Posts Tagged '#YearD'

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…

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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!)



 

Out of the Ordinary: Missing The Signs

Out of the Ordinary: Missing The Signs

Matthew 12:38-45

Google Maps does NOT always get you where you want to go!

Reasons for Missing God’s Signs

Rejecting God’s Right ~ Matthew 12:38-42

  • 38 context: they’re saying this because Jesus had the AUDACITY to chew them out cf.v34 “brood of vipers”
  • 39 sign of Jonah: Jewish tradition of warning to Israel~REPENT! Nineveh did, what’s YOUR problem?
  • 40 verification: Messiah will rise!
  • 41 Nineveh heard Jonah’s message: will Jesus’ hearers?
  • 42 Queen heard Solomon’s wisdom; will we trust Christ’s?

Repentance Requires Replenishment ~ Matthew 12:43-45

  • 43/44 Warning: just stopping “being bad” isn’t enough
  • 45 either be filled with the Spirit or be worse than ever

We’re intended to live in a relationship with God; we can’t do that if we’re not listening for His leading.

Out of the Ordinary: Squint or Shut?

Out of the Ordinary: Squint or Shut?

John 5:35-47

A worker in a lighting store tells this about her customers: one day, a customer is standing, looking at lights. She approaches and asks if he needs help. He ANGRILY replies, “No, you’re the 4th person to ask me that today! I just want to look at the light! Leave me alone!”

She walks away, and seeing another customer, asks the same question. HIS response: “Nah, I’m just looking right now, but you know, you’re the 3rd person to ask me that. What great customer service you have!”

When People React to God’s Light, Ask

Where’s The Spotlight? ~ John 5:35-38

  • 35 God’s light can shine from anyone, and even the world can see it
  • 36 BUT-what does God’s light shine ON? The ministry of Jesus
  • 37/38 and not everyone is willing to recognize His Ministry; they can see, but they won’t FOCUS

Why the Scorn? ~ John 5:39-42

  • 39/40 The Bible teaches that we need to SURRENDER to Jesus…
  • 41/42 …which only happens because of the Love of God placed IN US. If someone refuses to surrender to Christ, they can “say” they love God… but “it ain’t necessarily so”

When To Surrender? ~ John 5:43-47

God’s light IS shining: are we squinting? Are we shutting our eyes? Or are we sharing what we’ve seen?

Out of the Ordinary: Tradition’s Place

Out of the Ordinary: Tradition’s Place

Matthew 15:1-9

J.I.Packer, modern Puritan scholar and evangelical theologian, wrote: “All Christians are at once beneficiaries and victims of tradition—beneficiaries, who receive nurturing truth and wisdom from God’s faithfulness in past generations; victims, who now take for granted things that need to be questioned, thus treating as divine absolutes patterns of belief and behavior that should be seen as human, provisional, and relative. We are all beneficiaries of good, wise, and sound tradition and victims of poor, unwise, and unsound traditions.”

How Can Our History Blur HIS Story?

The Weight of Tradition ~ Matthew 15:1-2

  • 1 Teachers of the Law should have a good handle on the importance of God’s word; talk about “the hedge”
  • 2 these men are concerned about their own power and status; notice they implicitly judge Jesus by the actions of his followers (this is still true today!)

The Place of Tradition ~ Matthew 15:3-9

  • 3/4 the Pharisees don’t see that their “hedge” breaks God’s command which it’s intended to protect
  • 5/6 it’s “more pious looking” to give money for others to see, than to care for your parents (which hardly anyone sees); this choice leads them to break the Law
  • 7/9 their hearts are more concerned with SELF than with God.

We need to guard against this as well; left unchecked and unexamined, we can easily turn our simple faith into a set of rules and regulations that are more concerned with keeping others OUT of “God’s Kingdom” (which isn’t actually His, but OURS with His name slapped on it).


Pastor Ed Backell

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