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Summary: Jesus, on His return: 1. He will return, 2. No man knows when, 3. We always need to be ready. #3 is often overlooked. ALWAYS BE READY, and also beware of incorrect predictions, while we compassionately pray for those involved.

5/22/11

Given by: Sterling C. Franklin

GKJ (Glorious King Jesus), webcast at http://www.bit.ly/gkj-webcast

Scripture Reading:

Matthew 24:31-36

31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 " Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.

33 "So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near -- at the doors!

34 "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

36 " But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

Message: ’Camping Out for Jesus’ Return’ -- Always being ready for Jesus’ return, regardless of incorrect predictions.

This month (May 2011), Harold Camping predicted that the rapture would occur on May 21, 2011. This was a result of many assumptions about both numerology and theology that don’t seem to fit, and his view was tinted by an especially odd read on eschatological (’end-times’) warning passages such as Matthew 24 and Mark 13. Camping believes that people can know exactly when the end of things will occur. What about Jesus?

Jesus mentioned to His Disciples in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 that there would be a series of signs before the end of all things. We’ve read this in our Scripture reading -- what did Jesus say?

1. He would return.

2. No man knows when -- ONLY the Father knows. No man, no angel, and not even the Son of God, as He mentions).

Much focus this week was placed on #1 in that set. Camping said that at 6pm on May 21, 2011, the rapture of believers would occur. Note that in the past, he also stated that the rapture would occur in 1994. That also did not happen. It was later revised that this was the beginning of the ’latter rain’ period, which to him meant that churches had completely closed their doors to Jesus, though it is quite odd that God is still using the local church to do amazing things for His Name.

Yet we saw this week that #2 was reinforced by what took place -- or did not take place -- on Saturday. No man knows the day nor the hour. Only God the Father knows. But I want to explore a third thing that Jesus states, which is often quite neglected:

3. We always need to be ready.

This brings us to our text -- Matthew 24:37-46

MAIN TEXT

Matthew 24:37-46

37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

38 "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,

39 "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

40 "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.

41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.

42 "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

43 "But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.

44 "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

45 " Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?

46 "Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.

Before we discuss further, let’s pray.

- Opening Prayer -

This week has been somewhat surreal, and much media coverage has been given to following the painted vans, billboards, and Harold Camping in general. Many people gave up everything out of total expectation for the end of things. On one end of things, it was horrible. On another end, it did get people talking about the matter of the end times.

What does the Bible say about the rapture?

Well, look in Matthew 24. We have mentioned that people will be going about their day-to-day business, and then some will be "taken." Jesus mentions that when He comes, some will be "taken."

What do other passages of Scripture say on the matter?

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