Summary: ADVENT 1(ILCW-C) - Watch and pray to escape because the signs are very clear and our world is very tempting.
WATCH AND PRAY...TO ESCAPE
Luke 21:29-36 - December 1, 2002
29He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32"I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
34"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."
Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
How do you live your life? There are all kinds of ways in which we live our lives. One of those that we want to think about this morning is how we live our lives in comparison to time. How do you live your life? Do you live in the past thinking how great things used to be? Or do you live in the present busy with the day-to-day activities of this life? Maybe you live in the future wondering what is going to happen next, wondering what the future might bring? Certainly, at different times and at different ages in our life, we may be connected to one aspect of time more than the other. At different times we are connected more to the past than the present. Sometimes we are connected more with the present than the future.
In our society, if you take careful and pay close attention to the things going on, it seems as if our society is always looking ahead to the future. The world around us often emphasizes that the future is uncertain, that we do not know how secure our future might be. To a certain degree we would agree that the future on this earth is never certain. We do not know what one nation is going to do against another. But we also know that our future is certain, that heaven is our home.
Today, we are going to concentrate on the future, a future that looks beyond this shaky earthly future going right to the gates of heaven itself. Too many people become so involved in the future in this world that they forget the future of eternity. Paul wrote that when he wrote in Philippians 3:20, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." This is what we have the privilege of doing when we start a new church year and we get to prepare of the coming of our Savior, first as an infant and again his coming as our righteous king and judge.
In the words of our text, the Lord encourages us. He says, "Watch and pray...to escape." As we look into the future we see
I. That the signs are very clear
II. Our world is very tempting
I. The signs are very clear
As Jesus spoke these words to His disciples on Tuesday of Holy Week before He was put to death, the disciples already sensed that something was going to change in the near future. At the beginning of Luke 21, the disciples asked the Lord about the future, when the end would come. Jesus gives them all sorts of signs and things that are going to happen. When it gets to our text in verse 29, Jesus reminded them to just pay attention, to look around. "Jesus told them this parable: ’Look at the fig tree and all the trees.’" They could learn from what they would see as God provided it in nature. Jesus explains: "When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves that summer is near." The people of the New Testament did not have calendars as we have. What they did have was the sense that seasons changed as nature indicated it. When the trees sprouted leaves, when the leaves gave way and produced fruit, people knew that it was spring and summer and fall for the harvest. So the Lord says the signs are very clear just as you learn from nature. When winter is here and the seasons change, He says, "Even so when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near." Again, He talked about all of those signs of wars and rumors of wars. (We are going to look at those signs more closely a little bit later.) Jesus told His disciples that they would not know exactly when. But the disciples would know as the signs become ever more clear that the time of Jesus’ return is getting ever more near.