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Are You Ready for Judgment?

Last Judgment Sunday

Are You Ready for Judgment?

Text:  Matthew 25:31-46

Oh boy.  Here we go.  The father steps up to the mic.  He’s been waiting for this moment for a very long time.  But he’s ready.  He knows what to say.  He has lots of heartfelt words for his daughter and her new husband at this wedding reception.  But of course, he would be remiss on this wedding day if he didn’t show at least a few pictures.  The pictures pop onto the screen.  Everyone laughs while the blushing bride becomes just that.  Daddy was kind enough to share pictures of his young daughter in the bathtub, pictures in diapers, and even a few pictures kissing some other two-year-old boy.  “Daaad!”  How embarrassing!

Old friends stop by.  You haven’t seen them for ages!  How fun to catch up on old times!  “Oh let me tell you—did you ever know what he was really like back then?”  Your friends proceed to tell your spouse some not so great stories about some not so great things you’ve done.  How agonizing!

But can these embarrassing and shaming moments of life even compare to what we hear about today?  Daniel painted the picture first:  Thrones were set in place.  The Ancient of Days too his seat.  His clothing and hair were white.  His throne was flaming with fire.  A river of fire was flowing from before him.  Tens of thousands encircled him.  And the last sentence said:  The court was seated, and the books were opened.” Read the rest of this entry

Daily Devotion on Tuesday of Holy Week

Text: Matthew 21:23-25:46

Tuesday of Holy Week is often called “Busy Tuesday.” There is not much recorded about Monday and Wednesday but Matthew devotes over four chapters to the sermons of Jesus given on Tuesday. The selfless sacrifice of Jesus is an amazing thing. Most humans who are told that they will soon die make every effort to cross some things off their bucket-lists. Jesus was thinking about everyone but himself. In these four chapters of Matthew we see Jesus desperately trying to make people see the light.

Jesus taught several parables that Tuesday morning and all of them focused on repentance. The parables are aimed at those who have not yet turned to Jesus in faith. They are parables of warning: either you are a friend of Jesus or you are his enemy and you don’t want to be the enemy of God.

Next on Jesus plate was a debate. He was challenged by the Pharisees and Sadducees (the spiritual leaders of the Jews) on four different points. These men were trying to trap Jesus, to get him to say something that would reveal him as the hoax they were convinced he was. Read the accounts for yourself… Jesus as true God was a little smarter than mere men.

The “Seven Woes” as they are entitled in the NIV from Matthew 23 are somber words for the Pharisees. It is scary to read through this chapter and see how often we Christians fall into the same sins as the Pharisees. What is the key difference? We repent and look to Jesus to take our sins away, the Pharisees did not.

Jesus’ evening was spent on a two chapter long discourse on the end of this earth. We don’t know when Jesus is going to come again and so we need to be prepared at all times. We do know that when he comes we will be taken away to eternal life, and all because of the work Jesus was accomplishing on Holy Week.

What selfless, wondrous love is this, that Jesus would spend his last hours offering his loving forgiveness to those were in the process of orchestrating his murder!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as Jesus lived in this world in utter humility may we also live humbly. Because of Jesus we have the forgiveness we desperately need to face Judgment Day with confidence. Give us the strength to live our lives as if our next breath could be our last because no one knows when Jesus will come again. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Daily Devotion on Matthew 25:1-13

Text: Matthew 25:1-13

Semper Paratus, the United States Coast Guard motto, means always prepared. For a soldier, it crucial to always be prepared because no one knows when the action will begin and what will be needed to win. Being prepared can mean the difference between life and death, victory and defeat.

Are you always prepared? You don’t have to be in the armed forces to have this as your motto. In fact, Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 show that it is even more important to be prepared as a Christian than it is as a soldier. Being prepared as a Christian can mean the difference between eternal life and eternal death.

No one knows when the world will end. When it does end we had better be prepared. That is an intimidating thought. If all the Bible said about Judgment Day was that we had to be prepared at all times we would have a lot to be afraid of. None of us is prepared at all times for Jesus return. The Bible has a lot more to say about Judgment Day and how we are prepared.  In Jesus we have what we need to face Judgment Day, forgiveness and peace. By regularly hearing and reading God’s word we keep our lamps trimmed and burning so that we are always reminded of God’s love in Jesus always prepared to meet our Maker.

Prayer: Heavenly Father in you we live and move and have our being. Forgive us when we fail to live as your children, when we fail to keep you as our central focus. Give us the strength and motivation to serve you each and every day so that whenever Judgment Day comes we are prepared to meet you. Above all, thank you for sending your Son to win heaven for us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

The Judge Has Reached His Verdict

2nd Sunday of End Times: The Last Judgment

Sermon Text: Matthew 25:31-46

Did you know that there is a file out there on me? There is an outside observer’s view on my qualifications as a minister on file at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Since I began studying to be a pastor in college six years ago my professors have been keeping a record of not only my grades but also my personality, habits, hobbies, and even my wife. The leaders of the synod will use this information in two years to determine if I am qualified to become a pastor and if so at what church my gifts will best be used to serve God and his people. It is kind of an intimidating thought. My professors have been observing me for six years and they regularly have been getting together in a room and talking about me; my strengths and weaknesses.

I think it would be weird, uncomfortable and embarrassing at times to sit in on one of those meetings or worse yet to have my file read in front of all my peers or you fine people…

Did you know there is a file out there on you? Since you were conceived an outside observer has been keeping a file on your qualifications. This outside observer is not really outside though; he has been able to read every thought you have ever had. There is a record of absolutely everything you have ever thought, said or done and it will be used on Judgment Day to determine what you deserve for all eternity.

The courtroom is set. The trial is about to begin. At stake is the eternity of your soul. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Devotion on Matthew 25:31-46

Text: Matthew 25:31-46

Last year around this time I drove past a church in a small northern Wisconsin town with what follows written on the church sign: “Hell. It’s not only hot, it’s eternal.”

While I doubt that this sign would ever cause and unbeliever to enter the church doors, I also realize that in the season of End Times statements like that church sign have a prominent place. Just look at what Jesus says in Matthew: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angles.”

For four Sundays at the end of every church year Christians gather around God’s word to study what it teaches about Judgment Day and the end of the earth. Judgment Day means one of two things for every individual.

To those who believe in Jesus as their Savior it is a teaching of comfort. Jesus will come on that last day and take us from this world of sorrow to the heavenly home prepared for us.

To those who don’t believe it is a teaching to fear. Eternal punishment is the only thing waiting for them.

Being on God’s right as one of his sheep is more important than words can say because hell is not only hot, it is eternal. Thankfully because of Jesus we have a shot at the more pleasant outcome of Judgment Day. We have more than a shot; heaven is already ours because Jesus won it for us.

Remember this End Times season that heaven is yours. Remember that person in your life who, as of now, will feel that heat at the end of days. Do something about it. Share that peace that you have. Be God’s mouthpiece and share Jesus because being on God’s right is more important than words can say.

Prayer: Heavenly Father,a by your grace we have heaven. You have been making our heavenly home since the beginning and promise to bring us there. Forgive us when we fail to act as your sheep. Give us the strength to treat the people around us with the love that comes from your love. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.