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181 - Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
January 13, 2024 1:00 pm

181 - Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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January 13, 2024 1:00 pm

Episode 181 - Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (13 Jan 2024) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

The Verdict
John Munro
The Verdict
John Munro
Kerwin Baptist
Kerwin Baptist Church
Kerwin Baptist
Kerwin Baptist Church

You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. So when somebody tells you Jesus is coming back on a particular day in a particular place exactly in a particular way, should you believe them?

Well, yeah, and I've seen those and it always makes you scratch your head and wonder, is this true? Well, what did Jesus actually say? Well, he said in this passage today that nobody knows, and we'll read that today on More Than Ink. Well, welcome to you this morning. I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And here we are in the new year on More Than Ink. And is it a coincidence that we've turned into the new year and we're talking about the end of the age? I think it's an interesting timing. We didn't really set out to be here at this point.

No, that was not on purpose, but here we are. Yeah, so actually what we've been doing, if you haven't been with us, is we've been reading through all of Matthew. So we started in Matthew 1 and now we're in chapter 24. And interestingly, in chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew, Jesus gives us a large teaching on the end of the age, the end of time, how things are going to wrap up. And it's in response to a question that his apostles asked him at the beginning of chapter 24, like, you know, when will these things be? And give us a sign about when you're coming back.

Right, tell us what sign to watch for. Right, and here we are in the middle of his response to that. And we looked at some great stuff last time, and today we continue. In a sense, this is part three of a six-part series about the end of the age from these two chapters. So he had, at the end of our last conversation, he had given a list of signs in the heavens and signs on earth, the sign of the Son of Man appearing like lightning from the east to the west.

You're not going to miss it. But it's interesting that when we move into this next part of the passage, he gives, he says, you know, pay attention to the fig tree, right? Because these are, when spring is coming, gardeners know you watch for those subtle but detectable signs that the season is changing. And so I wonder if that's not part of the picture here too, that the big flamboyant stuff is going to be obvious to everybody. But for those who are paying attention, you'll see subtle things first.

Yeah, you should be able to expect it. In another place, Jesus says, you know, you can look at the skies and tell if there's a storm coming, you guys. So how is it that you're not aware of this coming of the end of the age? Blind to the signs of the times.

Yeah. So in a general sense, we ought to feel that it's coming near. And for those of us who watch world events, you know, it seems like it's getting nearer.

Over the course of our lifetime. And it seems like this kind of fervor about the end times erupt afresh kind of in every generation, when the next big thing happens. God is the master of the long setup, as I was saying to somebody the other day, that he takes his time putting everything in place. And every time something clearly clicks into place, all this excitement and fervor and creative imagination kicks in.

Yeah, exactly. And I'm constantly telling people that the end of the age, which is referred to in the Old Testament is the day of the Lord, is a day that's on God's calendar. It's already set and it's coming and it's coming near every day and every year.

But when it exactly comes is something that is going to elude us. And that's by God's design. So we're going to talk about that today. As we come into chapter 24, we're going to start in verse 32.

And we're going to talk about what you just said. Start with the fig tree. The fig tree. Verse 32. So from the fig tree learn its lesson.

As soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer isn't here. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near at the very gates. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until these things take place.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Whoa. Let's stop there. I don't know what map that is on that section. So I think it's just as simple as a fig tree. You look at it and you know summer's near. Right.

If you're paying attention, you can see that the season is about to change. Yep. Yep. In fact, we were doing this with our fig tree. If you look closely at it.

Oh yeah. I got one this dormant right now, but it's starting to make little leaves. But his buds are there.

You have to bend over and look closely at it and the leaves are starting to come. So that's all he's saying right here. There's a natural order to the timing on things with fig trees. And so is that true about the end of the age? And you should be able to tell that we're getting closer.

Okay. So when he says this generation won't pass away until it all takes place, there's a lot of debate about what that means. And it's probably important to remember that in the scriptures, the word generation is much more fluid than it is in our understanding. We think, you know, a generation is, I don't know, 25 years or whatever. It's these people who gave birth to the next people who gave birth to the next people. But in the scriptures, the generation idea is as much related to characteristics that a common group of people share as it is to actual literal generation of families.

