“Ready or not, here I come” is a common phrase used of children (or their parents) when playing Hide-and-Seek. This phrase could also be applied to Jesus’ return. God the Father has set redemptive history before the foundation of the world and Jesus’ return will come exactly when He has planned. The question is, are you ready? Because He is coming whether you are ready or not. Let’s explore readiness for a few moments.
There are two major sermons in the Gospel of Matthew. The first being the Sermon on the Mount in chs 5-7, in which Jesus shows what kingdom people look like. Kingdom people are not performance-only Christians (hypocrites), but are true followers in public and private. I wrote a post on this a while back. The second major sermon is in chs 24-25, known as the Olivet Discourse. In these two chapters, the disciples ask, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” (24:3). Jesus’ answer is twofold: first, there will be many signs that will precede His coming (24:4-35), and second, “of that day and hour no one knows … but the Father alone” (24:36). The point that Jesus is making is that they are not permitted to know the exact timing of His return (*well, there goes any speculation of Jesus’ return*), but they are to “be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” (24:42). Jesus uses this phrase five times in this sermon ((cf. Matt 24:36, 42, 44, 50), which means it is the answer to the disciple’s question. The disciples of Jesus—all disciples—need to be ready at all times for Jesus’ return.
The question comes: “what does ‘ready’ look like?” I am glad you asked.
Be Actually Saved
Beginning in 24:45, Jesus tells three parables (the Two Servants, the Ten Virgins, & the Talents) to illustrate one simple truth about readiness for Jesus’ coming: be saved! (see, simple 😊). The faithful slave, the five prudent virgins, and the first two servants are all believers/follower of Christ. They are marked by obedience, being prepared, and being fruitful with all that God has given them. The evil slave, the five foolish virgins, and the last servant are fraud/fake Christians. Disobedience and spiritual laziness is how they are marked. In other words, the first step to making yourself ready for Jesus’ return is to do as the apostle Paul admonishes in 2 Cor 13:, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!”
NOW, jumping over the Luke 21, we have the same situation and same sermon (without the parables). Luke gives us a part of Jesus’ sermon that Matthew did not include in vv. 34-36. From these verse, we get the final points of readiness.
Be Actively Separated
Luke 21:34, “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap.”
Being ready to see Jesus face-to-face produces holiness, purity, and godly virtue. Knowing you will stand before the most Holy One motivates separation from worldliness and sin. This means NOT being weighed-down/troubled/burdened/overcome with how the world deals with or justifies their sin (namely, drinking and worry), but rather, a true believer who anticipates Jesus’ return at any moment lives in the trusting sovereignty of God, for He is their source of life, truth, and strength. They rest their soul in knowing that God has all things under control and that He gives peace and blessing to His children who seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matt 6:33; Phil 4:4-9). They, therefore, do not need to worry or be sinful or desire the pleasures of the world because all they are is found in Christ and in Christ there is a separation from sin (1 John 2:28-3:3).
So, to be actively separated from sin is to abide in Christ, live in Christ, walk like Christ, know Christ, to love Christ above all. In this way, you will be ready for Jesus’ return.
Be Attentively Speaking
Luke 21:35, “for [judgment] will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.”
John MacArthur writes: “Anticipation of the glorious arrival of the Lord Jesus Christ not only stimulates believers to personal holiness, but also compels them to warn the lost.” He is absolutely right! When Jesus comes, He comes as a conquering King (Rev 19) and all people will be under the judgment of God and sentenced to eternal Hell if they do not repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, they must believe before Jesus returns. But they cannot repent and believe if they do not hear the good news of the gospel from Christ’ ambassadors (Rom 10:9-17; 2 Cor 5:20). Therefore, O Christian, you must compassionately tell those who are lost the saving gospel; the gospel that is the bad news of their sin and the good news of the salvation provided in Christ. Of course, you will be met with opposition and rejection, but it is NOT your job to save people—that is God’s job. Your job to tell people. Get the message of the gospel right and proclaim it in love.
Readiness for Jesus’ return means that while you have life and breath, you must tell your family, your friends, and strangers of the gospel as you have opportunity while they still have breath.
Be Always Strengthened
Luke 21:36, “But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Notice the verse does not say: “in your strength …” Rather, you are to (passive verb) be strengthened. This means to depend upon God’s strength to persevere in this world that hates Christians and encourages sin. To be strengthened by God means to rely upon His Word, His promises, His people, and His grace. To be strengthened means to find your all in Him and to live for Him.
In these ways, you will be ready for Christ’s return.
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 John MacArthur, Luke 18-24, MNTC (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2014), 258.