Posts Tagged 'Matthew 24'

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?

Advertisements

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!)



 

The Messiah’s Ministry: Preparing the Faithful

He waits

Matthew 24:36-44

Have you ever found yourself waiting for the cable guy to arrive for installation? Sometimes you’re kept in a state of readiness for a 6 hour window! The cable company’s sense of time and urgency is very different from yours. So it is with God’s timetable for the arrival of Christ…

When We Get Anxious About Life, Remember:
* We Live On God’s Timetable, Not Ours
36-39 unexpected arrival of the Kingdom
v36 – Dependence upon Father’s timetable ALONE
v37 – Kingdom comes unexpected by the world; not us!
v38/9 – Ignorance of the Kingdom will not save; Long term plans w/out God will not thrive

* We Live Out Kingdom Life Here And Now, Not Just Later
40-44 Ministry while awaiting the arrival
v40/1 – One is selected, and one is rejected (man or woman doesn’t matter) (cf. 31-elect)
v42 – Why watch? Not about OUR salvation, but our ministry
v43 – Lack of guard + unexpected thief=broken house; Guard+anticipation of arrival=Prepared Reception
v44 – Christ WILL COME – therefore, all y’all watch (we ourselves watch, and help others watch, too)

We are not watching for a rescue to escape this world; we are watching for a Redeemer to join Him in HIS rescue of the world.

The Messiah’s Ministry: Warning the Self-Righteous

Warning about the Self-Righteous

Matthew 23:1-12

A famous Bible teacher was once convicted about his lack of humility. A friend recommended as a remedy, that he march through the streets of Chicago wearing a sandwich board, shouting the scripture verses on the board for all to hear. The Bible teacher agreed to this venture and when he returned to his study and removed the board, he said “I’ll bet there’s not another man in town who would do that.”

Two step Pharisee Prevention Program:
* Don’t Fake It For Fame
1-7 be careful of those who love status
v1/2 explaining teachers of the Law
v3 listen to their words; ignore their example
v4 they impose burdens for others, not themselves
v5/6 they like to be “seen”
v7 fame is their motivation

* Don’t Ache For Acclaim
8-12 be careful of seeking status yourselves
v8 don’t seek ‘master’ standing; share as equals
v9 don’t give adulation of authority; follow God
v10 don’t be ‘professor’ pompous; learn from the Lord
v11/12 greatness comes through giving, not self-focus

George Washington Carver, the scientist who developed hundreds of useful products from the peanut: “When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is reserved for me alone.’ So I said, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ Then God said, ‘Well, George, that’s more nearly your size.’ And he told me.”

Let us find our significance through service.


Pastor Ed Backell

Flickr Photos

Pastoral Tweets

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 198 other followers

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: