- Sermon Notes
Things to Come, Part 1
1.The end of the world. It’s a topic that has raised many questions down through the centuries.
a.When will the end of the world happen?
b.How will the world end?
c.Who is the Antichrist?
d.What country or ethnicity will he come from?
e.What is the “mark of the beast”?
f.What will happen to the Church during the Great Tribulation?
2.Speaking of the Church, there have also been many predictions about when the Church will be raptured.
ILLUS – NASA Engineer Edgar Whisenant wrote a book called 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988.
3.God wants us to know about the end of the world so He gave us His Word, that we may know the truth about the end times and be prepared for its coming.
4.Tonight, we will begin a series called Things to Come, which will delve into questions about the end times by studying the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 24-25.
5.It is my prayer that our study will strengthen our faith, increase our love, and deepen our hope for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
1.Matthew 24-25 is commonly called the Olivet Discourse because Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem, while He taught His disciples.
2.The Olivet Discourse is the third of three long teachings recorded by the Apostle Matthew in his Gospel.
3.To get a sense of the context, it will be helpful to imagine the city of Jerusalem. Herod’s Temple stood at the eastern edge of the city with the Eastern Gate overlooking the Kidron Valley.
4.Continuing east from the Kidron Valley, you come to the Garden of Gethsemane, which is where Jesus and His disciples spent much time together. It is also the place where Jesus spent the night praying to His Father prior to His arrest and crucifixion.
5.As you continue east, you climb the Mount of Olives, which stands about 500 feet higher than Jerusalem. In those days it was covered with olive trees but they were later destroyed by the Roman armies.
6.This message that Jesus gave on the Mount of Olives actually began in Jerusalem in Matthew 23. Jesus had just finished rebuking the Jewish leaders for their hypocrisy and rejection of Him.
Matthew 23:37-39, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
7.Here Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem. Now this must have shocked the Jewish leaders, the crowds, and His disciples because Herod’s Temple inspired awe in all who looked upon it.
8.Since the Temple has been a focal point of Jewish history and also for what will transpire during the last days, it is important to understand some of its history.
9.According to 2 Samuel 7, King David wanted to build a Temple for the Lord, but God would not allow him to do so because he was a man of war and bloodshed. God told David that his son, Solomon, would build the Temple because he would be a man of peace.
10.Solomon’s Temple was considered one of the great wonders of the ancient world.
a.But Solomon’s Temple was completely destroyed in 586 B.C. when the Babylonians destroyed the city and took most of the population into exile in Babylon.
b.The Temple was burned to extract the gold, which had made it so famous.
11.70 years later, when some Jews returned to Jerusalem, they were permitted to rebuild the Temple and the city. But the second Temple lacked the glory of Solomon’s Temple.
12.Almost 500 years later, Herod the Great decided to rebuild the Temple, adding height, length, and splendor to it, hoping to make a name for himself along the way.
a.Herod spared no expense. He employed thousands of the best architects, craftsmen, and stonemasons to build the Temple.
b.Herod built the Temple with great white marble on slabs of rock that were sometimes 50’ x 11’ x 16.5’ and weighing 500 to 600 tons.
c.Each block was carved and ground into squared edges to create joints, so precise that you could not even insert a knife blade between them.
13.So, the disciples, still processing what Jesus had said just moments before began to point out to Him the magnificence of Herod’s Temple as they were leaving.
14.Their comments prompted Jesus to say, “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.” (2)
15.Again, shocked by what they heard, we’re told in Mark 13:3 that Peter, James, John, and Andrew questioned Jesus privately about these things.
16. In essence, they asked Jesus two questions (3):
a.When will the Temple be destroyed?
b.What will be the sign of Your coming at the of the end of the age?
17. In essence, they were wondering, “If Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed, then how will there be a nation for Messiah to rule?”
18.It is important to note that the Apostle Matthew did not record Jesus’ answer to the first question, but it was recorded by Luke.
Luke 21:20, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near.”
19.Jesus’ prophecy came to pass exactly as He said.
a.In 66 A.D. the Jewish nation revolted against Rome. The Roman general Vespasian besieged the city but was called to Rome to become Emperor after Nero committed suicide.
b.So, Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the soldiers removed every ounce of gold from the Temple by setting it on fire and overturning every stone.
