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Summary: Introduction to a series on the end times. The Bible is dependable and must be heeded.

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THE END IS NEAR

Part 1, If God said it, you better believe it!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pastor Brian Matherlee

Storm warnings:

• Billy Graham tells of his concern for his daughter who lived in Florida in 1992. A hurricane was coming and she had decided to ride it out. Hurricanes were common and they had been through a few. But this one was Andrew. After meandering across the Atlantic it picked up steam, killed 4 people in the Bahamas and 4 hours later it was coming to Florida. It hit with winds of 164 miles an hour and the natural devastation hasn’t been equaled in the United States since. Over 30 billion in financial damage and leaving millions without water or electricity and over 30 people dead. Billy’s daughter made it. She was blessed.

• Another group of people were warned in Pass Christian, Louisiana in 1969 to evacuate. They were having a party at an Oceanside apartment complex. They laughed when the police chief took down there names and next of kin. Camille struck with over 205 mile per hour winds and 28 foot high surf. The worst hit area was Pass Christian, Louisiana where the 20 plus people who laughed at the chief of police were swept into eternity.

• --both stories from “Storm Warnings” by Billy Graham

Why do we ignore warnings?

• They seem improbable

• We think we’re the exception

• We simply want to do what we want to do.

The Bible sounds warnings from beginning to end. And it is widely ignored and unheeded.

In these last days the Scriptures tell us in 2 Peter 3:3-13

Can we depend upon the Bible?

• Have you ever heard, “The Bible says it, I believe it; that settles it.”?

o Is this proof the Bible is true? No, it is proof you believe it.

o But why do you believe it?

• The Bible is reliable for many reasons but let’s look at a couple.

o It stands the test of research

 Homer wrote the Iliad. Are we sure?

 The Iliad was written in 900 B.C. The earliest surviving copy is from 400 B.C.

A difference of 500 years and there are 643 copies.

 The New Testament was written from 40 to 100 A.D. The earliest copy is 125 A.D. and there are more than 24,000 copies.

 Scholars question 40 lines (about 400 words) in the New Testament. They question 764 lines (over 7,600 words) in the Iliad.

 External non-Christian resources back up the accounts of the Bible.

o It stands the test of prophecy

 There are hundreds upon hundreds of prophecies in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the writers prophesied events hundreds, even thousands of years in the future. These have been borne out every time.

 There are 300 prophecies concerning Jesus alone.

 Peter Stoner points out the odds of the following 8 prophecies being fulfilled in one person:

• Place of birth

• Preceded by messenger (John the Baptist)

• Rode into Jerusalem on a donkey

• Hands & feet pierced (crucifixion)

• Sold for 30 pieces of silver

• Money thrown into temple & given for potter’s field

• Silent before accusers

• Crucified with thieves

• Odds are 1 in 100 quadrillion (silver dollars all over Texas 2 feet deep-mark one-stir-blindfold a man)

 The odds of 48 prophecies concerning Jesus being fulfilled in one man are mind boggling.

• If you counted a one inch line of electrons at a rate of 250 each minute it would take you 19 million years to finish.

• The odds of the 48 prophecies being fulfilled are 19 million times 19 million times 19 million.

 You can’t even calculate 300 prophecies. But they are all true in Jesus Christ. These facts are indisputable.

What does the Bible tell us are signs of the future?

• Israel must return to the Promised Land and be reestablished.

o Many times the Israelites were scattered throughout the world because of their disobedience. God handed them over to try and reclaim His people spiritually. But the Bible predicted they would be gathered from all over the world and resettled. This has been happening in major numbers.

o Why would God care about such a tiny country? How is it their enemies can’t move them out? It’s because of God’s covenant with them through Abraham. And God keeps promises.

o (1948) This came about in no small part because of the influence and efforts of the United States & particularly President Truman. “Chief Rabbi of Israel, Isaac Halevi Herzog, told [President] Truman, ‘God put you in your mother’s womb so that you would be the instrument to bring about the rebirth of Israel after two thousand years.’ (David Jeremiah, What in the World is Going On? Pg. 22)

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