Are We Close To The End Of The World?

Matt 24:3-14

Introduction

The End Time has always been a fascination of some.


Ever heard of the "yeller's sect"? When they read in the Bible that Christ will return with a shout, they interpret it to mean he will come back only if they shout loud enough. So they constantly scream out the Lord's name.


Did you know that church father Hippolytus (A.D. 170-236) predicted the world would end in A.D. 500, and that he based his predictions on the dimensions of Noah's Ark? Reviewed by Mark Galli,CHRISTIAN HISTORY magazine.


This week Palestine chose a Terrorist for President; does that fit into the formula of end time events? I don’t know for sure but I suspect it does.


The disciples asked Jesus this question recorded in the verses I will read. In Matt. 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"


So the question about the end of the world is an old one, but recent happenings make me want to investigate what Jesus gave as an answer to the disciples. No one by God knows the End Time but through Christ we can be ready

 

 

1.   Close to the End . . Deception Will Abound.

 

       A.   Deception By False Christ. Vv 4-5

 

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.


Illustration

There's been a boom in false "messiahs." The number of self-appointed religious saviors has never been greater than today, when more than 1,500 people claim to be an incarnation of Jesus Christ, German missions expert Johannes Reimer told idea, a German publication.


...The Russian spiritual leader Vissarion is an example of a self-appointed messiah, about 10 million Russians follow this founder of the Church of the Last Testament.

 

       B.   By Wars, Rumors of wars, and Earthquakes. v 6-8

6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

 

Illustration      Web: neic.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/eqstats.html

 

Magnitude                 2004                  2005

8.0–9.9                       2                        1

7.0–7.9                       13                      9

6.0–6.9                       139                    125

5.0–5.9                       1,422                 1,451

4.0–4.9                       10,963               11,291

3.0–3.9                       7,602                 6,464

2.0–2.9                       6,251                 3,557

1.0–1.9                       1,337                 21

0.1–0.9                       103                    0

No magnitude           3,367                 698

Total                  31,1991 23,6171

Estimated deaths 284,012 82,321

 

1. As of Oct. 25, 2005        Source: National Earthquake Information Center,

U.S. Geological Survey.

Application


             
Close to the End . . Deception Will Abound.



 

2.   Close to the End . . Danger Will Abound. 24:9-10

 

       A.   Danger of Imprisonment for Christ. v 9 a

9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation

 

Illustration  http://www.persecution.com/basic/prisonerList.cfm

Hundreds of men and women are in prison serving sentences that range from a few months to life. They are not criminals who have robbed or murdered other citizens but Christians who were put on trial for their faith in Christ and found guilty. They could have avoided prison by simply denying allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, they are literally “doing time for God.”

 

       B.   Danger of Death for the Cause of Christ. v 9 b

       “. . . and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for

       My name's sake.

 

Illustration  World Christian Encyclopedia (2001):

This book is the standard reference work for religious statistics of all kinds, and both Britannica and the World Almanac cite from it. It has a single page [http://gem-werc.org/gd/gd16.pdf] estimating the number of martyrs since the origin of each religion: 

        * Christian martyrs: 70M   * 20th Century: 45.4M


Illustration

Chuck Swindoll tells about an unusual occurrence that happened to one of his close friends. His colleague had traveled across the country for a series of meetings, but his luggage did not arrive in the same place. Knowing that he needed some suits quickly and economically, he went to a local thrift shop. He was pleased to find exactly what he wanted, a couple of dark suits. The salesman informed him that these particular suits had been cleaned and pressed, but some people didn't want them because they came from the funeral home. It wasn't a problem for this minister, so he bought a couple of suits for just $25. What a bargain. When he returned to his hotel room, he started dressing for the meeting, and he discovered there were no pockets in these suits. It then dawned on him that dead men don't need any pockets, because they can't carry a single thing with them. (Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, 1987, p. 158)

 

       C.   Danger of Hatred for the Cause of Christ. v 10

       10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another,

       and will hate one another.


Illustration

In one of the most ominous legal cases in an era of ominous litigation, an Italian judge today heard arguments on whether or not a parish priest in that nation should stand trial for claiming Jesus of Nazareth actually existed.


Viterbo, Italy, north of Rome, is the venue where Rev. Enrico Righi is being sued by his childhood friend, atheist Luigi Cascioli, for allegedly deceiving people into thinking Jesus was an actual historical figure.


Application


            Close to the End . . Danger Will Abound.



 

3.   Close to the End . . Deceivers Will Abound. 24:11-12

 

       A.   Deception of . . Leaders. v 11

       11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

 

              1.    THE PRACTICE OF FALSE TEACHERS

       2 Peter 2:1-3 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. NKJV

                     a.    Their . . Message Is Heresy

                            “. . . who will secretly bring in destructive

                     heresies, even denying the Lord . . .”

 

                     b.    Their . . Motivation Is Greed (3a)

                            “By covetousness. . .”

 

                      c.    Their . . Methodology Is Guile (3b)

                            “. . . they will exploit you with

                     deceptive words;. . .”

