03 May 2020
The world was caught unprepared when Covid-19 struck. Question is: "Will you be caught unprepared when Jesus returns? " The point of Jesus revealing the signs of His coming is not to satisfy our curiosity only, but to prepare us that we may get ready for His return. And it's not just people who have not heard of Jesus who needs this message. It's for all who are associated with the church too! So find out what this all means and exactly how you can be "Ready for His Return" in this sermon. May God bless you!
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We are now into our 5th week, and really the midway point of the “Circuit Breaker” regime here in Singapore. I know it is tough for one and all, but I want to encourage all of us, to be like this picture, to hang in there, to hold on.
Now, I miss meeting up and seeing all of you in presence. And I'm sure all of us are longing for that day, we could gather together again. But in the meanwhile, please hang on, and stay close to the Lord. As a church, we want to do our very best to minister to you.
Yes! 39 Punggol Field Walk, the building here may be closed during these months, but ministry continues. And I'm thankful for our staff who have made calls to all our members or are going to make calls to all our members. And finding out, just touching base with you and seeing how we could serve you.
Our elders, our shepherds, we are also providing that prayer support, that pastoral care to those in need. I'm thankful for our communications team, our worship team, that are working so hard behind the scenes to bring all these worship services to you online.
Thankful for many brethren who are stepping up to serving one another in care groups, in Bible studies. We are having new Bible study platforms coming up. And we are also planning for support groups for families. We understand that these are times of tension, of stress and family relationships may be very trying at this time. So we want to provide that support, that pastoral care, even through these support groups.
So we want to serve you, we want to continue ministry, indeed step up ministry. And hang in there, till we can gather again in the house of the Lord. But today, we are thankful still, we can worship Him together. And before I start, looking into Matthew, chapter 24, and about the signs of the end. Let's come to God in a word of prayer, once again.
Father, thank You this morning we can pray for one and all. Many are struggling, many are having issues, even at home and with their jobs. Some are struggling emotionally as well. Father, would You bring comfort, would You point our faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. May we find great comfort and hope and joy and peace, as we focus this morning on the Gospel, and about the great news that Jesus is coming back for us.
We want to pray that You'll bless this time as we open the Scriptures. May Your Holy Spirit illuminate our hearts and lead us into Your truth. Thank you, we pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
As mentioned, we are looking at the signs of the Lord's coming. And that's taken from Matthew, chapter 24, this morning from verses 43 to 51. Now, I'd like to ask you, if you have nightmares? I do, not often. But whenever I do, they tend to revolve around the same thing. I have nightmares about being unprepared for worship service.
Now it might be funny, but that's what I have nightmares about. That I would be totally unprepared for the worship service, to preach and so on. In my nightmare, I would see myself, probably dressed up in T-shirt, in shorts, in slippers. Totally inappropriate for a setting like this.
I would then think of myself, dream of myself having to rush home and … and change my clothes and get a suit, change my shoes. But often times in my nightmare, I would fail to make it. I'll miss a shoe, miss jacket or whatever it is. And then, I'll be standing on stage, beginning to preach the sermon. But then again, I will also be unprepared about the sermon. I'll be just talking rubbish on stage.
So that's my nightmare. I know you're probably laughing at me right now. Hey! But I'm being transparent, I'm being vulnerable here, alright. I've nightmares of being totally unprepared.
So my question to you is, “Are you prepared?” “Are you ready?” Well, not in a sense of being ready to preach a sermon. But are you ready to meet with Jesus, when He comes? You see, last week we learned that Jesus told us that, “With regards to His Second Coming, He's going to come surely, He's going to come secretly, and He's going to come suddenly.”
He's going to come in a way like that during Noah's time, where the flood came and swept everyone away, because there is no time for them to be saved. So when Jesus comes, He's going to come suddenly. And it will be too late for you to react, to repent, to respond, unless you are already prepared, you're already ready.
So the question this morning I like to ask is, “Are you ready for the return of the Lord?” See, that's the focus! He did not just tell us the signs of His coming, to pick or to give us a sense of satisfaction to our curiosity. He's not here just to tell us stories. He's telling us the signs of His coming, so that we may be warned to action today, that we might make ourselves ready for His return.
