Keep Watch: Ready And Steady
15 NOVEMBER 2020 | TRADITIONAL SERVICE
Rev Chia Chin Nam
Scripture Passage: Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (Video)
(Click on video below)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | Today’s scripture text reminds us to be prepared always.
When asked about the end times, the Lord Jesus spoke about many things that will happen and warned against being deceived by those who would claim to be the Messiah. Jesus urged his disciples to keep watch, for the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect (Matt 24: 42-44). Jesus sternly warned that those who are unprepared will be condemned on Judgement day, to a place where there will be eternal punishment.
The parable of the ten virgins reminds us to be prepared. The bride was uncertain about the time of the groom’s arrival, but was expected to be ready at all times. When the bridegroom was delayed, the five who had brought additional oil for their lamps were ready. The other five did not have enough oil and hurriedly left the bride’s house to replenish their oil. But it was too late by the time they got back. The door to the wedding banquet was shut. They desperately cried out to the bridegroom, but he replied “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you”.
From the outset, Jesus had pointed out that five were foolish, while five were wise. What set them apart was their readiness to welcome the groom.
Two pertinent questions:
What does the parable mean for Christians today?
We are the ones waiting for Christ to return and redeem the Bride, the Church. Christ will return to usher us into his eternal kingdom. Therefore, let us be mindful that the Lord expects us to be ever ready for his Second Coming. He urges us to be on our guard for we do not know the day or the hour (v13) of this coming.
Am I ready to meet Jesus if He were to show up suddenly?
Have I made provisions to ensure the lamp stays burning? A critical factor was the personal preparations made. The foolish virgins were complacent and learned that they could not rely on other people’s preparedness to make up for their own unpreparedness.
Jesus says “My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me (Jn 10: 27).” Those who are known by Jesus love God. (1 Cor 8:3). At the heart of our love for God is our personal relationship with Jesus.
Where are you in your personal relationship with Jesus? Would Jesus say “I know you”, or “I never knew you”? When we make time to be alone with God, we are preparing ourselves to meet Jesus when He comes. And the stronger and deeper we are in your personal relationship with Jesus, the more prepared we will be for His glorious appearance. A practical way to grow our personal relationship with Jesus and be ever ready for His arrival is to spend one-on-one time with Jesus in spirit and in truth, by reading the Bible every day and praying as the Spirit teaches and guides us.
(Sermon Notes by Denis Koh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. Why did Jesus warns all Christians to keep watch and be prepared for His Second Coming?
2. “Readiness to welcome bridegroom sets the wise virgin apart from the foolish virgin.” In what ways are you like the wise or foolish virgin?
3. “We cannot rely on other people’s preparedness to replace our own efforts to prepare for the Lord’s return.” To what extend is this statement true for you?
4. Where are you in your personal relationship with Jesus? (1 being far from Jesus and 10 being very close) How would you grow this relationship?
5. Share your struggles/challenges to be alone with God by reading the Bible daily. How would you overcome these struggles/challenges?
6. Reflect on John Wesley’s Bible reading methodology below. Share your thoughts about his approach.
“Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone: only God is here. In His presence I open, I read His book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark and intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of Lights: ‘Lord is it not Your Word, “if any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God?” … You have said, “If any be willing to do Your will, he shall know.’ I am willing to do, let me know Your will.’ I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, ‘comparing spiritual things with spiritual.’ I meditate thereon with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God; and then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn that I teach.” (Sermons, Vol I, p. 32. Preface)