06 Nov 2016
Matthew 24:1-14 Are We In The Last Days? Pastor Mike Redick 06 November 2016 Due to the many troubling events in our world today people are asking the question, "Are we in the last days? " Interestingly 2000 years ago the disciples of Jesus Christ came to Him and asked the same question, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age. ” In Matthew 24:1-14, Jesus answered their question and predicted the events that would precede His coming and usher in the end of the age. And these signs of the time both warn us and remind us that the coming of Jesus Christ and the end of the age is very near. In the light of our Lord's return are you sure you are trusting Him as your Saviour? In the light of our Lord's return are you living for Him as your Lord? 2. Nov. 13 message: "Recapturing Your Spiritual Passion" Many people due to the hustle and bustle of life or the lure and lust of the age-you have lost their passion for God and their spiritual life is dry and heart is cold. Maybe your spiritual life is but a flicker of what it used to be but this is not a place you want to be. And maybe you have been wondering-‘how can I recapture my love and passion for God? ” “How can my heart be set on fire again? ” That's what our message in Titus 2:11-15 is all about. Are you tired of going through spiritual motions? Do you want His love for you to ignite your love for Him?
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So turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Matthew, Matthew chapter 24. We are going to look, I believe, at a very, very familiar passage of Scripture. It is a great prophetic passage. So I want to speak this morning on the subject: Are we in the last days? Are we in the last days?
I heard a story that once there was a little boy who loved to go to his grandmother's house. He loved to go to his grandmother's house at lunchtime because not only did he love the wonderful lunches that his grandmother made, but the grandmother had this wonderful, beautiful and large grandfather clock in the living room and little boy loved to hear that clock chime. And you know it was one of those clocks that chimed every hour on the hour, and it chimed according to the hour.
So he loved to be there at 12 o'clock because he loved to hear that clock chime 12 times. One thing he did not know is that something had gone wrong with the inner mechanisms in that clock and so when it hit 12, instead of chiming 12 times, it went 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 times and the kid was excited and he ran to the kitchen and he said, “Grandma,” he said, “grandma, it is later than it has ever been before.”
But you know that's an apt description of the days in which we live – it is later than it has ever been before. Do you know there's never been a generation closer to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ than this generation? It is true. In fact, the recent natural disasters that have taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people over the last few years, the constant threat of global terrorism, the rise of ISIS, the continued struggle in Syria and in Iraq, you know the struggling economies of our world, the senseless violence that seems to grip nation after nation, the unbelievable elections in the United States… Don't ask me about that afterwards, okay? Please don't ask me about that.
But all these troubling events have caused many people to ask the question: “Are we in the last days?” Do you know 2000 years ago, the disciples came to Jesus and they asked Him that very same question: “Lord, are we in the last days?” In fact, they put it this way in Matthew 24 in verse three, the disciples came to Jesus and they said, “Jesus, tell us what will be the sign of Your coming and the end of the age.”
Signs of the End of the Age
And Matthew chapter 24 records the Lord's answer to that question. In answering that question, He reveals to the disciples and thus reveals to us today, some of the signs that would precede the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and usher in the end of the age. And did you know that when we come to talk about this subject, the return of the Lord, did you know that the return of Jesus Christ is, without a doubt, the most often taught truth in Scripture?
You know, there are 300 prophecies concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and every one of those prophecies have been wonderfully and amazingly fulfilled. But do you realize that for every one prophecy concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there are 20 prophecies concerning His second coming? And it stands to reason that if all those prophecies concerning His first coming have been wonderfully and amazingly fulfilled, then we can expect with the same certainty that all those prophecies concerning His second coming, likewise, will be fulfilled because the Bible as you well know is an amazing book, is it not? Because the Bible is the only book that dares to predict the future and its accurate predictions prove to us its absolute truthfulness.
In fact, the Bible, it is not just a book of history and thus we should not teach it that way. It is not just a book of morality; it is not just a book of rules and regulations that God has given to supposedly, you know, ruin our fun and rain on our parade. But the Bible is much, much more than that. The Bible is a divinely inspired Book and within this Book that we call the Bible, God has clearly revealed to us signs of the times, reminders that we as the people of God live in the last days and that Jesus Christ is coming again.
And I want you to know something, this is an important message because the return of the Lord is a reminder to us, it's a warning that Jesus is coming again. It's God reminding us that the day is about us, but the night is soon coming and we must work, we must serve. We must live for the Lord today while we have the opportunity to do so because we may not have an opportunity tomorrow. That's why the return of the Lord is left in the Scripture. It's there to remind us that we all must be certain of our souls' salvation, we must be confident that we are on the way to heaven, we must be sure that we are living our life for the purpose of pleasing God, rather than pleasing self.
