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July 20, 2020 4:00 am
We as Christians long for the day when Jesus comes because it is in that day that Satan will be defeated. It is in that day that the curse will be lifted is in that day that saints will be glorified that Christ will be worshiped that creation will be liberated that sin and death will be eliminated so with great anticipation, the second coming of Jesus in the next block over relatively untouched.
Sometimes it's houses side-by-side, one is leveled, one is left intact. Well, it's one thing to ride out natural disaster, but there's no avoiding the calamity that will hit your life on the day Christ returns. That is unless you are prepared. John MacArthur helps you prepare for Christ's glorious return today on grace to you as he continues his study titled, Jesus is coming fall along now, as John begins the lesson God's word to us this morning is from Matthew chapter 24 versus 32 through 35. That's the next passage in our ongoing study in this great gospel of Matthew. I want to read the passage to you before we take a look at it in depth.
Matthew 24, beginning in verse 32 now learn a parable of the fig tree when its branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So likewise ye, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily, I say in you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
The hope of every Christian is the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says we are those who love his appearing. We are those who are looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are those who are eagerly waiting for Paul says the glory which shall be revealed in us. We are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, the glorious liberation of the children of God. We are waiting for the redemption of the body.
We are those says the New Testament who wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the day when the saints shall judge the world when we shall all be changed when death will forever be defeated along with sin and we will enter in to the presence of Christ.
As Paul says like a chaste virgin presented to a bridegroom. We long for the day when we shall be absent from the body and present with the Lord the day when he shall appear, and we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. The theme of the second coming fills the New Testament is the great anticipatory reality of Christian living. We look back to the cross where our souls were redeemed. We look forward to the second coming where our bodies will be redeemed and we will enter into the fullness of our salvation and we as Christians long for the day when Jesus comes because it is in that day that Satan will be defeated. It is in that day that the curse will be lifted is in that day that saints will be glorified that Christ will be worshiped that creation will be liberated that sin and death will be eliminated so with great anticipation. Do we look for the second coming of Jesus Christ and we believe it is a real event that will happen as historically as did his first coming with justice, far-reaching and glorious impact. And when we think about the second coming. We could think about so many many passages of Scripture, but wherein one that is really without equal. Matthew 24 and 25 is Jesus own sermon on his second coming. So when our Savior himself wanted to speak of his second coming.
These are the terms in which he chose to speak of.
And so we are finding wonder after wonder as we hear the Savior as he speaks to his disciples on the Mount of olives and tells them that this is not the end but he will return in glory and power to establish his kingdom. Now the sermon itself is called the Olivet discourse because it was given by our Lord right on the Mount of olives is recorded by Matthew and Mark and Luke because of its tremendous import were looking at Matthews look, which is the longest most detailed look at the sermon given by our Lord and were learning so many marvelous and exciting thing.today we come to this small portion in which our Lord gives the parable of the fig tree, and I think when were done, you're going to see the tremendous impact and import of this parable as it supplied in his second coming, but in order to get a grasp on it. We have to back up a little bit. Find out where we are. We can't just jump in at verse 32. So go back to verse three if you will of the chapter. Jesus sits down with his disciples after climbing the Mount of olives, which would be a good climb. They've spent all day in the temple dialoguing with the religious leaders and the people and Jesus has said in his final word to the Jewish people. In verse 39. Blessed is he that come with in the name of the Lord, and he introduced his coming in glory.
He introduced his coming in power he introduced is coming in the kingdom that was promised by the prophets of old and that Pete the interest of the disciples, and so when they reached the top of the Mount of olives. They said to him privately in verse three. Tell us, and there filled with anticipation, when shall these things be and what shall be the sign of thy coming in at the end of the age they want further information about him coming. Further information about that great time when he reigns as King of Kings and Lord of lords. They want to know when and they want to know what are the sign so they really ask two questions. When will it be and what will be the sign now. Jesus answers those questions in reverse order.
The second question he answers from verse four through 35 and we've been looking at that second question, what are the sign. The first question when will it be he begins to answer in verse 36 when he says, but of that day in our note, with no man and then goes on to talk about when it shall be, but were looking at the section where he answers their question.
