- Sermon Notes
Things to Come, Part 4
1.Jesus Christ is coming back! Our Savior’s return is the blessed hope for all who eagerly await His appearing.
ILLUS – Tour of Israel
2.The end of the world is a topic that has raised many questions down through the ages.
3. Before my trip to Israel, we studied the third part of a series called Things to Come, based on Jesus Christ teachings from Matthew 24:29-44. During that study, we addressed the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation.
4.Tonight, during the fourth part of our series, we will focus on the first of three parables directed towards those professing to be Christians during the Church Age.
5.From this parable we will discover how the Lord wants us to live our lives while waiting for His glorious return.
1.By way of review, Matthew 24-25 is called the Olivet Discourse because Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives when He taught His disciples about the end times.
2.Jesus’ teaching actually started in Matthew 23, when He prophesied about the destruction of Jerusalem and Herod’s Temple because the Jewish leaders had failed to recognize and receive Him as Israel’s Messiah.
3.Shocked by what they had heard, Peter, James, John, and Andrew privately asked Jesus two questions:
a.When will the Temple be destroyed?
b.What will be the sign of Your coming at the of the end of the age?
4. First, Jesus shared with them the “signs of the times” so that when we see them, we will know that the end is near. Some of the signs that Jesus mentioned include:
a.The coming of false Messiahs and false prophets who will mislead many people with their false teachings and deceiving signs.
b.The outbreak of wars and rumors of wars along with famines and earthquakes which will grow greater in intensity and frequency as the events of the last days draw near.
c.There will be a great falling away from the Christian faith, an apostasy, as unrighteousness and worldliness increase. Jesus said most people’s love will grow cold due to a rise in evil. (Matthew 24:12)
d.Tensions will also grow between Israel and her enemies. Antisemitism will rise to unprecedented levels as the power and voice of Israel’s enemies grows stronger on the world stage.
ILLUS – Security detail for Jews near the Dome of the Rock and the visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial
5.In the midst of this political, economic, and social turmoil the Antichrist will arise on the world scene.
a. He will be seen as a great diplomatic genius because he will succeed where others have tried but failed.
b.The Antichrist will make a peace treaty in the Middle East between Israel and her enemies.
c.Part of that treaty will permit Israel to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
d.Even Israel will respect and revere the Antichrist because of this great accomplishment.
6.But the Antichrist will reveal his true colors when he breaks his covenant with Israel 3 ½ years later.
a.He will establish a new world religion by setting himself up in the newly rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem as a god to be worshipped.
b.In fact, according to Revelation 13, he will cause a living statue of himself to be put into the Temple.
c.His associate, the false prophet, will cause the whole world to worship it.
7. Israel will then realize that their “protector” is actually their ultimate “persecutor” and will respond with great anger against his desecration of their Temple.
8. Then the Antichrist will cause all the nations to turn against Israel.
a. The world will prepare for war against Israel.
b. At that time, cataclysmic events will also occur in the heavens and around the globe, such as earthquakes, plagues, famines, scorching heat waves, terrible storms with hailstones weighing 100 lbs. falling from the sky. (Revelation 16:21)
9. The Antichrist’s arrival will mark the beginning of seven-year period called the Great Tribulation, also known as Daniel’s Seventieth Week, or the Day of the Lord.
a. The Great Tribulation will be universal in scope, a divine judgment upon creation, the outpouring of God’s wrath upon unbelieving humanity and every rebellious nation.
b. The Great Tribulation will also focus on Israel, to refine and prepare Israel for the coming of their King; that they may enter into His Millennial Kingdom.
10. Where is the Church during the Great Tribulation?
a. With her Bridegroom and Savior in heaven!
b. The Lord will rapture His Church into heaven in order to keep His bride from that hour of testing because the Church is not an object of God’s wrath but an object of His loving grace and mercy.
Revelation 3:10, Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
Transition – Since Jesus is coming back, how shall we live while waiting? I would like to reverse the order of this parable and begin with how not to live first…
I. The Wrong Way: No Concern for Christ’s Return
- In this section of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus shifted from teaching about His return at the end of the Great Tribulation to His return for His Church.
- Three times Jesus referred to a delay in His coming (24:48; 25:5; and 25:19).
- This is important to note because when it comes to the seven-years of the Great Tribulation, there will be no delay in Christ’s Second Coming. Once the Antichrist makes the treaty the clock starts ticking.
