Summary: This message deals with the fact of Christ’s soon return and the happenings in our world that point to that fact.
COUNTDOWN TO THE CONCLUSION
TEXT: Luke 12: 36-40
INTRO: Rockets at Cape Canaveral are not the only things that are on a countdown. The world, and life as we know it, are on God’s timetable, and the countdown has already begun. Since time began, the moments have been ticking away, rushing mankind toward the ultimate conclusion of God’s foreordained plan.
News reports are pregnant with the tensions in the Middle East. Most of the tensions revolve around resources. The recent friction between Israel and the Palestinians has to do with land. The Palestinians are seeking statehood and want Israel to pull out of Lebanon, which they say belongs to them. There is now talk of trying to convince Israel to give up all of the land that they captured during the Six Day War. I think you can look for Israel to make very few concessions from this point on. They will be pushed only so far in the name of peace.
In 1990, a man by the name of Saddam Hussein became a household word. He triggered the Gulf War by invading the tiny country of Kuwait. But many people did not understand Hussein’s purpose behind invading this tiny, defenseless country. The fact is, Hussein’s main goal was never Kuwait at all, but rather the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Jordan. Not only do all these countries hate Israel, as does Saddam Hussein, but they also own 70 percent of the world’s oil. The “Butcher of Baghdad” believed that if he could gain control of the world’s oil supply, he could rule the world and make Babylon his capital, and restore it to its former glory.
We are also noticing that the cost of almost everything continues to rise. Crime is rampant in the streets. Real solid families are nearly nonexistent. Heartfelt love has been exchanged for hellish lust. Unrest, frustration, hopelessness, wars, and rumors of wars are everywhere. What does it all mean? It can only mean that mankind is on the bottom end of the “COUNTDOWN TO THE CONCLUSION.”
THEME: The “Countdown to the Conclusion” has begun, and:
I. JESUS WILL SOON RETURN
NOTE: Tim LaHaye, a noted author and lifelong student of prophecy, says, “…We have more reason than any generation before us to believe Christ may return in our generation…Christ could come today, and no prophecy of the end times necessary for His coming would go unfulfilled” (Are We Living In The End Times?, coauthored by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, pg. xi).
A. The Sureness Of Christ’s Return.
1. The Old Testament predicted the return of Christ.
Isa.9: 7- “Of the increase of his (Messiah’s) government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Zech.14: 4- “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
2. The New Testament predicted the return of Christ.
Acts 1: 9, 10, 11- “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Rev.1: 7- “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
B. The Signs Of Christ’s Return.
1. It will be a time of increased knowledge and travel.
Dan.12: 4- “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
NOTE:  Tim LaHaye states that: “Since 1914, when the average speed of cars and trucks was fifteen to twenty miles per hour, until today, when rockets and satellites average twenty-four thousand miles per hour, man has had an explosion in knowledge” (Ibid, pg. 28).
 It was a little less than forty years ago that man landed his first manned spacecraft on the Moon. Since then, the robot spacecraft, Voyager, has actually exited our solar system. And even more recently, we have landed a craft on the surface of the planet Mars.