Summary: This sermon examines the signs of the Second Coming of Christ.
Introduction: In Revelation 22:7, Jesus says, "Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book."
The question that Christians have been asking for 2000 year now is; “Just How soon is soon?” In other words, how soon will Jesus return for His church? How soon will Jesus appear in the clouds and take us to be with Him in Heaven? How soon will the events described in the book of Revelation begin to play out on the nightly news?
Of course no-one knows when Jesus is going to return in fact Jesus himself said that He didn’t even know. One day while Jesus was teaching His disciples they asked Him when He would establish the Kingdom of God, and what would be some of the signs that the time was drawing near. Jesus responded to their question by saying, says, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Matthew 24:36.
But of course that hasn’t kept people from trying. Although the Disciples themselves didn’t try to guess when Jesus would return they all expected him to return during their lifetime. At the turn of the first Millenium so many people were predicting that Christ would return that many farmers didn’t even plant their crops. In the 1500’s Martin Luther believed that Christ would return and usher in His Kingdom during his lifetime. Luther wrote, "We have reached the time of the white horse of the Apocalypse. This world won’t last any longer.”
In 1800 a man named William Miller predicted that Christ would return on or around April 3, 1843. All over the Northeast, half a million of his followers awaited the end of the world. Reportedly some of them made their way to the top of mountains, hoping for a head start to heaven. Others were in graveyards, planning to ascend into heavens with their departed loved ones. But of course it didn’t happen.
More recently a retired NASA engineer by the name of Edgar Whisenant sold 4.3 million copies of a book that went into great detail outlining his reasons for believing that Christ would return in 1988. I remember reading the book, and I admit it was interesting reading. From what I remember He had come up with a elaborate mathematical equation for calculating the 2nd coming. Of course 1988 came and went and Jesus didn’t return. Whisenant didn’t give up though. He went back to the drawing board so to speak and then predicted that he had just made a mistake in his calculations and that the Lord would return in 1989. Of course he was just as wrong the second time as he was the first.
As I have already mentioned a couple of times during this Revival I do believe that we are much closer to what many of us call the “Rapture” than most of us realize. So having said that I want us to spend some time tonight looking at a few of the signs of His return that Jesus himself outlined for us in what has been referred to as “The Olivet Discourse.” It can be found in the 24th chapter of the book of Matthew.
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "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."
As 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?"
Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ’I am the Christ, and will deceive many. 6You 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. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
The First sign that Jesus mentions here is that…
1. Deception Will Be Wide Spread.
JESUS ANSWERED: "WATCH OUT THAT NO ONE DECEIVES YOU. FOR MANY WILL COME IN MY NAME, CLAIMING, ’I AM THE CHRIST, AND WILL DECEIVE MANY.”
Perhaps never before in the History of the church has there been a time when false doctrines and false prophets have been so prevalent. It seems like every other day you hear about a church or a denomination that has compromised the Scripture or watered down the gospel to try to make it more appealing to the world.