Mar 22, 2021
Ryan Kennedy

Mens Equipping Spring 2021

Session 1

Luke 2:22-35 – Waiting in Anticipation 

Waiting is something we are not good at. Americans in general hate to wait. We don’t like to think about waiting. Cell phones are so popular, in part, because they are a numbing agent that distracts us from the pain of waiting. I think there are two senses in which we wait. We wait in boredom and we wait in anticipation. Waiting in boredom is like waiting at the DMV or the grocery store. We know nothing exciting is going to happen. It is routine. It is boring. Waiting in anticipation, on the other hand, is often paired with anxiety. We feel this before big sports tournaments, before big interviews etc. The “butterflies” that fill our stomachs are all too familiar. I remember in my middle and high school days attending martial arts tournaments. Sleep the night before was always hard to come by, and the sense of anticipation only grew as my time to compete drew nearer. Butterflies only seemed to multiply as my name was about to be called onto the mat, so much so that I could hardly bare it. It seemed like the waiting. Would. Never. End. I wanted to get out there and get it done. I wanted to compete. 

Easter is a time when we celebrate the coming of the Messiah and the completion of His ultimate mission here on earth. His perfect atoning sacrifice on the cross and raising victorious over sin and death. As we lead up to this time, it can be easy to forget that Jesus promised he was coming back (Rev 1:7). We can forget that we are waiting for His return. In this passage we will see how one man waited for the promise of the Lord. Simeon was a man that was called to wait; but it was obvious that he wasn’t waiting in boredom. He was waiting in anticipation. He was waiting for the call of the Holy Spirit, and when he got the call he exploded with joy! Today we will see what it looks like to wait with a holy anticipation. 

Waiting Faithfully 

The stated purpose for Luke’s book was so that Theophilus could have certainty concerning the things he had been taught (Luke 1:1-4). With this in mind, the witnesses that are quoted in Luke matter. Luke 2:25 says that Simeon was “righteous and devout”. This meant that he was in right standing with God and observed the right rules and laws in order to align himself with his 

Creator. I think in our context this could be put this way: he went to church, he was a member of a connection group, he was regularly in prayer, he read his Bible, he was self-controlled when it came to food and alcohol, he confessed his sin, he stayed away from pornography, he gave generously to the church, he was a good neighbor, a hard worker, he shared his faith with others etc. In short, he was a “good Christian”. Now, why would Luke include this? Why would it be important for Luke to include that Simeon was righteous and devout? There are two answers here: It gave credibility to Simeon’s testimony and Simeon wanted to be “presentable” when he finally met the Messiah. 

Can you imagine if Simeon had been lazy, a liar, a cheat, a drunkard? When he got the call from the Holy Spirit he would have declared that “my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:30) and people would have laughed at him. “There goes Simeon again, what is he on about now?” He would have zero credibility; people would question his truthfulness. His devotion lent credibility to his testimony as to who Jesus was. Additionally, his knowledge and devotion to the Scripture

would have helped him discern if it was the Holy Spirit speaking to him or an Evil Spirit (1 John 4:1). Simeon’s devotion made his testimony credible. What does your devotion say about your testimony? 

Simeon knew he would meet the Messiah and he wanted to put his “best foot forward.” Don’t we all? Though our righteous acts are as “filthy rags” before God (Isaiah 64:6), we still all want to look good. Think of it in terms of an inspection. When our kids clean their rooms, they are subject to “inspection.” We go in, look under beds, in closets, make sure they didn’t miss anything, to make sure they aren’t hiding any messes. Simeon wanted to have a good inspection for the ruler of the universe. He didn’t want to hide in shame because of sin that he had been keeping in secret. If you came face to face with Jesus today would you be ashamed of the secret sin He might see? Or could you be free to explode in joy at the sight of the Messiah? 

