For this reason, you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.
I. THE MORAL INFLUENCE OF FEELING THAT THE MASTER MAY COME AT ANY TIME.
1. It keeps the thought of the Master close, near to us at all times. So it takes us out of ourselves.
2. It keeps us thinking what the Master would like to see when he comes. So it makes us ever busy about our work.
3. It sets us upon thinking what pleasant surprises we can give our Master when he comes. So it lifts our work high above the drudgery of service.
4. It keeps in our hearts the ever-cheering confidence of the Master's smile, if he sees all has been right and is right in his home. Add that all this filling of our souls with the thought of our Master provides the healthiest deliverance from all self-centred sentimentalism. Illustrate from our Lord's picture of the good servant, who was found "watching," in the sense of being busy about his work.
II. THE MORAL INFLUENCE OF FEELING THAT THE MASTER IS DELAYING HIS COMING. This represents the most striking contrast. The thought of the Master is lifted away, and self rises to fill the vacant space. No need to hurry preparations; it will be soon enough when he sends notice. Meanwhile there can be self-enjoyment. There is no fear of being taken at unawares. See the picture of the unworthy servant. Whether men think they can, or think they cannot, fix the time of Christ's coming, the fact for them all will be that he will come to them at unawares, and find them out. - R.T.
Them be ye also ready.I. To speak of DEATH.
1. At death, the body is dissolved into dust.
2. At death, the soul and body separate.
3. At death, the soul appears before God.
II. WHO ARE READY FOR DEATH?
1. All who are prepared to die see their lost state by nature.
2. All who love God.
3. All who have God.
III. REASONS WHY WE SHOULD BE PREPARED TO DIE.
1. Death is sure.
2. The time is uncertain.
3. This is the only world where you can be prepared to die.
4. Now is the time God has given you to prepare to die.
5. He is a wise man who prepares to die.
6. He is a fool who refuses to prepare to die.
(A. Fletcher, M. A.)I. THE ADMONITION. To be ready for the coming of Christ ought to be the great end of life.
1. To be ready for death, is to have obtained the pardon of all sins.
2. It is to possess renewed natures.
3. It is to have all the graces of the Spirit in vigorous exercise.
II. THE MOTIVE AND ARGUMENT EMPLOYED.
1. The uncertainty of the event in question. '2. Death may come when, according to human calculation, there is the least Prospect of it.
3. It may call us when our earthly concerns may make it most inconvenient for us to depart.
4. It may approach when we are least ready for its approach.
(T. Brown, D. D.)I. THE SCRIPTURAL ACCOUNT OF THE UNCERTAINTY OF HUMAN LIFE.
II. INQUIRE HOW THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE SO SELDOM LEADS MEN PREPARE FOR LEAVING IT.
1. Want of consideration.
2. Love of this world and its enjoyments.
3. A vague impression that death is a distant event.
III. SOME OF THE COMFORTS AND ADVANTAGES OF BEING PREPARED FOR DEATH.
1. It secures the testimony of a good conscience, connected with the favour of God, and the happiness that results from both.
2. Preparation for death alleviates the afflictions of life, and affords much consolation under them.
3. It frees from slavish fear of that event.
(A. Grant, D. D.)I. THE EVENT PREDICTED.
1. His coming at the day of judgment.
2. At the hour of death.
II. THE DUTY ENJOINED.
1. It is an evangelical readiness.
2. It is a gracious readiness.
3. It is an habitual readiness.
(T. Hitchin.)I. WHAT IS REVEALED concerning our Lord's character and appearance?
1. Preparation made.
2. His first coming was in weakness; His second, in illimitable power. His first, in humiliation; His second, in glory.
II. The EFFECT of His coming.
(E. Fisk, LL. B.)A ship in a port, with all its provisions and sails and men on board, is in one sense of the word, "ready" — ready for sea; but it may not be "ready " in the sense this text enjoins. Its sails must be in their places, its anchor must be up, every man must be at his post: then it is actually ready for the ocean and its storms. Let the command come, and in a minute or two it is disengaged from the fastenings that held it, lies down to the breeze, and without hurry or alarm is gone. And this is the readiness our Lord has here in His mind — a state of actual readiness, preparedness of mind and heart.
I. A CALL TO A STATE OF PREPARATION. The readiness to which we are called is a state that will give us admission to Paradise. The qualification for such a distinction and privilege is —
1. The possession of Christian acceptance and holiness.
2. A faithful and assiduous fulfilment of trust. Trusts of the most important kind are committed to man, for which he is accountable and responsible.
3. Habitual watchfulness.
II. OUR LORD ENFORCES THIS CALL BY THE DECLARATION OF AN IMPRESSIVE FACT.
1. The coming of the Son of Man.
2. The purposes of His coming.
3. Man's ignorance of the period of His coming.
(J. Rattenbury.)I. THE EVENT FOR WHICH WE ARE TO BE READY.
