By Anne Graham Lotz | First Published: May 01, 2014
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 5:1-13
We have had such a messy winter—with record-breaking snow, ice and freezing temperatures—that the thought of summer drawing near lifts my spirits. I’m looking ahead to our wonderful family vacation and time spent at the beach.
In the meantime, I have a few commitments that will require one or two nights away from home. In order to be ready for these trips, I need to keep one eye on where I’m going. The week before traveling, I will start checking the weather reports for my destination so that I will know the appropriate clothes to take. I also read my briefings on who the audience will be and what other obligations I may have besides speaking. While I’m looking ahead, I need to make sure I still pay close attention to my home responsibilities so that my husband will have food to eat, clean clothes to wear and rides to his various appointments. It’s amazing the effort required for just one out-of-town commitment!
Which has made me wonder … if I go to the trouble to be ready to travel out of town for one night, what effort am I making to be ready to travel out of this world for the rest of eternity? Am I prepared for the moment when God calls me to come Home? How can I be ready to meet Him face to face?
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? See 1 Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11 and John 14:1-3.
If Jesus returns tomorrow, what will you wish you had done differently today?
By Being Faithful In The Present
How should our focus on the future impact the way we live today? Refer to 1 John 2:28-3:3.
According to the following verses, in what other ways are we to be faithful in the present? See Matthew 24:42-44 and 25:13.
What do you think it means practically to “watch?”
Why do we need to be intentional about watching? Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4, 2 Peter 3:10, Luke 12:38-40 and Revelation 16:15.
What are some of the consequences of not watching, as seen in Matthew 24:48-51 and 25:1-13?
What is another way we can be faithful at present? See Matthew 24:45-47, John 9:4 and Luke 12:35-38.
If Jesus returns tomorrow, what will you be glad you did today?
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 does the oil represent?
How does this difference also exist in the church today?
What does the midnight cry represent?
Why did the bridegroom not let the foolish virgins into the wedding banquet?
Relate this to Matthew 7:21-23, John 3:5-6, Romans 8:9 and 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.
Read the following pairs of verses and give one action item that ensures 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 living in such a way that you will have no regrets when Jesus comes, what can you do to help someone else be ready? Who do you know that is like one of the foolish virgins? Someone who has a “lamp,” a profession of faith, but no “oil” of the indwelling Holy Spirit? Since you can’t give the oil to someone else, what can you do to help the person be ready? Do it. Now. ©2014 Anne Graham Lotz