Luke: Watching & Waiting-Part 1-06/24/18

Message: Series Title

‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘Watching & Waiting’ pt.1             Text: Luke 12:35-48

Introduction: How many of you watch Monday Night Football? Do you remember the intro song they use by Hank Williams jr. Take a listen.

Play CD

Hank William’s Jr., I Am ready brother!! Preseason football starts in just 46 days! The Eagles vs The Steelers. I am so ready:

  • I’ll have my eagles banner out.
  • Kathy and I will have our Eagles jerseys on.
  • I’ll be making special snacks for the game.
  • I’ve already cleared my schedule for that night.

I am so ready to watch some football, I eagerly await the first game and the rest of the season, so I can tell all my Giants and Dallas friends… I told you so, Super Bowl #2!!

Now I realize there are some people here who don’t like nor watch football. But really… didn’t that song put you just a little in the mood?

  • Football, it’s coming back, and I am absolutely ready! And so are millions of other football fans in America.

If only the Christians in America were so excited and ready for Jesus to return

  • That they went to church regularly just to hear about Him, to sing about Him, to pray/talk to Him.
  • And they read their Bibles daily just to get to know Him better.

If only the Christians in America were so excited and ready for Jesus to return

  • That they talk to other people about His return to get them excited too.

Folks, it’s certain that preseason football starts on August 9th, 2018. But listen, there could be a strike, there could be an EMP strike that knocks out all our electricity.

  • BUT, there is nothing that can stop Jesus from coming back. Nothing!

Listen,

  • There are about 318 prophecies of Jesus’ return in the New Testament. That’s one for every 20 or so verses.
  • .. scholars estimate that for every prophesy of Jesus’ first coming there are 8 of His second coming!

Believe this:

  • Just as certain as Jesus came that first Christmas in Bethlehem, He will absolutely come again. Can I get an AMEM?

Background: OK, it’s been a few weeks since we’ve journeyed through the Book of Luke. Let’s get caught up.

  • In Luke 12, Jesus is primarily speaking to His disciples, His followers, but also within hearing distance of the crowd and religious leaders.
  • He’s on His way to Jerusalem to give His life on the cross. That means He’ll be leaving His disciples and He knows they won’t handle it well.
  • So, Jesus begins to prepare them for His death, by teaching them to look beyond His death, to His second coming.

In chapter 12 Jesus tells His disciples, then and now, not to be worried about the present, but instead be watchful for the future.

  • You see when you live in the present with an eye towards the future,
  • you won’t get tripped up by the hard things in life.

He tells His disciples, then and now, not to be anxious about the future, but He doesn’t tell us to ignore the future.

  • In fact, Jesus will continue to teach His followers, that our focus on the future should dominate our thoughts and direct our actions.
  • And that our lives in the present, should display an ongoing preparedness, for His return.

So, are you ready for some football? OK, maybe not if you’re a Giants or Jets fan. But, if you’re a Christian, are you ready for Jesus’ return?

PP I. Luke 12:35-40  Be ready

Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

 PP A. Luke 12:35  Prepared

Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning

ILL: Lord Baden Powel, the founder of scouting gave the Boy Scouts their motto: “Be prepared”. What he was seeking to do was to instill in his scouts a readiness for any emergency. The scout should never be taken by surprise. He is always to be ready. He is to “Be prepared.” (Jerry Flury)

  • And that’s Jesus’ message in Luke 12:35-40. Be prepared!

Let’s look more closely at the text starting with verse 35. As we watch and wait for Jesus’ return, how do we prepare.

PP: Stay dressed for action: Men in Jesus’ day wore long robes… all the time. When they had to work, run or fight a battle, they would take the bottom of the robe and tuck it into the belt around their waist so they could move freely. That’s the idea behind the Greek translation.

  • Jesus is telling us whatever we have that’s hanging around us, slowing us down, spiritually, get rid of it.
  • So that you can be used of God when He calls.

By the way, in the Greek, this phrase is in the perfect tense. That means we are now and always to keep ourselves dressed for action.

PP: Keep your lamps burning: Pioneer Girls know what that’s about. Psalm 119:105 says

  • Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

We remember Jesus’ teachings and use them to direct our steps, inform our decisions, in life. And again, keep is in the perfect tense. Get your lamp lit, and keep it lit.

  • Continually stay in the light as Jesus is in the light.
  • Continually walk in the light and not in darkness.

Also related to our context is the idea of welcome. That we’ll wait and watch for Jesus’ return so that we can be ready to welcome Him when He does.

