Faithlife Sermons

Birth Pangs

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Mark 13:5–8 NLT
5 Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, 6 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. 7 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 8 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
Statistics: Conflicts - not large ones-more smaller civil conflicts within countries
U.N Secretary General António Guterres’
As detailed in my report, we are facing the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945.  From Yemen to Syria, Myanmar and Sudan.  From Haiti to the Sahel and on and on.  And now the war in Ukraine — a catastrophe shaking the foundations of the international order, spilling across borders and causing skyrocketing food, fuel and fertilizer prices that spell disaster for developing countries.
Resources are being diverted away from badly needed support to address the sharp increases in hunger and poverty resulting from COVID-19.  Around the world, we are seeing military coups and seizures of power by force.  A perilous sense of impunity is taking hold.
On the other hand, nuclear arsenals are growing.  Human rights and international law are under assault.  The spirit and letter of the United Nations Charter are being flouted.  Criminal and terrorist networks are fuelling — and profiting from — divisions and conflicts.
And as always, the poorest and most vulnerable pay the highest price.  As we meet today, one quarter of humanity lives in conflict-affected areas.  Two billion people.  Last year, 84 million were forcibly displaced because of conflict, violence and human rights violations.  And this year, we estimate that at least 274 million will need humanitarian assistance.
Statistics: Famine ( extreme scarcity of food) - Caused by many things.
As many as 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021 – 150 million more from 2019.
The proportion of people affected by hunger jumped in 2020 and continued to rise in 2021, to 9.8% of the world population.
Nearly 924 million people (11.7% of the global population) faced food insecurity at severe levels, an increase of 207 million in two years
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Statistics: Earthquakes
The number of earthquakes are not increasing.
The level of destruction from them is though
More people live on fault lines.
Show Map.
Notice that Jesus does not refer to these terrible events as “death throws” (explain what this means)
Jesus sees them as birth pains.
Theologian Tom Wright writes:
“The picture of birth pangs had been used for centuries by Jews as they reflected on the way in which, as they believed, their God was intending to bring to birth his new world, his new creation, the age to come in which justice and peace, mercy and truth would at last flourish.”
Luke gives us another glimpse at how Jesus sees these end time events:
Luke 21:25–28 NLT
25 “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. 26 People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. 28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”
State: A different perspective of my suffering
God, I wonder, when my life seems to be falling apart, are You really putting it back together?
Is it death that I am experiencing, or new life?
What are You birthing through these seemingly cataclysmic moments of my life?
State: Your darkness and trial may be the birth pangs of a beautiful birth yet to come
You may be living hard and challenging times
But don’t see them as destructive....
God may be birthing something in your life.
State: Yielding Prayer
Jesus, I submit to You my limited and earthly perspective, and I ask that You would grant me a heavenly perspective. Help me to watch for signs of life amidst the signs of death. You are the resurrection and the life, Jesus, and somehow, in some mysterious way, You are making me, and all things, new.
Revelation 21:4–5 NIV
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
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