Are Your Lights On?

by Duane Maust
November 13, 2005
1 Thess 5: 1-11

When I saw what the Lectionary was on today, I got excited. (the scripture verses on the back of the bulletin) Talking about end times is interesting. The more I study it, the less I realize that I can know. There are things that only God knows and not even His one Son or the Angels know.

Read Matt. 24:36

We don’t need to worry about “when” if we are ready. If you hear someone telling you when the Lord is going to come, look out. You don’t have to be ugly to them. But you can know they don’t know when because Jesus even doesn’t know when the end is.

I remember back in 1988 there were some people sure that Jesus was going to return that year. They had 88 reasons that it was going to happen that year. We all lived through it.

How does this work? Jesus doesn’t even know when the last day is. Are they one? How do Jesus and God relate? This is a question we will learn more about when we get to heaven.

I like mystery. Or maybe I don’t. I like trying to figure things out. If I can’t figure it out, it can bug me. At Christmas I like to figure out what my gifts are. But then that takes the surprise away. I don’t like secrets. That is what we have here today.

We don’t know when “The Day of the Lord” will be. When will he come to take us home to heaven? That is why we need to keep our lights on. We need to keep our lights on so we don’t get surprised. God will give us the light of his presence. (like the back of the bulletin mentions) 1Thess5:5

In the Layman’s Commentary it says, “Believers do not have to be concerned about the sudden return of the Lord, however, for they are already prepared. The day will be ‘like a thief in the night’ only for the unprepared. But believers are not in ‘darkness.’ They are ‘sons of light.’ ‘Sons of’ is a Hebraic expression, which means ‘characterized by’ or ‘belonging to.’ Believers are characterized ‘by light.’ They belong to the ‘day.’ Therefore, whenever the Lord appears, they are ready to meet him.”

I think of Matthew 5:14-16 when thinking about light.

If we have that light, we don’t need to worry about when the Lord will return. So let’s let it shine everywhere.

Several months ago I taught for Bob Baldwin’s Sunday School class. I wasn’t sure what the next verse was to study. I knew it was about Matt. 22 or 23. So we jumped ahead and read Matt. 24. This chapter is about signs of the end of the age. Because I wanted to read about end times.

read Matt 24:4-8

We do have signs and may appear that the time is near.

A thief doesn’t tell you when they are coming.

One night several years ago while we were sleeping, someone stole tires off the car that was sitting right beside the bedroom window. In the morning we went out to go to the zoo in Jackson, no tires on the back of the car. The back of the car was setting on the ground.

That person didn’t call and tell us he was coming over at 3:00 in the morning to borrow my tires.

Or the time the computer got stolen from the wood shop. We didn’t know they were coming. If I did, we would have copied some things off it before they took it.

Matt. 24:30-31. I can picture Bobby Baldwin on his trumpet. What do you think that monument will be like?

On Friday I asked Bob Coblentz how he views the return of the Lord. He said heaven will be so much better than being here, why would we not want to be in heaven? He sees people getting older and struggling to maintain life at his job at Rileys nursing home. Life can get so hard and people fight death like it is something bad. We have heaven to look forward to. Isn’t that better? I know our friends will miss us. Death separates relationships.

Some other verses with the Lectionary for today are from Matt. 25:14-30. This is a wonderful story Jesus tells about a man giving his servants talents. One is given 5 talents. Another is given 2 and one is given 1. The men with 2 and 5 talents went and doubled what they had. The man with the one talent went and buried it in the ground. In this story Jesus celebrates with the ones that increased their talents.

Read Matt. 25:24-27

Jesus wants us to stay busy with what he gives us. He doesn’t want us to just bury and not use what he gives us. Jesus did not tell the servants when he was coming back. They were to be using their talents till he returned. They didn’t know when.

One thing to keep in mind: Am I doing what I want if Christ returns right now? Am I in a place that would not be appropriate? Is my mind thinking something worthwhile right now?

There is an old story about St Francis of Assissi. He was a Franciscan monk. And he spent time each day reading his Bible and praying. One afternoon, he took time to work on his vegetable garden. And a guy came up to him and said, “Hey, Francis, what would you do if I told you that Jesus was coming back tomorrow?”

And Francis thought about the question for a second. And then he said, “I think I would probably turn around and go back to working in my garden.”

And when I first read that, I thought to myself, “What a dummy! Jesus is coming back tomorrow, and you’re worried about your vegetables?”

I think what Francis was trying to say was “Look. If Jesus comes back tomorrow, I’ve got nothing to worry about. I have a life of faith, hope, and love every single day. I read my Bible, I pray. I don’t live an immoral life. I don’t go out and get plastered every night. When Christ comes back, I’ll be ready.”

Another story Jesus told is in Matt. 25: 1-13 .

Are we keeping our lamps burning? Am I keeping myself filled with brightness for God?

Do our lives have some of the things Marc read about in the text? Self-control-faith-love-hope of salvation

Read 1Thess 5:10

We don’t have to worry if we have salvation

The quote for the day: “God’s people should plan for a voyage of a thousand years, but be prepared to abandon ship tonight.”—Joseph Bayly

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