RECAP: KEEP WATCH based on Matthew 24:36-51
We sometimes like surprises, when they are pleasant and fun (like a gift or trip). Most of the time, however, we are not fans of surprises. Life happens and hits us with something unexpected. Jesus has told us that he will return, so really there should be no surprise. But Jesus also said that the day and hour are unknown, and therefore a surprise! The question is: will we be ready when he returns?
Jesus again was speaking to his disciples, so the message is for his faithful followers. Yet, despite those who followed, Jesus warned that on the day of his return one will be taken while the other left. How do we know we are truly ready for his return? How do we know we are keeping watch?
1) Be alert. The day and hour are unknown. We need to be in a state where we are constantly paying attention, ready for Jesus to arrive at any moment. That means we are ready to go. When the hour comes, there will not be a time to repent and put our lives in order. We have to live in that way now, which means being alert! For many years people have heard the Lord will return, and as recent survey data reveals, most no longer believe that Jesus will return in their lifetime (if at all). So we have lost all sense of being alert and ready in the moment. If we are alert, ready for his arrival, and living in a way that we are prepared for his return, then we will not be taken off guard.
2) Be righteous. Jesus further illustrated the truth with the example of Noah. The people in Noah’s day knew the truth, yet they chose to not listen to God and Noah’s warnings but embraced the evil existing in their day. They were so evil that the Scriptures record that “their thoughts were evil all the time.”
Noah, however, did not experience the flood waters. Rather, he and his family were rescued through their obedience to God and entrance into the ark. Noah was called a righteous man–he strove to live for God and in accordance with God’s ways. He was never called a perfect man; he had his shortcomings and even fell into sin after the flood. But he strove, desired, hungered to follow God’s way and not the way of the deceiver and the world; for that, he was declared righteous.
If we want to be ready for God’s return, we need to be righteous. We need to strive to be in right-standing with God and follow his ways. The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (see 1 Cor 6:9-10). When the flood waters came, by then it was too late; the unrighteous perished, while those who were righteous were in the ark. The same will be in Jesus’ return–if we are not living righteously, then it will be too late.
3) Be vigilant. Jesus compared his return with a thief in the night. If we know when the thief is coming, we can channel our inner Kevin Mcallister and defend our spiritual house from the thieves. We do what it takes to reinforce our spiritual house so we are strong and prepared, no matter what comes. This means taking time to strengthen our relationship with God, grow in the Word, stretch ourselves in prayer, and so forth. If we are preparing our house, we will be ready for the real thief of our souls, the devil. And if we can stand against him, we will be more than ready for Jesus when he returns!
4) Be faithful. Jesus compared his followers to a servant. The faithful servant is the one who will be rewarded; he is the one following the instructions up until the master returns. But the unfaithful one, the one who will find himself out, is the one who was not being faithful to his charge but took advantage of his charge. The specific example Jesus used was an abuse of fellow servants, but it can be extended to any form of unfaithfulness. We know what God expects of us; it is not for us to abuse and squander! But if we are doing what Jesus asked, even though we do not know when he will return, we have nothing to fear, for we are being faithful.
5) Be genuine. Jesus warned his disciples of becoming like the hypocrites, those who put on a false face, who are duplistic, being one person around the people of God but presenting another face with a different group of people. If we are trying to live a double life, there is no way we will truly be prepared! Those who try to satisfy everyone at the end of the day will satisfy no one, and they will lose themselves! God rather wants us to be genuine, to be who we are, to be true to who he has called us to be.
If we are alert, righteous, vigilant, faithful, and genuine, we will be ready when the Lord returns. Are we ready now? Jesus can return at any moment. Will he find us faithful? The choice is ours.
Questions for Reflection
1) Are you ready for the Lord’s return?
2) What areas in your life do you need to surrender to God?
3) Are you striving to live in right standing with God?
4) Which of the five areas could you most work on to improve readiness for the Lord’s return?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the series called “Faithful in Unfaithful Times” with the sermon titled, “First Love,” based on Revelation 2:1-7. Jesus warned the church in Ephesus they had lost their first love. How can it be restored? What steps can we take to care for our first love? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for July 26 – August 1
July 26: Luke 12:35-48 How can we show as believers we are keeping watch?
July 27: Luke 13:22-30 How can we show as believers we are keeping watch?
July 28: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-16 How can we prepare to endure the end?
July 29: 2 Peter 3:1-18 How can we prepare to endure to the end?
July 30: Revelation 13:1-18 What should we be on guard against?
July 31: Exodus 32:1-35 How did Israel abandon their first love for God?
August 1: Deuteronomy 6:1-25 How do we keep our first love in God?
This Week’s Events:
Saturday, July 30–Men’s Fellowship Breakfast @ Thomas House, 7:15 am
Sunday, July 31–Chasing the Lion Bible Study at church @ 4 pm
Sunday, July 31–Vespers @ 6 pm
Monday, August 1–Outreach Team Mtg @ Mary Miller’s house, 7 pm
Sunday, August 7–First Sunday Breakfast
Thursday, August 18–Leadership Team Meeting–all budgets due!
Friday, August 19 – Sunday, August 21–Church Retreat @ Natural Chimneys
Sunday, August 28–Lenten Vespers
Sunday, September 11–Pauline Epistles Bible Study Begins
Sunday, September 25–Love Feast
Bible Study Opportunity!
It is not too late to start the study! You can read the information below. This week will meet at the church.
Six Weeks of Lion Chasing: A Study Series
Do you feel called to step out and do something great in your life? Or are you looking for what to do next? Then this six-week series may be for you! Based on the best-selling Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson, this series has as its theme: If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small
This small-group series will meet at 4 p.m. on six consecutive Sundays starting July 17. It will be led by a team of two educators, Lynne Miller Lent and Bill Wood.
Child care will be provided through a close-by kid zone in the park. There will be lemonade and ice water and cookies for the kids — and participants. Each session is designed to go for one hour. We will be covering the first six chapters in Chase the Lion and then gauging the interest in follow-up sessions for fall.
Adult participants of all ages and backgrounds are welcome. Child care will be for those age 2 and up.
To register, fill in the form at williamcwood.com/lion.
About Chase the Lion (from publisher’s description):
Based upon 2 Samuel 23, Chase the Lion tells the true story of an ancient warrior named Benaiah who chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day—and then killed it. For most people, that situation wouldn’t just be a problem…it would be the last problem they ever faced. For Benaiah, it was an opportunity to step into his destiny. After defeating the lion, he landed his dream job as King David’s bodyguard and eventually became commander-in-chief of Israel’s army under King Solomon.
Written in a way that both challenges and encourages, this revolutionary book will help unleash the faith and courage you need to identify, chase, and catch the five-hundred-pound dreams in your life.
We will have summer vespers on the final Sunday of each month for July and August. We will gather for a meal over the fire, sing some hymns and camp song favorites, play a camp-style game or two, and conclude with a vespers devotional. Come out and enjoy!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are still in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
We will have our first Church Retreat post-COVID at Natural Chimneys from Friday, August 19 through Saturday, August 21. Come rent a lot, pitch a tent or park a camper, and spend the whole weekend, or come and go as you please. It will be a great time to get away and simply enjoy each other at Beaver Creek!
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to the Christian Education Team and let them know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Donnie Cornwell Sr (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Leroy Makely (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Torrey Meyer (well-being)
Meda McNett (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (various)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Winnie Wilfong (knee & health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church