Summary: A sermon to warn folks to be careful about listening to those who would claim to know the end of time.
Matthew 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Introduction: What comes to mind when you think of the phrase that I have used this morning for the title of this message? For me there are a number of things like what you find when you read the final chapter of a book. It says “the end.” I think of the credits after the last scenes in a movie and “the end.” I think of the image of a “hippie” looking character who holds a cardboard sign that reads, “The end is near!” I’m also reminded of two preachers down in Louisiana who were on the side of the holding up a sign that said, “the end is near,” and a car passed them and as it did the occupants hurled insults at them. The car disappeared around a curve and in the background there is the squealing of brakes and the sound of a crash. The first preacher looks at the other and says, “Boudreaux, do you think we ought to change our sign to say, “The Bridge is out?”
The setting for the Lord’s teaching about “the end” is Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem. In chapter 23 Jesus has spoken extensively about the scribes and the Pharisees and their long history of unbelief and hypocrisy and even persecution of the righteous. Eight times Jesus declares, “Woe unto you,” as He speaks of the coming judgment upon them. At the end of the chapter we can read of the broken heartedness of the Lord and read a prophetic pronouncement in verse 39…
Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
As we start chapter 24 Jesus has just left the Temple and the disciples call His attention to the magnificent buildings and it is obvious that they are proud of these structures which to them represent what they hope will ultimately be the restoration of the Davidic kingdom with all of its glory. What Jesus says in verse 2 must have really taken them aback and set them to thinking about the future. For them the destruction of the Temple would be inconceivable, incredible and beyond their comprehension so they inquire about the end of the world. Four things stand out about what the Lord tells them.
First, there is:
I. The Teaching about the End
There is nothing new about teaching concerning the end of the world. The church world today is filled with preachers and teachers who seem to think that they have the market cornered on end time teaching! Let me give you a few recent examples. John Hagee has written a book entitled “Four Blood Moons” Dr. David Jerimiah has written a book called “The Prophecy Answer Book” and many of you remember Hal Lindsay’s book “The Late Great Planet Earth.” The point I want to make about the teachings concerning the end of the world is the same one that Jesus makes in verse 4 when He says, “…take heed that no man deceive you…” Every NT writer warns about the potential for deception. The Jim Jones and the David Korechs of this world will have a field day at the end of time. Paul writes:
Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.