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48 Luke 12.35-59

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Heaven Watch

Luke 12:35-59

Arnold T. Olson wrote:

Ever since the first days of the Christian church, evangelicals have been "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.' They may have dis­agreed as to its timing and to the events on the eschatological cal­endar. They may have differed as to a pre-tribulation or post-tribulation rapture, the pre- or post- or a-millennial coming. They may have been divided as to a literal rebirth of Israel. However, all are agreed that the final solution to the prob­lems of this world is in the hands of the King of kings who will someday make the kingdoms of this world his very own

v    In other words…

Ø     We all agreed that Christ is coming again

§        And that, according to Christ, is the anecdote for greed and worry…

·        Anticipation of Christ’s return

v    You see…

Ø     We have a tendency to become overly concerned with this life…

§        While not having any for the next

·        What Jesus is doing in our text today is recalibrating his disciples

Ø     What he just exhorted us to do is worry less about this life

§        While being prepared for the next

v    In other words…

Ø     Keep your eyes cast downward less and less

§        And heavenward more and more

·        Be ready

v    First, Jesus prepares us to…

Wait

READ v. 35-36

v    The picture Jesus paints is of a Jewish wedding

Ø     Jewish weddings were lasted as long as 7 days

§        Groomsmen waiting for the groom and his bride to come home after the wedding

·        Groomsmen must wait patiently

¨     Must know that there will be some time between when he leaves for the wedding and when he comes back

v    Jesus is exhorting us to Be Patient between the 1st and 2nd coming

Ø     Waiting is always difficult

§        I am the kind of person that likes parameters

·        Tell me what to expected and I am fine

¨     Fundamental difference between my father and me

Ø     Illustration: Raking in the Fall

 

Ø     How long until he comes again?

§        He doesn’t give us a time

·        Never does in Scripture

Ø     Waiting has always been a difficult charge for the church as well

§        Almost since Christ’s death, there have been those that have been impatient for his return

·        There were those that thought Jesus was coming back soon after he ascended

¨     Jn 21:23 ~ After “feed my sheep” reinstatement, Peter asks about John

Ø     Jesus saying that if he wanted him to live until his return he would

§        Rumor started that Christ would return within John’s lifetime

Ø     Every generation has thought that they were in the end times

§        The early church fathers did

§        The church in the dark and middle ages did

§        The Reformers did (16th century)

§        The Puritans did (17th and 18th centuries)

§        Early and mid-twentieth century Christians did (WW I & II)

v    But what we are tempted to do is wait in one of two extremes

Ø     Wait aggressively or passively

§        Waiting Aggressively…

·        Predicting the second coming

¨     Splinter Cults are usually formed around predictions of Christ’s imminent arrival

Ø     David Koresh and the Branch Davidians

§        Concentrated on Revelation, second coming revealed through the 7 seals

§        Waiting Passively

·        Here is where must of us fall…

·        Illustration: Norman Rockwell

¨     Father – waiting passively

¨     Son – waiting with anticipation

Ø     Watching

Ø     What Jesus says is…

§        Do not wait aggressively or passively…

·        But wait expectantly…

¨     Like the boy

Ø     By waiting and watching

v    And that is what he teaches us in following verses…

To Watch

v    And he encourages us to be watchful through two parables

Ø     First through the continuation  of the watchful servants parable

v    READ v. 37-38

Ø     Jesus is exhorts us to not only wait patiently…

§        But to Be Prepared

Ø     Parable of the watchful servants

§        The servants are watching for the return of the groom

·        Notice back in V. 35

¨     Dressed ~ “Gird your loins”

Ø     Keep robe tucked into their belts so they are ready for action

¨     Keep lamps burning

Ø     Watch and be prepared to serve

 

v    Illustration: Asking Carrie to marry me

Ø     I waited a long time to get married

§        30 yeas old

§        @ Lake house

§        Said she would come up after work

·        I knew she was coming, but did not know when that was

§        Got everything ready

·        Meal

·        Drinks

·        Table set

·        Candles

·        Bible (Eph 5:22-33)

¨     But then I had to keep everything ready and keep watch for her

Ø     The headlights coming down the hill, the noise of her car engine, the slam of her car door

§        I watched and listened for the signs of her arrival

v    So to the servants in our parable

Ø     Listened for the sounds of joy

Ø     Watched the streets

v    And that is how Jesus wants us to treat his coming

Ø     He childes the Jews 2,000 years ago for not recognizing the signs that he was the long foretold messiah…

§        READ V. 54-56

v    We are pretty hard on the Jews when we read the Gospels

Ø     We say…

§        How could they have missed it?

