Part of the Journey is the End

Are You Truly Prepared For Christ's Return? What To Do Now

Dan Franklin
Mar 10, 2024    40m
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Are you living each day prepared for Christ's return? Jesus says no one knows the day or hour when He will come back - not even the angels or Himself knew during His earthly ministry. Yet He commands us to keep watch and be ready, because He will return unexpectedly like a thief in the night. Are you confident you would be unashamed before Him at His coming? Or would you feel regret over unrepented sin or delayed obedience? This sermon explores what it means to be prepared for Christ's return through simple, faithful obedience to Jesus daily. Gain biblical insights to live confidently, without shame, eagerly awaiting your King's glorious return. Video recorded at Upland, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. Also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Terry O'Brien: [00:00:18] Good morning. My name is Terry O'Brien, and I serve with LIFEKids. Today I'm going to be reading Matthew 24, and I'll start with verse 36, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." This is the word of the Lord.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:31] Amen. You can be seated. So there seems to be something in us as human beings where we get fixated on talking about the end of the world, it's like a fascination that we have, it's a fascination in literature, it's a fascination in film. You know, you go back to the Terminator movies in Mad Max, you move into Hunger Games, and The Road, and 2012, like all of these ideas are just something that we're fixated on. We really like the idea, or at least we're fascinated with the idea, of talking about how is th
e world going to end. And it's not just religious people, it's not just people that look to prophecy about that even purely secular people in our culture right now are talking about the end of the world. And they're not talking about the biblical prophecy, but they're talking about climate change, and they're talking about nuclear war, we're really fixated on this idea, we're focused on the idea of what is going to happen at the end.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:40] And in the Bible, what we get for those of us who believe the Bible is God's Word, we get prophecies about the end. The Bible is not silent on this subject, we get passages that give predictions about the end, and sometimes they're the passages that are the most controversial and the most confusing and the most tricky for us to go through. And we're going to spend some time in one of those passages today. We're going to spend time this week and next week in what's typically been known as the Olivet Discourse. This is Matthew chapters 24 and 25, guys, I think the slides are not on, Matthew chapters 24 and 25. We're going to be in 24 today and going to be in a portion of 25 next week. And as we talked this through, the reason it's called...Okay, I'm just not seeing it on the back. You guys are like, what are you talking about? All right, there we go, we're going to get this right.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:31] The Olivet Discourse is called the Olivet Discourse because Jesus gives this extended speech on the Mount of Olives. He's on there, and he gives a two-chapter-long prediction about the end times. And one of the things that I want to do before we get into the passage that we're going to focus in on, which is verses 36 through 51, is, I want to get us our bearings because there's something that happens at the beginning of this passage that leads up to everything that Jesus talks about. So it starts off in verses 1 and 2, and we read, "Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” And that leads to something that then happens as a follow-up in verse 3. So in verse 3, it says, As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming..." You can see up there, that I have in brackets the Greek word is Parousia, we're going to get to that word later, "...what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:56] So these questions, what they ask in verse 3, sets Jesus off on talking nonstop for two chapters in response to what they say. And they also, in a way, kind of give us an outline for how Jesus approaches this. Because you might notice it's actually two questions that they ask. They may have been under the impression that they were talking about the same event, but they asked two questions. The first question is, when will this happen? And the 'this' is talking about when is this event going to happen, Jesus, that you just said, hey, in the temple and in Jerusalem, not one stone will be left upon another? They ask, when will this happen? And then they ask, what will be the sign of your coming? They ask about the very end, and this actually sort of provides the outline for how Jesus approaches this. Because first, in verses 4 through 35, he answers that first question, and he answers the first question about when will this happen by giving a prediction about the destruction of Jerusalem that ended up taking place in A.D. 70, when Rome came in and the temple was destroyed. And he talks about specifics, and he talks about them fleeing the city. he talks about all of these things. And then he kind of culminates that section in verse 34 when he says, truly, I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until these things have happened.