So let's stop for a moment and let's take a look at Matthew chapter 24. In answering this question, Jesus gives to the disciples and thus He gives to us this morning some signs of the times, reminding us that we are, without a doubt, in the last days and the coming of Jesus Christ is very near. So here are some signs. Now, we are not going to touch with all of them in Matthew 24 but we will just highlight a few, alright.
1. Deception and the Rise of False Christs
So Matthew chapter 24 and beginning in verse four and verse five, Jesus gives us the first sign of the times. He says that one of the signs that will precede His coming and the end of the age is that there will be a rise of false messiahs that will speak forth deceptive words.
In fact, Jesus put it this way in verse four and five. He said to His disciples (remember now He's answering the question of verse three), He said, “Take heed that nobody deceives you because many will come in My Name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.” Do you know what is fascinating about this very first prophecy is… Do you realize that before the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no record anywhere in human history of anyone ever claiming to be the Messiah?
Did you catch that? When Jesus spoke these words, one of the signs of the times, one of the reminders that I am coming again, is that there will be false messiahs. Do you realize there's never been, there had never been a false Messiah? In fact, the first false Messiah, the first person ever to rise upon the scene of human history and claim to be the resurrected or the coming Christ occurred 133 years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In fact, a Jewish historian [C.G. Montefiore] put it this way. He said, “Of false Messiahs,” he says, “we know of none amongst the Jews until Bar Cochba in A.D. 133.” This is the first false messiah ever to come upon the scene of human history. In fact, that's why it is commonly taught that, that which is true always precedes that which is false. In fact, one reason we know that Jesus is the Messiah, is because false prophets have come after Him claiming to be what He is. Are you with me?
A little too heavy this morning without a latte in your hand right? You guys with me this morning? False messiahs, you know it is interesting too, by way of history. It is said that from the resurrection of Jesus Christ up till about 1950, there is probably one false messiah every 100 years. So every 100 years, somewhere you know in the known world, someone claimed to be the second coming of Jesus Christ.
But what is fascinating since 1950, there has been a slew. In fact, it is said today that there are nearly, in nearly every single country in the world today, there is somebody who claims to be the resurrected Messiah. Somewhere out there alright, in every single country, there's somebody, there's been an unbelievable glut of men who've claimed to be the second coming, or the resurrected Christ.
Let me just give you a sampling, alright. We won't go through all the countries in the world today and point these men out, but let me just give you a very quick sampling today of men who've claimed to be the Messiah. For example, in the United States, we have seen over the years, men such as David Koresh, Jim Jones and Charles Manson who claimed to be the Messiah and as a result have deceived many. In fact, one of the most popular countries of false messiahs, believe it or not, is South Korea.
How many of you remember the name Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church? Anybody that are about my age, alright, or older, you'll know that. My age and younger, I don't know if you know that. He just died a couple of years ago but the Unification Church, here's a man who claimed to be the Messiah, he claimed to be Jesus Christ, been around for 50 years and it's called the Unification Church, with about some 3 million members.
In fact, one of the most important and most popular cults today, likewise, flows out of South Korea; and by name, it is called and this is a mouthful, they call themselves the World Mission Society Church of God. Did you catch that? You'll never remember it, but there it is again, the World Mission Society Church of God. It flows out of South Korea. Its founder, Ahn Sahng-hong claims to be Jesus Christ, claims to be the Messiah who would come again. His wife claims to be the mother god. Are you with me?
And they are everywhere – they are on your university campuses, they are in our cities. In fact, they have a membership of some 2 million people and have over 3000 churches around the world. My niece, my brother's daughter is a member of that church. In fact, she is this beautiful blonde haired, very white American girl and she got involved in this cult, and Ahn Sahng-hong and mother god determined she was going to marry this Korean guy. She married this Korean guy, he doesn't speak English and she doesn't speak Korean.
It's a sign of the time. In fact, it's a heartbreak for this preacher. It's a sign of the time; it's a reminder that we are living in the last days.
Here's another one close to home. How about this name and those who are Filipinos, you'll know this name. How about Apollo Quiboloy, who bases out of the kingdom of God in Davao? The city of Davao, by the way, which is the home of the present president of the Philippines, right? Apollo Quiboloy claims to be the Messiah, and believe it or not, he has a worldwide membership of over 6 million people and growing.
Here's another one, out of Russia today. His name is Sergey Torop and has a following about some 50,000 people and we can go on and on and on. The fact that we have seen, in the last 50 years, an unbelievable rise of men who claimed to be the Messiah, teaching their deception, is a reminder to us that the coming of Jesus Christ is very near. In fact, it's also a reminder to us that Satan is working hard, to prepare the people of this world for the coming Antichrist.
