ARE YOU READY?
When I ask the question are you ready, you probably think about the invitation song that we sing that asks the question, Are you ready for the judgment Day. While we will talk about being ready for the judgment day, I want you to know that the Bible has a lot to say about being ready when it comes to serving God and living the Christian life.
Sometimes we can have good intentions on being ready to serve God, but it doesnít always work out how we initial planed and we can find ourselves unprepared to face the challenges that are set before us.
A great example of this comes from the apostle Peter. When Jesus was getting to the end of His ministry, He told His disciples that they would forsake Him that night, but Peter didnít believe Jesus, and he said:
Luke 22:33 But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death."† 34 Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me."
I have no doubt that Peter thought he would be ready to stand his ground for Jesus and even die for Him. He had good intentions, but as we all know, when it came right down to it he was not ready to follow Jesus all the way.
When Jesus was arrested, Peter drew his sword and cut a mans ear off, but his courage left him and he fled with the rest of the disciples, but he didnít go far because he followed Jesus as he was being carried away.
Luke 22:55 Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.† 56 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, "This man was also with Him."† 57 But he denied Him, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him."† 58 And after a little while another saw him and said, "You also are of them." But Peter said, "Man, I am not!"† 59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, "Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean."† 60 But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are saying!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.† 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."† 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
When Peter realized he was not ready to follow Jesus all the way as he said he would and he herd the rooster crow, and looked into the eyes of Jesus, it caused him to weep bitterly. Like Peter, when we fail to follow Jesus all the way, and we realize that we have failed to be ready, it should move us to tears because we have failed to serve God as we should.
As Christians we are taught to follow in the footsteps of Jesus:
1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
One of the first things we must do in order to be ready to follow in the footsteps of Jesus is to deny ourselves as:
Matthew 16:24 †Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Until we are willing to fully submit our lives to God, we will never be fully prepared to follow Jesus all the way. A great example of this comes from the rich young ruler:
Mark 10:17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"† 18 So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.† 19 "You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.' "† 20 And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth."† 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."† 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
The young man thought he was ready to do whatever it took to serve God so that he could have eternal life, but it had one stumbling block, his money. He was willing to deny himself in many areas, but he was not willing to put God above his possessions. He had not learned the lesson that he cannot take his possessions with him when he dies.
We have to make sure that we donít find ourselves in this situation because if we make our money and things we have become more precious than serving God, then we will not be ready to follow Jesus all the way. We cannot serve money and God at the same time. As Job rightly said:
Job 1:21 "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there.
Jesus also said:
Matthew 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
If we want to be ready to follow Jesus, we must be ready to put God before our family and everything else. God cannot be second in our life, He must be first because He is the most important being in our life.
I want you to think about your life right now. Can you think of anything that you put in front of God? Is there anything that robs you of your time you spend with Him in prayer, reading His Word, or attending Bible class and worship services? If you allow these things to hinder your service to God, can you honestly say that you are putting God above whatever those things may be? If you realize that you are putting things in front of God, then be like Peter, grieve about what you have done and then change your ways and put God first in your life.
The Bible also tells us to be ready to give an answer:
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
Those in the
If we ever hope to be ready to give an answer, we have got to make time to get into Godís Word. Paul told Timothy,
KJV 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We all know that if we donít spend time learning about what we believe in then we are never going to be ready answer anyone. If we continue on a downward spiral by neglecting Godís Word it will be devastating the Lordís church. I just hope that history doesnít repeat itself as found in the book of Hosea:
Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, You children of Israel, For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: "There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land.† 2 By swearing and lying, Killing and stealing and committing adultery, They break all restraint, With bloodshed upon bloodshed.† 3 Therefore the land will mourn; And everyone who dwells there will waste away With the beasts of the field And the birds of the air; Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.† 4 "Now let no man contend, or rebuke another; For your people are like those who contend with the priest.† 5 Therefore you shall stumble in the day; The prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; And I will destroy your mother.† 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
If someone came up to you today and asked you why you are a Christian or how do you become a Christian would you be able tell them and back up what you say with Scripture? If you put Godís Word in your heart on a daily basis and have the attitude that Job had by making Godís Word more necessary than your food, then it would easy to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is you with meekness and fear.
