Luke 21:36
So keep watch at all times, and pray that you may have the strength to escape all that is about to happen and to stand before the Son of Man."
Sermons
Before the Son of ManH. S. Lobingier.Luke 21:36
Christian Preparation for the Coming of the LordDean Alford.Luke 21:36
On Preparing for Christ's Coming Rather than for DeathDean Alford.Luke 21:36
Preparation of HeartDean Alford.Luke 21:36
St. Luke Xxi. 36Thomas ArnoldLuke 21:36
Standing Before ChristW. Clarkson Luke 21:36
The Command to WatchDe Witt S. Clark.Luke 21:36
The Safety of PrayerDr. Trumbull.Luke 21:36
WatchfulnessJ. A. Alexander, D. D.Luke 21:36
WatchingThe Weekly PulpitLuke 21:36
WatchingAnon.Luke 21:36
Preliminaries of the Second AdventR.M. Edgar Luke 21:5-38


Watch... and pray that ye may be accounted worthy... to stand before the Son of man. What is involved in this worthiness? It must include our being -

I. PREPARED TO GIVE ACCOUNT TO HIM. We know that we shall have to do that (Romans 10; 2 Corinthians 5:10); and we must expect, when we do stand before the Judge, to account to Jesus Christ for

(1) the relation which we have voluntarily sustained to himself - how we have received his invitation, and with what fullness we have accepted him as the Redeemer, the Friend, the Lord of our heart and life;

(2) the way in which we have served him since we called ourselves by his Name - i.e. how closely we have followed him, how obedient we have been to his commandments, how earnest and faithful we have Showed ourselves in his cause; in tact, hove true and loyal we have proved to be as his servants here.

II. CONFORMED TO HIS LIKENESS, Will not our Lord expect to find those who professed to be his disciples, who had access to so many and such great privileges, stand before him such as he lived and died to make them.t We know what that is. "He gave himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity;" he has "called us to holiness;" he came and wrought his work in order that he might make us to be in our spirit and character the children of God, bearing our heavenly Father's image. He will therefore look to those who stand before him as his redeemed ones for:

1. Purity of heart; the abhorrence of all that is evil, and love for that which is good and true and pure.

2. A loving spirit; a spirit of unselfishness, of devotedness, of generosity, of tender solicitude for the well-being of others.

3. Reverence and consecration of heart to God.

III. READY FOR THE HEAVENLY SPHERE, To "stand before" the king meant to be ready to fulfill his royal behest, prepared to do at once and to do effectively whatever he might require. To stand before our Divine Sovereign means to be ready to do his bidding, to execute his commandments as he shall employ us in his heavenly service. We naturally and rightly hope that he will entrust us with the most honorable errands, will appoint us to elevated posts, will charge us with noble occupations that will demand enlarged ability and that will contribute great things to his cause and kingdom. We may be sure that the devoted and faithful discharge of our duties here will prove the best preparation for celestial activity and usefulness, lie that is faithful in a few things now will be made ruler over many things hereafter. He who puts out his talents here will be found worthy to stand before the King, and to be employed by him in broad and blessed spheres of service there. If we would be "accounted worthy" to do this, we must "watch and pray."

1. We must spend much time with God - in the study of his will and in supplication for the quickening influences of his Spirit.

2. We must often examine our own hearts, observing our progress or retrogression, ready for the act of penitence, or of praise, or of reconsecration as we find ourselves declining. We must also observe the forces that are around us, and distinguish carefully between the hostile and the friendly, between those which make for folly and for sin and those which lead up to wisdom and to righteousness. - C.









