Summary: 3rd End Time/Saints Triumphant(B) - Judgment Day is near and at the door as we see the signs of the times changing like the seasons and as we also hold fast to God’ unchanging word.
THE END IS NEAR, AT THE DOOR
Mark 13:24-31 - November 13, 2005 – 3rd Sun. of End Time / Saints Triumphant
Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
We hear about good news and bad news. Today, we are going to learn about imminent terror and imminent joy, bad news, good news. Consider this example: You are alone at night and hear something outside. You don’t know what it is and it is dark. You might hear some crashing and banging going on. There is terror of the unknown. We might be frightened, because it could be a robber or something worse. Imminent terror is at the door.
Then consider also the other side of the coin: It is dark at night, the yard light is on. You are waiting for your family or your friends to come for a visit. Finally, you hear the car doors open and slam and they come and knock at your door. There is imminent joy at the door. Such descriptions describe the Last Day. For some when the Lord returns there is imminent terror. For others, the believers, there is imminent and great joy at the door.
We are told in the letter of James as you and I look forward to that time when the Lord returns: "You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!" (James 5:8,9). That is the thought we want to consider this morning:
THE END (Last Day/Judgment Day) IS NEAR, IT IS AT THE DOOR..
I. We see the signs like changing seasons.
II. We hold fast to the unchanging word of God
I. SEE SIGNS LIKE CHANGING SEASONS
If you look at the text and if you have a red-letter edition, you will find all these words in our text in red letters. This is a lengthy section of Jesus speaking to his disciples. Jesus is speaking to his disciples, not to scare them, but to prepare them. So our text began by saying: "But in those days, following that distress." When you examine the beginning of chapter 13 of the Gospel of Mark, you will find those things that would distress the disciples. Jesus tells them that their ministry and their preaching wasn’t going to be easy at times. In fact they are going to be taken and beaten. They were going to be called to task by different people. They are going to be rejected by their families. That would that distress Jesus mentions in our opening verse.
Jesus also describes for them that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple that would take place. What about those times of distress? That is one historical fact. Jesus also looks beyond the destruction of Jerusalem into the end of time. Jesus says: "But in those days, following that distress, ’the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’" As the Scriptures tell us this would strike terror in the hearts of mankind to see such things as they wonder what is going to happen next. For some this will bring imminent terror and danger. Others would understand that these are signs to prepare and not to scare.
Jesus goes on: "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory." Jesus wanted his disciples back then to look for the signs and to realize that the Son of Man is going to return. He is not going to forsake them. This is reassuring for them, because in a very short time, first of all, the disciples would see Jesus taken from them at the crucifixion. Jesus would come back to life, and he would be with them for another forty days teaching them and reassuring them that he was the Resurrection and the Life. Then after those forty days, Jesus would ascend into heaven. They would think that Jesus was taken from them. Jesus reminds them he would return again in the same way, on the clouds of glory.
Jesus then shows the disciples the signs will be as clear as the changing of the seasons: "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near." The disciples knew the signs of the season. The trees would bud and summer was near. When the leaves fall winter is near. Jesus continues: "Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door." The disciples were to notice signs like the changing seasons.
Today, we have to admit when Jesus spoke these words and said it was near, right at the door, that Judgment Day is much, much closer today, isn’t it? These words were spoken almost 2,000 years ago; so day after day and generation after generation and finally millennium after millennium, we have gotten closer to the day that the Lord is going to return. We know quite a bit about that Last Day. We heard it in today’s lessons how Jesus is going to return. We have to be prepared and not like foolish people. We are to have our lamps filled with the oil, which is the word of the Lord. We have to be prepared and watch for the signs and see how they are like changing seasons. In fact you and I might even agree with the conclusions of some in the world around us. The public has said, "Look at all of these catastrophes--hurricanes, tidal waves, warm and cold weather, snowstorms and all kinds of different signs in the skies." It seems as if the Lord is trying to say something. Yet, we have not come to the time when the sun and moon have stopped shining, or the stars have begun to fall from heaven.