Sermon – 11-08-2020
Psalm 78:1-7; Joshua 24:1-3, 14-25; 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:13-18
Our lesson from Joshua leads us to remember the covenant church that we was created to address the issues of sin and our committing ourselves to serve God obediently and faithfully. God’s historical deliverance gives His people reason to trust and serve Him. Beyond that, each of us must commit ourselves to God and also to the covenant we have with Him. It deals with making ethical choices at all times and to serve him with sincerity and truth at all times.
In First Thessalonians, Paul’s first written expression about the Lord’s coming listed five things before the final coming of the Lord: 1) Christians should not grieve for the dead hopelessly as unbelievers do. 2) Those who die as Christians God will bring to life as He did Jesus. 3) Those who are alive at Jesus’ coming will be preceded in the resurrection by the righteous dead. 4) Christians who are alive at Jesus’ return will be gathered with the resurrected believes. Jesus and they will remain together for eternity. 5) This plan of God is a great comfort to believers who grieve for dead loved ones.
From the Gospel of Matthew, we read the parable of the ten virgins, but it is so much more than this. Jesus vividly described a typical group of adolescents. Some were wise and planned ahead; while others were less careful, living only for he moment and not caring about the future. Beloved life should be lived with a constant view to the future insofar as planning and preparation are concerned. Our most careful planning must be to see that we are part of God’s kingdom.
Salvation leads to obedience over the long haul. Obeying the Savior means preparing to serve Him in all circumstances, knowing He may return at any given moment.
The relation of this parable to last things I variously explained. Seeking meaning in the details, some explain the virgins as professing members of the church, awaiting Christ’s return. Others see the virgins as representing a faithful Jewish remnant during the tribulation period. Whatever be the application of the detains, if any, all see in the parable a lesson about the need to be prepared when Christ returns. Preparedness must be personal. Those unprepared cannot borrow from those who are. Failure to be ready when the Lord comes is to be shut out from His presence and kingdom.
Christ brought the kingdom of God, making it present in His church. He pointed to the future when He would bring the kingdom in its fullness. Believers must be alert, prepared to greet Christ when He returns. Other people cannot prepare us at the last moment. Christ will admit only the prepared ones to the kingdom. Therefore, we are instructed to be ready at all times, so that we may not be caught off guard, but to plan ourselves to be ready continually.
You see beloved, good intentions will have no bearing on whether we can enter the kingdom of heaven. We must be ready now and forever more.
In the parable of the ten virgins, half had brought extra oil for their lamps, while the others, probably thought they would have time to go and get more later. As we see in the parable, they sought extra oil from the ones who had brought additional oil, as places to purchase oil were closed for the night. Therefore, they missed out upon Jesus’ return. Don’t get caught not being prepared. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or he hour!”