Sunday 22nd November

Service Transcript & Video

Do not fear the future even though it feels unsafe and uncertain… because our GOD is totally in charge and fully in control of all that lies ahead.   Matthew 24

 

Do you ever read the Warning that comes in small writing in the box of tablets or medicines if you’re taking any..??

Don’t!!    It would freak you out completely.

Read info label…

This medicine may cause sweats, nausea, dizziness, sleepiness, constipation (never good), heartburn, strokes, heart attack…

You think to yourself…

Why am I taking this stuff?? 

What am I trying to do… make myself better or kill myself!!

 

As we look ahead of us we realise that we are staring into the face of the most difficult and uncertain Winter of our lives..

All we want to know is.. 

When are things going to get better??

When are we going to get a vaccine?

When is life going to get back to normal??

That’s what YOU want to know… isn’t it??

BUT what if… 

what if things don’t get better?

What if things do get worse??

Q. Does anybody really know what lies up ahead for us??

Q. Is anybody really in charge of our world… or 

are we simply spinning way out of control??

 

Let’s read the Bible and hear what Jesus actually has to say to us about the WAY this world is going ….

and let’s hear HIS instructions to us…on how we are to live  when life in this world gets really tough and difficult.

 

           Read Matthew 24 v 1-14 & 42 -44

 

There was No doubt about it… The Temple in Jesus day… was an absolutely stunning piece of architecture..… absolutely glorious. 

A Massive, dazzling, awe inspiring sight… built with white marble and plated with gold that shone in the midday sun. 

No wonder the disciples of Jesus were struck with awe and wonder…as they gazed on those Temple buildings.

No wonder they were totally shocked when JESUS told them that this fantastic building would one day be reduced to rubble.. Total destruction..

   Look   v2. NOT one stone…every one… thrown down.. 

This  whole thing would come crashing down to the ground!

Some of the stones measured 20-40 feet and weighed 400 tons… metric equivalents..

 

There is simple symbolic sadness in the opening verse that is so easy to miss …   v1…  as Jesus turns His back and walks away from the Temple…  

because HIS sacrificial death upon the Cross in just a few days time…  would spell the end of this Temple and all that went on there.

I love what Tim Keller says… Jesus is the priest to end all priests, the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, the temple to end all Temples…

NOW through that precious death of JESUS upon the Cross…and HIS glorious resurrection… He replaces everything that the Temple represented and pointed the Jewish people towards..… 

Little did those first disciples realise that this was the end of their beloved Temple they held in such awe and wonder.

because the Temple, that was for the Jewish people… the VERY heart of Israel and the heart of Israel’s worship of GOD… was about to break!

And break it did. 

In AD 70 the Roman army, under Titus, laid siege to the city of Jerusalem and eventually broke through those HUGE walls and some 97,000 people were captured and over 1 million were slain in a terrible holocaust.

 

In these moments…   JESUS was preparing His disciples for some terrible times that lay ahead of them… 

But…

He was also assuring them and HE is re-assuring us…. 

that No matter how terrible things get… 

No matter how painful and chaotic this world becomes… 

God knows exactly what lies ahead for us…

God has things planned out…through the chaos.

GOD is totally in control of the future…

YOU can sleep tonight in peace.  

GOD is GOD and God is on the throne! 

 

The disciples are just like us…

They have so many questions and…  They want answers(v3)

  1. Q. When are these things going to happen? When is this Temple going to come crashing to the ground.?

           The Answer Jesus gives is  in  v 15- 35

  1. What will be the sign of your coming (Parousia) and the end of this age?/ this world as we know it (v4-14 & 36-51)

You see…You need to understand that the  Jewish people believed that when the Messiah came… that He would bring to an end this present age… and  that  his coming would usher in a glorious NEW AGE….