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:25] So there are lots of questions. Some of you are going to want to come and ask me about this later because there's a lot in chapter 24, but that's fine, we're giving the big picture here. But he spends those verses talking about a near prediction, something that 40 years after he says these words happen and he says this generation won't pass away until these things take place. And that was true, because there were people listening to Jesus right then, who were still around when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. So he answers the first question, and he says, all right, I'll give you the timing, at least the broad timing, it's within a generation that this will happen. But then he spends verse 36 of chapter 24, and then all the way through chapter 25, answering the second question about his coming, about his, again, the Greek word Parousia, which is going to show up in verses 37 and 39. And here's why I'm highlighting it, do you see all these other references down there? Ten New Testament references where the word Parousia is used about Jesus, and every one of those times it is talking about his return, it is talking about the Second Coming. And so just follow me on this, we're all fascinated by the end of the world, we all want to know what's going to happen and how it is going to end. Jesus says that the climactic, the central event in the world's end or in the end of this age is not climate change, it's not a war, it's not overpopulation, it's not anything like that, it is the return of the Son of God, it is his Parousia.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:08] And so here's how this passage we're going to go through is going to unfold. We're going to start at verse 36, and we're talking about the end, we're talking about his return, and Jesus is going to talk about it in two ways. First, he's going to talk about the timing of his return. And second, he's going to talk about the response, our proper response to his return.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:34] So we start with the timing, this is in verse 36 he says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." And if we'd gone through in detail all the verses leading up to this, you'd see that there's actually a shift in Jesus' wording, because up to this point, he's been talking in terms of those days, and those days are when he's speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem. Suddenly he's talking about that day, and he talked about that day back in chapter 7 in the sermon on the Mount, when he said, "Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" So here's why I'm bringing this up, that day, back in chapter 7, was the Day of Judgment, it's the day of Jesus' return. So he's referring back to that now. He says, "But about that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Jesus says you asked about the timing, you asked about the timing of my Parousia, about my return. He says I'll tell you about the timing, no one knows, not any human being. Do you see what it says? Not even the angels know. If that's not shocking enough, who else doesn't know? Jesus says, not even the Son.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:24] And this really spins our mind around, we think, not even the Son. Like this is crazy talk, like, Jesus is God, he is the eternal Son, how in the world could he not know about his return? And this is a little bit confusing, but probably at the very least, here's what this means, at the very least, this means during the time of his earthly physical life, this was one of the things that Jesus didn't know. And if that makes you think like, how can that be possible? What we need to understand is that when Jesus took on flesh, when he did this great, profound act of love by taking on full humanity, part of what went along with that is that Jesus embraced some temporary limitations that normally wouldn't be true of somebody who was God. So he didn't stop being God when he took on flesh, but you may notice that if you read through the Old Testament, you get the very clear teaching that God is Spirit and he is everywhere all at once, he's not bound by space, we call that omnipresence. Was Jesus omnipresent? No, Jesus was in one place at one time in a body. He temporarily allowed himself to be limited.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:47] And in the same way, there are passages in the New Testament that seem to indicate that there were certain things Jesus didn't know. I'll give you a couple of examples. There's a passage where he's hungry and he sees a fig tree, and so he goes up to the fig tree to get some fruit, and he finds that there's nothing on the fig tree, and he gets really upset. Do you know why he was upset? Because he thought there was going to be fruit on the fig tree. After all, it's a fig tree. Jesus seemed not to know that there was no fruit on the fig tree. There's another great passage where Jesus is walking through the crowd, and a woman who had a bleeding problem for years and years reaches out, and she touches the hem of his cloak, thinking, I can be healed if I can just touch him. She touches the hem of his cloak, she's instantly healed, and Jesus feels the power went out for healing. He turns around, and do you remember what he says? He says, who touched me? Now it's not impossible that Jesus knew but was drawing her out, but the more straightforward way to read it is Jesus didn't know. He didn't know because he'd taken on flesh, and he took on flesh to be one of us, and he took on flesh to be one of us so that he could live the perfect life that we failed to live, so that we could be rewarded as if we live the life that Jesus lived. And just think about the idea that Jesus did not show up one day in Bethlehem, and then the next day on the cross. He lived 33 years of a sinless, perfect life to give that perfect life as a gift for you. He lived the life you should have lived and then died the death you should have died so that he would get the punishment for all of our sins, and so that we would get the reward for all of his righteousness. That's your King. That's your Savior. He says that at least during his earthly life, he says, I don't even know. Now Jesus is now glorified at the right hand of the Father in heaven. I can't say this for sure, I suspect he knows, but maybe even part of the glory of the incarnation was that he chose to give that up, the Father knows. The big point is this, you don't know, I don't know, the angels don't know, no one knows.