There are many things going on in our world today that can cause us to be distressed and discouraged:
- The potential of a nuclear war
- Spread of diseases
- Increase of different forms of terrorism
- A growing denial of God and departure from His word.
- More and more disregard for human life.
- Increased intrusion of the Government into our lives and a growing loss of personal freedoms.
- A diminishing economy and the devaluation of our money.
- The increase in storms and natural disasters.
A. How should we, as Christians respond in light of these factors?
- We can choose to live in ignorance like the ostrich with his head in the sand.
- We can shrug our shoulders and be sort of “ho-hum” about it all.
- We might develop a fatalistic attitude and basically say “What’s the use?”
- Or, we might immerse ourselves in God’s word, and engage our times with His truth.
- B. As we face troubling times, we need to look at life from God’s perspective.
Note: Every time Jesus opened His mouth, He gave us God’s perspective about the present and the future.
If you could walk with Jesus and spend an entire day with Him, what kind of questions would you ask Him? Jesus took His disciples up to the top of the Mt. of Olives where they could see for miles. Once they were seated, He taught them about the temple and how it would ultimately be destroyed. They, in turn, began to ask Him a number of questions.
Question #1 “When will these things be?” Matt. 24:3a
#2 “What will be the sign of Your coming?” Matt 24:3b
#3 “What will be the signs of the end of the age?” Matt 24:3c
In Matthew 24, Jesus begins to answer their questions. While most of the chapter has to do with His second coming at the end of the 7 years of tribulation, He does give them several signs of His imminent return — for the church.
C. Signs of His Soon Coming.
1. There will be a great increase of deception. Matt. 24:4-5 NLT “Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’, They will deceive many.”
Folks, there are false religions everywhere we look, and most of them are man-centered. We have invented gods we are comfortable with. We can trust the God of the Bible. He will not deceive us. His word is truth.
2. Another sign of His soon return is the love of materialism. The Apostle Paul, in 1 Timothy 6:9-10 NLT wrote – “But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
It is not wrong to be rich. It is when your love for money takes precedence over everything else in your life.
Note: Warren Buffet is supposedly the third richest man in the world, but he is very frugal when it comes to his own lifestyle. He is 92 years old and lives in the same modest house that he purchased 65 years ago. He bought the house in 1958 for $31,500. Today it would be worth about $330,000. Buffet is a self-described religious agnostic.
Jesus in Matthew 6:24 NLT wrote:
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other. You will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
The Bible says that in the last days, your money won’t do you much good. Prices will go up and up and there will be a scarcity of the things we need.
3. A third sign will be gross immorality.
Years ago, Cole Porter wrote the song “Anything Goes.” Is that ever a fit description of what is going on all around us today?
In Genesis 6:5 NLT we read,
“The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and He saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.”
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT, the Apostle Paul wrote –
“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days, there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful; They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religiously, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”
· Does this describe the day we are living in?
· I sometimes wonder how many Christians are being in shades of grey rather than walking in His light.
4. Another sign of the times will be radical Islam. David Jeremiah, in his book on the End Times, talks about signs. He tells of George Sada, a general under Saddam Hussein. Sada was a military hero. Iraq’s top air force pilot and the man Saddam called on to hear the truth about military matters. Sada wrote a book “Saddam’s Secrets” and in it speaks of how Islam has a plan to conquer the world … (e.g., Detroit)
· Not too long there was a radical Islamic rally right here in California, where the audience was told “One day you will see the flag of Islam over the White House.”
· In 2 Timothy 3:16 NLT, the Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
Folks, there is power in God’s word. It is true. We need to counter false religions with God’s truth. Just because something seems religious does not mean it is of God.
5. Another sign that indicates we are in the end times is persecution. Several years ago, Christianity Today wrote that “Most persecution is not violence. Instead, it is a ‘squeeze’ of Christians in five spheres of life — private, family, community, national, and church.” Are you paying attention to what is going on in our nation today? The destruction of the family, the Critical Race Theory, and the Cancel Culture idealogy attempt to silence the voice of Christians. Freedom of speech guaranteed by our constitution is quickly disappearing. We are less and less free to share our thoughts about anything positive. In Matthew 5:10 NLT Jesus said, “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right; for the kingdom, of heaven in theirs.”
In 1 Peter 4:15, the Apostle Peter wrote –
“If you are suffering, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble or prying into other people’s affairs.”
Some suffering we bring on ourselves.
But, in these last days, Christians will face more and more hostility from non-Christians.
In Matthew 10:16-22 (NLT) Jesus said,
16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. 17 But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18 You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 22 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.”
· Will you stand in the gap for Christ and God’s truth or will you cave in to the pressures from the ungodly?
· John Ortherg wrote, “God isn’t at work producing the circumstances I want. God is at work in bad circumstances to produce the me He wants.”
6. The last sign we will mention today is spiritual warfare. John Phillips, in his commentary on Ephesians and Philippians, wrote — “Satan may use people to persecute us, lie to us, hurt us, or even kill us. But our real enemy lurks in the shadows of the unseen world, moving people as pawns on the chessboard of time. As long as we see people as enemies and wrestle against them, we will spread our strength in vain.”
The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 6:10-12, wrote: “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14 NLT “But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” He is a deceiver, a destroyer, and much more, but he is not even close to being equal with Jesus who is God come to us in the flesh.
In James 4:7 NBLT, we read “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
What I have shared is just the tip of what could be shared. For a comprehensive study, I recommend David Jeremiah’s “The Book of Signs.” The late Dr. Billy Graham said, “The devil can be very convincing! After all, he doesn’t usually come to us and say, ‘Listen! What I am about to tempt you to do is lie and, will lead you down the path of destruction!” No, he is very clever, and he will do everything in his power to convince you that his way is best — and God’s way is wrong.”
Folks, keep your eyes on Jesus and your heart tuned in to His Word. Amen.