Summary: This is the 5th sermon in the "When Does It End?" Series. This series is from Jesus' Olivet Discourse.
Series: When Does It End? [#5]
DEALING WITH IMPOSTERS
As we have been studying the Olivet Discourse, we have been warned about False Teachers, False Prophets, False Messiahs, etc… This is happening right now; and it will continue to happen until the end. In our text tonight, Jesus gives us ways to recognize imposters and how to deal with them.
Matthew 24:23-26 (NIV)
23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. 26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
1. How do I recognize an imposter?
This is an extremely important question. Jesus gives us some examples of an imposter’s behavior.
* Looks for the Messiah everywhere.
As Jesus said, “People will say this person or thing over here will save you”. An imposter will tell you that your savior is whoever or whatever you want it to be.
* Takes the focus off of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It’s a “shell game”. An imposter’s truth is always changing and moving around. They distract people from the only way to be saved- Through Jesus Christ. This is how the enemy blinds people to the truth. They are always searching in people and places for the truth.
* Relies upon signs and wonders.
Instead of focusing on the saving power of Jesus, they distract with signs and wonders. It’s like going to a magic show.
2. How do I persevere?
Our text shows us that it will become more and more difficult to know what is truth and what is not. Jesus says if it was possible, even the elect would believe the false teachings and preaching. Make sure that you notice the word “if”. This word shows us that it is not possible. So how do I behave when I am surrounded by all of this evil and deception?
* Don’t believe their false claims.
Just because people say it doesn’t make it true. Remember, test everything through Scripture and prayer.
* Don’t go searching for truth where they tell you to search.
The enemy wants to put you in dangerous situations. He wants you to be convinced of lies. He wants you to fall to temptation.
Matthew 24:27-28 (NIV)
27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
3. How will Jesus return?
We have studied the Rapture and know that the Archangel will shout and the trumpet will sound and the dead in Christ will rise first; and then those Christians that remain will meet Jesus in the air. These 2 verses give us some more answers. Many believe that when the Rapture occurs that those who are not saved will not know that it happened; but these verses say different.
Jesus’ return will be…
* Visible and unmistakable.
Jesus said that His return will be like lightning. Regardless where the lightning strikes, everyone will see the lightning. This means that everyone will see Jesus’ return. It won’t be a secret return. Those left behind will be like vultures, they will be gathering to see what happened.
Jesus’ return will be…
* On schedule.
Jesus will come back when God sends Him; and it will be at the perfect time. Many will not be prepared for His return. Christians are to be praying and watching. Christians are to be ready for Jesus’ return.
Are you ready? Are you praying? Are you watching?