If you have your Bibles, turn with me if you would to Mark chapter 13, we're looking at verses 32 through 37.
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven or the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake, for you do not know when the time will come. It's like a man going on a journey when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know when the master of the house will come in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows in the morning, lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.
What I say to you, I say to all, stay awake. Let's pray. Lord, there are many in our church right now that need a healing touch from you. Pray for Robin Hayes, who had neck and back surgery Friday, helping to heal quickly. Pray for Jeremy Carriker, help him to recover from the stroke and help Marie in caring for him. Be with Jim Belk and Kitty Clay, Mayna Zimba, John Key, and Cole Lowes, help them to heal. Pray for Theresa Carter this morning, whose mother passed away just a few hours ago.
Please comfort Theresa in her grief. Heavenly Father, we love to study what you did here on earth 2,000 years ago. We are enthralled when we read in your word that you heal the sick and cast out demons and raised the dead and preached your word, and we were amazed that Jesus loved us so much that he went to the cross to purchase our salvation, and then rose from the dead and broke the power of death over us. We praise you.
You stand in amazement that you could love undeserving sinners so deeply, but today we have a passage that thrills our hearts in ways that we can't imagine. You promised to return. You promised that you would come back to make all things right. You promised that we would either be translated or resurrected depending on whether we're alive or dead, and we will worship you face to face. Hallelujah. May we believe that truth, and may we be prepared to meet you, for it is in the precious holy name of Jesus that we pray, amen.
You may be seated. For the last three weeks, we have been dealing with a portion of the Olivet Discourse that deals with the disciples asking questions to Jesus and Jesus answering those questions. Jesus has just told them that the temple in Jerusalem is coming down, that not one stone will be left upon another. Then James and John and Andrew and Peter got Jesus off to the side, and they said, Lord, when will these things happen?
What is the sign that will signal that all these things are being accomplished? And Jesus said this to them. He tells them that the sign to look for that will signal his coming in power against a Christ rejecting Israel will be the abomination of desolation. He says, look when the enemy armies come and they surround the city. Now Jesus knows that there's some confusion in their mind because they believe that when that temple comes down and when Jerusalem is destroyed, that history will end, that Jesus will return, that the dead will be raised from the dead, that judgment will come, and that we will enter into the eternal state.
Now here's what's going on. The disciples are looking at two mountain peaks that are out in front of them, and as they look, they can't see the valley between them. It looks to them like it's just one mountain peak, but folks, that mountain peak, it does have a valley between it, and that valley is already 2,000 years long. So in this passage we're looking at today, Jesus is telling them that these are two separate events. First, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and then the second coming of Christ. Now look with me again at verse 32, and what we have here is a transitional verse. It says this, but concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. In other words, he's saying to the disciples, don't make the mistake of putting the destruction of Jerusalem together with the second coming of Christ. Jesus said, I've told you what to look for. I've told you how to prepare.
I've given you a timetable. I have told you that this will happen in this generation, that is the destruction of Jerusalem and the leveling of the temple. But he says of that day and hour, referring to his second coming, he says, no one will know the time. So what does that mean for us, folks? Does that mean that it doesn't really matter whether we get prepared for it or not?
Does that mean that we can kind of say, well, you know, it's been 2,000 years already, hadn't come yet. Why should I get excited about it? Why should I think that maybe it could happen in my lifetime?
Why should I do that? Look at verse 33. Jesus said, be on guard, keep awake, for you do not know when the time will come.
Now, this is the way to look at it. Jesus will either come in our lifetime or we will die. Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27 says, for there is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment. We need to be ready for both our death or his second coming. Now, let me ask you this. Do you think because you're young or because you're very healthy that somehow that means that death is not really much of a possibility for you anytime soon? Let me remind you of something that happened just two weeks ago.
There were seven people in California that were just standing around and all of a sudden this crazed maniac comes out with his gun, shoots all seven of them, kills them dead on the spot. Now, if any of those people wake up that morning saying to themselves, I think this is going to be my last day here on earth, no, they had no idea. That's why Solomon said in Proverbs chapter 27 verse 1, boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day will bring forth. Folks, we ought to be prepared for death and we ought to be prepared for the second coming.
We just don't know which one we will experience. Someone asked Charles Spurgeon one time if he had his choice, what would he do? A choice between dying and being resurrected from the dead or a choice of being translated when Christ returns and being taken up to meet him in the clouds and being with him forever. Which would you rather have and Spurgeon thought about it in a minute and he said, well, I think I'd like to do it like Jesus did it. He said, I think I'd like to die. And then he said, I'm going to enjoy rising up from that grave, turning around to the tombstone and rebuking that tombstone and saying, oh death, where is thy sting?