So from verse 43 onwards to chapter 25, He's going to tell us some four to five parables, or stories depending on how you count them. But four to five parables or of stories that convey the importance of being ready.
So you'll hear about the “Parable of the Thief”, the “Parable of the Servant”, the “Parable of the 10 Virgins”, the “Parable of Talents”, the “Parable of the Sheep and Goats.” And in each parable, He's repeating the same idea - Be ready! Be ready! Be ready! Be ready! Be ready! Because I'm coming surely, I'm coming secretly, and I'm coming suddenly. So the message is - be ready.
Now you say, “I am ready. I go to church, I read my Bible. I say my prayers before my meals. I'm a faithful attendee of services, church services, I must be ready.” I understand what you're saying here, but do you realize that when Jesus spoke about the two groups of people, He is not contrasting people who go to church and people who do not go to church. Because in all these four or five parables, He's talking about people who acknowledge Jesus as Master, Lord and King.
Look at the parables! Look at the stories! And you will see that in time to come. Whether you are ready or not, both groups of people, acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Master and King. So what I'm saying here is that, “The readiness does not consist of whether you are associated with church, whether you intellectually know Jesus is Lord, whether you profess Him as King and Master of your life. Because, whether you're ready or not, the comparison in all these parables is that all of them do so.”
I'm suggesting to you that instead of looking at readiness, as people who are associated with church and unreadiness with people who are not associated with church, readiness is more than that.
So, look at this chart. We like to think of the two categories as - inside church and outside church. However, you'll realize, according to these parables, Jesus is not really talking about people outside church. Though, I think they are definitely not ready to meet with Jesus because they do not know Him.
But the focus, it seems to be God or Jesus, is really focusing upon people who are inside the church, inside the visible church. And within this group, within all of us attending now, or tuning in online, there may be a group of people who are ready and a group of people who are not ready.
And even though you may know Jesus intellectually, even though you may pray your prayers, even though you may read your Bible, even though you may be raised in Christian home. In a sense, you are not very different from those who do not know Jesus because you are not ready, even though you call Him, “Master.”
So listen very carefully as to what Jesus is saying in these stories. Are you ready? Well, I'm glad you ask, “How do I know if I'm ready?” “Why is it so important for me to be ready?” I hope you'll listen in very carefully in our verses today.
Verse 43, Jesus said, “But know this that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have left his house, let his house be broken into.” “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” [Matt 24:44]
So like I said, “The theme of all these parables, is that of being ready.” And the reason why you need to be ready, is because Jesus, the Son of Man is likened to a thief. Now, of course not in a moral sense, but in the sense of being unexpected in His coming.
The reason why today you have an alarm system, lock and key, maybe you have a dog. You have all these things because you fear that one day a thief might break into your house. And the problem with all that, is you do not know when a thief is going to come.
And Jesus is saying, “I am going to come in a time you do not expect. So it's very important for you to be ready today.” Not be ready when He comes, but be ready today and every day. So that's the point!
But how should I be ready? So He gives another parable. It's like a parable within a parable, a story within a story. And He combines the two together. And that's found in the next verse we read. “Who then, is the faithful and wise servant whom his Master has set over his household, to give them food, their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his Master will find so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.”
“But if that wicked servant says to himself, “My Master is delayed,” and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the Master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect Him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matt 24:45-51]
BIG IDEA: Let me give you the big idea of these two stories together. It's very simple! But I'll repeat this later on. It says, “It is wise …,” remember the wise and faithful servant. I believe, “It is wise to serve Jesus faithfully today and every day, for He will return in a time we do not expect, like a thief in the night.”
So combining these two parables or stories, I give you the big idea of these verses. “It is wise to serve Jesus faithfully today, and every day, for He will return in a time we do not expect.”
Now, let's look then, more closely at what it means to serve Jesus faithfully today, and every day. So we look at again this example of a faithful and wise servant. What does he do? Well, he serves his Master faithfully by treating his fellow servants properly.
