Posts Tagged 'end of the world'

Apocalypse Talks: The Mean Time

Apocalypse Talks: The Mean Time

Matthew 24:45-51

How do we value ONE YEAR? Ask a student who failed a grade. How do we value ONE MONTH? Ask a Mother whose baby arrived prematurely. How do we value ONE WEEK? Editor’s of weekly newspapers know. How do we value ONE HOUR? Ask someone who lies terminally ill waiting for a loved one who is late. How do we value ONE MINUTE? Ask someone who missed a plane, a train, a very important engagement that would never be rescheduled. How do we value ONE SECOND? Ask and Olympic Medalist, someone who just missed having an accident, or someone saying good by to a loved one they will never see again.

How are we using the Mean Time?

* We’re Choosing To Serve ~ Matthew 24:45-47

  • 45 WHO is to be faithful and wise? Is this just about ministers? Or does this include everyone?
  • 46 frankly, as Congregationalists, we might read into this a bit: we are, each of us, directly servants of our Master: Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22; 5:27; Col. 1:18; 2:10); we ALL serve, so this applies to all of us – Jesus wants us to be faithful and wise
  • 47 less a reward and more a responsibility; the Master will give us more to be faithful and wise with – our reward isn’t what we get charge of, but our increased responsibility is also more intimate relationship. Our reward is Christ Himself!

* Or Losing Our Nerve ~ Matthew 24:48-51

  • 48 “wicked”=WORTHLESS; is a servant who doesn’t serve a servant? Instead of caring, he’s clock-watching
  • 49 watch out for those wielding authority as a weapon instead of the tool to take care of the Master’s estate;
  • 50 here’s the concern: in the back of the mind, the servant KNOWS the Master will return “someday”
  • 51 (cf Jer. 34:18) those who break covenant are subject to being broken themselves!

We, as God’s servants, enter into a covenant with Him. We give our very LIVES to God… and this is a serious commitment! The Lord expects us to honor our covenant with Him; that we are grafted into His Life so that we would bear fruit. How shall we use our Mean Time?

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Apocalypse Talks: The Bigger Picture

Apocalypse Talks: The Bigger Picture

Matthew 24:36-44

Sometimes we receive warnings about a coming disaster, take appropriate steps, and in large part prevent the situation. Y2K was talked about for years, with serious preparations occurring 2 years before. As a result, when Y2K finally happened, only minor inconveniences and website errors were reported.

In other instances, we don’t respond as well. There were 36 warnings about 9/11, as early as 1994, with 22 in 2001 alone. With all those warnings (including one that said “tomorrow is zero hour” received on 9/10), we still missed preventing a tragedy that resulted in 2,996 deaths.

What’s Wrong With End-Time Warning?

* Some Refuse To See It ~ Matthew 24:36-39

  • 36 Refer: vs 29-35; these are references to Isaiah 13&24; and Joel 2: the Day of the Lord is a subject that Israel knows about; Jesus warns His listeners that the Fall of Jerusalem is the end of their world as they know it. AFTER that (not “immediately”, but later) will the final gathering and judgment at the end of the Day of the Lord occur. Since ONLY the Father knows when that is, don’t obsess about the timing of it
  • 37 it took Noah 55-75 years to build the Ark; his neighbors MUST have noticed! (lots of warning time)
  • 38/39 but they don’t pay attention; they hear but do not listen, they see but do not understand (cf. Isa 6) (NOT ALL WILL RESPOND)

* Some Selected To Receive It ~ Matthew 24:40-44

  • 40 When the Trumpet is sounded, only SOME will respond to the call
  • 41 God knows whom He will elect and collect
  • 42 WE do NOT know when the Call will be sounded: WATCH!
  • 43/44 implication: The Day will END with the Trumpet (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:15-17) (NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED)

Bigger Picture: not *just* about the Fall of Jerusalem; about the end of the Day of the Lord (Joel 2). Good news for us who already know we’re going to be with the Lord – not necessarily bad news for others, because THERE’S STILL TIME TO TRUST… until there ISN’T. Only God knows how much sand is left in the Divine Hourglass…

Apocalypse Talks: Mitigating Disaster

Apocalypse Talks: Mitigating Disaster

Matthew 24:15-22

Thomas Edison’s manufacturing facilities in West Orange, N.J., were heavily damaged by fire one night in December, 1914. Edison lost over $2 million worth of equipment and the record of much of his work. The next morning, walking about the charred embers of his hopes and dreams, the 67-year-old inventor said: “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”

