BE PREPARED 11-25-18

Be Prepared

November 25, 2018

               How many of you were once a boy scout or girl scout?  Do you remember the scout motto - “Be prepared”?  I was a brownie and a junior girl scout.  Their mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place, and so my years as a girl scout helped prepare me for my current calling as a pastor.  

          We all spend a great deal of our lives preparing.  Most of our childhood is spent preparing for adulthood.  We go through grade school, high school, and for many, college.  As adults we prepare for careers, for milestones like buying a house and raising a family, and hopefully for retirement.  In each stage of life there is something new that we need to prepare for.  And for those of you who, like me, had family over for Thanksgiving dinner, you are quite familiar with the concept of preparing!

          As we approach the season of Advent, that too, is all about preparation – preparing our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Trying to wrap our minds around the fact that the God of the Universe came down to earth to be born as a human baby.  This is not something we can easily fathom, especially when one considers the reason that He did – in order to die an excruciatingly painful death on the cross so that we could live with Him for eternity.

          But Christmas is not the end of the story.  Jesus rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven.  But even Easter is not the end of the story.  There is yet another event to come that we need to prepare for.  For Jesus is coming to earth a second time.  I know many times the sequel to a movie doesn’t match the awesomeness of the original.  However, “Jesus Comes to Earth Part 2” will definitely be a blockbuster.  Because this time He won’t be born as a tiny baby in a manger.  This time He is coming as our triumphant King!  Are you prepared?

          What if Jesus returned today?  What are some things that you might wish you would have done to be better prepared?  When we are preparing for an event, we often make ourselves a checklist of everything that we need to do.   If you are having Thanksgiving dinner for family, it might read something like this: 

  • Buy turkey and all the other needed grocery items
  • Defrost turkey
  • Clean house
  • Bake pie, prepare stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other side dishes
  • Stuff turkey and put it in the oven
  • Set table

You get the idea.  What if your guests showed up and you hadn’t done any of those things?  They would sit down on the couch and wonder when dinner would be ready.  But there would be no dinner, because you hadn’t prepared for it.   How would you face your guests?  Ed would say, “Get in the car, we’re all going to R-Place!”  But even going to a restaurant on Thanksgiving with no reservations would be difficult.  Better to be prepared!

          Our heavenly Father is preparing a dinner for us to celebrate Christ’s second coming, His return for His bride, which is all true believers - a dinner that no Thanksgiving dinner here on earth can equal.  It is called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).  And we, as the bride of Christ will all be seated at this fantastic meal together with Jesus and eat the most heavenly food imaginable.  But we cannot partake of this supper unless we have prepared our hearts. 

          Jesus told a parable in Matthew 22 (vs. 2-14) that reads, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited.  But they all refused to come! So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’  But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.  But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

          The Lord has called you to attend his wedding banquet.  Soon he will come to take you to it.  But do you have your wedding clothes?  They are not something you can go out and buy at Macy’s.  Your heart must be cleansed and made pure by the blood of Jesus.  Then, and only then, will you be wearing the proper white clothes which all in attendance must wear.  "Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”  (Isaiah 1:18).   And 1 John 1:7 tells us that it is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all sin.  Like the hymn says, “What can wash away my sin?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

          Yes, Jesus is coming soon.  Will you be among the chosen seated at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb?  Or will you be thrown into the outer darkness?  Don’t procrastinate.  Be prepared!  Amen.

VIDEOS: 

"Even So Come"  (Chris Tomlin)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFlPdNJAdOY

"Hallelujah Chorus"  (from Handel's Messiah)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoqxYqTNKmU