Luke 12:35-48 Jesus is the Son of Man Ready or Not…

Luke 12:35-48

Jesus is the Son of Man

Ready or Not…

 

All right! Let’s go ahead and turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 12. As always, if you do not have a Bible, or if you need one, please see me after the service and we can see what we can do to get one into your hands.

Jesus has been teaching and warning those following him, that they need to make sure they are not being distracted. He wanted to make sure they were focused on what’s important.

And he tells us what is important. He tells us to stay focused on the Kingdom of God. When we put our focus too much on the here and now, on the temporary, on this world, then our eyes and our focus is taken off of the Kingdom, taken off of the eternal, taken off of God.

And so, we are to focus on God, always looking to Jesus, who the author of Hebrews says is the author and perfector of our faith. Jesus is our entire focus. Jesus who is called our Living hope in 1 Peter 1:3. Jesus who is called our blessed hope in Titus 2:13.

And this morning, in the passage we are going to look at, Jesus continues to remind us that we are to be prepared, be attentive, be active and be focused on he and he alone.

We are going to read Luke chapter 12 verses 35-48. Ill be reading, as always, out of the English Standard Version. I do encourage you to follow along in whichever is your preferred translation.

Luke 12:35-48, Luke writes, inspired by the Holy Spirit:

 

“Stay dressed for action[f] and keep your lamps burning, 36 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. 37 Blessed are those servants[g] 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. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he[h] would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

41 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant[i] whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, 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 does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Word.

 

Pastor and theologian Arnold T Olson once wrote:

Ever since the first days of the Christian Church, evangelicals have been “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our savior Jesus Christ. They have disagreed as to its timing and to the events on the eschatological calendar. They may have differed as to a pre-tribulation or post-tribulation rapture- the pre-, post-, or non-millennial coming. They may have been divided as to a literal rebirth of Israel. However, all are agreed that the final solution to the problem of this world is in the hands of the King of kings who will someday make the kingdom of this world his very one.

 

          Now, I think that is so important to remember. We all, if we are faithful, saved Christians, believe that the LORD is coming back at some point, and we are looking forward to that moment His kingdom and victory are not just here, but they are initiated and culminated.

Everything else we can have a conversation about. I am willing to have a conversation about it. But only if you agree to keep it as a secondary issue. Not his second coming, that is a first-tier issue. But the way it plays out, the form it takes, views on rapture, millenniums and literal, spiritual and symbolic fulfillment of prophecy, these are secondary issues, and we cannot and will not let that become arguments or divide us as brothers and sisters in Christ.

With that caveat out of the way, let’s look at what Jesus says here. And what he says is Ready or not, I’m coming!

Jesus uses this morning, in this passage, the language of servants and masters. Firstly, we see Jesus talking about servants who are waiting for their master to return from a wedding feast. This is essentially like employees working while their boss is gone for the day.

Jesus says to stay ready. Keep working and be prepared, for the boss can come back at any moment. You never know when he will return, so be ready so that you can be sure to welcome him with open arms.

Don’t be lazy in your work. Don’t be lazy in your faith. Don’t be frantic either. Be ready.

Who is the good servant? Is it the one who is prepared? Who is ready and waiting for the master to return? Or the one who is not paying attention? Who is caught by surprise and not doing what he is supposed to be doing?

Blessed are the ones who the master finds ready and awake, prepared and faithful. In that case, the tables will be turned, Jesus says. For the Master will serve the servants.

And that’s exactly what Jesus did. Sometimes, especially when Jesus is talking about time, sometimes it can be difficult to identify if Jesus is talking past, present, or future. We see him at different times speaking of his first coming, his first advent, his birth and earthly ministry. And other times, looking ahead to his second coming, the distant future, the eternal, spiritual ministry.

And in his first coming, Jesus did exactly what he says here. The Master serves the servants. We will see coming up in the last days of Jesus, that Jesus will get down and wash the feet of his disciples. A reversal of roles.

Jesus says blessed are those who are awake and paying attention, for the master will clothe and serve them. And the longer it takes for the master to come back, the more blessed are those whom he finds awake. Faithfulness.

 

Now, there are people all throughout history who seem like they are being faithful and staying prepared. Instead, they thought they had figured out when Jesus was coming back and, of course, were wrong. Some have been pretty famous for it as well.