Waiting with Anticipation 

It would have been easy for Simeon to wait in boredom. To go and keep on sinning. He had been given the promise and it didn’t come with a date and time. He would see the Messiah. So why not go about entertaining yourself until you got “the call?” Why not go out and get drunk, or just sit on the couch and binge <insert preferred streaming service>. Why not get wrapped up in his career? None of this seemed to matter to Simeon. His whole life revolved around this moment; and when the moment comes, we see this in his explosion of joy! He says in verse 29 “Now you are letting your servant depart in peace,”. I can almost see the tears of joy streaming down his face as he says this. Simeon’s life was lived like a sprinter coiled up in the starting blocks waiting for the word from the Spirit, and when the call came, the gun went off, and Simeon exploded on mission. To see his Savior was his crossing the finish line (2 Tim 4:7). 

Traps 

I think there are two traps we can fall into while waiting. We can fail in not faithfully waiting or we can fail by waiting in boredom instead of anticipation. So many guys are waiting for something in their life. Waiting for a wife, waiting for a career, waiting for a vision for their life that in the waiting they forget to wait faithfully. So many guys fall into the trap of “oh, once I get a wife I’ll give up porn.” Or “once I get a good career I’ll start giving to the church” or “once I have kids I’ll start serving in the children’s ministry.” They are waiting for that thing, but they are forgetting that this is damaging to their testimony. If they got the call they would be totally unprepared, their testimony would be a hindrance to their call. But there is good news! Through Christ, they can be faithful NOW. YOU can be faithful now! Just because you don’t see the big picture for your life now, or you don’t know all the details doesn’t mean you can’t wait faithfully. Simeon knew what his life purpose was. He didn’t know when the call would come, but despite that he lived a devout and faithful life that allowed him to explode on mission when the call came. 

The second trap we can fall into is to wait in the mundane. Maybe we are devout and righteous in our living, but we get comfortable in that. We get so comfortable in our discipline that when the call comes, we would rather not disrupt our routine. We are like a sprinter in the starting blocks, sitting on his heels. When the Holy Spirit calls us, we would rather not run our race

because we are comfortable where we are. If Jesus came back today, we would be a little sad, because we were so set in our ways. Unlike Simeon, we wouldn’t be running to the Temple to see Jesus. We might come up with an excuse to not disrupt our routine. 

Conclusion 

This Easter I pray that we would all be reminded that what Simeon experienced was not a one-time event. Jesus is coming back! The question is not IF we are waiting for him, but rather HOW are we waiting for him? So, as we remember the perfect, victorious sacrifice of Christ this year I would ask you, how are you waiting? 

Questions 

Opening / Icebreaker 

What was the worst time you have had waiting? Describe it. (DMV stories are ok). Bible - 

1) Read Galatians 6:1-9 

a. How does this passage apply to waiting faithfully? 

b. What should we be doing while we wait? 

2) Read Isaiah 6 

a. How is Isaiah’s response to God’s call similar to Simeons? 

b. How should this apply to our life? (specifically in regards to the trap of the mundane) 

3) Read Matthew 26:36-46 

a. Did the disciples faithfully wait for Jesus’ return in this passage? 

4) Read 2 Timothy 3:10

a. Simeon’s life surrounded one moment, the moment he would meet his Savior. How can this passage help you wait in anticipation? 

5) What does your devotion say about your testimony? 

6) What are some times you have waited in the mundane? 

7) What are some times you have waited on the Lord with a sense of anticipation? 8) What are some times you have waited for the Lord in boredom? 9) What are some times you have faithfully waited on the Lord?


Session 2

Mourning and Confession  

Easter Sunday is a day to celebrate the victory of Christ over sin and death. But to fully celebrate  the victory of Christ we must acknowledge what led him to the cross and how great of a victory  it truly was. Just like a shooting star shines brighter at night than in the day, so too does the joy  of Easter shine brighter when we recognize the depravity of our sin. If we are not careful, we  will miss the significance of Good Friday and Easter because we do not recognize that we are  the reason that Jesus had to go the cross to suffer. This week we will be focusing on recognizing  our sin, mourning over it, and confessing it.  

To start, we will look at 1 John:  

1 John 1:5-10 - 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to  you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have  fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not pracce the  truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with  one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say we  have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our  sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all  unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his  word is not in us.  

