Formations lesson for Dec. 5: Just Another Sunday : Friday, Nov 19, 2004
November 19 2004 by Wayne Proctor

Formations lesson for Dec. 5: Just Another Sunday : Friday, Nov 19, 2004
Friday, Nov 19, 2004

Formations lesson for Dec. 5: Just Another Sunday

By Wayne Proctor
Focal Passage: Matthew 24:36-44

This is the first of a series of lessons from Matthew's gospel that help prepare us for worship this Christmas season. Some deal with prophecy, such as this week's lesson, and some will focus on specific persons and situations that make the Christmas message so amazing and wonderful.

Perhaps you've heard the story about the man who didn't want to get up on Sunday mornings. He had the usual excuses, like "I'm tired" or "the weather's bad." But his wife persisted and he asked her, "Why do I have to go?" She answered, "You have to go because you're the preacher!"

Sometimes we get bored with routine. We get tired of our job, our car, or our house. We want something new or different. And sometimes, heaven forbid, we get tired of church.

If you think I'm stretching the truth, look carefully at your congregation this Sunday and count the people who "used" to attend, but are not present now.

Why do we sometimes lose our spiritual compass?

End times mania

During my lifetime, there have been countless books written and sermons preached about "end times" theology. For some it has led to lucrative financial windfalls, and for others it has led to loss of credibility. So, where's the balance? Where's the truth? Do we need to exclude teaching scripture passages that we don't fully understand? Do we need to trust the "experts?" Or do we need to pray for understanding? The answers aren't easy, but I'm sure the questions will not go away.

No one knows,

but keep watch

Matthew 24:36-44

Jesus gave us as clear a picture as He could; however, even He had to admit that He did not know the day or hour He would return (verse 36). He did say that some would be ready and prepared, and an equal number would not (verse 40). The exhortation given by Jesus was to "keep watch," since no one knew when the Lord would return.

Be prepared. Be ready. The only certainty we have regarding Christ's return is that we cannot predict when it will take place (verses 42,44).

Not only in this narrative (which really begins with verse 4), but also in the following parable of the Ten Virgins (25:1-13), Jesus described the cost of spiritual slothfulness. Those who are not ready will pay a steep cost. It will be a sad day for those who have not made themselves ready by accepting Christ's wonderful offer of salvation.

A 9/11 response

Since the incredible September 11th disasters on American soil, we understand that future terrorist attacks could come. To counter this threat, our nation has gone on a worldwide offensive against terrorists. Everyday we can see the "threat level" registered on cable news. The problem with this, however, is that we can become immune to it. The warning loses its impact because it seems to always be at a high level of alert. Therefore, our state and federal governments are seeking better ways to communicate the daily threat level to local communities. Why? Because the threat level in Raleigh will probably be different from the one in New York City.

Likewise, we can take too lightly or even forget Christ's words. Warnings do not automatically equate to readiness. Only Noah's family heeded the warning that God delivered through Noah. Only a few were ready in Bethlehem for Jesus' birth, and many will not correctly interpret the end times, or be ready as they unfold.

One of the important questions for believers to ask is this: "How do we live until then?" Jesus makes it clear that we are to be ready, as if He were coming today.

11/19/2004 12:00:00 AM by Wayne Proctor | with 0 comments

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