Jesus tells us, “He gives them, he gives the fellow servants, their food at the proper time.” So he provides for them. He's like the master servant. He's like the chief servant. And he is the one to allocate the resources of the Master to provide for the other servants. So he is faithful to his responsibility and he dispenses the necessary food to his fellow servants.
And Jesus tells us, “This servant who is faithful and wise, is blessed and he will be rewarded with even more privileges, and responsibilities.” And this is the description of someone who is ready. He's ready today. He's ready every day. He is faithfully serving the Master. And he is commended and he will be rewarded.
Then Jesus gives us the flip side, the wicked servant. Now what is the characteristic of this wicked servant? He's the opposite of the wise and faithful servant. Instead of responsibly serving and providing for the fellow servants, he abuses them. He beats his fellow servants and instead of using the Master's resources for the provision of others, he indulges himself. He eats and drinks with drunkards. He is living an extravagant, self-indulgent life. And he is unfaithful to his Master.
And what is his fate? What is his destiny? Well, it's very strong here, when Jesus says, “He will be cut into pieces. He will be put together with the hypocrites, in a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
So he will be severely punished. He will be severely tormented. Now, that's where I say, “Oh! Immediately we think that this wicked servant is referring to people outside church - people who have not heard of Jesus, people who do not belong to the Christian faith, people who are of other religions and faiths. “Ah! They will be severely punished.”
But let me tell you that the parable here is saying that, “This wicked servant says to himself, “My Master.” In other words, this person intellectually acknowledges, I think, Jesus as Lord. So this might refer to someone who is in church. Wow! That causes me to sit up and pay attention. This causes us who are in church, not to take all these teachings for granted because we need to examine ourselves.
I was reading the Bible with my kids on Sunday. And sometimes, I allow them to choose a passage or two for us to talk about, to discuss. So it was the turn of my youngest son, Matthias and he chose Acts, chapter one, or at least the story about Acts chapter 1.
And I asked him, “Why do you choose Acts 1?” And he told me, he said, “My name is there – Matthias!” Alright, and we spoke about the story. And then I asked him, Matthias, “Do you think you are Christian?” He says, “Yes what!” “I say, “Why?” “Because my name is in there.” Matthias says that tongue in cheek, he doesn't mean it seriously.
But do you know there are people who actually believe that. That if their name is Christian. “Oh! My name is Paul.” “My name is Peter.” “My name is Timothy.” “Because my parents are Christians, they gave me a Christian name.” “I was baptized when I was young.” “I raised my hand in Sunday school.” “I say my prayers before meals.” “I am ready for Jesus’ return.” “I am His child. I'm His people. I am His servant.”
But do you realize that there may be people, who acknowledge Jesus, but they do not actually belong to Jesus. Because real faith, according to Jesus in this parable, is not seen in mere acknowledgment only, but also in your action. Do you obey the will of God?
Are you ready? What do you mean? I'm not asking you whether you go to church or tune in online. I'm asking you, “In your life, are you someone who consistently obeys God's will?” Now, I'm not saying, you obey God's will perfectly. We all struggle with the flesh.
But as we say here in church, in Gospel Light - not about sinless perfection, but about sincere progression. Are you growing in your obedience to God? Because a faithful and wise servant, who is ready, is someone who obeys God's will.
Now, Jesus is very consistent here. Because earlier on, He said in Matthew, chapter 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of heaven.” Realize this? People who acknowledge Jesus as Lord, but they do not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Why? Because these people merely give acknowledgments, but their actions do not depict that at all. “But the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” Consistent!
And then He goes on to say, “On that day, many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, do many many mighty works in your name.” They are very associated with Jesus. They keep using the name of Jesus. They may do even amazing miracles in the name of Jesus.
But Jesus says, “And then will I declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.” Look at this! What's the difference? Both the ones who are truly God's and those who are not, here in this passage, acknowledge Jesus as Lord. But one will do the will of God, the Father, the other is a worker of lawlessness.
Do you see that? Being ready is not just about the mouth, it's about your life!
