April 4, 2020 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Preparation Verse: Luke 12:34–12:48
Theme: Believers must live for the glory of God since our Master is coming at any time.
Introduction: Is it the end of the world? Many people are wondering given the world-shattering impact of the Coronavirus ….
- John 14:1-3
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
- 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
I. The Objective of Being Prepared – 12:35-39
A. The Proof of Preparedness – v. 35
- The previous sections sprang out of a discussion on self-righteousness, legalistic performances, and selfish indulgences that demonstrated that one is more concerned with temporal values than the eternal.
- In the immediate context, Jesus had just emphasized that we cannot live for temporal values and possessions – wealth, luxury, and earthly security – it would be better to sell all that we have and give it to charity than to allow our possessions to bind us to this earth.
- He finished by stating “For where your treasure it, there you heart will be also.” – v. 34.
- He now provides an explanation of why this is such a crucial matter – that accountability for how we used our lives can be called for by God at any time.
- Not merely through the potential for death, but in these last days, through the potential for the return of Christ.
- Jesus dives right into the issue – “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.”
- “Be dressed in readiness” [περιεζωσμέναι] – literally reads: “be being girded up in the loins” – a reference to the readiness for movement or travel – cp. 1 Peter 1:13 (same root; different prefix).
- This concept is somewhat foreign to us because of the clothing styles that we have enabling us to move about freely.
- In Jesus’ day, both men and women word long flowing robes cinched at the waist by a belt or sash.
- When action was necessary, a person would grab the hem of the robe, pull it up, and tuck it into the belt – the idea behind being “girded up” around the waist or “loins.”
- While in a relaxed state, the garment would be let down and hence when it was tucked in, it demonstrated that you were ready to move quickly – here a reference to being ready to go when Christ, the Master, appears.
- The second example here is to “keep your lamps lit” – a reference to walking in light – a metaphor for righteousness and truth – cp. Romans 13:11-14.
- The parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25 utilizes the parable to lamps that must remain lit in anticipation of the bridegrooms coming and the problem for those who allow their lamps to go out because of a lack of oil (representing the relationship with the Lord).
- Both of these proofs of readiness are employed by Christ to emphasize that preparedness is essential.
B. The Privilege of Preparedness – vv. 36-38
- Jesus indicates that those who are truly ready for Him when He comes will delight in a surprise that He will have for them – “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.”
- He uses the example of “the wedding feast” because there was never a “end time” for a wedding feast – it could go on for days or until they ran out of food and wine.
- It is a practical analogy to our waiting for Christ to return – ready and prepared to respond to His coming – “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes …”
- Christ indicates that they will be shocked to discover that for those who are alert and ready, the Master will serve them – “... truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.”
- It doesn’t matter at what time the Master returns – He will reward their faithfulness, preparedness, and watchfulness with unexpected & unprecedented blessings – “Whether he comes in the second watch [9:00pm-Midnight], or even in the third [Midnight-3:00am], and find them so, blessed are those slaves.”
- Jesus gave them a foretaste of this event when He washed the disciples’ feet; but will outstrip that blessing by their joy in the presence of the Lord – cp. Luke 13:29-30.
C. The Precaution of Preparedness – v. 39
- Jesus uses a negative comparison here – the surprise of His coming will be as unpredicted as a thief – “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.”
- The way that a “head of the house” ought to be vigilant against thieves, so should the followers of Christ be prepared and vigilant for the coming of the Lord.
- His “coming” will be unannounced, unpredicted, and like a thief – cp. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6; 2 Peter 3:10-12.
- The regrets of a negligent “head of house” after his valuables have been snatched by a thief will characterize those who carelessly, negligently approach the coming of Christ – cp. Hebrews 2:1-4.
D. The Pursuit of Preparedness – v. 40
- Jesus admonishes us to instead, be ready! – “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”
- There are essentially two things that we must do to truly be ready:
- Be saved through faith in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ – 2 Peter 1:10-11.
- Be sanctified through faith and obedience to the commands of Christ – 2 Peter 3:14.