The age of the families. So it's possible that he's talking about these people who are looking and watching will still be around. They'll still be looking.

They're going to see it. And it can also mean, from a timing perspective, that these elements we've been seeing in the past section and this section right here are going to transpire within the length of the time of a generation. Possibly. We're not talking about maybe a thousand years.

This could actually be as short as a lifetime of a person. So it's kind of hard to tell exactly what this means. But he is saying that all the things are going to take place, right? And this generation that's watching and looking is not going to pass away until everything takes place. Everything takes place.

And he emphasizes why everything is so important in 35. It's not like he's saying, well, we're going to do a little abomination of desolation. And if a couple of things don't happen, well, you know, they're just not that important.

He says, no, they're all important. They're all going to happen. I spoke these words. Heaven and earth themselves will pass away. But my words about what's going to happen, they'll never pass away.

That's such a reassuring thing about the power of Jesus' word. Because he's not just speaking about what he hopes is going to happen. He's speaking about what as God he knows is going to happen.

What he knows. Because Isaiah says the word of God stands forever. Great assurance. So it will happen.

Yeah. That's one of the great things I like to tell people about God's word. God's word is not just hopeful thinking. When God tells you something, especially as it refers to the future, it's something that he already sees.

There is no doubt about the assurance that it's going to happen. And when you remember that Jesus is the word of God made flesh, dwelling among us, in order to give us a clear view of who God is and what he's like, when Jesus speaks, all creation agrees. That's right. Creation listens.

He says, I'm telling you, my words will not pass away because my words are my Father's words. Right. Exactly. Exactly. So in this section, he's really basically telling us, you know, if I look at a parallel section in Luke 21, he caps up this and what he says in Luke 21 by saying, so when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Right. And that's the point. And it's getting nearer every day.

Check the buds on your fruit tree. It's getting nearer every day. It's making progress toward that end. It's not going backwards and it's not halted, which is really important because a lot of people will think, well, he hasn't shown up yet and it's been so long.

Maybe he stopped the clock. Nope. It's continuing to proceed. It's nearer today than it was yesterday. Yeah.

Should we move on? Yes. Okay.

Wow. Verse 36. But concerning that day, no one knows. And that hour.

And that hour. No one knows. Not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

For in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away. So will be the coming of the Son of Man. Yeah. Let's stop it right there. Yeah, we need to. Yeah.

Because we've got to talk about Noah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I mean the general sense he's saying from 38 to 39 is the fact that people are just going to be living normal life. Right. Just doing what they did yesterday.

They're going to do it tomorrow. There's not going to be any sense of impending doom. Right. Just like with Noah, there was no sense of judgment coming. They're just, you know, they're marrying and they're just doing stuff.

They're having barbecues and normal life is happening. And in the midst of those things, they had no clue that the coming of God and His judgment was near. That's the general sense of what he says there. But then if you wind back in 37, as you're saying, as were the days of Noah, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. What is that all about? Well, you know, the days of Noah were full of wickedness.

Pretty bad. Disregard for God. That's why the judgment came. Yeah. Yeah. Should probably go back to Genesis 6.

6, yeah. And read about the days of Noah. Yeah, I looked at it here just the beginning of Genesis 6, you know, 6, 5. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. That's the state of mankind.

The thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. That's the days of Noah. And so if we draw a parallel to Jesus' second coming, could that be the case that at that time the thoughts of the hearts of all men is going to be evil continually?

Yeah, I can totally believe that. Well, he had already talked about how in those days that lawlessness will increase and men's love will grow cold. Men's love will grow cold. We are entering and have entered for quite some time now, a time when disregard for human life is growing. Disrespect for authority is growing. Every man does what's right in his own eyes, which is the repeated refrain of the book of Judges, which is full of old manner of weirdness and chaos.

