February 6, 2022 – Matthew 24:32 – 25:46

Lesson Date: February 6, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Matthew 24:32 – 25:46

AIM: To lead students to discover five things they should do to prepare for the certain return of Jesus Christ, and to make some concrete plans concerning how to do those things.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Matthew 24:32 – 25:46 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write or print the five instructions (the bold words in the bullet points of the “Personal Application” section of this lesson plan) on five separate sheets of paper or poster board.  Bring some painter’s tape to class to post the five sheets during the lesson (be sure to carefully remove the sheets and tape after class).

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask: “How many of you ever went to elementary school?” (probably almost everyone did).  Ask: “When the teacher stepped out of the classroom did the students behave as well as when the teacher was in the room?” (no).  Ask: “Did anything unusual ever happen if the class had a substitute teacher?” (probably so).  Ask: “Why did the class behave differently when the teacher was not present?” (because they thought they could get away with it).

Tell the students that people have a natural tendency to stray from their tasks and abandon their work when the supervisor isn’t watching.  That truth is illustrated by the old expression, “When the cat’s away the mice will play.”  While that human tendency is very obvious in young children, it can even be seen among adult employees when the boss is out of the office.

Last week’s lesson established the fact that Jesus is coming back.  In this week’s lesson we will find that Jesus gave guidelines for how His people should live until His return.  We are going to discover five specific instructions we can adopt now to help us be better prepared to meet Jesus.  The title of today’s lesson is How Should We Live Until He Comes?

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that in Matthew 24:3, Jesus’ disciples asked Him to describe the signs and indicators of His return to establish His earthly kingdom.
    • Tell the students in verses 4-31 Jesus described the seven-year Tribulation period as well as His visible and physical return to earth at the end of the Tribulation.
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Matt. 24:30).
  2. Be Watchful.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 24:32-35.
    • Ask: “What can we tell is near when we see plants put on new leaves?” (summer).
    • Tell the class that people in agrarian civilizations were very watchful for things that indicated the seasons were changing.
    • Note (from verse 35) that Jesus’ words are true and eternal.
    • Read Matthew 24:36-44.
    • Ask: “According to verse 36, who knows when Jesus will return?” (only the Father).
    • Explain the following:
      • In the days of Noah (Noe) people thought judgment would never
      • They were eating, drinking, and getting married just as they had always done.
      • One day, however, the rain began, and they all died in the Flood.
      • Jesus said that’s the way it will be when He comes back.
    • Ask: “What do verses 42 and 44 say about Christ’s return?” (we should watch and be ready because we don’t know when it will happen).
    • Post the sheet with the instruction “Be Watchful” on the wall or board.
    • Summarize: In the parable of the fig tree and the illustration from the time of Noah, Jesus taught His followers to be watchful.
  3. Stay Busy.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 24:45-51.
    • Ask: “Which servant was blessed?” (the faithful and wise servant whom the master found working when he returned).
    • Ask: “Which servant was punished?” (the evil servant).
    • Post the sheet with the instruction “Stay Busy” on the wall or board.
    • Summarize: In the parable of the servants, Jesus taught that we should stay busy, faithfully working until the day our Lord returns.
  4. Be Ready and Prepared.
    • Read Matthew 25:1-13.
    • Explain the following:
      • This story is based upon ancient Jewish wedding customs.
      • The bride and groom entered into a legal marriage covenant, after which they had no contact with each other throughout the espousal period of nine to eighteen months.
      • When the time came for the wedding ceremony and festivities, the bridegroom and his attendants would go to the bride’s house, claim the bride, and escort her and her attendants to the marriage ceremony.
      • The exact time of the groom’s arrival was not known, so the bride and her attendants (other young virgin women) were required to be ready at any time.
      • Since oil in the Bible usually represents the Holy Spirit, the five wise virgins represent those who are truly saved.
      • The five foolish virgins represent those who might appear to be saved, but since they lack the Holy Spirit, they are truly lost.
    • Ask: “Which virgins got to participate in the wedding ceremony and festivities?” (the ones who were prepared for the bridegroom to come at any time).
    • Ask: “Which virgins missed out on the wedding ceremony and festivities?” (the ones that were not prepared).
    • Post the sheet with the instruction “Be Ready and Prepared” on the wall or board.
    • Summarize: Jesus used the parable of the ten virgins to teach us to be ready and prepared for His coming.
  5. Be Good Stewards.
    • Read Matthew 25:14-30.
    • Ask: “According to verses 21 and 23, what did the man do for the two wise servants?” (praised and rewarded them).
    • Ask: “What about the third servant?” (the master punished him and gave his talent to the servant who had ten talents).
    • Post the sheet with the instruction “Be Good Stewards” on the wall or board.
    • Summarize: In the parable of the talents Jesus taught us to be good stewards of the resources He has entrusted to us.
  6. Compassionately Minister to Other Believers.
    • Read Matthew 25:31-33.
    • Explain the following:
      • The previous passages have been parables (fictional stories that illustrate spiritual truths), but the remainder of chapter 25 describes an actual event that will take place after Jesus Christ returns to earth.
      • This event is commonly called the “sheep and goat” judgment.
      • All the living people left on earth will stand before Jesus.
      • He will separate the saved (the “sheep”) from the lost (the “goats”).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 25:34-40.
    • Ask: “What will Jesus commend the saved people for?” (ministering with compassion to other believers).
    • Ask: “According to verses 34 and 46, what will be their reward?” (eternal life in the kingdom Jesus has prepared for them).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 25:41-46.
    • Ask: “What will Jesus rebuke the lost people for?” (neglecting to minister to His children).
    • Ask: “According to verses 41 and 46, what will be their reward?” (they will be sent into everlasting fire and punishment).
    • Explain the following:
      • Physical acts do not determine whether a person is saved or lost; note that Jesus will separate the saved (“sheep”) and lost (“goats”) before He judges them.
      • Their eternal destiny will be settled before they ever stand before Jesus.
      • The compassionate actions of the “sheep” are results of being truly saved.
    • Post the sheet with the instruction “Compassionately Minister to Other Believers” on the wall or board.
    • Summarize: The description of the “sheep and goat” judgment teaches that believers should compassionately minister to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students that the Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ IS coming back.  Ask: “How should we live until He returns?”  Use the sheets you have posted to review the five instructions.

