Life or Death?

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life and death promoRomans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Easter is an awesome celebration of life. The resurrection is real. Jesus lives. But do we? Remember life as a child… Days were filled with fun, play, food and naps. Even school was fun for a while. Slowly however challenges grew, responsibilities took more time and friendships got more complicated.

As we grew life became more of a struggle. At some points… Usually working on that long paper I put off, or working that boring job I didn’t like, or that relationship challenge that seemed to have more pain than hope I found myself asking, “What am I doing? Is this really what life is about?”

Life gets hijacked by DEATH… it feels as if something in us dies.

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Are You Ready Highlights

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starting lineMatthew 25:31-46 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left… 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

At one time or another, everyone who hopes to be in heaven after they die wonders whether they have done enough to get there. Have I done the right things? Have I done enough of them? Is my faith “real enough” faith to gain the eternal life that Jesus promises to those who trust him?

We wrestled with this question last week on one of Jesus’ more shocking teachings. The highlights are below. You can catch the full lesson at www.parkviewfamily.com. The key passage is Matthew 25:31-46.

First We See that Eternal Life Requires a Faith Response to Jesus.

Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

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Readiness Test

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starting lineMatt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

One of the scariest verses in the Bible for those of us who want eternal life with Jesus is the warning He gives that not everyone who calls Him lord will enter His kingdom. Fear and doubt rise in the genuine hearted person who wonders whether we have done enough or done the right things. In other words, we wonder if our faith is real enough faith to gain eternal life

This question is big enough to be addressed several places and ways throughout scripture. Jesus’ first followers would face a longer delay than expected for his return. If they weren’t careful they could lose sight of the reality and significance of his return. They might be tempted to live for themselves thinking they would worry about getting ready for him later. Once they do that, they would be likely to forget about living for Him at all. Which begs the question of whether such a person is really a follower at all.

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Ready to Wait Highlights

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on bench waitingMatthew 25:14-30 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey… 19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. 

Followers of Jesus believe He will return to give us eternal life in His kingdom. But what does it look like to be ready for His return? How does Jesus want us to live while we wait for that moment? Does how we live before Jesus’ returns matter? What are we supposed to do with the life God has given us? We took a look at those questions this past weekend.

In Matthew 24-25 Jesus teaches what to expect before his return. He also talks about the importance of being ready for it before it happens and what that looks like. In the parable of the talents he contrasts readiness with failure to be ready. Here is some of what we learned

BOTTOM LINE: Jesus Gives Us the Chance to Handle Kingdom Treasure and Holds Us Accountable for What We Do with It!

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Ready to Wait?

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on bench waitingWaiting can be a challenge! We don’t mind it if the wait isn’t too long and what we like what we are waiting for. Our certainty about what we wait for also impact how we feel about it. While we wait anticipation builds or sometimes anxiety. How we feel about what we are waiting for impacts what we do while we wait.

Ask yourself: What would you do if a spouse or other family member has been out of town for work and you are waiting for them to return? What about if you moved away from home for first job after college waiting for parents to come visit. What if you messed up at school and waiting outside the principal’s office for his other meeting to finish. Waiting for a Christmas gathering it different than for results of a medical test or a court date. What about waiting for Jesus’ return?

Does how we live before Jesus’ returns matter? What are we supposed to do with the life God has given us? We are going to look at those questions this weekend.

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Are You Really Ready Highlights

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i-amp-039-ll-be-bach-oh-i-meant-back_o_2500643Matthew 25:1-13 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.

John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Last weekend we looked at an illustration Jesus gave to show why we should think about getting ready and what it does & doesn’t look like. It is likely more important than you might think at first. Here are the big points in case you weren’t able to join us. You can find the parable in Matthew 25:1-13. To get the whole flow of the teaching it would be good to  read all of chapters 24 and 25.

Make Sure You Are Ready for Jesus’ Return!

Matt. 7:21-22 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

This is the key contrast in the illustration Jesus gives. The foolish think they are ready but are not. The wise make sure they are ready. The foolish virgins come out like everyone else. They are hanging out with the wedding guests. They have every opportunity to be part of the wedding feast. As it turns out being in the room wasn’t enough.

The oil represents spiritual preparation. It is not outwards appearance of readiness that allows us to enter the kingdom of heaven but the genuine internal work of the Holy Spirit giving spiritual birth to the soul. The bridesmaids are the same in every way except the readiness with the oil. Are you ready for Jesus return?

Make Sure You Are Personally Ready for Jesus’ Return! 

John 10:14-16 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

2Cor 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?

The foolish procrastinate hoping others will bail them out. The wise realize each must prepare their own heart. Though it seems mean the wise women understand that some preparation cannot be shared. The plan of the foolish women was like those who fail to study for a test hoping someone will let them cheat off of their paper instead. They planned to cheat on the test by sitting near the smart kid. Jesus won’t accept that. Each one must get personally ready through their own response to Him.

In John 10 Jesus mention THE sheep and HIS sheep. They are not the same. He died on the cross for THE SHEEP. Sadly many of THE SHEEP do not repent and believe. Those who do are born spiritual and become HIS SHEEP. Only HIS SHEEP  are prepared for his return and will enter His eternal kingdom. Are you ready for Jesus’ return?

Make Sure You Are Personally Ready for Jesus’ Return ASAP!  

Heb 3:7-8 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness,

Mark 1:15  “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

The foolish think there will be time to get on track later. The wise prepare NOW since they don’t know how much time they have. This one speaks for itself. In the illustration the foolish women try to get ready after the fact but it is too late. Jesus is telling us it will be just like that at his return. The due date will not be pushed back once it comes. For those who are ready it will be a day of joy. For those who are not, it will be the biggest “O CRAP!!” moment in human history. You have to ask yourself, “what am I waiting for?”

Are your ready for Jesus’ return? Join us this coming weekend as we continue to look at what it means to be ready.

Are You Really Ready?

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I_ll be bach - ImgurMatthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

It’s time for a movie quiz: who said this? What movie is it from?

“May the force be with you”

“You can’t handle the truth!”

“Make My day!”

“Make it so”

“So let it be written, so let it be done”

“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse”

“We aren’t in Kansas anymore”

“I’ll be back!!”

I’m sure you got Arnold in the Terminator movies for the last one. But someone even more powerful said it first. Jesus of Nazareth the Son of God. According to the Bible, Jesus after a time of waiting for people to get ready promised that He would return to complete His work of making all things new & right. The question is are we ready for that moment?

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