Watchful and Faithful | Matthew 24:36-25:13
Watchful and Faithful | Matthew 24:36-25:13
Scripture: Matthew 24:36-25:13
In Matthew 24-25 Jesus teaches about his return and uses several parables to describe what the kingdom of heaven will be like. Perhaps the most unsettling thing about Jesus’ teaching is the judgement that is coming and the separation of people at His coming. Today, we are living in the end times or the in-between time between Jesus’ ascension and the second coming and this calls us to be watchful and remain faithful to the end.
HF: Today we are going to look at Jesus’ teaching on living in the in-between time:
How am I supposed to live in light of Christ’s return?
What are some of the things we must be doing as we wait for Jesus to come?
Matthew 26:36-25 This is one of the largest collections of teachings of Jesus in one place. This conversation was launched by Jesus’ statement that the temple will be destroyed.
The disciples asked Jesus when will the temple be destroyed? Jesus said, “In the near future.” We know this happened in AD 70.
This prompted another question: When is your kingdom coming? When are you going to come and become king over all the nations? That launched Jesus into a whole lot of teachings and parables about his coming. These teachings explore what it means to be one of his disciples in this in-between (between the resurrection and the second coming) time.
The Return of Christ Means:
Be Watchful – History Is Going Somewhere.
We live in a life where history has no meaning. History is going to be redeemed. There is meaning to life because Jesus is coming back and there is a future. So be watchful of the time we live in.
Victory Of Good Over Evil.
There will be the ultimate victory of good over evil. He has already accomplished victory over evil on the cross. His verdict has already been declared but the full realization of the victory over evil will come at the return of Christ. There will be total victory where sin and evil will be put away once and for all.
There will be social, cosmic, personal, and moral restoration.
So How Does Jesus Want Us To Live In This Time?
Matthew 24:36-44 This text is dealing with the final judgement and division which will take place at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Day and Hour Unknown
36“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and 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. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But 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. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Key Words Regarding Jesus’ Return:
The coming of Jesus will be sudden. Matthew 24:38-39
We need to be observant.
We are to keep watch. Watchfulness is to be alert. Matthew 24:42-44
1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
He is going to come when you least expect it, so be observant. Here the example Jesus uses is a thief in the night.
There was a time when in one area there used to be robbery one after the other at night. So the residents met together and decided that two people would stay awake the whole night and periodically they will be doing rounds at night. The robbers sensing people awake chose another location.
Staying up at night is hard. It is hard to stay awake at night when you are tired. Jesus is calling us to a disciplined life.
Jesus Is Calling Us For A Disciplined Life.
We are to discipline ourselves to work out salvation with fear and trembling.
To be ready is to be prepared, to cultivate this mindset of expectation.
We are living in the in-between time between the ascension and the second coming. It is the time where we can lack our watchfulness and faithfulness.
Faithfulness is another word for being holy. Holiness is a full-hearted commitment to God’s purposes, and purpose in character. commitment to his mission.
Too ‘holy’ is not being perfect, holiness is a single-minded focus on that which we have been called to as those who are commissioned by Jesus to witness to the truth of the gospel.
Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
1 John 3:2-3 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
The Coming Of Jesus Will Be Sudden – Be Watchful.
We Are To Be Ready For His Coming.
Be Watchful For His Coming.
Be Faithful And Holy For His Coming.
The Coming Of Jesus Will Result In Judgement And Separation.
Jesus Is Calling Us For A Disciplined Life.
We are to live a life that is ready, watchful, faithful, and holy.
From now on, Jesus gives us parables to tell us how we are to live in this in-between time. See how the above themes (suddenness, readiness, watchfulness, faithfulness and judgment) are repeated. Jesus is a master storyteller and he grabbed people’s attention and he brought in great teaching through simple stories.
Matthew 24:45-47 45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
Jesus has given us responsibility in his household.
The master will return. The servant who knew his master’s will and did not do it is going to be in big trouble.
The servant who is left to take care of their fellow servants, to give them their food at the proper time and drink at the proper time while the master was gone. The master is going to come back at a time when the servant doesn’t know. It will be great for the servant to be doing what he is supposed to be doing.
Matthew 24:48-51 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
But if that servant instead of taking care of their fellow servants abusing them and exploiting them and is using the resources just for themselves, Jesus says that he will come and he will cut that servant in pieces and cast them into outer darkness.
Faithful & Wise Servant Vs Wicked Servant.
The faithful and the wise servant will manage the things that are given to us and will be watchful.
Your election is connected to God’s global redemptive purposes. God choose us so that we can participate in the salvation of others. Our salvation is not a personal thing but Jesus has called us so that we can be a vessel to make him known to a world that he loves and died for.
Wicked Servant v48
Wickedness is found in the lack of watchfulness and faithfulness.
Wickedness is found in laziness and apathy for the things of God.
Our position of leadership is very important.
Wicked is the one who exploits others.
