Topical - Prophecy, Why Study It?
Before we get to the reasons of why we should study prophecy lets first look at the manner in which prophecy is not to be studied… The purpose of prophecy is not to provide entertainment or to merely satisfy the believer’s curiosity about the future, but to reveal the glory of His Son and to provide motivation for godly living, in light of Christ’s soon return. Paul writes saying that "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:11-13, NKJV)
Pastor Bryan is going through the book if Revelation on Saturday nights, it is fascinating, intriguing, etc. but, what is it doing to you? Is it motivating you to godly living, or is it satisfying your curiosity? Is it comforting you, cleansing you, and even warning you?
A. Three Reasons Why We Study Prophecy.
1. Prophecy comforts us (1Thess.4:13-18 esp.v18).
a) When we sorrow, and lose hope (1Thess.4:18 see also John 14:1-3).
(1) Death is inevitable. We often teach about Christian living but not about Christian dying. Paul thought it was important for these young believers at Thessalonica to understand death and what happens after death. The one distinguishing difference between a Christian funeral and non-Christian funeral is hope. There is no hope for the person who dies having rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior…
Paul writing to the Ephesians about their life before Christ said "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest… then Paul goes on to say in v.12 "remember that you were at that time separate from Christ… having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:1-3, 12, NASB95)
(2) I Have A Reason For My Hope: It is an unshakable hope. It is a hope based on something eternal and all-powerful. It is a hope founded on good evidence.
(a) The primary reason I’m hopeful today is that I know that I have a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. My relationship with Jesus Christ gives me an open door to everything that God has promised to His people in His Word. It puts me into direct access to all the resources I will ever need, for any and every circumstance.
(b) That does not mean that I am in denial about bad circumstances. I live in the real world and have real problems just like everybody else. But I refuse to be defeated by bad circumstances. They do not have a hold on me Donna – Gion Beray.
(3) Our hope is an anchor, which means it is not movable or shakeable. Our hope is embodied in Christ Himself, who serves as our great High Priest, forever interceding before God for us.
The author of Hebrews says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us” (6:19–20).
In his first epistle, the apostle Peter offers as further proof of the security of our hope: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.
Our hope comes from God, God is the source of our hope… Psalm 43:5 says, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance, and my God.”
Our hope is reasonable, not irrational; it isn’t based on how the stars line up. The apostle Peter said, "You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15, NLT)
2. Prophecy cleanses us (1Jn 3:1-3).
a) “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies Himself” (v.3).
(1) Hope is guaranteed by purity. When you live with the goal of meeting Jesus Christ face to face, that will have a purifying effect on your life. When you meet Him, He will evaluate your work and then reward you (1 Cor. 3:10–15). But it’s possible you could lose your reward, so “watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 8).
(2) I know our Lord could return at any time, so my goal has been to live in such a way that when I face Him I can offer Him my pure life.
(3) I don’t want to have any reason to be ashamed at Christ’s coming. I want to be doing that which honors and pleases Him. I want to be living a pure life. If your focus is on Jesus Christ, you will live a pure life and will be able to say with the apostle John, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
(4) The Thessalonian church was a great church. When Paul wrote to its members, he never reprimanded them; he just instructed and commended them.
One of his commendations was this: “We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope … [knowing you] wait for His Son from heaven” (1 Thess. 1:2–3, 10).
(a) Are you in that waiting mode? Are you living as if Jesus could come in the next moment? Are you living in such a way that if He did come you would be pleased to have Him examine your life? You need to live every moment as if He might be here the next, for He might do just that.
b) Purifying Yourself Leads To Obedience To God.
(1) A Person Must Profess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 10:9-10), but not all those who call Him Lord will enter His Kingdom either (Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46)
Jesus said that "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’" (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV)
He also said "Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46, NKJV)
A Cathedral in Germany displays and engraving which says,
“Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:
‘You call me Master and obey me not. You call me light and see me not. You call me the way and walk me not. You call
me life and don’t live with me. You call me wise and follow me not. You call me fair and love me not. You call me rich
and ask me not. You call me eternal and seek me not. If I condemn you, blame me not.’”
(2) If you are calling Him Lord but living in rebellion & disobeying God you are on shaky ground!
