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Don't Hold Back

Living With Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 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. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

47 “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. 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.

DON’T HOLD BACK
You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Did you hear about two Northwest Airline pilots that overshot their destination? The FAA revoked the licenses of the two Northwest Airlines pilots after their airplane flew for 91 minutes out of contact with the ground and overshot their destination city by 150 miles. The revocation took place because of recklessness caused by “inattention.” Airline pilots must direct their aircraft safely from Point A to Point B. However, these pilots had their personal laptops on in the cockpit and were researching job conditions and scheduling rules brought about by Northwest’s recent purchase by Delta Airlines. They wanted to know how their job situations were changing. While that is understandable, that was not their assigned task. They took their eye off their primary responsibility and gave their attention to something of lesser importance. Keeping the most important thing, a priority is important for everyone, not just airline pilots.[i]
Have you ever missed your destination?
We come to a passage in Luke today that calls for watchfulness, vigilance, care and attentiveness. So far in chapter twelve of the Gospel of Luke we’ve heard Jesus warn the Pharisees and scribes and refer to them as hypocrites—play actors. Next we heard Jesus tell a crowd of people a story about a rich farmer who really was a fool. Last week, we heard Jesus tell His disciples not to worry. Chapter 12 is a hard chapter full of hard thoughts.
Let’s pray!
“God of all grace, You call us to be attentive and watchful. Help us to hear Your Words of life this morning and help us to put them in to practice. May we never hold back from You—Lord of lords and King of kings. Amen”
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” 41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” 42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 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. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. 47 “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. 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.[ii]
BLESSED HOPE --- LIVING HOPE
At Christmas time, we have a season called “Advent.” Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” which means “coming.” During the four weeks leading up the Christmas, we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child. Advent is about waiting and watching for the coming of the Christ child into our world. That’s referred to as “The First Coming of Christ.”
Do you know there will be a Second Coming of Christ?
There are three different Greek words are used by the apostles to express this thought of Christ’s second coming. Isn’t this a timely message seeing that the path of totality is happening tomorrow?
(1.) apokalupsis (; ; ; , ); do you hear APOCALYPSE? Destruction of a cataclysmic scale.
(2.) parousia (, ; ; , ); means presence or coming.
(3.) epiphaneia (; ; ; ) Epiphany—the manifestation of Christ.
There are 27 books in the New Testament and in these 27 books, there are 260 chapters. The Second Coming or Christ’s return is mentioned no less than 318 times in these 260 chapters. Statistically, someone figured it out that the ratio is 1:25 meaning one verse in twenty-five verses mention the Lord’s return. The only books in the New Testament that don’t mention the Second Advent are Galatians and the tiny letters of 2 and 3 John.
The Second Coming, The Day of The Lord, The Future Hope was a “hot topic” for the early church. They waited and they watched and they hoped for the Second Coming of Christ.
Let’s look at a few of those passages;
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (-2)
16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words. ()
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. ()
The Apostle Peter called the Second Coming of Christ a “Living Hope” in and the Apostle Paul called the second coming of Christ a “Blessed Hope” --- “while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” ()
So what is your blessed and living hope?
Today’s teaching by Dr. Luke tells us that Jesus wants his disciples to be prepared.
Are we prepared?
BE READY!
Today’s reading teaches us to be ready. Jesus gives two stories to illustrate this point. The first story is about a wedding. In the times of Jesus, a wedding could last four or five days. Jesus tells the disciples about the master who comes back from the wedding, the servants need to be dressed and ready. The servants need to keep their lamps burning. The servants need to keep awake even if it is the second or third watch of the night. Jesus is telling His disciples to be ready, no matter the time, date, hour or minute.
Jesus now turns the tables upside down when he says that the master will take off his robe and start serving the servants. “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.” What a wonderful, blessed and living hope. Jesus, the Master, serving us—His disciples. This picture is vividly demonstrated on the night that Jesus was betrayed. In Jesus gets up from the table in the Upper Room and takes off His outer garment and washes the disciple’s feet. Jesus serves the servants! In we read, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” What a blessed Hope! What a living hope! Jesus will come and knock on the door and all we need to do is to be ready and Jesus will come in and eat with us!!!
The second story that Jesus uses to bring His point home is the story of the thief in the night. The owner of the house does not know the day or time when the thief will come. If the owner knew when the thief would come, of course, he would be ready.
There was a Scottish preacher of the last century, by the name of Robert Murray McCheyne of Dundee. McCheyne exercised much influence during his brief twenty-nine years as a pastor. When McCheyne would speak to other pastors, he would ask groups of pastors the question, “Do you think the Lord is coming tonight?” The preachers would quietly respond, “No.” Then McCheyne would counter with a quote from our text, “The Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”[iii]
