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Share it. But most of all, thank you for listening to the Truth Podcast Network. Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.
For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now, let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Okay, I've entitled tonight's message, Be Ready. We're going to be looking at Luke chapter 12. Tonight, I'm going to cover verses 35 through 48. Now, last week, if you remember, we looked at the parable of the rich fool. That was one of the parts that Peter Rochelle, he did a great job, taught last week was the parable of the rich fool. And you may recall, this is in verses 16 through 20 of Luke 12, you recall that the rich fool produced such a great crop, so much money, if you will, that he did not have enough barns to store it. So he thought to himself, what shall I do?
And then he said, this is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. And there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, you have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, you fool, this very night, your life will be demanded from you.
Then who will get what you prepared for yourself? I used to be in the investment business and I will never forget one day meeting with a client who will often go nameless. And his desk was about this big.
I mean, big. And he had stacks and stacks of financial statements, bank statements, brokerage statements. And he looked at me and he said, and he was an atheist.
He looked at me and he said, Russ, I pretty much warehouse money. And every time I read this parable, I think about that man. Most people here in America, you know, live just like this man. I'm not talking about my former client, but this rich young fool, as if their life will never come to an end. But the clock keeps on ticking and suddenly life is cut short. And without warning, all that we have accumulated is left behind. Now, here in Luke, chapter 12, Jesus knows that the time for his departure is approaching and that he can see the cross standing before him in the very near future. Thus, he's trying to prepare the disciples who are following him for the difficult days that he knows lie ahead of them. He wants them to be ready when he finally departs from the world.
Thus, in order to prepare them, he spends... Man, I want you to catch this. He spends time warning them about the next life, the life that is coming. Jesus says in verse 22, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes.
But seek first his kingdom and all these things will be given to you as well. So, men, if there's one truth that I want you to take away tonight, it's this. Jesus wants us to focus on the world that is coming, not the one that is passing away right before our eyes.
And this brings us to our text for tonight. We're going to focus tonight on verses 35 through 48. And in these verses, I want to show you how that Jesus gives us three ways to live the Christian life in order to be prepared for the next life.
And here's the first way, men, you should live your life. Are you ready? We must live in a constant state of readiness for the Lord's return. In other words, we should always be looking towards heaven. Look at verse 35, Luke writes, Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants 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. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I'll tell you the truth, when he will dress himself to serve, we'll have them recline at the table and come and sit and wait on them.
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. So, guys, here's the question. What must we each do in order to be ready for the next life? Two things. First, get dressed.
And second, keep your lamps burning. So what does this mean? Well, to get dressed points to the biblical concept of being clothed in the righteousness of Christ. It's the picture of a man who's placed his undivided trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
Therefore, he is dressed and therefore he's ready. Isaiah 61 10 says, I delight greatly in the Lord. My soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness. A man who is clothed in the righteousness of Christ is spiritually dressed, and therefore he's ready for the Lord's return. And by the way, this is what it means to be born again. It means that you've been clothed in Christ's righteousness. When you place your trust in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross, spiritually, by faith, all of your sins are transferred to Jesus and his righteousness is transferred to you. It's called the great exchange.
It's the greatest exchange in the history of the world. When you can turn into a filthy rags and he gives you a coat of righteousness. The Greek verb used here for dressed ready. It means, quote, to secure your clothing with a belt to adjust the long ankle length robe to ensure readiness for action or departure. Picture a Jewish man, he's got a long robe and he wants to be ready for action.
So what he does, he pulls up the robe and he fastens it with a belt. That's a picture of what it means to be dressed ready. And the verb tense that's used here is in the perfect tense, which I have to look that up to make sure I understand what it means, but it means that he's always ready. He's always ready. He's dressed and he's always ready. Now some of you may recall the Andy Griffith episode where Gomer Powell joins the Marines.
It's one of my favorite ones. And there's one scene where all the Marines are in the barracks getting ready for inspection. The beds had to all be made up immaculately and they had to be dressed neatly in their uniforms. And they're waiting for Sergeant Carter to come around and do inspection. And somehow the men convinced Powell that to impress Sergeant Carter, he should put on the sergeant's dress uniform, which is just returned from the cleaners.
