Summary: Discover Satan’s strategy to cause every Christian to be lost in the end.
This is my adaptation of a sermon by Pastor Henry Wright
If you have your Bibles this morning, turn with me once again to the text that was read for our scripture reading this morning. Matthew 28:18-20, reading from the New American Standard Bible, says this: “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
The words of Christ in that passage are what we often refer to as the Great Gospel Commission. It is our charge; our marching orders. It was Christ’s last command, and it is our greatest responsibility. There is nothing that we could do or are doing that is even remotely as important as obeying the charge of winning souls to Christ. And yet we obviously aren’t fulfilling His command, otherwise either this church would be full today, or we’d all be in heaven. Today we’re going to look, by God’s grace, at what Jesus said would be the church’s biggest problem in the last days, the thing that was most responsible for preventing His church from fulfilling His Great Gospel Commission in the last days.
Jesus was a master teacher. Never, before or since, has anyone ever made such an impact on the world as Jesus. He was so respected as a teacher that virtually every religion in the world today reveres His teaching. Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and even many Jews, consider Him to be a great teacher and a good Man.
But the interesting thing to me is, Christianity is not a really a religion. You see, the Buddhist religion is based on the writings and teachings of Buddha. Islam is based on the writings and teachings of Mohammed. All of the great religions of the world are based on the writings and teachings of their founder, but not Christianity. Do we believe in Christ’s teachings? Absolutely! Do we live by His teachings? Of course! But Christianity is different, because it is the only movement in the world that is based on the life, death, resurrection, and imminent return of its Founder.
Brothers and sisters, I want to remind you in case you’ve forgotten, Jesus is coming soon! As His followers, we believe everything He said in His Word, and He made the promise that He would come again. Sometimes we’re tempted to forget it, sometimes we’re tempted to doubt it, but if you still believe it today, let me hear you say amen.
Jesus gave warnings of what life would be like before He came. He gave signs that people might know when His coming was approaching. We all know them, right? We’ve all read Matthew 24, Luke 21, and the books of Daniel and Revelation before. We’ve heard sermon after sermon about end-time events, been to seminar after seminar on Bible prophecy, given Bible studies, read books and magazines and tracts. We know He’s coming soon, right? In fact, our church is named partly because of our belief in the fact that He is coming soon.
And yet, when you look at our churches and our lives, someone might ask the question, “What happened to the Adventists? Where did they go?” You see, for the most part, our zeal is gone. Our conviction is gone. Our backbone is gone. Jesus gave us the commission to “Go ye”, and yet the case for most of us is that our get up and go got up and went.
I mentioned it a moment ago, but Luke 21 is a chapter dealing with the signs of the end-times. We read in Luke 21, verses 10 and 11, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues, and famines; and there will terrors and great signs from heaven.” Going down to verses 25 and 26, we read, “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
Continuing on in verses 29 through 31, Jesus said, “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. Even so you, too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.”