What are the signs. What is it we look for to indicate to us that you're coming in glory. Now remember, first of all, he answered them, beginning in verse four and down through verse 14 by describing some general signs that would occur immediately prior to his second coming and those signs were called in verse eight birth pains. They are rapidfire signs that come at the end of man's age. Just like birthdays come at the end of the pregnancy and they result in the birth of the kingdom.
So I told them you want to look for all the signs. Then in verse 15.
He said there is one thing that signals the beginning of the birth pains. There is one thing that triggers these general signs and it is the abomination of desolation. You remember we looked at that and that is where the Antichrist will establish an idol of himself in the temple in the holy of holies in Jerusalem and he will make the whole world worship him.
That is the abomination of desolation and that begins with verse 21 calls the great tribulation in which the birth pains take place so they said, what is the sign of your coming, he says, look for the abomination of desolation and when you see it run because what follows is going to be unlike anything the world has ever experienced.
And he described the birth pains. The rapidfire intense things that are going to happen on the earth until finally the kingdom comes. So we gave them general signs and he gave them an initiating sign that begins those general son.
Then he gave him the specific sign in verse 29 he gave them the specific sign in verse 29 immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun is dark and the moon doesn't give its light, the stars fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens are shaken. It's the disintegration of the of the universe and then appears the sign there is the sign they wanted assignments that sign when you see the son of man in heaven then and all the tribes of the earth. There will be morning and you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. He will send out his angels, and with a great sound of the trumpet, they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. So he says to them you want to sign.
Watch for the birth pains triggered by the abomination of desolation and when they are over. Then comes the sign and the sign is the son of man in heaven. All the heavenly bodies of gone black is darkness in the universe and then appears the sign of the Son of Man in blazing glory in heaven come to defeat the wicked to gather the elect and establish his kingdom. That's what to look forward to having given them. Those things as indicators. He knows in their mind they still have a question when all those signs begin. How long will it be how long does it last until the kingdom is established, how long until the son of God reigns as King of Kings and Lord of lords. How long the birth pains last how long is it from the sign in heaven, to the kingdom on earth.
And so, to summarize and act as a transition into the wind question he gives this parable and its explanation in verses 32 to 35 and I want you to look at its marvelous and I want you to see for elements as it unfolds. First, an uncomplicated analogy and uncomplicated analogy verse 32 now learn a parable of the fig tree when its branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.
Now there is an uncomplicated analogy. I hope you remember that parables were for the purpose of making things clear to the disciples, for example, go back in your Bible for brief moment to the 13th chapter of Matthew in Matthew chapter 13 and verse 10 it says, and the disciples came and said to him, why speak us, thou unto them in parables, why are you speaking in parables, he answered and said to them, because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given parables then had a twofold purpose, parables, unexplained hid the truth. Parables explained made the truth clear. That was the twofold purpose of a parable.
When Jesus gave a parable to the multitude or the religious leaders and never explained it was a riddle to them when he gave it to the disciples and explained it. It was an illustration that made things all that much more clear so he says the reason I speak in parables is to hide things from the quote unquote wise and prudent of this world and to reveal them on the bait parables explained become illustrations by which things are made clear parables unexplained our riddles by which things are made unclear, and so Jesus now speaks to the disciples and explains what he means exactly. So that for them. The parable becomes a living illustration, making the truth very very clear. It is an uncomplicated analogy.
Now when you understand that parables for the disciples were, for the sake of understanding, not confusing, then you will understand a very important thing about parables, they are not difficult to understand they are not complex, they are uncomplicated analogies to illustrate a simple truth. I think it's so important to say that because this particular parable has become used to express almost allegorical concepts rather than analogical concepts.
Instead of being illustration of something, it becomes an allegory and and thus you understand the secrets of it. You can't even understand what it means, we reject the fact that it is to complicate things and believe that it is to make things very clear so it is a simple natural analogy that they should understand it is an analogy of a figtree which they would easily understand.
The place was covered with victories. In fact, on this very day in the morning. According to chapter 21 verses 18 to 22 Jesus had already taught them one lesson from a figtree handy. Remember, he found a figtree with leaves and no fruit and he taught them lessons about barrenness and lessons about prayer off of that victory.
