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Here He Comes, Ready or Not, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
October 15, 2021 7:05 am

Here He Comes, Ready or Not, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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October 15, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Commission: A Study of Matthew 21–28

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Bible prophecy is fascinating. The twists and turns in God's plan read like a riveting novel. But make no mistake, Bible prophecy is not fiction.

It's a fact of life that has serious implications for our times. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll teaches from Matthew 24. In this passage, we read the words of Jesus, who spoke in alarming terms about the last days.

Be sure to stay with us through the end of the message, because Chuck will post three very personal questions. He titled today's message, Here He Comes, Ready or Not. Dear Father, with our Bibles in our hands, as we stand to our feet, we pause to give allegiance to you, our great God, worthy of our deepest praise. We have sung that to you, and now we say it. We lift up your name, O God, above all other names and all other gods.

We acknowledge that your Son is Emmanuel, God with us, the God-man who came to His own and His own refused Him. May our response be different. May we welcome you. May we welcome your truth, though much of it is beyond our comprehension. May we embrace what you have given us. May we take by faith even those portions we cannot explain with logical reasoning. May they remind us that you are high and holy and above us and beyond us.

You are God-incomprehensible, worthy of our heaviest words of glory. And because that is true, we give without reluctance our reservation. We give that others may be helped in hearing truth and coming to terms with it. We give by faith as we walk and not by sight.

We will not see those who will receive the benefits of these gifts, but they are many and they are scattered across this globe, giving encouragement to those who will be encouraged by these gifts. Sustain this ministry, Father, by the generosity of your people, and may we, without hesitation, continue to live your message even when the sermon has been forgotten. May we do what is right. May we love what is kind. May we walk humbly with you, our God. We pray this in the name of Emmanuel, even Christ, your Son.

Everyone said, Amen. From the time Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 24 and 25, until He returns for His own, will be centuries. Now we believe it's closer than ever, of course. We believe it's imminent. It could be at any moment He could come for us and take us to be with Him, leaving unbelievers on this earth.

Look at 2436 again. No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels. So the Lord's plan is just when He's ready to send His Son, He'll send Him, not until.

Here's the second fact. His return will be unexpected and sudden. So the lesson we learned, don't get too comfortable.

Don't cling too tightly to anyone or anything. See 2437, my Bible is open to that verse. When the Son of Man returns, look at this, it'll be like it was in Noah's day. In those days before the flood, people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered the ark.

Why? Because they didn't realize what was going to happen until. That's an eloquent statement. You and I didn't realize 9-11 would occur until that morning.

And looking back, we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing. Until then, it wasn't a blip on our screen. Even among the bright minds in Washington, D.C., even among the military strategists, they talked vaguely of something like that no one predicted that day, that hour. Because we've lived through 9-11, you'd think people would take this kind of statement more seriously.

His return will be unexpected and sudden. What's least expected, the people in Noah's day felt the rainfall. Most don't realize it had never rained until that moment on the earth. The earth was watered by a divine appointment of dew that came on the earth during the antidote of civilization.

Rain didn't come until then. So they doubted it. They were skeptics. Noah built that ark for those years and they poked fun at him and looked at him critically and sarcastically.

Nobody was ready yet. Here he was with this massive ark already believing God, but it came unexpectedly and suddenly. Here's the third fact. God's judgment will be irreversible. His judgment will be irreversible.

A lesson we learned from that, learn to take him seriously. God doesn't waffle and God doesn't stutter. Woven through the verses of chapters 24 and 25 are words related to being too late or not being ready or thinking there would be another opportunity. When God arrives, he doesn't grade on the curve. You won't be given a second chance after you die. I've never lied to you and I wouldn't start today. You have your opportunity to believe while you're alive. Once you breathe your last, your opportunity is over. God's judgment will be irreversible. Take him seriously. He keeps his word.

Fact number four, the truth will be revealed. Look at 25, 11, and 12 referring to these who were ready for the wedding feast and then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast and the door was locked. Verse 11, later when the other five bridesmaids returned, they were the ones who weren't ready.

They didn't have their lamps ready. They stood outside calling, Lord, Lord, open the door for us. And he called back, believe me, I don't know you. I don't know you. The truth will be revealed.

He will tell you he doesn't know you if you've never trusted in his son. So learn from this, there will be no place to hide and there will be no way of escape. Those who didn't get in the ark drowned.