By the way, that's important. Every false messiah is satanically energized and has Satan preparing the people of this world for the coming of the Antichrist, but this is, without a doubt, a sign of the time, a reminder that Jesus Christ is coming again.
2. Wars and Rumors of Wars
Here's another sign of the time. Jesus told us in Matthew 24 verse six and seven that there will be wars and rumors of wars. Now listen to what He said. He said, “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars,” He says, “don't be troubled for such things must happen but the end is not yet.” Alright, it's a sign that Jesus is coming. He says, “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and these are,” He says, “the beginning of sorrows.”
Now, here's a point of prophecy that we don't always get. You know, when Jesus made the statement here, for nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, He was using a Hebrew idiom and it simply means this, it refers to the world at war. In other words, Jesus was saying this, one of the signs of the times and a reminder that My coming is very near, is when you see the world at war.
Now, let me ask you a question: When was the First World War? When did it occur? Well, for you historians, you know, the First World War occurred between the years of 1914 and 1918 and we call it World War I. And so, it is commonly believed today amongst prophecy scholars that World War I ushered us into what we know it today as the last of the last days and what is fascinating is, since World War I there has been a war, there's been a war somewhere every single day on our planet.
And whether we know it or not, do you realize the world today is preparing for that war of all wars? That mother of all wars will be called the battle of Armageddon. I'm sure you're familiar with the battle of Armageddon. This is the battle that will immediately precede the coming of Jesus Christ at the second coming and the Bible tells us that this battle of Armageddon is so fierce, it is so devastating that it will affect nearly every nation, every city and kill one third of every single person on our planet.
In fact, Jesus tells us in this passage, Matthew 24 and verse 22, that the battle of Armageddon is so fierce, that if He didn't come and stop this battle, He says in verse 22, that not a single person would survive. In fact, He says that no flesh would be saved and yet what is interesting as well, when we talk about this idiom, the world at war, the battle of Armageddon, Revelation chapter 18 and verse 10 reminds us that during the battle of Armageddon, we are told that the city of Babylon will be destroyed in one hour.
Now the city of Babylon can refer to either the city of Rome or it can refer to the continent of Europe, but it really doesn't matter because do you realize the ability to destroy a city or a continent in one hour was not possible up to a few years ago? Are you with me?
The Bible says during the battle of Armageddon, the city of Rome or the continent of Europe will be destroyed in an hour. In fact, do you realize that was not possible when those words were spoken in Revelation 18 verse 10, but they are possible today? In fact, it wasn't until 1935 that German scientists were able to split the atom and when they split the atom, they created what we know today as the atomic bomb.
The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, ending the Second World War in 1945 but do you realize in an instant, two thirds of that city were levelled and sadly, 70,000 lives immediately perished. And today we do not use atomic weapons, but today we use nuclear weapons.
It is said that one nuclear bomb is 35,000 times stronger than that atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, ending the Second World War in 1945. Isn't that amazing? And it's also said that just 20 nuclear weapons could destroy 75% of North America in one hour. In fact, I don't know if you know this name, general Colin Powell. He was the joint Chief of Staff of the United State military. He made this quite shocking statement and I quote, he said, “The Soviet Union still remains the one country in the world that could destroy the entire world with nuclear weapons in one hour.” And it was a late President of the United States, a man by the name of Ronald Reagan said, “Man has used every weapon he has ever devised.” He said, “It takes no crystal ball to perceive that a nuclear war is likely and in nuclear war, all mankind would lose.”
My friend, shocking statements but do you realize, the fact that we have the ability to destroy ourselves in an hour is a reminder, friends, that we are living in the last days and the coming of Jesus Christ is very near. It's a sign of the time. Friends, you, we, we are last-day believers; and friends, listen, if this world is going to be reached for the gospel, we need to start living like it.
We are living, without a doubt, in the last days and friends here's something, I just, I want to, can I scare you a little bit? You are saying this is, this is like overwhelming. There are thousands of nuclear weapons out there, many of those in the hands of rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran. And the words of Ronald Reagan ring true, man has always used every weapon man has ever devised. This is a sign of the time. It is a reminder that the coming of Jesus Christ is very near.
3. Famines and Pestilence
Here's a third sign today. It is simply a sign of famines and pestilence, diseases. Jesus put it this way in verse seven. Notice what He said. He said, “There will be famines and there will be pestilence in various places.”
Famines… It is said today that 23… two thirds of the world, two thirds of all people, are undernourished. Every single day, 35,000 children die of starvation. That's 400 million people every single year die from some form of malnutrition and things aren't getting better. In fact, it is said that there is… that demand always overrule supply. In fact, with 80 million people being added to our planet every single year, the situation is only getting more desperate, it's only getting worse.
