Text: Matthew 24:1-14
Title: Signs of the End of the Age.
I think there are two reasons these verses are in the Bible and they are both found in verse 1.
The first reason these verses are in the Bible is to re-ignite our walk with God. (V1)
“Jesus left the temple and was walking away…”
a. We should want to leave here walking like Jesus.
The second reason these verses are in the bible is to redirect our attention back to God.(V1)
“when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.”
a. sometimes our attention is on the wrong things.
b. sometimes our attention is on the temporal rather than the eternal.
Nothing will re-ignite our walk with God or redirect our attention back to God like exposure to the truth. (V2)
“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.”
You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
At the end of the day the only thing that will stay standing is Spiritual so we need to be building something that will last forever.
This morning we want to come to Jesus and get some understanding of the signs of the End of the Age in order to re-ignite our walk with God and redirect our attention back to God.
In verses 4-14 we have 4 signs that will define the End of the Age.
1. In the End of the Age there will be great spiritual deception. (V4-5)
2. In the End of the Age there will be great political unrest. (V6-7)
3. In the End of the Age there will be great natural disasters. (V7)
4. In the End of the Age there will be great religious persecution (V8-9)
If each of these signs were like quarters of a football game which quarter might we be in now?
Some people have no clue what quarter we are in. Why? Because our attention is not on the game but rather on the building. They can’t tell you the score but they can tell you the seating capacity of the stadium. They go to the game just for the concessions. If you ask them “How was the game?” they don’t care or know.
Some people have a better idea how the game is going. They say we may be in the final quarter, the final minute, even the final seconds.
Let us look again at the four signs of the End of the Age.
1. In the End of the Age there will be a great spiritual deception. (V4-5)
“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming I am the Christ, and will deceive many”
Jesus said that in the last days many will come in his name claiming “I am the Christ” and deceive many.
When we understand what it means to come “in his name” we can then see how spiritual deception works.
When Michelle and I got married she took my last name. We became equals.
Therefore to come “in his name” is to claim another set of teachings are equal with the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the Life nobody comes to the Father except through me.”
But Jesus said that others will also make these claims for themselves.
1. They will either elevate themselves
a. all roads lead to God
b. what’s true for you is not necessary true for me
c. life is whatever I choose.
2. They will bring down Jesus.
a. Deny his deity.
The second sign of the End of the Age is great political unrest. (V6-7)
“You 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. Nation will rise against nation and Kingdom against Kingdom.”
Have you heard of any rumors of war lately?
Notice that Jesus speaks about two types of wars.
a. Nation against Nation
b. Kingdom against Kingdom.
What is the difference between a nation and a kingdom?
The word “nation” in the Greek is the word “ethnos” from which we get the English word “Ethnic.”
The first type of war is one between ethnic group and ethnic group.
The word “Kingdom” in the Greek is the word “basileia” (pronounced Baa-Silly-ah) and translates into something concrete. In other words something that has borders.
The second type of war is one between border and border.
We are seeing a lot more tension between ethnic group and ethnic group and between border and border.
The third sign of the End of the Age is great natural disasters. (V7)
“There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”
If you are going to have war someone is going to go hungry.
The fourth sign of the End of the Age is great religious persecution. (V9)
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”
In many other nations in the world this is reality.
“More Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than in the past 19 combined.”
According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom the 12 worst violators of Religious Liberty are;
China Laos Saudi Arabia
India Burma Sudan
Iran North Korea Turkmenistan
Iraq Pakistan Vietnam
Notice however Jesus said that persecution of Christians will eventually extend to all nations including America.
How does Jesus see the Church responding in the End Times? (V10-14)
“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
There will be six responses in the Church.
1. There will be many who will turn away from the faith.
“At that time many will turn away from the faith.”
When the going gets tough many people will turn away and no longer follow Jesus. Since they are not grounded in the Faith they will not take a stand for Jesus in hard times.
2. There will be those who will turn against the Faith.
“and will betray and hate each other.”
There will be those who will work to cause strive and hatred in the church. Your friend may very well become your enemy. Instead of focusing on the real enemy these people will fight with other believers. Persecution brings out the worst in these people.
3. There will be those who twist the Faith.
“and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teaching come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1Timothy 4:1-20)
The warning here is that there will be those who will begin to follow personalities and become deceived.
4. There will be those who will tune out the faith.
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”
This is the biggest danger facing the church in the last days. We will be cold towards the things of God.
When it comes to our Faith we are either growing colder or growing hotter we never stay the same.
As a pastor there is no greater joy than to see people grow hotter for God. As a pastor there is no greater disappointment than to see people grow colder towards the things of God.
5. There will be those who will trust the faith.
“But he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
6. There are those who will tell the faith.
“and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
A certain Christian was complaining to a well- known Christian leader about the times they were living in. After enduring this for several minutes the Christian leader responded, ” we may be living in difficult
times but they are the only times we got.”
In conclusion let us be those who trust and tell the faith. God has promised that the Holy Spirit will help us.