Recognize our sin  

In verse 5 we see how God is light; he is perfect and holy and in him there is no darkness, but as  we see in verses 8 and 10, we have the darkness of sin in our lives. 1 John was wrien to  professing Chrisans, some of whom evidently believed that they did not have sin in their lives!  Whether we believe it or not, we are sinful and we must recognize it. Oen, when we are faced  with our sin, we choose to ignore it and walk in the darkness by doing one of these three things:  

1. Making excuses – we blame-shi or put the responsibility on someone or something  else. Ultimately, we are responsible for our sinful acons.  

2. Minimizing the sin – this involves anything that we do to convince ourselves that sin is  something less than a conscious rebellion against a perfect and loving God.  3. Denying the sin – flat out ignoring it and acng like it never happened.  

Mourn over our sin  

To recognize our sin is not enough, we must also recognize the depravity of it. When we first put  our faith in Christ, we are usually very aware of our sin and as a result cling to God constantly  for help. Oen, as me goes on God’s saving grace can become stale to us and we fail to  recognize the significance of our ongoing sin.  

When was the last me that we took a good look at the ongoing sin in our life, seemingly big or  small, and came away broken? How quickly do we trivialize sins such as greed, bitterness,  parality, jealousy, impatience, and slothfulness? When was the last me that we recognized  that God is light, and in him there is no darkness? We have an enemy who is seeking to devour  us with sin, and one we let him succeed. Your ongoing sin is a serious problem. My ongoing sin 

is a serious problem. We have a serious problem. Do we really believe this to be the case? Our  hearts should be utterly broken over this and lead us to hate the sin in our lives. If we fail to  mourn over our ongoing sin, we will not be in awe of the work that Christ has done for us.  

Mourning sin however is not empty and hopeless. When we mourn, we are led to a deeper  desperation for our Savior.  

Confess and take our sin to Christ  

Paul Tripp says that, “Mourning sin-past, present, and future-is the first step in seeking and  celebrating the divine grace that is the hope of everyone whose heart has been made able to  see by that very same grace.” This heartbroken posture is what leads us to cry out to our great  rescuer and redeemer for forgiveness as we confess our sins to him. The more we recognize our  own depravity, the more we will find ourselves at the foot of the cross clinging to Christ. The  more we mourn our sin, the more we understand the purpose in the punishment that Christ  took upon himself at the cross.  

Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  

Christ came to earth not to help those who think they are healthy, but for those who know they  are sick and completely helpless apart from Christ (Mark 2:17). Praise be to God that we do not  have to mourn forever; we have a Savior who has come to rescue us! We are met with the  merciful and comforting arms of our Savior when we mourn and confess our sin. He loves us  deeply. God sees all our sins, past, present, and future, and comes towards us with his only son  to die a death he did not deserve.  

Grieving our sin is a prerequisite to confession. 2 Cor. 7:10 says that, “godly grief produces a  repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death”. Godly  grief leads to confession. Now because of Christ’s death and resurrection we can freely come  before the Lord with our mourning and confession knowing that because of the blood of Christ,  we are welcomed with open arms by the only one who knows us fully. We experience deeper  intimacy through the Lord by mourning and confessing our sin.  

Confess our sin to one another  

As men of God, we should be quick to recognize our sins, mourn over them, and bring them into  the light, however big or small. As 1 John 1:7 above says, to walk in the light is to have  fellowship with one another and we know that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to  forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (v9). Considering this, we should  not only confess our sins to God but also to one another. 

Quesons:  

● Why is it important to mourn our sin leading into Good Friday and Easter Sunday?  

● In Psalm 51 David disobeyed God by committing adultery and in Ezra 9:1-15 the people  of God had broken God’s commandment. Spend some time reading these passages and  discussing what mourning and confession looked like in these situations.  

● In a typical week, how aware are you of the depth of your sin?  

● Which of the three do you find yourself doing more – making excuses for your sin,  minimizing your sin, or denying your sin?  

● When was the last me you wept over your sin?  

● How might meditation on Christ’s sacrifice change your confession?  

● What habits and disciplines help you foster an inner spirit of confession and repentance?  

● Think back on a time when you were hardened toward your sin or distant from God. To me, were there sins you were not admitting to yourself?  

● Spend some time reading 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. How do these verses inform your mess and brokenness?

