- Sermon Notes
Illus. Knowing where to turn.
Today we are going to look at some of the signs that Jesus says are indicators of the end times. Regarding the signs associated with the end times, Jesus says in the book of Luke that when you begin to see them, “look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28)
As we begin Matthew 24, we see in verse one that Jesus’ disciples come to Him and point out the temple buildings. Jesus had left the temple for the final time, but before He rebukes the Jewish leaders for the hypocrisy and rejection of Him. He then says in Matthew 23:37-38, that He desired to gather them in and together as a hen and gathers her chicks under her wings, but they were unwilling; therefore, their house would be left to them desolate.
The term desolate means laid waste or devastated. What He is saying will take place, is the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem. Here we see His disciples, after hearing him say this, leave the temple with Him and draw Jesus’ attention back to the temple.
Mark 13:1, One of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”
Illus. Details surrounding the temple.
In and throughout Scripture, context is key. Matthew 24 and 25 is no exception to this. The questions given and the responses Jesus gives are in direct response to the reality that Jerusalem would be destroyed as they had rejected Jesus. He wanted to gather them in, but they were unwilling (Mt. 23:37-38).
God sent His Son to His chosen people and to Jerusalem, where He placed His name, the city of God’s possession. The temple was where the presence of God dwelt, but God had come in the flesh and they did not receive Him. The temple would be destroyed. Many of the prophesies in Scripture speak to the temple being rebuilt, we also know that Jerusalem is so significant that when God establishes a new heaven and new earth, He will also establish a new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-7).
In and throughout Scripture there is a different reality both presently and in the future for those who reject Christ and those who receive Him as Lord. The context and content of Matthew 24 and 25 is centered around those in Jerusalem, the city of God’s possession who have rejected Him, and we will see parts of it that are specific to the Israelites in Jerusalem, in the future.
The disciples asking the questions of Him, and true believers in Christ will not personally see the events He describes which depict the great tribulation (more on that to come). Here Jesus is showing the reality for those in that day and us today that this world is not where it’s at. Later in this very chapter, Jesus will say that quite plainly.
Matthew 24:35, Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
In response to what Jesus says, the disciples ask Jesus two questions:
1. When will these things happen?
2. What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?
I. Know the Signs that Reveal the Times
- Jesus here likens the signs of the times to birth pangs. This comparison of end times signs is of a woman, who is ready to give birth. Moms who have given birth, know that as you get closer and closer to the day of your child’s delivery, the labor pains get closer and closer together.
Illus. That’s not it.
- The discernment of signs is important, so important that God’s word gives us signs that signify the times.
- Jesus is giving us the signs in advance, telling us what it will be like, so that we can know in advance, live in anticipation of His return and strengthen our faith.
- So, Jesus tells us about the signs, some of which we have seen throughout history: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, famines and earthquakes.”
- In the parallel passage in Luke 21 verse 11, the term “plagues,” is added, or in the New King James Version of Matthew 24, the word “pestilence.”
- A “plague” is an infectious epidemic disease that causes high mortality. Pestilence is a similar word, a deadly or virulent epidemic disease.
- This year, we have seen pestilence in the form of COVID-19. This can be added to a growing list of plagues we have seen throughout history,
Illus. To name a few…
- What we know is that the plagues, or pestilence will continue to grow in intensity and come closer together as the moment draws near.
- Jesus also says in verse 4, For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.
- Dating back to the 18th century there have been 45 (if not more) people who have claimed to be Jesus. On the list are names like Sun Yung Moon, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Yahweh ben Yahweh, David Koresh, and I read an article about another who made news just two weeks ago names Sergei Torop.
Matthew 24:24-25, For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.
- Here in our text today, many will come saying, “I am He.” Though there will be many who come as false Christs and false prophets, we know there will be one who is called the Antichrist.
- While there is a general prophesy that many will come saying they are Christ, which has been fulfilled, we know that the Bible gives a specific prophesy about the Antichrist.
- Paul calls him the man of lawlessness and the son of destruction (2 Thess. 2:3), and in the book of Revelation he is called the beast (11:7;13:1-10).
- The Antichrist will arise as a leader who can solve the in solvable, and when many are starving and out of work, those on earth will look for whatever answer they can find. The Antichrist will control buying and selling.
