TEXT: MATTHEW 24: 1-14
READING: MATTHEW 28: 1-20
SUBJ: The consideration of the return of our Lord and the manner in which we are to consider the things given us regarding His appearing.
AIM: That we should be concerned with both the expectation and the attendance to such directions He has given with respect to coming.
INTR: Matthew 24 has long been a subject of fascination for many and a source of contention for many others as they endeavor to sort out the Lord's words here.
It is ever the intent of the Lord that we should be comforted by the fact of His coming and never a reason for fear where the love of the Lord is known.
While many have directed their attention to sorting out future events and trying to put a current spin on them, the focus of true believers has always been on the Lord Himself.
Therefore, it s not my intent to try to explain the details here (we should study and give attention to these things); rather I would have focus on the assurance that He is coming, in complete victory, to the horror of the world, to the delight of His people, with the satisfaction complete, and all to the glory of God the Father.
THESIS: That the Gospel is still being preached is one of the greatest of signs of His coming in that therein is His Kingdom and power declared - It is the power of God unto salvation.
The confusion of the disciples and others (vv. 1-4)
The return of our Lord is now and has ever been the desire of them that love His appearing and the disciples were no different.
The words of our Lord were running counter to what they thought was going to transpire. Despite His references to the intervening death and resurrection they looked for the establishment of the Kingdom.
His remarks concerning the destruction of the Temple gave rise to many more questions indicating their concern for the future.
At His words that the Temple would be destroyed (It had been the center of Jewish worship for centuries) - Three questions arose:
When shall these things be (the Temple being thrown down)?
What shall be the sign of thy coming? And
Of the end of the world (age).
Our Lordâ€™s answer to them was a warning that is still to be heeded today.
Deception is a primary tool of the enemy and
It is a primary tool of the world in seeking to destroy the faith of Godâ€™s people.
It is a reminder that we are easily deceived and thus have reason to be wary.
The characteristics of this present age (vv. 5-12)
It was not long before their appeared and continue to appear those claiming either to be Christ or to be in some form of representation that supersedes His word - many will be and are deceived.
Of wars and rumors of wars as a matter of human concern but not to taken as a sign of anything but human quests for power and domination over others. The end is not yet.
Of famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, in different places. (Men think themselves to be able to answer these things.
Consider the plagues of Egypt and
The fact that earthquakes have been recorded by the thousands down through history.
The beginning of sorrows - the reason of human misery.
Hatred of Christians shall continue and increase wherever it may - all nations are included, and the effect will be felt among professing Christians. See v. 10
There will be a continuous supply of false prophets and see 1 John 2:18: "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time."
Abounding iniquity and the love of many waxing cold (v. 12)
The word of assurance (vv. 13-14)
The words of v. 13 are not given as a means of salvation - it is rather the indicator of true faith and the perseverance that is characteristic of the Lordâ€™s people who are fixed upon Him.
They had been taught to preach the Kingdom of God - The message of Jesus was to repent and believe the Gospel.
They were now hearing a new dimension - it had to be preached in all the world.
This was the message that was promising His coming to consummate all His work.
It is the Gospel that is to be preached:
The power of God unto salvation - Romans 1:16-17 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."
It is the message of the Apostles: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
The Great Commission: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
The tendency of men must not be ours. Peter reports that even then there were scoffers...we are reminded that "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."