Are we Ready for His Coming?


When will Jesus return?


Let’s learn that we do not know when Christ will return but that he will come back and we must keep watch.

Sermon Plan

Let’s discuss Matthew 24:36-44, prophecy and keeping watch.
Matthew 24:36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
40 “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.
42 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

End of an Era (vs. 36)

If Jesus is God the Son and coequal with the Father, how is it that he does not know the day or hour? Perhaps the Athanasian Creed can answer best, where it says that Christ is "equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his manhood.” It is Jesus the man speaking here.
When is the end of the world? Jesus predicted two things, the fall of Jerusalem and that the Gospel would be preached in the whole world. He also said that no one knows the day or the hour of his return, a purposefully vague prophecy. We keep watch, because we do not know on what day our Lord will come.

Like Noah’s Day (vs. 37-39)

Jesus included a picture of apparent normality like in Noah’s day - meals, marriages, agriculture. In this outward sense of normalcy we can become deluded that we don’t need to keep vigilant watch in prayerful preparation for his return. It appears that in apocalyptic times there may also be periods of normalcy. During those times watching will be even more imperative.

Left Behind (vs. 40-41)

All our prophetic theories are inadequate. The so-called “left behind” theories have difficulties with this passage. Jesus compares those “taken away” with those evil people swept away in Noah’s flood. The natural reading of this passage seems to be the opposite of the “left behind” theories. We have enough clues to encourage hope, and enough left out to stimulate faith.

Watching (vs. 42)

One of the mandates in the passage is to watch. The task of a watchman is vigilance. In Matthew 26:41 we are encouraged to watch and pray that we do not give into temptation. Jesus encouraged us in this passage to be ready at all times, because he is coming at an hour when we do not think he will.
Shepherds watched their flocks by night to protect them. Jesus warns us to remain clothed (Revelation 16:15) and he warns us to watch and pray that we do not fall into temptation (Mark 14:38). Unlike the five foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) a good watch is always at the ready, always on guard lest the enemy tempt them.

Jesus Like a Burglar (vs. 43-44)

How is Jesus like a burglar, a thief in the night? In only one way - his coming is unexpected. The only way to deal with burglars is by being prepared and keeping watch. Most people will be uninterested in Jesus and unaware of the approach of his coming. Jesus challenges us to stay alert, be vigilant, prepared for his coming.

Outro/Take Home

Rather than becoming sucked into the consumerism and materialism of this world, let us live out the kingdom of God here and now, like St Nicholas from Myra who gave away his life’s fortune so that others could be blessed. We cannot know when Christ will return but he will and we must keep watch. We need to watch and pray so that when he comes we will be ready.

The Thanksgiving List


Is there one thing that we can do in under and hour that gives a longer lasting and better quality lift for positive mental health than any drug? What about writing a list of things that we are thankful for?


Let’s be thankful to God for each and every day, because we never know what tomorrow may bring.


Let’s look at Luke 12:15-21 and a man who planned a life of ease but forgot God.
Luke 12:15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Thankful for Today

If tomorrow was our last day, how would our prayers change? How thankful would we be for our lives? What would be on a list of the good things a spouse or even former divorced spouse did for us? What good things did our parents do? What things are we thankful for in our children? As we pass through this life, we also meet many people. Some relationships are just a moment, and others are lifelong. Are we thankful for the benefits that each relationship brings to us? Material things are not forever. A house, car, land, vacation property, and other things are only temporary possessions. Are we thankful for God allowing us temporary use of these things of his?

Thankful for Good Government

The Bible often describes government leaders in negative terms as shepherds who fail completely, leading the people astray, and as selfish while others starve (Jeremiah 10:21; Jeremiah 50:6; Ezekiel 34:8). But human government has also done a lot of good for each one of us. Are we thankful for the good the government does? Government provides roads, schools, satellites, stadiums, defense, retirement, water treatment, sewage, trash disposal, research, ports, communications, mail, energy, disease control, health, consumer protection, clean air and water, work safety, weather services, unemployment, helps the poor, sick, elderly, provides police, scholarships, soil conservation, libraries, building codes, etc. Perfect human government is impossible, but God supports good government and so should we (Romans 13:1-7).

