Summary: The appraoch of the Rapture will bring with it the birthpangs of worldwide troubles and catastrophes. Hebrews tells us to do 2 things: Spur one another to love & good works and GO TO CHURCH MORE & MORE OFTEN!
JESUS IS COMING: GO TO CHURCH MORE OFTEN
A. HUMOR: THE FRUGAL LUTHERAN
1. The frugal Lutheran walked into the house panting and almost completely exhausted. “What happened, honey?” inquired his wife.
2. “It’s a great new idea I have to be a better steward of our resources,” he gasped. “I RAN all the way home from the stewardship committee meeting behind the city bus instead of riding it, and I saved $1.50.
3. “That wasn’t very bright,” replied his flustered wife. “Why didn’t you run behind a taxi and save $10?”
“24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up [forsaking] meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Heb. 10:24-25, NIV.
1. The writer of Hebrews points out that the time of Christ’s coming is approaching, with its tumultuous events. Because of this, we are warned to do several things if we want to survive.
2. His goal is that we might be able to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” (vs. 23).
3. We can “see” (Gr., blepete) His approach; evidently by the signs of His coming (Matt. 24:3 ff). To survive the “perilous times” (2 Tim. 3:1) ahead will require urgent action and diligence.
4. So we’re going to look at the characteristics of the Last Days and the two actions the Apostle commands us to do “all the more.”
5. The title of this message is “Jesus is Coming: Go To Church More Often!”
I. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LAST DAYS
A. IDENTITY OF “THE DAY”
1. In the New Testament, the day of Jehovah is referred to variously as "that day" (2 Tim. 4:8), the "last day" (Jn. 6:30), the "Day of wrath" (Rev. 6:17), the "Day of judgment" ( 2 Pet. 2:9), the "Day of the Lord" (1 Thess. 5:2), the "Day of the Son of Man" (Lk. 17:24), the "Day of Christ" (Phip. 2:16), or the "great day of God" (Rev. 16:14).
2. The Old Testament prophets foresaw a day/time in which Jehovah would come in a public and cosmic event to punish the wicked. Jehovah, as the God of Battles, will finally have his day in which he will be the center of the scene of battle.
3. Zechariah 14:3 says "Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle." So the day of the Lord is a day of wrath for God's enemies, but it will be a day of joy and blessing for God's own people, for in that day they will be delivered (Obadiah 15-17; Joel 2:32; 3:17-21).
4. The “Day of the Lord” is not a single day/event, but a complex of events which begins with the Rapture (Coming of Christ, Parousia) and ends with the Great White Throne Judgment – the final disposition of the wicked.
B. THE DANGERS AS WE APPROACH THAT “DAY”
1. It’s a time of DECEPTION. Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many” Matt. 24:4-5.
2. It’s a time of WAR & natural CATASTROPHES. “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places” Mt. 24:7.
3. It’s a time of PERSECUTION & BETRAYAL. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death….many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other” Mt. 24:9-10.
4. A Time when HEARTS WILL GROW COLD. “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” Mt. 24:12.
5. It’s a time of DISTRESS. “there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” Mt. 24:14-21.
6. We must PERSEVERE until the end. “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved” Mt. 24:13, NASB.
THE APOSTLE GAVE US 2 COMMANDS TO HELP US:
II. SPUR ONE ANOTHER ON (IN GOD)
A. THE BODY NEEDS ALL IT’S MEMBERS TO LIVE
1. The Apostle points out that this can’t be done in isolation; we will need the love and encouragement of other believers.
2. So he admonishes us to “spur one another on to love and good deeds.” We’re to be a CATALYST for good in the lives of others. We’re to positively impact the other Christians around us!
3. Our ACTIONS should be so Kingdom-centered that our lives goad others into being better Christians.
4. Our WORDS should be so exemplary, so edifying & beneficial, that other Christians around us are provoked into also speaking words of life and blessing.