Harold Camping was a radio minister based here in California, starting in 1958. He first predicted Christ’s return in 1994. He predicted three successive wrong dates. Then he did the same in 2011. One date, wrong, then a second date a few months later. Wrong again. He passed away two years later.

The Millerites were a group of followers of William Miller in the 1830s and 40s. He did all sorts of fancy math, mostly using the book of Daniel. He figured out that Jesus was going to return sometime in 1843. When that didn’t happen, he said that Jesus did actually return, but it was a spiritual return, doubling down on his false prophecy. This group led directly to the found of the Seventh Day Adventists and less immediately, though still directly to the founding of the Jehovah’s witnesses.

My point in talking about these two of many, many, many who have wrongly predicted Jesus’ return, is that there are ways in which we can be too focused. WE can be too focused if we are focusing on the wrong aspect. These men were too focused on the second coming of Jesus because they were focusing on the when. We are told not to worry about the when, only that we are to be prepared because it will happen.

Peter tells us that God is not slow that some should say so that the second coming will take place at the exact time and in the exact form as determined by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit before the beginning of time. WE are not to focus on the dates, which Jesus says elsewhere not even he nor the angels in heaven know the time. Instead, we are to focus on faithfulness.

Ezekiel 33, verses 8 & 9:

 If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

 

WE are to be faithful with the message, the Gospel, and the responsibilities that he has given us. IF we are not, we will answer for it. Since we don’t know and won’t know when his return will actually be, only that he will return as a thief in the night. That doesn’t not mean that he will return in secret, as some believe. His return will be the most public event to ever occur in history. Every single person, every set of eyes, every set of ears, every single soul will know when Christ returns in power. Like a thief in the night, instead, means that there will be no warning, no reason to think that it will be that day.

So, we have the dual responsibilities to act and to live as though it could still be another 2000 years until he comes. We work for the good of our cities. We put down roots, raise families, steward God’s creation, raise kids and grandkids and so on. All the things that will leave lasting legacies. And at the same time, we act and live as if I won’t finish this sermon because he could come back in the blink of an eye. We make sure that we are faithful and wise. That we do the things He has for us to do. We don’t wait until tomorrow to do what God has told us to do today. We sound the alarm from the watch tower.

 

 

Peter asks Jesus, in the middle of all this, “Are you telling this to us? (Meaning the disciples) or to the greater crowds and masses?”

This is a valid question that we often need to ask when we read the comments and teachings of Jesus. The answer of who Jesus is addressing changes depending on the content and the context of the passage. Sometimes Jesus is speaking to his disciples specifically. Sometimes he is speaking to Christians in general. Sometimes he is speaking to the multitudes, the whole of humanity.

Jesus answers Peter, though not like Peter wanted him to, as usual. Jesus instead, answers what to me sounds like Luke 11:28, Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.

Essentially, we are not owners. However, we are managers and stewards of Gods possessions. This is not our world; this is His world. Our house is not our house, it is His house. Our possessions are not our possessions, they are His possessions. My life is not my life. Your life is not your life. Our Lives are His Lives.

And Jesus is telling this to his followers in general, Christians in all times and places, but even more specifically to his Apostles, whom he would entrust the building of his church to. This is not their church. This is not our church. This is not my church, Dave’s church, Mikes church, Jim’s church, not even Bangor’s church. This is God’s church. And Jesus is the head of it.

And he who is faithful and wise, he will be rewarded. Do the work that God has set before. Be diligent and prepared and you will receive your rewards. OF course, we know that this is not anywhere close to doing those works in order to earn rewards, especially the reward of salvation.

Salvation, the ultimate reward of being saved from the wrath of God due to our sins, is by the grace of God alone, through our faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. But as servants of our LORD, we show our faith by faithfully obeying Him. And, as a general rule, we see often, faithfulness and obedience are rewarded here on earth.

Faithfulness, its important to remember, does not lead to faith. Faithfulness instead flows from faith. To be clear, salvation and citizenship in Gods Kingdom are Not, repeat, not a reward for faithfulness. Salvation is a gift from God by his grace, through faith in the work, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In other words, it is a reward for Christ’s faithfulness.

