Summary: The most important thing that Jesus wants us to know about the last days is simply to be ready at all times.
The Messiah and the End Times Fulcrum
Text: Matt. 24:32-51
1. Illustration: A fulcrum is the point on which a lever rests or is supported and on which it pivots, but it can also be a thing that plays a central or essential role in an activity, event, or situation.
2. Jesus gives us 5 principles to live by when it comes to the last days...
a. The Fig Tree Principle
b. The Noah Principle
c. The Left Behind Principle
d. The Two Servants Principle
e. The Big Idea Principle
3. Of these five principles, the one that all the others hinge upon is the big idea or the principle of readiness.
4. Lets stand together as we read Matt. 24:32-51
Proposition: The most important thing that Jesus wants us to know about the last days is simply to be ready at all times.
Transition: The first principle is...
I. The Fig Tree Principle (32-35).
A. Lesson From the Fig Tree
1. The first principle that Jesus teaches has to do with reading signs.
2. He says, “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door."
a. In the winter months figs lose their leaves, so just buds and new leaves in spring indicate that summer is near.
b. When the fig tree buds and the leaves begin to break out, it is clear that winter is over and summer will soon begin.
c. Jesus used this to show us that the signs he has given us are reliable (Horton, 529).
d. Jesus stated earlier that the general distressful events of this age must not be interpreted to mean that the Lord is near.
e. However, as the end grows closer, subtle increases of difficulty begin to mark the end.
f. The budding tree can be overlooked; it is not spectacular and can even be unnoticed until too late (Wilkins).
g. Therefore, when his disciples see "all these things," they should be alert that the end may be imminent.
h. All people during this age should stay alert, because the arrival of summer can come unnoticed.
i. But for those who are alert, there are indications that the end is near, specifically the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom to all nations.
j. Therefore, "summer" here refers to the age of blessedness and fruitfulness that will occur when Jesus has returned. This helps disciples to stay alert.
k. But because the budding is not spectacular but subtle, it can be overlooked.
l. The point is that people must stay alert and must be forewarned by certain signs at the very end (Wilkins).
3. Then Jesus says something that we're not real sure what to do with? He says, "I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear."
a. The Greek word used here is related to word used in 1 Pet. 2:9 which is also translated "generation" and refers to the members of the Church.
b. People didn't think of generation necessarily as an age group, like we do, they thought of it more in the sense of nationality. like Roman, Greek, or Jewish (Horton, 531).
c. Perhaps it is best to see a twofold reference, as Jesus has done throughout the discourse.
d. The disciples to whom Jesus is speaking on the Mount of Olives most naturally will be "this generation" that sees the events of the destruction of the temple, which shows the applicability of the discourse to A.D. 70.
e. Further, within the context of Jesus' statements about the coming of the Son of Man, there must be primary applicability to those at the end of the age who see the events surrounding the abomination of desolation occurring.
f. When these signs of the end of the age appear, those waiting for his arrival will recognize that their redemption is drawing near.
g. In other words, the saying is a word of warning to those of the generation with Jesus and those in the future who have not yet repented that the arrival of the Son of Man will bring judgment.
h. But the saying is also a word of encouragement to his followers that tribulation will not go on forever, as it may appear to those who are suffering in it (Wilkins).
i. These are statements that we can trust and they will not change with time like so many things do.
j. Jesus word will endure because he is the truth and there is nothing false about him.