Thankful for God

Are we thankful that God is gentle, loving, kind, compassionate, faithful, forgiving, good, just, life itself, inhabits eternity, is unchanging, holy, righteous, just, truthful, immanent, transcendent, and 3 in One?
Are we thankful that Jesus is the Lord, God of the Hebrew Scriptures, God with us, the angels are his angels, he judges the world, he is both human and divine, born of a virgin, and died for our sins?
Are we thankful that the Holy Spirit teaches, guides us into all truth, reveals Jesus, convicts of sin, seals believers, is a person, is God, Comforter and the “Spirit of Christ”?
Are we thankful that the holy Angels are God's servants, ministering spirits serving the heirs of salvation, rejoicing in the salvation of believers, serving, protecting, encouraging and relaying God’s will to us?
Are we thankful that humans were created in the likeness of God with a similar but limited ability to reason, ruling over the earth, created to have a relationship with God?
Are we thankful that sins ranging from simply missing the mark to abject moral evil can be forgiven in Christ Jesus?
Are we thankful that God is revealed in the Bible, in creation, in Jesus Christ and other special ways?
Are we thankful that salvation from God means being saved from sickness and calamity today as well as for eternity, and that salvation is open to all people of the world?
Are we thankful that Jesus established his church as an assembly of Christians, as the body of Christ, a family, a vine and branches, the pillar and ground of the truth, a living temple that grows, a holy temple in which God dwells, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, living stones around the cornerstone, with the salt and light of good deeds? Are we thankful that church gatherings are places to be strengthened in faith, to be spiritually fed, a place for prophecy or inspired preaching, a place for collections for the saints, to learn of God’s wisdom, to get spiritually cleansed, to sing God’s praises, and a place to be healed?
Are we thankful that when we all die and there comes an end of all material things, Jesus will come again, there is a resurrection, and a judgment where our eternal state will be finalized?
Are we thankful for this message and believe that it is so important that it must be taken into all the world?


Let us be thankful and put God first in all our plans today, because we never know what tomorrow may bring.

You are the Church


I’m going to utter a prophecy. The gates of hell will not destroy this church. Jesus said that in Matthew 16:18. When he said that, he was not talking about a building. He was talking about the people, because people are the church.


Let’s learn that real estate is not the church, people are.

Sermon Plan

Let’s look at Luke 21:1-19 and discuss church success, what impresses God, church buildings, tribulation, fear, prophecy and endurance.
Luke 21:1 While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. 4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”
5 Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, 6 “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”
8 He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. 9 And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” 10 Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.
12 “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. 13 But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! 16 Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish! 19 By standing firm, you will win your souls.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Success (vs. 1-4)

Jerusalem’s Temple was renovated around 19 BC and destroyed in 70 AD. It was so magnificent that it could easily surpass many of today’s most magnificent churches. God destroyed it because it was not a successful building. It became an idol. Successful churches are those not those with the most magnificent buildings but those that preach Christ and change lives.
A Successful Life (vs. 1-4)
A life of stinginess and accumulation is a mean and empty life. One example of generosity stands out, though she gave very little. This person, who was otherwise completely unknown, was a great giver. It was not the amount given away that gauges her financial success, but the percentage. That's what the story of the widow's mite is all about.
What Impresses God (vs. 1-4)
The disciples were impressed by the temple. God is not impressed by materialism. Jesus had the most praise for a widow who gave very generously at the temple. Could it just be that one of the most important reasons to attend a church is the opportunity to learn from the examples of the many faithful people with whom we fellowship?
Closing Church Buildings (vs. 1-4)
Jesus predicted that the temple at Jerusalem, which was an institution for over 500 years, would be destroyed. God is sometimes in the business of closing buildings. Jesus’ prediction came right after he had praised a widow for her very generous contribution to the temple fund, the proverbial widow’s mite. Church buildings are not the "forever" part of church life.

Church Size (vs. 5)

The majesty of a large church service can be awe-inspiring. Yet the intimacy and healing embrace of a small church is unsurpassed. Jesus did not promise large churches would be the norm or even a sign of success. Some few ancient churches were large. Usually, they were small and scattered. Size is not a sign of success; standing firm is.
A church choice (vs. 5)
What if Jesus presented us with a choice between a large and beautiful church building or having no building, enduring suffering and being despised? What if by choosing the latter and standing firm, we could have eternal life? Buildings can be idols. Jesus is more impressed with the grandeur of a heart which stands firm for him no matter what.

Destruction for Progress (vs. 6)

Change often causes anger. When churches look to traditions and not God’s instructions, our complications and not the simplicity of Christ, sometimes existing structures must go. Jesus prophesied that the temple would be destroyed, heralding a revolution in faith. If we are not willing to move forward in faith, God may destroy what we have built for our own good.
Buildings as Idols (vs. 6)
Christians are united in Jesus, but even good traditions can become like idols and need to be destroyed. The temple once served a good purpose, but had become a national idol. The more we study Jesus, the more we realize how ignorant we are of God’s perspective. The most important thing is to sit at the feet of the Master.
St Peter's Basilica cost what (vs. 6)
A tour guide once remarked that St Peter's Basilica cost most of northern Europe. Protestant churches left largely because of the financial scandal in building it. It is a monument to sin and arrogant pride in the Church. The traditions and structures we have built can become monuments to our own sin and conceited arrogance which God must eventually destroy.
A permanent Structure (vs. 6)
Jesus predicted the temple’s destruction and spoke of a truly permanent temple and an important cornerstone. People are that house of God (Ephesians 2:18-20). We are the living stones (1 Peter 2:4-6) in a spiritual temple. Our hope is in a permanent structure being built by Jesus Christ. If we build with him we will not be disappointed.
A Firm Foundation (vs. 6)
Jesus placed spiritual depth before buildings. A good building has a foundation that stands firm. We are to stand firm. Jesus listed things that help us stand firm: Don’t following false preachers who make wild claims about salvation and the end of the world. Do not be frightened. In the midst of calamity and hatred, stand firm on God’s foundation.

The Time is Near (vs. 8)

People have predicted the end for 2,000 years and Jesus warned us not to follow them (Luke 21:1-19). The day, hour and nearness of Christ’s return are unknown. When we believe that we are certain of the nearness of Christ’s return, we become lazy. Yet, real Christianity involves keeping on keeping on even in the midst of uncertainty.

Great Tribulation (vs. 11-14)

Christians live great tribulation in dozens of countries today. North Korean Christians face labor camps and death. Saudi Arabian Christians are threatened with imprisonment, deportation, torture and death. Afghanistani Christians face kidnapping and killing. In Iraq they are threatened with home burning, abduction and murder. Somali Christians face abduction and murder with no religious freedom. Let us pray for them.
Fearless in Fearful Times (vs. 11-14)
There are many reasons for fear. Jesus informed believers about the reality of fearful times, but encouraged them not to be afraid. Can we be fearless in fearful times? Every aspect of our lives, even the hairs on our heads are under God’s control. It takes faith to stand firm until the end and in so doing win eternal life.
Living by Faith (vs. 11-14)
Every generation since Christ thought that theirs was the last generation and none of them was right. What a lot of time was wasted! Jesus encouraged us not to worry about being overly prepared but to put our faith in him. Worry and doubt distract us from the most important job at hand which it to spread the gospel message.

Dying Testimony (vs. 16)

Martyr also means testimony. A witness is to die for our faith as martyrs. 50 countries which persecute Christians are on the list at Open Doors. The Voice of the Martyrs tells many of their stories. May we pray for them and follow their example by standing firm no matter what may come, so that we too "will win life."

Difficult Christianity (vs. 17)

The prosperity gospel is not real Christianity. We see the reality of a Christian life as Jesus predicted hardships which would follow true believers. God certainly does provide material blessings to the faithful at times, but suffering also comes to Christians precisely because they are obedient. Jesus encouraged us to stand firm and inherit something greater than materialism, eternal life.

4 Views of Prophecy (vs. 20, 27)

There are 4 predominant schools of prophecy: preterists (ancient fulfillment), historicists (fulfilled through history), futurists (to be fulfilled) and idealists (symbolic or spiritual fulfillment). The fourth symbolic view can include all other views. In Luke 21:5-19 we can see elements which were fulfilled in 70 AD and some which will be more logically completely fulfilled only at Christ’s return.

Outro/Take Home

Like all temporary things, buildings have never been important to God. What is more important is lives changed and people that will live forever with him.