Session 3

Scripture: Romans 8:14-17 

Easter Sunday is a mountaintop experience in the life of the Christian. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been preparing our hearts in anticipation of the Savior and contemplating our own sinfulness. We’ve just finished celebrating the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the climactic focal point of the eternal gospel. For the believer, we remember each year the atonement that Christ made on our behalf- how he became a propitiation for our sins and reconciled us to God. The fullest exposition of this amazing blessing, called justification, is found in Romans. Without question, justification is the primary blessing that Jesus Christ has won for us as believers. This amazing blessing tends to be our focus (for good reason!) on Resurrection Sunday. As we continue in our equipping series centered around the Easter season, we now stand on the downslope side of the gospel summit. The tomb is empty. Jesus has ascended to the right hand of God. We’ve remembered the blessing of justification. So… now what? Now, I want to draw our attention to what many theologians consider to be an even higher blessing. Wait, what? A provocative statement, yes? If justification means that all of our sins past, present, and future have been eternally wiped clean so that we can be reconciled to a perfect and holy God, then what could be a higher blessing than that? Men, it is my prayer that the Spirit of God would use this short devotional to highlight one of the sweetest and most tender doctrines that all of Holy Scripture teaches. Let’s consider together the profound depth of blessing to be had in the doctrine of adoption. Would our view of God’s grace increase as we behold the blessing of calling him “Father” and him calling us “sons.” 

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:14-15) 

You may feel like it’s splitting hairs to make a distinction in blessing between justification and adoption. The distinction is important to recognize because adoption is something we all take for granted at one time or another. Let’s take a courtroom example, since justification and adoption are legal terms. You got a speeding ticket. You can pay the fine or you can go to traffic court and fight the charge. You’re definitely guilty, but because you enjoy exercising your rights, you go to court. You try and defend yourself, but this is light work for the prosecutor. The wise judge rightly upholds the fine and you pay the penalty. Making this payment has reconciled you to the state. Conversely, this is the gospel: you have sinned against a perfect and holy God. Romans 1-3 says you are definitely guilty. This is no speeding ticket in traffic court, but your sin is a capital case before a holy tribunal. The perfectly wise Judge knows all of your actions, thoughts, and motivations and you stand guilty before him. Since the evidence against you is unquestioned, and you have no spiritually redeeming features within yourself- you can only cry out for mercy. You know the next part. The Judge has one spiritually and morally perfect Son. Out of his incomprehensible mercy, he places the death sentence on the head of his Son instead of you. This fully satisfies the Judge and your status changes from “definitely guilty” to “not-guilty” so that you are legally reconciled to him. This is justification, and it is why we call it the primary blessing of the gospel.

As a most ill-deserving recipient of this blessing, what happens next is a quantum leap of additional blessing for you. The Judge, having given his only-begotten Son to pay the penalty that you deserved, begins filling out some extra paperwork- your adoption papers into his own family! Could any of us imagine such a blessing to be given? Justification is the basis for our adoption, but it does not imply adoption. It would be odd and unexpected if the traffic court judge asked if he could adopt you. If you truly understood the depth of your own sinfulness, you couldn’t imagine being worthy of adoption into God’s family- but this is the result of Christ’s perfect record of obedience being imputed to you. How great is our Savior! This is why we consider adoption to be an even higher, sweeter, more intimate blessing than justification. The relationship has changed. Your status before God has moved from “definitely guilty” to “not-guilty” to “son.” For the sake of his own Son, he has decided to change the way he relates to you: from Judge to Father. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1). Praise be to God for his grace to us! 

We can pray to God as a Father. The address of the Lord’s Prayer is not, “Dear most holy, excellent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and sovereign Creator of the heavens and earth- the one true God, who dwelleth in refulgent glory of unapproachable light...” Though that address is true and accurate, the Lord Jesus knew the hypocritical Pharisees and Gentiles designed these flourishes of public prayer to rob glory from God and bestow it upon themselves. Instead, Jesus reveals the relational intimacy of our prayers when we approach God like this, “Our Father who art in heaven…” (Matt. 6:9). 