- The delay will cause some to think they can live as they wish without any concern about consequences.
- It will be like the days of Noah, when people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, without any concern that judgment was coming.
APPL – If someone believes that the Master is not coming for a long time, he will live a lazy, slothful, and fleshly life. For example, have you ever noticed a “behavior shift”
- when you leave your children at home, alone?
- when your boss leaves the office?
A. Bad fruit always comes from bad trees
1. Why would God’s servants not be concerned about the Lord’s return?
2. Because in the Church today, not all who “go to church” are truly God’s servants!
3. According to Matthew 13:24-30, in the “Church” today there are two groups of people:
a. Tares: People who profess to be Christians but are not truly born-again.
b. Wheat: People who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and are born-again.
4. Both profess to believe in Jesus. But profession of faith and true conversion are two different things.
5. To be a born-again Christian means:
a. A person knows the truth, that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again on the third day to save their soul from judgment
b. A person accepts the truth that Jesus died to save their soul and give them eternal life.
c. A person places their trust in Jesus Christ; by faith, asking that their sin be forgiven so that they may receive the gift of eternal life.
6.Once a person receives Jesus Christ as their Savior, their faith in Jesus will transform their heart, their priorities, and their purpose for life.
a.Their life will produce good fruit.
b.Living, saving faith always produces good fruit.
APPL – The opposite is also true.
- If a person has not received Jesus Christ as their Savior, then their life cannot produce godly fruit.
- The fruit of a person’s life reveals what’s in their heart.
Luke 6:43-45, For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
B.We will reap what we sow
1.Jesus said the evil slave is unconcerned about the Lord’s coming and puts off serving Christ for another day; assuming there will be another day.
2.As a result, they live selfish lives and use, and sometimes abuse others, for their personal gain and gratification.
3 John 1:9-11, I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.
3.They appear godly, but time reveals they are full of themselves and their hearts are far from God.
ILLUS – Paul’s references to Demas in his three letters
- Philemon 24 – “my fellow workers”
- Colossians 4:14, “Demas”
2 Timothy 4:9-10, Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica
4.They misinterpret the delay of the Lord and do not seize on the opportunity to live their lives the way that God intended and will bless.
2 Peter 3:3-4, 8-9, Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
5.God is graciously patient, but He is not mocked for a person will reap what they sow.
Galatians 6:7-8, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
II. The Right Way: Be Faithful until Christ’s Return
- In Revelation 19, we have description of the Lord Jesus when He comes at the end of the Great Tribulation.
Revelation 19:11, And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True
- It makes sense that the One who is Faithful and True wants His servants to be faithful until He comes!
- What does this mean to be faithful?
A. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness
1.It all begins with a heart that is eagerly watching and waiting for Christ’s coming.
2.Jesus emphasized repeatedly that no one knows the day or the hour of His coming.
a.Therefore, we should live as if He were coming at any time.
b.We must live our lives with a sense of urgency because the Lord’s return is immanent.
3.That anticipation and eagerness will keep us focused on the task for which He has called us and spiritually ready for His coming.
APPL – When our hope is in Christ’s return…
- We will not be overcome by affliction or persecution.
- We will not let the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke out God’s Word.
- Rather, we will dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness, producing a crop of 30, 60, and 100-fold all to the glory of our God!
Psalm 37:1-6, Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.
B.God blesses faithfulness
1.One of the important things to see in this parable is the reward that the Lord speaks about to those who are faithful. God has a great purpose for us even in the age to come.
2.If we are faithful with what He has entrusted to our care now, He will entrust us with more in the age to come. There will be rewards.
APPL – What does Christ want us to be doing with our lives?
- We should be doing what God is doing; building and edifying those whom God loves, strengthening faith in those around us.
ILLUS – Kindness towards our Israel tour bus drivers
Colossians 1:28-29, We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
- God is reconciling people to Himself through Jesus Christ and He gives to us the ministry of reconciliation.
ILLUS – Y2K scare
- God wants us to be faithful until He returns.
- We are to be about His business because as we look around, we see so much hurt, pain, and suffering.
- Our world needs Jesus and we can show them how to meet Him and receive the eternal gift He offers.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
APPL – I want to be faithful until Christ comes. You too? The good news is, His grace is sufficient to change our lives now in preparation for eternity.
Titus 2:11-14, 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, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
Matthew 25:1-13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Parable of Ten Virgins
25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.