 

       B.   Deception of . . Lawlessness. v 12 a

       12 And because lawlessness will abound,

 

              1.    The Anti-Christ Is The Lawless One.

                     2 Thess 2:8-11 8 And then the lawless one will

       be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of

       His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9

       The coming of the lawless one is according to the working

       of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and

       with all unrighteous deception among those who perish,

       because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they

       might be saved. NKJV

 

Illustration  Ice T’s interview with Props. Magazine

PROPS: How is your outlook on music different since the "Cop Killer" controversy?


ICE T: I learned that the XXXX is more powerful than you can possibly believe. You can't come out on a record XXXXXX the system and be on a label that's connected to the system. They can't allow that. I also learned that you don't have that many friends in life when shit hits. Hip hop as a whole will stand behind you, but to the masses, Hip Hop is considered one big nigga. If a hundred rappers stood behind me, it wouldn't matter. I needed guys like Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson to step up to support me. But to them, whether it's Ice-T or Ice Cube, we're all the same, their attitude is 'XXXXX all of them'.


 

       C.   Deception of . . Lovelessness. v 12 b

“. . . the love of many will grow cold.


Application

            Close to the End . . Deceivers Will Abound.



 

4.   Close to the End . . Doctrinal Witness Will Abound. V 13-14

 

       A.   Witness Will Abound with A . . Promise. v 13

              But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

 

       B.   Witness Will Abound with . . Proclamation. v 14

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

 

Illustration         According to Mission Frontiers magazine. . .

       3,000 new churches are opening every week worldwide

       the Church in Africa is increasing by 20,000 per day on the average

       worldwide, Christianity is growing at the rate of 90,000 new believers daily more Muslims in Iran have come to Christ since 1980 than in the previous thousand years combined.

       in 1900, Korea had no Protestant church; it was deemed “impossible to penetrate.” Today Korea is 35% Christian with 7,000 churches in the city of Seoul alone.

       in Islamic (Muslim) Indonesia, the percentage of Christians is so high the government won’t print the statistic—which is probably nearing 15% of the population.

       after 70 years of oppression in Russia, people who were officially Christians number about 85 million—56% of the population.

 

Illustration   from Pastor Paul A. Noxon 1586 Columbia Turnpike Castleton, N.Y.

Around the mid 1840s, "street ministers" were hired by the city government of Pittsburgh to preach on the waterfront to try and gentle the canal men and other tough men of the waterfront.


What a difference today when government tries to squelch any such preaching while our teens are out of control and crime is rampant in all our city streets, not just on the waterfronts.


This is from Sumner Wemp

 It is absolutely exhilarating to watch the dear Lord go to work when we go fishing for men. My wife and I got on the plane and found our seating was all mixed up. We not only did not sit

together, we were on different sides of the plane in different rows. God orchestrated the whole deal. Remember Romans 8:28.


The couple next to me were in their late sixties. We chatted for awhile and I gave Carl a gospel tract. What a tool it is to obey the great commission, get the gospel to every person, to plant

seed and to open the door to share the gospel. After reading it I asked my pet question, "Kind sir, do you know for sure you are going to heaven?" With almost a startled look he replied,

"I don't think you can know for sure you are going to heaven."


  Without proving he was wrong or arguing I said, "Do you know what is wonderful? God said we can know we are going to heaven. I was seventeen before I ever heard that God loved me and sent His Son, the Lord Jesus to die for my sins. (Now, I have already given him the gospel without him realizing it). Carl, have you ever realized that Christ died for you too and paid your

debt of sin? (For the second time I have given him the gospel. To be a soul-winner you must give the gospel over and over). You see, we are all in the same boat for we have all sinned, haven't we?" Never tell someone they are a sinner, they take offense. Put yourself in the same boat and they will almost always admit they too have sinned). Without hesitation he acknowledged that he too had sinned.


<>  "The Lord Jesus died for our sins, for the wages of sin is death and He paid the debt in full." (For the third time I have given him the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation).  The whole issue is, did He pay for our sins or didn't he? God said He did and rose again. He is alive and we can receive Him into our heart to be our personal Savior. (Reason with them and <>use illustrations as the Lord Jesus did). "You and I are married because one day we said to one with the authority to marry us, I will take this woman to be my wife. God said as many as
received the Lord Jesus, He would save. Does that make sense?" (The seed  that
fell on good ground are those who understand).

  Again, he answered assuredly, "Yes, it does." When I asked if he would like to receive the Lord Jesus as His Savior, he said, "I plan to do it one day, but not right now." Carl, when you do be sure you pray from your heart something like this, "Dear God."


  To my utter amazement he prayed out loud after me, "Dear God." I then continued and he prayed after me, sentence by sentence, "I know I too have sinned and ought to pay for my sins. I believe you that Christ died for my sins and rose again. Lord, Jesus, I receive you, come into my heart and save me right now."


  When we finished praying I asked, "Carl, if you died right now where would you go?" His reply was, "Why, I would go to heaven, I just got saved." God did that, but what a joy to be there when He does it. I have never had it happen like that before. Let's go fishing for men. The fish are biting. The harvest is plenteous.


Application


Close to the End . . Doctrinal Witness Will Abound.



In all these signs toward the end times, how should we then live?


       I say we should live for Christ.