MORE SIGNS OF THE TIMES

MORE SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Matthew 24:1-14


INTRODUCTION

Quite some time ago, Mt. Saint Helens became the object of concern as it started sending puffs of smoke hundreds of feet into the Washington sky. - Every piece of scientific evidence collected in the labs and on the field predicted the volcano would soon explode with a fury. “WARNING!” blared loud speakers on patrol cars and helicopters. “WARNING!’ blinked battery-powered signs at every nearby major intersection. “WARNING” pleaded radio and television announcers. Lakeside villages, tourist camps and hiking trails emptied as people heard the warnings and fled for their lives. Nevertheless, a man by the name of Harry refused to leave. He was the caretaker of a recreation lodge on Spirit Lake, five miles north of Mt. Saint Helen’s smoke-enshrouded peak. The rangers warned Harry of the danger. Neighbors begged him
to join them and leave.

But Harry ignored the warnings. Interviewed on television, Harry grinned and said, “Nobody knows more about this mountain than Harry and it doesn’t dare blow up on him….” On May 18, 1980 as the boiling gases beneath the mountain’s surface bulged and buckled the landscape to its final limits, Harry was cooking his breakfast. At 8:31 A.M. the mountain exploded. Concussive waves of heat traveling faster than the speed of sound, flattened him and everything else for 150 square miles. There were signs that something was going to happen but Harry ignored the warnings and he paid a price for his neglect.

Scores today are doing the same thing when it comes to God’s warnings. God is warning all of us through the signs of the times. He is warning us that He is sovereign and that life as we now know it is not going to continue on forever. There is coming a day when all will give account of themselves.

There is going to be a day of judgment. Most people, however, prefer not to think about this aspect of God’s character. They much prefer to reflect upon and talk about God’s love. Fortunately, God is loving.
His love is evident in the forgiveness He offers us through the Savior. As sinners, God in His great love for us, sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross,
paying the penalty of our sin. When we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and trust in Him for forgiveness we are forgiven and given the gift of eternal life Indeed, God is love and in His love he
has provided for us beyond our earthly pilgrimage.
We need to focus in on God’s unconditional love but in the process we mustnot forget that because He is holy and just He must judge sin and sinners.

God is also absolutely just and holy as Scripture makes very clear. As a result, He cannot overlook sin.
The just penalty for sin must be paid. There is, therefore, going to be a time of reckoning. A time when God will judge unforgiven sinners. A time when He will eradicate sin. A time when God will make all things right. He will do this at the return of Christ.
Matthew 25:31 and 32 tells us that “WHEN THE SON OF MAN COMES HIS GLORY…..ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE GATHERED BEFORE HIM, AND HE WILL SEPARATE THE PEOPLE ONE FROM ANOTHER…..”

In the eternal and immutable plan of God there is coming a Day of Judgment. Jude 1:14 & 15 inform us that…THE LORD IS COMING….TO JUDGE EVERYONE……” A holy
and just God must judge sin if He is to remain true to Himself.

Make no mistake about it, God is holy and just and sovereign. In spite of the prevalence of sin and evil, He is in control. “…YOU ARE RULER OF ALL THINGS. IN YOUR HANDS ARE STRENGTH POWER…” declares 1 Chronicles 29:12. God has a plan to deal with sin and it will be fulfilled with the return of Christ. Through the prophet Isaiah (46:10) God has said, “I MAKE
KNOWN THE END FROM THE BEGINNING, FROM ANCIENT TIME, WHAT IS STILL TO COME…..MY PURPOSE WILL STAND, AND I WILL DO ALL THAT I PLEASE” Throughout Scripture God has repeatedly promised that Christ would come back to
this earth to usher in His righteous Kingdom in all of its fullness and power. 1 Thessalonians 4 declares that someday “THE LORD HIMSELF WILL COMEDOWN FROM HEAVEN….WITH THE TRUMPET SOUND OF GOD….AND WE WILL BE CAUGHT UP INTO THE CLOUDS….AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD.” Many, however, doubt this promise. They think the return of Christ is myth.

Nevertheless, Christ will someday return to this earth for a Day of Judgment. Scripture proclaims that at that time, “EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM AND KNEEE SHALL BOW…AND EVERY TONGUE CONFESS THAT HE IS LORD." Many signs support the biblical claim that Christ will return to this earth.These fulfilled prophesies give credence to Christ’s promise to come back. Fulfilled prophecy should make the skeptic think twice and it
should reassure believer.As we see these things occurring we can know that the day of the Lord
draws near.

Last week we looked at the prophecies regarding the nation Israel as well as the persecution of believers.This week we will look at two other signs of the times. Things that God’s Word says must
occur before the Lord returns.



In Matthew 24 we have one of Jesus’ most comprehensive statements about the future. He reveals some events that will precede His second coming. While Jesus was on the Mount of Olives, He was approached by His disciples who said, “TELL US, WHAT WILL BE THE SIGN OF YOUR COMING AND OF THE END OF THE AGE?”(vs.3)Beginning in verse 6 He answered them by revealing some signs. The cumulative effect of these signs is, indeed, convincing. The first one He mentions is false leaders and teachers.

FALSE TEACHERS

Jesus responded to His disciples question by saying, in vs.4,- “WATCH OUT THAT NO ONE DECEIVES YOU.” Then in verse 11 He says, “FOR MANY FALSE PROPHETS WILL
APPEAR AND DECEIVE MANY….”