First, the relationship has a special closeness toward God because we can call him “Our Father.” In light of the transcendent attributes of the first Person of the Trinity (see above flourish), what a profound blessing to be able to call him “Abba! Father!” Notice in the Lord’s Prayer, we pray “forgive us our trespasses…” This is not the forgiveness of justification- that happens one time for all time at the moment of conversion. Instead, this is relational forgiveness. The marriage with my wife is a legal and relational covenant. Even though we’re married, we still sin against each other in day-to-day life. The sin doesn’t dissolve the legal status of the covenant, but we need to continually forgive each other to maintain the relational intimacy of our marriage (she has much more to forgive than I). Then “forgive us our trespasses” acknowledges that we, the adopted God, still sin against him. As the Spirit of God leads us, we seek relational forgiveness with the Father as we’re convicted of lingering sin in our lives. We didn’t “receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,” which once brought condemnation to us, but we have “received the Spirit of adoption as sons” because “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). 

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:16) 

Again, using the address of the Lord’s Prayer as a backdrop, the second thing to notice is the special closeness among believers because he’s “Our Father.” It follows that if God is our Father, then we are “children of God.” It is the work of the Spirit himself to “bear witness,” to convince, to assure us that we are his. The grace of God is so complete that not only does his

word testify we are his children, but his Spirit bears witness with ours as confirmation of the testimony. It is this assurance which allows us to approach our Father with boldness, knowing he hears the prayers and understands the needs of his children (Matt. 6:9, Heb. 4:16). 

As humans, one of our deep-seated needs is to belong. At adoption, we find that need fulfilled as members of the “household of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15). The Church is made up of fellow believers, all of whom are brothers and sisters in God’s family. The family relationship within the Church pervades the New Testament. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Notice how often James references “brothers” in his epistle. As we read and study Scripture, each familial reference should remind us of the grace God has expressed to us in our adoption. 

and if children, then heirs-- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:17) It seems this final verse under consideration contains an increasingly unpopular message within many Christian communities. On the one hand, it promises an unfathomable blessing. In the ancient world, sons were the heirs of paternal assets. This is still true today. Children are often the beneficiaries of their parents’ wealth. However, even Jacob’s inheritance of Isaac’s possessions or the vast expanse that went to King Solomon’s heir is but a dim shadow of being an heir of God. He owns it all. “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine...for the world and its fullness are mine” (Ps. 50:10-12). More importantly, being “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” means that, like Christ, we get to enjoy the eternal blessing of being in the fullness of God’s kingdom. “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:3-5). That’s not the part that causes us trouble. Being heirs with Christ means that suffering is inextricably tied to this glorious reality. Walking with Christ means pain will come, as testified by Scripture. However, the grace is that we do not suffer alone, but our Lord suffers alongside us (Heb. 2:10; Heb. 12:3). 

At this point in Romans 8, consider how far the Lord has brought us from our lowly station in Romans 1. Do you get the sense of richness that the doctrine of adoption has for us? It colors and influences the entirety of our life in Christ and the relationships within God’s family. As certain as Christ the Son has achieved our justification, so also our adoption into God’s family is irrevocable. May this assurance help us to be prepared as we await Christ’s glorious return! 

Questions for group discussion: 

1. Read all of Romans 8 together. Justification and adoption are both graces given by God. Why is it helpful for the Christian to understand the difference?

2. Why do you think we sometimes take adoption for granted? 

3. What are the benefits of God relating to us as Father? 

4. Read 1 Tim. 5:1-2. What is this saying about our relationships within the church? Give examples where you have upheld or fallen short on this calling. 

5. Read 2 Cor. 4:7-11; Heb. 2:10; Heb. 12:3. If adoption is a blessing, then why does it involve suffering? 

Close in prayer 

● Spend time thanking God for the blessing of adoption. 

● Ask if anyone is in need of specific prayer. 

● At the conclusion of prayers, have everyone pray the Lord’s Prayer together. 

The Lord’s Prayer 

Our Father, who art in heaven, 

hallowed be thy name; 

thy kingdom come; 

thy will be done; 

on earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread. 

And forgive us our trespasses, 

as we forgive those who trespass against us. 