Watch ye, therefore, and pray always.
The subject of our inquiry to-day will be — "What practical effect ought the doctrine of the Lord's second coming to have on you and me, living when and where and as we do?" On the certainty of that coming, I need, I suppose, say very little. On the manner of that coming, we possibly may not be agreed; the time of it is expressly and purposely concealed from us. Two things, therefore, seem to me to have a right, as elements, to influence our practice in this matter; the absolute certainty that the day will come, and the absolute uncertainty when it will come. In fact, in both these respects we are in much the same situation as we are, when in health and strength and the prime of life, with regard to the day of our death. We know that it must be; but no sign appears of its immediate approach. And from this example, so common and so well understood, we may perhaps be able easily to deduce our duty in the other case. The wise course with regard to the inevitable day of one's death appears to be this: never to lose sight of the certainty of it, but to keep ourselves ever ready, while at the same time we do not morbidly brood over the fact, nor allow it to interrupt our duties in life. And here, as in that other case, we must avoid a diseased and restless state of anticipation, as well as the opposite extreme of entire forgetfulness. But perhaps it may be said, In laying down rules for the one consideration, that of our own deaths, are we not also including the other, the expectation of the coming of the Lord? Certainly, in some particulars the two great events coincide; but by no means in all. And it may be profitable for a few moments to ask ourselves wherein they are identical, and wherein each has its region peculiar to itself. They coincide in that each event, as far as we are concerned, will put a limit to this our present state of existence; but they differ, in that the one will do this for ourselves alone; the other, for all mankind. And this is a strictly practical consideration; for I suppose few of us are so selfish as to confine our anticipations and provisions to ourselves alone, but we all extend them over those who are to come after us. The certainty, then, of the day of the Lord will influence those provisions, if we look on it as bringing the limit of this state of time; we shall be rather anxious to do present good with our substance, making moderate provision for our successors, than to lay the foundations of great possessions, and starve our charities to do so. Again, they differ, in that the one brings to ourselves alone the final state; the other completes the great scheme of redemption. The number of God's elect will be accomplished, and His glorious kingdom will have come. And such a consideration, while it may not have much distinctive influence upon our individual Christian lives, ought to have much upon our regard of our relative duties, and our efforts for spreading Christ's gospel on earth.

(Dean Alford.)

Of all the subjects on which we may speculate as to our own state and destination, perhaps none is so mysterious, none so difficult to form a definite idea of, as the condition of the dead after the act of death; on the other hand nothing is more simple and clear, than their state after the coming of the Lord. There is, then, this consideration, which is worthy at least of our notice; that the looking for and waiting unto the day of the Lord brings us something more definite, something immediately following it of a more tangible kind, more calculated to make a deep impression on us, than the contemplation of the day of our own death. The realities consequent on the one are and must be, even to the strongest faith, shrouded in a mist which is to us impenetrable; the other, with its realities, stands forth boldly before us, marked out in all its features by the hand of Christ Himself. So that the man who waits for the Lord's coming is likely to be more definite, more assured, more manly and determined in whatever effects on his character such anticipation may have, than he who merely looks forward to his own death. Moreover, when we compare the two as to the question, which best befits the Christian as an object of thought and expectation — we cannot, I think, hesitate a moment. The New Testament is full of exhortations to watch and prepare for the Lord's coming. From His own discourses while on earth in the flesh, through those of the apostles in the Acts, through the Epistles of St. Paul, St. Peter, St. James, St. John, St. Jude, even to the latest written words of the Spirit in the Revelation, no command is more frequent, none more solemnly impressed on us, than that we should keep that great event constantly in view, and be ever ready for it. Whereas we shall hardly find one exhortation, addressed directly to us as Christians, to be ready for the day of our own death. And why so? clearly not because such readiness is not necessary — far from it indeed — but because the greater absorbs the less: because the promise of our ascended Saviour — His return to us — His coming to take account of His servants — includes in it all that the other possibly could do, and very much more; because death is at the best but a gloomy thing, bearing trace of the curse, accompanied with pain and sorrow, whereas the Lord's coming is to His people a thought full of joy — the completion of their redemption, the beginning of their reign of glory.

(Dean Alford.)

We want, in our preparation for the day of the Lord, lightness of heart; hearts which we can lift up to heaven where our treasure is; hearts which are not tied down to this earth — not cleaving to the dust. And how may we lighten our hearts? The first lightening — the first rolling off of the burden which weighed so heavily on them, is the work of God's Spirit in the day of His power; is that setting free from the load of sin by the blessed effects of justifying faith in Christ, in which the law of the Spirit of life makes us free from the law of sin and death. But how may we best keep them, when thus lightened, from again accumulating a burden, and being weighed down from their proper object of contemplation and desire? Listen to our Lord's command. It is the surfeiting of this world's employments and pleasures which thus clogs the heart. This, then, of all things is to be shunned, if we would be prepared for that day. You cannot, beloved, be casting yourselves fully into the arms of the world, and be prepared for the coming of the Lord. The two things are absolutely incomparable. If you choose the part of eagerness about things present, that day will come upon you unawares — whether it come with the sign in the clouds and the resurrection trumpet, or with the sinking of the flesh and heart, the curtained chamber; the bedside group fading away from the failing vision.

(Dean Alford.)

Two facts concerning His advent are plainly stated and they are all that a majority of His Church will perceive, namely: that we are ignorant of the time of the end; that it will be sudden.