§        Why didn’t they recognize him?

·        Jesus says the reason is that they did not know the signs

¨     Jesus took over 1,000 years of Jewish history to prepare his people to recognize Jesus

Ø     All the OT can be boiled down very simply…

§        It is a funnel pointing to Jesus

Ø     Yet they knew how to predict the weather better than his coming!

v    Before we are too hard on them…

Ø     Couldn’t the same be said of us!?

§        24 out of 27 NT books talk about his 2nd coming

·        Several books are taken up largely with the issue

¨     1 & 2 Thes, 2 Peter

·        On whole book dedicated to it…Revelation

§        In the NT, 1 verse in every 25 mentions his return

v    Jesus wants us to know about his coming

Ø     But still for many, they will be unprepared

§        To them, Jesus will come like a thief in the night

v    Parable of the thief

Ø     READ v. 39-40

§         Paul used the same image of a thief when he wrote to the church at Thessalonica ~ 1 Thes 5:2-4

·        for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

§        John warned the 7 churches in Turkey ~ Rev 16:15

·        Behold, I come like a thief!

§        Peter said the same thing when he wrote all believers ~ 2 Peter 3:10-11

·        But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.

Ø     The point is…

§        Jesus’ return will be unexpected for most

·        The world will not be prepared

·        The Networks will not be prepared

·        The world’s leaders will not be prepared

·        False religions will not be prepared

·        Many in the church will not be prepared

Ø      But the faithful servants will be ready!

§         Those faithful servants of Christ who are prepared

·        Waiting and watching for, as Titus 2:13 says…

¨     the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ

v    Thirdly, Jesus explains that we will not simply be waiting and watching like that boy in the Rockwell painting

Ø     We should also be…

Working

READ v. 41-46

v    Once we start thinking that he is not coming back…

Ø     Our life and relationships begins to deteriorate

§        We become slovenly

·        Jesus is exhorting us to Be Productive

v    We have all done it…

Ø     Gone to work and not been productive

§        Gone to “work” and not worked

·        Found ways of using up the hours of the workday without getting much accomplished

¨     That is the reason most companies take “minesweeper” and “solitaire” off their company computers

Ø     It is sad to say, but the American workforce is fast becoming one of the most unproductive in the world

§        So much so that a Detroit Company posted on their bulletin board:

The management regrets that it has come to their attention that workers dying on the job are failing to fall down. This practice must stop, as it becomes impossible to distinguish between death and the natural movement of the staff. Any employee found dead in an upright position will be dropped from the payroll.

Ø      In a sense, that is what Jesus is warning of here

§        V. 46b ~ He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

·        If we fail to be productive while we are waiting and watching…

¨     There will be dire consequences

Ø     Matthew Henry, the great commentator, put it well:

§        Never expect to be found at the day of God in peace, if you are lazy and idle in this your day, in which we must finish the work that is given to us to do.  It is only the diligent who will be the happy Christian in the day of the Lord.  Our Lord will suddenly come to us, or shortly call us to him; and would you have him find you idle?

Ø     We are to be out there doing his will…doing what he commanded…working…being productive for the Lord:

§        Loving our neighbor

§        Forgiving our enemies

§        Sharing our faith

§        Helping the poor

§        Housing the widows

§        Using our gifts

§        Showing kindness to strangers

§        Being generous with our money

§        Making disciples of all peoples

§        Worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ

v    It is a long list isn’t it?

Ø     It is daunting, isn’t it?

§        Well, Jesus doesn’t stop there

·        News that will probably effect the Sunday School attendance

¨     READ V. 47-48

v    What this passage is saying is…

Ø     With knowledge comes responsibility

§        The more you know of God’s will

·        The more responsible you are to fulfilling it!