Oh grave, where is thy victory? How secretive a thing is the second coming of Christ? Jesus said that no one will know. He said that not the angels in heaven, nor himself, but only the Father. Now what is the message there?
I think the message there is don't be a date setter. The angels of heaven don't know the timing of the second coming. At that time, Jesus did not even know the timing of the second coming. Now that's a very irksome thing to a lot of people because they say, wait a minute, Jesus is God. One of the attributes of God is omniscience, which means that he is all-knowing.
How can it be if Jesus is God that he doesn't know at that point in time the timing of the second coming of Christ? Well, there's an answer to that found in Philippians chapter 2 and verses 5 to 11, it's called the kenotic passage. And the apostle Paul said this, let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made of himself of no reputation, took upon himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him and given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things of heaven and things of the earth and things unto the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. That passage is called the kenotic passage because it comes from a Greek word kenosis. That means the emptying.
And some people say, yes, that's right. Jesus emptied himself for those 33 years when he was here on this earth, he emptied himself of his deity. No, he did not.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. He never emptied himself of his deity. He emptied himself of his glory. He emptied himself of the privileges of his deity for those 33 years. But never, ever did he cease to be God. In 451, the Council of Chalcedon made this great statement. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.
R.C. Sproul said it this way, there were times in Jesus's earthly ministry when his human nature manifested itself. When he was hungry, that was evidence of his humanity because God never gets hungry.
When he sweated in Gethsemane, that was evidence of his humanity because deity does not perspire. Also in that human nature, Jesus did not possess omniscience. Of course, the divine nature could and frequently did communicate supernatural knowledge to Jesus's human nature. There were times when Jesus spoke of things that no human being could know in and of himself. But the divine nature did not communicate everything it knew to the human nature. So when Jesus said he did not know the day and the hour of his coming, he was speaking with regards to his humanity.
It's very simple. The only people who have a problem with this are those who want to deify the human nature of Jesus. The two natures must be kept separate. Jesus's human nature did not know the day and the hour.
By the way, he knows now. This was told us so that we would not be speculating and date setting. We need to be preparing. Jesus did not give us these words so that we could chart the future, but he gave us these words so that we could practice what J.C. Ryle called perpetual preparedness.
Let me ask you something. How do we get perpetually prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ? In 2 Timothy chapter 4 verses 6 through 8, Paul was writing his own obituary and he probably died a few days, maybe just a few hours after he wrote it because he was decapitated. They chopped his head off. What does his obituary say? It says this. For I am now ready to be offered in the time of my departures at hand, for I've fought a good fight. I've finished my course. I've kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but unto all those also who love his appearing. In that last passage, Jesus said something very significant.
He said those who love his appearing will receive a crown of righteousness. John Piper has just written a great book on the second coming of Jesus. It's a book that was written to help us that we might develop a longing in our heart for Christ to come, to help us to prepare for Jesus' second coming.
I want to read you just a statement that Piper made about why he wrote the book. He said, so I think Paul would say that the test of our proper affection for the first coming of Christ is a measure of our affection for the second. Or to say it another way, the test of our love for the Christ who has appeared is our longing for the Christ who will appear. Therefore, I believe I am building on a good foundation when I say that the aim of this book is to help people love the second coming of Christ.
To such people, Christ, the righteous judge, will award the crown of righteousness. Therefore, our spirit awakened love for the second coming, and listen carefully, is not a Christ neglecting fascination with an event. It is a Christ enthralled longing for his presence and glory. Is an extension of our love for Jesus.
Wow. All right, Jesus gives us some insight here about what's going to be like when he returns. I'm going to go over to the parallel passage in Matthew for just a minute. Matthew chapter 24 verse 33 through 37 through 39. And he says, for as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the son of man. For as in those days before the flood, they were eaten 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. So I've heard this passage interpreted this way. They say the comparison of the times in Noah's day to the times right before the return of Christ are going to be very similar, which means there are no real signs to look for. And he says, if that's what takes place, you don't need to look for a sign because what's going to be happening is they're going to be eating and drinking, giving, marrying and giving in marriage, everything will be just about the same.
I don't buy that for a minute. What were the people of Noah's day like? They were godless.
They were eating and drinking. They were marrying and giving in marriage, but they were doing it without any thought that they have a God to an account to. They thought the idea of judgment was nonsense. They thought Noah was a nut. They thought this ark was just a ridiculous project by some religious fanatic.
And what happened to that generation? Their rejection of God was so wicked, it was so vile that God sent a worldwide flood to destroy every man, woman, boy and girl on this earth except the family of Noah. I submit to you today that history has seen its spiritual ups and downs, hadn't it? We have seen the rise of atheistic communism that has fought with all of its power to discourage any kind of adherence to a belief in God. We have seen wicked men like Mao Tse Tung who slaughtered millions of Christians in China. We have seen the atheistic lunacy of Kim Jong Un, but there are things going on in our world as I speak that we have not seen before. Listen carefully.
