- Sermon Notes
The Soul That’s Right with God
October 28-29, 2023
One day, the disciples came to Jesus privately and asked, “Tell us, when will these things be and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
Considering all that’s happening today, many people are wondering the same thing. Look at all that is happening in the world. It doesn’t take great spiritual discernment to understand that the storm clouds that have been on the horizon for the last number of years are drawing nearer and nearer and appear angrier and angrier.
When you see the events unfolding in the Middle East, the war between Israel and Hamas; it reminds us that Israel will be the epicenter of the unfolding of prophetic events. Just as the Bible said. When we see Russia, China, and Iran all forming a new alliance, we understand that there is a new world order forming and that there are spiritual forces of darkness on the move. There’s economic turmoil, there’s record inflation, we’ve just come through a worldwide pandemic.
Do these things have significance to latter-day events? “When will these things be and what will be the sign of the end of the age?” The disciples asked.
As you will see in these verses, Jesus expects us to be spiritually discerning, to be on the alert. Jesus said to watch for the signs of the times. It’s times like these that get our attention; that cause us to understand that there is an urgency about getting right with God.
Jesus answered the questions of the disciples by giving the signs of the times so that when you see those signs, you will know that the end is drawing near. Jesus said, You will hear of wars and rumors of war. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes that will grow greater in intensity and be closer together as the events of the last days draw near. There will be a great falling away, or apostasy, as unrighteousness and worldliness increase, and most people’s love grows cold.
He also said that in various places there will be plagues and famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
It interesting that Jesus mentioned plagues and famines as signs of the latter days, especially since we’ve recently come through a pandemic ourselves. There have been outbreaks of viruses before, of course. There was the so-called Spanish flu in 1918 and the Bubonic plague before that. But there is a growing intensity as we see more and more outbreaks, the bird flu, Ebola, Zika, SARS, MERS, etc.
The turbulence that’s happening in the world today is setting the stage for the latter-days. There are many who sense that there are dark spiritual forces behind the events moving in the world. It wakes people up to the spiritual reality of their soul. In other words, it’s time to get right with God. You’re going to have an opportunity to get right with God today.
God is saying to you, “Let’s settle this matter with your soul. I love you and I want you to have eternal life and life to the full.”
Jesus said there will be a great tribulation in those latter days such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world nor shall ever occur again. This great tribulation, this day of trouble, is called the great Day of the Lord and it will be the wrath of God poured out on the earth. So terrible is that time of tribulation that unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved, but for the sake of the elect, for Israel, those days will be cut short, Jesus said.
“How encouraging, pastor,” you might be thinking, “I’m glad I invited my friends.” Times of trouble are an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for people to turn to the Lord and get right with God.
I. Be Spiritually Alert
- Verse 32 – Jesus said to “learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; therefore, when you see these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.”
- In other words, Jesus gives the signs of the times so that we can be spiritually alert, to be spiritually awakened.
- He does not speak of these things to disturb, or agitate, or bring stress. Life already has enough stress. Which reminds me of a story…
Illus – a husband was overcome with stress and went to see the doctor… After a thorough examination, he asked to speak with his wife privately…
- When you’re spiritually alert, when your soul is right with God, then fear is abated.
1 John 4:18, There is no fear in love; perfect love casts out fear… We love, because He first loved us.
Matthew 24:6, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see to it that you are not frightened, these things must take place, but that is not yet the end.”
- Be spiritually alert, be spiritually awakened.
A. We know how this story ends
- Verse 30 – The Son of Man will come at the end of the age with power and great glory. The return of Christ will be the most spectacular event the world has ever known.
- Back when newspapers were a thing, news publishers would use different sizes of letters on the front page according to the significance of the event. The greater the event, the larger the font type. The greatest of all events required the use of “Second Coming”
- It’s interesting how the world uses spiritual phrases to describe various events.
Illus – When California shut down 10 miles of the I-405 freeway, they called it ‘Carmaggedon.’ When someone has a career changing meeting it’s called a “Come to Jesus” meeting.
- The point of these verses is that the time to “come to Jesus” is right now because the signs of the times are all around us.
- Verse 33 — That’s why Jesus said, “When you see these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.”
- Consider even the events of the last century. In World War I, 16 million people died. In World War II, more than 60 million people died. There are now more than 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world. At its peak there were more than 85,000 nuclear weapons. And now, recently, Russia is again rattling the saber of nuclear weapons. In addition, the conversation has now turned to the destructive capability of artificial intelligence.
Illus – At the end of World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur gave this speech at the Japanese surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri:
“A new era is upon us. Even the lesson of victory itself brings with it profound concern, both for our future security and the survival of civilization. The destructiveness of the war potential, through progressive advances in scientific discovery, has in fact now reached a point which revises the traditional concepts of war.