I. THE READY SOUL IS THE DILIGENT.

II. THE READY SOUL IS THE VIGILANT.

III. THE READY SOUL IS THE PRAYERFUL.

(De Witt S. Clark.)

Our Lord did not so much urge the duty of praying as the safety of prayer.

I. To this, then, let us first turn our thoughts. Jesus mentioned as the special aim of prayer: "That ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things," i.e., calamities, that their city, nation, race, and, in fact, the human family were liable to experience, but yet might escape if only they would seek to be accounted "worthy" to do so. The word "worthy" as here used calls for examination; for if it be taken in the sense of deserving because faultless, there is no use in saying anything about it: we are not that; and we never can so be "accounted worthy," having already committed aggravated offences against God without number, which have brought compromises of guilt and stains upon our souls. The idea of merit, however, .which the word "worthy" usually carries with it, is not at all intended in this verse. The verb used is a military term really, meaning to conquer, to win a victory, to prevail against another, against an enemy, against baffling influences and hindering circumstances. Hence the meaning of the word in the text is: that they might be able to prevail and escape all the calamities Jesus had been speaking of. The Revised Version sustains this interpretation. It gives the text: "But watch ye at every season, making supplication that ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." It was not that He counselled His disciples to deserve or merit safety through their good conduct, although their good conduct was to be as binding as ever, but to pray that they might be tenacious of purpose, unyielding, and therefore, successful in overcoming temptation, walking so faithfully with their Lord Jesus Christ, as to practise good conduct and persevere in it.

II. Mind, they were to pray that they might be tenacious. On that they ought to resolve; ought to set out to be tenacious in Christian living, in overcoming human oppositions, surmounting temporal obstacles, social hindrances, threats of rulers, frowns of society, oppositions of families, clamours of self-interest, desires for enjoyment, and lusts that ruin the soul — bearing their cross to follow after Jesus; but still, in addition to all this, nay in order to accomplish all this, they were to make continual and systematic applications to the Host High God. Wherever you have failed tell it to God; in perfect frankness confess it to Him, and ask Him to account you worthy to escape all forces of temptation, and all calamities that are, or are to be, consequent on sin; or as the Revised Version has the text: "Make supplication that you may prevail to escape," every evil of ungodliness, whether already wrought in the callousness of your heart, or in a weakness of character growing out of self-love, or in the fearful sorrows that are to be experienced on Christ's rejection of your undying soul in the judgment day.

(Dr. Trumbull.)

The Weekly Pulpit.
I. WATCH OVER YOUR OUTGOINGS (Mark 7:20).

II. WATCH OVER THE INCOMINGS. See to it that mind and heart are ever filled with such suggestions as can carry the stamp of Christ's approval.

III. WATCH OVER YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Your life has to be lived in the midst of hindering difficulties and influences. Then understand your life. Know the power of your circumstances.

IV. WATCH OVER YOUR OPPORTUNITIES. You will have opportunities

(1)of growing in grace;

(2)of showing faithfulness to your Lord;

(3)of serving Him in your daily sphere.

(The Weekly Pulpit.)

I. ITS PECULIAR CHARACTER. The very quintessence of all faith; the very reason why faith is necessary for the true life. The soul in which burns the light of faith looks forward, and by looking forward is helped to step forward, expecting some strange yet true results. The will is strengthened to assert itself, sometimes on ventures which appear without foundation, but which are based upon the reality of what is to come. So the Christian can go forward with confidence and security.

1. From the call of Abraham to the present day, the supreme attitude of God's children has been that of expectancy.

2. Just as the Israelites looked for the first coming of the Messiah, so Christians look for the second coming in power and great glory.

II. THE ESSENTIAL BENEFITS OF WATCHING.

1. It is a power which, though often latent and unobserved, is still a power of incalculable force. The unknown reserve of spiritual influence which lies at the root of the sincerely Christian character.

2. The watcher is always ready. No haziness about life, or uncertainty about its aims.

(Anon.)