 

The gist of the last section here is that how much we know, and what we choose to do with it will determine how God deals with us. Those who refuse to be faithful servants will not be rewarded. There are sins of omission, which means not doing what you’re supposed to and sins of commission, doing things you’re not supposed to do. Both types of sins get punished. Both types of sins are worthy of the wrath of God. We remember that all will be revealed in the end.

 

Lastly, everything you do, do it unto the LORD. IF you are faithful with what Gid has given you, if you are faithful with what you know and what you are given, God will give you and trust you with more.

 

 

Be ready. Pray. Serve. Focus on the coming of His Kingdom. Focus on His Will. The question ultimately comes down not to What is required of us? But what has been bestowed to us?

Faithfulness.

Faithfulness in Christs work and in his promises.

Philip Ryken writes: Even apart from his promises, we know that Jesus must come again to consummate his saving work. How else can every wrong be righted and every evil brought to justice? How else can Satan be defeated and condemned to Hell? How else can Jesus gather his people to himself? How else can he receive the honor that he alone deserves, unless he comes again in power and glory? Jesus is coming- just as he promised- to judge the world. Are you ready or not?

 

          I will leave us with Titus 2:11-14:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

 

Let’s Pray

Daniel 11 &12 God of All Nations Daniels Last Vision pt. 2

Daniel 11 &12

God of All Nations

Daniels Last Vision pt. 2

 

          Good Morning! Please grab your Bibles with me and turn to Daniel chapter 12. IF you do not have a Bible or do not own a Bible from our table or come see me afterwards and we will give you one as our gift to you.

Today, our journey through the book of Daniel comes to an end. And fittingly, in the last chapter, we see visions, we see symbolism, we see prophecy and we see the unknown.

It starts with the continuation, the end of the vision that was set up in chapter 10 and revealed in Chapter 11. At the point that this last vision started, Daniel would have been around 85 years old. He had lived a lifetime of trusting in the LORD and seeing him come through with his promises and seeing visions and prophecies revealed to him.

He had faith in Gods promises, but he didn’t always see how they were being fulfilled. And so, after the Jews were allowed to go back to Jerusalem from the exile they were in in Babylon, at first, everything seemed to be looking up. But then those who were there to rebuild the temple ran into a whole lot of trouble. The rebuild stopped. Daniel was discouraged.

He started praying and fasting and was visited by a messenger who pulled back the curtain and showed Daniel a glimpse of the spiritual warfare going on around us, every minute of every day. Gods Angels and Satan’s fallen Angels battling over the events of this world.

In the visions that started chapter 11, we see a prophecy of how some of history would play out, history that would, by context, be affected by this spiritual warfare. It went through the rulers of Persia and then Greece. It made much focus of Antiochus IV who persecuted the Jewish people very greatly. And then it gave some prophecies regarding how all these things look towards the end antichrist and the spiritual warfare going on with that.

During all of this, we see the prophecies laced with phrases and statement that continue to remind us and confirm that God is in complete control. Despite the invisible spiritual battles going on and affecting this world, God is completely sovereign, and his will will be done. We see specifically with the antichrist that “He shall come to an end. This is, up to the current time, 2500 years before the end that God promises, prophecies and tells us this.

Now the first few verses of chapter 12 continue and finish the vision of Chapter 11 and that’s where we will start this morning. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. Please follow along in your preferred translation, whatever that may be.

Daniel 12:1-4, the messenger of the visions continues to speak to Daniel, saying:

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;[a] and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

 

 

          May God Bless the Reading of his Word.

 

So, we see that Michael is involved in the battles at the end. Very little is actually, for sure known about Michael. We know he is an archangel. WE know he is a warrior angel. He is a commander of Holy Angels. And in the context of Chapters 10 & 11, he may be the prince angel of Israel. We know that he will be heavily involved in the spiritual battles going on, especially getting closer to the end.

And we see that those battles, that spiritual warfare, the powers and principalities that are at work, these things will only get more intense and they will continue to have a stronger impact on the world around it. This impact will play out in ever increasing tribulation, in ever increasing rebellion and in ever increasing depravity.