Transition – Jesus’ answer to His disciples is a prophecy that is especially relevant in our day because we are living in the last days. Therefore, the signs of His return are for all of us to understand since this prophecy was given so that we might make our lives ready.
I.There will be Tribulation before the Great Tribulation
- The Bible declares that there will be a seven-year period called the Great Tribulation, also known as The Time of Jacobs’s Trouble, The Day of the Lord,and Daniel’s 70th Week from Daniel 9:24-27.
- What is God’s purpose for the Great Tribulation?
- First, the Great Tribulation will focus on Israel, to refine and prepare them for the coming of their King so that they may enter into and enjoy His Millennial Kingdom.
- Second, the Great Tribulation will be universal in scope, a divine judgment upon creation, the outpouring of His wrath upon unbelieving humanity and every rebellious nation.
- Through these judgments, God’s heart is that people will turn from their wickedness and repent in preparation for the return of Messiah.
- Now, what Jesus described in verses 4-14, can be understood as a general overview what will happen during the Great Tribulation.
- Some biblical scholars believe that what Jesus said in verses 4-14 corresponds to the opening of the seven seal judgments found in Revelation 6.
- Yet it is also true that many of the things mentioned in verses 4-14 are applicable for us and consistent with the words that Jesus shared in the upper room during the Last Supper.
John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
- You see, today, what we are witnessing is “the beginning of birth pangs.” (8)
- Therefore, those components listed in verses 4-14, are present now but will intensify as the time draws near for the beginning of the Great Tribulation and the coming of the Antichrist.
- As it is true with the labor and delivery of a baby, the birth pangs will increase in intensity while the time between contractions decreases.
A. Many antichrists will mislead many
1.Jesus warned, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” (4-5)
2.In other words, there will be many who will falsely claim to be the Messiah or a prophet and will use false signs and wonders to deceive people into believing their claims.
a.Notice, here, that Jesus said there will be “many”, which has been confirmed historically ever since Jesus ascended into heaven to be seated at the right-hand of the Father.
b.Therefore, this appears to be a general prophecy since there will be one who is the Antichrist, the Beast mentioned in Revelation and later in verse 15.
3.Of course, there have been many modern examples of those who claim to be the Messiah or a prophet of God.
a.Sun Myung Moon the founder of the Unification Church.
b.David Koresh of the Branch Davidians
4.It’s interesting to note that there are many in Islam who believe in what is called the Twelfth Imam. The similarities between the Twelfth Imam and the Antichrist are striking:
a.The Twelfth Iman will be an anointed leader or ruler.
b.He will come and be a great spiritual savior.
c.They believe he will rule over the world from Jerusalem for seven years.
1 John 2:18-19, 22, Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us ... Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
- An antichrist is anyone who denies that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.
1 John 4:1-3, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
- An antichrist is anyone who teaches a message contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; that we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Galatians 1:6-8, I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
B.Global chaos will increase
1.Next, Jesus said the birth pangs will include “wars and rumors of wars.” (6)
a.Interestingly, Jesus also said, “See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.”
b.Typically, when people hear about war and rumors of war, they are afraid.
c.But Jesus wants His people to know that when nation rises up against nation or a kingdom rises up against a kingdom, it is part of God’s plan; a plan that will lead to Christ’s return. God is on the throne! (7)
2.Famines and earthquakes will impact various regions of the earth and increase in intensity and frequency as the Great Tribulation nears. (7)
ILLUS – The number of earthquakes since 1863 that were a magnitude 7.0 or higher.
3.There will be an increase of lawlessness and unrighteousness, so much so that the love of many will grow cold in the last days.
ILLUS – Arkansas 911 Dispatcher’s heartless response to a woman’s cry for help, trapped in a submerged car.
2 Timothy 3:1-4, But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
4.Persecution will increase. (9-10)
5.Yet, the Gospel will spread and be proclaimed to the whole world. (14)
2 Corinthians 16:9, … for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
APPL – It’s God’s Good News!
- The gates of hell will not prevail!
Matthew 16:18, I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
- We know what the last chapter of the Bible declares, God wins!
Transition – So what kind of people must we be?
II. Let Your Light Shine
- Things are going to get harder.
- Things are going to get darker.
- So, let your little light shine. How?
A. Keep the faith
1.When times get tough, it is easy to question whether or not God loves us, or if God knows what we’re going through, or if God can do anything about it.