Summary: This sermon attempts to offer an educated Biblical approach to understanding what the Bible has to say about the end times.
“What Does the Bible Have to Say About the End Times?”
Today I want to begin a series with you entitled “Unwrapping Christianity.” Over the next few weeks we’re going to look at some of the most talked about topics in the church today, especially in conservative denominations. They’re topics that too many people avoid entirely out of fear. Fear that they’ll say the wrong thing. Fear that they may offend someone or that someone else may disagree with them.
Let me give this disclaimer before I begin: what you are about to hear is my opinion and I admit that what I will present to you today may in fact not be entirely accurate. However, I have done my best at coming to what I believe is an educated Biblical approach to the topic at hand.
With that said I want to begin this morning by asking the question “What Does the Bible Have to Say About the End Times?” I imagine if I were to grab a microphone and put you on the spot this morning I would get many different answers. Some of you would speak of the book of Revelation. Others would talk about the Old Testament book of Daniel. Still others would refer to Jesus’ references in the Gospels. But I have a hunch that none of you would claim to be experts in this area of study. Most of us have come to our own conclusions by piecing bits of information together from various sources, some Biblical and some not. This morning it is my goal to help you sort out some of that information, dispel some illusions you might have and get a general handle on what the Bible has to say about the end times.
I hope you’ll stick with me… because we’re going to dig very deep today very quickly and cover a lot of territory.
If you’re following along in your outlines you’ll see that I’ve put a heading entitled “The Great Plan of God.” If you’ve got a pencil or pen fill in the blanks with these words. THE MESSAGE OF THE ENTIRE BIBLE IS THAT GOD HAS BEEN WORKING THROUGH HISTORY TO REDEEM CREATION. (REPEAT)
You see if we’re going to talk about the end times we’ve got to understand why things must come to an end. Why can’t life just continue on this earth forever as it is? Why must there be a day when things come to an end?
One of the first stories that you and I ever learned in Sunday School was the story of Adam and Eve. They were created for the pleasure of God and put in the Garden of Eden to live. You know the story: they were given many privileges and only one thing they weren’t allowed to do. Do you remember what it was? (That’s right. They couldn’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.)
But as the story goes on Eve is tempted by the Serpent to take a bite and in turn convinces Adam to do so. The two are kicked out of the garden and the story of sin begins. The creation that God had made pure was no longer pure. And from that point on the Bible points to the fact that God desired to bring his creation back to himself so that he might once again have a relationship with us in the way that he created us to have. That plan is spelled out throughout both the Old and New Testaments until the Bible finally ends in the book of Revelation with a redeemed society dwelling on a new earth that has been purged of all evil, with God dwelling in the midst of his people. This is the goal of history; this is God’s great plan.
As you continue with your outline you’ll see that I’ve included two concepts. THIS AGE VS. THE AGE TO COME. Throughout Scripture the time in which we now live is referred to as this age while the time to come, specifically the time when God will fulfill his plan is the age to come. I’ve included several scripture references there for you to look up on your own which point to the contrast between the two ages. Let me just pick out one in particular to illustrate my point. Jesus uses this imagery quite frequently and in Matthew 12:32 he says, “Whoever speaks a word against the son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
If we believe that there is going to be a day when God will restore creation to his original plan, if we believe that there is an age to come when we will experience life as God intended it to be experienced, then (your next point in the outline is) ANTICIPATION is a natural result of such thought. We naturally are anticipating the day on which we will no longer have to suffer the devastating events of this life.