Are You Ready Yet?

  1. INTRODUCTION:

    1. HAVE YOU BEEN HURRYING TO GET THINGS IN ORDER FOR A TRIP OR TO GO SOME PLACE; AND YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED BY ONE OF YOUR PARENTS: "ARE YOU READY YET?"
    2. DO YOU REMEMBER THE GAME OF HIDE AND SEEK AND SOMEONE CALLING OUT: "READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!"
    3. DEFINITION OF "READY":
      1. Webster: "Prepared, or supplied, with what is needed for some act or event."
      2. Greek: Hetoimos, pronounced (het-oy'-mos); It is from an old noun heteos, meaning: fitness; having things in readiness; It is translated "prepared" or "ready".
    4. CONSIDER WITH ME FOR A FEW MINUTES THE WORD "READY" AND ITS USAGE IN THE BIBLE.

  2. DISCUSSION:

    1. PETER SAID: "… LORD, I AM READY TO GO WITH THEE, BOTH INTO PRISON, AND TO DEATH." – Luke 22:33.
      1. Peter thought he was ready, but he was not, as he later denied the Lord.
      2. Luke 22:55-62 = "And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly."

      3. We should follow Jesus, for He is our example.
      4. I Peter 2:21 = "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:"

        1. Our following Christ necessitates self denial.
        2. Matthew 16:24 = "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

        3. Our following Jesus is like a sailor sailing under sealed orders -- The question of obedience have been settled before the orders are read.
    2. PETER WROTE: I PETER 3:15 = "BUT SANCTIFY THE LORD GOD IN YOUR HEARTS: AND BE READY ALWAYS TO GIVE AN ANSWER TO EVER MAN THAT ASKETH YOU A REASON OF THE HOPE THAT IS IN YOU WITH MEEKNESS AND FEAR."
      1. It takes study to do this.
      2. 2 Timothy 2:15 = "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  
        2 Timothy 4:13
        = "The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments."

      3. It also takes the right disposition of one’s heart to do it in the right manner:
        1. We might win a discussion and lose a soul.
        2. We need to win a soul not just a discussion.

      Proverbs 11:30 = "….. He that winneth souls is wise."

    3. PAUL SAID: "… I AM READY TO PREACH THE GOSPEL…" = ROMANS 1:15.
      1. Why was Paul ready?
        1. He believed the gospel to be the power of God unto salvation. Romans. 1:16
        2. He was not ashamed of the gospel.
        3. Romans 1:16 = "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

        4. He sensed the huge debt he owed in serving the Lord to save the lost.

        Romans 1:14 = "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise."

      2. These same reasons should motivate us to preach and teach the gospel to others.
    4. PAUL WROTE: "THAT THEY DO GOOD, THAT THEY BE RICH IN GOOD WORKS, READY TO DISTRIBUTE, WILLING TO COMMUNICATE; LAYING UP IN STORE FOR THEMSELVES." = 1 TIMOTHY. 6:18-19.
      1. An unselfish attitude is a basic principle of Christian life -- God was not selfish with His Son. [ROMANS 1:15]
      2. This unselfishness and kindness:
        1. It was a distinguishing mark of the First Century church.
        2. Acts 2:45 = "And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need". Act 4:34-35= "Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."

        3. Christianity without a heart of compassion is worthless.
    5. PAUL SAID, WE SHOULD "… BE READY TO EVERY GOOD WORK" = TITUS 3:1.
      1. Be ready to do it yourself – not wait for someone else to do it.
      2. Works are the fruits of our faith, for we show our faith by our works.
      3. James 2:18 = "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."

      4. Works of Christians is that which lets the world know what true Christianity really is and will bring glory to God.

      Luke 6:44-45 = "For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart"

      Mathew 5:14-16 = "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

    6. PAUL SAID: "I AM READY … TO DIE …" ACTS 21:13.
    7. Acts 21:13 = "Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."

      1. Paul later wrote these words just shortly before his death.
      2. 2 Timothy 4:6-8 = "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

      3. Does the Lord mean that much to us?

      Comment: The Lord has not called us to die for Him, but He has called us to live for Him.

      Romans 12:1 = "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

    8. JESUS COMMANDED US TO BE: "… READY: FOR IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YE THINK NOT THE SON OF MAN COMETH." = Matthew 24:44.
    9. Matt 24:42-44 = "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."

      1. The tragedy of the foolish virgins was that they were not ready to meet the bridegroom.
      2. Matthew 25:1-13 = "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."

      3. To be ready we must be in the kingdom and make preparation as did the wise virgins.
        1. This preparation does not come accidentally.
        2. This preparation has to be made on purpose.

  3. CONCLUSION:

    1. VICTORIES ARE WON BY BEING READY BEFORE THE BATTLE.
      1. It has been recorded that a Greek commander, just before a coming battle is reported to have said: "The secret of victory is in getting a good ready."
      2. It is recorded that General Foch said: "Battles are won the day before."
    2. CHRISTIANS NEED THE "DAY BEFORE" READINESS.
      1. To wait till the time of battle is too late.
      2. To wait till the day of judgment is too late.
      3. Paul wrote: "…Behold, now is the day of salvation." = II Corinthians 6:2.
    3. WE CLOSE THIS WITH WHAT THE THOUGHT OF THE HIDE AND SEEK GAME -- ONLY THIS TIME IT IS THE LORD SAYING: "READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!"

GROWTH DEPENDS ON SERVICE

In serving the Lord there is much to do,
And to get the work done we need a hard working crew.
May each one of us do what we can,
That includes all – child, woman and man.

The harvest is ready white,
But enough workers do we have? No! – not quite!
Let us encourage one and all,
Growth is needed – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

In faithful service let each of us ever work,
May we never an opportunity to serve shirk.
So with God to lead us along the pathway,
Let us serve Him true -- now and everyday.

When The Church grows in number,
It will be evident those within certainly do not slumber.
For God knows whether our work is hot or cold,
And are serving according to His Word of old.

J. H. Blackman, Jr.
(9/19/1999)

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