In fact, it always amazes me when I read that 400 million people every year die of some kind of, form of malnutrition, whether it be dirty water or not enough food to satisfy their hungry tummy. Isn't it amazing? Does that amaze you? Does it shock you? It shocks me because, I mean, we live in an unbelievable world. I mean you could be sitting here, on your handphone texting while I'm preaching. Now I'm not, I'm not, I'm not being mean and that was not a subtle way of saying, put your phone down and listen to the preacher. It's not what I'm saying, alright?
But you know, I can see you out there… Hey, you're just flipping through the verses that I'm quoting in your Bible; I get it, right. But you know you can be on your handphone, you can send messages at the speed of light. Amazing? Hey, I'm old enough to know… Remember when you had to try to find a pay phone, and I remember beepers, then I remember handphones. Now I'm not talking flip phones, I'm talking about handphones that you have to hold with two hands. Anybody my age can identify and then I remember the little Nokias, right. And we thought, wow man, we have really come into the modern age and we got the flip phones and all of a sudden, Steven Jobs gave us the smart phone.
It's amazing. Now the phones are… I mean, it's a crazy, but you know, technology is amazing, isn't it? I mean we can send a man on the moon, but friends, we cannot solve the problem of a hungry stomach and we cannot solve the problem of clean water. You know why, because it's a sign of the time and Jesus says, as we get closer to His return, things will only get worse. But not just famines, notice He also talks about pestilence, diseases.
It is amazing today that in the last 20 years, we've seen an unbelievable comeback of old diseases and when they come back, they come back with a new tenacity, many of them resistant to the old drugs. And we… and you know, it seems like every year, something new comes upon the scene. You know, in fact, the World Health Organization recently said that in 2010, cancer will take… had started taking the life out of… one out of every two people on the planet. I mean, it's the number one killer of mankind. One out of every two people on the planet will die of some form of cancer.
Of course, many of us, maybe not all of us, but many of us remember the day AIDS hit the scene of humanity, it was in 1981. Do you remember where you were in 1981? I do. I was working in a hotel in San Francisco and I remember, you know I remember when AIDS came, and this was a very, very, very decadent, immoral city. And I'll tell you what, it put the fear, sadly it didn't put the fear of God in people, but it put fear in the heart of people.
But do you realise since its inception in 1981, over 70 million people have been infected with the HIV virus, 39 million people have died and 40 million people are still infected with the HIV virus? In fact, the World Health Organization said it's still one of the 10 leading causes of death and listen to this, it is, AIDS is still today the number one killer of young people between the ages of 25 and 45, which means, friends, if you live an immoral life, I want you to know something, you're taking your life in your hands because it is the number one killer amongst young people between the ages of 25 and 45. Beware, but it is a sign of the time, it's a reminder that the coming of Jesus Christ is very near.
Here's another sign. Jesus reminded us that when we hear of earthquakes, it's a reminder that Jesus Christ is coming again. In fact, listen to what Jesus said here in verse seven. He said, “There will be earthquakes in various places.” Now I understand that we have always had earthquakes, but it is important to realize from a Biblical point of view that earthquakes have always been a sign of God's coming judgment. Are you with me? They have always been a sign of God's coming judgment.
Do you remember when Sodom and Gomorrah would not repent of their sin, God judged the nation by bringing an earthquake? Remember when Jesus was being judged for the sins of the world upon that cross, the Bible says that the earth quaked, because earthquakes have always and they still are a sign of God's coming judgment.
Now, please know this. Let's just… I just want to get this straight in your mind, earthquakes today are not God judging the world. I just want that to sink in, it's not God judging the world. Sometimes in our piety, we say, ah you know, we remember that earthquake that hit Japan and all of a sudden 20,000 people died. We say God's judging Japan, you know, because they are atheistic or a nation that has turned its back on God. You know, that's not true. Earthquakes are not God judging the world; they're a sign that God is going, one day, to judge the world. Are you with me?
Hey, listen to this. Do you know the first time Jesus Christ came, Jesus Christ came to be our Savior? But the next time Jesus Christ comes, He is not coming to be man's Savior but He is coming to be man's Judge. And every time the earth quakes, it's a reminder from God that He is coming to be our Judge. He's telling us, “Wake up!” He is saying, “Get ready!” He is telling the unsaved world, “Hey, this is real! I am coming and I'm coming to be your Judge!”
We live in the age of grace today, the Spirit of God is still present and He is moving. But you see, when Jesus Christ comes, the Spirit of God is gone, the Christians are gone and God sets up His throne and there He judges the world and He separates the sheep from the goats. So earthquakes are not God judging, but they are a reminder that God will one day judge the world.