(3) “Saying without doing” (empty words) is not enough, just as “hearing without obeying” is not enough.
(4) Doing the will of God is what counts (Matthew 21:28-32 Parable of the two sons).
(a) Matthew 7:21 cf. John 3:36 those who say ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not obey
After giving a long list of “the deeds of the flesh … which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these,”
Paul declares “that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God …Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:19–21, 24).
(5) The one who is truly saved cannot continue in a pattern of unbroken sin.
(a) Obedience (1Jn.1:6, 2:3-4; 2:29, 3:3).
(b) 1 John 1:6 those who say they have fellowship with God yet walk in darkness
(c) 1 John 2:4 those who say they know Him but do not keep His commandments
(d) 1 John 4:20 those who say they love God yet hate their brother
(i) Every man who has the hope of seeing Jesus, everyone who looks for His coming walks with a greater degree of purity than with which he would otherwise walk.
(ii) Living in the constant awareness that the Lord’s coming is at hand has a definite effect on the way one lives.
(iii) Whether you subscribe to a Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, or Post-Tribulation Rapture, when you read Jesus’ words concerning the end times, you cannot come to any other conclusion than to say He wants us living each and every day looking for His coming.
(e) Cleansing ourselves from the filthiness of the flesh & spirit (2Cor.7:1):
(i) Filthiness of the flesh – some pet sin that feeds the old nature.
(ii) Filthiness of the spirit – an attitude that is sinful.
(iii) Perfecting holiness in the fear of God - “Holiness” refers to separation from all that would defile both the body and the mind. Complete or perfect holiness was personified only in Christ, therefore believers are to pursue Him (3:18; Lev. 20:26; Matt. 5:48; Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:12–14).
3. Prophecy warns us (Matt.24:42-44).
Introduction: When one thinks of the Titanic, one thinks of the greatest story of disaster in history. It took place on April 14th, 1912, at 11:40pm. The Titanic sunk with 2,300 people on board, and 1,500 people drowned. You know its an amazing thing when you stop and think about this, because there have been other events historically that have taken place where more human lives have been lost: wars that have happened, calamities, earthquakes and such, but yet there is something about the story of the Titanic that captures peoples hearts.
The story of this great Luxury Liner, with some of the most wealthiest people on the earth sailing out on it maiden voiage and only 100 hours of use on this ship and it sunk to the bottom of the icy Atlantic Ocean.
You know it’s an interesting thing because when it was built, the Titanic was really quite an engineering feet. With the cost of about 10 million dollars, it was thought to be one of the most technological marvels of its time. In fact, as the new century was dawning, there was this feeling and belief that man was somehow going to build his Utopia, his heaven on earth, and the way he was going to accomplish that was through technology. And the very cream of the crop of that technology was the Titanic.
So here was this incredible ship built with all of the latest technologies, so they felt that the Titanic was so well built that it was virtually unsinkable. In fact, the question was asked, “Could this ship sink?” And the response was, “God himself could not sink this ship?”(Genesis 18:14; Jer.32:17; Matt.19:26). And because it was considered the “unsinkable ship” and it was the maiden voyage making its way to New York, everybody wanted to be on board (Matthew 7:13-14). In spite of the fact that it offered the most expensive Trans Atlantic Accommodations the world would ever know, people were standing in line to be a part of this historic voyage.
In fact there were so many millionaires on board, that Wall Street dubbed it “The Millionaire Special.” John Jacob Aster was on board who’s fortune was worth 150 million dollars, he was returning from a trip of Egypt with his new 19 year old bride. There was Benjamin Guggenheim who was worth 95 million dollars. There was Isador Strauss the founder of Macy’s department store, he was worth 50 million dollars. There was Jay Ismay who was worth 40 million dollars, they said 1 string of his wife’s pearls was worth $250,000.00. Now those numbers don’t sound so large to us today when we think of the wealth of certain people like Bill Gates, but if we were to take those numbers and apply them to our time, these people would be equivalent to Billionaires.
It would be as though a ship was making its maiden voyage and on board was, Ross Pero, Bill Gates, Steve Forbs, Steven Speilberg and Donald Trump.
