Matthew 24:1-51 (Part 2) – Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?

Posted: March 16, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 24:1-51 (Part 2)

Jesus Teaches about Being Watchful for His Return

 

As a parent, you know that take long trips with children can be a task in and of itself. Cat herding would sometimes be easier. Kids fighting in the back seat your space vs. my space. Arguing about who is touching who. Everybody in the back having to pee at differing times. Kids do not seem to understand that you can go on demand. They wait til their eyeballs are floating. I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. She’s touching me. And then there is the most irritating comment of all because of its frequency…”are we there yet?” Are we there, yet? It seems to come every five miles. You’re not even out of your hometown yet when the first “are we there yet” comes out. It seems that we Christians are asking that same question with increasing frequency, “Are we there, yet?”

 

The end is near. The end is near. You hear people preaching it all the time. We seem to be obsessed with it here recently as Christians. As we see the basic tenets of our faith abused and trampled upon in court case after court case, many Christians claim that we are at the beginning of the end. Many Christians claim that Barack Obama is the Antichrist noted in Revelation. We live in confusing times. What was once considered immoral is now considered acceptable behavior. Civility seems to be a lost art. Those who are rude and crass seem to be venerated in pop culture and in politics. Self-centered approaches to life seem to be norm. We glorify bad behavior of celebrities. We make celebrities of people who would not be celebrities if it were not for our desire to be voyeurs into their lives in reality television shows. All of it seems too much for most Christians. We speak often of the world being at the end of times. Books and movies about the end times are popular among Christians for this very reason. The Left Behind series of Christian books remain among the most popular books among Christians. Meanwhile, we sit and watch our society change. We publicly comment in social media about how our world has gone to hell. We withdraw into our ivory towers and bemoan the state of our union. In our disenchantment, we may even seek political saviors who verbalize our anger and fear but yet have no solutions. We are seeking to return to a simpler time that no longer exists. One might think with all the zany-ness in the world that the end times are near. They’ve got to be! Some of us say. We have got to be at the end. This world is so completely messed up. It must be the end of times. Right? Jesus says for us to get a hold of ourselves. Seeking the signs of the end time is not the point. Let’s read what He says, in Matthew 24:3-14:

 

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

 

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

 

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

 

 

The end times are going to come and that is a certainty. There is too much Scripture on the subject for it not to be true. It will come. There will be an end to all things. Of that, we are sure. Jesus’ disciples wanted to know from their Master when the end was going to come. Over the centuries, we have been obsessed with interpreting signs. Many of us often the confuse the demise of our culture with the end times. Certainly, the Native American culture thought the same thing from the 1500’s through the 1800’s. In the mid-1800’s the culture that they know finally came to an end. Beginning with the Spanish conquistadors and ending with the US Army and expansion of American settlers westward, the culture that the native Americans in both South and North America contracted and contracted and was finally completely and utterly destroyed at the hands of the white man. The world that they knew came to an end. We see our culture today as it seems to be irrecognizable compared to the culture we lived in just 60 years ago. We think the world is coming to an end. And maybe it is. We do not know. But if we live our lives trying to match the end times prophecies of the Bible to current events, Jesus says we are missing the point. When we argue about whether you are post-millenial, pre-millenial, amillenial, or whatever, Jesus says we are missing the point.

 

Jesus tells us that there will be signs of the end times always. We live in a fallen world. Ever since the first sin of Adam and Eve, we have been living in a world that has been cursed by sin. There will be violence. There will be wars. There will be famines and pestilence. There will be the ever-spiraling effects of the sin-filled nature of man where we oppress, murder, steal and kill one another. Pride and greed drives us to hurt and steal and oppress and kill. All of these things are going to happen in a fallen world and are, yes, leading us toward the end of times, but are we there yet? Who knows! All human history is headed toward an end. Of that, Scripture tells us that we are guaranteed.

 

Jesus says we will be persecuted for our beliefs. Yes, things are changing here in the United States and there is an anti-Christian sentiment in this country now. Welcome to the rest of the world! People have been dying for their belief in Christ for 21 centuries now. More Christians were killed for their beliefs in the last century, the 20th century, than during the entirety of the Roman Empire. We lived in troubled times and it has come to our doorstep. And it will progressively get worse. We live in a fallen world and it will progressively get worse. Of that, we are guaranteed. We should not be surprised by what is happening. The beginning of the end began with Adam and Eve and their rebellion. We have been working our way toward it ever since.

 

Because of our obsession with the end, Jesus says there will be those who claim to be the Messiah and will led us astray. They will tell us that they can restore the good times. They will make us great again. They will make things right again. They will restore the world to the way it used to be. They will deceive us and lead us astray. They will say and do things to get us to follow them. These messiahs must always be compared to Scripture. Jesus says that the end times are coming and the course it set but if we are obsessed with the signs, we are missing the point. The signs are with us and have always been with us. Everything is working toward the end when Jesus will come and end it all and judge the world.

 

Jesus says the point is that we should be living our lives like Jesus is coming back this afternoon! Jesus is the righteous Judge and will judge the world according to our deeds when He comes back in His glory. Jesus says we should live like that is happening this afternoon. If Jesus is coming back today, we have work to do. Jesus tells us that the whole world must hear the gospel before the end comes. We have a job to do. Instead of whining about the world and withdrawing from it. We must be out in it. We must be sharing the gospel. We must be sharing the gospel as if Jesus is coming back this afternoon. No more putting off sharing the gospel. No more hating others so much that you don’t share the gospel. No more writing people off as un-savable. No more not loving those who hate. No more not loving those who are not like us. Everyone needs to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Even our worst enemies. No time to relax on this. No putting off tomorrow what you can do today. Live like Jesus is coming back at 3PM today.

 

Forgiveness being withheld? Live like Jesus is coming back at 3pm! Unrepentant sin in your life? Live like Jesus is coming back at 3pm today? Haven’t told your wife that you love her lately? Live like Jesus is coming back at 3pm today. Let us not put off showing love to the world. Let us live as if time is running out. If the world is coming to an end, we should not be resigning and withdrawing. We should be living with the greatest urgency ever to share the good news of Jesus Christ in actions, words, and deeds.

 

Let us live like Jesus is coming back at 3PM today. Live with gospel urgency. Live like the changing the world for Jesus really does matter. Cause it does. Eternity is at stake!

 

Amen and Amen.

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