When Jesus told His disciples about the coming Apocalypse, He didn’t shy away from the difficult details. His words held a warning which still can help us today…

When Disaster Approaches

Get OUT of its Way ~ Matthew 24:15-20

  • 15 cf Dan.9.27-Antiocus Epiphanes; “abomination that causes desolation” is pagan authority where Godly worship should be (Destruction Of Temple)
  • 16 the only way the Temple will be completely destroyed is by invading army. RUN!
  • 17 RUN RIGHT THEN: Don’t dawdle
  • 18 RUN AWAY: Don’t turn back (cf. Lot’s wife Gen 19)
  • 19/20 RUN FAST: simply because they’re slow; they can’t evacuate quickly

Keep Pressure in Perspective ~ Matthew 24:21-22

  • 21 “great distress” not dispensationalist “TRIBULATION”; same word 45 times in NT, means “pressured”; Destruction of the Temple certainly placed an unequaled pressure on the whole of Judaism!
  • 22 historian Josephus reported 1,100,000 dead, and 100,000 survivors sold into slavery. If that kind of devastation had continued, everyone under the Roman attack would have died; “sake of the elect”

Jesus TOLD the Disciples they’d need to leave Jerusalem here, and told them again in Matthew 28:19-20 and AGAIN in Acts 1:8.

His words of warning helped the early church escape the coming disaster AND reminded them that their mission was larger than their home: they went out to serve the world. Are we?

alas, the video did not record this week. Audio is working, however! Click the top link.

Apocalypse Talks: The Fall Is Approaching

Apocalypse Talks: The Fall Is Approaching

Matthew 24:9-14

Here is a truism: making good choices comes from experience; experience comes from making bad choices! Will we ever NOT make bad choices?

Failure Is A Fact Of Life

Warning from the Law-Bearer ~ Deuteronomy 31:23-29

  • 23 encouragement to leader: be strong and have courage
  • 24/26 command to religious: keep the Word
  • 27 awareness against a rebellious heart
  • 28/29 warning to people: NOT a self-fulfilling prophecy: a promise that if you sow evil, God will have you reap it

Learning from the Living Word ~ Matthew 24:9-14

  • 9 this started with Saul, and kept going for 300 years until Constantine [carrying this call will not be easy]
  • 10/11 shown to be true in Scripture (2Tim 2 w/ Phygellus and Hermogenes) and history (Tacitus under Nero: “at first, several were seized, who confessed, and then, by their discovery, a great multitude of others were convicted and executed.”) [fake faith fades under fire]
  • 12/13 not ONLY a prophecy of early Christians, but of CONDITIONS: when this starts to happen, and Christians just let it be, their love for God gets weaker, which detracts from their ability to stand firm in their faith! [apathy in face of evil saps spiritual energy]
  • 14 history shows this happened: the early Christians were scattered all over the world (ex. Thomas made it to India in 52AD); the end OF JERUSALEM did come, in 70AD

If the fall of Jerusalem caused Jesus to give these warnings to early Christians – do they still speak for our own context? Right now, we hear the challenge to “make America great again”… but what KIND of greatness? Are we allowing evil to expand while our zeal for righteousness contracts? Failure Is A Fact Of Life: Be conquered by it, or Compensate for it?

Apocalypse Talks: Temporary Temples

Apocalypse Talks: Temporary Temples

Matthew 24:1-8

Abandoned dwellings on internet are intriguing: why? what’s the draw of an old barn, or an abandoned structure? Seeing an unused church makes me wonder what life was like when it WAS in use. But think of the life we now live from the other side of time: what will our beloved places be like when they’re abandoned?

Beware The Worship of the Temporary

* Figure Out The Focus ~ Matthew 24:1-3

(what are you watching)

  • 1 challenge: follow Jesus when eyes are on the world
  • 2 Jesus reminds us: we live in a temporary situation; don’t take it for granite” (it’s not that sturdy!)
  • 3 disciples want to know when, because they want to SEE it (“sign), not avoid it. Are WE asking the right questions of God?

* Don’t Focus on False Forecasts ~ Matthew 24:4-8

(what’s the meaning)

  • 4 challenge: recognize that people DO try to deceive us
  • 5 devil ain’t got no shame!
  • 6 see to it: decide in advance how you’ll respond to bad news
  • 7/8 Birth pangs were in fact a common Jewish metaphor to refer to an indeterminate period of distress leading up to the end of this age (e.g., 1 Enoch 62:4; 2 Esdr 4:42; Tg. Ps 18:14).