And naively, Powell believes them. And so he's back there getting Sergeant Carter's dress uniform on with the hat and this blue uniform. And all of a sudden Sergeant Carter comes to the door and he's back behind a locker where you can't see him at first, at least Sergeant Carter can. And all the men are standing in front of their bunks with their uniforms on, just the green uniforms. And all of a sudden Powell steps out like this and goes, Hey, Sergeant Carter. And of course, he blows a gasket and he gets in his face. And you've seen those scenes a thousand times where Sergeant Carter and Gomer Powell are face to face.
Well, here's the problem. Powell was dressed, but he was dressed in the wrong uniform. And for us, we need to make sure that we have on the right uniform. And that uniform, men, is not good works. If you show up to heaven dressed in good works, guess what? You ain't getting in.
That's a good way to put it. You have to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ that comes only by faith in Jesus. And listen, once you've been clothed by faith in His righteousness, here's the truth. You can never be unclothed. Once clothed, always clothed. And therefore, you are always, if you're clothed, you're spiritually ready for the Lord's return.
But listen, not only must you be dressed, but you also need to keep your lamps burning. So what does this mean? Well, I just think this points to the daily routine of being yielded to the Holy Spirit, the daily discipline. When a man is truly born again, in that moment, men, that man is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That's how you're born again. That refers to regeneration.
But that's not where it stops. If you can't sit back and just be thankful that you're saved, although that's a great thing, you need to do more than that. In other words, you need to keep that lamp burning within you.
We were talking about this in our leadership meeting. It involves spending time daily with the Lord, reading the Bible, praying. I have this habit where I get up fairly early in the morning and say goodbye to my wife. I go get me a cup of coffee and I go to my office and I'll look at the news, but pretty soon thereafter, I open up my Bible, I read Spurgeon's Devotional, but I've also, at the beginning of this year, I bought a prayer journal.
It's divided up into months. So I'm writing out prayer requests in there. Then it's got a place where you can put answers to prayer.
Then in the back, it's got a place, a number of pages, where if you want to, you can just write out a long prayer. I've got so about once or twice a week, and I do this because, do y'all find that when you pray, often your mind starts to wander? Like five seconds into your prayer, your mind is wandering about something else. Well, that happens to me all the time. I think I must have ADD. But if I write my prayer out, my mind doesn't wander because I'm focused on what I'm writing.
And so, guys, this is just a discipline that I would encourage you to put into place, and this is how a man keeps his lamp burning. He's spending time with the Lord in prayer, reading the Bible, and trusting and yielding himself to the Holy Spirit. Does this describe you? Have you truly placed your trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation? Are you spending time with the Lord daily? I find the older I get, the more I need Jesus.
Is that true, Scott? Amen. So if you are spending time with the Lord daily, then you are spiritually ready for the second coming of Jesus Christ, which, by the way, men, could happen any day. Did you know that Christ's return is mentioned no less than 318 times in the New Testament? And by the way, for every time the first coming is mentioned, the second coming is mentioned about eight times. Eight more times than the first coming. Statistically, one in every 25 verses mentions the second coming of Christ. So why is it mentioned so much?
Do you know why? God wants to get our attention, and He wants us to be ready. He wants us to be waiting and watching. Warren Wisbee writes, The themes in Luke 12 all go together, for one of the best ways to conquer hypocrisy, covetousness, and worry, what Peter talked about last week, is to look for the Lord's return.
When you are living in the future tense, it is difficult for the things of the world to ensnare you. Now, men, the image that we have here in this passage is that between a servant and his master. So the master is attending a wedding banquet at night, and the servant has no idea at what time he will be returning, but he's alert. He's waiting and he's watching for any sign that his master might be coming back home. A dog barking.
A stick that snapped because somebody stepped on it. Whatever it may be. The servant is always watching and waiting. And sometimes it takes what seems like a long time for the master to return, so he stays alert even into the second and third watches of the night. Are you watching for the second coming like that? I have to admit, for the past 30 to 40 years, my wife and I, we're always looking up at the sky, particularly if we happen to be coming back from the east and we're headed west on I-40.