  • In the parable of the fig tree (Matt. 24:32-35) and the illustration from the time of Noah (Matt. 24:36-44), Jesus taught that we should be watchful.
  • In the parable of the servants (Matt. 24:45-51), He taught that we should stay busy, faithfully working until the day He returns.
  • He used the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13) to teach us to be ready and prepared for His coming.
  • In the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30), Jesus taught us to be good stewards of the resources He has entrusted to us.
  • The description of the “sheep and goat” judgment (Matt. 25:31-46) teaches that we should compassionately minister to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Tell the class some people might think, “These instructions don’t apply to me: I won’t be living on earth when Jesus comes back at the end of the Tribulation.”

Tell them that is probably true, but all of us in this room will face one of three possibilities:

  1. We will die and face Jesus, or
  2. We will be taken in the rapture and face Jesus, or
  3. If anyone present is unsaved when the rapture occurs, that person might live through the Tribulation and face Jesus at the “sheep and goat” judgment.

Stress the fact that one thing is certain: all believers will face Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Regardless of what our future holds, it is wise to live each day ready to meet Jesus.

Tell the students we have discovered five things we should do to prepare for the certain return of Jesus Christ.  That is good to know, but the only way this lesson will have any true impact on our lives is if we apply the things we have learned.  If time permits, brainstorm specific ways to obey Jesus’ five instructions.  Urge everyone to make some definite plans concerning how to do the things Jesus taught.  Encourage the students to make a commitment to God to do those things.  Lead a closing prayer of commitment.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Matthew 25:34.  Encourage them to follow through with any plans they have made today to better prepare themselves for the return of Jesus Christ.

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