I read about a man in Connecticut. This man was so busy listening to music on his iPod that he did not notice his house was on fire. Andrew Riley told fire officials he didn’t smell smoke or hear the smoke alarm going off. He was so engrossed in the music that he was unaware of the fire on the upper floor of his home until the alarm company called to tell him about the danger. A fire marshal determined an electrical malfunction caused the fire. He said the situation could have been much worse if, after receiving the warning, Riley hadn’t run upstairs and closed a door to contain the fire. It is so easy for us to get distracted and miss the alarms going off around us.[iv]
What Jesus is teaching us is that His return is a sure thing! The truth is that many will miss Him! He will return like a thief in the night or a master coming home from the wedding feast only to find that the servants are not dressed and the lamps are not lit. I am afraid that the world will not be prepared! The networks will not be prepared, the world’s leaders will not be prepared, the false religions will not be prepared, and some in the church will not be prepared. But the faithful will be ready because they will see the signs of the times.
SO WHAT?
The so what for today is that we need to be prepared. We need to be dressed and light our lamps. We need have our house ready no matter when Jesus comes.
An Australian air traffic controller left some airline passengers up in the air. The controller overslept and arrived late to work. As a result, the control tower at Canberra International Airport opened 20 minutes late, which forced an arriving Qantas Boeing 737 from Perth to circle over the city for 20 minutes because the only person on duty at the tower was not senior enough to issue a clearance for the plane to land. Ben Mitchell, spokesman for Air Services Australia, acknowledged the error. He said, “The guy slept in.” Mitchell said the passengers were never in any danger and the plane was able to land only 12 minutes after its scheduled arrival time. Authorities have changed the roster to ensure that two senior controllers are present when the tower opens to eliminate the problem—assuming both wake up on time.
Our laziness and lack of responsibility may not leave people literally up in the air, but nevertheless they have real consequences.[v]
This is called sleeping on the job.
Jesus closed this teaching time with a proverb, “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.” ()
We have been given much. We have been given so much. We have been given the Old Testament, which gives us the Law, the Prophets and the Wisdom writings. We have been given the New Testament, the announcement of the first coming of Christ called the Incarnation. The New Testament also has given us the gospel of grace, the life and teachings of Jesus, the apostolic witness and promise of the Second Coming of Christ that is called our blessed hope. We have over 2,000 years of the church’s history and testimony. Just think of all the wonderful teaching and preaching throughout the past 2,000 years. Augustine, Calvin, Edwards, Spurgeon, Lewis, Graham and on and on it goes. We have wonderful Christian education, like our Jesus Class and Youth groups, we have BOB, BOSSY and GET A LIFE bible study groups. We have thousands of books. We have a wealth of opportunities.
We have been given much!!! Therefore, much is required. Don’t Hold Back!!!
The Northwest pilots missed their destination because they were too worried about the Delta takeover. The man consumed by his iPod didn’t even know his house was on fire. The air traffic controller slept in and a plane full of passengers had to circle the airport for twenty minutes.
Jac and I have been talking a lot, especially because I’m a little tired these days. Jac was sharing with me how the Holy Spirit has been showing her that all of the stories in the Bible aren’t just stories about yesterday. God creating. Noah arking. Daniel in the lion’s den. David facing Goliath. Moses floating in a basket. Jesus healing the lame. Jesus giving sight to the blind. Jesus helping the deaf hear, the mute speak, the dead come to life. I asked her what she meant. She said, “Don’t you see, Dave? When I need creating, God creates in me. When it’s pouring down rain for days on end and it’s dark and messy—God provides an ark for me. When I’m in a cage with hungry lions—God shuts their mouths. When Goliath mocks me and threatens me—Jesus hands me a slingshot and five rocks. When I’m helpless, God floats me in a basket on a river and I’m found and placed in His heavenly kingdom. Don’t you see that when I’m the one who is blind, or deaf, or mute, or lame—Jesus touches me and I’m healed—scales fall off my blind eyes like they did off Saul’s? Don’t you see when I’m dead, when life has kicked the bleep out of me…Jesus raises me back to life? Oh, don’t you see that these aren’t just old stories…about some old-timers I’ve never met? These are stories about me and how God will change my life.” I think I want to add on to that: God is going to help us hear the urgency in today’s message to BE READY AT ALL TIMES.
I hope we don’t miss the Second Coming because we are too busy, preoccupied, distracted, not listening or sleeping.
Our Scripture tells us to roll up our sleeves, be dressed and ready because when we all least expect it…Jesus is COMING BACK…for the second and final time.
Let us pray ----
The Seed Christian Fellowship
Rancho Cucamonga, California 91701
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com
August 20, 2017
Pastor Dave Peters
[i] Wilson, J. L., & Russell, R. (2015). Ignoring Their Responsibility to Fly the Plane. In E. Ritzema (Ed.), 300 Illustrations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[ii] The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
[iii] Hughes, R. K. (1998). Luke: that you may know the truth (p. 63). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
[iv] Wilson, J. L., & Sandell, J. (2015). “Sir, Your House Is on Fire.” In E. Ritzema (Ed.), 300 Illustrations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[v] Wilson, J. L., & Sandell, J. (2015). Air Traffic Controller Oversleeps and Causes Delays. In E. Ritzema (Ed.), 300 Illustrations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
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