Summary: A message for believers that points out the near return of Jesus and the impact that truth should have on us.
Standing and waiting
Where am I standing and what am I waiting for?
Undoubtedly being a Christian in this decade brings challenges and dynamics that were never dreamt of 50 years ago. This is true in society and within the church. In reality there is no resting place where we can be shielded from these tensions unless we wrap up ourselves and withdraw from the real world.
In the church things that were never raised or never infiltrated the body of Christ now have to be looked at honestly and with grace worked through. This leads to all kinds of challenges and tensions. (We are going to look at some of them in coming weeks)
In our society there is unbounded confusion in people’s hearts. Society is without moral direction and riddled with crime and suffering leading so many people to say “life is not fair”.
Our solders regularly die as a war is fought in Afghanistan and other places. Again and again suddenly without warning Israel is again centre of the world stage with all eyes on the Middle East and never more so than just now.
The world’s economy has been dealt a crippling blow by the debt crises (down in no small part to greed in the banking sector) and we have watched in amazement while our own political scenario has been played out, we have a government today that three months ago would have been seen as impossible. Have you ever noticed how things nowadays seem to happen so fast almost without warning?
Beyond doubt we are living in tumultuous days a real difficulty for Christians is that because we live in it all the time we become accepting perhaps not realising the inexorable slide into greater difficulties and the end times.
The Word of God however has much to say about these days and Christians ignore the statements of Jesus and the prophets at their peril.
For example a heavenly visitor tells Daniel (who lived about 600 BC) one of the signs of the last days. Today we know that this the heavenly visitor was Jesus,
4Then one day early in April, as I was standing beside the great Tigris River, 5-6I looked up, and suddenly there before me stood a person robed in linen garments, with a belt of purest gold around his waist and glowing, lustrous skin! From his face came blinding flashes like lightning, and his eyes were pools of fire; his arms and feet shone like polished brass, and his voice was like the roaring of a vast multitude of people Daniel 10:4.
Jesus tells Daniel many things but says in closing,
4“But Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal it up so that it will not be understood until the end times, when travel and education shall be vastly increased! 12:4
Does that sound like our world today?
This morning I want to draw our attention to one or two things Jesus said in Matthew 24 and close by asking, “If Jesus understood and meant what He said” How should His words impact and affect me?
The Gospel of Matthew devotes a whole chapter to the words of Jesus in answer to the disciple’s questions about how things would turn out.
This is found in Matthew 24.or “Little Revelation” as some call it because of its difficult to understand passages.
Today Bible scholar’s debate over timings and meanings when it comes to bible prophesy and very often people become dogmatic. As for me I confess there are many things within the Bible I do not understand and parts of Matt 24 are not excluded from that. Because of these difficulties often these prophetic things are bypassed.
However some things are clear and decisive and give us a plain understanding of things to be alert for as we live in 2011.
Jesus then left the Temple. As he walked away, his disciples pointed out how very impressive the Temple architecture was. Jesus said, “You’re not impressed by all this sheer size, are you? The truth of the matter is that there’s not a stone in that building that is not going to end up in a pile of rubble. Later as he was sitting on Mount Olives, his disciples approached and asked him, “Tell us, when are these things going to happen? What will be the sign of your coming, that the time’s up?” Jesus said, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am Christ, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming. Matt 24:1-8 Message Bible