And the Bible tells us, “Therefore not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of heaven …” And the great tragedy in this verse is that, “… many will say to me, “Lord, Lord.” And Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you.”
There'll be many people who are self-deceived. They sit in church. They attend services. They think they're ready but actually they are not! Because their lifestyle is that of the wicked servant. They're not faithful. They don't obey. They don't do God's will.
Again, in Romans 2:6-8, Apostle Paul talks about the same thing. He says, “God will render to each one, according to his works.” Now, let me get this clear from the onset. The Bible is not teaching you - earn salvation by your works. But the Bible is consistent in saying, “You evidence salvation by your works.”
And God therefore will judge you, according to your works. Not because your works bring merit to your soul, or in that your works are deserving of salvation, but your works reflect salvation. “So God will render to each one, according to his works …,” not because you earn salvation but you evidence salvation. “…To those who by patience in well-doing, seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there'll be wrath and fury.”
So do you see the wonderful story of Jesus, spoken in Matthew 24, right here? The faithful and wise servant, he obeys God. He has the works of dispensing faithfully to those around him. And then the wicked servant, “He's self-seeking, he's a drunkard, he does not obey the truth and he will face wrath and fury.”
So are you ready? How do I know if I'm ready? What are the works that would evidence salvation? How do I know if I really obey God's will? Well, there are many ways to look at that question, to answer that question. But from this parable, I suggest three simple guidelines for you.
Be careful. Once again, I'm not saying, “You do these three things to get saved.” No! No! No! No! No! But you do these three things because they are evidence that you are saved. So if in your life, you see a growing of these three areas. You can be thankful to God, that as you continue on, “In patient well doing, He will reward you according to your works.”
But if over the course of 10, 20 years, you do not see any change in these three things, I urge you to repent and come and cry to God for mercy to save your soul. That's the point!
So let's go to these three things.
1) Faithful with Ties
Number one, I believe, what it means to serve Jesus faithfully today and every day, is that we will, number one - be faithful with our ties. What do you mean, ‘ties’? You mean this tie? No! No! No! Ties as in relationships.
You see in this parable, we read of how this chief servant has a responsibility to the other servants under his care. It reminds me that faithfulness to God is seen in the faithfulness in dealing with people around me.
So let me ask you, “Are you faithful with ties around you?” One of the qualifications or one of the passages that speak about the qualifications of an elder, a pastor, an overseer is seen in 1st Timothy, chapter 3. There are many qualifications, or many conditions, but I highlight two for you. One, he must be the husband of one wife. And two, he must manage his own household well.
What does this mean? This means that when you look for an elder, you're not looking for someone smart or someone who must have graduated from seminary. But he must be someone who is faithful - faithful at home, faithful to his wife, faithful to his children. Because an elder, a believer, an example must be someone who is faithful to the ties around him.
And we see also in 1st Timothy, chapter 5:8. “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” So, it is clear that a believer will provide, because a believer is faithful to the ties around him.
So let me ask you today, “Are you faithful to God?” How do I know if I'm faithful to God? Are you faithful to your wife? Are you faithful to your husband? Are you faithful to your children? Are you faithful to your parents? Are you faithful to the household that God has given to you?
A Christian is not someone who says, “I want to serve Jesus, and I'll abandon my family. And I'll totally neglect their needs.” No! You must be faithful to the ties. And let me say this, I believe the Bible speaks also, if not more, about faithfulness to the family in Christ, to the spiritual family.
And the Bible has a lot to say about how we treat one another, how we are to support one another, love one another, encourage one another, serve one another, provoke one another to love and good works. Are you faithful to that?
Now, I know it's not possible for any one of you to be faithful to a 1,000, 2,000 people. But are you faithful to those that God has brought into your life?
And let me ask this a bit more pointedly. Are you someone who has stumbled your fellow brother or sister recently? You might say, “Well, that's just a small matter.” And you brush it off. But faithfulness to God means - I'm faithful to my brother or sister in Christ. And that means that if I have offended them in any way, I want to make that right.