And how did that turn out? Yeah, really poorly. So in the same way that you can see based on the progress of the fig tree, you can see in the progress in the decline of man. The degress. The regress. The regress. Yeah, so if man is getting more and more decrepit, more and more his heart is consumed with evil continually. And you see that advancing like that? Well, that's another sign that we're getting closer to the end.

That's what he's saying. It will be like the days of Noah. And the final judgment. They'll have no clue about the liability they have in terms of their sins with God or the fact that judgment looms near to them. They'll have no clue of that.

It will be just like a total, total surprise. Yeah, and I think that's largely because of this increasing involvement with self. Oh, I would say so. Focused on self. So we are not paying any attention to anything that's going on around us. We're just consumed with ourself. And actually, Jesus is going to speak to that when we get toward the end of the chapter here a little bit with the servants who are not like their master. Yeah. And I will always maintain, as a quick shorthand, is that sin is self.

You know, and it's Tozer, A.W. Tozer put this on to me a long time ago, and he calls it the hyphenated sins of self. You know, self-interest, self-consumption, self, self, self, everything.

Self-indulgence. Everything is about you, you know. Well, when everything is about you, God is no longer the king of your universe. Right.

You are. And so you can almost say that sin in its basic nature is your desire and rebellion to have you at the center of your universe, to have self at the center. So again, what happens when man gets distant from God? He's consumed by love for himself and selfishness, and there is no love and there is no consideration and there is no compassion.

All these things that God is known for because of his love will not be part of our character because we'll just be concerned about number one, me. Meantime, the calendar is marching on. Yep. And the flood is coming. The judgment is coming.

Yep, yep, it is. And here in this passive we just read twice again that famous word parousia comes up in 37, so will be the coming of the Son of Man, and then at the end will be the coming of the Son of Man where he makes his official royal visit. I'm here folks. In verse 39, coming of the Son of Man. Coming of the Son of Man, yeah. Okay, so let's read on.

Yeah. So verse 40, then two men will be in the field and one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill, one will be taken and one left. Therefore stay awake for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Okay, I want to stop there for a minute because when I was growing up, this little passage about two men in the field and two women in the grinding at the mill was applied to what is called the rapture. The rapture. Now that word doesn't appear in the scriptures, but it's the idea that the Lord's gonna call all his elect ones from the four directions and some of us are just gonna disappear on that day.

He's snatched. Possibly. But you know, when I look more closely at the context here, I wonder if it isn't one will be taken to judgment. Could be.

And one will be left. That's an ongoing debate. It is definitely a conversation worth having. Yeah. But what he's painting here is a picture of normal life.

There's two people working side by side by side and then suddenly inexplicably, inexplicably, inexplicably one will be gone. I mean, it will not be normal life all of a sudden in a split second. Yeah.

So whether it's to judgment or it's off to be saved, right? It's kind of hard to say, but we do know that the normal progress of daily life will suddenly and radically be interrupted. And you won't be able to do anything about it. Right. It's gonna happen.

It's gonna come upon you just when you're doing your stuff. And in this picture of both of these pairs, none of them are suspecting anything's gonna happen. It's just, it's a total surprise. And so that's what he's talking about from Noah. They're just doing normal life and then this happens. Yeah.

Wow. So verse 42, therefore stay awake for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Right.

So he's driven that point home several times now. Stay awake, be ready, pay attention. You don't know when it's gonna happen, but it is gonna happen. Right, right. Because you know, there's a funny thing. If we know the exact moment of the return of Christ, you know, we put things off so badly that we'll either put it off or we'll try and get away with things and say, well, you know, I'll do this and do this.

I still have three weeks. Yeah. And then, and then I'll repent just before it comes back and we're golden. You know, everything's fine. So you actually use that information to manipulate selfishly what you do. And what he's saying is, no, don't do that. You're not gonna know when I'm coming back. You don't know the hour I'm gonna come back.

Forget even asking that question. The issue is, is what you should be doing between now and when I come back is being diligent with what I've asked you to do. Just be diligent.

Yeah. Just keep on, keep on, keep on. Don't say no, I'll do it later cause Jesus is coming back in two months.

