I have this one recurring dream…a nightmare if you will.
I can’t recall having very many dreams more than once, but this one I’ve had at least 10 times, and I have no idea why.
And it’s about the summer job I had when I was in college.
In the summers, I would come home from school and I worked as a DJ at KBEK 95.5 FM in East Central Minnesota.
It’s not as cool as it sounds.
We played oldies and light rock.
And we gave weather updates 4 times an hour…and read the news at the top of every hour.
And even if my shift was from 6 to 11pm, I had to be there 20-30 minutes early to print off all of the news reports and begin practicing.
And I’d have to set up all of the news sound effects and that sort of thing.
Well, in my dream, I’m sitting in the DJ chair…watching the clock tick down the final seconds to the top of the hour where I was supposed to say, “KBEK 95.5 FM, Mora, Cambridge, Braham, Milaca, Princeton, …and you…it’s 6:00…with the latest in international, national, and state, and local news…I’m…David Sorn.”
Except…I blank out.
I don’t know what to say.
Turns out I didn’t get there early.
None of my news reports are printed.
It’s time to talk…but it’s just dead air.
I’m completely unprepared.
And I wake up.
Nightmarish…I know. J
Now, I get it…it’s not a nightmare where I’m being chased by an ax murderer, or by Marie Kondo telling me to throw all my stuff away, but the dream still feels awful every time.
And it’s that feeling of being called upon…but you’re not ready.
And today, as we jump back into studying the Book of Luke…Jesus is going to talk about “being ready”…at all times.
At Renovation Church, we spend about half of our year every year going verse by verse of a book in the Bible.
We are currently in the middle of a 3-year journey through the Book of Luke
A journey we started back in March of 2018…and now we’re halfway through…in Luke chapter 12.
When we last left off at the end of the summer, we were in the middle of an extended discourse where Jesus teaches on some pretty heavy topics.
And today will be no different.
If you think that Jesus only talks about puppies and flowers and forgiveness…I challenge you to actually read the Bible for yourself.
Read the Book of Luke on your own and investigate who He really is.
We just came out of two sections in Luke 12 where Jesus told us to 1) not be greedy and 2) not to worry.
In other words, we are not to let our minds be fixed on things of this world…but on the next.
He’s going to continue to point our eyes upward and to the future.
(Luke 12:35-40) – NIV
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 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. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
So in this parable, Jesus is the master…and we, the people of the earth, are his servants.
And He says, “The master is coming back.”
Jesus will one day come back to earth…on the clouds…to wrap up life as we know it on earth.
But we don’t know when that will be.
He says, it’ll be like a thief coming.
If the owner knew when the thief was coming, he’d be ready for him.
So we’re to be ready for Jesus’ return…at all times…because he could come AT ANY MOMENT
Are you ready?
If Jesus came back tonight…are you ready?
If Jesus came back on Friday night this week…would you be ready?
What would He find you doing?
Would it be God-honoring?
Would you be embarrassed?
Would you say you’re not spiritually ready?
Would He find you just sort of wasting your life away…on another hallmark Christmas movie binge?
What would He find?
I like the imagery of verse 36 (if you have it in front of you)…
He says that when the master returns, we should be like servants waiting by the door…so they can immediately open it for the master.
They are ready!
But it can be hard if you think, “Why would I even be focused on Jesus’ return when it’s probably a long ways off…It’s already been 2,000 years…it could be another 2,000 years”
This is exactly why Jesus tells us in verse 38 that we need to be ready…even if the master doesn’t come back until the middle of the night…or even toward daybreak.
We need to be ready…spiritually awake...at all hours of the night…waiting for the Master to come home
Listen, even if the rest of America begins to fall asleep spiritually…may we be up and ready!
None of us know how much time we have.
I read an article the other day about a guy in Chicago who after a thaw from a snowstorm had a thick sheet of ice hanging over the edge of his house.
And he thought to himself, “That’s not good. My car is parked right under that thing.”
But he writes, “Even so, I did nothing…because our driveway is filled from end to end, single-file, with four family cars, and I would have to get permission from the police to park overnight on the street.”
“Besides, the temperature was supposed to fall below freezing overnight, and it didn't look as though the glacier was ready to fall yet. We have lived in our home for 20 years and never had a chunk of ice fall on a car.”
Do you hear all of the reasons he has for why he knows it’s not going to happen?
He writes: “The next morning when I went out to the car to leave for work, I looked up at the roof and noticed that the glacier was still in place. That night when I came home from work after another warm day, the glacier was still in place.”
