Living Ready – Ready Your Soul   
Matthew 24:36-44 

Good Morning from the Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team to all who are listening to or reading this message.   What a glorious day to worship God!  

Today we will begin a three-week series on “Living Ready.”  The title of today’s Message is “Ready Your Soul.”  Our Bible reading comes from the New Testament Book of Matthew, Chapter 24 verses 36 through 44 and you may want to turn there in your Bible. 

The second coming of Jesus is mentioned throughout the Bible.  Are we ready for His return?  The most important aspect of being ready is having a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We do not know when He will return, but one day He will.  The Bible is clear that there is a heaven and a hell, and the decisions we make in this life time will determine where we will spend eternity.  We must all take an honest assessment of our hearts and lives and ask ourselves if we have placed our faith, hope, and trust in Jesus and the saving work He did on the cross.  

Now let's read Matthew 24:36-44 (NLT): 
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.”

Let's pray,
Heavenly Father, help us to live vigilant and ready lives as we commit fully to You and Your ways. Let us prosper through the highs and lows of life as You faithfully lead us.  In Jesus' name, Amen. 

If we believe that Jesus is coming back and that it could be any time, how does that affect our feelings and emotions, our stress levels, our choices, and our behavior: the way we use our time, our money, and our resources?  Does the thought of Jesus coming back have any impact on our life as we live it today?  Knowing that Christ may come at any moment can throw some people into hyper vigilance while the uncertainty of it all can lull others to sleep.  

We understand what it means to be uncertain about things. Will the teacher throw a Pop quiz today? Will my baby come on the due date or will the baby arrive early or late? When will I be deployed and will it be a nice gig in Germany or will it be Afghanistan? When will the pathology report come back? Are there going to be lay-offs and will I be the one being laid-off and when will lay-offs occur? 

The point of verse 36 is to inform us that there are uncertainties in life and particularly so when it comes to end time events and the coming of Christ. And since we do not know the day or the hour of the return of Christ, it is important that we remain attentive. 

Life can throw some pretty wicked curve balls our way. Not to mention, we live in the midst of constant change. This constant change could cause us to question God, be confused in our faith, or have doubts.  Let’s look at the life of John Wesley who at one time also had doubts about his faith. 

John Wesley lived in England from 1703-1791. He was the fifteenth of nineteen children, and his mom homeschooled them all. His father was a pastor in the Anglican Church, and John himself became a pastor in that same church. Early on as a minister, Wesley struggled with doubts about his faith. He shared this with his good friend, Peter Böhler, and Böhler gave him some good advice, “Preach faith until you have it. And then, because you have it, you will preach faith.” Basically, fake it ’til you make it. 

Wesley took that advice and soon after led someone to the Lord by preaching faith alone in Christ. This person gladly accepted the message and his life changed immediately. Wesley was surprised at the guy’s sudden life change because Wesley himself hadn’t experienced similar changes. 

Soon after, on May 24, 1738, at 8:45 p.m., Wesley was at a meeting of believers in Aldersgate, and as he was listening to someone read Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to Romans, Wesley says, “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, and Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given to me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” 

God unexpectedly showed up at that moment! Wesley felt his heart strangely warmed and discovered he did have faith. God can show up in any situation at any moment and change a life, often when we least expect Him. With Wesley, the rest is history. His life did change. He went on to start the Methodist movement in both England and the United States. When he died at age 88, he left behind 130,000 people who gave their lives to Christ; he had hundreds of thousands of dollars pass through his hands that he channeled to the poor, to widows, to the hungry, and more. He died nearly broke with only a few coins in his pocket because he distributed so much wealth to those in need, keeping a bare minimum for himself. 

Looking again at today’s scriptures, verses 37 through 39 tell us when Jesus returns it will be like it was in Noah’s day… when the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered the boat.  What’s interesting about Jesus’ comment about the people in Noah’s day is that He doesn’t point to their wickedness to say this is why they were destroyed. Rather they perished because they were unprepared. They were too busy eating and drinking and getting married to bother thinking about their eternal future and the salvation God was providing by way of the ark.  What probably started off as a regular routine day, turned into a day of judgment and destruction.  The flood caught the world off guard, but not Noah.  He knew it was coming; he didn’t know when, but he was ready.  

The temptation for us is to think that we’ll always have time to get serious about our faith.  There may have been some in Noah’s day who thought that too.  Perhaps they believed what Noah told them about a coming flood, but because the ark wasn’t finished yet they thought they had time to focus on other things. But that’s the whole point of Jesus’ warning to us this morning. He said: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father...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.” 

