Sermon: The Master’s Return (Luke 12:35-48)

The Master’s Return

Luke 12:35-48

Last week we looked at various causes of fear and worry.  We saw clearly from the Bible that fear is the result of seeking wrong things.  Rather than seeking the necessities of life we are to be seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  As we seek the Kingdom God sustains our life because, as Jesus says, our lives are more than food and clothing.

Seeking the Kingdom is something that must be started and maintained.  There is urgency to our search.  We must seek it and seek it immediately.

In our text before us today, Jesus teaches another motivation for seeking the Kingdom is His second coming.

The Second Coming is a vital doctrine for the Church and one we must understand.

Acts 1:11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

1 Thes 4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

Ti 2:13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

Rv 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

Rv 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.

Our Lord gives us another motivation to be busy seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.   A second motivation is when our Lord returns, He will find us working, watching and ready for Him.

Please hear God’s Word…

Lk 12:35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning,

Lk 12:36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.

Lk 12:37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.

Lk 12:38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!

Lk 12:39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.

Lk 12:40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Lk 12:41 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?”

Lk 12:42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?

Lk 12:43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.

Lk 12:44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.

Lk 12:45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk,

Lk 12:46 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 unfaithful.

Lk 12:47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.

Lk 12:48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

1. A Faithful Servant is Prepared When His Master Returns

Lk 12:35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning,

Lk 12:36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.

Lk 12:37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.

Lk 12:38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!

To begin with Jesus gives us two examples of being ready for His return.

First He tells us that we should stay dressed for action or literally, have your loins girded.  The phrase girding up your loins is a Hebrew phrase that was a typical saying to encourage someone to be ready.  The Israelite would take his long rob and roll it up and tuck it in his belt in order to run.

A wonderful example is in Exodus at the Passover.

Ex 12:11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover.

Ex 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD.

Ex 12:13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

They ate the meal ready to leave Egypt.  At midnight God sent the death angel and every house in Egypt suffered loss.  But the Hebrews, with the blood on the doorposts, were safe inside their houses.

Pharaoh also suffered loss and summoned Moses and told him to get his people and get out of Egypt.

Just as the Hebrews were ready to leave that night we must be ready for our Lord’s return.

Another sign of readiness is that the servant would welcome his Master home by greeting him at the door with a lamp lit in order to help him into the house.  The lamp lit glowing in the window was a sign to his Master that he was ready and looking forward for His return.  The Master would see the light before even entering the house.  Once the Master knocked it was too late to light the lamp and trim the wick.  A faithful servant kept the lamp burning to welcome His Master home.

In both cases, we see the importance of being ready for action.

Brothers and sisters, are you ready for our Master’s return?  Are you ready to meet Jesus, our Master, when He comes again?

In ancient days a wedding feast may last days.  Here, the point is no one knew for sure when the Master would return.  Servants would take turns watching.

Lk 12:36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast.

Luke shows us a great reversal.  The watching and awake servants will be greatly rewarded when the Master returns.  Jesus says that the Master will in fact serve the slaves and they will all feast together.

Jesus is picturing the great banquet feast that we will share together as He, the Great Master, serves His faithful watching servants.  I can’t wait to feast with the Master.  Are you watching and ready?  Is your lamp lit and are you dressed for action?

For everyone who is ready the return of Christ will be a wonderful and blessed day.  However, for those not ready it will be a day of judgment and loss.

2. For Those Unprepared His Return Will Be Like a Thief

Lk 12:39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.

Lk 12:40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

We still have the image of the household, however, the attitude is not one of anticipation and blessing, but of surprise and loss.

We should analyze this briefly.  In both cases, the Master’s return and the thief’s arrival were unexpected.  However, one meant a blessing because the servant was ready.  The other meant loss because the servant (master of the house or head servant) was not ready.

We must understand Jesus is coming.  However, we do not know when He will come.  Will you be ready when it happens or will it take you by surprise?  We must also acknowledge that if one is not prepared when He comes, there will be no time to get ready.  It will eternally be too late.  Now is the day to prepare, watch and serve.

In the mountains of Southern Kentucky I learned a lot more in Bible College than the Bible.  One day in English class a hand went up and the professor was asked, What do we have to learn this fer?  I thought to myself, well, examine the question and you will discover the answer to why you need to learn this fer.

I think this is Peter’s question.  Jesus, should we be listening closely or is this for everybody else?

Lk 12:41 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?”

Like my professor, Jesus didn’t answer the question but simply kept going with the lesson.

3.  What a Faithful Servant Looks Like

Lk 12:42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?

Lk 12:43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.

Lk 12:44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.

I remember when I worked as an electrician.  I was the foreman and had ten guys under me.  Most were very hard workers. One man, however, was so lazy, he would hardly work at all.  He spent most of his time looking to see where I was.  As soon as I entered the job site he would start looking as if he was busy.  The problem was, he didn’t know I was actually watching him.  As soon as I left he sat down and did nothing.

I didn’t expect someone to work himself to death but I did expect an honest day’s work for a day’s pay.  When I returned I was like a thief to him because he suffered loss, but to everyone else my return brought reward.  Paychecks went to everyone except him.  He received a pink slip.

Jesus will richly bless His faithful servants when He returns if He finds them working and serving.  His reward will be to set the faithful over His entire household.  This should remind us of Joseph over Potiphar’s household.  He was a trusted servant and was placed over all the master’s possessions.

Through out these verses, Jesus uses the term household over and over.  This is the picture of a servant working for his master in the household in ancient Palestine.  For us, where are we to work as faithful servants in God’s household?  I think we can turn to Paul here for the answer:

1 Tm 3:14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that,

1 Tm 3:15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.

Paul identifies God’s household as the Church.  Are you faithfully serving in the local church?  Do you have a ministry here in the Church?  This is the household of God.  You can be doing a million things that you think are good things but unless you are serving the Lord and your brothers and sisters in your church, you will not be found faithful.  This is God’s household.

The Church is the household of God on earth here and now.  Someday the Bible tells us that those whom the Lord finds faithful over His house now will be given further responsibilities in the world to come.

We must grasp this connection.  The church is the household of God.  This is where a servant will be found either faithful or lazy.

Now, we must ask ourselves, Am I ready for my Master’s return?  Am I serving the those in God’s household?

4. The Final Warning

Lk 12:45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk,

Lk 12:46 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 unfaithful.

Lk 12:47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.

Lk 12:48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Here is our Lord’s final warning.  He shows us the consequences of not being a faithful servant.  For some, who know the Master’s will and do not do it will suffer great loss.  They will not be rewarded as a faithful servant.  Others, who are not faithful, are not serving because they actually are lost.  Theirs will be the greatest loss of all.

I pray that today we can all say that we love our Lord and we are waiting and watching.  Not only that, but we also must be serving.

How are you doing?  Are you a faithful servant in the household of God?

 

 

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