There was no exception. You know, currently it's possible to live a life of a hypocrite and get away with it. Happens every day. Some of you act one way in public, you're altogether different in private. You're a hypocrite. You carry your life out as though it is this way so that people will think better of you. But truth is your own family privately behind the scenes, maybe those who work with you, they know the real truth. Your private life is something you've not really allowed to be invaded with the truth of God. But in that day, there'll be no hypocrisy. No phony baloney, no masks worn.

All of that's ripped off. The truth will be revealed. You'll be either in Christ or out. Number five, each life will stand alone. 24 verses 40 and 41.

We read that earlier. Two men will be working together in the field. One will be taken, that's taken to judgment and the other will be left, left for the pleasures and joys of the kingdom.

Two women will be grinding the flour at the mill. One will be taken to the judgment, the other will be left to go into the kingdom and the joys that the Lord has for them. Each person will be individually accountable.

That's the lesson we learned. Each life will stand alone. You won't be able to stand behind your wife or husband, your parents or your family name.

You won't be able to claim your partner's faith in your business world. It'll be all on your own. You'll be accountable alone before God.

One is taken, the other is left. Please remember this is the second advent of Christ. This is not a reference to the rapture of the church, which has taken place before then. Always keep those separate in your minds. Let me get to fact number six, the future of the faithful will be joyful. Of course.

Why? Because God's promises will be fulfilled. He will never forget his own. Look at 24 31, 24 verse 31. He will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet. They will gather his chosen ones from all over the world, even the farthest ends of the earth. He will leave no one out. His chosen ones he will find and he will reward. Drop down to verse 46. If the master returns and finds that the servant he is has done a good job, then there will be a reward. Listen to this. I tell you the truth. The master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. Beautiful words.

Look at 24 25 34. Then the king will say to those on his right, Come blessed by my father and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty. You gave me drink. God's promises will be fulfilled.

He will never forget his own. Let me say that to you who are faithfully a serving Christ, you may be helping one other person as their life is lingering in an illness that is irreversible and you were there. You are taking care of them. You are lovingly showing them compassion and mercy that will be rewarded. Others of you teach a small group maybe a group of special needs Children who perhaps are not able to say thank you for your faithfulness through the God will never overlook one hour spent with them. Some teach thousands of people and bless their lives. Some write books and the books distribute and they help people grow in the faith.

God will reward all of those efforts because he keeps his word. By the way, there's an old song that that used to be sung. Will there be any stars and he stars in my crown when an evening the sun goes down? Well, we don't know of anything in the scriptures that teach of stars in the crown.

Sounds pretty written by a songwriter with a little imagination, but we don't know stars in the crown. But we do know of crowns. Five separate crowns are mentioned in the New Testament. All five were based on specific acts of faithfulness done for the glory of God. You will, if you are faithfully serving him in any one of those, you will be rewarded with crowns. And when we get into glory and the crowns are handed out, we place them at his feet in worship.

I always loved that scene. I wrote on that in seminary when we were required to do our what we called a baby thesis. In the end of our second year, we were required to write a small thesis. And I wrote on the crowns. I remember writing about the crowns that I discovered in the scriptures and found myself. Very motivated is a crown for leading people to Christ. There's a crown for serving faithfully, though under trial. There's a crown for resisting temptation repeatedly crowns for that crowns that will be provided. The Lord will not forget right in the margin of your Bible. Hebrew six, verse 10.

Listen to it. God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward his name in that you have ministered to the Saints and continue to minister. Isn't that great? You faithfully minister. God will not forget your work. There will be a day when all of the curtains will close and all of Earth will have passed and God will have you receiving rewards for your faithfulness. And I think some of it will be beyond our ability on this earth to comprehend.

But it will happen. Now the said news is the flip side of that. The destiny of the lost will be dreadful.

That's a fact. You read through this passage and you read of there being weeping and gnashing of teeth. The last verse of Chapter 24. You read it again in Chapter 25, in verse 30, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. In verse 46, Chapter 25, 46, they will go away into eternal punishment. The righteous will go into eternal life.

What we learned from that changing that destination must happen during your lifetime, not after it's over. Nothing in the word of God even hits at a second chance after you die. There is no purgatory. There is no such thing as being prayed out of torment. There is no such thing as lightening, lightening the pain of punishment. For a moment, allow yourself to ponder the words eternal punishment.

Beggar's description, doesn't it? Your destiny is determined while you're living, not after you've left. So this brings me to three questions that only you can answer and only I can answer for me. One is, begins with, will I? The second begins with, do I? And the third one with, am I? The first is a question of decisiveness. Second is a question of assurance.