In other words, Jesus reminds us to be aware that difficulties are GOING to come… but aren’t necessarily the end of the world (literally!)



 

Snapshots from Mark: Watch Closely

Snapshots from Mark: Watch Closely Sermon Audio Here

Mark 13:14-23

Secretary Brunnell Declares Fake News About His People is Being Telegraphed Over the Country.
—Cincinnati Commercial Tribune (Concinnati, OH), 7 Jun. 1890

The definition of “fake news” is not new: it’s been around a lot longer than we think. So if we’re supposed to watch the signs of the times… how do we know which signs can be trusted?

For What Signs Are We Supposed To Watch?

Signs That Point Out Local Problems ~ Mark 13:14-18

  • 14 historical background on “abomination” (168 BC desecration of the Second Temple by the erection of a Zeus statue by Antiochus Epiphanes. Later, during the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, The Temple Mount was covered over with rubble and a pagan temple dedicated to Jupiter was built when Hadrian became Caesar. Hadrian installed on the mount two statues: one of Jupiter and another of himself; this was seen by the Jews as idolatry.)
  • VERSES 15-18 have BOTH historical warnings AND lessons we can implement in our Christian lives RIGHT NOW:
  • 15 move out IMMEDIATELY; don’t delay (If God is prompting you to do something, don’t wait: obey right away)
  • 16 don’t go backwards (our Spiritual Growth isn’t found in our past; it’s in our FUTURE. What does God expect NEXT?)
  • 17/18 notice some will be caught in a tough spot: HELP THEM

Signs That Present The Bigger Picture ~ Mark 13:19-23

  • 19 until now-and= transition verse: Jesus moves from talking about the fall of Jerusalem to the Day of the Lord: there will be similar events, but not the same thing (cf. Daniel 12:1)
  • 20 this is a prophetic ECHO: it has happened AND it will happen again; God has cut short the number of times it will happen again (those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it)
  • 21/22 just like vs. 5-6, people will try to use false religion with a twisted idea of Jesus to lead people astray
  • 23 BE ON GUARD: if anyone claims to teach a Jesus that is NOT the same as the Biblical Jesus, who was Himself giving this warning, THEY ARE FALSE – DO NOT FOLLOW FAKE JESUS

We’re stuck in a paradox: we’re called to BE the Kingdom of God right here and right now; and yet, the fully realized Kingdom won’t happen until AFTER the Day of the Lord, and only God knows when that will end. BOTH ARE TRUE; Live for Christ TODAY & Every Day

Snapshots from Mark: Listen Carefully

Snapshots from Mark: Listen Carefully Sermon Audio Here

Mark 13:1-13

Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie: the ending is ODD; they wanted to film a battle, but ran out of money, so they just had the police show up and shut down the movie. It was completely unexpected and out of “character”. Do you realize that God will, essentially, do the same thing? End everything in an unexpected way?

How Do We Prepare For THE End?

Teaching Moments on Time ~ Mark 13:1-4

  • 1 disciples caught up in appreciation of human achievement
  • 2 warning: human achievement won’t last
  • 3/4 disciples: end of the world is SOON?

End of the World Warnings ~ Mark 13:5-8

  • 5 some WILL try to deceive
  • 6 some WILL attempt to misuse Jesus’ name
  • 7 “end is still to come” There is MORE THAN ONE ENDING:
    • 1) Jerusalem (where the Temple was)
    • 2) The Day of the Lord, from Joel, Amos, Zephaniah
  • 8 This is probably reference to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70; (Scholars note that between this prophecy by Jesus in A.D. 30 (or 29) and the destruction of Jerusalem there were at least 4 earthquakes and 4 famines)

Acts of Proof ~ Mark 13:9-13

  • 9 Acts 5: apostles arrested & flogged; Acts 23: Paul handed over to Governor Felix
  • 10 Acts 2: gospel preached to people from all over Empire (“all nations”)
  • 11 Acts 23: Paul speaks at his trial
  • 12 Emperor Domitian, in his hatred of the Christian name, slew cousin and niece; Emperor Diocletian slew his own wife, and other relatives.
  • 13 “be saved” not spiritual salvation, but will escape the destruction of Jerusalem (Greek tense gives this away)

Jesus sits His disciples down to show them the ending is NOT like what they assume; He still does that for us today. We live our lives like actors in a play THAT IS STILL BEING WRITTEN. What a joy that the Lord knows how the End will play out – and what our part will be.


Pastor Ed Backell

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