I'm not date setting. I am not trying to tell you that I know exactly when Christ is coming back because I don't know and Jesus told me not to do that. But folks, I would be an absolute fool to deny that we very well could be the people living on this earth when Jesus returns.
We need to be perpetually prepared. Folks, we need to understand our calling is a church. God has called Grace Church. He has called us to be the light of the world. He has called us to be the salt of the earth.
How important is that? We are never to compromise with the culture, but we are to take the gospel to our culture. If ever there was a time that the true church needed to shine, that time is now.
And we need never to believe the lies of the culture. We need to trust God. Remember the story in Numbers chapter 13 and chapter 14? God had sent the 12 spies out to check out the promised land, to spy out the land. They went over there. They saw stuff like they had never seen before. I mean beautiful fruit, vegetables, animals they'd never seen, beautiful land, absolutely gorgeous. In fact, they brought back a big cluster of grapes and two men carried it on a pole. They got back and they were pretty excited about what they had seen, but the intent of the 12 spies said, it's a beautiful land. It is absolutely gorgeous and we've never seen anything quite like it, but we can't take it. But because there are giants in the land.
They have wild cities, great wild cities. They have sophisticated weaponry. We can't fight them. We can't win against them. So let's just forget it. Caleb and Joshua stood up and said, that's not right.
We have God. All God's commanded us to do is to go and to take the land and we have a responsibility to obey him. What did the people do? They went with the majority rule. They went with the majority and what happened to them?
They ended up having to wander in the wilderness for the next 40 years until everybody in that adult generation died off. Listen, serving Jesus has nothing to do with majority rule. In 1962, the Supreme Court took prayer out of the public school. They said the people wanted it. In 1963, they took Bible reading out of the public school. They said people wanted it. And then a little bit later on, they made us take the commandments, the 10 commandments off the walls of our public school. They said the people wanted it.
2008, gay marriage was legalized. We are told the people wanted it. Let me tell you, the world will always want what God condemns. And we need to understand and we should not be surprised at the world's wickedness.
But I'll be honest with you, I do get distressed over what's going on in our culture. Men say that they are women just because they decide to be. I'm a woman because I have identified as a woman now. That makes me a woman.
No, it does not. Folks, what is this? It's like the emperor's new clothes. You remember that story? In that story, the emperor is lied to by the tailor. He's told that he's going to make him this beautiful suit of clothes. He gives him an invisible clothing to wear. And he goes out just to show off his new clothing. Everybody's been told how to respond.
And they ooh and they ah at the emperor until all of a sudden the little boy starts laughing. And he said, that's not a new set of clothes. He said, that man doesn't even have any clothes on.
He's naked as a jaybird. What's the matter with you? And everybody says, oh, no. How could you say that?
How could you respond that way? And they all of a sudden quit laughing. And they realize that they have believed the lie of the culture. The wokeness and perversion and transgenderism that our culture is pushing for today is nothing but the emperor's clothes. It's a lying fantasy. And the church must not buy in to that lie. Is that too harsh?
I don't think so. Would you listen to what God says about these types of sin in 1 Corinthians chapter 6? Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed. You were sanctified.
You were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Folks, we erred when we call the highest court in our land the Supreme Court. There's only one supreme judge and his name is Jesus. He knows our every thought. He knows our every word even before we say it.
And folks, this Jesus will not have any of his decisions overturned. For the last decade, I've been warning Grace Church that persecution is coming. Have we experienced persecution? Maybe we got canceled. Maybe we got ignored. Maybe we've just got kind of removed and put out of the way. I want you to know that I think sooner than later persecution is going to ramp up.
It's going to get a whole lot worse and it's going to cost something to be a Christian. I want to just point out two quick things that are happening in our world right now. Jim Laffer gave me an article that came out. It was published by the United Nations just a short time ago.
I want to read you what the statement was. The United Nations just announced plans to release a report in June regarding perceived contradictions between the right to freedom of religion and sexual orientation and gender identity. The report aims to push governments to fully comply with international human rights laws to protect and empower the participants of LGBTQ people in religious communities. The UN requested calls from all interested government, religious leaders, academians, activists and human rights organizations regarding perceived points of tension between freedom of religion and sexual and gender identity. United Kingdom would sign up with that in a heartbeat.
United States would not be far behind. What would that mean for Christians who believe that the Bible is the word of God and they're committed to being obedient to their Lord Jesus Christ? I think it would mean very deep persecution. I'm going to mention something here and you're going to say, oh no, Doug's gone off the deep end.
