You Must Keep Watch

First Sunday of Advent | December 1, 2019

Isaiah 2:1-5 • Psalm 122 • Romans 13:11-14 • Matthew 24:36-44

36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

40 “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.

42 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

Matthew 24:36-44 New Living Translation (NLT)

Now that Thanksgiving is over, most people are “ready” for Christmas. I know even in our own family, we try not to play Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Occasionally we break our own rules. There is a temptation now that Thanksgiving is over, almost everyone is in Christmas mode. We even have all the Black Friday sales. It seems everyone is Christmas…Christmas…Christmas…all the time…24 hours a day…seven days a week.

Tomorrow we begin the season of Advent. While most everyone thinks that Advent is the same as Christmas, it’s not. Advent is a season of waiting – Advent is a season of expectation – Advent is a season of preparation – Advent is a season of watching.

The gospel reading for tomorrow comes from the book of Matthew and it’s not the story of the angel coming to Joseph – but Jesus teaching the people about the future – about his second advent. The first time that Jesus came, he came as a baby, born to a carpenter. The next time Jesus comes, he will come as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The first time Jesus came, Pilate stood before Jesus, the next time he comes Pilate will stand before Him.

Jesus is coming again and no one knows that day or the hour. Many like to think they can figure out – like the Bible is some kind of secret code book. But that’s not the way it works. Jesus said that the only one who knows the day or the hour is Father God himself.

As I mentioned in my sermons over the last week, I believe that everything that needs to happen before Jesus returns has already happened. The Second Advent or Second Coming is the next big event on God’s calendar. We need to be ready – we need to keep watch. Why? Because Jesus said the day he returns will be like the days of Noah. In the days of Noah the people were going about their ordinary, everyday lives – not knowing the flood would come. It will be like that when Jesus returns and people will be swept away to judgment.

Jesus says because of this, “You must keep watch!” Jesus said he will return when we least expect it. We need to watch – prepare for Jesus return. Many people in First Century Israel missed his first coming. The same will happen when Jesus returns a second time. Many people will miss it because they didn’t prepare for his return. As we enter this season of waiting and preparation, let us watch for his return – even as we get ready to celebrate his birth.

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