And what is interesting is that prior to 1950, science tells us that killer earthquakes – these are quakes that are 7+ in magnitude – were very rare, but from 1950 onward there's been an incredible increase in killer earthquakes. For example, let me just give you a quick one to, just to refresh your memory of what we've seen in the last few years.
Do you remember on December 26, 2004, in the Indian Ocean we had that undersea earthquake that produced a tsunami which took the lives of over 300,000 people? It's been recorded now as the second largest natural disaster in modern history, the fourth largest undersea earthquake in modern history. A few years later, we saw an earthquake in Haiti and 223,000 people were killed. In fact, that was the worst natural disaster in the Americas. Amazingly a few days later, another earthquake struck, this time in Chile, and it says hundreds were killed. The only reason hundreds were killed, not thousands, is because it would… it occurred in a remote area, not in a populated place like Haiti, but it was 63 times stronger than that earthquake that hit Haiti, which made it the 5th largest earthquake in modern history.
Then of course, we all remember on March 11, 2011, that undersea earthquake that hit Japan and 20,000 people were killed. You know that was the largest earthquake in Japanese history, the fourth largest in modern history. In fact, listen to this. Do you realize that that earthquake that hit Japan was so powerful that it moved the northern part of Japan 15 feet closer towards the United States, 15 feet out into the Pacific Ocean? It dropped 2 feet into the ocean. It was so powerful it stopped the rotation of the earth for 1.3 microseconds and shifted the axis of the earth by 6.5 inches.
Do you think God was trying to get man's attention? Do you think God was trying to speak to us, you think God is trying to say something? Friends, absolutely. Because every time the earth quakes, it's God trying to arrest our attention, it's God trying to wake us up, it's God saying something. It's God saying, “Listen, I, right now, I am your Savior so you need to trust Me and you need to begin living for Me but I'm coming again and when I come, I'm coming to be man's Judge, so you better get ready.”
Friends, every time we hear of an earthquake, every time we read about it in our morning paper or we see them in the evening news, friends, it should stir us to fall upon our knees and say, “Lord, am I ready for Your return,” because that's what these signs of the times are all about, that's what it's for, not just to, you know, to tantalize our mind. It's not just to give us a moment of excitement. They are there to change our lives and draw us closer to our Savior that when He comes, friends, He might find us doing what He wants us to do, that we might not be ashamed. It's a sign of the time, a reminder; the coming of Jesus Christ is very near.
5. The Persecution of Believers
Here's another sign, just a few more, and then we'll wind it up, alright? I didn't say we will be done, I said we are going to wind it up. Okay, we've got to be careful, right? Here's another sign. It's called, I want to call it just simply the persecution of believers. In fact, Jesus put it this way in verse nine and verse 10. He says, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you and you will be hated by all nations for My name sake. And then many will be offended, they will betray one another and will hate one another.”
Talking about persecution, you see, one of the signs of the times is that there will be a growing hatred for Christianity as we get closer and closer and closer to the return of the Lord. In fact, it is estimated today that every single year, 150,000 people lose their life because of their relationship with Jesus Christ. That's 400 people every single day are persecuted, they lose their life because they classify themselves as a born-again believer. In fact, it is said today that there are 102 countries of the world today where Christians are either persecuted or hated.
In fact, Christianity is the single most persecuted religion in the world today. Are you with me? And friends, all you have to do is read carefully your newspapers. In fact, I'm not sure you're familiar with this organization, it's called Open Doors. Open Doors is a global organization that monitors persecution around the world and they just recently made the statement and I quote, they say, “Christian persecution is increasing at an accelerated rate. Persecution used to mean several years in a forced labour camp but now it means watching your loved ones being beheaded.”
Let me just give you a sampling, for a moment, of some of the persecution that we are seeing around the world today and these things simply come from your magazines and your newspapers, things that I have gleaned, things that you can glean too. But, here's what's happening. In Somalia, anyone suspected of being a Christian is killed on the spot. Imagine that.
It is said in 2014, 100,000 Christians fled the town of Mosul in Iraq. Have you read, did you read your paper today? Mosul is always on the front page or at least, it's within the first few pages always, something always going on in Mosul. It's said in 2014, 100,000 Christians fled the town of Mosul in Iraq when ISIS invaded for fear of being captured and eventually beheaded.
Since 2011, 700,000 Christians have fled Syria for fear of being abducted and killed. In the Sudan today, the government has attacked Christians with targeted bombing and it turns a blind eye when a Christian is killed by anyone. In Nigeria, thousands of Christians have been killed and those who've been allowed to live are treated as second-class citizens, denied access to schools, clean water and health care. And something I'm sure you're well familiar of an… On April 2014, Nigerian-based Boko Haram kidnapped 300 Christian schoolgirls. Remember the story, because just a few of them got released a few weeks ago? And these 300 schoolgirls were forced to convert to Islam and they were held as sex slaves. Friends, this is a sign of the time.