One of the roles we do see Angels filling is that of ministering to and protecting those who belong to God. The messenger here tells Daniel that many of Gods people shall be delivered. This is not deliverance from troubles, not deliverance from pain, and certainly not deliverance from death. But this is deliverance from Satan’s Grip, this is deliverance from unbelief. This is deliverance from Hell, from what we truly and fully deserve.

God is faithful that, if we, in the words of Jesus, repent and believe the Gospel, he is faithful to forgive, to justify, to sanctify and to glorify. He is faithful to deliver us from his own justice and wrath.

And we get a testimony of the one and only resurrection of the dead to take place at the end. Hebrews 9:27 tells us: it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.

          It is at that time that the wheat will be separated from the chaff. It is then that the goats will be separated from the sheep. This is when the righteous will be separated form the unrighteous for all eternity. And it won’t happen until then unfortunately.

This is where some Christians have a different view on what is going to happen as we move ahead into the future. Some see the world becoming more and more Christianized and the church growing strong. I don’t see this any where in scriptures. Some see the world going down the drain and the church following close behind. I don’t think this is entirely accurate either, though I can see why some believe this. I see the world going down the drain, and some who think they are a part of the church, but who are truly part of the world going with the world. But the church will continue on and grow strong. Gods people will stand firm in perseverance, they will rise to the occasion and they will be a great witness to this broken world about the good ness, the faithfulness, the forgiveness and the holiness of God.

One commentator reminds us, despite what we see around us, God has got this, writing:

The apocalyptic parts of the Bible, like the book of Daniel, remind us that we live in a world that cannot simply be fixed. It needs to be recreated. To be sure, God will eliminate all evil in the end, but sin and sickness will be defeated according to his timetable, not ours. In the end, the broken shall be made whole and all tears will be wiped away. But until the coming of Gods kingdom, brokenness and suffering, pain and persecution will continue to be the normal state for believers. We live in a world that is profoundly broken.

 

          The messenger tells Daniel to shut these words up, to seal the book. Not to keep it unopened, but to keep it unaltered as it awaits fulfillment. We are to make sure that Gods Word stays as Gods Word. We treat it as Gods Word. We believe it as Gods Word. We preach it and proclaim it as Gods Word.

And many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. Very similar wording to our scripture reading this morning, from Amos 8. There he says, they shall seek the Word of the LORD, but they shall not find it. Here we see that knowledge shall increase. Some may not understand how both can be true. Knowledge isn’t wisdom. Intellectual knowledge is good. It should be strived for. But knowledge of things without the knowledge of the God is vanity.

Proverbs says that fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Ans so we can have knowledge outside of God, but any knowledge worth having is based on and started with God.

Think of it like this. If someone is studying biology, geology, and the like. If they study these things without knowledge of the LORD, where does it lead them? Down the road to Evolution, Darwin, and the like. But to study it with a foundation of the Word of God, to study these things already having a knowledge of the LORD, you get to see the beauty of Gods handiwork through the Earth, through the animal kingdom and throughout all of Creation.

The Messenger has finished the vision he is relaying to Daniel. We pick up the last part of this chapter, as we read the follow up to the vision, Chapter 12, verses 5-13:

 

Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream,[b] “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”

 

The scene shifts back to Daniel on the banks of the river with the angels and what not. Some one asks the messenger, When? When will all this take place? That’s is an interesting question, isn’t it? Its an answer we all want to know. But Jesus tells us, when the disciples asked this very same question. He said that not even the angels in heaven know the time. Angels are powerful and the know a lot, but they are not omnipotent, and they are not omniscient. They too are curious to the events that are going to take place. They too want to be witnesses to these events.

I think that’s an important context to this. Mark 13:32, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

          To be clear, the angels are answering this question with limited, unclear knowledge. And so, this messenger answers, but first he swears with two hands, by the holy God.

          Again, we see this time frame, a time, times and a half a time. Some will see a specific frame of time here, maybe three and a half years. Some will see and general view of a long time. Most will at least agree that this is a period of time that is shortened because God intervenes. God has a decreed when all things will take place and those times will be adhered to.

The messenger also says, when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. There could be a lot of things that this means. In my studies, I don’t think I came across too many of the same thoughts.

