St. John's & Zion Lutheran Churches

Christians Look Forward to Christ’s Second Coming

Sermon on Luke 12:32-40

Text: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

When a parent has to leave, whether it be for a job or to go out for the evening, the child, especially if they are younger, cannot wait for them to come back. When the front door opens and the child sees that it is mom or dad, they go running to meet them. They have been looking forward to their return. In our sermon text for this morning, Jesus speaks about his return on the Last Day. We eagerly wait for his return. In these verses, Jesus tells us the attitude we are to have as we wait. CHRISTIANS LOOK FORWARD TO CHRIST’S SECOND COMING 1. As People Whose Treasure Is In Heaven, 2. As Servant’s Preparing For Their Master’s Wedding Feast, and 3. As Caretakers Who Are Always Watchful.

Just prior to our text, Jesus taught the crowd that they had no reason to worry about the things of this world, whether they would have enough to eat or wear. He told them very clearly that their heavenly Father would provide for all of their needs.

Then, Jesus continues with the words of verses 32, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Jesus refers to them as “little flock.” The disciples of Jesus’ day were fewer in number than the unbelievers around them. They might well have felt like they would be swallowed up by the rest. We can understand that feeling, as well. When we look at the unbelieving world around us, we might also feel like we will be swallowed up by the rest of the world. No matter how we stand up for the truths of God’s Word, there are many who scoff at the idea.

However, Jesus tells us not to be afraid, because our “Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” God is giving us the kingdom of heaven. It is certainly not that we have earned or deserved it. By our rebellious acts, we deserved to be shut out of the kingdom of heaven. Whenever we have gone astray from God, we deserve to be shut out of the light of heaven and be put into the kingdom of darkness, namely hell, for all eternity.

Yet, God was pleased to give us the kingdom. In his love, he sent his Son, the Good Shepherd, to bring us, the wandering sheep, back. To bring us into the kingdom, it cost him everything that he had. He gave his very life to pay for our sins. To rescue us from hell, he laid down his life. More than that, he rose again, showing us that he had won the victory. Because of this, we are holy in the sight of God. Because we have become a part of this kingdom through faith, we look forward to Jesus’ return. We look forward to hearing Jesus say on that day, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”

This is waiting for us. However, Jesus wants us to be ready for his return. He does not want us to lose this kingdom, this inheritance. By a series of three pictures, he talks about our readiness for his return.

First of all, Jesus says, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Verses 33&34) In that last sentence, Jesus makes a point well worth our consideration. Whatever is the most important thing to you is where you will put your time and effort. Jesus mentions possessions. Again, there is nothing wrong with possessions, in and of themselves. Anything we have is from the gracious hand of God. However, if they are the most important thing in our lives, we will spend our time and effort into getting them. We will try to accumulate more and more, even at the expense of our relationship with God. I am not just talking about being absent from church on Sunday morning. If our possessions are the most important to us, we will put aside God and his will until it is convenient to pick him up again.

Possessions are not the only things that people put as the treasure of their hearts. It could be getting power or prestige. It could be a wanting to be popular. If this is most important to you, your heart will devise a way to get it. In doing so, however, we may put aside our faith and Christian living. This treasure is gone at death.

Jesus encourages us to work for treasure that will not go away. You have been brought to faith. You have heaven. As Christians, we want to make Jesus the treasure of our hearts. When we do so, we will put our time and best efforts into serving him. As we look forward to Christ’s second coming, we want to remember that our treasure is not on this earth, but is waiting for us in heaven. As we keep this foremost in our hearts, we are ready for Jesus to return.

In the second portion, Jesus says, “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.” Jesus uses a picture of a wedding from his day. The groom would go and claim his bride. Then he would return home for the wedding feast. The groom would expect his servants to be ready for his return, even if it came in the middle of the night. The servants were to be dressed with their lamps burning so that the bride and groom would not have to enter a dark house.

This picture is a common one in the Bible. Many times God is spoken of as a groom. We are the servants who are to be ready for our master’s return. We, too, like the servants, want to be dressed, not in robes of our own righteousness, but dressed in the robes of righteousness which Christ won for us. We, also, want to have our lamps brightly burning. These lamps are our faith. We want them to be burning brightly when Jesus returns. This lamp of faith shows itself in the way that we think, act and talk. As Jesus said, “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” We are busily preparing for our Master’s feast.

I would like you to note something that sounds a bit peculiar. Jesus said that the Master would invite the servants to sit down and relax and he would wait on them. This is not usually the way that it is done! However, Jesus, the Master of all, became the Servant of all. He served all when he saved the world. He continues to serve us when we reach the heavenly feast. Even now Jesus is preparing a place for us at the feast table. We look forward to Christ’s return so that we can take the place he has prepared for us in heaven.

In the third picture Jesus said, “Understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” By means of this picture, Jesus teaches us that his return will be unexpected. The thief counts on the element of surprise for his crime to be successful. He counts on you letting your guard down. Obviously, he will not write you a letter telling you when he will come and steal from your home or business.

Jesus also wants us to always be ready for his return. He does not want us to fall into the trap thinking that ‘Surely Jesus would not come right now. I will always have time to ask for forgiveness, later on. I will get serious about my faith, later on. Right now I am having too much fun.’ You do not know when Jesus will return, or you do not know when the end of your life might be. For that reason, we do not want to play fast and loose with our lives or our faith, figuring that we will always have time. As Jesus’ disciples, we want to always be ready. We want to be serving him with our lives. We serve our Lord with our lives here on this earth in preparation and a desire for the glorious life in heaven. We live our lives as caretakers of the things that God has given us, being watchful for Jesus’ return.

If you have ever been apart from someone you love, you know how you long for the time when you can be together again. You may find yourself counting the days until you can be together again. We live our lives in eager anticipation of being together with Jesus. Although we cannot count the days, since we do not know when that day will be, we live in eager anticipation of that day. As his followers, we live as people whose treasure is in heaven, as servants preparing for our Master’s wedding feast, and as caretakers being always watchful. When Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming soon,” we in great anticipation say, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” Amen.