151004 Matthew 24:36-44

Last Updated on Monday, 05 October 2015 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Matthew 24:36-44

Sermon Theme: Freely You Have Received, Freely Give Your Time

At the end of Matthew chapter 9, the Lord of the Church says to his disciples, ""The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Then, at the beginning of Matthew chapter 10, we read how, in answer to that prayer for workers, Jesus sent out his own 12 disciples into the harvest fields. In addition to healing the sick and raising the dead, the disciples were to share the Word of God with those people they came into contact with. The Savior told the disciples, "Freely you have received, freely give." The disciples had enjoyed the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear him proclaim the wonderful Good News that he is the promised Savior. Now they were to go out and use their time and talents to share that message with others. This October, we are going to use our weekly worship opportunities to review what our God says in his Word to you and me about the stewardship of, that is the management of or the use of all the gifts that he freely gives to you and me. We are using as a general theme for these services the very words Jesus spoke to his disciples: "Freely you have received, freely give." Today, the encouragement from God's Word for you and me is: FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE YOUR TIME.

The readings that were chosen for our worship service today focus on the fact that the time that you and I have is a gift from our giving God. Of all the different gifts that our gracious God showers upon you and me, the gift of our time is the same for all of us: 60 minutes in an hour; 24 hours in a day; 168 hours in a week; and so on. But the Gospel Lesson that I read earlier from Matthew chapter 24 reminds you and me that there will come a day when that time runs out.

The words of Jesus which he spoke in Matthew chapter 24 were on that day during Holy Week known as "Busy Tuesday". Throughout that busy Tuesday, the Lord was answering questions that his enemies were asking to try and trap him so they could condemn him to death. As Jesus answered each of their questions one after the other, he also used it as an opportunity to teach the crowds of people that were gathered around him. Much of his teaching on that day pointed ahead to the Last Day, when he will come again in all his glory, and the earth as we know it will be destroyed, replaced by something new and perfect.

When will all this take place? No one knows! As the Savior says, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Allow me to pause at this point. These words of Jesus need a little explanation. Certainly as true God, the Son of God knows when the end of time as we know it will come to an end. But it is important to remember that Jesus is also true man. So, as 100% true man, Jesus can truly say, he does not know when the end of time will come.

Now, let's return to the words of Jesus in our Gospel Lesson. Our Savior tells us that before the end of time, people will simply be going about their regular, day-to-day, lives. He put it this way, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left." The point that the Lord is making is that at any moment, at a time when it is least expected, he will come back. So you and I need to be ready. Or, as Jesus tells you and me, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

Knowing that The Day of our Lord's return is coming, knowing that our time on this earth will one day come to an end, how are you and I to use the gift of time that the Lord gives to us? First, you and I will take time and confess the sin of thinking that we will always have time to repent of our sins. The temptation that you and I too easily give in to is the line of thought that says, "I know what I am doing is wrong...but I will confess my sins during a worship service on Sunday or Monday, and all will be all right." What you and I deserve for such thinking is to have the almighty God end our time of grace and send you and me immediately to hell!

But thanks be to our loving Savior-God that when the time was just right, God the Father sent his one and only Son to be your Savior and mine. Jesus spent his time on this earth, living as the perfect substitute that you and I need. Your loving Savior and mine willingly spent time on the cross, where he suffered hell in our place, and offered up his perfect life as the full payment price for your sins and mine. The glorious resurrection of Jesus assures you and me that we are forgiven children of our heavenly Father, and are able to look forward to a time that will never come to an end at our Savior's side in heaven.

My dear friends in Christ, until that day comes, freely you have received, freely give your time to offer all praise and glory to our Savior-God. We do this as we make spending time in his house the most important time we spend each week. As King David writes in Psalm 122, "I rejoiced with those who said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'" Spend time in worship and praise of the God who saved you. As we read in Colossians chapter 3, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." Spend time in personal use of God's Word. As we read in Psalm 1, "But his [a believer's] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." Spend time encouraging your fellow believers. As we are told in Hebrews chapter 10, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Be willing to spend some of your time helping others who are in need. As we read in Galatians chapter 6, "Let us now become weary in doing good...Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Most importantly, we want to use our time to share the Good News of Jesus with others. Perhaps you know someone (a friend, a family member, a co-worker or a classmate) who is living their life like the people in Noah's day; not giving one thought to what it will mean for them when their time on this earth runs out. Rather than thinking that you will reach out to them some day, keep watch and be ready to make use of the time you have right now to share the Word of God with them. Take time to share the message of the Law to show them their sins and their need for a Savior. Take time to share with them comforting message of the Gospel, and the forgiveness of all sins that the one and only Savior has won for them. Just like the disciples in the early days of the Christian church, you and I use our time to tell people about Jesus because "we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

Yes, it is true that time keeps on slipping into the future. But a time is coming when our time on this earth will come to an end. May God the Holy Spirit use his Word and Sacrament to strengthen and empower you and me to use the gift of our time to the praise and glory of our Savior-God! As we will sing in just a few minutes, "Take my life and let it be; consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise." Fellow stewards of God's blessings, freely you have received, freely give your time. Amen.

 

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Sunday
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818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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