Sermon for 11.12.23 “The Lord is coming again…really!

Pentecost 24 (Proper 27), Nov. 12, 2023
Text: Matthew 25:1–13
Theme: The Lord is coming again…really!
Other Lessons: Amos 5:18–24; Psalm 70; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

Peace be to you and grace from Him
Who freed us from our sin,
Who loved us all, and shed his blood
That we might saved be.
Sing holy, holy to our Lord,
The Lord almighty God,
Who was and is, and is to come.
Sing holy, holy Lord. Amen
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A. Waiting doesn’t come naturally to us twenty-first-century Christians
living in an instant gratification culture.
1. We want what we want, and we want it now!
A. Read a book? Takes too long. Stream the movie instead.
B. Make dinner? Fast food is faster.
2. But sometimes if we do wait—or even have to wait:
A. to finish your education until the kids are grown,
B. to start volunteering until you retire
C. there’s always a risk.
D. If the waiting goes on for too long, it’s possible we can forget
altogether that for which we ought to hope.
B. Ever since our Lord ascended back to heaven, the Church has been waiting
for His return.
1. In the first years after His departure, there was eager expectation.
2. Then it began to seem that the waiting was too long.
3. Did the people misunderstand what Jesus said?
4. Is Jesus not going to keep His promise?
5. Is Jesus really ever coming back?
C. Since waiting isn’t easy for us, and because there is the risk we can
forget or lose hope, Jesus tells us a parable for this third-to-last Sunday
of the church year.
1. It’s scary—terrifying, in fact—but also hopeful at the same time.
2. It’s a dramatic reminder for us that:
D. Yes, The Lord Is Coming Again!
I. Do we believe it . . . that the Lord is coming again?
A. The early church believed it.
Matthew 25:1 (NASB95)
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took
their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

1. Our text for this morning is part of Jesus’ lengthy discourse on the end
of the world (Matthew 24–25).
A. Highlights of these two chapters:
1) Signs of Christ’s return
2) Perilous times will occur
3) The glorious return of Christ will happen
4) The parable of the fig tree
5) Be ready for His coming
6) The parable of the ten virgins (today’s text)
7) The parable of the talents (next week’s Gospel lesson)
8) The final judgment (the Gospel lesson for the last Sunday of the Church
year two weeks from today)
2. He speaks it during Holy Week, only days before His death on the cross.
a. Which means He’s soon going to be leaving the disciples:
1) first to die,
2) then, a few weeks later, to ascend back to heaven.
b. But he would also promise to return:
1) first from the grave at Easter, which He did, then at the end of the
world, which we still await.
3. The first-century church expected Jesus to return any day, just as the
women in the parable expected the bridegroom to come soon.
B. The world would say no, Jesus isn’t really coming back.
1. Scientists project the sun burning out in several billion years.
a. Some see us destroying ourselves with nuclear weapons.
b. No matter how you look at, Jesus is not coming back.
2. Folks live as if Jesus is never coming back:
a. no accounting for whatever sin feels good today, we’re just going to die
Luke 12:19–21 (NASB95)
19 ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many
years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” ’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required
of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’
21 “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich
toward God.”
b. Since Jesus is not coming back and there is no proof other than God’s
Word to say otherwise, one can do whatever they want:
1) “The Purge” movies (where all crimes committed were considered legal for
a day)
2) One is no longer allowed to discipline their child:
a) It might hurt their self-esteem.
b) Just let the child be, it’s just a phase.
C. Human nature too easily follows the world.
1. What happened to both the wise and foolish virgins?
Matthew 25:5 (NASB95)
“Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to
a. None of us is very good at waiting.
b. In fact, it goes against your very nature.
2. Your natural inclination is to forget that what doesn’t happen now can
still happen, then live as if things of this life are all that are real.
a. What one can taste, smell, touch, hear, or see:
1) That is reality.
b. Can one know heaven or hell right now using the five senses?
1) If the answer is no, then heaven or hell is not real.
2) If the answer is yes, you’re classified as crazy!
3. What does this mean?
a. That means being unprepared for what should be expected—Christ’s return
and judgment.
b. But . . .
II. Yes, we do believe it . . . the Lord is coming again!