Unimaginable horror in that final judgment. V50-51
Cutting someone into pieces was considered a very extreme punishment. If we are in a position of leadership among God’s people, we need to take that position as servants to our fellow servants. A pastor is a shepherd of the sheep. Ez 34, the shepherds were not taking care of the sheep. They were taking care only of themselves. If we have a position in the body of Christ, let’s use it to take care of our brothers and sisters because we answer to somebody who is the Lord of both them and us and he loves them just as he loves us.
Key: Do Not Grow Weary In Doing Good.
We Need To Be Involved In The Master’s Service.
Be Involved In Proclaiming The Salvation Message.
Be Involved In Love And Generosity Towards Others.
Wicked Servant Is Put To Unimaginable Horror.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
This one is the parable which shows Jewish wedding tradition. In the present time, we have a marriage and then the couple lives together. But in Jewish tradition, the festivities could go on for a couple of weeks and the bride and the virgins would wait for the bridegroom to come for the big feast and when the door was shut, no one else would be let in.
1“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in (Look at the readiness here) with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
(Just like Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the mount that many will … and will say, Lord, Lord. Identifying Jesus as Lord means that they actually knew who Jesus was and they actually did things in His name. but what he says to them is that he does not know them)
13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
- We have Ten Virgins
- Procession from the groom’s home to the bride’s home.
- Nuptial torches (ancient, modern). Having lamps/torches lit was very important
- A great honor to be one of the bridesmaids. A great embarrassment to mess up
- They missed out virgins are locked out for the 7 days feast.
- There is the repudiation/rejection formula. They know the bridesmaids but it is a saying that they are banished from the feast permanently because of the lack of oil.
3 Warnings In This Parable.
Be Watchful, Appearances Are Deceiving.
This is the first warning.
- The 10 virgins all looked the same.
- They are all virgins.
- They believe the same thing.
- They have the same quality externally.
- They are all waiting.
- They all have the lamps
But half of them did not do the homework, they took a shortcut. They thought they could rely on the people they were with. They did not do what was necessary.
Be Watchful that the appearances don’t deceive you.
There are people who live religiously but have no relationship with Jesus. You may know that Jesus is Lord but may not be in a relationship with Jesus. Identification is not the same as identity.
Identification Vs identity.
It is, “I am identifying with this group by being here.” That is not the case when it comes to following Jesus or being a Christian. Christianity is not an ideology where you participate in a community practising the same practices. Christianity is different because at its core it is a relationship with a relational God who made a way through his Son, because human beings are not capable of saving themselves.
Here, they look the same, they believe the same things but be watchful there is a lack of identity.
That means some things you cannot borrow. They could not borrow the oil for the lamp.
There Are Some Things That You Cannot Borrow.
Right intentions are no guarantee.
Oil in the scripture represents the Holy Spirit. All of these virgins had lamps, only 5 had oil.
Were the lambs still lamps without the oil? Yes
Was it able to function as a lamp without the oil? No
A car without petrol is a car. But a car without petrol or electricity cannot function as a car.
The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord – Proverbs 20:27
It is possible to be a human being without the Spirit of God but it is impossible for us to function the way God intended us to be without the Spirit of God.
I Cannot Live On Another Person’s Faith.
You cannot get the oil from someone else. A person cannot live on the faith of the other. If you are a child of a parent who believes in the Lord, you will not be saved by your identification with your parents. You cannot survive on the faith of your friends.
We cannot borrow someone else’s born-again experience. We need to be born again individually. Are you born again?
Be Watchful, Before It’s Too Late.
Procrastination means putting off until tomorrow what should have been done yesterday.
Do not procrastinate. If you are not watching, there will be a point when it is too late.
2 Corinthians 6:2 Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
Receive salvation through the gospel. That God sent his son Jesus and he lived and died for no fault of his and Jesus took our judgment on the cross. Judgement is coming but those who are in Christ are saved from Judgement.
So I receive the Gospel. I am watchful and I will be faithful in my Christian life.
I need to be holy. Holiness is not perfection, but singlemindedness.
There will be a day when the door is shut. Either when I die or at the return of Jesus Christ.
We are living in this time waiting for his return. To be a follower of Jesus is that hope that his kingdom will come fully on earth one day. World history is going somewhere. There is going to be ultimate victory over evil and restoration of all that is wrong. I am living in the in-between time. The Coming Of Jesus Will Be Sudden. In the meantime, I need to be ready, watchful and faithful.
Life Application Points:
- Live In Expectancy Of Jesus’ Return.
- Jesus Is Calling Us For A Disciplined Life.
- Do Not Grow Weary In Doing Good.
- I Need To Be Involved In The Master’s Service.
What does it mean for you to be prepared for His coming as you are working and raising a family? Be watchful of your own life, and involved in doing good. Be generous in the Kingdom with all your resources. Share the gospel with others.
What does it mean for you if you are a student? You are there on a mission. Be watchful of your behaviours, deeds and attitudes. Do not be one with the people there but they should see your good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven. If your life reflects the nature of Jesus? Are you involved in doing good? Let’s ask Jesus for help to live holy and work for His kingdom as we wait for His return.
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