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:15] And he reinforces this by relating it to the days of Noah. In verse 37 he says, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming (in the Parousia) of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming (once again, the Parousia) of the Son of Man." So he relates it to the flood, he says they were going about normal life, eating, drinking, having parties, having marriage ceremonies, they were doing all this stuff, they had no inkling that their world was about to end, He says, that's what it's going to be like when Jesus returns. People are not going to see it coming, it will be a surprise, it will be unexpected. Once again, who knows when Jesus is returning? Yeah, the Father. Who doesn't know? Yeah, the Son. Who else doesn't know? All right, good, you're getting to it, we don't know. We don't know, nobody knows.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:30] But this hasn't stopped people over the centuries from making very specific predictions about when Jesus is going to return. And this has happened almost from the beginning of church history that people have made these predictions, but it's also happened in more recent years. if you remember the 80s, if you were alive in the 80s, you may know that there was a book that was published called 88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988. It is not selling a lot of copies today. Very specific predictions, some of you remember when we were coming up to Y2K in the year 2000, all kinds of speculation, is this going to be when Jesus returns? Some people were even like, maybe the Mayans were right, 2012 is when this is going to happen. We continue to do this, and I want to be really clear on this, if there is a teacher or an author or somebody right now who's influencing your thinking, and it is a person who is making specific predictions about the return of Jesus, you need to stop listening to them. And here's why, first of all, they're wrong about when Jesus is coming back. I don't know when they're saying he's coming back, but I know they're wrong. Do you know why I know they're wrong? There you go, you're following because nobody knows. but it's not just that they're wrong, it's that they are saying that they know something that Jesus says they don't know. They are disagreeing with Jesus about this exact point. And Jesus could not be more clear, everybody is going to be surprised when he comes back, no one knows, he's not given us this information so that we can crack some code.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:21] Now, before we move on to the response, he says, one more thing about this in verses 40 and 41. He says, as he's still describing this surprise, he says, "Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left." Now there are all kinds of different theories about the events that will lead up to Jesus' Parousia, that that will lead up to his second coming. One of those is the belief that the church will be snatched out, it will be taken out, this is called the rapture, will be taken out and will sort of be in heaven with God until Jesus returns once and for all. And so I want to say a word about it because if you believe in the rapture, this is a go-to verse on this. So the first thing that I want to say is this, at Life Bible Fellowship Church, we work very hard to major on the majors and minor on the minors. And what that means is, in every area of Christian belief, the majors, the things that are biblically clear, the things that the church has always held to, the things that are at the center of our faith, man, we will die on those hills, we will hold to those firmly. But there are minor issues, there are minor issues that Christians can agree to disagree on, and the Bible is not as clear on, and it doesn't mean that there's not a right answer, it just means we don't divide over those things.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:52] So here's how this applies to questions about end times. The majors, the majors are Jesus is going to return physically, visibly, suddenly, and victoriously, that's the center. And when he returns, he will bring about final judgment, he will raise the dead either to judgment or to eternal life, and he will usher in the new earth where he will reign victorious. We will be, those of us who are believers will be in a new, redeemed physical body living on a new, redeemed physical earth. That is the center of our, what we call eschatology, our belief about the end times. That is the majors, that's what we will die for. Do you know we're not going to die for? The rapture, the millennium, the timing of the tribulation, or the identity of the Antichrist, these are things Christians good Bible-believing Christians can agree to disagree on.