The fact that we see, you know, radicals today marching in the capital of Jakarta is a sign of the time. Why are they, why are they, why are they marching, because a Christian mayor said something that they believe to be inflammatory about their holy book and so they are marching. Friends, you realize 10 years ago we didn't see that happening. 20 years ago, it was unheard of. Today, you say anything, you know, that, you know, any Christian says anything and all of a sudden, there's a riot. It's a sign of the times and you might be thinking yourself, “Yah but you know, I live in this beautiful country called Singapore, this industrialized nation. That would never happen to me here.”
But remember this, persecution takes many different forms. It does. Speak out against immorality and you're hated, stand up for traditional marriages and you're branded a bigot, claim that Jesus is the way to truth and life and no man come to the Father except by Him and you are called a narrow-minded religious fanatic. And friends, that in alone is persecution and yet it is a sign of the time. And friends, all that we see today going on in the newspapers, with all of immorality issues and so on and so forth, friends, these are just signs of the times. They are reminders that the coming of Jesus Christ is very near; it's the Lord telling us, “You need to get ready.”
Friends, you need to have your Christian life in order, you need to be doing what God has called you to do today because you might not have a chance to do it tomorrow. Jesus Christ is coming again and these are, without a doubt, signs of the times.
6. The Gospel Preached to the Entire World
Here's another sign and by the way, this is the last one. This does not mean the message is over, so do not get excited, okay. This is the last sign, then we are going to sum it up, alright. But here's what Jesus said and I love this and this is… this will get us excited, okay. The gospel will be preached in the entire world and the Bible says and then Jesus Christ will come again.
Listen to what He said – Matthew 24 in verse 14. Jesus said, “And this Gospel,” and by the way, what is the Gospel? The Gospel is that message concerning Christ; it's the message that concerns His death, His burial and His resurrection, the fact that He came to be the Savior of mankind. This Gospel, the Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Notice He did not say that the entire world need to be saved before Jesus Christ comes, that's not what He is saying. All He is saying is that the world needs to have an access to the Gospel, are you with me? And yet here's some good news, alright. Can I give you some good news? Yes! Alright, here it is. Good news, do you realise that Christianity today is growing at three times the birth rate? That means for every one person born physically into this world, three people are born again. It's good news, right. You know, that's good news. Here is some better news, here's some gooder news on top of good news and I was betting with my wife, she'd kill me for that tip.
Here it is. It is said today that 98% of our world today, due to technology whether it be through films, radio or the Internet, have access to the Gospel in their own language. Did you hear me? 98% of the world today have access to the Gospel of some form in their own language. You know what that means to me? It means that we are very, very close to the return of the Lord because truly, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is presently being preached to the whole world and Jesus says when that happens, He will come again.
If you want to put a figure on that, I will say we are only 2% away from Jesus Christ coming again, if 98% of the world have access to the Gospel. I mean it is available to them. It wasn't true 50 years ago, it's true today. Doesn't mean that everybody has heard the Gospel but it's available to them if they want it, are you with me? If they seek, they shall find. So it's available. Listen, we are only 2% away from Jesus Christ coming again! This is good news.
Hey listen, do you realize that 98% of our world today has access to the Gospel? This is such good news, alright. Jesus put it this way (I love this verse in Luke 21 verse 28), Jesus said this, He says, “Now when these things begin to happen,” what things? Now these things that He just shared with us from Matthew 24, when you begin to see these things – when you begin to see the Gospel is made available to the world, when you begin to see that Christians around the world are being persecuted, when you begin to see and read and hear about earthquakes, or when you begin to see famines and pestilence, or when you begin to hear of wars and rumors of wars and when you begin to see false prophets arising on the scene deceiving many, the Bible says that we're to be doing something. What are we to be doing? He says we are to be look up, He says we are to look up, He says lift up your heads. Why, because your redemption, your Savior is drawing near and friends, I'm here to tell you that these things are being fulfilled. They are drawing near and Jesus Christ is making ready His appearance, which means we, friends, we must be ready.
Yet it is interesting that the Bible never tells us, His people, to be seeking signs. You know there's a lot of people out there running around looking for different signs of the time, but Jesus says we are not to be looking for signs. I'm just simply telling you what Jesus revealed to us. But do you realize we are not to be looking for signs, you know we are to be doing, we are to be looking for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
According to Paul and Titus chapter 2 in verse 13, we are to be looking for our great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are to be looking up, we are to be casting our eyes up, we are to be daily looking for Him to come, we are to be living in the light of His imminent return. Friends, every day when you realize today might be the last day, Jesus might come today, hey, that's how He wants us to live. That's why the information is there. That's why it's the most often taught truth in all the Scripture. He wants it to motivate us, to move us. He wants us to live in the light of this glorious truth that He is coming again and church, hey, He's coming again.