It is so important to make that right because Jesus said, “If you're offering your gift at the altar and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother.” [Matt 5:23-24] So Jesus is saying, “It's so important! This matter of getting right with your brother, that it should precede even your bringing of offering to the temple to worship.”
So before you go on today, perhaps God has been speaking to you, that you have stumbled someone, offended someone. And you've brushed it all aside because you think that's a small matter. But can I remind you today, faithfulness to God, involves being faithful to your brethren. And that means that if someone is offended because of you, go and make that right. Do that! Because you acknowledge and because you live your life, knowing Jesus is Lord.
And then if you today are offended. So I turned it around. If you are offended by someone in church, if you're stumbled. And now there is a root of bitterness growing in you. You become angry. You become bitter. You become unforgiving. Can I say that, “You've got to deal with that because that is not consistent with being faithful to the relationships God has given to you.”
I hear from our church members that a psychiatrist, a Christian psychiatrist has been helping some of our members here to help those who may be disturbed emotionally. And he shared that a lot of these psychiatric problems, he traces them to the root of unforgiveness. That is a terrible state to be in!
I know that it's not what you want to, but sometimes we may slip into that and it can kill you spiritually. But more dangerous than just suffering from mental disturbances, is this statement from 1st John 3:15, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
So the scary thing is that, if you continue to allow yourself to live in bitterness and unforgiveness, it might just show that you were never born again in the first place. So, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ and all who are tuning in, are you ready for Jesus' return? You've got to do that today, not just when He comes, there's no time to do so. Be faithful! It is wise to serve Jesus faithfully today and every day. In what way? Serve Him faithfully with regards to the relationships, to the ties around you.
This is “Circuit Breaker” time. Tensions rise. Friction is common. There is a lot of conflict at home. I've heard of that, I know that. I … I know of people struggling today. But let me tell you, “What will really pull you through is to know that God is your Savior. He is your Master. Be faithful to Jesus. And let that flow in your life and through your life to how you treat your spouse, your children, your parents, your brothers and sisters in Christ.”
I pray that the love of your Master will continue to nourish your heart, that you may live out the Gospel that way.
2) Faithful with Treasures
Now, number two. To be faithful to God, is to be faithful with our ties and number two, it is also to be faithful with our treasures.
Now, I see that the wicked servant does not use the resources to feed the servants, he abuses them, but worse still, he indulges himself. So it's a good reminder to me that I need to be faithful with my treasures, with my wealth, with the material things that God has blessed me with.
Now someone asked, “What's wrong with polygamy? What's wrong with having two wives? The Bible doesn't say it's wrong.” And then another brother says, “No, the Bible says it's wrong.” “Where does the Bible say it's wrong?” Well, the brother then quotes, Matthew 6:24 - No one can serve two masters. “You cannot have two wives, because you will have two masters.”
Now, that's taking the Bible out of context, Jesus is not saying, “Masters here with regards to two wives.” But in Matthew 6:24, He's talking about the “Two masters of God and money.”
Someone said that, “You know, both God and money are very dominating and very extreme. They want the whole of you. They want all of you. If you serve God, God wants you to serve Him with your whole life - all your heart, soul, mind, strength. Money also demands that of you.”
So the reality here is that no one can serve two masters. Realize Jesus is saying, “No one can.” He's not saying, “No one will.” He's not saying, “No one should.” He's not saying, “No one must.” He's saying, “This is a fact of impossibility - no one can!”
That means, if you serve God, you cannot serve money. If you serve money, you cannot serve God, because if you serve God, you will use money to serve Him. And if you serve money, you will use God to serve money. You've got to make a choice! Faithfulness to God means - I will use my treasures for His glory and for His purposes. You must be faithful with your treasures.
As you know, our Church was struggling financially for some time. And so, with the COVID-19 situation upon us, the staff were given an opportunity to have voluntary pay cuts. When I knew about that and when we decided upon that, I spoke with my wife.
In fact, before that I already spoke with my wife, we have come up with a kind of a giving that we would like to have. But before we committed to our giving to the church for the needs here, we made sure we spoke with our children. We wanted our children to be involved in this decision-making process because there will be sacrifices we have to make as a family.
