Summary: To see the soon return of our Lord, we just need to look at what the visible church, the established church will be like just before the Rapture.
“What Are The Signs Of The Last Days?
INTRODUCTION: We CONTINUE our series on “The Rapture”. Sunday Morning, we saw that Jesus is coming … He is coming quickly … AND … it could be SOON. In the meantime, we have a RESPONSIBILITY, as we await His return with JOYOUS ANTICIPATION.
The Bible gives us some SIGNS of what it will be like BEFORE the Rapture of the Church. We need to be careful. So many times, people confuse the signs of the return of Jesus at the REVELATION, with the signs of the return of Jesus at the RAPTURE.
The Bible gives us signs of what it will be like during the Tribulation Period, just before His return to set up the Millennial Kingdom. Don’t confuse these with the signs of the coming RAPTURE. While it is true, we can see a foretaste of some of these now … it refers to the Tribulation Period … where they will all be fulfilled then.
• The Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem … after the Rapture.
• The Gospel will be preached throughout the whole world … after the Rapture.
Most of the signs of the coming of Jesus at the RAPTURE, don’t picture the world and political condition. RATHER … the signs of the return of Jesus at the RAPTURE shows us the condition of the established CHURCH.
TURN to 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
HERE, we find the condition of the established CHURCH, just before Jesus returns. See if these are an indication of present-day “Christianity”.
3:1 – “perilous times” – this describes the day in which we live, DOESN’T IT? The GK. word for “perilous” means ‘hard, difficult times’. Could it get worse? Absolutely! BUT … look how fast our society is decaying … AIDS … homosexuality … the acceptance of homosexual marriages … abortion … internet pornography … sexual promiscuity …
What are the signs that will be present in the established CHURCH … just before Jesus returns?
1.- 3:2 - “men shall be lovers of their own selves” – “men” refers to ‘mankind’, not just to the male species. In the last days, it will be “every man for themselves” … the survival of the fittest … a “dog-eat-dog” world … you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. It will be a world where everybody does what is right in their own eyes … not caring about what anybody else thinks.
This will also be seen in the CHURCH – see 4:3-4. Church members will be satisfying themselves with THINGS. No time for prayer, witnessing, studying the Word, sacrifice, commitment, Church attendance. No time for the Lord … only SELF. Someone once said, “The heart of the problem, is the problem of the heart.”
2.- 3:2 – “covetous” – this means a ‘lover of money’. 1 Tim. 6:10 – “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” There will be wealth in the church of the last days … but little power. While not every church is a rich church, just take a look at the buildings … the bank accounts … the budgets. COMPARE that to how much is spent on the actual MINISTRY of the church! In large churches, some people join the church because it’s good for business … business contacts. … good for the corporate image.
3.-4. - 3:2 – “boasters and proud” – there will be cliques within the Christian faith … denominationalism to the point of exclusion. Some Christian denominations will look down on others, thinking that they are better than the rest. This BEGAN even in the early Church … “I am of Paul … Apollos … Cephus … CHRIST!”
5.- 3:2 – “blasphemers” – in the church? Yes, we even see them in some of our Seminaries & Bible Colleges … in our pulpits. This will happen in the last days … and we see it even today. Another word in the GK. for “blasphemer” is “slanderer” … one who destroys someone’s good name. It is used, NOT JUST against God … BUT … also against other people … gossips, tale-bearers … in the CHURCH.
6.- 3:2 – “disobedient to parents” – certainly not in Christian families! In the last days, children will rebel against the authority and teaching of their parents. Although raised in Christian homes, when they get out on their own, they will forsake God’s Word, church attendance, a relationship with the Lord. A sign of the last days.
7.- 3:2 – “unthankful” – selfishness among professed Christians. Ungrateful to others … ungrateful to God, for His many blessings … taking God for granted. We pray, asking God for something. God grants our request … THEN … we forget to thank Him. WHY? BECAUSE … we got what we wanted. If Christians were truly THANKFUL to God, we would have more Christians in church on Wednesday night!