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2008-01-20_The Coming - Be Ready Part 1_Matthew 24.32-51_SL

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The Coming: Be Ready, Part 1

Matthew 24:32-51   |   Shaun LePage   |   January 20, 2008


The Coming: Be Ready, Part 1

Matthew 24:32-51   |   Shaun LePage   |   January 20, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    Dec 7, 1941, 353 Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor. US lost 8 battleships, 6 airfields, almost all planes, and 2,400 men—7:50 AM. But 7 AM, Japanese 137 miles away, 2 US soldiers radar station in Pacific—dots appearing on screen, whole screen filled. Notified supervisor, lieutenant. Lieutenant looked, thought planes California, 4 crucial words: “Don’t worry about it.” Time to prepare battleships and shelter men at Pearl Harbor, but that lieutenant, at the most responsible moment of his career, failed the nation.

B.    Scripture clear: Jesus will return—before: time to get ready. That day: too late.

C.    Review—studying Matt 24-25, Olivet Discourse—Jesus’ answer to “sign of Coming”

1.     24:1-14—“birth pangs” both increasing toward end of age and first 3 ½ years of Tribulation—warned not to be misled and not to be frightened; instead, endure through whatever tribulation you encounter and preach the gospel—make good use of time

2.     24:15-31—Jesus’ direct answer to disciples’ questions in v.3 “when…sign” three prophetic events related to the future Great Tribulation (Note: rapture not mentioned, later revelation for church; Trib world-wide, but prophecy focused on nation of Israel)

II.     Body—Matthew 24:36-25:30—Seven Pictures (Parables?)—One Main Point! (4 Pics Today)

A.    The Certainty of The Coming: The Fig Tree (24:32-35)

1.     (32) Illus. from nature: tender branches and leaves → summer (even a city boy); “fig tree”=Israel? Just general illustration: trees in spring—Lk 21:29 “…and all the trees.”

2.     (33) Interp: “You” (whoever) sees “all these things” (signs described above 4-28; Great Tribulation) “recognize (γινώσκω—know, understand) that He is near”

3.     (34) “This generation”—presents us with a problem. Preterist: generation Jesus was speaking to; fulfilled in AD 70—“coming” just Jesus coming in judgment, but Jesus is describing His “appearance” (vs.27,30) not just His judgment; NET Bible three better options: “(1) “race” assurance that Jewish race (nation) will not pass away. Question-able Greek term γενεά (genea) can have this meaning. (2) “this type of generation” generation of wicked humanity. Point: humanity will not perish, God will redeem it. (3) “the generation that sees the signs of the end” will also see the end itself. IOW, once signs starts, all events connected happen very quickly, in rapid succession.”; Thomas Ice: “…The governing referent to “this generation” is “all these things.” (4-14) …Christ saying generation that sees “all these things” occur will not cease to exist until all the events of the future tribulation are fulfilled.” (http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=229)

4.     (35) these things will happen; His words more certain than existence of universe

B.    The Uncertainty of the Day:

1.     Completely Unexpected like The Flood (24:36-41)

a)     (36) “That day and hour no one knows…” Balance with “recognize that He is near”—We can know the “days” but not the “day”! Despite clear statements, many have tried! [D. Jeremiah, Jesus’ Final Warning, p.65]; “nor the Son”? Don’t be troubled! Incarnation full of mysteries: Omnipresent (everywhere-present) One born in Bethlehem / not arrive in time for Lazarus’ funeral? Omnipotent (all-powerful) One tired, acquainted with weaknesses and put to death? How can the Omniscient (all-knowing) One not know day and hour of His Coming? Also: boy Jesus “grew in wisdom…” (Lk 2:52). The Kenosis (Gk: “emptied Himself”)—simply put: self-limitation in various ways when He took on human form.

b)      (37-38) “…Like the days of Noah.” (parable? Illus?) How? “…eating, drinking, marrying, giving in marriage…” Not sin—just living life. Unconcerned with Noah, ark, story about a big flood—“until the day that Noah entered the ark” 120 years—thought it would never come! But it did—one day; flood completely unexpected.

c)     (39-41) “They did not understand” (v.33; γινώσκω—know, recognize)—Noah’s generation did not “γινώσκω / recognize” flood was near; neither will generation alive when He comes; “until the flood came…”—did not “understand” until too late; “took them all away”—same when Jesus comes: 2 men-field/2 women-mill—1 taken/ 1 left (“taken” not rapture, but “taken” in judgment—Jesus’ comparison is with those “taken away” by flood (v.39); context is 2nd Coming, not rapture; some “taken” to judgment, others “left” to populate the earth in the Millennium just as Noah and his family were the only ones “left” to repopulate after the flood);

2.     Sooner Than Expected Like The Thief (24:42-44)

a)     (42) “Therefore be on the alert…”; Constant theme! Logical deduction: If you don’t know “which day”—get ready / stay ready!

b)     (43-44) Silly illus.—like thief announcing his arrival; if you knew, would you crawl in bed and go to sleep? No way! You’d “be on the alert” stand watch like a soldier on guard duty; but you don’t know when, so you must constantly be ready—lock the doors every night, etc.; in the same way, you don’t know when Christ will return, so you must always be ready; “an hour when you do not think He will…” (again, the fact that we don’t know is emphasized!!)

3.     Later Than Expected Like The Master (24:45-51)

a)     (45-47) “faithful and sensible (wise)”—obviously the desired response; How do you know? “give them their food at the proper time”—doing their job! Promise: “blessed” how? Rewarded! Given larger responsibilities in kingdom—reign?

b)     (48-51) “But”—in contrast “that evil slave” (same guy—potential for “evil”!); “long time” (proof of long period between comings); complacent; abuses position in various ways—living without expectation!! when Master returns “cut him in pieces” (not pretty); rare word, probably hyperbole for “cut off blessing”—“slave” means Christian (non-Christians don’t serve Him); intent is to challenge believers who begin to serve Him to continue even if “a long time”; we’re very capable of unfaithfulness, hypocrisy; 1 Co 3:14-15; “suffer loss”; 1 Jn 2:28 “shame”; “weeping/gnashing” (not possible cut in half) pictures great regret/shame

III.   Closing:

A.    Circle the title: Be ready! That’s your application.

1.     Never trusted Christ? Passage should scare. Fear legitimate motivator. Like people of Noah’s time, face being “taken away” in judgment when you least expect it. Christ will come like a thief—sooner than expected, because most don’t expect Him at all; don’t think you have lots of time—no such promise. Most important step in being ready is to believe—trust Christ to save you from coming judgment. Listen to Jesus: Jn 3:16-18; 5:24—like Noah and his family getting on that ark—God’s provision to save your life!

2.     Trusted Christ? Already passed from death to life? This passage should be motivating for us as well. Do you—like the head of the house—think you have plenty of time? Christ will come sooner than you think. Even death may come sooner than you think and then you will be held accountable for how you have lived. You’ll be saved, but will you be ashamed? Not living a bad life, but are you living in expectation? Will you have much to show for your time here? Perhaps, you’ve been “faithful and sensible” in the past, but you’ve decided there’s not much point. Feel as though Jesus “is not coming for a long time”? Burned out? Tired of waiting? “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds” doing his job. Don’t know when, so just keep on doing your job.

B.    “Don’t worry about it”? Signs on our screen? Ignoring?—Closing prayer

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