Now, I don't begrudge that at all because I recognize that God is our Provider, He has given us all things. I'm a well provided man. Our family's well provided for by the grace of God. I realized that this is a wonderful privilege for our family to be in, to be able to give to the kingdom. But we wanted our children to know it too! Not just something silent between my wife and I, but we wanted them to see that our family, we do not serve money.
We do not, I'm not in the ministry, so that we get more money. But I'm glad that we can be in the ministry, and we can use money for the sake of the ministry. I wanted our children to know what it looks like, to be faithful to God with our treasures.
My friends, maybe today you are struggling with covetousness and greed. And you want stuff, you want the things of this world. I want to encourage you from again Matthew 6:19-20. It says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal.”
What Jesus is saying is that, “When you lay up treasures here on earth, they might be taken away from you, slowly, like moth and rust or actually like moth and mice - things that eat up the grains. Or they may be taken away from you suddenly like thieves, breaking into steal. But they will all be taken away from you, surely.”
When you lay up your treasures here on earth, I guarantee you, you have nothing when you die, nothing from this world, when you meet with Jesus. But He says. “Here is real investment wisdom, lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where it will be absolutely reserved for all eternity for you.” What a joy! What a privilege! That we can convert perishable wealth to imperishable treasures above.
And then, Jesus says in verse 21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Notice this, is not saying, “Where your heart is, there will your treasure be.” He's saying that, “There's something directional about where you place your treasure.”
If I place my treasures on earth and this is what I live for, my heart will go towards earth. But if I place my treasures in heaven, my heart will go towards heaven. If you want to be someone who loves God more, serves God more faithfully, well, you can start with how you deploy your money.
Look at your bank book. Look at your checkbook. Look at your bank account. And let that be a way by which you kill covetousness, kill idolatry in this world, when you give to the Kingdom of God.
Again, in 1st Timothy 6:17-19, Paul says, “As for the rich in this present age, charged them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”
Now, the rich in this present age, let me tell you this, alright. Most Singaporeans here are rich, by world standard. We are very rich by world standard. And so this is I think a passage for all of us, many of us here at least. And it’s saying, “Do not be proud, do not set your hopes on uncertainty of riches.”
So what if you have a million dollars! So what if you have a billion dollars! These are uncertain! It can be wiped away from you. But trust in God who provides us with everything to enjoy. And this is the charge, that, “They are to do good, be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasures for [sic: yourselves] themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”
So much to share, but let me remind you. Just like that faithful and wise servant, he was faithful to the relationships, to the servants. He was faithful with ties. He was faithful with the treasures. He gave them food in the proper season. He used the resources that his Master gave him well.
And let's realize today, all that we have is a, is a stewardship from God, is an entrustment from God. Let's be faithful with them, be faithful with them today.
Don't say to yourself, “Oh! Let me store up and save up and when I die, then all will go to God.” No! No! No! Faithfulness is not seen when He comes. No! Faithfulness is not seen on the last day. Faithfulness is seen today, and every day.
How you should look at finances. So often we like to say, “We will give to God only when we have a retirement plan drawn up. We have a … we have a retirement nest fund.” Hey! Faithfulness is trusting God today, alright. That's what it means to be faithful.
3) Faithful with Time
And finally, a simple one - faithful with your time. The servant wasted his time. The servant just lived in excess and drunkenness and indulgence. He wasted his time. But someone who is faithful to God is faithful in the relationships, with his finances and with his time.
Now, I know time is precious, especially in busy Singapore. People say, “Money is time or time is money.” Actually I think it's more than that - time is life. Your life is measured in terms of time. Really! And so it's very difficult to sacrifice or to give time to others, because it's about giving your life away, in a sense.
And we are so hard pressed for time here in Singapore. We wish we had more time to ourselves. We want more time for entertainment, for our leisure. We want to watch our, “Crash Landing on You” [a current Korean drama], CLOY [refers to Crash Landing on You]. We want more time for our soccer games, for our entertainment, for our chilling times.