1. At death, the body turns to its original dust.
2. At death, the soul and body separate.
3. At death, the soul appears before God.
II. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN BEING READY? Great events require suitable preparation. Preparation for death implies —
1. A perception of unfitness for death, without an interest in the favour of God.
2. Faith in Christ, which is instrumental in obtaining pardon of sin, etc.
4. Diligence in the use of the public and private means of grace.
III. MOTIVES TO URGE US TO BE READY.
1. Death is sure to come.
2. The time of death's approach is uncertain.
3. Abundant provision is made to induce this preparation.
4. The present life is the only period in which we can prepare for death.
5. To be ready indicates true wisdom, and gives peace.
(W. N.)I. WHAT ARE WE TO BE READY FOR? To be ready to leave all that is about us and all that belongs to us, however cherished.
1. To be ready to leave this world, with all its cares, its troubles, and anxieties, for a better.
2. To be willing to be rid of many things that now burden us, and that every Christian more or less feebly desires to be rid of: sin, sorrow, sickness, appetites, disquiet, etc.
3. To be ready to stand at the judgment-seat of Christ. How do you expect to appear there?
II. WHY WE ARE TO BE READY.
1. It is Christ's command. Surely that is enough.
2. He who commands is competent to say what the readiness consists in. It is not what we think, nor what the minister prescribes, nor what custom says; but what Christ has inspired in His own holy word. Faith in Christ, etc.
3. He has promised to make us ready. He is the author first, and the finisher next, of our faith.
4. Why is it so important to be ready? We are to see the Son of God, etc.
5. Such readiness will not interfere with the duties of this world.
(J. Cumming, D. D.)Hebrews 2:10). Our enemy is always ready to annoy us; should we not therefore look to our stand, and be vigilant? Solomon's wisdom, Lot's integrity, and Noah's sobriety, felt the smart of the serpent's sting. The first was seduced, the second stumbled, and the third fell, while the eye of watchfulness was fallen asleep.
(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
Essex Remembrancer.I. The SOLEMN EVENTS for which we ought always to be ready.
II. In WHAT THIS READINESS CONSISTS, and how it is to be obtained. It consists in a proper arrangement of all our temporal and spiritual concerns. The preparation of the heart for the worship of God on earth and in heaven is from the Lord, and includes —
1. Divine illumination.
2. There must be faith.
3. A life of faith must be evidenced by a life of holiness.
4. We must live a life of prayer.
III. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ALWAYS READY, Reasons —
1. It is certain the Son of Man will come.
2. It is uncertain when the Son of Man will appear.
1. The love of life is a powerful instinct. As men shrink from death by this vital instinct, so the thoughts of it are disagreeable.
2. The sentiments and symbols of men respecting death which have a painful and mischievous effect upon the imagination and feelings.
3. There are reasons which act powerfully from out of the affections, to make men slow to think of death. The mother could think of death except as a separation from her child.
4. Do you fear to come to God because of sin. Christ removes this. The pain of dying is small. We shall enter upon another life divested of the hindrances of this. Why is it not as easy to think of death as a golden gate, as to think of it as a murky gate?
(H. W. Beecher.)
(H. W. Beecher.)Latimers wish (and he had it) that he might shed his heart-blood for Christ. It was Jewel's wish that he might die preaching, and he did so, for presently, after his last sermon at Lacock, in Wiltshire, he was, by reason of sickness, forced to his bed, from whence he never came off till his translation to glory. I have heard the like of Mr. Lancaster, a precious man of God, some time pastor of Bloxham, in Oxfordshire, a man very famous for his living by faith. Cushamerns, a Dutch divine, and one of the first preachers of the gospel at Erfurt, in Germany, had his pulpit poisoned by the malicious Papists there, and so took his death in God's work. "What l would you that the Lord, when He comes, should find me idle?" said Calvin to his friends, who wished him to forbear studying awhile for his health's sake. And such a like answer made Dr. Reynolds to his physician upon the like occasion. Elijah was going on and talking with Elisha (about heavenly things, no doubt) when the chariot of heaven came to fetch him. There can be no better posture or state for the messenger of our dissolution to find-us in than in a diligent prosecution of our general or particular calling.
(John Trapp.)I. What Christ's ministers are entrusted with?
1. The gospel.
2. The ordinances.
3. The care of the Church.
4. The souls of the members.
II. What ministers may be said to be stewards and rulers; teachers and preachers; elders or pastors?
III. Who are wise, faithful servants of Jesus Christ?
1. Such as serve Christ because they love Him.
2. Such as serve Christ in all humility.
3. Such as serve Him with a perfect heart.
4. Such as feed the Master's household with all that food the Master hath provided or appointed for them.
5. Such as feeds the whole household.
6. Such as seeks the honour of Christ in all he does, not his own gain.
7. Such as cares for the weak babes, or little children, of his Master's family.
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