Jesus is coming! How do you react to that statement of truth? Some people wring their hands in fear. Or roll their eyes in skepticism. Or yawn with disinterest. Or jump up and down with excitement. How should we react to that statement? While no one knows the day or the hour of His return, Jesus Himself instructed His disciples repeatedly to be ready (Luke 12:35, 38, 40, 47). And the Bible tells us exactly how.
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 25:1-13
I. BY BEING FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE
In your own words, describe the event Paul is referring to in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Do you think this event is symbolic, spiritual, or a literal event that will take place in human history? Give Biblical reasons for your answer.
What additional information about this future event do you learn from 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 Matthew 24:36-42? Matthew 25:1-13?
How are we encouraged to use this information? 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11; John 14:1-3.
If Jesus returns tomorrow, what will you wish you had done differently today?
II. BY BEING FAITHFUL IN THE PRESENT
How should our focus on the future impact the way we live today? 1 John 2:28-3:3.
According to the following verses, in what other ways are we to be faithful in the present? Matthew 24:42-44; 25:13.
What do you think it means practically to “watch?”
Why do we need to be intentional about watching? 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4; 2 Peter 3:10; Luke 12:38-40; Revelation 16:15.
What are some of the consequences of not watching? Matthew 24:48-51; 25:1-13.
What is another way we can we be faithful at present? Matthew 24:45-47; John 9:4; Luke 12:35-38.
If Jesus returns tomorrow, what will you be glad you did today?
III. BY BEING FILLED EVERY MOMENT
Re-read Matthew 25:1-13.
What did all 10 of the virgins have in common?
How are all 10 virgins representative of the organized church today?
What was the primary difference between the two groups of five?
What do you think the oil represents?
How does this difference also exist in the church today?
In light of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, what do you think the midnight cry represents?
What was the reason the bridegroom didn’t let the foolish virgins into the wedding banquet?
Relate this to Matthew 7:21-23; John 3:5-6; Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.
Give one action item from each pair of verses that, taken together, insure you are one of the wise virgins: Romans 3:23 with 1 John 1:9; Acts 2:38 with Acts 3:19; John 3:16 with Romans 10:9-10; Revelation 3:20 with John 1:12; John 14:16-17 with Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 5:15-18 with 2 Peter 3:14.
If Jesus returns at midnight, are you ready?
If you are ready, what will you do to help others get ready? And if you are not ready, what will you do to get ready yourself? Do it now.