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:56] Now, as I say that it's possible that there are some of you in here that how you grew up or the church that you're familiar with, that you're familiar with growing up, taught that the rapture was one of the majors. That it's like, if you don't believe in the rapture, you don't believe the Bible. I want you to know not only is the rapture not a core belief for our members, but we also have elders and pastors who are not on the same page about this, and we're fine with that because we're together on the majors. In fact, and I'll just throw this in, rapture theology didn't really come in any form to be believed until the late 19th, or early 20th century. That doesn't mean you can't think it's right, but what it means is it's not smart to think that that is somehow at the center of our faith, it is not at the center of our faith.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:56] So now, with all that said, if you do believe in a rapture, I'm going to say I don't think that's what verses 40 and 41 are talking about. And the reason I don't think that that's what they're talking about is because this whole passage is about the Parousia, it's about the return of Jesus, and there's no indication that he's talking about that coming in installments. Sort of like a secret coming, and then the real coming, it's just the coming. What he's saying is at my coming, at my return, there will be two men in the field, one will be taken, one will be left, there will be two women grinding at the mill, one will be taken, one will be left. And the interesting thing is that scholars on these verses, it's not clear which one you want to be. Do you kind of understand what I'm saying here? Do you want to be taken, or do you want to be left? And the passage is ambiguous, it's not totally clear. It may be that he's saying to be taken as bad, because back a few verses earlier, when he was talking about the flood, those who were taken were those who were swept away in the flood. So it's possible that what he's saying is when Jesus comes back, when he comes back, some are going to be taken in terms of swept off into judgment, and there will be some who will be preserved. But the word he uses for taken here is different than the word that he used back when he was talking about the flood. The word he uses here, more likely and more frequently, refers to when you take somebody with you somewhere, like Jesus would take three of his disciples and go somewhere. So I think it's more than likely the taken is the good one, but the taken here is not taken off into heaven for seven years, the taken is taken to where Jesus is as he ushers in the new earth, and those who are left are those who are left out of that. And the difference, he makes real clear on this, the difference is not what your occupation is because they're doing the same job. The difference is not your ethnicity because they're living in the same place. And the difference is not your socioeconomic status, because they're probably getting paid the same thing. The difference is, is your faith in King Jesus or is it not? Jesus says when he comes, nobody's going to see it coming, everybody is going to be surprised.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:28] And so then the question is, well, what are we supposed to do about that? And that's what he gets into, starting in verse 42, when he talks about the response to his return. He gives two commands in these verses; you'll see both of them. Command number one in verse 42, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." So command number one, keep watch. In verse 43, he explains what it means to keep watch. He says, "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into." And so let's make sure we get Jesus' point here. First of all, it's a little bit funny because he's depicting the scenario of a thief coming up like knocking on the door and saying, I'm going to rob your house. Does 2 a.m. work for you? It's like, obviously, that's not what happens, obviously, the thief tries to come at an unexpected time, and he says that's what it's like with Jesus. But the interesting thing is, again, he's saying you should keep watch. Now by the fact that we don't know when the thief is coming, the owner of the house, when does he need to keep watch? Always. All the time. So when Jesus is saying keep watch, he's not saying keep watch at the time that, you know Jesus might be coming back. He's saying you don't know when he's coming back, and so keep watch all the time.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:58] He follows this up in verse 44 by saying, so you also must be ready. Command number two, command number one, keep watch. Command number two, be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. One more time, do you know when Jesus is coming back? No, you do not, nobody does. He's coming, everybody's going to be surprised when he comes. He has said this over and over again, but he says, all right, keep watch, be ready. But how do you be ready? What does it mean to be ready? Especially since we don't know when he's coming.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:36] Jesus gives a brief parable in verses 45 through 51 that explains what it means to be ready. He says, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Man, the stakes get high on this, this gets really serious in this passage, Jesus says there are major stakes over whether or not you're ready. Because the servant who was ready, he got this great reward, he got rewarded when the master came back, he got put in charge of all the possessions in the household. But the servant who wasn't ready, the wicked servant, gets cut in pieces and cast outside into the darkness.