Advent Week 1 Written Sermon Mark 13:24-37 Getting & Staying Ready for Jesus

If you are a pastor or lay person who wants to use this to preach in church – that is why I posted it.  I don’t care about credit, I only care that God’s word is preached and Christ is glorified.  I pray He uses this sermon in a mighty way through you.  You have my permission to alter it (you’ll have to add your own illustrations) and use it however God leads you.  God bless you in your ministry. You can listen to the actual sermon by clicking here or download it as an mp3 by right clicking and clicking “save as” here. It turned out very different than this written sermon.  You can also bookmark this to check out the other free written sermons on my blog.

Tell us to have a few throw-away sentences at the beginning of the sermon – to get you ready.  My fluffer opening today is that there is no fluffer opening.

We look for Christ’s return as unlikely today as they initially looked for Christ’s initial entrance into the world.  Throughout the OT, we Christians believe there was this promise of a Messiah.  Isaiah says the Messiah will be a suffering servant:

Yet there was about 400 years between OT book of Malachi and Matthew.  it most certainly could have led to this feeling that God has forgotten them.  Can lead to apathy, indifference, or just plain giving up on God’s promise.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5

Nobody could have expected how Christ would have entered the world.  Unlike then however, the exalted Christ will return and every eye shall see and every knee shall bow.

many missed Jesus’ 1st coming, none will miss the 2nd.

The eager expectance is found again and again in the NT – One commentary says you have about as much chance of missing the return as you have of missing the Atlantic Ocean on a trip across the Atlantic.

Yet here we are, approaching the end of 2011, nearly a couple of thousand years have gone by now since Christ left the earth and as it says in Psalm 42, many say “Where is your God?”

Most of you have heard of fear Factor.  It was a show on from 2001-2006.  One of the first reality shows.  Now there’s a new Fear Factor Commercial –

America, what is this?  You’re watching TV shows about cupcakes, cooking, dancing, and decorating.  America, you’ve gotten soft.  What has happened to you?

I can imagine God saying, my children, you have left your first love.  I can just hear God saying, You get more excited about sporting events and shopping the day after Thanksgiving than you do about me.

Jesus says, “Watch, therefore” and we’ve quit watching.  I admit I preach all the time that seeing Jesus and facing the judgment of God are much more likely to happen by us dying than by Christ coming back.  That’s nothing more than me preaching as one who has quit watching.  There’s no longer a sense of urgency or expectation of Jesus coming.  There’s no longer expectancy.  On the other hand, we have some false prophets who try to tell us the time.

It was dark days before Jesus’ birth – I mentioned 400 years.  And something happened that very few were prepared for.  There were dark days before Jesus’ crucifixion and once again, something happened that very few were prepared for.  And there are dark days now and we have fallen asleep and we when something happens, when Christ comes back to the earth, very few will be prepared for it.

This scripture reminds us, pleads with us to keep on our toes, living on the alert.  Instead we’re sleep walking.

When’s it going to happen?  What makes the difference?  The scripture says to watch and be constantly ready.

What does it mean to be ready?

1.) You’ve realized you are separated from God and need to be reconciled.  You are aware that there is this gap between the perfection that God requires for entrance into heaven to be with Him forever and the life you’re living. You understand that God has provided the way by the birth, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ and there’s a conscious choice you have to make, to accept that Christ paid for your sin with His blood.

2.) Then, after you’ve made the choice and accepted the grace He provides, you begin to live your life for Him.  You have this zest for living.

Diane has this phrase in the kitchen on the wall – “Love generously, praise loudly, live fully.”

She asked me a while back, do you feel like you live fully?

There’s this saying that’s arguably attributed to John Wesley:

“Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can,

to all the souls you can, in every place you can,

at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can,

as long as ever you can”

That’s what I call watching and being ready.

If we’re doing the right thing, living fully and living for God’s glory, it doesn’t matter when Christ returns.

We can live our lives and still stay ready. Everyone’s not called to be a missionary in a foreign land.

It’s important not to hunker down like the people who used to live the monastic life, moving to the desert so they could be better Christians, being all alone so they can focus on God and not be tempted and aggravated by other people.

We have lives to live, kids and grandkids to raise and love, families, work.  But in the everyday, we stay ready.  Remember whose we are.

Charles and Norma – go to Florida for the winter, that’s fine.  Don’t forget about God while you’re there.  You can still stay ready while you’re there.  We can stay ready wherever we are, whatever we’re doing.

Remember, I just introduced this idea of two things to be ready.

1.) Accept Christ, P. 1203 – Bible Inspiration story –

If you need to get ready, get ready.

2.) Then once you’re ready, for those who are already ready:

live with zest for Him.

Christmas Day is on Sunday this year.  PICTURES _ LARRY

Enjoy your friends and family instead.  Not what I call staying ready.

Many people are going to be tempted to skip church this year on December 25th.

I can tell you it’s a bad idea.  Talk in residency of places canceling church on Christmas.

It’s because of Christmas and Easter that we MEET!

I have a Biblical phrase I want to introduce.  “For such a time as this…”

In the book of Esther, Mordecai gets word to Esther that she must go to the King and talk to him.  In doing so Esther knows, even though she is the Queen that she could be killed.  People don’t go to the King.  The King SENDS for people – even the queen.  It’s against the law to go to the king without being sent for.  Esther and Mordecai have a back and forth through an intermediary and Mordecai knowing Esther is the only one the King will listen to says, “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 

Staying ready is living for the Lord and not letting fear stop us.  We have an unbelievable opportunity right now.  Right now, in this time and this place, God has placed us together.  What does God have in store for us, “For such a time as this”?

Amber – had the idea about the coat drive and give away last year.  Didn’t move on it.  This year she did.  Now do you know what’s going to happen?  Not just what has already happened, but now the UMW are planning a blanket drive.  In January they want to give blankets away on pantry day.

Staying ready means living with zest and zeal for God’s glory and to spread his love and His message.

Staying ready means living with eager expectancy, doing what He puts in our heart to do.

Staying connected through reading His Word, prayer, meeting together, and doing His work while we’re here.

Let’s not let this time go by living in such a way that we will end up with regrets about what we could have done.

I could have given my life to Christ that one Sunday in church.

We could have really done the Lord’s work back in the early 2010’s.

In this scripture, Jesus is saying, listen, I am coming back.  Just as sure as I came the first time, I’m coming back.  And when I do, it will be too late to be saved and it will be too late to do my work.  Right now, it’s not too late.  Many have been lulled to sleep.  Our ideals have been pared away, our purpose has been pared down, and evil in our society is gaining strength.  And Jesus reminds us it is especially important in times such as these that we watch.  Live life fully for Him and leave this time and place with no regrets.

 

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4 Responses to Advent Week 1 Written Sermon Mark 13:24-37 Getting & Staying Ready for Jesus

  1. Brent Dehlbom says:

    Thank you Rev Knowlton, I am a Licensed Local Pastor in north Idaho and these sermons and your willingness to share is nothing short of a blessing from God for me!
    Blessings to you!
    Brent

  2. Barbara Dow says:

    Thank you. I often search the internet when looking for ideas on how to speak from a certain Bible reading, and always feel somewhat guilty when I use some of the ideas I come across, But now I can use some of your wonderful thoughts and not feel as if I am going to be charged (or disappoint God) for plagiarism. God Bless! I hope that my using some of your words will touch a few more hearts. We sure do need more people to turn to Christ.

  3. linda goertzen says:

    I appreciated your emphasis on how to stay busy AS being ready. Not just dressed and watching out the window for the ride who will pick you up; rather, staying engaged up until the doorbell rings!

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