I heard the story of an old preacher by the name of Robert Murray M'Cheyne. He was captivated by the return of the Lord and he came to five of his friends and he asked each of his friends this question. He said, “Do you think Jesus Christ will come today?” And the first friend said, “I think not, not today.” He asked the second, “Do you think Jesus will come today?” And he says, “I think not, not today.” He asked the third, the fourth, the fifth and each said the same thing, “I think not, not today.” Then he had them turn in their Bibles to Matthew 24 and verse 44 and he read these words, he says, “In the hour that you think not, so comes the Son of Man.”
And friends, I'm telling you, you might be sitting there thinking, “Aah, you know, He's not gonna come today.” My friend, the Bible gives to you a warning: In that day, in that hour that you think not, so cometh the Son of Man. And friends, we must always be ready for the return of the Lord. Jesus is coming again.
Are You Ready To Meet The Lord?
In light of that truth, let me ask you a question, as we bring this to a conclusion. Since Jesus Christ is coming again and His coming is very near, I ask you a question today: Are you ready to meet the Lord? Are you ready for His return?
You see, in order for you to be ready for the return of the Lord, every one of us, we must answer two questions with a clear and a confident “yes”. Question number one, to be ready to meet the Lord, we must be trusting the Lord, are you with me? There must come that point in your life where you recognize that you are a sinner and your sin has separated you from a Holy God. But God in His great love for you sent His Son Jesus to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. Jesus came, He died upon that cross to do what, to forgive you of your sin, to remove your sin that you might come into a relationship with the God that made you and a God that desperately loves you.
So I ask you, have you made that decision? Has there been that moment in your life where you recognize that and then in faith, you trusted Jesus Christ to be your Savior to save you from sin, death and hell, because you see, friends, only when you're ready to meet the Lord, are you ready for the Lord's return. Why, because as I said earlier, He's not coming to be your Savior, He's coming to be man's Judge and if you have trusted Him as your Savior on this side of His, of His coming, then you're going to be with the Lord.
But if you haven't trusted Him on this side of His coming, then He is going to come and He is going to stand and He is going to be your Judge. At that moment, friends, you lose all opportunity of ever being saved. In fact, people often say to me, when I speak upon or talk about the return of the Lord, they say this, they say, “I'll make that decision to have Jesus Christ as my Savior when Jesus Christ comes,” are you with me? They say, “I'm going to wait.” “Wait for what?” “I'm going to wait for Jesus to come and then when Jesus Christ comes again, then I'll trust Him as my Savior.” And I say, “That's not going to happen; it doesn't work that way.”
That might sound good, but friends, it is not going to happen that way. When Jesus Christ comes, it's going to be too late because the opportunity to trust Christ is right now. It's why the Bible says today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart, as in the day of judgment. Today, if you know you need to be saved, then today make that decision to trust Him as your Savior. Today, if you know you need to have your sins forgiven, then today trust Him to be your Savior. Today, if you know that you need Him to wash away your sins, you need the hope of everlasting life, then today make that decision. Today, reach out. Today, exercise your faith. Today, call upon His Name and let Him be your Savior today.
Please, if He comes tonight, you may not have that chance tomorrow. And yet people say to me this, they say, “Well listen, it's been 2000 years, you know, Jesus hasn't come. Why is He delayed? Maybe, maybe Jesus is delayed because He's waiting, maybe He is waiting for you, because the Bible says that God is not slack as some men count slackness, but God is patient towards all men because He is not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance.
You see, maybe in His patience and His deep love, He is waiting for you. But I will say this, He is not going to wait forever and His patience will run out. That's why friends, today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. Today, if you need to make that choice, today make that choice, today trust Him as your Savior and trust Him as your Lord.
So I ask you this question today: Are you trusting the Lord? Has there been that moment of time where you have asked Jesus Christ into your life to be your Savior? Has there been that moment where you recognize that your sin has separated you from God, but in God's love for you, He sent Jesus to remove your sin to bring you into a relationship with the God that made you and a God that desperately loves you, a God that wants a relationship with you? And friends, if that's where you find yourself today, don't delay.
Jesus is coming again and if we are going to be ready for His return, number one, we need to be trusting the Lord but here's a second thought. Maybe you're here this morning and you're trusting Him, you have asked Him to be your Savior, you know your sins are forgiven, you know you have a relationship with God, then I ask you, are you living for Him? If Jesus were to come today, would your lifestyle embarrass you in His presence? If Jesus were to come today, how would He find you? Would He find you living for yourself, or would He find you living for Him? If Jesus were to come today, would, would He find you living a fruitless or a fruitful life? And friends, in the light of His imminent return and the fact that Jesus Christ is coming again, we must, we must, we must be trusting Him as our Savior, and yet we must be living for Him, allowing Him to be our Lord.