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:03] As a pause on this, you might be looking at this and saying, like, who are these servants? Because they're both servants, it almost makes us think, are these both Christians and are certain Christians going to be cut in two and cast out into outer darkness? And the answer is, no, that is not going to happen to any believer in Jesus. What Jesus describes here is not, hey, there was a second servant who wasn't fully living up to what they were supposed to live up to, it's somebody that got to the point that maybe at one point they were looking to the master, but at some point, they decided he's just not coming back, or if he's coming back, it's so long from now that it's not really going to affect my life. I think what Jesus is talking about here is somebody who at one point at least appeared to be a servant. So in the first century here, it might be somebody who's Jewish and is surrounded by all the Jewish religious beliefs, but they're not really faithful. For us today, it might be somebody that at some point called themselves a Christian, but then maybe got to the point and said, gosh, it's 2000 years later, I just don't think he's coming. Or if he's coming, he's not coming for a long time, and so I'm just going to live the way I'm going to live. I'm not going to live in light of King Jesus, I'm going to live my own life. This is not the behavior of a Christian who's struggling, this is the behavior of somebody who has abandoned the faith; that one is going to experience the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:42] But what Jesus talks about earlier is he gives us a snapshot of the kind of person we would want to be. He says in verse 46, "It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns." Translation, Jesus says, when I come back, you want to be doing what I've told you to do. You want to be living an obedient, faith-fueled life. And in some ways, it's weird because this is almost so simple that we want to complicate it. Jesus is saying, keep watch, be ready, and you know what it means to be ready? It means living your daily life in simple, faith-filled obedience to what Jesus has called you to do, that's the extent of it. Am I supposed to get ready by cracking the code and figuring out who the Antichrist is? No, you're supposed to get ready by living every day with faith-fueled obedience to Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:44] By the way, Jesus said, if you look earlier in chapter 24, he said, you know, there's going to be people that say, hey, like, we found Jesus, Jesus came back, we found him, he's out in the wilderness. Or we found Him, we've got him in the room right back here. And Jesus says, never believe that, because when I come back, nobody's going to doubt that I came back, it's going to be obvious. You don't need to worry about that, what you should be preoccupied with is living a life of faithful obedience to Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:17] When I was a teenager, I have an older sister and a younger brother, and so when we were old enough, my parents would sometimes leave for the weekend, and just leave us at home to sort of handle things on our own. It's like my sister could drive. We could, you know, I won't say we could cook, but we could put stuff in the microwave. So we could survive a weekend without them and make it through. And what they would do is we would know they were coming back on Sunday; they'd leave on Friday, we knew they were coming back on Sunday, but we never knew when on Sunday. I don't know if that was on purpose to torture us, but we didn't know. It was going to be in the afternoon, we knew it wasn't going to be in the morning, but man, the afternoon that could be 12:30, sometimes it was 9:10 at night, this whole window of time, we just didn't know when they were coming. And it's not like on Friday and Saturday we trashed the place, but let's just say entering into Sunday morning, it was not in the state that we wanted it to be in when they returned, we had not been super diligent with upkeep and so we had to do two things. The first thing is that we needed to do sort of a big cleaning to make sure that it was ready. And then once we got to Sunday afternoon, we had to maintain every time we messed the house up again so that at any point that they returned, we were ready for them to return. At any point, they could walk in the door, so if we'd got more dishes out, we'd wash them, if we spilled something on the carpet, we'd clean it, at any point, we were ready for them to return.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:50] Now, please take this in, we are talking about something much deeper than just some kids not wanting to get into trouble, we are talking about our King. We're talking about our King who died for us, and we're talking about our King whose commandments are always for our good. And Jesus says that you want to be ready. I feel like the Apostle John says this so well in First John 2:28, I love this verse, he says, "And now, dear children, continue in Him." That's the same Greek word for continuing here is the same Greek word that's used in John 15 when Jesus says, abide in me. Continue in Him, walk with Jesus, so that when he appears, we may be confident and unashamed before him, at his coming, at his Parousia. He says, here's the thing we have two possibilities of the kind of state of mind we'll be in when Jesus returns. We could be confident, or we could be ashamed. And confident doesn't mean that we think that we have earned eternal life, we haven't. But confident just means that we're living in the sort of way that if Jesus were to come home right then, we'd be excited to see him and we'd be excited for him to see the kind of lives that we're living. None of us is perfect, we've all got garbage that we're dealing with in our lives. But John says it's possible to be living the kind of life that you would be confidently excited for Jesus to come back. And it's also possible, even for a Christian, to be living the kind of life that he would come back, and you would feel a sense of shame because your life isn't what it's meant to be. It doesn't mean as a Christian you're getting cast out, it simply means that you'd experience regret, that'd you look at that and say, I wasn't ready, I wasn't ready for Jesus to find me in the state that I was in. We want to be confident and unashamed at his coming.