Men since the beginning of time have sought peace…. Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. We have had our last chance. If we do not now devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door. The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature and all material and cultural development of the past two thousand years. If we are to save the flesh, it must be of the spirit.”
B. He comes to set the world right
- When Jesus returns, He is pictured as riding a white horse and will be called “Faithful and True.”
- When you look around and see the rising of everything that’s wrong, everything that’s based on deception and lies, isn’t there something that arises in you that longs for He who is faithful and true?
Revelation 19:11-16, I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh, He has a name written, “King of Kings, and Lord of lords.”
- Some have wondered, “Why does He delay? Why does He wait so long?” The answer is found in the patience of God.
2 Peter 3:7-9, By His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 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.
- The patience of the Lord is part of His mercy. God is patient because He loves you. He doesn’t want anyone to perish but for all the come to repentance and the knowledge of the truth.
- It’s because of His heart of love for the world.
II. Be Spiritually Ready
- The end of the age will come at a time when the world does not expect it. That’s what he means when He says that the coming of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah.
- “They were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage. “That’s when they would have their great feasts. In other words, they’re going about their lives, eating, and drinking and partying, totally oblivious to the danger all around them.
- Verse 42, 44 – “Therefore, be on the alert, for you do not know the day your Lord is coming… For this reason, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”
- Now is the time for revival, to be steadfast in faith. Now is the time for your soul to be right with God.
A. Be on the alert
- In other words, look around and see what’s happening in the world. Watch, be spiritually ready. Be spiritually discerning.
- Understand the signs of the times, the condition of things on the earth as the latter days draw near…
2 Timothy 3:1-4, 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.
- Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders who had seen the signs right before their eyes yet refused to believe; they refused to see the signs of the time.
Matthew 16:3, “You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”
B. Your soul is the most important of all
- What is it you value most in life?
- In the gospel of Matthew, there is the story of a young man who seemingly had it all; he was rich, young ruler. In other words, he was young, wealthy, and powerful.
- These are things the world greatly desires.
- But he lacked something, he had all these things, but he didn’t have eternal life. He knew something was missing. He came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do that I may have eternal life?”
- And if he didn’t have eternal life, he couldn’t be satisfied in this world either. His soul wasn’t right, and he knew it. This world and all that it offers is not enough to satisfy the desire of the soul.
- Don’t get me wrong, the world has many things that are certainly pleasant.
Illus – You can have things today that were once unimaginable. Samsung just came out with a large screen TV they call, “The Wall.” It’s 146 inches. The only problem with it is you have to sit in your neighbor’s living room and watch it from across the street. But bring some microwave popcorn, some nachos and Doritos and enjoy the football game.
- There are many things in the world that are certainly pleasant, but they’re not enough for me; they’re not enough to satisfy the longing of the soul.
- Only God can do that, only the presence of God, only the glory that God gives in the soul, only life from God truly ignites joy, only in peace and love will the soul be satisfied.
- It’s only when we recognize our spiritual poverty, the impossibility of saving ourselves, that our souls can be right with God.
- You’ll never regret getting your soul right with God.
Illus – The famous rapper, Eminem, once rapped in one of his songs, ““I want the money, the women, the fortune, the fame. If it means I end up burning in hell or scorched in the flames; if it means I’m stealing your checkbook and forging your name, it’s a lifetime of bliss for eternal torture and pain.”
- There’s the lie right there; that’s not a lifetime of bliss, that’s a lifetime of a soul in agony and darkness.
- Another, much more insightful poet, John Newton, wrote, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”
This is what you need to do: you need to make a decision. There must come a moment when you say, “Lord, I’m sorry for my sin. I want more than this, I want my soul alive, I want to be right with God. I want my sin forgiven; I want to go to heaven when I die. What do I need to do?”
- Realize you’re a sinner – just own it. I once spoke to an inmate in prison. God had completely transformed his life and he became a chaplain’s assistant there in prison. He said, “I had blood on my hands, I own what I did, but I’ve been washed by the blood of Jesus, and I’ve been set free!” Maybe you are a sinner, but it just so happens that He’s a forgiver. He paid for that sin when Jesus died on the cross. Your sins have been paid and paid in full!!
- Recognize that God is pursuing relationship with you – that’s why He sent His Son, to seek and to save that which was lost. Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart and calling out your name, He wants to come into your heart and give you eternal life.
- Repent – that means to change direction. No longer turning away or walking away from God but turning your life around and walking toward Him the rest of the way.
- Receive Jesus Christ into your heart and life – no one can make the decision for you. It’s not knowing about God, it’s a relationship with God. Only God can satisfy the longing of the soul. It’s time to get right with God. The time is now. Don’t wait another moment.
Matthew 24:29-44 NASB
29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
32 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37 For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.