And lead us not into temptation; 

but deliver us from evil. 

For thine is the kingdom, 

the power and the glory, 

for ever and ever. 

Amen.

Session 4

Adoption is beautiful because we go from having our charges wiped away to getting to  join the family of Jesus Christ. We get to praise Jesus with other Christians and call  them our brothers and sisters. We shouldn’t take this for granted, but the reality is that  we do. It’s human nature to become complacent.  

To finish off the final week of men’s equipping, we will focus on how we need to be  prepared going forward. While remembering the joy of Easter is a good thing, it can be  easy to come out of Easter on a high and feeling good about yourself and your Christian  walk. The comfort of feeling good means you begin to let your guard down and  Scripture shows us why this is a problem.  

Matthew 24:36 - 44  

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor  the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the  Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking,  marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they  were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of  the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two  women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake,  for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master  of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have  stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must  be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  

Be Prepared  

Scar is one of the most infamous cartoon villains. I was a little kid when I first  experienced his treacherous ways. It was not until I watched Lion King 1 ½ as an adult  that I began to think about the story differently. Lion King 1 1/2 is from Timone and  Pumba's perspective, but it covers the same period as the original.  

There is a scene where they are on the hunt for a new place to call home. They are  looking for a utopia that they have not yet seen, but they know it's out there. One of their  stops is the elephant graveyard, and they begin to think it’s home until they get some 

unexpected visitors. Then the next thing you know, there are many Hyenas marching by  to the beat of the song "BE PREPARED!" and they quickly move to another location.  

“Be Prepared”  

Scar sings to the Hyenas when revealing his devious plan to take out Mufasa and get  rid of Simba. Now imagine if Timone and Pumba would have stayed to hear the whole  song? Or imagine that Mufasa himself would have been around to listen to that song? If  the whole plan was made known to all of the characters, there would not be the  suspense needed to make a great movie. This would never happen because it would  not make for a great movie.  

 For believers, the end of the story has been revealed to us. We have been told that we  need to be prepared for the return of Jesus because it will come when we don't expect  it.  

Matthew 24: 44 says, "Therefore you must also be ready for the Son of Man is coming  at an hour you don't expect."  

What does it say about us when the Bible tells us to be prepared and yet we continue to  live for our fleshly desires? We continue to gossip, we continue to watch porn, and  neglect our families. What does it say about us when we refuse to repent or continue to  hold up our idols? (Matthew 6:19-24, Colossians 3:5-6)  

We have gotten to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It's always a fantastic time when  Easter comes around because we get to remember just what Jesus did for us, but don't  go on autopilot now. Being prepared means you are on your toes and ready at any  moment's notice for what is to come.  

Matthew 7:21-23 says  

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the  one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me,  'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and  do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew  you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' 

We are getting clear warnings from the text that Jesus is coming, and on that day, many  who think they are ready will not be prepared.  

So What? How Do We Be Prepared? (read through all of these verses)  

1. Confess Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:9-10, Romans 10:9-10)  

2. Confess Your Sins (1 John 1:9-10)  

3. Follow The Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40)  

4. Live by The Fruit of The Spirit (Galatians 5:16-24)  

5. Spread The Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20)  

6. Repeat and continue to seek him (Hebrews 11:6)  

I will end with this. I grew up running track. My favorite moment is just before a race  between when the starter says “set” and when the gun goes off. You knew the sound of  the gun was coming, but you didn’t know the exact time, so you had to be prepared.  There were some races where you would lose focus in the moment and get left behind.  It’s ok to be left behind in a track race, but you don’t want to be left behind when the  Lord returns.  

I pray this not be the men of Cottage Grove. As we end this men's equipping, I pray that  we are a church of men locked in on Christ at all times. We are focused on the name  above all names, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and that we put him first. Let  us be men that are not caught off guard by an ending we have been warned of. Let us  run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1) (2 Timothy 6-8)  

Questions:  

1. What distracts us from awaiting the return of Christ?  

2. Reread the passages for the six action steps above, and discuss which area you  need the most help and prayer.  

3. Who can hold you accountable to make sure that you don’t get distracted? 4. When you read Matthew 7:21-23, how do you feel?