 PP That got me thinking of the Motel 6 commercial.

  • Every moment of every day, leave a light on for Jesus, be ready to welcome Him, when He returns.
  1. Luke 12:36-38 Blessed

For those who do, there will be great blessing!

PP: Luke 12:36-38

and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!

Jesus uses a parable to show what it means to be ready, to be watching & waiting for Jesus’ return.

  • Faithful, good servants, are the ones who are always on duty, ready to open the door for their master when he returns.

You see, weddings in that day, could last up to a week, or longer, depending upon how wealthy the family was.

  • And the master couldn’t tell his servants when he’d be back, because he often didn’t know himself.
  • But they knew they had to be ready when he returned, no matter how long it took, no matter what time of the day or night he returned. They must be ready!

And for those who were ready, the master will give them a very special blessing. He, will serve, them!

PP: Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.

This is amazing, and utterly unheard of in Jesus’ day. Masters never served their servants. But this one will, because the master found them prepared and faithful.

Now, this is a parable, it’s not true, but it’s message to Jesus’ disciples, then and now, is true. And it’s a message of great blessing for those who are prepared, found faithful when Jesus returns.

  • Jesus, our Lord, our King, and our God… will serve us.

This is certainly in line with Jesus’ character.

  • For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

And serve His disciples He did.

  • Soon, Jesus will wash His disciples feet in the upper room on Passover.
  • Soon, Jesus will willingly surrender His life to give life to His disciples.
  • Soon, Jesus, after His resurrection, will feed His disciples on the shore after they had been fishing.

And within the context, this reversal of service is another way of Jesus fulfilling what He said in Luke 12:32.

 PP: Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

  • The Master, serving His Servants.
  • The King, giving His Kingdom, to His followers.

Those who are prepared, who are ready, who are watching & waiting for Jesus’ return, will be blessed beyond all measure.

  1. Luke 12:39-40 Watching

But, Jesus still reminds His disciples, then and now, of the importance of watching for His return.

PP: Luke 12:39-40

But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Jesus isn’t saying He’s a thief… His point is, like a thief, He won’t announce when He’s coming.

This is a parable about being watchful. It’s a warning not to let our guard down, spiritually.

Look, we’re all apt to neglect our spiritual life, when we deem something else is more pressing, more urgent, than Jesus’ return.

  • That’s letting our guard down.
  • That’s no longer keeping watch.
  • And that’s what Jesus is warning us against.

And I think this is meant more for those in the crowd who haven’t yet made their mind up about Jesus. They were following Him but not committed to Him yet. He’s telling them and anyone else who’s on the fence about Jesus:

  • You don’t know when I’ll return,
  • and when I do, if you haven’t given your life to me, it will be too late.

Conclusion

God’s Word impresses upon us the great importance of watching and waiting for Jesus’ return. And I think that’s so important, that, well,  we need… and, oddly enough, especially for me, we get that help from an unlikely source… dogs.

  • I think God just might give us dogs
  • to see what watching & waiting looks like.

PP Dogs waiting for masters.

Teddy does that. He sits on the back of the sofa, looking out the window… every day, all day. He knows Kathy’s coming back. And he waits in anticipation.

PP: Black screen

Some people, even Christians wonder why Jesus is taking so long. Perhaps this is one promise He won’t keep. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Do you know why He is delaying His return?

  • You, and you, and you and others like you.

PP: The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

PP: Black screen

If Jesus were to come back tonight, would you be ready?

  • Have your given your heart, your life to Him.
  • If not, why the wait? You don’t know how much time you’ve been given. Don’t let the thief rob you of your life, before Jesus can give you everlasting life.

If Jesus were to come back tonight, would you be ready?

If you have given your heart and life to Jesus, have you been watching & waiting, have you been preparing for His return? Are you ready?

  • Are you regularly in God’s Word?
  • Have you developed and nurtured healthy and growing relationships with other Christians?
  • Are you an active part of a local church, more than just attending?
  • Until Jesus returns, are you serving Him, are you being a good steward of the time, talent and treasure He’s given to you?
  • Do you regularly talk to Jesus, do you spend time in heartfelt, transparent prayer?
  • Do you need to be here on Sunday to worship God, because your heart, your life is so full of His presence, that you need to give Him the thanks and glory He deserves?

If not, don’t you think it’s time

  • to get and stay dressed for action,
  • to keep your light burning,
  • to stay awake

as you watch & wait for Jesus’ return?