He's jumped on the Hal Lindsey bandwagon, I want to assure you I have not. But something is happening right now that we have not seen possible until our lifetime. I've talked to amillennialists and premillennialists about this very thing who are also convinced that this is a prophecy that very well may be coming to pass in our day and time. I want us to look at Revelation 13, verse 16 through 18, then Revelation 14, verses 9 through 11. Now I do believe that there is going to be a man of sin who will wield ungodly global power and control in our world.
I don't believe that that may, that's in 2 Thessalonians 2. But I don't believe that that is the beast of revelation. I believe the beast of revelation is the global political system in which Satan will use in the last days before Christ returns. But listen to these passages, Revelation 13, 16 through 18.
Also it causes all both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave to be marked on the right hand or the forehead so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark. That is the name of the beast or the number of its name. The cause for wisdom, let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man is number 666. Revelation 14, 9 through 11. And another angel, a third followed them, saying with a loud voice, if anyone worships the beast in its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever.
They have no rest, day or night, these worshippers of the beast in its image and whoever sees the mark of its name. In light of that, I want to share with you a statement from a technology innovation website. It says, as technology continues to get closer to merge with our bodies, from the smartphones in our hands to the smart watches on our wrist to earbuds, now it's getting under our skin with a microchip. In Sweden, thousands have had microchips inserted into their hands. The chips are designed to speed up users' daily routines, make their lives more convenient. Accessing their homes, offices, and gyms is as easy as swiping their hands against digital readers. Chips also can be used to store emergency contact details, social media profiles, or e-tickets for events and rail journeys. There's a dark side to the technology that has a potential for abuse, she says. To those with no love of individual freedom, it opens up seductive new vistas for control, manipulation, and oppression. And who owns the data? Who has access to the data? And is it ethical to chip people like we do pets?
The result, she cautions, could be the disempowerment of many for the benefit of a few. That kind of technology was not available for the last 2,000 years. It is available today. It's being tested in Sweden. It's being tested in the United Kingdom. China right now has experimentally chipped over 200,000 people.
So what does that mean? Can that happen globally? I think yes, absolutely it can. So should we set a date? Absolutely we should not. But should we prepare? Should we get our hearts prepared to meet the Lord Jesus Christ?
And I believe absolutely yes. Folks, when Christ returns, the world will be living like the world was in Noah's day, living for pleasure, just kind of surviving, not giving God much thought. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5, 1 through 6. Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
While people are saying there is peace and security, then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains will come upon a pregnant woman and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or the darkness, so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
Let's go back to our original text. Be on guard and keep awake, verse 33, for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey when he leaves home, puts his servants in charge, each with his work, commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake, for you do not know when the master of the house will come.
In the evening or midnight when the rooster crows or in the morning, lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you, I say to all, stay awake. What's Jesus referring to there? I think he's referring to the exact same thing that Paul was referring to in First Thessalonians chapter four, verse 13 through 18, when he said, but I would not have you to be ignorant brethren concerning those who are asleep, that you sorrow not as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who remain and are alive until the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who were asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be called up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. One another with these words, Paul said. Now I want you to go back to the last verse in Mark 13. Jesus said, and what I say to you, I say to all, that includes Grace Church, stay awake. From the day I got saved in October of 1971, the idea of Jesus coming back, the person of Jesus Christ coming back to this earth and me having the privilege of meeting with him has put a knot in my stomach, a knot of joy.
I've studied this from the dispensational premillennial view, from the historical premillennial view, from the postmillennial view, from the amillennial view. I have friends in all those camps. I have just great respected theologians in all the different camps. That should never divide us as brothers and sisters in Christ, but after 50 years of study in eschatology, I am an amillennialist. You say, Doug, do you believe that Jesus could come in our day and time? I absolutely believe that. Doug, do you believe that we as a church are going to go through tribulation? I absolutely believe that. Do you believe that Christians are going to be greatly persecuted?
I believe that and I think that persecution is going to intense in number and it's going to intense in its propensity. I think we are going to experience that, but in the Lord's perfect time, he is going to return in all of his glory and, folks, we are going to see him face to face and we are going to worship him as we've never been able to worship him before. I want to ask you a question, Grace Church. Do you love his appearing?
Do you love his appearing? Let's pray. Heavenly Father, as Jesus finished up his teaching on the second coming, he said to us, stay awake.
Lord, we're not date setters. We're not nutty prognosticators, but we know in our hearts that you could return soon. Help us to stay awake. Help us to prepare. Help us to long to see Jesus face to face. We love you, Lord. Thank you for loving us. It's in Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-22 13:53:51 / 2023-02-22 14:06:02 / 12