Summary: A necessary but warning word from the Lord about the times before His coming.
WHAT WILL BE THE SIGN?
TEXT: Mark 13:1-13
Mark 13:1-13 KJV And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!  And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,  Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?  And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.  And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.  But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.  And the gospel must first be published among all nations.  But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.  Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
I. INTRODUCTION—SOMETHING WE SHOULD THINK OF MORE OFTEN
-Our minds are constantly dwelling on one matter or another. You have heard the old statement that the squeaky wheel gets the grease and that is the way that our mind operates. We are by nature survivors and your brain will focus on the immediate things around you in an effort for preservation.
-We think of bills that need to be paid, jobs that need to be done, the needs of our children, and while all men and women need to survive, when our mind moves into the mode of survival there are important thoughts and activities that are often neglected. In fact, if you can just give consideration to what your mind has been on in the last week for a moment, would the coming of the Lord have been a thought that you had? Was there any day in the past two weeks that you have thought, ‘The Lord might come today, am I ready?’
-Periodically there should be some very serious thought given to the fact that the Lord and His return could take place at any moment.
A. The Olivet Discourse
-This passage of Scripture in Mark 13 is commonly referred to as the Olivet Discourse. It is also given in Matthew 24-25 and in Luke 21. This message of Jesus in Mark is the longest one that appears in his gospel. Mark is a book that sort of hits the high points and then moves on.
-This area of Scripture, especially when paired up with Matthew and Luke, there is much insight that can be gleaned concerning the endtime. In fact the careful student of the Bible can make a number of correlations between these three segments of Scripture and the book of Revelation. Even Paul would have a strong connection to the Olivet Discourse with his epistles to the Thessalonians.
-It is a difficult and challenging segment of Scripture to get your mind around because more often than not there is a temptation to want to look at each individual description the Lord gave to us and label an event that would seemingly fit. If this is done often enough, it won’t be too long before an attempt will be made to place on the Rapture.
B. Date-Setters Will Always Be Wrong
-Many have predicted the return of the Lord and they have been doing so for centuries. Perhaps the most recent one was when some New Agers found a connection with the Mayan calendars and predicted that December 12, 2012 (12/12/12) was to be the end of the world. They were wrong.
-Just prior to that a man named Harold Camping who had a large following made several predictions about the Rapture taking place on May 21, 2011. He then adjusted his date to October 21, 2011. Some people who were under the influence of his ministry sold their homes and quit their jobs just days before they were to be raptured. When it did not happen, they were left without jobs and homes and it turned some of them toward a very cynical approach toward God and the church.