One of the definite signs of Christ’s coming is that in the last days there will be more and more false teachers..These false teachers will propagate their own version of the truth rather than the truth as revealed in Christ. Taking advantage of people they will use their teachings to control others and to enrich themselves.

Foolishly accepting their teachings, many will be led astray. They will be easily deceived. Confused and abused by false teaches they will find themselves alienated from their families, separated from their possessions and out of favor with God.


False teachers certainly abound today. Within and without the church they seem to be proliferating at an alarming rate. There once was a time, not so long ago, when it was uncommon to find an ordained minister who didn’t believe and preach the basic tenants of the faith. Nowadays, however, the church has more than its share of leaders who, influenced by rationalism and pressured by society, stand for nothing.

Paul speaks of this when in 2 Timothy 4:3 he warned,“THE TIME WILL COME WHEN MEN WILL NOT
PUT UP WITH DOCTRINE. INSTEAD, TO SUIT THEIR OWN
DESIRES, THEY WILL GATHER AROUND THEM A GREAT NUMBER OF TEACHERS WHO WILL WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR.”

Consequently, scores of religious leaders now teach that what once was morally wrong is now right. Anything goes; everything is acceptable.That is what people want to hear. False teachers proclaim that heaven can be gained by good works.“Live a good life,” they say, “and do the best you can and you will make it.” All roads lead to heaven.That is what people want to hear.

The only problem is that it is not true.

Jesus declared in John 14:6, “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUH AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT
THROUGH ME.”

We gain forgiveness and heaven by trusting Christ as our Savior. Scripture says that in the last days, many false teachers and prophets will tell us otherwise, deceiving many.

FALLING AWAY

Jesus speaks of another sign of the times in verses 10 and 11. He said, “…MANY WILL TURN AWAY FROM THE FAITH….AND BECAUSE OF THE INCREASE OF WICKEDNESS, THE LOVE OF MANY WILL GROW COLD..” Apostasy or a falling away from the faith will occur with greater frequency
as the day of Christ’s promised return draws near. People, churches and institutions will, in ever increasing numbers,fall away from the faith.

We certainly have witnessed this in large numbers of
mainline churches that have drifted away from the truth. Ashamed of Christ and His shed blood many
churches are more interested in the ever-changing ideas and philosophies of the world than in the unchanging truths of the gospel. Scores of churches have become little more than social clubs or religious fraternities. These churches have, as Jesus prophesied, “TURNED AWAY FROM THE FAITH.”

Jesus said that this falling away would also happen to individuals. Some will fall away, as verse 10 indicates, because of the trials and testings of life. Unable to answer “why” specific injustices, tragedies and suffering occurs, many will “turn away from the faith.” Religious persecution will cause still others to fall away. Some will fall away because iniquity abounds and they desire to do whatever they please even if it is out of the will of God. Jesus said in verse 12 that “BECAUSE OF THE INCREASE OF WICKEDNESS, THE LOVE OF MANY (FOR THE LORD) WILL GROW COLD.”
Enamored with the sinful pleasures of the world, many people who once professed faith have been lured away from the Lord and they are no longer living for him.Love for the alluring but passing things of this world has definitely caused the love that many once had for the Lord to grow cold. Christ has been pushed to the periphery of their lives. 1 Timothy 4:1 refers to this falling away when it declares that “IN THE LAST DAYS SOME WILL DEPART FROM THE FAITH.” This is a sign that is increasingly
being fulfilled today.

This ever increasing apostasy of which our Lord spoke can certainly be seen in the institutions of our day.
- Did you know that the very first college in America, Harvard, was established for “Christ and His Church?”
In his large bequest to the school, John Harvard said,
“Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main ends of his life and his studies: to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life.(#249) Let everyone seriously set himself by prayer….to see Christ as Lord and Master.” Eighty-eight of the first one hundred colleges founded in America were organized to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.(#246) Listen to the words of advice given to
the class of 1814 by a past president of an Ivy League school: “Christ is the only, the true, the living way of access to our God. Give yourself,
therefore, up to Him.”(#251)

Our institutions of higher learning have fallen away from this most basic and essential truth of life. They have become a place where our young people have their faith destroyed. Such is a sign pointing to Christ’s return.

CONCLUSION

God has warned us that “there will be a day of reckoning when he will close His books on time and judge every creature, living and dead.” Scripture is filled with references to a final judgment. God cannot tolerate sin and He cannot overlook it.“All through history there have been days of judgment. Before the storm of judgment came, God always warned the
people. What happened in Noah’s day will be repeated at the end of history. We have the word of Jesus who said, ‘AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, SO IT WILL BE AT THE COMING OF THE LORD’ (Matthew 24:37) The two experiences will run parallel in many important aspects, not only in the vast extent of lawlessness and the universality of catastrophe, but also in the earnestness of warning and the provision of a way of
escape. At God’s bidding, Noah preached warning the people to repent of their sins and turn to God.” (206/814/Graham)

God’s Word warns us that Christ is coming back to judge the living and the dead. God is in control.
Their will be a time of giving account. Fortunately, God has provided for us in Christ. Forgiveness is available. We need not fear; we can look forward to His coming.In light of this, 2 peter 3:11 & 12 asks,
“WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE OUGHT YOU TO BE?

YOU OUGHT TO BE LIVING HOLY AND GODLY LIVES AS YOU LOOK FORWARD TO CHRIST’S COMING.”

Is Christ you Savior and Lord?

Are you living for Him?

Comments

Wayne said…
Good Blog

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