The Maiden voyage of the Titanic was a calm moonless night; the temperature was just above the freezing mark. The passengers were enjoying a wonderful dinner in their incomparable accommodations and the Titanic was speeding ahead.
Now a number of warnings were sent to the Titanic telling them that there were icebergs ahead. But they were so busy with other messages from the passengers and for the passengers that they ignored 7 warnings that came their way. One of those warning was recorded and it came from a ship known as the California that was up ahead in the area where the icebergs were and they radioed over to the Titanic and gave this message and I quote, “I say old man, we are surrounded by ice,” and the reply from the Titanic was, “Shut up, shut up, were busy” end quote.
The Titanic steamed right into the side of the iceberg and a 200-foot gash was torn in the side of this massive ship and it broke through six of its watertight compartments.
Thomas Andrews was on board and he was the one who designed the Titanic, he was called to the bridge, he assessed the damage and he told the Captain that the ship was going to sink in a couple of hours. So they told the passengers you need to come out of your cabins, you need to put on your life vests, and you need to get onto the lifeboats. But the people laughed it off (Gen.19:14); they thought there’s no way this ship is going to go down. They continued to drink, dance, and gamble and have a good old time. In fact one person passing by saw a chip of the ice on the deck of the ship from the iceberg and put it into his drink. It was just one-big-joke to them not realizing they only had about two hours to live (James 4:14). The stewards had to literally break into the state rooms to get people to wake up from their sleep to realize their peril. And this is because people simply did not believe the Titanic would ever go down. And the tragedy is many of the people would not get into the lifeboats in spite of the fact there was room (Luke 14:16-24). Many of the life boats with the ability to carry as many as 50 people, left with 10, 12, 15 people in them. And then there were a series of loud explosions and the people began to panic but then it was to late. The lifeboats had already launched off and they would not return because they were afraid they would be swamped.
So here was this great ship going down and they asked the band to come up and to play for the people hoping that it would calm them. And here were people standing on board, many of them with enough money to buy the Titanic but in spite of all of their wealth, there was not a single thing they could do (Heb.9:27). All of that wealth could not buy them one little spot in one of those lifeboats.
One first class passenger was seen, emptying his wallet into he ocean. Imagine the scene, “All these people standing on deck, with all of their wealth, all of the finest furs that money could buy, with the most expensive rings on their fingers, pearls around their necks, diamond earrings in their ears, diamond tiaras in their hair, and at that moment they were no different from the poorest third class passenger trying to fight their way to the top. The band played on, and of course the ship went down. And that was it, 1,500 people lost their lives, why?
Because they did not heed the warnings. Even though the warnings were given over and over again, they ignored them, they laughed at them and they paid with their lives.
The true story is a picture of our culture. We live in a pleasure mad culture. There are warnings all around us telling us that judgment is coming! Warnings telling us that Jesus Christ is coming again and people just ignore it and laugh it off, partying the night away thinking its not going to happen in their lifetime!
A recent pole was taking by U.S. News and World Report and it brought forth an interesting truth, and it pointed out that 66% of all Americans including a 1/3 of those who say they never attend church believe that Jesus Christ is coming back to the earth some day. Approximately 2/3 of all Americans believe that Jesus Christ is coming back to the earth. Though these people believe that Christ is coming back and that one day the world will end, they also believe it will not happen in their lifetime, and most of them believe that it will happen a few hundred years from now, just like the people on the Titanic. “I believe He is coming again, but it won’t happen in my lifetime so I can live as I please and do as I please”. But one day Christ will come and if you’re not ready, it will be to late for you and there will be nothing you can do.
A lot of people today are just like that man in the radio room in the Titanic as the Spirit of God is saying, “Wake up, get right with me” and were saying, “Shut up, shut up, were busy”.
a) Deception: Take heed that no one deceives you (v.4-5).
The first mark that begins to unfold in the time of the Tribulation is a time of great deception, particularly characterized in the deception of Antichrist who leads the whole world to follow him and worship him as if he were God, the ultimate deliverer of man.
(1) The Enemies #1 Deception Of Today Is The Word “Tomorrow”.
The Bible does not say, “tomorrow” is the day of salvation but “today” Paul says, "We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain… Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:1-2, NKJV).
