"The Last Days" Luke 21
Welcome. This is our maiden voyage into the Waters of online recorded preaching from mecf. I trust and hope this works well for you as will likely be using this modality for at least one more week. We'll see how it goes. So it's strange not meeting together in a physical sense joining one another with hugs and smiles and edifying conversation and the joy of worshipping together. We're going to make the best of it by these means I've been thinking about the difficult challenges of the first and second century Christians that they faced sneaking around to find each other and meet for worship with each other in secret avoiding authorities ready to arrest them. These folks met in secret places even catacombs. So I guess it could be worse for us. I want to thank Elder Carrie Mathews for his hard work you such a technical genius along with a couple of others on his team to help develop the system of Communication online and particularly for walking me personally through the rudiments of broadcasting via the website is a great help and more importantly. He's a very patient. Thank you. Carry. He also authored this brief list of encouragement reminders of how we can help each other in the weather this kovid 19 pick up where in right now, The ER on Mission. Well, we got a Facebook notification here many of you use Facebook favorite venue for many of you. So they use that and stay in touch with one another. The on Mission flyer that we normally have in the bulletin with the coming week's readings brief commentary on the text will be coming your way by means of prayer and charity email if it hasn't already. Here's a reminder of the website address which obviously you found because you're listening ear. something to keep in mind assuming that are restrictions on meeting together will accommodate it. The the kingdom expansion Ministry team will be meeting next Sunday night convening at Cheryl Matthews home at 6. I think that's a half hour earlier than normal. So we're ready to launch. I would encourage you to open your Bible to Luke 21 for our teaching. This is the always fascinating theme of The Last Days. Father in heaven, we ask that you will join us in this. System of communication and help each one of us to give her attention to what you were saying through your son. In the days when he met with his disciples help us to have wisdom and understanding from your word concerning the theme of the last days. We know that Jesus meant to get across to his first century and his 21st century disciples exactly what you meant by the last days. Give us Grace to understand through Christ. Amen.
No, Luke, 21 opens with this brief story on a fascinating story about the Widow who's putting her small gift into the offering Jesus and the disciples have finally met at met. I finally made it to Jerusalem there at the temple seated in one of the courtyards probably the courtyard of the women. And Jesus is captivated by the side of this widow woman and her remarkable generosity. She gave out of her need. So generously that it caught the attention of the son of God.
The disciples were looking around apparently at the all inspiring features of the first-century Temple. They had been traveling the judian and Galilee and territories for many weeks now and it's been awhile since I've had the privilege of letting eyes on Jerusalem's proud Jewel the temple. When Jesus Jesus notice their Bedazzled look and read their thoughts. He launched into a teaching one. He knew they would need in the coming days and years picking up that first five.
Some of his disciples were marking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and wood gifts dedicated to God. but Jesus said As for what you see here. The time will come when not one stone will be left on another every one of them will be thrown down. how the apostles were surprised and said teacher When will these things happened and what will be the sign that they're about to take place?
Here's some a forecast a prediction of what will happen in approximately one generation from that point when Jerusalem falls at the hands of the Roman government. It was a terrible event and very important event in history. And Jesus was telling them in advance. This would happen. We're going to be looking at 3 as it were passages or three forecasts of terrible days, but this is the first one and this is the one that has that actually occurs in a specific time. Again, probably 35 to 40 years in a d70 30 to 45 years 35 or 40 years from that time. Let me read for you a brief account from historians about that event in 70 AD one generation hymns. The smell of death was everywhere. Everyday another two hundred or so died of starvation or malnutrition in this city alone. That did not count the other cities in The Wider territory cities that were also Under Siege by this Mighty enemy. Food and water supply lines have been cut off. Missiles were launched by the thousands into this. Well fortified city as wave after wave of the best warriors in the world game against the Fortress City.
For over a year it continued. Both here and in several other populated cities in the region. But this was the great City the Strong City Jerusalem the well-protected impregnable City on the hill. And many of the other towns people from the other towns escaped those towns in order to come to this great City Sue in the city swelled to 3 million inhabitants challenging, of course the resources and crowding the homes and streets. historians go on it was at this time the Relentless Siege began the city closed in around itself and soon. What was to be many refugees City Citadel of Hope became a prison with no Escape but death From the pan of one of the most renowned entrusted historians of the day these words thousands of men as well as women and children perished By The Sword by famine and by other forms of death in numerable. The excessive sufferings endured by those that fled there has to a city of perfect safety all these things anyone that wished me find accurately described in the history. All in all an estimated 1.1 million people died in those days of Siege.
Another historian wrote this know where was food to be seen But bursting into the houses men search them thoroughly and whenever they found anything to eat. They tormented the owners on the ground that they had denied that they had anyting. But if they found nothing, they also tortured them on the ground that they had more carefully concealed it. Of all evils indeed salmon is the worst and it destroys nothing so effectively as shame. For that which under other circumstances is worthy of respect in the midst of famine is despised. Does women snatched the food from the very mouths of their husbands and children from their fathers and what was most pitiable of all mothers from their babes? And while their dearest ones were wasting away in their arms, they were not ashamed to take away from them. The last drops that supported life. Citizens of this holy and devoutly religious City looted beat and murdered one another even for tiny morsels of food. One historian records soon corpses were lying everywhere. In fact many people died while trying to bury others. Survivors managed to heave many corpses over the besieged city wall to the trenches below which were not even filling up. Thousands of putrid decaying bodies fill the Deep Pits on the south and the West sides of the city that had once been garbage dump sites. the city Jerusalem other cities notably the famous Masada where remarkable archaeological evidence of a terrible death 2000 including what appears to have been a mass suicide all occurred. Occurred 2 and 1/2 years after Jerusalem fell in a d70. So these terrible days actually lasted nearly three years. And whose Army conducted the cjis? Rome their agenda to destroy the Jews and those of what they called the Christian sect and to level their key cities and especially their holy places. And most especially the temple at Jerusalem. Interesting late, most of the faithful Christ followers escaped the sword. Because being warned by Jesus a generation earlier, they left the cities before the slaughter began. How did they know to leave Jesus prophesied in 35 to 40 years earlier on this very occasion we read about in Luke 21. And he prophesied with amazing accuracy this horrible event of genocide. It prompted, of course the disciples at that time to ask 2 questions of Jesus. One teacher when will these things happen? + 2 What will be the sign that they're about to take place? Well, of course, they wanted to know this information. They wanted to know for themselves and their families and their beloved fellow Christ followers. But Jesus did not answer that question right away. You remember to ask two questions? When will it happen the mystery? And what sign will tell them that it's about to happen? That's second question. What sign will indicate it's about to occur Jesus answered but not until versus 2224 like ass to look at that right now.
When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, Jesus said then you will know that it's desolation is near. Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains let those in the city get out and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.
How Dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers that would be great distress in the land and wrath against these people. They will fall By The Sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. That's why we have Jesus as remarkable Prophecy of the coming of terrible days. Approximately 3 years the fall of Jerusalem and other cities as Rome attacks the Jews and the Christians, but the warning has helped the Christian Believers to see it in advance and to escape so very few relatively of the Christians were killed but many many Jews.
So the terrible days were going to happen within 40 years when the temple would be destroyed. That's the horrific event that we read about. It happened. Just as Jesus said it would and those Christians who obeyed his directive got out and started sharing the gospel with a gentile people all over the world this particular prophecy of Jesus. He made it very clear that it would happen at a particular time in history. Those were the terrible days. the second sequence of events regarding the last days that Jesus spoke about Was the days of challenge? This is more of a generation a jurat event. In fact, it would be all the rest of human history beginning before the fall of Jerusalem from the very time. Jesus was speaking obviously after his death and his resurrection, especially right on through the terrible days of the destruction of Jerusalem and all through human history even to this point and Beyond So this second sequence Jesus spoke about with the days of challenge.
Why would a strange that it seems wedged in between the two aspects of the fall of Jerusalem. It is a more General warning here about how history will unfold from that day forward and much of what he described here will be happening before and during the fall of Jerusalem, but intensifying throughout history even up to this day and then eventually heading in the very last of the last days. Look at verse 8. + 9 he replied watch out that you are not deceived not recalled. He's answering the first question here. When will this happen? So Jesus replied watch out that you're not deceived for many will come in my name claiming I or the time is near do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings do not be frightened these things must happen first, but the end will not come right away here. We have the forecast of a durative Time the days of challenge. Jesus promised there will be false teachers. Even those who will pretend to be Christ himself.
These are the things the disciples should expect to see beginning right away from that day. Again, these are the symptoms of spiritual warfare that are not restricted to any particular time of human history. But in fact will intensify through the years of human history a couple of things to notice. Jesus said the end will not come right away. in any necessarily short. Of time But the days of challenge will continue in the sequence of history and they will intensify. First and then you said to them Nation will rise against nation and Kingdom against Kingdom. There will be great earthquakes famines and pestilences in various places and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
Here, we're told by Jesus that Wars will continue as will natural disasters including pestilences. Can anyone say Coronavirus? Notice he mentions fearful events in Great Signs from heaven. And we don't know exactly what that might be. But consider this should there ever be in our lifetime some spectacular event like a great meteor shower or a meteor that actually hits the Earth. You saying we should not be unduly alarmed thinking these things surprise God. The forecast is these things will happen. And God will never have to say oops didn't see that coming. This is this almost sounds like a Que Sera Sera song whatever will be will be but you know what are mine said really should be confident that nothing will happen without Crossing guard's desk and meeting his approval. God allowed this. If the sun varies from its course someday in the future and there becomes a real global warming. What are you going to do? fix it
if a coronavirus goes ballistic and mutates into a hundred different forms in the next year and two-thirds of the world's population dies because we couldn't get a vaccine. What will you do? Well, Jesus said the best thing to do is you're going to chill and say well, I guess it's my time to go. You may mutter Justine for the Chinese who ate the bats that started it all but there's not going to be a thing. You can do about it, except one. die and slip into the Arms of Jesus I'm not saying we should be fatalists, but for heaven's sakes we're going to die sometime. Just be thankful. You got a ticket to ride.
But before all this they will seize you and persecute you now. These are the enemies of Faith. They will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison and you will be brought before Kings and governors and all account on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves for I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents brothers and sisters relatives and Friends. They will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me.
But not a hair of your head will perish stand firm and you will win life. Look closely at those last two verses now. You just said that you're going to be persecuted and possibly stoned to death and everyone will hate you because of me. So we see here the cause
then he says but not a hair of your head will perish why would think that being stoned to death some hairs of your head will perish Well, he's not speaking about the fact that you're never going to die. We know that everyone will die you saying you will not die this second death because we're people of Hope. We were trusted in Christ know that we will not die for eternity, but that we will die unless we are here when the Lord comes again and then go to heaven second thing you so stand firm and you will win life. I find that to be a fascinating comment stand firm. You will win life there's nothing like that anywhere else in scripture. So marvellous tournament back worthy of putting on a placard and hanging on the wall. So this is all the scary part these days of challenge. It is possible maybe even likely that we who live for Christ will have to pay a big price for that.
We live in the world bent against God. And people bent against him are all around us. Remember Jesus said earlier if they hated me. They will hate you also. I looked carefully want me to come up against evil authorities. Jesus says there is a cause and there is a purpose the car is clear. You come up against evil authorities because you are living for God. And people incredibly will not like you precisely because of that and they'll come against you and you will face persecution. some of you have all of us will so the COS inverse 12 is all on account of my name. Jesus said then you said in verse 17. Everyone will hate you because of me. That's the cause then there is the purpose of all of this. Jesus said in verse 13, so you will bear testimony to me. That is in our persecution in facing the danger of living a Christian Life in a world hostile to Christ. We will bear testimony to him. First 14 says don't worry beforehand. Well that that seems impossible doesn't it to not worry? But he says don't worry beforehand. And what are you speaking of exactly is? Don't worry about what you're going to say or how you going to defend yourself or how you going to defend God before these people just trust him because he will provide what we need to say. This is incredible verse 15 trust him while you're going through persecution. Even death is a martyr trust him for what to say and the power to remain faithful. I'm thinking now of Christians in Nigeria. Just south of Niger where I was recently there being murdered by people who hate Christians. Burkina Faso in recent recent last two months there were two occasions where some of the Marauders came into churches and in one case killed 24 the worshiping Believers right there in their church and the other case 25 in both cases. They killed the pastor and other attenders.
If that were to happen in our church. Jesus said don't worry beforehand what you'll say. But trust me that you're going to that while you're going through it. He will give you what to say how to respond and how to remain faithful. That's a big calling believe just promise. Not a hair will perish and you will win life.
So this brand of persecution I'm calling the days of challenge are not isolated times. They occur throughout the span of History. If you look at this blue section on the screen, the timeline of human history is represented there from the beginning to the end. So this brand of persecution in Challenge from a world alienated from God is going to be history Long Jesus promised us that and it will get worse Christians. Like the Jews of that day are going to face being ridiculed marginalized hated persecuted and even being put to death because of their faith. That's the cause. It happened before the fall of Jerusalem. Paul at Stephen's martyrdom four examples that is an example of that and during the. Of about three years that roam attacked Jerusalem, obviously it was going on but Jesus said it continues throughout human history because there is a devil who is riled up against God and he has an amazing capacity to infect others with his hatred for God and for the cause of Christ and he's recruiting millions of haters and resistors and their target will be you as a Christian.
Now we come to the third sequence the last of the last days. All right, we have the whole history of humankind this duration of challenge for Christ Believers. We have somewhere towards the middle of the beginning of that the terrible days the event of the fall of Jerusalem as an example, which Jesus was particularly focused on when he spoke to the disciples, but at the very end of the days of challenge, the duration will come the last of the last days that actually this is what most people think of when they think of the last days. This is the conclusion of History. It's the. Of time when frankly all hell breaks loose just ahead of When Heaven breaks loose. We call these the last days we call it the apocalypse the great judgment the second coming because all of these events are collectively included in this sequence at the end of time. Now, you might be saying to yourself will when is the end of time Jesus said don't worry about that. I don't know and you're not going to know you will have a clue, but you're not going to know Jesus tells his disciples all about the last days the last of the last days how things will go from bad to worse to even worse how the conflict between good and evil will wax and worsen. And how the inevitable climactic battle will be won when Jesus who is Savior and Lord and Victor comes back to judge the world and to usher in the new heavens and the new Earth for his people. Look with me at first 25.
There will be signs in the sun moon and stars notice how Jesus is answering the question of the disciples. What will be the sign? There will be signs in the sun moon and stars on the earth. Nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the Roaring and tossing of the sea people will faint from Terror apprehensive. What is coming on the world for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the son of man. That's Jesus coming in a cloud with power and great Glory what an event. This will be Jesus will appear to the entire world as if coming on a cloud with power and great Glory verse 28 when these things begin to take place. Stand up. Lift up your heads because your Redemption is Drawing Near.
Redemption is always pictured as coming at the climax of Terror. In all three of these sequences the terrible days the durative days of Challenge and the last of the last days we are warned not to get excited about these things culminating in any proximate or immediate time. We're also warned against sloughing off warnings. We're warned against being nonchalant lackadaisical dispassionate because these things will come and we are called to be ready. What is ready mean? Biblically ready memes this being expectant. and being faithful
not surprised but busy serving and living our lives in a vidiots to the Lord. Not unlike the fall of Jerusalem. We don't have any idea when this is going to take place. Not even Jesus knew and he admitted it but he will come and it will climax history and if we remain will actually encounter it. Unless we die earlier. The battle that Satan instigated in his Rebellion against God comes to a head at the very end of human history. In fact, it creates the end of human history. And frankly it has to be. Because God will have to right all wrongs and do as he promised to save his people. And he also promised that at that point he will toss Sate. And all of those who choose to follow him. Along with death and Hades itself into what the scripture calls the Lake of Fire. That's the ultimate Judgment of the world. So in the timeline of human history the days of challenge always continue the terrible days particularly that Jesus spoke of in the fall of Jerusalem occurred at one particular time, but the arrow and the increasing Darkness show that all leads to the last of the last days and this is how this concluding C fits into the larger scheme. It is the absolute end. There are two distinct ways to encounter the end. Should we live to see it? In all three sequences, we are warned not to get excited about these things culminating in such immediate sense. Frankly, our personal end is when we go. And God gives his nod that is when we die. Many died in Rome's annihilation of Jerusalem Untold Millions have died in the history of this conflicted world and all who are left. When Jesus comes again will either die or be taken straight to heaven in this great Conquest. The real question for each of us is Howell III find and face the end.
I want to end with a quotation from 1st Thessalonians chapter 5 the first 11 verses are so encouraging in this light. And in a personal encouragement to stand strong to trust in the Lord, but his purposes are going to be accomplished and that you have a unique part in it as a believer in him. Listen to what Paul wrote 1st Thessalonians 5:1 to 11. No brothers and sisters about times and dates. We don't need to write you for you know, very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying peace and safety destruction will come on them suddenly as labor pains on a pregnant woman and they will not Escape. Bruce Force has but you brothers and sisters are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief in other words unbelievers who are unprepared. This will happen like a thief crashing into their home at night. But for brothers and sisters who know the Lord who know his word and know his word about the last days we will not be surprised because we're not in darkness verse 5, you are all children of the light and Children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then let us not be like others who are asleep. But let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep sleep at night those who get drunk get drunk if night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober putting on faith and love is a breastplate. And the hope of righteousness as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep alive or dead we may live together with him. therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing mine couragement to everyone of us in Christ is to stand strong and firm so that we're not surprised by anything that occurs having already been warned. But to maintain our face and vigilance are witness to others behalf of Christ. That's our purpose. May the Lord bless you and keep you and encourage you with these strong words if any of you is not a Christian not sure about your faith. We would love to minister to you. There was a way on the website to respond to that and we'll be in touch. God bless.