He wasn't the first teacher who ever used a figtree you can go all the way back to the book of Judges and you will find in the book of Judges. In chapter 9 verses 10 and 11 that there just amuses a figtree you can go back to the book of Hosea in chapter 9 verse 10 and their figures are used baskets of figs are used to notes that Jeremiah use the basket you go back to Hosea 9 and 10 and there figs are used to speak of the patriarchs.
Then in Jeremiah chapter 24 verse two.
I believe it is. Jeremiah uses baskets of figs to speak of good and bad people and also Joel chapter 1 verses six and seven. Use the figure of a figtree as an analogy to spiritual lesson you find in the book of Revelation that the universe collapses like figs falling from an overripe figtree so the commonness of the tree lend itself to the prophets and the teachers throughout the history of Israel using it as illustrative of certain spiritual truth, and the Lord does just that.
Here, as he did at the beginning of the day when he cursed a figtree so was a common teaching aid. Now our Lord wants them to understand what he says we do notice the word learn. He says learn a parable. In other words, don't just listen, but get the message and uses the word Monsanto which basically means to learn truly or genuinely so that it issues out in a habit. It's to learn something thoroughly as I choose, even to express the idea of acquiring a habit. Get the message. Let it sink deeply into Paul uses the same verb. For example, in Philippians 411 where he says I have learned and what ever state I am, therewith to be content, something he learned deeply, something he didn't just here, but something that was truly habitual knowledge and that's the essence of what he saying I want you to understand this.
I don't want to go by you. I want you to grasp it clearly and here is what I want you to learn.
It's the parable of the fig tree. It's the analogy of the figtree. It's the message or lesson that comes out of this simple illustration.
Here's the story when its branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.
Now nobody could misunderstand that when you see a figtree put forth leaves, you know that summer is near.
What is at me this time for fruit and harvest. In other words, is one that free but is it spying right. It's really not very complex. What is he mean when the branch is yet tender in this time of year when the sap begins to flow through those branches, they become somewhat swelled and tender as that life begins to pulsate pour through and push out the end of the branch in the form of a leaf.
There is a tenderness to the tree that there is a need to care carefully for that tree in that period of time and so that's what is referring to when it's branches tender because it soft was swelling sap and it pushes out its leaves, you know it's spring and spring means summer is near, and summer means harvest summer means harvest and whenever the Lord in the Gospel of Matthew speaks about harvest. He is speaking about the time when he comes to separate the good from the bad harvest in the Gospel of Matthew speaks of judgment. It speaks of the Lord's coming to deal with the good and the bad go all the way back to Matthew chapter 3 and you'll see that in John the Baptist's message. He said verse 11, that he came to baptize with water under repentance. But the one who comes after me.
He said that's referring to Christ is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire and the fire he has in mind is the fire of judgment it's referred to in verse 10, it's kind of the fire of judgment when a tree that has no fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. In verse 12 says his fan is in his hand and he will purge his floor in the use the fan to throw the grain in the air. The chaff blew away in the grain fell back down and the Lord's will to sift the good from the bad and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. In other words, here John the Baptist looks to a harvest and he sees the harvest is the time when God separates the evil and burns it and keeps the good and brings it into the barn as it were, the barn of his own kingdom in Matthew chapter 9, we find again this allusion to harvest Lord looks in verse 36 on the multitude is moved with compassion on them because they are wearied. They are literally flagellating. They are literally abused by their false shepherds and their scattered, like sheep that have no shepherd. And he says to his disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous. The laborers are few.
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest. In other words, God is going to judge the world and Jesus sees compassionately the whole harvest, as it were moving toward that judgment. The whole field of men moving toward judgment and desires that some be sent to warn them about the impending judgment when God will separate the righteous from the unrighteous in Matthew 13. Would you notice also verse 30. And here is the parable given of the wheat and tares, and it says in verse 30 at the we and the tears are to be allowed to grow together until the harvest and the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, gather together first.
The tears bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn again.
The harvest is seen as a time of distinguishing a time of judgment in the time of burning on the part of those that are evil reward on the part of those are good by the way that's explained in verse 40 the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of the age.