Blessings and Sorrows


We should take several different baths each week. The obvious one is a bath for the outer body. A not so obvious bath is one for the inner body, by drinking an appropriate amount of clean water, rather than polluting our bodies with too much junk. Another not so obvious bath is for the mind, by focusing on good thinking and creative ideas instead of dullness of mind. And that brings me to the most important bath of all.


Let’s learn that focusing on God’s thoughts which are far above ours, good instead of evil, things above instead of things below, is like a bath for the soul. The best bath of all is bathing in the words of Jesus.

Sermon Plan

Let’s discuss four blessings and four sorrows from Luke 6:20-31.
Luke 6:20 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. 21 God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. 22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.
24 “What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now. 25 What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you. What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow. 26 What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets.
27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Happiness and Sorrow

Happiness awaits the poor. Sorrow awaits the rich. Happiness awaits the hungry. Sorrow awaits the prosperous. Happiness awaits the weeping. Sorrow awaits the laughing. Happiness awaits the hated who follow Jesus. Sorrow awaits the praised. There are two kinds of laughter, hardhearted and heavenly. Even the weeping of the callous and uncaring can bring true happiness through their own suffering.

1. Blessings of poverty

Why are the poor blessed? They appreciate small blessings, are more environmentally friendly, empathize with suffering, more generous, more moral, know they need a Savior, depend on God, have no exaggerated sense of self-importance, cooperate rather than compete, know necessities from luxuries, learn patience, can survive great suffering, recognize the good news and respond unafraid because they have nothing to lose.

2. Blessings of hunger

Hunger is caused by selfish politics and greed. Why are the hungry blessed? Fasting makes food taste better. The rich man may be dying due to poverty of diet, the unhealthy ingredients of a rich diet, something even the ancients knew (Daniel 1:1-16). Even good food does not satisfy. There is a hunger that only Jesus can truly satisfy.

3. Blessing of weeping

Why is weeping a blessing? According to some medical experts, crying aloud is not only good physically in that it cleanses the body of certain toxins produced by stress, it also helps us bring negative emotions to the fore so that they can be addressed. Mourning is good. When expressed through tears it produces longer lasting positive benefits, including true happiness.

4. Blessing of being hated

We all experience hatred at times. Today, politicians are hated. Why would anyone want to be a politician? Jesus encouraged those expelled from the Jewish community, because of him. Christianity was once a Jewish religion. Christians are still excluded, insulted and rejected. Yet, they are in the good company of the ancient prophets and will be greatly rewarded in heaven.

Saint Who?

Saint means special to God, and that includes millions of people who are poor, hungry, weeping or hated. Being rich, fat, funny or popular does not automatically make people saints. Some of the greatest saints are unknown. So next time you see a poor, hungry, crying or hated person take a second look. You may be speaking to a saint.

1. Woe of wealth

Why does worldly wealth caused woe? It is a great temptation to be selfish and callous. Jesus chose poverty. Most rich people would not choose poverty. Wealth hardens hearts. Why do the wealthy oppose government programs to help the poor and demand budget cuts in welfare and oppose increases in taxes on the rich? Surely selfishness is a strong reason.

2. Woe of full bellies

In Europe and America we are well fed, but sick in body and spirit. Poor countries cannot afford to pollute their food with all the junk that we do. Jesus said woe to the full. Those who eat well now may end up empty on judgment day, because of the callous hearts that go along with wealth and full bellies.

3. Woe of laughter

Why did Jesus say woe to those who laugh now? Notice he said laugh “now.” Greed is a fashion statement. Laughter can reveal an attitude of not caring about the suffering. Being thrilled about the things of this world, fashions, popularity, money and partying can reveal a calloused heart. Jesus warned about the fate of those with hard, uncaring hearts.

4. Woe of popularity

Flattery can be a deadly trap. Pastors often joke that if everyone likes us we must be doing something wrong. Jesus made people angry. Elijah was not very popular. The priests of Ba’al (1 Kings 18) were far more popular. A lonely Elijah confronted 450 priests of Ba’al. On judgment day only one reputation will matter, being popular with God.

Outro/Take Home

God’s thoughts are so far above ours and the culture which permeates our daily thoughts. Let us take a cleansing bath for our souls and learn to view the world as God does.