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2008-02-03_The Coming - Be Ready Part 2_Matthew 25_SL

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The Coming: Be Ready, Part 2

Matthew 25   |   Shaun LePage   |   February 3, 2008


The Coming: Be Ready, Part 2

Matthew 25   |   Shaun LePage   |   February 3, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    Story of “Old Harry” (David Jeremiah, Escape The Coming Night, pgs. 3-5,13)

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

C.    Day-to-day living as disciples should not be divorced from the return of Christ—primary doctrine, should it not change how we live today if we know Jesus will return tomorrow?

D.    Context—studying Matt 24-25, Olivet Discourse—Jesus’ description of 2nd Coming

1.     24:3: Questions that sparked Jesus’ longest recorded answer to any disciples question

2.     24:1-14—“birth pangs” both increasing toward end of age and intensify at beginning of Tribulation—warned: don’t be misled, don’t be frightened; instead, endure through whatever tribulation you encounter and preach the gospel—make good use of time

3.     24:15-31—Jesus’ direct answer to disciples’ questions in v.3—predicted three clear events in future Great Tribulation: Abomination of Desolation, Great Tribulation (last 3½ years), and Coming of Son of Man (Note: rapture later revelation for church)

4.     24:32-25:46—7 Pictures saying, “Be Ready…be on the alert”

a)     Fig Tree—Certainty of His Coming; “when you see all these things (one generation will see them all), recognize that He is near”; Read v.35—they will happen! “That day and hour no one knows” but it will happen! Never doubt it—get ready!

b)     The Flood—Completely Unexpected; like people “taken away” in Noah’s flood—2nd Coming just like that—people won’t expect it because they don’t believe the crazy Noahs of our day, but there will come a day when it’ll be too late to get ready

c)     The Thief—Earlier than Expected; if you knew when a thief was going to rob you, you’d be ready for him, but you don’t know “day or hour” so stay ready! 2nd Coming same way; it will come earlier than some people expect

d)     The Master—Later than Expected; servant started out “faithful and sensible” then said, “My master is staying away a long time” so he abused power and partied; 2nd Coming will come later than many expect; don’t grow weary in doing good deeds

II.     Body—Matthew 25—3 more pictures—entire ch25 to see big picture; first understand text

A.    The Bridegroom is coming: Are you prudent or foolish? (Read 1-13)

1.     (1-2) “Then” ties what follows with previous context—return of Christ; “Kingdom of heaven comparable to…” Identifies as parable; difficult! Careful not to speculate, but find the main point—how, exactly, is the kingdom like 5 prudent/foolish virgins?; “meet the bridegroom” (context: 2nd Coming); wedding stages: 1) betrothal, 2) bridegroom to bride’s home, 3) procession to bridegroom’s home for wedding feast, 4) consummation; virgins waiting for step 2

2.     (3-4) Why “foolish/prudent”? “foolish=took no oil” Oil=HS? few vague references; If so, “no oil” or “no extra oil” big deal! “no HS”=unsaved! But, TM, TEV “extra”; “more” NCV; “enough” NLT; also v.8 “are going out”); Good works? Maybe both—can’t do good works without HS; (4) “prudent=took oil in flasks” (extra oil!)

3.     (5-12) Why a problem? “bridegroom was delaying…lamps going out”; even wise slept; “foolish” not prepared for delay; not ready at the right time, shut out of the celebration—feel the desperation and disappointment! “Lord, lord…do not know you”

4.     (13) Bottom line: they were not “on the alert”—unprepared! Had a job, failed to prepare—they were there, had lamps, but didn’t plan on “delay” (v.5); Missed out!

B.    The Master is returning: Are you faithful or worthless? (Read 14-30)

1.     (14) “man on journey” remember context—Jesus soon going away, but will return “after a long time”—climax of this story in v.19ff

2.     (15-18) “five talents…two…one” talent (weight) silver (75lbs!)=6,000 days wages; first 2 servants “gained” as much as they were given; “dug a hole” laugh? Shock?

3.     (19-23) first 2: received exact same praise and reward—point: faithfulness is desired

4.     (24-25) 1-talent: questioned master’s character (excuse!); “afraid”—here!

5.     (26-30) stinging rebuke: “wicked and lazy slave”; if I’m as greedy as you think, you should have known no “gain” would have been unacceptable! Look: (28) Took talent away, gave to 10-talent slave, then Jesus gives the point (29): “Everyone who has: more…one who does not have: taken away.” Point: Don’t use what you’ve been given (gifts, possessions, time, etc.) well “suffer loss” (1 Cor 3:15); won’t have “stored up treasure” in heaven; Then, “worthless…outer darkness…weeping/gnashing of teeth”

C.    The King is coming: Are you a sheep or a goat? (Read 31-46)

1.     (31-45) This picture different: Not a parable, but clear picture of what will happen right after 2nd Coming (“sheep/goats” parabolic, but explained: “all nations”); Lots of views, here’s mine: “then He will sit on His glorious throne” (David’s/millennial reign); “comes”=to earth!; context, context, context: end of Tribulation, 3 groups: “nations” (lit., Gentiles) divided into “sheep/goats” (two different animals—saved and unsaved Gentiles!) and “brothers of Mine” (40)—Jews who trust Christ in Tribulation and suffer tremendous persecution (interpretation comes from comparison of Revelation); So, if Rapture true—“Church” not here, “sheep” are Gentiles saved during Tribulation, and (true to their nature) minister to persecuted Jews “brothers”; goats are unsaved who (true to their nature) did not minister to the Jews; not judged on works alone, but because “goats” & works