 A golden NEW AGE in which Israel would once again become the powerful, political, military Nation that  had once dominated the world  under King David… their greatest ever King…

The disciples are expecting that JESUS, in HIS lifetime … VERY SOON…  would be catapulted into power and lead the Nation into glorious Victory over the Roman Empire who were oppressing them… 

They’d even see a tiny glimpse of it on Palm Sunday when the whole city was stirred (21v10) and people welcomed JESUS in wild excitement as their Messianic King upon a donkey. (Matt 21)

 

Not in their wildest dreams did they imagine  that in just 4 days time.. JESUS would be crucified, dead and buried… and so would all their Messianic dreams of greatness..

 

They have absolutely NO conception that JESUS will rise from the dead on Easter Sunday morning…in glorious resurrection power… 

That he will be exalted to the Father’s Right hand on the VERY throne of Heaven…. and 

He will come again to end this age… this world as we know it.. and USHER in HIS Kingdom rule to earth in all it’s fullness and power..

You have got to see v 4-14 in this context…

 JESUS is preparing His disciples.. His church, His people in all ages…. for the battles that will rage between the time of HIS leaving for Heaven  in 6 weeks time… 

until 

His return to earth and the wrapping up of this world as we know it…  whenever that is going to be..

These aren’t  prophetic words of doom and gloom of how bad things are going to get…. 

These are words of JESUS to strengthen and encourage us as believers living in this fractured, broken, sinful world… 

to courageously follow Him in every generation…

to persevere and NOT give up  and 

to watch and to wait with hearts full of expectancy and eagerness…. because He is coming back again and His coming again will usher in a brand NEW Kingdom… a whole New age… a glorious NEW world..

Here’s His message to His disciples in every generation:

 

1.Watch out… don’t be deceived by false teachers, preachers and fake Messiah’s. v 4-5, v11 and v23-24.

Look at v 4-5.

Watch out for the counterfeit teachers, preachers, miracle workers and Messiah imitators… 

Here’s the frightening thing says Jesus… 

v5 There will be MANY of them… and they will deceive MANY people..

v11 and MANY false prophets.. deceive MANY people.

V24 false Christs, false prophets and preachers…  deceiving even genuine believers if that is possible…

Crowds of people… spectacular displays… spiritual guru’s that come across as so credible and yet at heart are really counterfeit leaders…

Watch out.. Don’t be deceived… says JESUS.

The Apostle Paul warned the believers in Corinth in his day  and his warning is just as valid  for us to-day.

2 Corinthians 11v 13- 15  NLT

“These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.  But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.”

It is so easy to get misled. SO…

What’s the best defense?? 

Get into God’s WORD. Get a firm grip of GOD’s WORD and let God’s WORD get a firm grip of you..

 Let the Bible shape who you are.. how you think and let it transform how you live your life every day.

Know God and know HIS WORD.

LOVE GOD and love His WORD.

Obey GOD and obey HIS WORD.

I often say.. We believe in the miraculous. We believe in the supernatural. BUT we are NOT into the flashy and the spectacular. We are into GOD’s WORD and letting GOD’s truth get into us and change us.

Q. Are YOU reading your Bible and listening to GOD so that you can live it out in your everyday.

Q. is this Person that I think is so wonderful drawing me closer to JESUS and deeper into HIS WORD?

 

2.Don’t be alarmed and terrified when you see the whole world being shaken by wars, famines and all kinds of disasters.  v6-7

In Luke’s version of this he actually mentions pandemics/ pestilences  (Lk 21v11) stuff like covid 19.

It’s NOT just the Temple and  the religious world that is going to be shattered and shaken… says JESUS.

The whole world is breaking.. fractured, warring, fighting. The earth itself seems to be breaking up… breaking down.. Earthquakes.. famines… pandemics…are throwing our whole world into chaos and disruption… Everything that can be shaken is being shaken so that only that which can’t be shaken will remain. 

Hebrews 12v 26-27 tells us…

“When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.”

Q. Are you fearful by the things that are going on across our world these days…?

Jesus says v 6

“You will hear of wars… BUT see to it that You are NOT alarmed…. frightened… fearful…. Such things MUST happen… but the end is still to come.”/ still a way off!!

