Summary: Reformation/1st End Time Sunday(B) - God’s gospel must be preached since there will be many deceivers and many signs until finally there will be divine deliverance.
Mark 13:5-11 - October 30, 2005
REFORMATION SUNDAY / FIRST SUNDAY OF END TIME
Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
In the words of today’s text there is a great sense of urgency. These words of Jesus are very important words, because it was just a few days or not many hours before he would be crucified on the cross. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, the disciples would struggle with what to do next. In these words in our text this morning the Lord Jesus wanted them to focus their attention: not on the things around them that they had seen, but on the spiritual things that would give them strength. Jesus wanted the disciples to focus on the power of God’s holy word.
Today we also celebrate the fact that God’s word is still powerful in our hearts and our lives. It is truly by grace, as we sang in our hymns (Christian Worship, hymns 200, 204). Paul writes in Colossians: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God" (Colossians 3:16). So we do that gathering on Sunday that we might let God’s word once again dwell in us richly, that we might sing the psalms and hymns of praise that God truly deserves. In the middle of our text we are reminded: God’s gospel must be preached. That was exactly what Jesus wanted his disciples to realize. No matter what he (Jesus) was going to face, no matter what the disciples would face, God’s gospel must be preached. That gospel message hasn’t changed from the thousands of years ago of the disciples to you and I as Jesus’ modern-day disciples. Our theme is:
GOD’S GOSPEL MUST BE PREACHED, and Jesus tells us why:
I. There will be deceivers
II. There will many signs
III. There will be deliverance
I. THERE WILL BE DECEIVERS
Jesus and his disciples had left the temple and went up to the Mount of Olives. On the Mount of Olives they were by themselves in order that Jesus might speak very personally and closely with all of the disciples. Jesus tells them with a warning: "Jesus said to them: ’Watch out that no one deceives you.’" You can imagine the people, after Jesus was put to death on Good Friday, how they would come and try to plant doubt in the disciples’ minds. You may remember doubting Thomas. When he did not see Jesus on that first Easter Sunday, he would not believe until he put his fingers in the prints in Jesus’ hands and feet. Jesus says, "Let no one deceive you."
Worse than that, Jesus adds what is going to happen: "Many will come in my name claiming, ’I am He,’ and will deceive many." Yes, there would be false christs. There would be false messiahs. There would be false teachers, and they would put themselves in the place of Christ and claim they could offer salvation. Many would follow. In verse 9, Jesus says: "You must be on your guard." There will be many deceivers Jesus told his disciples, thousands of years ago.
Today, God’s message is the same. His gospel must be preached, because there are many deceivers. Over the course of history we have seen many deceivers come and go. Yet, what happens? God’s Word still stands. Some have detracted from the glory of God. Some have put themselves up in the place of Christ. Many are deceived. Jim Jones had people follow him even out of the country to South America -- where they died. David Koresh led people to Texas -- where they died. The list goes on. In our day and age we still have Rev. Sun Myung Moon who calls himself Christ. He says, "I am the Messiah." He has been convicted of tax. He has left the country. Moon still has thousands of followers who look to him as the messiah. They look to him as one who can provide salvation. Many are deceived. How / why does this happen? We are told in Scripture: "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" (1 Corinthians 11:13,14). There are many other deceivers.
Sometimes we might forget the fact that God tells us: "Where two or three are gathered together, there am I in the midst of them." We hear a lot about today the mega churches. These are churches with thousands and thousands of members. Often these churches take no doctrinal stand because they are too controversial. So the Bible is watered down. Yet, for some of these church leaders, because they have thousands of people following after them and flocking to them, declare, "Here is God’s kingdom. Here is the Word of God." It may be there but only part of it. God’s kingdom is not seen in the buildings or in large numbers. Simply, God’s kingdom is inside of you and me and every believer in Christ, every Christian. There are many deceivers who deceive others. Jesus himself says: "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ’Here it is,’ or ’There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20b, 21).