And it's late in the afternoon and the sun is going down and the sun itself is behind a cloud, but the rays are cascading down to the earth. And we look at each other and go, I wonder, is that the Lord getting ready to come back? Because it's going to be glorious. The clouds are going to part, the Bible says, and there He will be. Are you ready for that day? Do you have this hope? It's the greatest hope in the world, isn't it, Thomas?
Are you watching for the Lord's return? Because it could happen at any moment. Most of the time, you know what we're looking at? We're looking at the world through the lens of the news media. And we see a world that's out of control.
Wars and rumors of wars. And we see upheaval in nature. Hurricanes, floods, unbelievable fires. Remember that fire that covered half of Australia a few years ago?
Earthquakes. And we see political turmoil the likes of which we've never seen before and moral decadence. The other night, I was over at a friend's house and we just flipped on, we were watching football, we flipped on the Hallmark Channel for a minute.
And within less than a couple of minutes, two men were kissing each other on the Hallmark Channel. Moral decadence. You can talk about that issue in the abstract, but when you see it, you realize it's totally unnatural. So listen, when you see all this though, it's easy to get down. Christians begin to look down, they're filled with worry and fear and rather we should look up because in that moment when it's the most chaotic, that's when our redemption, the Bible says, is drawing near.
Vance Havner said, we're not just looking for something to happen, we're looking for someone to come. And when these things begin to come to pass, we're not to drop our heads in discouragement or shake our heads in despair, but rather lift our heads up in delight for our redemption is drawing near. Now look at verse 38 again. Luke writes, it says, it will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. And then Jesus says, I tell you the truth.
When he says that, you should really listen. It says he will, talk about the master, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. Notice what the master is going to do when he returns. He's going to dress himself to serve his servants as they recline at the table. Do you know what this is a picture of? I think it's a picture of the wedding supper of the Lamb. You recall that at the Last Supper, just before Jesus' arrest, what did he do? He washed the disciples feet.
When the Lord returns to this earth, I believe he's going to repeat this, not necessarily the wiping of the disciples feet of our feet, but he's going to serve us in some capacity, which we don't deserve, and I can't even hardly talk about it, but that's what this parable is implying. We who are in Christ will attend what is known as the wedding supper of the Lamb, where the Lord himself will serve us. Take your Bibles and turn with me, if you will, to Revelation chapter 19. Revelation 19, last book in the Bible. Third to the last chapter in the Bible. Beginning with verse 6, John writes, Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters, and like loud peals of thunder, shouting, Hallelujah, for our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory, for the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself what? Ready.
Here we go. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear. Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.
Do you see how this theme just echoes what we're talking about here in Luke chapter 12? About being ready and being dressed in the righteousness of Christ. Then the angel said to me, Write this, Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb. And he added, These are the true words of God. Do you know why he adds that last sentence? So that you know it's true. We should know it's true because it's in the Bible.
But this is doubly true. Do you want an invitation to the wedding supper of the Lamb? Let me tell you what your answer should be. Absolutely yes.
And do you know how you get one? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, and your invitation will be in your mailbox for the wedding supper of the Lamb. Are you ready for this event? Are your lamps burning? Are you spending time in the Word of God? Are you praying every day? Are you having fellowship with other believers?
That's what we do when we gather here. This is why we do this men's study so that we can have fellowship with other like-minded men who believe the Bible. Are you a member of a Bible teaching church? This is so important, men, particularly if we're living in the last days.
Are you sharing your faith with others? This is what it means to be dressed ready with your lamps burning. Kent Hughes writes, This is how Jesus' followers are to wait for Him.
It's not to be a passive, lethargic wait, but one filled with active service, continual preparation, and joyous anticipation. Now Jesus concludes this portion of the text with a warning. Look at verses 39 and 40. Back in Luke 12, verse 39.
But understand this, if the owner of the house had known at what time the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready because the Son of Man will come in an hour when you do not expect Him. Just as no one knows when a thief is going to break into a house, and don't let anybody fool you, no one knows the hour or the exact time of the second coming of Christ. And just to reiterate that, take your Bibles down and turn with me to Matthew 24. Matthew 24.