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:59] And so I want to ask the question, what are you doing and how are you getting ready? I'm going to talk about this for a couple of minutes, and as I'm talking about it, I actually, right now, I want to invite the members of the prayer ministry team to come up. Because this is going to be an opportunity later on for response for us, for us to be able to look at this and say, man, every Sunday when we gather, we believe that God is speaking to us, we believe that he's at work, and whenever he's at work, he's calling us to a response. So for some of you, a part of your response is going to be coming forward later and praying with a member of the prayer ministry team.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:33] But let me just give two possibilities of how God might be calling you to respond today. Possibility number one, maybe there is some sin in your life that you have just been shrugging your shoulders at. Now, here's the deal, all of us have sin in our lives that we're dealing with. But maybe for you, you're like, I'm not even in the fight, like, I'm not even struggling, I'm not even trying, I just sort of shrugged my shoulders and accepted, this is just going to be something that I do. And maybe even in your head you're saying, I'm going to get to this eventually. Like eventually, later on, I will deal with this, I've got time. Maybe you're thinking I'm young, I have some decades. Eventually, I'll get this under control, I won't always have this own my life. Jesus is saying, you don't know that you have time, today is the day. We're always going to be in the battle against sin, but maybe for some of you today, today is the day to get in the battle against sin, because there's some sin that's been ruling in your life and you haven't even been fighting against it. And it's not like you can't repent to God on your own, you absolutely can, but I don't know if you've noticed, there's something about saying it aloud to somebody else that makes it more real. So for some of you, part of what God is going to call you to is to come to a member of the prayer ministry team and say, I have just been shrugging my shoulder, I've just been winking at this sin, it's time to stop winking and start fighting.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:08] Possibility number two, maybe for some of you, it's not that there's some specific sin that's been ruling in your life, but there's some area of obedience that God has been pretty clear that he's called you to obedience in a specific way. Maybe it's that he's calling you to serve in some way here at the church, maybe he's even calling you to be on a go team, maybe he's calling you to give more financially, generously, maybe there's some person at work or at school that he's calling you to reach out to with the Gospel, and you have just been delaying. You've just been putting it off, and you've been saying, I'll get to it eventually. I'll serve eventually. I'll give eventually. I'll reach out with the Gospel eventually. And once again, I think what Jesus would say to you is, why are you presuming upon eventually? You don't know when Jesus is coming back, and you don't know when you will die, you don't know that you've got a lot of time, today is the day to respond. Today is the day to respond, and God is gracious every time we come to him by faith, he gives us hope and grace and healing when we come to him. We want to be those who are confident, who are spending every day saying, may it be today that Jesus returns. We don't want to be those who are saying, gosh, I hope not today because I want more time. We want to be anticipating the return of Jesus, and we do that by living in simple, faith-filled obedience every day of our lives.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:48] I want to invite you to go ahead and stand now, and I'm going to close our time in prayer. But once again, I want to invite you, if God is stirring in your heart, don't rush off to what's next, let's have sensitive hearts to how God is speaking to us now.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:02] So, Father, thank you that you have given us promises that the world is not going to end in some random way, but that the end of this age will be the triumph of our King. Thank you that you have welcomed us into the family, not because we've earned it, but because Jesus has earned our spot in heaven and has died for all the sins that would keep us out. Thank you that he truly is our King, and Father, we want our King to return. We long for the return of Jesus because we love him and because he loves us. And Father, we pray that you make us ready, lead us into repentance where we need repentance, lead us into active, quick obedience, where you're leading us into that, and lead us into sharing burdens with one another so that we're not trying to walk this line alone. Lead us to be people who are so ready for your return that we are assigned to the world around us, that our hope is not in money, and our hope is not in politics, our hope is in the return of our King. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. God bless you and thank you so much for being here on this Sunday.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848