No, just keep on cause you don't know the time. And that's actually a recipe for diligence and faithfulness is not to say I'm gonna meter my, my tasks and my work and my service for God based on when this moment comes. I'm just gonna do it like right now.

I'll just do it right now. I'm just gonna make it my habit of life. Right. And I think that's the biggest thing you can take away from when Jesus is talking in these two chapters about the end times.

I mean, you can be fascinated by all the events, the abomination of desolation, tribulation, all this kind of stuff. But in the end, what does it really mean to what you do tomorrow? Right. What does he call you to do?

Right. Keep doing it. And just, yeah, what does God give you to do? Just keep doing that. Be faithful and keep doing that. That's what you need to do. Stay awake, stay awake, you know.

He uses this great example of the thief, you know, you know, if you knew the exact time the thief would come in, you would have, you know, you would have been able to intercept him, but, but you don't, you just don't. So just do what you've always been doing. That's the right thing to do. So then he gives this picture of the servants, right? Verse 45, who then is the faithful and wise servant whom his master has set over his household to give them their food at the proper time, right? The household belongs to the master.

That's right. Okay. So serving that master. Verse 46, blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.

Truly I say to you, he'll set him over all his possessions. Okay. So that word blessed doesn't mean the master is just going to come and say, well done. Right.

That is the form of the word blessed. That means this is a servant who's filled with the characteristics of his master. Exactly. He's satisfied with his master's business.

Right. Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing, because that's the master's expectations. I left you here to take care of my house.

This house belongs to me or by extension those who love God. I left you here to take care of them. And so when he comes back, I want to see that that's exactly what you're doing. Right. Yeah.

By contrast in verse 48, but if that wicked servant says to himself, my master's delayed and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Right. Right. So there, there's the wicked motivation that happens after you know when the master will come or more importantly, when he will not come, you know, I'll get away with not doing my stuff. Because I don't really believe he's coming. Right.

He's not coming today. And then what does this servant do? He begins to abuse others. He begins to indulge himself. He indulges himself. He spends the master's resources on himself.

Yeah. And so, so we selfishly take advantage, selfishly take advantage of the knowledge of when he would come back. And that's, that's a good reason for in the bigger picture, God doesn't tell us when he's coming back because many will be tempted to do with this wicked servant does in 48. You know, you'll say, well, I know this is what I've been given to do, but I don't have to do it today because he's not coming today. I can get away with a little mayhem, a little self service, you know, and then just before he comes back, it's like, you know, when, when, you know, you leave and you're coming back to the house that someone's been house sitting for you and they say, well, tell me what day you're coming back and the day before I'll get it all cleaned up and stuff like that.

That's kind of what this is all about as well. Instead of saying, I will respect what he's given me to do and I'll just continue to do that. The longer you are in that condition of, Oh, he's delayed. He's not coming.

He's not coming. The more and more license you take with what is the masters, not yours. So there's this kind of slippery slide. Well, you actually, yeah, you actually slide into the thing that there will never be a day of reckoning. And all of his resources are mine. That also appeared in another parable. Wait a second.

Just a few weeks ago when they, when the Jesus likened Israel to the, the, uh, the vineyard owner said, well, let's kill the father, kill the son, and then the vineyard will be ours. Right. Well, it doesn't work that way. It doesn't work that way. So let's talk about verse 51 a little bit.

Okay. And we'll cut him in pieces, right? Not actually chop him up in little bits, but slice. No, as I recall, whip him.

This is an old memory, but I, yeah, as I recall has more to do with the whips than it does the chopping someone up with a knife. Put him with the hypocrites. Interesting, huh? Well, because you know, he is a servant in the master's house, but he, he really is not the masters. Right. He doesn't belong.

His heart doesn't belong to the masters. As evidenced by his lack of real service. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So he is a hypocrite in the sense too, with a hypocrite, a hypocrite does one thing, says another, but does another thing. Right. And so his actions don't match his proclamations about himself. Right. So in this particular sense, the wicked servant will say, yes, master, I'll take care of your place while you're gone.