2.     (46) Goats=unbelievers “eternal punishment”=hell; “eternal life”=heaven

3.     Often read without consideration of context (Tribulation), but principles true today (and magnificent!): feed hungry, quench thirsty, invite stranger, clothe naked, visit sick, go to imprisoned: doing this to Jesus Himself! Encounter Christ in good works

III.   Closing: 2 questions and an invitation—My job is to do what Jesus did: let you feel tension

A.    Question #1: Who pictures you?

1.     Prudent virgins (prepared!)? Faithful servants (doing God’s will)? Righteous Sheep (Loving people/Jesus)? Keep going! Never stop scanning the sky for His return.

2.     Foolish virgins? Worthless servant? Goats? Are you saying, wait a minute who are these supposed to picture—believers or unbelievers? Tension! Not as clear as we want!

a)     Foolish Virgins

(1)  Unprepared unbelievers? Jews—context Tribulation, focus Jews, not “bride”; perhaps all unbelievers—no HS; “door shut…do not know you” sounds like exclusion from heaven

(2)  Unprepared believers? Audience is believers, waiting for Christ’s return, no “extra oil” (better; go out and buy HS/salvation?); punishment not necessarily “hell”; feast is an aspect of the kingdom—a reward for faithful/overcomers

b)     Worthless servant?

(1)  Wicked and lazy unbelievers? No respect for Master; punishment (“outer darkness”) sounds like hell!

(2)  Wicked and lazy believers? “servant” of the Master; given resource like believer; “talent taken away” could be loss of rewards for being lazy; “outer darkness” could be (like ch22) picture of exclusion from only part of kingdom; punishment seems to be loss of reward—tension?

c)     Goat? Clearly unbeliever (punishment is unmistakable here!)

3.     Who pictures you? Very possibly: those not “in Christ”; very possibly carnal believers (not prepared, unfaithful/worthless). Honest self-evaluation! 2nd question for you.

B.    Question #2: Why not get ready?

1.     Why didn’t the five foolish virgins buy oil? Thought they’d have time? Thought they’d be able to borrow? Didn’t plan for delay? Bottom line: Foolishness!

2.     Why didn’t the 1-talent servant invest/bank the money? Fear? Laziness? Bottom line: Didn’t do his job! Didn’t do what he knew he should be doing.

3.     Why didn’t the goats become sheep (heavy theological discussion, I believe in election and predestination, but “whoever believes will not perish”; in God’s plan goats can become sheep!!!)? Why didn’t the goats feed the hungry? Quench the thirsty? Invite the stranger? Clothe the naked? Visit the sick? Go to the prisoner? Didn’t care? Too busy with other things? Didn’t want to be around “those kind of people”? Bottom line: Rejected Christ by rejecting “the least of these”.

4.     But, the 5 “prudent virgins” got ready! The 2 “faithful” slaves got ready! The “sheep” got ready—all had great joy in the end (wedding feast, “joy of (their) master,” enter “into eternal life”!). Why not get ready? I hope you’re asking, “How? Invitation…

C.    Invitation: Be ready! Circle the title: That’s your application again. The answer is rich/multi-layered—direction, not destination; being spiritual, not carnal—pursue Christ!

1.     We can know joy on that day too—it’s not too late for anyone. Got to have the perspective that sees what will be important in the end—so many things distract us here and now—squeaking for the oil of our time/attention/money/affection.

2.     Perspective shows us what’s really important. The Scriptures give us that perspective:

a)     Jesus’ words Mt 24-25 tell us what’s really important: Being ready on the day Jesus returns! 17 verses to tell us what will happen, 66 to tell us “Be ready!”

b)     Eph 5:25-27—“present to Himself the church” husbands should love wives because that love points to the day when Christ will host a Wedding Feast of His own!

c)     2 Tim 4:1-8—Why “preach the Word”? Why “reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction”? Why know “sound doctrine”? Why pick teachers who teach truth? Why “endure hardship”? Why “fulfill your ministry”? Why “fight the good fight and keep the faith”? Because Jesus will judge and reward.

d)     See also 2 Peter 3:10-12—what is “holy conduct and godliness”? doing your work well—as though your boss was Jesus Himself; marriage that reflects the love and purity of Christ’s love for His church; children seen/treated as blessings from God (treasures of stewards)—trained up in way they should go, brought up in discipline and instruction of Lord; praying without ceasing for laborers, boldness, opportunity, salvation of men; worshiping the one, true God in spirit and truth, from pure hearts; consuming God’s Word as spiritual food, letting it richly dwell within us; growing in maturity in Christ, coming to know fullness in Christ; embracing a church community, encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ; serving, using the gifts the Spirit has given us to build up the body of Christ; giving cheerfully/sacrificially, storing up treasure in heaven not on earth; reaching out in love, creatively helping others get ready by faith in Christ; supporting/encouraging those taking good news to uttermost parts of earth; knowing God intimately, being like God (true righteousness and holiness), doing God’s will, speaking God’s truth—these are really important! Get ready!

D.    Even though Harry Truman did not listen to the warnings and was not prepared, thousands of others did listen—were prepared. Observed the signs/listened to the warnings and were ready. All this is wonderful news: We can be ready for Christ’s return!

E.     Closing prayer

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