Faithlife Sermons

Last Judgment (2)

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Whether we like it or not, winter in Wisconsin seems to be just around the corner. One of the dangers of winter weather is getting caught in a sudden snow storm especially while traveling by our personal vehicle. Although it may not be as dangerous here as for those who live in remote parts of the country, the well prepared motorist would do well to have an emergency kit with them at all times. What should be included in it? (research).
1. Charged cell phone. Although this item will probably be on your person, it may make the difference between getting help fast and maybe not getting help at all. “Make sure it is properly charged every time you get into your car,” Crosby says.
2. First-aid kit. As well as an assortment of Band-Aids, it should include adhesive tape, gauze pads, aspirin, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream or ointment, and anything particular to you or your family.
3. Fire Extinguisher. It should be rated for Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA. The NFPA says Class B fires are those that involve flammable or combustible liquids, such as gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene. Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment such as switches, panel boxes and batteries.
4. Three reflective warning triangles. While many prepackaged emergency kits contain one warning triangle, Crosby suggests you have three that are placed 50 feet apart to warn oncoming traffic.
5. Tire gauge. Crosby says motorists should use the tire gauge in their car emergency kit to periodically check the air pressure in their spare tire. “Make sure your spare tire is properly inflated,” he says. “A lot of the time people ignore it until they have a flat, and then discover the spare is flat, too.”
6. Foam tire sealant. A quick, inexpensive way to repair many flats without changing the tire.
7. Jumper cables. They should be at least 10 feet in length and coated with at least 8-gauge rubber.
8. Flashlight and extra batteries. The flashlight should be waterproof.
9. Gloves.
10. Rags.
11. Duct tape. It is the universal fix-it solution. Carry at least 10 feet of it.
12. Tow strap or tow rope. It should be strong enough to tow 6,000 pounds.
13. Multipurpose utility tool. This can be something like a Leatherman Tool or a Swiss Army Knife.
14. Rain poncho. Even an inexpensive plastic poncho is better than nothing when changing a tire in the pouring rain.
15. Drinking water.
16. Nonperishable snacks. Protein bars are a good choice.
According to Crosby, during the winter you should add a few other items if you might encounter snow and ice:
17. Warm blanket.
18. Snow shovel.
19. Cat litter. It works as well as sand beneath the tires for traction and weighs less.
20. Windshield ice scraper.
This kit will keep you protected until help is able to arrive. Without it, you could suffer pain, injury, or in extreme cases . . . death.
This is not the only thing we are advised to be ready for.
My doctor advises me to have the necessary paperwork in place in case I become unable to make my own decisions. He advises me to tell you to do the same thing.
Local funeral homes advise preplanning our funerals.
Insurance agents tout the wisdom of being properly insured to avoid catastrophic loss.
But being read for the future doesn’t always have to involve serious injury or death.
Students and teachers get ready for class.
We get ready for a night out with our special someone.
We prepare a meal.
I’m glad you took time to get yourself ready for church today and didn’t show up unshaven, your head a mess, and in your pajamas.
We certainly would agree on the importance of being ready.
And yet, history tells us of times when people were not ready and put themselves at risk. We ourselves may have found ourselves unprepared for an emergency and suffered as a result. The need to be ready but our own neglect at doing so seems to be the impetus for Jesus and others strongly urging us to be ready for an event that has been predicted but because it has been so long in coming that many people will find themselves unprepared. That event is The Last Judgment.
The parable of the Ten Virgins is not the only vehicle Jesus used to emphasize being ready but it is the one we will consider today.
Read and explanation.
(NIV)
1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
On the occasion of a marriage, the bridegroom, attended by his friends, went to the house of his bride, and brought her with her friends in joyful procession to his own house.
In pre-Mosaic times, when the proposals were accepted and the marriage price given, the bridegroom could come at once and take away his bride to his own house (). But in general the marriage was celebrated by a feast in the house of the bride’s parents, to which all friends were invited (, ); and, on the day of the marriage, the bride, concealed under a thick veil, was conducted to her future husband’s home.
Matthew 25:2–6 NIV
2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Matthew 25:1–13 NIV
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Jesus’ statement that the bridegroom was a long time in coming is predictive. Although many had the expectation that the return of Jesus would be sooner rather than later after his ascension, we now know that this would not be the case. The appeal is to be prepared at all times.
Matthew 25:7–13 NIV
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
The main point of this parable is that we are all to be prepared and that there will be consequences for whether or not we are prepared for the Last Judgment.
Which of the groups of virgins are you when it comes to being prepared for The Last Judgment?
Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (p. 468). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.
Which of the groups of virgins are you when it comes to being prepared for The Last Judgment?
It seems to me that people today are much more like the foolish virgins than the wise. One reason may be this false sense of security that “all dogs go to heaven” (explore). During the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic church emphasized beyond a shadow of a doubt that most Christians did not go immediately to heaven when they died. Oh, the really good people did based on faith and their works. Those who weren’t Christians went to hell for all eternity. But most Christians went to purgatory to spend thousands of years being purified of their sins. So your religious focus was to limit the amount of time you would spend in purgatory and do things prescribed by the church to shorten the time spent their by your deceased friends and relatives. Now the rhetoric you hear expressed at funerals and in discussions about death is that God is so gracious and loving that no one suffers any eternal consequences. This is not biblical in any way, shape, or form. In this parable Jesus typifies this by saying, “The door was shut.” and “Truly, I don’t know you.” Other passages are even more clear:
Hebrews 10:26–31 NIV
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
2 Thessalonians 1:5–10 NIV
5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
Another reason may be that we don’t think that The Last Judgment will happen to us . . . at least not yet. And so appeals to be ready now fall on deaf ears because we think that we have more time (maybe even decades) before we will die and face the judgment. And so a message that urges being ready now is ignored because of a lack of a sense of urgency.
Another reason may be that we don’t think that The Last Judgment will happen to us . . . at least not yet. And so appeals to be ready now fall on deaf ears because we think that we have more time (maybe even decades) before we will die and face the judgment. And so a message that urges being ready now is ignored because of a lack of sense of urgency.
And you may be right. There are some here who may not face the Last Judgment for another 80 or 90 years.
Personally, I don’t like it when insurance agents tell stories about tragedies that can happen and how important it is to have insurance in case you suffer catastrophic loss. Such stories are designed to influence your decision to be ready out of fear. And yet, Jesus himself uses such a technique when he commands us to be ready. There is a FEAR FACTOR of what will happen is we aren’t ready. (passages) (NIV)
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 “ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
(NIV)
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
But Jesus isn’t just about scaring people to action. Conversely, he offers hope to those who are ready as does Peter and others. What promises does the Bible give to those who are ready?
In the parable the wise virgins go into the wedding feast. The righteous go to eternal life. St. Paul says we will be with the Lord forever. Revelation pictures an eternity in Jerusalem the Golden.
Some of the things we prepare for may never happen. But it is good to be ready just in case. Other things will happen. Some we may know the exact time and place to expect them. The Last Judgment is one of those things that will happen (or our own death) but we don’t know the day or the hour. So the wise Christian will seek to be ready at all times by (quote St. Peter).
2 Peter 3:10–14 NIV
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
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