When my teacher in school said to me.. 

Little.. see to it that your homework is on my desk first thing tomorrow morning… that wasn’t a take it or leave it option…

It was saying…

This needs your full attention… Take this seriously!!

These are pregnancy birth pains… baby contractions…preparing you for the glorious arrival of a brand new life..  This is pain… BUT it’s GOOD NEWS PAIN…  The time for the baby to come is getting closer… (v8) 

 BUT it’s only the beginning of the baby pains.. 

the final push.. the actual birth is still some way off!!

 The end (GK teleos) the goal… the return of Christ… the breaking in of the Kingdom of GOD in all it’s fullness at the end of the world when JESUS returns…  is still to come..

Don’t be frightened by the fighting, the natural disasters, the covid type pandemics…

In the planning and purposes of GOD.. who is fully in control of everything…

These things MUST happen…. 

Trust Him… Go to sleep tonight in peace knowing that GOD is awake… 

HE  is working out HIS purposes in our generation and NOTHING can separate you from HIS love in Christ Jesus..

Q. When you see all the destruction, the suffering and the pain across our  caused by tsunami’s, earthquakes, famines and Covid type pandemics … does it make you question GOD’s love or does it throw YOU  in  deeper dependency and trust upon Him?? 

 

 

3.Stand firm in the faith, don’t lose HOPE, remain faithful to JESUS right to the very end. You will be saved.v9-14

There both a serious warning and also a glorious promise in these verses 9-13

It’s NEVER been easy to be a genuine follower of JESUS. Since the beginnings of Christianity in Acts…. there ALWAYS has been …and there always will be….  a COST if you and I want to wholeheartedly and unreservedly follow JESUS against the flow of our culture… 

And Jesus is always totally up front about that.NEVER ever tries to hide it. Following JESUS is NOT the popular and cool option…  in school… in life… 

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” John 15v 18-19

‘Open Doors’ is such a wonderful organization because it supports Christian believers who are suffering terrible persecution and intimidation for simply following Jesus Christ as Saviour and LORD…

 We are seeing in the West  increasing hostility  and antagonism towards Jesus and HIS Message in the Bible.

The Gospel teachings, values and ethics are being viewed as regressive, repressive and intolerable in a society where self is KING and an individuals right to choose to live as they please is paramount.

Under the pressures of an increasingly hostile secularism and individualism…many younger and older people are turning away from JESUS because the pressures from their family or friends are too great.

V10 -12… MANY.. MANY.. MOST 

NOT just an occasional Christian backsliding… the love of MOST for JESUS will grow cold.

Q. How would you describe Your love for JESUS right now??

Q. If we were to take each other’s spiritual temperature…I wonder… 

              HOW HOT or cold I would test??

Then comes 2 assurances that are absolutely  fantastic.

1. v13 BUT the One who stands firm … will be saved.

Jesus is making this crystal clear promise and  giving this water tight promise..

If you keep on following JESUS and don’t give up.. don’t cave in…in the face of all the pressures upon you….   

YOU will be saved.. rescued… brought safely, joyfully into His everlasting Kingdom and into life and Joy forever.

 

2.This Gospel…   The Good News of the Kingdom …that Jesus is God’s One and Only Son and the world’s One and only Saviour… will be proclaimed to every nation and  tribe and tongue….

 So that the  whole world will hear of God’s Son and God’s salvation…

When that happens… THEN and only THEN… 

Will JESUS come back to wrap up our world and usher in His brand NEW world.. in all it’s fullness, beauty and power.

The Words the angels spoke to the apostles in Acts 1v 11 are gloriously still true to-day.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”                                 Acts 1v11

 

Folks He’s coming back.  Jesus is coming back. 

This world is coming to an end and 

Jesus is coming back again

Are you ready??

Are you saved??

Are you living in a way that is authentic as a flower of JESUS?

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