A. The promises of God—and his warnings—are sure.
1. He kept His promise to die for the world’s sin and then made good on the
toughest promise:
a. to rise again from the dead.
2. Surely, then, He will keep his promise to return.
3. That means all people will surely also rise to stand before him for
a. Everyone must give account.
Romans 14:10–12 (NASB95)
10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard
your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat
of God.
12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
b. We, and that means everybody, all must be wise, that is, always be
Matthew 25:2–4, 6-10 (NASB95)
2 “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.
3 “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,
4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
6 “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to
meet him.’
7 “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
8 “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our
lamps are going out.’
9 “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you
too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom
came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and
the door was shut.
c. How terrifying it was to hear those words the foolish virgins hear!
Matthew 25:11–12 (NASB95)
11 “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for
12 “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
1) They will face unending, unspeakable punishment!
2) Really!
B. But Jesus’ coming among us now strengthens us for the wait.
1. His Word, which speaks again and again to remind us that He really is
coming again, also speaks of the unimaginable joy behind that open door!
a. Pure joy at the birth of a child or grandchild.
b. Renewed strength after having surgery or being sick for any length of
c. Absence of pain, sorrow, problems, trials, tribulations.
2. And His sacrament at this altar only assures us that we will be
admitted, but also pictures that eternal feast.
a. It is a wedding banquet, after all!

A. While the main thrust of the parable is the clear call to be watchful
and ready for Jesus’ return, the setting—a wedding celebration—reminds us
that faithful, waiting Christians do so in hopeful expectation.
1. There is great joy in the promise of the Lord’s return.
2. Even as we wait, we do so in the company of the whole church, sitting
already now at the banquet of the Lamb in His kingdom.
3. The now-but-not-yet end times tension permeates this text, even as it
should the life of every Christian.
B. Jesus’ concluding comment on his parable rests on a key word:
1. Greek: gregoreite, “watch,” which figures prominently in his end times
discourse (10 times) (Matthew 24:42, 43; 25:13; Mk 13:34, 35, 37; see also
Luke’s earlier discussion in 12:37, 38; 13:25–30).
2. Often appearing as an imperative, the word functions as something of a
call to arms.
3. Matthew and Mark use the word for Jesus’ serious request to his
disciples to watch with him while he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane
(Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34), followed later—after finding them asleep—with
the stronger counsel:
Matthew 26:41 (NASB95)
“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the
spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
(Also found in Mark 14:38).
C. While the word can refer simply to the task of staying awake, that is,
the opposite of sleeping, it usually is accompanied by the moral imperative
to be alert and on guard.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 (NASB95)
so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
1. As St. Paul bid farewell to the elders in Ephesus, for example, he
warned of false teachers who would ravage the flock under their care,
urging them to be alert, that is, be on guard
Acts 20:31 (NASB95)
“Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of
three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
2. Similarly, Peter issued his warning:
1 Peter 5:8 (NASB95)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls
around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
3. To the church in Sardis, St. John gave warning to the people to wake up
to the truth that they were dead and not alive.
Revelation 3:2–3 (NASB95)
2 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die;
for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.
3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent.
Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not
know at what hour I will come to you.
D. Whether the word is used to rouse sleepy Christians from a life of
complacency or to caution about sin, which crouches at the door, always
lurking in the background is the general sense of preparedness for the
Lord’s coming:
1. whether that be His final coming at the Last Day or His coming among us
2. The truth is that Jesus is always demanding of us a confession of the
truth, a readiness to answer the question:
Matthew 16:15 (NASB95)
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
E. At the conclusion of the Revelation to St. John, Jesus promises:
Revelation 22:7, 20-21(NASB95)
7 “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of
the prophecy of this book…
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
1. And to that we say, amen!
F. Let us pray:
Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein.
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below.
For Christ is coming, Is coming soon.
For Christ is coming soon.
E’en so Lord Jesus quickly come,
And night shall be no more.
They need no light, no lamp, nor sun,
For Christ will be their All!

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G. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
H. In the Name of the Father…Amen.