Two young men were arrested robbing a service station. When the trial came up one of the men had four or five high-­powered lawyers-his family was wealthy. The other boy had a court-appointed lawyer; he had been in reform school and had spent two years in a juvenile detention center. The two boys were obviously guilty; they had been caught in the act.

After hearing the defense, the judge sentenced the boy who had been in juvenile detention to three years; the other boy was sentenced to ten years.  The high-powered lawyers could not believe their ears and demanded an explanation.

The judge said, "This boy is a graduate of Choate Preparatory School and of Yale University. His father was an outstanding man in the community; this boy has sinned against his prepar­atory school and against Yale. He has sinned against the whole American standard of ethics. Tremendous opportunities were made available to him, yet he turned against all that he knew to be right. He turned against the code of ethics of his family, his school, his university; he de­serves a worse punishment."

The fact that we name the name of the Lord Jesus Christ increases our responsibility before God. The more education you have, the more you are answerable to God. The more knowledge you have of the Bible, the more you are answerable to God. The better your health, the more answerable you are to God. The minute that God gives you any advantage whatso­ever, the more you are answerable to God.

v    That means that sitting here, and sitting in Sunday School is dangerous

Ø     V. 48 ~ From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked

§        Lest we fall into a works-righteousness trap

·        It is only by faith you are saved

§        Lest we get overwhelmed by the responsibility…

·        The HS enables and gifts us

v    The warning here is to not become complacent as you wait and watch

Ø     Be found working

§        And as we wait, watch and work…

·        Jesus prepares us for the reaction of the world…

War

READ v. 49-53

v    Boy! This doesn’t seem to make sense with what the angels declared to the shepherds in Luke 2:14

Ø     Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

v    Or the warm-sounding cliché we hear repeated at Christmastime

Ø     “Peace on earth, good will towards men”

§        No! Here Jesus is stating that just the opposite is true

·        The name of Jesus Christ divides and causes contention

¨     The word “divide” is used 3x

¨     The word “against” is used 9x

v    Jesus is telling us that by placing your trust in Jesus Christ

Ø     You become de facto “divided against” two things

§        Society and Family

Ø     Society

§        It will cause division from society because Jesus’ claims stand in stark contrast to society’s

·        Society claims that all paths lead to God

¨     Jesus said John 14:6, “I am the way, truth and life…”

·        Society claims that what you believe does not matter

¨     Jesus said believe only in me

·        Society claims that everyone is good

¨     Jesus showed them again and again that the heart is deceitful above all things and cannot be trusted

·        Society claims that you can do whatever you want as long as it does not hurt anyone else

¨     Jesus said be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect

·        Society claims that truth is relative

¨     Jesus says that truth is absolute and there is but one truth

§        Jesus’ ethics, morality, loyalty and belief is radical, demanding and unbending

·        And society does not much care for that

¨     So if you call yourself a Christian…

Ø     You will naturally be “divided against” the world

§        But Jesus is exhorts us to Be Perseverant

·        Jn 16:33

¨     In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!

Ø     Jesus also prepares us that the cost of following him might mean being “divided against” those closest to you here on earth…

§        Family

·        One of the most painful costs of following Jesus

¨     Mark 3:20-30 ~ Family came to take charge of him, thought he was out of his mind

Ø     Jesus is exhorting us to Be Perseverant

§        These are difficult divisions to weather

v    Jesus did not come the first time to bring peace on earth…

Ø     The lion certainly is not lying down with the lamb!

v    But he did bring another kind of peace

Ø     One that he offers to everyone

§        Peace with God

·        Because by nature we are enemies of God

¨     Col 1:21

Ø     Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior

·        Eph 2:3

¨     All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath

v    But the Good news that Jesus brought is that through belief in him we are at peace with God

Ø     Romans 5:1-2

§        Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God

v    Jesus warned, in this life you will have trouble…

Ø     But our hope is not in this life, is it?


v    Notes:

Ø     Middle of “4 Bewares”

§        Beware the yeast of the Pharisees

§        Beware the temptation of Greed

§        Beware the trap of worry

§        Beware the snare of Spiritual Carelessness

§        V. 43 states…

·        It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns

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