How do you daily prove that you are ready for the Lord to return?
What are some ways that you can avoid becoming negligent of His coming?
Maintaining a constant vigilance is hard, what are some ways that you can be encouraged?
II. The Obligation of Being Prepared – 12:41-48
A. The Obligation Is Universal – vv. 41-42
- Peter was uncertain as to what the words of Christ referred and so “Peter said, ‘Lord, are You addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?’”
- Jesus indicates that He was addressing his statements to two categories of people: those who will be ready, and, those who will not be ready.
- As a result, being ready is an obligation of everyone – and their state of preparedness will be the commentary on how the coming of Christ will impact them.
- “And the Lord said, ‘Who then is faithful and sensible steward …?’” – essentially that it applies to every one of those who serve Him.
- “faithful” [πιστὸς] – a term that means “believing” and indicates that this steward is redeemed.
- “sensible” [φρόνιμος] – a reference to being prudent, wise, and insightful, having a mind that is informed by truth.
- As we will see in a few verses, those who are not ready will be held accountable by Christ as well; hence, the obligation to be ready is universal.
B. Our Obedience Is Unmistakable – vv. 42-48
- Hence, In the context of this parable, every person universally – righteous and wicked – are all accountable to the same master – all men are accountable to God.
- The Obedience of the Believer is Clear
- The difference between those who are faithful and those who are unfaithful are evident.
- In addition to what we saw in the previous parable is the clear indication that when the returns, He will “catch” us either doing His will or not – “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.”
- Those who are redeemed by the Lord are given properly oriented – understanding the needs of men, the urgency of the stewardship of the truth, and the reality of the accountabilities when the Lord comes.
- Those who carry out God’s will for their lives and are busily occupied to that very end when the Lord returns will be “blessed” when “his master finds [him] so doing when he comes.”
- The ultimate blessing is “… that he will put him in charge of all his possessions” – a reference to the promotion of stewardship in the Kingdom – cp. 2 Timothy 2:11-12.
- The disobedience of the Unbeliever is Clear:
- Nevertheless, there are those who dismiss the relevance on Christ’s coming – who live for themselves despite the warnings – “But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk …”
- The wickedness of this person is described in a variety of ways – demonstrating that there is no concern about purity at all, the opposite of having hope in Christ – cp. 1 John 3:2-4.
- The consequence of his wickedness and disregard for Christ is the fullness of the wrath of Christ who will come as a judge – “… the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers.”
- This is not a believer who becomes lax, but a person who may believe in God, but lives their lives under the delusion that they will be able to clean themselves up before the end … perhaps as they see the “signs of the times,” but no signs will exist.
- The horrible miscalculation by this slave resulted in them being caught in their wickedness – “and that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes.”
- Jesus then alludes to the fact that there are degrees of severity of punishment for the wicked – all are cast into Hell – but it is more severe for those who know the truth and disregard it – “… but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few.” – cp. Luke 10:12-14.
- He summarizes the accountability of every single person – especially of those who have a knowledge of the truth and rejects it – “… From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
- One of the greatest fears of a pastor is for people to sit and listen to biblical preaching (as you are today), listening to the truths of the Gospel, of the completeness of the work of Christ who died, the power of the resurrection to give new life, and the obligation to repent and believe and then to merely get up and go about your life “eating and drinking” without a thought of your own accountability before the Lord.
- Despite that it would end badly for you, either way, it would be better for you to have never heard than to have heard the truth about Christ Jesus, dismiss it and live independently of it.
- Rather, all of us must be ready – dressed, lamps lit, waiting for the Master to come, fulfilling His charge to us as His slaves – with a spirit that believes His promises to come – cp. Revelation 22:20-21.
What would you say to someone who feels that thinking about the Lord’s return is not that important?
How should God’s reward for faithfulness drive us? Why is this not a selfish thing?
God will clearly discern between those who are truly born again and are therefore looking for the Lord and those who are unbelieving … how should negligence of our Lord’s return affect you?