Verse 41 the Son of Man will send forth his angels, they will gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and then the do iniquity, and cast them into a furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth now and all of those incidents in the Gospel of Matthew, where you have the look at a harvest is a time of rewarding that which is good and of burning and punishing that which is evil. So what the Lord is saying is, is very simple in this uncomplicated analogy when you see the leaves come forth in the spring. You know that the coming of summer is near and there will be soon. Harvest and since they would perceive the harvest to be the second coming. The coming of God's judgment, they would very easily understand the intent of what the Lord is saying.
So the uncomplicated analogy leads secondly to an unmistakable application an unmistakable application verse 33 so likewise ye, he says, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near at the doors now in saying so likewise ye, he links the parable or the analogy to the application when you see all these things and summarizes what are all these things.
And the answer is all these is that what is the antecedent to all these things. Well, it's all the things that you just talked about what are all those things. The birth pains of verses 4 to 14 the abomination of desolation of verse 15, the need to flee because of great tribulation in verses 16 to 28 so the birth pains that the signal for the beginning of the birth pains. The calamities that come upon the earth, the subtle confusion of those who cry out the messiahs here in the Messiah. Is there the sinful corruption like a dead carcass to be eaten by birds and then the sign of the Son of Man in heaven as the sky goes black and the Son of Man appears in all his glory. All these things he says when you see all these things. It's like the tree putting forth leaves, you know that it is near, and summarizes what is it doesn't tell us what it is. Yes he does, and Luke in recording the same Olivet discourse was specific more specific than Matthew at this point in Luke records this in chapter 21 verse 31 so. Also, when you see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is near at hand so you can write in your Bible margin. It means the kingdom of God. That is the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the end of man's day. It is the beginning of God's day know that the kingdom is near the millennial kingdom of Revelation chapter 20 verse four and five is in view here when Jesus Christ reigns with his redeemed Saints for a thousand years upon the earth, and Satan is bound. The glorious kingdom promised to Israel when Israel will be back in its land and will be preserved from all its enemies and become the servants of the most high God, the time when Gentiles 10 at a time will grab onto the skirt of the Jew and that you will take them to God that they may know the true God is the time promised by all the prophets of old that great kingdom. So what he is saying is when you see all these things when you see all the birth pains and all the signs and the ultimate sign of the Son of Man in heaven know that it is near, so near its knocking on the door is the metaphor that is use, it must be the very this is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us.
John is pastor of Grace Community Church is Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary.
His lesson today is part of a compelling look at the end times called Jesus is coming John. I became a Christian almost 50 years ago, and at the time there was a very high level of expectation about the return of Christ was talked about much more than it is today. It seems to me that among evangelicals, even the most conservative Bible believing evangelicals that sense of expectation has so Wayne you get the impression that lots of Christians think the world just going to go on forever just like it is well yeah I think that's the basic notions of being communicated to this young millennial generation is hey you know the whole idea of Christianity's to make the most of your life so you get the picture that it you can take Jesus and Jesus affects your life and he'll get you what you want and heal him. He'll forgive your sin and he'll make your life better and if you don't come to Jesus. Your life will be so good that that is not the message. The messages you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Or you perish in everlasting conscious punishment in hell.
And that's the everlasting eternal punishment in hell. This is not about Jesus wanting to make your life in this world everything you wanted to be. It's about rescuing you from eternal judgment. But again it once in a while I hear a preacher talk about some of the prophetic aspects of the end times, somebody will preach on what's happening in the world you know you probably read it to think there were 8/10 pastor surveyed who thought the Cove 19 was a fulfillment of prophecy and part of the end times, which is really ridiculous that is not really what were talking about. Where were talking about preaching about the coming global judgment of God on this world and the return of Christ in the final judgment of sinners and eternal hell that we have to preach you. You cannot be lulled into thinking that if you don't come to Christ. Somehow your life isn't gonna be what it ought to be and you cannot be lulled into thinking that we we have to try to preserve this world environmentally which a lot of people talk about even Christian people.
When the Lord and bring it to a destructive in any way, so we need to know the truth about the future and judgment is at the heart of the truth so again I remind you the book the second coming is available. This is a book that will explain to you the plan for the end, the second coming available from Grace to you. That's right, and perhaps nothing will motivate you to share the gospel and to fight spiritual apathy more than knowing about Christ's return. So pick up John's book called the second coming when you contact us today. Call 855 grace or shop email@example.com.
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