Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Matthew 24:32-51 Sermon

Matthew 24:32-51
Olivet Discourse
Sermon Notes
Sensible Slaves
Lynchburg, Virginia

         While some of these passages have good application to our own times, they are not about our times or our future. When Jesus was talking to His disciples, He was warning them about things that were soon to come to pass.
         Watching and waiting is always wise. Doing what the Lord has called you to do is what we should be doing. The Lord grants us favor when we do so.
         But when we wax cold about obeying the Lord, thinking that He will not notice or that we have all the time in the world, then
we are in grave danger. The Lord’s second coming may not be imminent, but your last chance to submit your life to Him might be.
         I don’t think pastors should use this fact as an emotional means to manipulate people into serving Jesus. But the fact is most certainly true. How many times can you put off Jesus? How hard can your heart get before it turns to stone? When will you be past repentance?
         Honestly, I do not know the answer to any of these questions. Furthermore, I suspect the answers are very different depending on who you are, your family background, what means the Lord is using to call you to Himself and a host of other factors that even the angels long to look into.
         The Bible says today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. Why? Well, today is the day of salvation. Will you hear His voice tomorrow? Maybe, but maybe not. And if you do not hear His voice, then they day of salvation never comes.
         For all of you gathered here who know and love the Lord Jesus. Wonderful. Keep on doing so. Do not harden your hearts. Turn to Him today, tomorrow and the next day. For you who struggle or who are in denial of Jesus, do not harden your hearts. Turn to Him today, tomorrow and the next day. If the Lord finds you doing that which He has called you to, He will bless you. Great is your reward in Heaven.

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
We can read the seasons. We know when the leaves start to bud out, summer is near. He is telling us that what He has said is as certain as the changing of the seasons. Furthermore, those whom He is talking to should be able to tell when it is happening, just like the change of the seasons.
But before the summer comes, there is still the instability of Spring. There are late storms, cold weather and even some winter like days. But none of that phases us. We know that summer is near.

33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Know that it is near, at the door. Can’t get closer to your hosue without going in than the front door.

34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Jesus emphasizes that these things are soon to come to pass. His word is sure so if he said that this generation will see these things come to pass, then we should assume that is exactly what will happen.

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Jesus is talking to the disciples in 33 A.D. There was a lead up to the war with the Romans. There were many rebels fighting in Israel. Some were fighting the Romans. Others were fighting each other. During this time, there were false Messiahs. Don’t listen to them. At the time Jesus spoke these words, only the Father in Heaven knew when the day of destruction would arrive.
Alas, even in the final days of the siege, the false leaders were declaring that Messiah would show up and save them from the Romans. It didn’t happen.

37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
The day of Noah entering the ark is analogous to the day the Israelites were shut up in the siege of Jerusalem. Up to that time, they were carrying on as if all would be well. They had no idea what a calamity awaited them.
In fact, when the final siege began, it was after many thousands had come to the celebration of Pentecost to worship in Jerusalem. They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until it was too late.

40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
This is commonly spoken about as if it were the rapture of the church. That cannot be. This entire passage is about the doom of unbelievers. At this point it is at the hands of the Romans. Many were taken as prisoners and carted off. The ones taken away are not the ones raptured, unless being taken prisoner by Rome is rapturous.

42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
The Christians may not have known the hour but as things got progressively worse, the Christians were very aware of what was happening. The Jews were still under a judicial blindness but those who had received Christ could see.  They watched and knew the Son of man was coming in judgment. This is why they fled the city.

45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
Be faithful now and always. Householders, provide for your families. Work hard. Teach your children in the Lord. To fail to provide is to be worse than unbeliever. So, put a high value on work and work hard.
Who is the ruler of the household of faith? Pastors and elders. So, if the Lord has put you in these  roles, then give the people meat in due season. Give them the meat of the Word. Teach, admonish, pray. Such rulers will rule the household of faith. The household of faith, the people of God, is all the Lord’s goods. What an honor to feed them.

