Am I Ready?, Episode 80
by Richard “the voice” Newton
Tharon: Richard, when you gave this talk, you talked a little bit about your background and how you came to the Lord. Please recap that again for our listeners before we begin. Richard responds.
[Start of scripted sermon.]
Making preparations are a part of life. People make preparations all the time for various things: Christmas, vacations, tests in school, etc. Secular preparations are important, but spiritual preparation is more important. Let us notice some things for which we ought to be getting ready.
Every person alive today should be ready to follow the Lord. It’s obvious that not everyone is following the Lord, in fact, some members of the church are still not completely ready to do so. Or maybe some just follow Him at a distance
Tharon reads: Matt. 26:58 ESV
And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end.
Why is this? Because in order to follow Christ, it will cost us something. First, it will cost you time
Tharon reads: Eph. 5:15-16 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Second, it will cost you money.
Tharon reads: Matt. 6:24 ESV
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money”
Tharon reads: 1 Tim. 6:10 ESV
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Third, it will cost you some relationships. It will cost you some friends (so-called) and even family
Tharon reads: Matt.10:34 ESV
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Fourth, it will cost you yourself.
In order to follow Christ, one is required to deny themselves
Tharon reads Matt.16:24 ESV
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Knowing that Christ came to this earth to seek and to save the lost, we need to be ready to follow Him no matter what it may cost us. When we follow Him, we follow His perfect example that He left for us
Tharon reads: Luke 19:10 ESV
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
1 Peter 2:21 ESV
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
Tharon reads: 1 Peter 3:15 ESV
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
This seems logical, doesn’t it? Being ready to tell people why you are a Christian, and why you have chosen to live differently than the rest of the world. Or do we even know why? Perhaps many are not ready to give an answer because it requires the following:
A right position of heart (Phil. 1:17).
A right motive (seeking souls) – (Prov. 11:30).
Love (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
Tharon reads: 2 Tim. 2:15 ESV
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Prov. 11:30 ESV
fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
and whoever captures souls is wise.
1 Cor. 13:1-3 ESV
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
And these are only to name a few. But before we move from this point, I want to think about an individual who only thought that he was ready to give a defense. This individual was Peter, and when the rubber met the road, he denied the Lord three times. Matthew 26:35 states, “Peter said to him, ‘Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!’ And all the disciples said the same.” There is a difference in being ready to give an answer, and thinking that you are.
Paul told Titus that he was to put people in remembrance of the first principles, including a readiness to do every good work (Titus 3:1). When it comes to good works, some may be harder to do, such as going to the house of a couple living in adultery and having an unpleasant conversation about the scriptures (Matt. 5:32, 9:1-9). Or the church might be called upon to exercise church discipline and to withdraw from an erring church member (2 Thess. 3:6; 1 Tim. 6:5). Such works although difficult, are good and necessary. Other good works will be easier to accomplish, such as visiting the sick, orphans, and those who are in need (James 1:27). You may have opportunity to help those around you, support local events (VBS, gospel meetings, etc..), teach a class, go on a mission trip, or simply help support others who are willing to go. Good works come in many shapes and sizes, and the church must be ready to do them. An active church is a living church, and an inactive church is a dead or dying church.
Tharon reads: Titus 3:1 ESV
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,
2 Thess. 3:6 ESV
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
James 1:27 ESV
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
I know that no one likes to think about dying, but that should not stop us from preparing ourselves. The reality is that we live in a world that is, in many ways, very hostile to Christianity (Jn. 15:18-19). Just this past year our hearts were broken to hear about various church shootings, even one at a church of Christ in Tennessee. When we turn our attention to the scriptures on this point, Paul was ready to die for Christ, and eventually he would (2 Tim. 4:6-8). On one occasion Paul would state, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). John would even record some very encouraging words to those who would die for the sake of Christ. In Revelation 2:10 we read, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” That same crown of life is promised to us today.
Tharon reads: John 15:18-19 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
2 Tim. 4:6-8 ESV
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Imagine that you have planned a specific week to go on vacation. You have taken the week off of work, packed your clothes, and even made the hotel reservations, but you failed to save any money for the trip. How can you go without money? No money for gas, food, lodging or souvenirs. Or maybe Christmas approaches and you fail to get any of your loved ones a gift? These scenarios do not usually play out because we make it a point to save the many and we count the days until we go on vacation, and we do purchase those gifts for our loved ones. But how many Christians are actively preparing for the judgment day? The question is not “if it comes” but “when it comes.” How foolish is it to not get ready for something that we know is coming? The Lord will come like a thief in the night , and after then comes the judgment.
Tharon reads: 1 Thess. 5:2 ESV
For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
2 Cor. 5:10 ESV
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.