“The 3rd day, when I went out to the car to leave for work, I looked up and noticed that the glacier was still hanging over the edge of the roof. “I don't have time to mess with the cars,” I thought. Moving four cars would take more than five minutes, and I would be late for work. I drove away hoping that for one more day nothing would happen.
“My wife, however, had not forgotten about the glacier. When she went outside, she saw the glacier hanging two stories above our car and decided to move it. But, First she decided to go in the house and take care of a few things in the kitchen, and then, later, she would come back out and move the car. Well, a few minutes later, as she stood in the kitchen, she heard a crash on the side of our house. She ran outside. The glacier had fallen, and went right through the windshield of our car.”
And I like that story because it’s a perfect illustration of the things we know to be true, yet can’t seem to act on.
Even if you’re not 100% sure that Jesus is coming back (which I encourage you to trust the scriptures…which assure you that He is…)
Certainly you must agree that you’re going to die someday.
Let’s just do a show of hands:
How many of you agree that you indeed are going to die some day?
Keep your hands up if you agree that you don’t know when that will be…
And how many of you would say, that, it’s at least theoretically possible, that it could be tomorrow?
We know that the ice is going to fall…but we assure ourselves, it won’t be today (it can’t be today)…
And besides…it would take a lot of work to avoid it and get ready…
And so we kick the can a little bit farther down the road…and decide we’ll deal with it another day.
And some of you have been doing that with your faith for a long time now.
For 5 years you’ve been saying, “I’ll get serious about God …tomorrow.”
But you never do.
THE BLESSING OF BEING READY
But I want to tell you there is such a blessing about getting serious about God…today.
There’s a blessing to living as if the Master, Jesus could return at any moment…instead of living like He’s a long time in coming.
Look at verse 37 again
(Luke 12:37) – NIV
37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.
Look at the 2nd half of that verse!
Jesus is saying that those servants who are ready for the master’s return…will (in a role reversal) be served by the master himself.
We’re told of more rewards in the next section. Let’s continue now at verse 41
(Luke 12:41-44) – NIV
41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”
42 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? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
So the servant who is found serving the master…when the master returns…will be blessed upon the Master’s return.
We are saved by our faith in Jesus…but there is this theme in Scripture that those who are ready…that those who keep serving…will be richly rewarded in the next life.
And those who let their lives drift away…
in spiritual mediocrity…
in building their own kingdom…
or those who always ask God to do something for them, but never do anything for Him…
That although heaven and Christ will be there’s if they are saved…the reward, is not the same.
THE CURSE OF NOT BEING READY
And you’ll see as the passage continues that there is both an earthly and eternal problem with not being ready for Christ’s return…or your own death.
(Luke 12:45-46) – NIV
45 But suppose the servant 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. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
We saw in verse 42 that this servant was supposed to be the one to distribute the food to the other servants.
It was his job to love and serve other people.
That is our role on earth.
God has put us here as his stewards…
And our job is to love Him…and love our neighbor as ourselves.
And yet this servant does no such thing.
Instead he eats all of their food…he gets drunk
And in living completely for his own self…in pleasure, in excess…his world begins to unravel as he ends up even oppressing and beating the other servants.
This is a much deeper verse than you might even think.
There is a great parallel to the human condition when people come to the wrong conclusions about Christ.
When people think that Christ is either:
A long way off in coming
Or not real
Or will somehow be forced to forgive all of their injustices…
When people live like that…they begin to live for themselves.
Or, as Paul once brilliantly wrote to Timothy
(2 Timothy 4:3) – NIV
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
Culture after culture after culture in history has unraveled under this very pattern.
We let go of the idea that we are all sinners in need of salvation
And instead, to suit our own desires…so we can live out life the way we want, eating, and drinking, sleeping with who we want, whenever we want, oppressing whoever we want…
We create our own truth…to the tune that our itching ears want to hear.
And when we do that, life will unravel…and so will a society.
This is the sense of our passage…
When we live as if Jesus could come at any moment…blessings come into our lives…here and in the next life.
But when we live as if it’s a long way off…we don’t get blessings, but curses…
The OT uses that sort of language about the negative things that will naturally come to you when you don’t follow God’s ways
Think this through…look at the difference
If a Christian is living like Jesus could come at any moment…how will they live?
They will live for others!
They will do whatever it takes to make wrongs right, to reconcile, to speak love, to offer forgiveness.
And there is major blessing in that!
But if a person lives like there is no second coming of Christ…
Instead of looking upward, we look downward, into ourselves.
And we want more and more sin…which, as the Bible teaches us, only wreaks more and more havoc on our lives, and those around us, and society itself.
