Matthew is a message that Jesus gave His followers about the future. Jesus’s time on earth was coming to a close. He wanted His disciples to be ready for the challenges that will be coming after He is gone. He speaks of many things:
- Deceivers coming– False prophets, Messiahs, teachers, Miracle workers.
- Violence, evil, and natural disasters will increase
- Persecution and Death will come to the Followers of Christ
- Despite this, The Gospel will be preached throughout the whole Earth
- Although there will be signs, we will not know when the end will be
BUT HOW THEN SHOULD WE LIVE? Thankfully, Jesus gave us a clear picture of what a person would look like if he or she follows Jesus’s advice.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Jesus gives guidance in what to do so that one is ready for the end.
Be watchful and ready. But there are two different ways that one can be watchful and ready.
- Others have come up with dates more recently. People like Harold Camping on Christian radio and Jack van Impe on Christian television kept coming up with new dates of Christ’s return. Here in Baguio I saw a truck driving around with a big sign telling everyting that Jesus was returning on May 22, 2011. I did not see that truck on May 23rd. I also did not see that truck going around in October 2011 when Harold Camping’s next prediction for Christ’s return was, nor in 2012 which was Jack van Impe’s prediction.
- There are a few dates being shared as to when Jesus is returning. A couple of predictions for 2020 just passed by, but there is one in 2021, another in 2024, and yet a third in 2028. I suspect if one looks deep enough one can find someone some where who has predicted Christ’s return every year in this decade.
It is not just Christians who do this. Many other groups. Muslims also believe that Jesus will return and have come up with all sorts of dates when this will happen.
- So we need a different type of watchfulness and readiness. We need to be faithful.
Jesus explains this type of watchfulness and readiness in the Parable of the Faithful Servant.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:45-51)
This story, this parable shows two types of readiness.
Let’s look at the Ready, Watchful, Faithful servant.
-Always doing what he is supposed to be doing.
-Always setting a good example for those he has responsibility over.
-Always faithful, he is always ready.
Now let’s look at the Ready, Watchful, Unfaithful servant.
-He figures that the master will be late in returning
-He mistreats the servants and misuses the master’s home, setting a bad example for them.
-He thinks that he can figure out when the master will return and have everything ready.
A Faithful servant is always ready, while an Unfaithful servant thinks he can become ready.
A Faithful servant is watchful because he wants to Welcome the master, while an Unfaithful servant is watchful because he is Worried.
A Faithful servant is a good example for those he works with, an Unfaithful servant is a bad example, and inspires bad behavior in others.
Many preachers as the question, “What if Jesus returned today?” It’s a good question. Am I watchful and ready to welcome Jesus? “Are you ready if Jesus returned today?” I cannot answer this for you. No one else can answer this for you. Have you chosen to have Jesus as your master— Lord and God of your life? If you have not… I think it is safe to say that you are not ready. If that is the case, I strongly recommend that you speak to one of the church leaders. Ask “How can I be ready for Jesus?” Being ready is not about giving away everything you own, dressing up in a white robe and standing on the roof so you don’t bump your head when Jesus draws you up to Him. It is living a life of faithfulness with Jesus as your Savior, and as Your Lord.
But here is another question, “What if Jesus returns 500 years from now?” It’s just as good of a question. Suppose you know (somehow) that Jesus will not return for 500 years? Does that mean that we can be like the unfaithful servant. Can we misuse and abuse all that God has given us here on earth, because you have lots of time to make things right later?
Of course not. First of all, if Jesus returns 500 years from now, then we all will die and go to God before Christ comes at the end of the world. I am 55 years old, so it is likely that I will die sometime in the next 10, or 20, or 30 years. But I really don’t know when. And neither do you. Either in death or in Christ’s return we need to always be watchful, ready, and faithful.
In fact, if Jesus returns in 500 years from now instead of today, there is even more reason that we need to be faithful everyday. If Jesus returns in 500 years, we need to be an example for future generations. The closing song that we will sing speaks of this:
O may all who come behind us
Find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion
Light their way.
May the footprints that we leave,
Lead them to believe,
And the lives we live
Inspire them to obey.
O may all who come behind us
Find us faithful.
We need to live ready, watchful, faithful lives to set the example for our children, for the next generation in church and in our community. If I am not faithful, ready, and watchful, and Christ returns today, I hurt myself. But If I am not faithful, ready, and watchful, and Christ returns 500 years from now… I not only hurt myself, but I set a bad example that hurts my children… the next generation in my church and community. My bad example can result in a cascading effect… of people not ready for Christ years and years after my death.
So I believe this passage asks us two important questions?
Am I faithful to Jesus so that I am ready if Jesus returns today?
Am I faithful to Jesus so that I am readying generations after me if Jesus returns in 500 years?