See that sentry at the gate of an encampment or a fortress — mark his measured tread, his martial port, his anxious though determined countenance — his quiet and searching glance, as he repeats his constant walk — that soldier is awake; but he is more — he is upon his guard — his mind is full of his important trust — he feels the weight of his responsibility. But see — his frame becomes relaxed, his form grows less erect, his movements lose their regular mechanical succession — his look is vacant or abstracted, he no longer looks afar off and at hand in search of approaching danger, he has either forgotten it, or ceased to reckon it so imminent. And yet the man is wide awake; not only are his eyes still open, but they see surrounding objects; all his senses are still active, and his mind, though distracted from his present duty, is as much at work as ever; for no sooner does the slightest sound arouse him, than, as if by magic, he recovers his position and the tension of his muscles, he resumes his measured walk, his mingled air of circumspection and defiance, and his look of bold but anxious scrutiny. Even before, he was awake; but now he is awake and at the same time on his guard. Precisely the same difference exists between a simple wakefulness in spiritual matters — a wakefulness of understanding, conscience, and affection, and the active exercise of spiritual vigilance; this is impossible without the other, but the other does not necessarily involve this. In both cases, that is, in the literal and spiritual case supposed, there is a sensible gradation of remissness or the opposite. We have seen the sentry wholly losing for a moment the recollection of his solemn trust; but this is not the only way in which he may unconsciously betray it. Look at him again. Every look, every motion, now betokens concentration of his thoughts and feelings on the danger which impends, and against which he is set to watch. Perhaps he is now motionless, but it is only that his eye may be more steadfastly fixed upon the point from which the enemy's approach is apprehended. In that point his whole being seems to be absorbed. And you can see at a glance that he is ready, even for the first and faintest intimation of a moving object on that dim horizon. But while he stands like a statue, with his face turned towards that dreaded point, look beyond him and behind him, at those forms which are becoming every moment more and more defined against the opposite quarter of the heavens. He hears them not, because their step is noiseless; he sees them not, because his eye and all his faculties are employed in an opposite direction. While he strains every sense to catch the first intimations of approaching danger, it is creeping stealthily behind him, and when at last his ear distinguishes the tramp of armed men, it is too late, for a hostile hand is already on his shoulder, and if his life is spared, it is only to be overpowered and disarmed without resistance. And yet that soldier was not only awake, but on his guard — his whole being was absorbed in contemplation of the danger which impended; but, alas, he viewed it as impending only from one quarter, and lost sight of it as really approaching from another. We may even suppose that he was right in looking where he did, and only wrong in looking there exclusively. There was an enemy to be expected from that quarter, and if this had been the only one, the sentry's duty would have been successfully performed; but he was not aware, or had forgotten, that the danger was a complex one — that while the enemy delayed his coming, another might be just at hand, and thus the very concentration of his watchfulness on one point defeated its own purpose, by withdrawing his attention from all others. By a slight shifting in the scene, I might present to you the same man or another, gazing not at one point only, but at all; sweeping the whole visible horizon with his eye as he maintains his martial vigil. See with what restless activity his looks pass from one distant point to another, as if resolved that nothing shall escape him, that no imaginable source of danger shall remain unwatched. That man might seem to be in every sense awake and on his guard — surprise might seem to be impossible — but hark! what sound is that which suddenly disturbs him in his solitary vigils? he looks hastily around him, but sees nothing, yet the sound is growing every moment louder and more distinct; "a voice of noise from the city" — "the voice of them that shout for mastery" — "the voice of them that cry for being overcome"! Doubt is no longer possible — it is — it is behind him — yes, the enemy for whom he looked so vigilantly, is within the walls, and the banner which he thought to have seen waving at a distance, is floating in triumph just above his head. The cases which I have supposed are not mere appeals to your imagination. They are full of instruction as to practical realities. They vividly present to us in figurative forms the actual condition of the soul in reference to spiritual dangers.

(J. A. Alexander, D. D.)

Before the Son of Man
I. RIGID REQUIREMENTS OF HIS STANDARD.

1. Consecration. Implies self-surrender. The doctrine of the Cross lies at the threshold of Christian living.

2. Purity. Involves thought of the heart, speech, actions.

3. Non-resistance. " Overcome evil with good." This is the law of the New Testament, though not of nations or of the world.

4. Forgiveness of injury. Goes beyond passive indifference. Exacts positive affection.

II. DUTY OF STANDING BEFORE HIM. Every time we hear the gospel, we "stand before the Son of Man." Every time we witness His ordinances, we are brought face to face with Him. How? Either condemned or justified. Christ is the great Refiner of men. It is our duty to stand before Him.

1. Because His is the only perfect standard. He makes no mistakes.

2. Because it is the only way to secure His favour. Once men put Him on trial; now the order is reversed. He demands that every man be put to the test, to show his quality. To refuse to submit to Christ's judgment, is to confess cowardice.

3. Because by this we reach our proper place. The scientific principle is here applied. It is a species of "natural selection" — "the survival of the fittest." Conclusion: To stand before the Son of Man implies —

1. Your life in harmony with His.

2. Watching and prayer.

3. His favour and divinest blessing.

(H. S. Lobingier.)

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