And the third, a question of faithfulness. Question number one, will I continue to ignore the truth or will I respond to it today? Will I believe what God has said about the future and about my life and about eternity and about Christ and about his cross? Will I come to terms with that today?

God is looking for our being decisive. Here's the second, do I? Do I know for sure that I'm ready to meet my master, that I'm eternally secure at any moment when I draw my breath and it's my last breath that I'm ready to step into eternity and face my Lord clothed in the righteousness of Christ? Am I sure of that? Do I know that for sure?

Only you can answer for you. I thought people in my lifetime knew the Lord only to find out later when they told me the truth. It had all been a sham until something occurred and they were brought face to face with the reality of eternity and then they gave their life to Christ. Today's the day to take off the mask, to cast aside the hypocrisy, come to terms with, do you know for sure? And the third, am I living my life as if he were to call me home this day? That's a question regarding faithfulness. Again, I cannot answer for you. Only you can answer that. I said earlier there'll be no theological question, there'll be no Bible quiz as we step before the Lord, but there will be the issue of what have you done with my son, Jesus, when you stand before the Father, your Creator.

How we responded to Christ, why we were able to stand before him, and what kind of life we lived as a result of it. That's it. Bow your heads please. Are you absolutely certain that Jesus Christ lives in your life, that you've claimed him as your own Lord, that you've dethroned yourself and you've enthroned him as the one who is to control your life, take charge of your motive, cleanse you from sin, prepare you for eternity? If not, take care of that right now.

Right now. Don't put that off. We're here to help you on your journey from earth to heaven and if we can do that, even this matter of trusting in Christ, we'd love to do that. Our ministry is always active and available, individuals who will talk with you privately and intelligently and calmly to assist you in answering your question.

You may prefer just to write us and get ahold of us and let us know your concern about your soul will help you find peace and a reason to go on. Let's pray. Thank you, Father, for opening our eyes to what you have written in your word. We ask not that all of our questions be answered, but we do ask that there be a peace within our lives because of Christ and his role as our master. May we all search our hearts and leave no question unanswered, no issue ignored as we think about eternity. May it not frighten us, but may we welcome the thought of standing before you, our God, clothed in the righteousness of Jesus. It's in his name we pray and for his glory alone.

Everyone said, amen. This in-depth study about the soon return of Jesus brings us to a pivotal point of decision. For that reason, Chuck Swindoll assigned this title to our study in Matthew 24, Here He Comes, Ready or Not. To learn more about the ministry of Insight for Living, please visit us online at insightworld.org. To help you spend every day living with the awareness that Jesus' return could be at any moment, let me remind you that Insight for Living provides a number of helpful tools. Each one points you to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Today we're pleased to offer a devotional book Chuck has written for you. It's called God's Word for You, subtitled An Invitation to Find the Nourishment Your Soul Needs.

This easy-to-read book is perfect for those who are just beginning their lifelong journey of studying God's Word or for those who hope to rekindle their daily devotional times with Christ. You can purchase a copy by going to insight.org slash offer. Or call us if you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. And then let me offer a big thank you to all those who financially support Insight for Living. Your generosity is truly making a difference in our pursuit of an audacious God-sized dream, and that is to bring Chuck's Bible teaching to all 195 countries of the world. We refer to this mission as Vision 195. To join the team and give a donation right now, call us. If you're listening in the U.S., dial 1-800-772-8888.

That's 1-800-772-8888. Or give online at insight.org. And once again, thank you for your generous financial donations to support this ministry. You've heard him teach about the Holy Land, using word pictures to make us feel like we're actually strolling through the Old City. Learning about Jerusalem is fascinating for sure, but seeing the land of Israel with your own eyes is life-changing.

In fact, it's absolutely magnificent. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and the gracious hosts and experts assembled by Insight for Living Ministries. Join us on an unforgettable 12-day tour, March 6-17, 2022. At special sites along the way, I will teach from God's Word, we'll worship at the Mount of Beatitudes, and share the Lord's Table at the Garden Tomb. In fact, we'll sail the Sea of Galilee together, and we'll visit places where Jesus walked and talked.

To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along those sacred sites and seeing the Bible come to life before your very eyes. Mark your calendar for March 6-17, 2022. And make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444. Or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend.

Join us again Monday when Chuck Swindoll continues our study in the book of Matthew, right here on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Here He Comes, Ready or Not, was copyrighted in 2017 and 2021. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-09 13:54:54 / 2023-08-09 14:03:10 / 8

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