But then when the master comes back and catches me, finds out he's not doing it. He said one thing, he's doing another. You know, that was back in chapter 22 and 23 when Jesus was listing his woes against the Pharisees, the religious leaders. Woe to you hypocrites. Right.

Who say one thing and do another. Yeah. That's exactly what he's describing. Well, and that woe is kind of a, an emotional word saying buddy, look out.

That's right. It's going to be terrible for you. A reckoning is coming. A reckoning is coming.

You need to straighten these things out. Yeah, exactly. So there, there is in all of the end times discussions, the real sobering idea that indeed without question, Jesus is returning and it's set for a hard day. It's really going to happen. And yet he's not going to tell us exactly. However, we should sign, we should be able to sense the season of when it's getting near based on the fig tree of the decline of man. We should be able to sense it's really getting there, but the exact day, the exact hour that that's the most specific time reference he could give.

I mean the real pinpoint moment. You won't know. You won't know. So don't worry about that anyway, because what are you supposed to do tomorrow? Well, what he gave you to do today.

So just keep doing that. So, you know, it's really helpful. This is so helpful when we have somebody who comes along like they did, I don't know, 10 or so years ago and say, Oh, the Lord's coming back on such and such a date.

And we all looked at that and said, well, you've just self-disqualified, right? Cause you just, you, Jesus said, nobody knows the hour. But this set me thinking of what Paul said in first Thessalonians five. Now as to the times and the epochs brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you for you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night while they're saying peace and safety, then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child and they shall not escape. But you brethren are not in the darkness that the day should overtake you like a thief for you are all sons of light and sons of day. Jumping to verse six. So then do not let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert, alert, sober, alert and sober. Pay attention, right?

Stay alert, stay on tasks, keep looking for his return, waiting for his return, knowing his return is imminent and can happen anytime. So I guess the question is, do we really believe he's coming? Well, you know, with 2000 years of delay, we wonder a lot. Well, and it seems to me that Peter wrote about that.

Wait, I'm turning to it. He sure did. Oh, he did.

He sure did. Second Peter three. He says, know this first of all, that in the last days, mockers will come with their mocking following after their own lusts and saying, where's the promise of his coming? Where's the promise? Forever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation. For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed. Let's jump forward a little bit. And the present heavens and earths by his word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of destruction of uncommon. But don't let this one fact escape your notice, beloved. This is verse eight of Second Peter three, that with the Lord, one day is as 1000 years and 1000 years as one day.

The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, who is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but that all should come to repentance. Yep. Yep.

Yep. Don't don't lose patience. He's coming. His promise is there.

That's why Jesus says my word will never pass away. That's all going to happen. It's all going to happen.

You can take that to the bank. So just stay on task. Do what I've asked you to do. Don't use the timing of my return to give you excuses not to be faithful. Just be faithful.

Just be faithful. And I can also wrap it up with one very encouraging verse from First Thessalonians four. He says, for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command with the voice of an archangel and with the sound of the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. And then we who are alive who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord and in the air and so we will always be with the Lord.

So there you go. The chaos of the end times. You're not going to fall through the cracks. He's got you and you are the elect that he collects together.

You're the ones who are the apple of his eye who delights in. You don't need to fear the end times. He's got this. But he's coming. But he is coming. He is very much coming and you know the first coming of Jesus which we just celebrated at Christmas a couple weeks ago. If that was so sure based on the prophecies of the Old Testament and there are more it seems like on the second coming even Jesus himself saying it.

Well you can take it to the bank. It's going to happen. So don't be discouraged by how long it seems to be taking. Don't be discouraged by what seems like the injustice that's never corrected because God sees it all and when he comes back you'll see justice like you've never seen justice before.

He's got this. The wrath of God is coming though and those who do not know need to be warned and that's our job as we stay at our places waiting for his return. So I'm Jim and I'm Dorothy and we're glad you're with us and we'll continue looking at the end of the age next time on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website and while you're there take a moment to drop us a note. Remember the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. That was a very good first shot. After a point. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Rhythm City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-13 14:25:00 / 2024-01-13 14:37:16 / 12

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