I challenge you this morning to start making more time for studying Godís Word so that you can be ready to give an answer.
Another area the Bible says to be ready at is to preach the gospel.
Paul told Timothy:
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:† 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.† 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;† 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.† 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
It is true that Paul was telling this to an evangelist, but we should all be ready to proclaim the Word of God. In fact, this point goes hand with the one we just looked at where we are called to be ready to give an answer. Again, the only way that you and I can be ready to preach the Word in season and out of season is by knowing the Word of God.
Timothy had to combat false teachers that were twisting the Scriptures, but there was no way he could do that if he did not know what the Word of God said. We certainly cannot be ready to rebuke a false teacher or convince someone to turn from their sin if we cannot show them why from the Bible.
Paul was not asking Timothy to do anything that he wasnít willing to do: Paul said:
Romans 1:15 So, as
much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in
Paul understood the importance of being ready to preach the Word, and one thing that helped him to be ready is found in the next verse:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.† 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
Paul was never ashamed of the gospel, and he suffered physically for it over and over again. He understood that Godís Word must be preached and that it was more powerful than a two-edged sword.
How about you are you ashamed of the gospel or are you willing to boldly proclaim the Word of God to a world that is lost in their sins? It seems to me that more and more Christians are being secret Christians because they are not making their voices heard in our nation. Many times we sit on the sidelines and watch those of the world raise their voices to make their sinful ways become a common place.
For instance, ever since the homosexual marriage law was overturned in California, those who support that sin that God has condemned under the Patriarchal period, the Law of Moses and under the Christian age, they have been making their voice heard, and they have even persecuted Christians in the streets.
For years now they have spoke out and infiltrated our shows we watch with their agenda, and they have pressed their agenda so far that they are trying to make it to where if a preacher teaches about the sin of homosexuality from the pulpit that he can be fined or jailed for hate speech.
Many other worldly people are doing their best to erase God out of our country. The few are making great strides to move our nation away from God while the majority remains silent, but how about you? Are being silent?
Are you ready to take a stand for Godís Word and let your voice be heard? Are you ready to tell people what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and other sins of the Bible, or are you ashamed of Godís Word?
If you are ashamed to uphold Godís truth, then God will be ashamed of you:
Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
I hope that none of us every become ashamed of Godís Word because we certainly donít want God to be ashamed of us.
One thing that should help motivate us to take a stand on Godís Word is the fact that God wants every person to hear His word and have the chance to repent.
2 Peter 3:9 †The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,† 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
We need to realize that there are many people that are lost in their sins, and we may be the only people that can share with them the good news of Jesus Christ. We need to become more courageous when we speak to others about God because we know that they are lost and what they will have to endure for eternity if they do not obey the gospel.
Many of us would have no problem rescuing our friends or loved ones from physical harm. Like if one them slipped on the side of a cliff and was barely hanging on, you wouldnít just look at them and hope them made it back to safety, no you rush to their aid and give them hand up.
While it is important to save someoneís physical life, it is far more important to save someone spiritually, yet we have a tendency to stand by and watch and hope that they will make into the everlasting arms of God on their own.
I hope that each of us can learn to be ready to preach the Word and show people the truth because we are not doing them any favors by keeping the truth to ourselves.
Are you ready to preach the Gospel?
I hope this lesson this morning has caused you to think about your life and to consider whether or not you are ready to follow Jesus all the way by denying yourself and putting Him first in your life. I hope you will be back tonight to hear part 2 of Are you ready?
As always, I want to offer an invitation. If you are hear this morning and you have not obeyed the Gospel by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, repenting of your past sins, confessing Jesus as your Lord or by being baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins I can tell you that you are lost, but as Paul said, today is the day of salvation and if you are ready to commit your life to God then why not obey today?