ARE YOU READY?
This morning we began a two-part lesson titled ďAre you ready?Ē and we talked about several things that Bible says that we need to be ready. Tonight we are going to examine more things the Bible says we should be ready for.
As we discussed this morning, the Bible teaches us that we must be ready to put God first in our life and be ready to serve Him in various ways. The first thing we are going to look at tonight is how the Bible says we must be ready to share.
1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.† 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, †19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.†
Yes this was specific instructions to those that are rich, but these three ideas of being rich in good works, ready to give and willing to share were practice by the first century Christians over and over again.
For example, at the birth of the church in Acts chapter 2 we read:
Acts 2:44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,† 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
And a little bit latter we read:
Acts 4:34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,† 35 and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
These Christians treated each other like family because they were the family of God. They understood the importance of helping each other out, and none of them suffered because all were willing to share. These Christians were ready to share of their money and their time. So, this was not something just for the rich it was for everyone.
Paul told Titus:
Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,
Paul wanted Titus to remind the church that they must be ready for every good work. This includes sharing their money or sharing their time. Being ready to do good works is not limited to those inside the church because Paul also wrote:
Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
A classic example of this can be seen in the familiar story of the Good Samaritan.
Luke 10:30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.† 31 "Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.† 32 "Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.† 33 "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.† 34 "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.† 35 "On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.'† 36 "So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?"† 37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
Examples like these have been given to us to show us how we should be ready to do good to others either by using our money or our time. When we can learn to follow examples like these, it will make a big difference in our lives and in those that we share with because people can tell if you care about them by how much time you are willing to invest in them.
God is not asking us to do anything He is not willing to do because He gave us His only begotten Son, and through Him we have been given the chance to have eternal life in heaven if we are obedient to Him. We could also look at Jesusí life on the earth and how He was willing to share Himself and the possession He had to touch the life of others. How about you, are you ready for every good work, and are you willing to share of your time and your money when needed?
Another thing the Bible says we must be ready to do is to forgive: Jesus said:
Luke 17:3 "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.† 4 "And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."†
When someone repents, we must be ready to forgive them because if we donít Jesus says:
Matthew 6:14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.† 15 "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.†
Again, God is not asking us to do something that He is not willing to do because when we repent of the sins we commit, God will forgive them. Anytime we start struggling with forgiving someone, we need to remind ourselves of all those sins that God has forgiven in our life, and it will help encourage us to be ready to forgive others.
How about you, are you ready to forgive those who repent?
Another example of how we must be ready to follow Jesus all the way can be seen in:
Acts 21:8 On the
next day we who were Paul's companions departed and came to Caesarea,
and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the
seven, and stayed with him.† 9
Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.† 10 And as we stayed many days, a
certain prophet named Agabus came down from
Paul was on his† way back to Jerusalem, and everywhere he went he was warned that bad things were going to take place when he got their, but Paul was ready to deal with anything that might happen to him including death. He was not afraid to die for the cause of Christ. As the writer of Hebrews said,
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."† 6 So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"†
Also Jesus said,
Matthew 10:28 †"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
When you read the NT, you will see that many Christians were willing to die for the cause of Christ because they realized that Godís cause was far greater than anyoneís life. This is why early Christians would refuse to deny their faith even though they would be eaten by lions or burned alive because they believed with all their heart the even if man destroyed their body, they could not destroy their soul. They could rejoice in the afterlife knowing that they did not bow their knee to the world, but upheld God first in their life.
How about you? Is your faith in God strong enough that you would be willing to die for His cause or do you find yourself shying away from God just because you are afraid of hurting someoneís feelings, or you are afraid someone might not like you any more?
I do not think this is an easy question for us to answer truthfully because we know in the back of our minds that it is highly unlikely that we will end up in a situation where we will lose our life because of our belief in God, but we can measure how ready we are to die by how we deal with everyday situations because if we afraid to stand up for what is right and we go along with the crowd, then we can know that we are not ready to die for the cause of Christ.
If we ever hope to be ready to follow Jesus all the way, we must learn to become courageous when it comes to standing up for the truth. Yes, it is uncomfortable to do, and it will not win you any popularity contests, but you can take great satisfaction in knowing that you are pleasing God.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.† 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.†
Becoming a Christian is easy, but living your life for God and learning to be ready to put Him first is very challenging, but when we train ourselves to follow Godís will, we can know that we will have a home in heaven because we traveled that difficult road that leads to the narrow gate of eternal life in heaven. When we strive to be ready to follow Jesus all the way, we can say the same thing that Paul said at the end of his life:
2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.† 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.† 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Everything we have examined this morning and this evening about being ready to follow Jesus leads up to my last question:
Are your ready for the Judgment Day?
When we study the Bible, we learn that Jesus will come back a second time, and when He does, it will end life on the face of the earth.
Matthew 24:36 " But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.† 37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.† 38 "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,† 39 "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.† 40 "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.† 41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.† 42 "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.† 43 "But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.† 44 "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
There are many today who teach that Jesus is coming soon because the signs are right, yet Jesus said that no on knows that day except the Father in heaven. So, Jesus could come tomorrow or it could be 1000 years from now, but what is important is that we live our life is such away that we are ready for the judgment day today.
I have my own personal idea of why we are not told when the end will come, because if we knew that Jesus was coming back in a year, then people would get very serious about serving God for that remaining year, but if they knew that it was 15 years away and that God is forgiving God many would not concern themselves about living for God until the 15 years was almost up, because that is how many people look at things. They like to put things off as a long as possible, but we do not have that option when it comes to serving God because not only do we not know when the judgment day will come, we do not know when our life will end. We could die today, or maybe it will be 20 years from now. So, we must stay ready at all times.
Jesus illustrates this in the following parable found in:
Matthew 25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.† 2 "Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.† 3 "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,† 4 "but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.† 5 "But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.† 6 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'† 7 "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.† 8 "And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'† 9 "But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'† 10 "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.† 11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'† 12 "But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'† 13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
Many Christians out there are not ready for the judgment day because they have not been following Jesus all the way. You need to ask yourself are you like the wise or unwise virgins? If you are like the unwise ones, then you know that you are not ready for the judgment day.
On that day, the Word of God will judge us:
John 12:48 †"He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
We will stand before Jesus and give an account for what we have done with our lives, which will include how ready we were to serve God almighty.
2 Corinthians 5:10 †For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
I have it heard is said that heaven is prepared place for a prepared people and this lesson has shown that this saying is true, but again I ask you, are you ready for the judgment day?
If you have learned that you have not been putting God first in your life, I hope that you will make the necessary changes in your life so that you will be ready to follow Jesus all the away and so that you will be ready for the judgment day.