Our life is like the morning fog, it’s here a little while & then it’s gone. James says, "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (James 4:13-14, NKJV)
(2) Man Has An Appointment With God:
Hebrews says, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment," (Hebrews 9:27).
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11, NKJV)
(3) People Need To Make A Decision:
Moses said, "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil…"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;" (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19, NKJV)
Even professing believers in Jesus Christ must make a decision (Rev.3:14-22)
b) The reaction of the people (Matthew 24:38-44).
(1) Refusing to heed Noah’s message of judgment (v.37-39).
(2) It Was The Same As Happened In The Days Of Lot (Luke 17:26-37).
(a) Here Is The Point. Men will be going about their daily lives without giving any attention to God or to the warnings of coming judgment.
(b) Noah and Lot did one thing that others failed to do: they believed God’s Word. When God said to prepare for the flood and for the coming judgment of fire. Despite all their shortcomings and failures, all their sensual and loose living, when the Word came to prepare, they believed and they prepared.
(c) The People Of Noah’s And Lot’s Day Did Not Believe And Did Not Prepare. They went right on with their normal routine of living, they were caught unaware:
(i) “The flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:27).
(ii) “It rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:29).
A word of warning from Jesus, He said "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly." (Luke 21:34, NKJV)
(3) When Noah told them that there was going to be rain and judgment was coming, how did they react? The same way they reacted to the message that the Titanic was going to sink. They don’t believe it, they laughed it off, and they carried on, business as usual, just like people are doing today.
(4) We have a choice:
(a) Get into God’s life boat and be saved,
(b) Or, just stay on board and sink, there are no other choices.
(c) You’re either going to be ready for the return of the Lord or your not going to be ready.
c) How are reaction should be (Matthew 25:1-13).
(1) The surprise was, you would never know when the Groom was going to show up. The idea was that you needed to be ready when he did.
(2) Many hear the gospel, believe it (mental assent), but have never trusted Christ as their Savior. Thus, they are nothing more than a “well educated non-believer”
(3) Don’t live in both worlds. I remember a song by a band I use to listen to Van Halen, the name of the song was, “The Best of Both Worlds” and one of the verses said,
“I don’t know what I’ve been living on, but it’s not enough to fill me up… I need more that just words can say… I need everything this life can give me.”
“You don’t have to die and go to heaven, or hang around to be born again, Just tune in to what this place has go to offer, cause we may never be here again”
“Now I know what I want…I want the best of both worlds…If we could have the best of both worlds, we’d have heaven right here on earth.”
d) They slumbered and slept (v.5).
(1) This is what the people did on the Titanic the night is sunk into the icy Atlantic.
(2) Note: “they all slumbered and slept,” The wise and the foolish ones.
(3) There are people in the church today that are asleep. They are not spiritually awake, they are sleeping spiritually like Jonah (1:5), they don’t care about the lost.
e) Get your own (v.8-9).
(1) Going back to the Titanic story, there was an interview with an actual survivor of the Titanic she was an elderly woman in her late 80’s and she said one thing that strikes me, she said “the ship went down and over 1,000 people went into the icy Atlantic, and the whale and cry of the people was horrifying,” she said the only thing she could compare it to is that she use to live by a stadium where they had ball games and when the team would score she would hear that roaring cheer go up, it was like that only a moan of death.
(2) Here were lifeboats with room, they could have paddled back and picked up more people but they didn’t! They did not want to be swamped; they didn’t want to endanger their own lives.
(3) That’s the way we are in our little life boat all safe saying “hey I don’t want to endanger my life” we need to row back their and pull them in. We need to care about lost people.
(4) We have an outreach this month on the 25th, Michael Sewell, THE BEMA SEAT. Have you invited anyone to come to this outreach, or are you like these people in the lifeboat, all safe and comfy, not going out after anyone else?
f) The door was shut (v.10).
(1) The Opportunity to Be Saved Was Gone.
Genesis says that "On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark—they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life (SOMETHING I FIND INTERESTING, THE ANIMALS OBEYED GOD, BUT NO ALL OF HUMANITY). So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in." (Genesis 7:13-16, NKJV)