48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Again, amidst the wonderful promises are scary warnings. For those who will not submit to the Lord, who constantly go their own way, who mistreat God’s people, their destruction will come upon them before they know it.
If you have been a Christian for ten or twenty years or more, you have seen this happen. A man or woman starts out well but gets weighted down by various sins and desires. Sometimes, it is just merely the inability to do the same things over the course of a lifetime. They are killed by boredom.
After a while, they convince themselves not of the foolishness of preaching but that the preachers are fools. They abhor the things of God. They make excuses for turning away from Christ. They have good company. The rich, the mighty, the well educated, the famous, also turn from Christ. Such former saints side with them and think they have a cloud of witnesses against our Lord and against His Anointed.
But they will end up in a place apportioned for these hypocrites, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

Wait- Be diligent in your waiting by watching.

         Ministers watch over your flock. Give them meat in due season. Be in a church that has a commitment to the Word of God, all of it. If the Word is the ultimate and infallible rule in your church, that is where you want to be. If not, then you are not watching.
         Ministers also watch by noting straying sheep and going after them. By exhorting, praying, teaching, counseling.
Husbands, watch over your families. Know the state of your flocks. Watch the spiritual condition of your wife and children. Get to know them so you can know when something is amiss. You are not your wife or your children. They do each have a responsibility before the Lord. But while they are in your home, you have a responsibility to answer to the Lord for them. So, take that seriously and do all that is in your power to know them, to know how they are doing, to correct their behavior, to encourage them in Christ.
Is your family insular? Are the only people they know, their siblings and some Sunday morning friends? Protect them but also expose them at the right time and in the right place to others who need Christ, who need encouragement, who need a friend. The church life is a great place to do that. Church is not just about what you get for yourselves or your family. It is also about what you give of yourself and your family to others. If you are here, you are getting. Are you giving?

         Wives, watch over your children. This is a subset of the husbands responsibility but the reality is that wives spend most of the time with their children. So, watch over them for good. How do you do this most effectively? By watching over yourself. Are you reading Scripture daily? Are you praying for your children? Are you confronting sins big and small or letting love cover them? Wives, be virtuous and godly. Do not complain and grumble. Learn contentment. If you are this sort of virtuous woman, then your watching over your children will be that much easier.
         But also know your children. Ask them about their thoughts, struggles, victories, life aims, friends. Be a parent but also be a friend and confidant. Moms, you are probably the single biggest influence on the spiritual lives of your children. Take that seriously but don’t panic. Trust in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to be the sort of mom that God calls you to be.

         Children, watch over yourselves. Kids, you are also responsible before the Lord directly. If you are 10 or 11 or older, then start to take your own character and maturity seriously. Read your Bible, pray, grow up in Jesus. Come to church ready to worship God and get to know Jesus. Come to church not just to get but also to give. Look for those in need or lonely and do not bully them or make fun of them but rather, minister to them as Jesus would. Do not get sucked into the cool crowd who really are just pursuing worldliness.
Be a Christian first and whatever else your passion is, second. It could be an instrument, cello, violin or piano, or a sport, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, or a hobby, hunting, fishing, or climbing, or a vocational pursuit, computer science, engineering or medicine.
Do all of these things well. Seek to excel in whatever you do. But be a Christian first. Be all of these things as a Christian and you will honor the Lord.

         All of you, watch over your souls. If you get bored or lazy as a Christian, you are in grave danger. You kids are in danger. You have grown  up in a wonderful church with great parents. You are part of a long tradition of reformed doctrine, teaching and practice. It is a deep stream. Do you see it? Can you taste it? Is it well with you? Do you long for more of these rivers of waters?
         If not, why not? Is there something wrong with the church, with the Bible or with Jesus? If not, then why do you not hunger and thirst for righteousness? It might a be a sinful and wicked heart. But it might also simply be a sense a lazy sense of presumption. You are in a good stream and as long as you are floating you are good.
         Don’t be like that. Cultivate a love for God, a love for His people, a love for His Word, a love of worship, a love of practical daily obedience. This is watching and it will do your soul well.


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