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Return of the King - Advent 2016

December 5, 2016 – Staying Up All Night

“The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
– Romans 13:12-14

A Thief in the Night

Jesus once told his disciples a mini-parable about a homeowner and a thief. He said, “Be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (Matthew 24:42-43).

If you knew that a thief was going to break into your house tonight, how would you prepare? I doubt you would go to bed as normal and hope he didn’t take too much of your stuff. Instead, you’d probably stay up – perhaps even sit by the door – a phone in one hand and a gun in the other. And when you heard the sound of lockpicking tools going to work or the doorknob turning or the creak of your big front door, you’d be ready.

You’d be a fool to know the thief is coming and do nothing to prepare.

And Jesus looked at his disciples the same way. They would be foolish to know that Christ is returning in glory – to render judgment to the wicked and immortality to the righteous – but do nothing to prepare. So he told them point-blank, “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matthew 24:44).

Staying Up All Night

How do we prepare for Christ’s second coming? How do we prepare for our own deaths? Paul gives the Roman Christians some basic instructions: Lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. God is calling each of us to prepare for eternity today by living as if we’re already in eternity.

In eternity, there will be no sin – no carousing, no drunkenness, no promiscuity, no strife or jealousy, no hate. So we get ready by living in eternity’s reality today. We get ready by putting those things away right now since they will be put away forever at Christ’s second coming.

On the other hand, when Christ comes in glory, his people will be clothed in light and immortality. They will be resurrected and made like him. But we don’t have to wait until eternity. God calls us to put the armor of light on today. We are to clothe ourselves in love, righteousness, peace, hope, and faith today.

This is how we stay up and prepare for Christ’s coming: We live as if he’s already come.

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