Summary: Do we really believe that Jesus is coming back soon?
October 4, 2009
Text: Matthew 24:1-14
Subject: The Imminent Return of Christ
Title: Have You Given Up?
One of the most talked about topics in the church today is the mountain of evidence that seems to be getting higher and higher each day, that the return of Jesus for His church must come soon. You don’t have to look very far to see how everything is falling into place on the world scene, which will lead to the rapture of the church. The return of Christ for His church is the hope that we have and will hold on to until that day comes. Now, having said that let me ask you a question. “What does the imminent return of Christ mean to you”? Does it mean that all the prophecies of the bible concerning the end have sufficiently been fulfilled so that Christ could return at any time? Or, is His imminent return a condition of heart, a lifestyle, where you get up every morning believing that this is the day of His return? Not just that it could be, but that today is the day.
After church, where she had been taught about the Second Coming, a little girl was quizzing her mother.
"Mommy, do you believe Jesus will come back?"
"In a few minutes?"
"Mommy, would you comb my hair?"
If that were the attitude of the church today, that Jesus was coming today, what would you do differently?
On that note, let me give you just a little bit of a timeline on the order of the events that will take place.
1. The events of Matthew 24:1-14 will take place. They lead up to the rapture of the church. There are many other scriptures that talk about this time in history. This is for the purpose of encouraging the church as we wait for the return of Christ.
2. Then the rapture will take place. The rapture can be seen as the beginning of a seven-year event known as the second coming. At the rapture the church is removed from the earth and the restraining force that has prevented satan from taking over the world goes to a seven-year wedding feast in heaven.
3. During that seven-year period while the true church is with Jesus, on earth, the most violent seven years in the history of the world is taking place. These are the events Revelation 4-18. These things are recorded not for believers, but for unbelievers, as a warning of the things to come.
4. At the end of the tribulation Jesus returns with all the saints to set up a thousand year kingdom on the earth. At that time the saints will be judged for their deeds and be given their rewards. During those thousand years satan will be bound. At the end of the thousand-year reign he will be released for a short time to try to stir one more rebellion, but that never really gets started because the Lord will destroy all unbelievers. Then there is the great white throne judgment of unbelievers. They will be pronounced guilty and be thrown into the lake of fire along with satan.
5. There will be a new heaven and a new earth and we will live in the New Jerusalem that will descend from the heavens. All things are restored and we live eternally in the presence of God.
I want to take a look at what Jesus said would happen right before His return.
Turn to Matthew 24:1-14
Lord open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
1. Don’t be deceived. Jesus begins with these words referring to the destruction of the temple. 1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? 4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Ten times in the New Testament the word deceive is used in reference to others deceiving with the words or philosophies. 1 Timothy 4:1, 1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
2. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ… The word “Christ” means the anointed. It is referring to one who claims to be God. There are false christs in the world today. In our lifetimes there have been no fewer that twenty who claimed to be the Christ. Many are living today. The muslims believe that there is a twelfth imam, who will be the great Messiah. When he returns muslims will rule the world and all their enemies will be destroyed. and will deceive many… There is only one Messiah, one Christ and His name is Jesus. He is the one and only, the Son of the Living God, who now reigns in heaven and will return for His church.