And so the Bible teaches often, that it is essential to remember that Jesus could come at any moment…or that your life could end…at any moment.
And Christians, listen to me, if you interpret this passage wrongly, this can actually be quite dismaying
Because you can think, “Oh man…if Jesus would have come back yesterday and saw me yelling at my kids, or back to the bottle, or wasting my life away…”
And so, there’s this temptation to say, “All right, I better be good again before He comes back.”
Remember, Jesus isn’t Santa Claus.
If Jesus comes back tomorrow, you won’t be able to hold up your list of good deeds…and say, “Before you come all the way down on the clouds….Look, the last couple of weeks, I’ve been staying up late to read the Bible and I haven’t missed house groups, and I stopped swearing…and
I assure you that won’t save you from God’s holy judgment.
Remember, the only thing that will save you from God’s judgment is the blood of Christ.
The only thing you can hold over yourself, is not your good deeds, but the covering of his blood…that He died in your place…covering you with his righteousness
And so yes, He’s coming back…
And yes, you need to get serious about Him again…TODAY!
But not by trying to earn your way back to Him.
That’s not Jesus’ teaching
You get serious about God again by getting serious about the Gospel again.
By living each day in the truth of his radical love, grace, and forgiveness of you.
And THAT…will keep you ready.
THAT…will keep you focused.
THAT is what will draw you near to Him…ready to serve…ready to open the door for Him at any moment..
By reminding yourself that He died for someone as sinful, and rebellious, and obstinate as you and me.
And honestly, that is what will bring you joy.
SO much more so than trying to squeeze joy out of the lifeless and selfish pleasures of this world.
Be ready by living as His servant in His grace.
But we can’t miss the full weight of this passage either.
For those of you that are believers, you need to avoid the earthly curse of living like he’s a long way off…and getting sucked back into the ways of this world.
-But for those of you that are here, and you haven’t surrendered your life to Christ…I pray you realize that this teaching of Jesus affects not just your life here on earth…but your life after earth as well.
As I said in the beginning, if you think Jesus only talks about puppies and flowers, you haven’t read the Bible.
Jesus just said in verse 46, that if he comes back (or your life ends), and you’re not ready to serve the master (you haven’t surrendered you life to Him)…than you will be assigned a place with the unbelievers…which is hell.
The point of going verse by verse through a book like this…is that we can’t skip over verses.
If we just do topical series…you’d never read verses from Jesus like these next ones
(Luke 12:47-48) – NIV
47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Although it’s not talked about often, this is twice now, in 3 chapters we’ve seen Jesus teach on different levels of suffering in hell.
The first was in Luke 10 when we did a message about whether or not you “like Jesus” or “love Jesus”
Jesus said this in chapter 10
(Luke 10:14) – NIV
14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.
He was saying to his audience, “Tyre and Sidon (these cities that didn’t follow God), they didn’t have the truth presented right in front of them…and then REJECT it…like you have…”
And so therefore, hell, will be more bearable for them.
And now, we’re told again, in chapter 12 that the servant who knows what He’s supposed to do…and doesn’t do it…is the one, that when punishment comes will be beaten with many blows.
I don’t mean to scare you…but I mean to scare you…
He’s talking about people like Americans here…
…people who’ve heard Jesus’ message…this is not a passage for people in the Middle East…or in North Korea…
He’s talking about the type of person who sits in church…and has heard the good news of Jesus…but says, “No, my time is a long way off…
“The ice glacier isn’t going to fall down on me for quite some time still…”
“Besides…it would take work to get ready for that…and…I’ve got time.”
If that’s you, and you keep saying to yourself…I don’t need to do this now.
Maybe later I’ll get serious about this.
My friend, you don’t know when the master is returning.
You don’t know when your days are up.
And like I said when I talked about my dream, there is scarcely a worse feeling than being called upon out of the blue…and NOT being ready.
And if you need to surrender your life to Christ for the first time…do it…and do it now.
Jesus Christ came to die on the cross for you.
He died on the cross for your sins…in your place.
Knowing everything you’ve done.
And the Bible says that if you believe in Him, believed He died for you, and surrender your life to Him…
You will be forgiven.
No matter how long you’ve been putting it off.
No matter how many mistakes you’ve made why the Master was away…
You can still get ready.
And you don’t have to make it all up by being good…you’ll never be able to.
But you can make it up by believing He died in your place…and surrendering to Him.
If that’s you…I urge you…before you fall asleep tonight…get on your knees by your bed…and just say, “Lord, I believe, I surrender my life to you”
There’s such a blessing in believing that He could come…at any moment.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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