I like best what Iain Duguid says, as he writes: Was there ever a greater display of brokenness than what we see at the cross? At the cross we see the brokenness of this fallen world that would take its own creator and crucify him.  On the cross we see the brokenness of Gods True Israel: there Jesus Christ personified the holy people of God, and there his true power was thoroughly broken. In fact, it was so broken that he needed a stranger to help carry his cross up to Golgatha, and then someone else to carry his lifeless corpse down again. Was there ever a greater display of weakness and brokenness than the cross?

 

Now, we know of course that that power was restored after his death, with his resurrection. Sinclair Ferguson reminds us: When the powers of darkness have done their worst against the kingdom of God, and the truth of God has been set at a final devaluation, God will act.

         

          We don’t know when the end will be, but God does. And he tells us that’s enough. And here’s the thing, What Does Daniel say in response to this? He says, I heard but did not understand. We are going to live with unanswered questions. God tells us in Deuteronomy 29:29 that the secret things belong to the LORD.  We can’t and we won’t know everything we want to. God gives us enough to trust in Him and to act in his will.

The messenger tells Daniel, hey now. Go your way. Stay in your lane. Focus on Gods purpose for you. Don’t worry about the things he doesn’t have for you. Worry about the things he does have for you. Think about. There is so much sin and so much brokenness, so much injustice in this world, we can’t fight every fight there is to fight. We can’t campaign against every single wrong there is. But God brings some causes, some injustices, some sins to our attention. Those are the ones that we can fight against.

In this way, the wicked and the righteous will each make themselves known and in the end all will become clear. The messenger mentions an amount of days that no one can quite sure what they mean. The numbers don’t quite add up to any specific amount of time. So, are they literal days? Are the symbolic for years? There are any number of options and nobody knows. What we do now is that this is an unknown but very specific amount of time. Again, God knows his timetable, even if we don’t.

The last verse, Daniel is told, Go your way. Stand Firm. BE strong. Persevere to the end. Stay faithful. Do this, do what you are told to do. Trust in God and believe the Gospel and you will spend eternity in your allotted place.

We see the world as it is. We see the world as it will be. We eagerly live for that world to come. But we live in this world and are to act accordingly.

Ferguson again, says: In Every epoch of revelation, Gods people have been encouraged to live in the light of what God has promised for the future.

 

2 Peter 3:11-13, Peter writes:

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

 

 

The way we live today, is because of what we know about in the future. IF we are consistent in how we see this world, it is because of our faith and because of our beliefs that we do good for those around us. That we take care of the widows and orphans. That we treat all people equally, as created in the image of God. That we desire to see all come to repentance and faith in Christ and spared eternity if wrath and justice.

Duguid reminds us: We must remember that the primary biblical image for the saints is not that of crusaders but martyrs. It is not our task to come along on a white horse and save the world. That job belongs to some one else.

 

          This world is our temporary home, but our citizenship is in Gods Kingdom. We work for the welfare of where we live, but ultimately our allegiance is to God. And so, we live for him, and him alone. We should make a difference in this world, but the results are out of our hands. Our faithfulness is what is in our hands. Faithfulness to a Holy God and his Holy decrees.

This has been an incredibly eye-opening journey for me as we have walked through Daniel. A lot of resources for how to act, how to live, how to react to what’s going on in the world today. As we continue to try to make the world a better place and reflect the glory and holiness of God, I leave you with one last passage from Duguid before I close us in prayer. He writes:

 

The Day is coming when Jesus Christ will ride out to conquer and to recreate, a day when the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ. In the meantime, our task as martyrs is simply to testify to the LORDS greatness and grace by our words and by our sufferings. As we cling to God in the midst of trials that we do not understand, we testify of God’s grace to a watching world and to the heavenly beings. Like Jacob, who wrestled on with God at the fords of the Jabbok even after he had been crippled by the encounter, we testify not by our strength and might but simply by our persistence in clinging on to God in the midst of our brokenness.

And when the final triumph sounds for us, bringing to an end our earthly conflict, then at last we too will hear our redeemer say to us: “As for you, Go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” We will rise with Daniel- the same Daniel who endured the trials of the lions den and the challenges of living in an alien land, who prayed daily for the consummation of Gods kingdom and who prospered throughout the exile- and with all the saints, to receive our final reward in Christ.

 

Amen, Lets Pray.  

%d bloggers like this: