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The Second Coming of Christ - Part 1

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The Second Coming of Christ - Part 1

Matthew 24:1-14

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - May 27, 2015

*Jesus Christ is coming again! There is no doubt about it. Here in Matthew 24, the Lord looks into the future, and He speaks about His second coming.

*Some of the things Jesus says here are mysterious, like: Will the rapture of the church be before or after the tribulation? And when will the Lord return? The timing may not be sure, but the signs are definitely sure. And everything the Lord said would happen will happen. So tonight we will start by looking at some sure things about the Savior's prophecy:

1. The first sure thing is the shortness of our time in this world.

*In vs. 1-2, Jesus reminds us how fragile most things are in our world:

1. Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple.

2. And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.''

*This prophecy was fulfilled just 40 short years after Jesus spoke these words. From a historical point of view, it was fulfilled in 70 AD, when the Roman army under Titus conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. In July or August every year, the destruction of the Temple is still mourned by a day-long Jewish fast called Tisha B'Av. (1)

[PIC 1] This is the famous Arch of Titus that shows the plunder of Jerusalem and the Temple. It was constructed in 82 AD, and still stands in Rome.

[PIC 2] This picture is part of the sculpture on the inner arch, and it shows the "Spoils of Jerusalem."

*That's the historical dimension of this prophecy from the Lord Jesus. From a spiritual point of view, God was making the monumental shift from the Old Testament to the New. For 1,500 years the Tabernacle and then the Temples had been the absolute center point of Biblical worship. But the cross of Jesus Christ changed everything. Matthew 27:51 tells us that the curtain covering the Holy of Holies in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. God was opening the way for all of the nations of the world to be saved.

*In the Old Testament, God focused primarily on the Jews, and when He spoke, He spoke in Hebrew, the language of the Jews. In New Testament times, God reaches out to all the nations of the world. And when He spoke the New Testament portion of His Word, God spoke in Greek, the world-wide language of business in that day.

*God would no longer manifest His presence in that one sacred spot of the Temple. Now God would live in the hearts of everyone who believes in Jesus. That is a small summary of the spiritual dimension of this prophecy.

*But there is also a personal lesson for us, and that is the shortness of our time in this world. Here in Matthew 24, the disciples were, on the way out of town, and they stopped to admire the Temple. "Lord, take a look. Isn't it wonderful? Aren't you impressed?" Jesus wasn't impressed. In fact, He wanted them to see how fragile and fleeting the things of this world are.

2. And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.''

*It's as if the Lord said, "All these things will be gone before you know it!" There is not a building in this world that will last forever. What's true of buildings is truer still of our bodies. Life is short. Listen to this warning from James 4:

13. 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'';

14. 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.

15. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.''

*Time is short! Several years ago, I went to West Virginia with Mary, and we made a visit to her daddy's grave. The cemetery moves up a beautiful, steep hill behind a little country church that was founded in the late 1700s. Mary's dad lies near the top of that hill, maybe four or five stories above the roof of the church. It's the kind of setting that makes you feel connected to our past.

*One thing that made me feel more connected to the past was seeing the headstone on her grandfather's grave. I was amazed to learn that Mary's grandfather was born all the way back in 1868, just three years after the Civil War. Time goes by with blazing speed. And we cannot put our trust in the fleeting things of this world. We must keep our eyes on the things of God.

*Listen to the Apostle Paul from 1 Corinthians 7:

29. This I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none,

30. those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess,

31. and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.

*Many times Jesus tells us to be watching and ready for His return. He wants us to see the shortness of our time in this world. That's for sure.

2. The next sure thing is that we must seek spiritual truth from the Lord.

*Verses 3-5 show us why:

3. Now as He (Jesus) sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?''

4. And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.

5. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many."

*The disciples must have been shocked by the Lord's prophecy that the Temple would be destroyed. It was one of the last things they expected. They were confused, but they did exactly the right thing: They went to the Lord for the answers they needed.

*The disciples asked 3 separate questions:

-When will these things be?

-What will be the sign of Your coming?

-And what will be the sign of the end of the age?'

*Later on we will look at these questions in more depth. Tonight they remind us to go to Jesus for the answers we need. Jesus warns us in vs. 4-5 that when it comes to spiritual matters, many people will try to deceive us. But Jesus never will! Jesus will give us the truth, because He is the Truth. So when you have a spiritual question, go to the right source. Go to God! Go to God's Word for the answers you need.

*There are many things we don't understand. Sometimes we wonder why, and there is nothing wrong with asking God why. We know this is true, because Jesus never did anything wrong. Yet on the cross, He cried out to His Heavenly Father, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

*God may not do things the way we think they ought to be done. This morning, I talked to Bro. James Carson, and I asked him about Wayne Jenkins' colon surgery. Bro. Carson said that Wayne was supposed to have his surgery yesterday. But the terrible flooding around Houston kept the doctors and nurses from getting to M.D. Anderson. And Bro. Wayne's surgery had to be rescheduled to June 9th, so now he probably won't be able to go on the mission trip to Brazil.

*That's hard to understand, and Bro. Wayne is probably wondering why. But we can take our questions to the Lord. We can trust Him to do the right thing. And when we seek the truth from Jesus Christ, He will give us the answers we need. That's for sure.

3. The next sure thing is the great blessing of salvation.

*When we trust in Jesus Christ, we receive countless blessings of salvation. And there are 3 blessings to notice as we look at the Lord's prophecy in vs. 6-13.

[1] First Christians: We can have peace in the storms of life.

*In vs. 6-9, Jesus spoke about terrible storms that would touch all people, both those who are saved and those who are not:

6. "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake."

*Great storms, great troubles, but in vs. 6, Jesus told His followers, "See that you are not troubled." That word "troubled" means scared out of your wits, terrified, so scared that you scream and cry out loud. That's how bad it can be.

*When we invite people to life in Jesus Christ. We are inviting them to real life, abundant, everlasting life. Christianity is the best life anyone can possibly have. But it is not a trouble-free life.

*In fact, giving your life to Jesus can certainly add to your troubles. In vs. 9, some Christians will be sent to torture and death, and we will be hated by all nations for His name's sake.

*Yesterday, a Kurdish news site reported that the ISIS militants burned a Christian woman to death. It happened in a village near Mosul in northern Iraq. ISIS terrorists burned this 80-year-old Iraqi Christian woman to death, simply because she refused to comply with their sharia law. (2)

*The truth is that we might also have to suffer for the kingdom of God. Bigotry against Bible-believing Christians is rapidly rising in our country. A few weeks ago, Major General Craig Olson made a speech at an event for the National Day of Prayer. In his speech, General Olson gave God the credit for his accomplishments. General Olson also referred to himself as a "redeemed believer in Christ."

*The Air Force Times later reported that the leader of influential Military Religious Freedom Foundation has called for General Olson to be severely punished. He wants the general to be court martialed for publicly giving his Christian testimony while in uniform. That hate-filled atheist wrote a letter to the Air Force Chief of Staff, saying the general must be court martialed "aggressively and very visibly brought to justice for his unforgivable crimes and transgressions." (3)

*I also read about a young woman Marine who was convicted at a court-martial for refusing to remove a Bible verse on her computer. (4)

*We too might have to suffer for the kingdom of God. But in that and every storm of life, we can have the peace of God that passes all understanding. As Jesus said in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'' Countless Christians have found the amazing peace that comes with our salvation.

[2] The second great blessing of salvation is love that will last forever.

*Starting in vs. 10, Jesus warned:

10. "And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.

11. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

12. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

*But Christians, we have a love that cannot fail! It is the love of God both for us and in us. In Romans 5:5 Paul tells believers that "hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

*Then in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul described Godly love with these words:

4. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

5. does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;

6. does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;

7. bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8. Love never fails. . .

*This is the love we have, because of our relationship with Jesus Christ: It's a love that lasts forever.

[3] The third great blessing of salvation here is the strength to stand forever.

*This is the strength of the saved that Jesus talked about in vs. 13, where He said: "He who endures to the end shall be saved."

*Where does the strength to endure come from? It comes from God Himself. We know this is true, because in Ephesians 3:16, Paul gives us this prayer for Christians: That God "would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man."

*Then in Philippians 4:13, Paul gave this great testimony: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Christians, our strength comes from the power of Almighty God who is always present in our lives.

*In "The Christian Herald," Beatrice Plum told about a little girl who came home from Sunday School. Her grandmother asked her how many had been in her class that day, and her granddaughter replied, "Counting Jesus, there were 15 of us." (5)

*Praise God, she was right! Jesus is here tonight to give us the strength we need. There are great blessings in salvation, and that's for sure.

4. But there is one more sure thing to talk about tonight, and that is God's desire for us to share His gospel.

*Jesus Christ is certainly coming again! -- But what is He waiting for? Verse 14 helps us see. There the Lord said: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."

*Jesus is waiting for the whole world to hear the good news. Jesus is waiting for everyone who will be saved to be saved. So the Lord is waiting for us to get in on the mission of reaching our world for Him. Every Christian, every one of us needs to take on more of this responsibility in our lives.

*I once read a little about the brave men who were captured as prisoners of war in Vietnam. A man named Dick Abel told about meeting several of the PoWs shortly after they were freed in the 1970s. Dick was the first American they had seen after being held captive for more than eight years.

*Some of the men Dick met had been in solitary confinement for four years. But the thing that stood out the most to me was what he said about one of those captives. His name was Robbie Risner. Robbie was a Christian who was greatly concerned about sharing his faith in Jesus Christ.

*The man in the next cell was separated from Robbie by a concrete wall that was 8 inches thick. But Robbie cared so much that he used a wooden stick to wear a hole through that 8-inch wall. Imagine how long that took! Robbie was willing to do that so he could tell that man about Jesus! (6)

*May God give us hearts like Robbie Risner! -- Because it is certainly the Lord's desire for us to share His gospel.

*We need to learn all we can about the Lord's return, and as we search His Word, some things are going to be a mystery. But the most important things are absolutely sure.

*The surest truth of all is this: Jesus is coming again! And right now, Jesus Christ will save anyone who will put their trust in Him. As the Apostle Paul said in Romans 10:13: "Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." You can do that right now, as we go to God in prayer.


(2) BasNews report: "ISIS Burns 80 Year-Old Christian Woman Alive" - Source: Jim Hoft - May 27, 2015, 9:57 AM -

(3) "Atheist group: Court martial USAF general for sharing faith" by Chad Groening - - Thursday, May 21, 2015

(4) "Marine court-martialed for refusing to remove Bible verse" by Todd Starnes - Published May 26, 2015 -

(5) Adapted from "Counting Jesus" by Beatrice Plum in "Christian Herald" - Source:

(6) Bob Budler, YOU CAN DO IT! - Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992, p. 19 - Adapted from sermon "Building a Nation" by King Duncan - Matthew 11:16-19 & 25-30

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