Matthew 25:1-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Isaiah 65:17-25
The Wakeful Watchers'  Wisdom--Last Sunday of the Church Year

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. 

You are wise. You’ve been warned. You know the Lord is coming again. (1 Thes. 5:1-2) Moreover, you know He’s coming to save you. (1 Thes. 5:9-10) For He came the first time to save you. This time He comes to bring you to His eternal kingdom. To the restoration of paradise (Matt. 25:10; Rev. 21:1-22:5) which is greater than the first paradise ever could have been. For in this new heaven and earth there will be no tree of knowledge of good and evil: only trees of life (Rev. 22:3) from which we shall eat and live forever. (Rev. 22:3; Gen. 3:22-24) For we shall be at the eternal marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom. (Matt. 25:1, 10; Isa. 65:17-18; Rev. 20:6-10) He shall be our light, (1 Thes. 5:5, 8; John 8:12; Rev. 22:5) so that there will be no more night, no more suffering, (Isa. 65:19) no more thieves, (1 Thes. 5:2) no more sudden disaster. (1 Thes. 5:3; Isa. 65:21-22) No more tears on your bed. No fears in the darkness. No more crying out to the Lord in the deep dark watches of the night. (Isa. 65:24) For we people of the day will come to His Eternal Day. We know this. We’ve been told. (1 thes. 5:1-2) It’s been promised to us. The Holy Spirit has given us faith to believe it. And we are wise and therefore think ahead about it. (Matt. 25:1-2, 4)

The foolish don’t think about it. They live for the world and what it has to offer. They think our Lord’s promised kingdom won’t ever come. (1 Thes. 5:3-4) That God’s judgement is not real for God is not real! Therefore in their mind there is no justice, no truth, therefore no concept of evil, no accounting for evil, and no final reckoning. They tell themselves everything therefore is good. The world is peaceful when its falling apart. That we are becoming more just and more safe when we are coming apart at the seams. There is eternal peace and security for there is no eternity. There is just now. So get what you can now. (1 Thes. 5:7) That’s the “peace” that the world preaches. Its security is merely in doing what you want as long as you can. It’s a “freedom” from responsibility. From meaning. From purpose. It’s an “easy”, paradisal existence only in so far as you can keep finding some sort of drug, placebo, or panacea to draw your mind away from ultimate meaninglessness of such existence. For we are not made to serve ourselves but to love. To care for others. To lay ourselves down in service of each other. Especially of those whom God puts in your life and gives to you as those whom are your special responsibility. Those whom you are called to serve. 

But you are not of the foolish ones. For you know what it will be like in those days. In the new heaven and earth. That new reality be so different that someone a hundred years old will like young and fresh like a newborn. It’ll be as though someone living ONLY to 100 will be considered cursed. (Isa. 65:20) That new reality is so different that our lives will be so full, so blessed, so free from unrighteousness and constant harmful acts (Isa. 65:20-22) that occur here that life will pass the way it must pass for a tree. (Isa. 65:22b) Is a tree aware of the seasons, the years, the ages that pass around it? In a new world where the order is upside down—where wolves and lambs feed together, lions and bulls will both eat grass, where ancient serpent finally eats nothing but the dust of death (Isa. 65:25; Gen. 3:14)—it will be so different than what we experience here that we can barely fathom it. We can only dream of it. 

Imagine what it might be like. It will be blessed of the Lord. For we will be redeemed from the death of sin (John 5:45-45; Eph. 2:1-7) by Christ our Lord who died in our place. (1 Thes. 5:9-10) And finally we will have that reality. We long for that world in which all is right. Where our responsibilities to each other do not take nearly so great a toll on us and are not such a burden to carry. For in this sinful world your love for anyone else comes at a great cost to you. It is a burden to carry (Matt. 16:24-26)—to care for those God gives you to love; to see to their needs; to fight for their welfare; to help them be the best they can be and fight against their darker nature; to train them to call on the Lord and to pray for their salvation—it is a burden of love. But it is also what makes life in this dying world meaningful. It is what you are called to do by the Lord. (Luke 9:23-25)

But being wise, being warned, being prepared by faith which trusts in His first coming which will be your salvation at His 2nd coming, you think ahead. (Matt. 25:1-4) You live accordingly. Which is not merely that you act morally. It is that, but more importantly we live in the callings God has given. You are called to do right by your spouse and by your children, to not steal from your employer, or your employees, to respect and support those whom God has put into authority over you so that they can be best parents, teachers, or rulers possible so that you can have your best life in this world. But with His coming in view, with your being wise, forward thinking, watchful (1 Thes. 5:6), prepared for His coming, you need to be sober minded. Clear headed. Which is to realize that you need support. Why do you think those wise ladies in the Lord’s parable had forethought to be prepared? (Matt. 25:4) Probably because their mommas put it in their heads. Their parents gave them good advice. And in wisdom they listened. We all need support. 

The world’s “wisdom” would destroy your faith. The world says, “It’s been 2000 years. Where is the promise of His coming? (2 Pet. 3:4) It doesn’t exist because you believe in fairy tales. There is no God.There is no eternal Son of God. Just give up.” And the world’s “wisdom” is deceptively enthralling. It pulls you in like a serpent mesmerizing you as it wraps its body around you in order to squeeze life out of you. And so you need others. Brothers. Sisters in faith. Comrades in arms who are also wise. Prepared by that call unto faith you received in Holy Baptism. Faith which has been appointed by Christ Jesus so that apart from your work He causes you to cling to Him who died for you. (1 Thes. 5:9-10) And by Christ He has given into your possession life and salvation! So we must encourage each other. (1 Thes. 5:11) Not merely to be good decent people for the sake of world, but also for sake of our faith. We must draw together. Gather unto the Lord here. For whenever we do so, we are encouraged by all those who also believe. Who are with us in this church. But also encouraged by Him who gathers with us by His Word where two or three gather in His name (Matt. 18:20), by His body and blood when we gather at His table and His called and ordained servant proclaims His word over the bread and wine so that we might be strengthened and blessed by His own body and blood which are our pledge and token of His coming to claim His own. (Matt. 26:26-28; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; 2 Tim. 2:13) For we are His own body, having partaken of Him, together with those of the household of faith. (1 Cor. 10:16-17)

So wise friends be watchful in faith for the hour is close at hand. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Rom. 13:11) And this gladdens your heart (Ps. 149:2; Isa. 65:18-19) as we rejoice and exult in the God who has worked our salvation in His Son’s death for our life. 

In +Jesus’ name, Amen.