We have had a very challenging year. On top of my family’s serious health issues, my daughter, Rachel-Ruth, and I videotaped a Bible study for our new book, “Jesus Followers.” It was filmed at my father’s house in the mountains. While the home is starkly empty, it underscores that what my father left was not a legacy of possessions, but a legacy of the Gospel … a legacy of faith passed down to the generations.
Several weeks before filming, I began checking the weather reports since some of the videotaping would take place outside. I also read the scripts I had written so what I wanted to say on camera would be fresh in my mind. While thinking ahead, I also needed to make sure I paid close attention to my home, family and ministry responsibilities at hand. The effort required for filming one session per day for four days required time, attention, thought and prayer.
Which has made me wonder … if I go to the trouble to be ready for four days of videotaping in my earthly father’s house, what effort am I making to be ready to live in my Heavenly Father’s house? And not just for four days, but forever? Am I prepared for the moment when God calls me to come Home? How can I be ready to meet Him face to face?
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 5:1-13.
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? 25:1-13?
- How are we encouraged to use this information? Read 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11; 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? Read 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 should we be intentional about watching? Read 2 Peter 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4; Luke 12:38-40; Revelation 16:15.
- What are some of the consequences of not watching? Read Matthew 24:48-51; 25:1-13.
- What is another way we can be faithful at present? See Matthew 24:45-47; John 9:4; 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 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 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, ensure 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. ©2022 Anne Graham Lotz
This article is adapted from a study originally published in May 2014.
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, which she co-authored with her daughter Rachel-Ruth Wright, is “Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.” It is available from major booksellers online.