Summary: : When time ends is not the central issue to the life of a Christian, but how we live until the end.
OCTOBER 28, 2001
INTRODUCTION: [JESUS IS COMING SOON: Gospel song by R. E. Winsett?]
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for this day speaks of the reality of the return of Jesus someday for His church. The disciples have confronted the Master over this issue. The strange occurrence here is that Jesus has been talking about toppling buildings and the ultimate destruction of the Temple and to this the disciples reply, “When will you come back?” “When is this thing going to wind up?” “When will the day of termination come?” Jesus realizing now that He has a teachable moment steers the conversation in a different direction. He doesn’t really seem to answer the question about dates, but focuses on what is really important for HIS disciples. The key, Jesus says, is how you will live until all these things come to pass. As Jesus addresses this issue, He gives His disciples, us as well, three key terms that will guide us safely through the journey of making it until the end.
THESIS SENTENCE: When time ends is not the central issue to the life of a Christian, but how we live until the end.
THE FIRST KEY TERM JESUS GIVES IS…
I. THE DANGER OF DECEPTION (VV. 1-8, 11-12)
“Jesus answered, ‘Watch out that no one deceives you.’” THE NEED NOW IS FOR….
A. Sharp Minds (vv. 4-5, 11)
1. Jesus fear for the fledgling church is that it will be deceived.
2. As we have study the 7 churches of Revelation on Sunday Nights, we have discussed how 5 of the seven churches are rebuked for losing their focus. Somewhere along the way they have bought into something that Jesus was not happy with. The constant admonition to these churches is to stay true and hold.
(E.g. Rev. 3:11-12, “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who over comes I will make a pill in the temple of my God.”
3. The key thought is not that another will come and say I am Jesus, but that another will come and say, this Jesus whom you follow was not really the long awaited Messiah/Christ, but the deceiver himself. They will then say, I am the one God was to send to bring the reign of God to the earth.
AND, B. Clear understanding (vv. 6-8)
1. Deception is not only brought about by false teaching, but by a false focus on the times.
2. How many times have we heard predictions about the end of the age, the coming of Christ at a specific time?
ILLUSTRATION: Edgar Whisenant sold 4.3 million copies of his book detailing why Christ would come in 1988. The next year he sold 30,000 copies of a book he wrote detailing why Christ would come in 1989. After missing it twice, the retired NASA engineer who lived in a one-room shack outside of Little Rock, Arkansas said he could, “Stand in front of the Lord and say I gave it my best shot.”
4. Jesus does give us a precursor to it all, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against Nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains (Mtt. 24: 6-8).”
5. What is Jesus saying? Notice your times and beware of the happens of the world, but don’t let this be your focus. All this must happen, but “see to it that you are not alarmed.”
6. The key phrase or statement by Jesus here is that, “the end is still to come” and this is just “the beginning of the birth pains.” Labor can last a long time? Can I get an AMEN from the ladies?
NOW THAT THE DISCIPLES UNDERSTAND DECEPTION, JESUS STATES THAT THE NEXT KEY TERM TO UNDERSTAND IS…
II. THE PERILS OF PERSECUTION (VV. 9-10, 12)
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me (vv.9).”
1. The news just keeps getting better. Not only will “many come to deceive us,” but also after this takes place, we “will then be handed over to be persecuted.”
2. When the time is drawing near, Satan will let loose all the wrath he can. This reminds me of Jesus speaking to Peter before the Crucifixion. Jesus says to Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail (Luke 22:31-32).”