I want you to listen to the words of Jesus about the second coming. Verse 36, Jesus says, No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.
Up to the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field, one will be taken and the other left.
Two women will be grinding with a hand mill, one will be taken and the other left. Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this, if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you must also be what?
Ready. Are you getting the point tonight? Because the Son of Man will come in an hour when you least expect Him. Men, Jesus is going to come like a thief in the night. And the world will not be prepared. World leaders will be caught off guard.
The networks will be clueless. The false religions of the world will still be spewing out their garbage. And because of this, many in the church will not be ready. But men in this Bible study should be ready. Why?
Because you're hearing the truth. We're studying God's Word. So will you be ready? Will Jesus return and find your lamps burning? Always remember, Jesus could return at any moment. So how should we live in light of the Lord's soon return?
Well, number one, we must live in a constant state of readiness. And number two, we must live faithfully by carrying out the Lord's will. Look at verses 41 through 44. Peter asked, Lord, are you telling this parable to us or to everyone? And 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? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly, I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. See, the Lord is reminding Peter here that he's a manager or a steward of all the gifts and talents that Peter had. And by the way, I want to tell you something, man. You may look in the mirror and say, I don't have any gifts or talents.
Yes, you do. Everybody has at least one gift. The Bible makes that clear.
And nearly all of you, probably all of you have multiple gifts. Peter was a natural born leader. That's why he was always the one that was jumping out of the boat first or running after Jesus first or Lord, let me come to you on the water, walking on the water. Remember that he was just a natural born leader. And Christ knew this.
This is what Peter did up until the time of his martyrdom when he was crucified upside down. He was faithful to the end. Isn't that the way you want to live your life? Faithful to the end. One of my two favorite verses come from Colossians, chapter one, verses 10 and 11, which says this would be two verses that would be great to have as your life verses. Guys, everybody should have a life verse. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience. Some of you have been given so many gifts. You have great wisdom. Some of you have wealth. Some of you have leadership ability. Some of you have great influence. Some of you have great organizational skills. Some of you have the ability to teach and preach.
I mean, the list goes on and on. So what he's telling us, man, is that whatever gifts and talents God has given us, we should use those for His glory. And then one day he says he's going to give us more responsibility, more possessions to manage.
That's what heaven is going to be like. And your motivation should be the fact that Jesus died on the cross for you. That should be your motivation, number one.
But secondly, your motivation should be the fact that He's returning soon. Remember, we're to live in which tense? The future tense, not the past tense, the future tense. So how should we live the Christian life? Well, number one, we need to live in a constant state of readiness for the Lord's return. Number two, we must live faithfully by carrying out the Lord's will. And then number three, we must live our lives prepared for the day of judgment.
Look at verses forty five to forty eight. But suppose the servants say to himself or says to himself, my master is taking a long time in coming, and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him.
And in an hour he is not aware of. And he will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. So this is this servant is clearly a non-believer. It says in verse forty six that when the master returns, he will cast all of these unfaithful servants into a place with other unbelievers.
The question is, why? Why is the Lord going to send them to hell? That's what's been described here. Hell is the place of unbelievers. Look at verses forty seven and forty eight.
Here's why the servant who knows the master's will and does not get ready and does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. Now, guys, if you ever want to know right here where it says in the Bible, it's certainly very strongly implied that there will be degrees of punishment in hell. It's these two verses.
And that's what I believe. These two verses are telling us that there are degrees of punishment in hell. You need to remember that when God judges, he's going to judge. Do you want God to judge you based on what you've done with your life? No. You ought to be judged when?
Now and where? At the cross so that judgment is behind you. So, guys, if you're in Christ, you don't have to fear the great white throne judgment. Romans eight one says, Therefore, there's now no condemnation for those who in Christ Jesus.
There's no condemnation. However, if you're not in Christ, it's going to be a day of judgment and condemnation. And God is going to judge fairly. I don't want fairly.
I want gracefully. And so God's going to judge fairly. Why does God send these servants to hell?
Because in spite of knowing the masses will, they refuse to do it. What is God's will? I think we see God's will summarized in second Peter three nine.
God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to finding purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net.
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