- People will panic, and even bow down to worship him, taking a mark in order to buy and sell.
- Will they take the mark unknowingly? No, in fact, Revelation 14:9-12 tells us there will be an angel flying around telling people not to worship the beast or take his mark on their forehead or hand, because doing so will bring the wrath of God upon them.
- The reality for those in Christ, however, is that we should not be looking for the Antichrist, rather, we should be looking up, looking to, and looking for Jesus Christ.
- Discern what deliverance in Christ means to you
Matthew 24:9, Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.
- For those who have rejected Christ, Jesus says they will be delivered to tribulation. This tribulation, specifically being what the Bible describes as the great tribulation.
- The tribulation being described in Matthew 24 is not just any tribulation, it is the “great tribulation, such as had not occurred since the beginning of the world, nor ever will” (Mt. 24:21)
- It is the great tribulation as prophesied in the book of Daniel chapter 9, also referred to as Daniel 70th week (Daniel 9), or the time of Jacobs trouble (Jeremiah 30:7).
- It is the time of God wrath poured out on the earth, it is known as the Day of the Lord, it is something the world has never seen. Much of the book of Revelation describes it.
- But why the tribulation? Why wrath? To show that this world is not where its at. To get people to turn to Him upon that realization.
- While in the future will be great tribulation, deliverance in Christ means we are not destined for wrath, but we have obtained salvation, both today and eternally.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-9, …For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- As we see the signs defined, however, it is important for those who are in Christ to understand the future the Bible defines for those who are in Christ.
- We must look for Jesus Christ not the Antichrist. Could he be alive today? Yes. But He won’t rise to power until the church has been caught up to be with Jesus.
- Future events will take place in a particular order. What is the order?
Illus. What’s Coming: The rapture (where believers are caught up to be with Christ), the tribulation, then the millennial reign of Christ which is a 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth, after the millennial reign of Christ: a new Heaven and new Earth, God will dwell among His people, the New Jerusalem descents as a bride adorned for her husband.
- We will talk through more of these events in the weeks to come, but I want to talk about the rapture for a moment.
2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.
- The man of lawlessness is being restrained by the restrainer. The restrainer, which appears to be the Holy Spirit, is removed.
- The Holy Spirit is working through the church, and once the church is removed and the restrainer is taken out of the way, the antichrist will be revealed, and the great tribulation will take place.
- When the signs of the times look more and more like what is defined in the tribulation. If we see signs that the time of the antichrist is close, what we can know is that our being caught up to be with Jesus Christ is closer.
- That is why we keep looking up to Jesus, know that the signs reveal that our redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28).
- We have been delivered from wrath through Christ. This does not mean we will not face difficulty, but it does mean we are not destined for wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:1-9).
- The rapture is when the church is “taken up,” or “caught up” with the Lord in the air.
Illus. Which aisle?
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
- In verse 17, Paul says we will be caught up together in the clouds. The Greek word there is “harpazo,” and was translated into the Latin word “rapturo.”
Titus 2:11-3, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
- We will be caught up in a “moment,” the word there is “atomos,” which means it cannot be cut in two or divided. This is where we get our English word, atom.
- Deliverance in Christ means we are not destined for wrath.
Revelation 3:10, Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
1 Thessalonians 1:10, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
- In Luke 21, which a parallel passage to Matthew 24, we see these encouragements:
Luke 21:34-36, “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Luke 21:28, Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
John 14:1-3, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Hebrews 10:25, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
- Grow Bold with the Good News
Matthew 24:12-14, Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
- As lawlessness increases, most people’s love will grow cold. We see signs of this in our day as well, love growing cold. But as we live out our lives for Jesus, as His hands and feet in our world, may our love not grow cold, but grow bold.
- Still in the tribulation the Gospel will continue to be preached.
Revelation 14:6-7, Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
- Right now, it is our opportunity. To not only preach it but receive the Gospel message and apply it to our lives.
- 1. If you are in Christ, I encourage you to look up and ask the Lord what He would have you do with the Good News of the Gospel in your life and in the lives of those you know, I encourage you to grow bold with the Good News.
- 2. If you have not accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, would you grow bold considering the good news, turn to Jesus and give your life to Him today?
Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.