So I ask you, are you ready for the Lord's return? Friends, if you're not ready, then I invite you to get ready. In a moment, I'm going to ask us to bow our heads and to close our eyes and I'm, I'm going to give you an opportunity today. No matter who you are, I'm going to give you an opportunity today to ask Jesus Christ into your life to be your Savior and to be your Lord because I don't know where you are in your walk and relationship with God, but you do.
Maybe today, you're not certain that your sins are forgiven, you're not confident that you are on your way to heaven, you're not sure that your sins are forgiven, you're not sure that Jesus is your Savior, you're not confident that He's going to, He's going to, you're going to be ready for His return. But today, you want to settle that matter with God. If you want to settle that matter with God, then I want to invite you to pray with me a very simple prayer of faith.
The Bible says that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved and they will be ready when the Lord returns. And for those who are today ready because you're trusting Him, I ask you are you living for the Lord? And maybe today there's something that stands between you and your Savior today, so maybe today God want you to repent of that sin and allow Jesus Christ again the right to rule and to reign in your life.
Friends, the night is coming when no man can work. The day is coming when we will never have another opportunity to trust Him. The day is coming when we will not have the opportunity to get things right with God; the opportunity to do business with God is when God is doing business with us. So maybe you today need to do business to God, whatever it may be, receiving Him as your Savior today or simply recommitting yourself to Him, allowing Him to be the Lord of your life. Listen, in the light of His imminent return, will you get ready, will you get ready to meet the Lord, will you get ready now, will you get ready today?
Let's bow our heads for a word of prayer, shall we? With every head bowed and every eye closed, Lord, we just want to say thank You this morning for Your goodness and Your grace to us. Lord, thank You today that You are not on that cross; that cross is empty. You're not in that tomb, for it's silent because You've defeated sin, death and hell on our behalf. Today, You reign on that throne on high. Lord, we thank You that You died for us.
Lord, I want to pray today for… Maybe there are some in this audience today that, they're not certain that their sins are forgiven, they are not confident they're on their way to heaven, they do not remember that time where they have placed their faith and their trust in You and received You to be their Savior from sin. Lord, I pray that if there are some like that today, that the Spirit of God would take the Word of God and speak to their hearts and today, that You'll draw them to Yourself, that today for them would be that day of salvation.
So with your heads bowed and your eyes closed just for a moment, maybe that's where you find yourself today, maybe you're here this morning and you're not certain your sins are forgiven, not confident that you're on your way to heaven, but God has spoken to your heart, because you're not certain you'd be ready for the Lord to return today but you want to get ready and you know, getting ready demands that you recognize that you're a sinner separated from God because of your sin. God in His love for you sent Jesus to die upon that cross for your sin. He died to remove your sin, to forgive you of your sin, to bring you into a relationship with the God that made you, but in order to have that relationship, the Bible says you must make a choice and that's a choice to believe.
For the Scripture says, for God so loved the world, that's you, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that's Jesus, and that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. And so maybe today, you need to make that choice to believe, you need to repent of your sin and you need to receive Jesus Christ into your life, to be your Savior and to be your Lord. If you are here like that today, you've raised your hand or maybe you haven't raised your hand but you know you need to make that decision, then I invite you right now to pray this very simple prayer of faith and please note, prayer is not a Savior, prayer can't save you. The prayer is you calling upon God and you asking God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself; that's why the Bible says “whosoever shall call”. You need to call upon the Lord, and I want to help you do that right now.
So if you've raised your hand and you want to make that decision, I invite you then to pray this very simple prayer of faith with me. This prayer, pray it honestly, pray it accurately. God will come, He'll wash away your sins, He'll give you everlasting life. So if you've raised your hand or you need to make this decision, then I invite you right now, to pray this prayer of faith with me, say this:
Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner and I know there's a penalty for my sin, but I believe in Your love for me. Jesus Christ came and died for me; He died to remove my sin and to give me everlasting life. So please forgive me of my sin, enable me to turn from my sin and I receive Jesus into my life, to be my Savior and to be my Lord, to save me from my sin right now.
Lord, I want to pray for every person today who's prayed that very simple prayer of faith. Would You grant to them that wonderful witness of the Holy Spirit? Lord, let them know that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved from their sin and have everlasting life. Fill them with Your Spirit, enable them to walk and to live for You. And Lord, for the rest of us who have trusted You, Lord, I pray that we would be living for You. Lord, take Your Word this morning and speak to our hearts, and do Your work, we ask and we ask it in Jesus' Name. Amen.
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