But a man who is faithful to God uses time for God's glory. Now, I'm not saying, “You should not have entertainment.” I'm not saying that, “You should not have some breaks.” But at the end of the day, what is your time for? If I can see my faithfulness in my bank book, in my checkbook, I can also see my faithfulness in terms of my calendar and my timetable.
Are you faithful to the time that God has given you? Are you using your time to feed on His Word, to grow? Because that's his desire for you, that you will walk in holiness. Are you giving time to the means of grace - to the study of the Scriptures, to prayer, to community? Or are you giving all that up because you want to have your entertainment, you want to have your own hobbies.
Or maybe you won't have time for that because you're so absorbed in your career. Now jobs are good. God supplies our needs through our jobs. I'm not talking about the proper regard for jobs but I'm talking about an excessive regard for jobs. That … that becomes your idol, that becomes your dream, that becomes the success that you need to feed on.
I'm so thankful for brethren in this church, I know who sacrificed their jobs, sacrificed their careers, so that they may give themselves to the study of God's Word. It's a joy to my heart because I see this man's faithfulness to God, with his time. It's sad when people prioritize their careers and their entertainment above the proper study and growth in God's kingdom.
My friends, are you faithful today in your time to love, to serve and to make disciples? That's what time is given for. We are given a great commission. We are told by Jesus, commanded by Jesus, “To go and make disciples.” So do you go, to love, to serve and to make disciples?
I know it's “Circuit Breaker” time. But that doesn't mean you … you… you need to stop everything. You can prepare yourself in God's Word. And in these few weeks as a church, we are providing many more platforms for you to grow deep in God's Word. We want you to … encourage you to be involved in the lives of one another, via technology. That you will continue to encourage and teach and exhort and serve one another.
And I pray that, in these times when we are not so busy in the world, we can re-orientate our lives and say, “Lord, I want to be faithful to the Gospel, to the work that You have called me to.”
My friends, let Jesus be above your jobs. Let worship be the context of your work. And let us not be so concerned about Netflix, as we should be concerned about the crucifix, the cross of Jesus Christ.
Faithfulness is Tied to Faith
Why is it so important to be faithful? I think in this story it tells me, faithfulness is tied to faith. You know why the wise and faithful servant will be faithful? Because he is believing that his Master is coming back.
And I think a real Christian is someone who does not just acknowledge the Master, but believes the Master. And therefore lives according to what the Master wants. So, I'd like to encourage you today, think about your life.
The point of these “End Times” teachings is not so that you can be involved in all kinds of speculation and debate. But so that we may know the certainty of His return, and then hunker down and say, “Lord, I want to be ready today and every day. Help me to be faithful in my ties, in my treasures and with my time.”
May God bless you. May you be truly ready when He comes. Don't be like me. Don't be like me in a nightmare, where I'm totally unprepared. I hope you're prepared for Jesus, every day.
Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
Father, we want to pray that the Word of God today, will be planted deep within our hearts. And I pray that we will not just be hearers but we will be doers. We ask today for those who are listening in, but who are not Christians as yet. Lord, I know they are not ready because they do not have a Savior for their sins.
And I want to pray that they will be wise. You will open their eyes, that they may see their sin and they may see their need for Jesus. And would You even today grant to them repentance and faith. Help them to see Jesus came to die and rise again to save us from our sins. And I pray many would be wise to be ready to repent and believe, right here, right now.
And Lord, I pray for Your Church. Many who are part of the visible church, they attend the services, they join us online. But Lord, we are reminded that even in today's story, there can be people who acknowledge You as Master, but whose hearts are far from You. They do not do Your will, as yet. I pray that they will not continue in their presumption. But by Your Spirit, by Your love, Lord, call them, call them to true repentance and faith.
And then, I pray for Your Church, Your true church. Those who are born again, that we will not take anything for granted, but we will continue to look to You because of Your love, to be faithful in our ties, our treasures and our time. And may all that we do, bring glory to Your Name. Bless each one, we thank You and pray all these in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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