We’re wrong to believe that once we hear the first strains of the trumpet blast announcing the end that this will give us plenty of time to repent of our sins and turn to Jesus. That’s probably what some in Noah’s day thought when the first rain drops started to fall and the first geyser opened up underneath their feet. “Time to head to the ark!” they said with suitcase in hand. But it was too late. The door was already shut and they were stuck on the outside looking in. 

So how do we keep that from happening to us? Should we spend our day standing outside and looking up at the sky waiting for Jesus? Is this what it means to be ready for His return? Should we spend all day and all night reading the Bible and praying? No. 

Think of what Jesus said in our text. He said, “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:40, 41). One man and one woman are taken to heaven on Judgment Day, while another man and woman are left behind to face God’s eternal judgment. Yet at the time of judgment, they were engaged in similar activities. The believers were not standing around looking up into the sky. No, they were carrying on with their daily work and responsibilities. Yet they must have been doing this while keeping their thoughts heavenward. When they sinned, they would have repented and asked God to forgive them and give them the power to keep from that sin. They also would have taken regular time to study God’s Word to ensure that the fire of their faith remained strong. 

So, if God has called you to be a student right now, study diligently. If He has given you work, do it to the best of your abilities.  Making plans and pursuing education or career goals are not sinful, but they can easily become our focus so that we lose sight of what is really important: Jesus’ imminent return.  So don’t start to think that your main goal is to get a degree or to make enough money to pay off your mortgage or buy a new car. Your main goal will always be this: stay ready for Jesus’ return by always endeavoring to strengthen your faith in our Savior.  

It should also be our goal to help one another stay ready.  The task that we as followers of Christ have been given while our King Jesus is away is to share His message of hope and salvation with all the world! 

John 3:16-18 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." 

If these words of the Lord are true, then the selection has really already taken place before the day of the Lord arrives, and it was made by each individual. Each who has chosen to put their trust in Christ for salvation has selected Him.  We must trust with all of our hearts that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is sufficient for our salvation. 

We cannot control our lives or the time of our death. We cannot control when Jesus is coming back. Therefore, we need to live our lives so that we are ready to meet our Lord any time without reason for fear or panic.  The second coming of Christ is going to catch the world off guard. 

There may be someone reading this Message who hasn’t trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and doesn’t yet have a personal testimony.  If so, I want to encourage you to invite Jesus to come into your heart and life right now. 

I John 5:13 tells us: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 

Jesus has provided the gift of salvation to us which gives us not only hope for today, but hope for eternity.  Have you believed on Him from your heart? Have you acknowledged Him as your Lord and Savior this morning?  If you’ve never accepted Christ into your life, then this is your opportunity. You can receive God’s grace and begin a relationship with Jesus today.  

In Romans 10:9, we are told that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

We receive salvation when we:
(1) Repent of our sins.
(2) Trust Jesus Christ as our Savior.
(3) Confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, invite Him into your life right now. 

Or maybe there are those who are far away from Jesus.  Have you allowed your comfortable, personally focused desires to act as an eclipse between you and God?  Is Jesus obscured or completely blacked out of your life? Do you miss Him? 

All it takes is to open yourself and say "I want things to be different. I know things need to be different. I know what’s wrong, what doesn’t belong and I invite You, Jesus, to come and change me.” 

When we turn back to Jesus in repentance, when we ask for forgiveness, intending to live a godly life, God’s mercy reaches out to us with a message of love.   God is a God of mercy, of redemption, of restoration and of renewal. Just come by faith to the throne of grace to receive it. He is waiting for you with open arms.   Repent all over again and get back to fulfilling God’s plan in and through your life. 

I’ll share this story in closing.  
Christian Commentator Warren Wiersbe, tells about a frontier town where a horse bolted and ran away with a wagon carrying a little boy. Seeing the child in danger, a young man risked his life to catch the horse and stop the wagon. 

The child who was saved grew up to become a lawless man, and one day he stood before a judge to be sentenced for a serious crime. The prisoner recognized the judge as the man who, years before had saved his life; so he pled for mercy on the basis of that experience. 

But the words from the bench silenced his plea: "Young man, then I was your savior; today I am your judge, and I must sentence you to be hanged." One day Jesus Christ will say to rebellious sinners, "During that long day of grace, I was the Savior, and I would have forgiven you.  But today I am your Judge." (Meet Yourself in the Psalms) 

On that Day that Jesus spoke of in our text, the Judge will select those who have selected to trust in His marvelous grace. 

Let us pray: Thank You, Father, for being a perfect Heavenly Father for us, for sending us Your Son to save us from our sins, and for putting Your Holy Spirit into each one of us so that we are never without Your presence. Help us to depend on You, to trust in Your truth, and to serve like You.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.



When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing.   Since that isn't possible, please click here and may you be blessed by singing along with "I'm Getting Ready to Leave This World."