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Luke 21:5-11 | This is not the End

The Gospel of Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Lead In

COVID Questions
COVID-19 has raised questions with a lot of believers. The nation, with Christians not be excluded are trying to discern the correct course of action.
Some Christians while watching the events of the world unfold around them, they think they see the beginning of the end. Social media is filling up with comments from people that see prophecy fulfilled by the virus and the response to the virus by the nations of the world.
This morning, in our Harvest@Home we look a passage where Jesus instructs his disciples to not be concerned when they are confronted by troubling events to come, in a message entitled “This is not the End”

Plug

Before we begin, Let me introduce myself.
My name is Jason Self and my family and I are working towards planting a church in Ross, Ohio this fall.
We aren’t sure how that has been impacted by all of the stay at home orders, but we wanted to take the opportunity to share messages each Sunday morning with our friends and our community.
Hopefully you will get to know us a little bit and you will consider joining us when we launch the church.
But for now, lets open our bible and look at our passage in Luke 12:5-11
Luke 21:5–11 KJV 1900
And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
Pray

Starting at the End

Engage
End Times are Interesting
One of the more exciting things to discuss when it comes to the Bible is the idea of end times prophecy. When i was a kid, I didn’t have much of anything as far as Bible knowledge was concerned, but I had read Revelation at least a couple of times. I didn’t understand it, but I had read it.
My Dad’s Chart
My Dad had a chart in the pocket of his Bible that I remember being fascinated by. It has been a long time but I think it was one of Clarence Larkin’s timelines that covered the book or Revelation and I remember being enamored with the depictions of the angels and the Anti Christ and the Beast, etc. etc.
Tickled Curiosity
As a child I had that same fascination that I think a lot of Christians can relate to. It tickles our curiosity to think about Dragons, Beasts and the final victory and Judgment of our Lord.
Didn’t Grow
But, if I am to be honest. Nothing I learned from those charts or even from reading Revelation did much to expose my awareness to the sin in my heart. It was easy. I was able to engage scripture in a way that didn’t really challenge me when it came to sin. It’s hard to grow focusing on subjects like prophecy.
Imagination looks for signs
But, what can happen. And unfortunately often does happen. Is that people have their imaginations captured by what they read in books like Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation. And they start looking for signs.
Look to Prophecy to understand events
People will look for meaning when faced with the hardships of life. And sometimes, people try to make sense out catastrophic or confusing events that occur in our word by making a connection to prophecy.

A Big Statment

Tension
Let’s take a look back at Luke 21:5 where we started reading this morning
Luke 21:5 KJV 1900
And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
Admiring the Temple
Our Bible tells us that some of Jesus’s disciples were admiring the temple, and pointed out the beauty of the temple to our Lord. This was the the temple constructed by Herod the great.
First Solomon
There have really been two temples in the history of Israel. The first temple was constructed by Solomon and then destroyed later by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. This is the temple that you read about in most of the Old Testament. But,
Second Zerubbabel
Second temple was built in 515 BC by Zerubbabel and was relatively basic in comparison to the temple mount that we typically think of.
Then Herod
The temple constructed by Zerubbabel was dismantled and completely overhauled by Herod in 19 BC. It wasn’t even finished yet when this exchange happened between Jesus and the disciples, being up to 52 years in ongoing construction.
Impressive Construction
Great porches and courtyards were added to the temple mount. The historian Josephus wrote of the temple:
He made that Temple which was beyond this a wonderful one indeed, and such as exceeds all description in words; nay, if I may so say, is hardly believed upon sight
It is no wonder that Jesus’ disciples were in awe of the temple complex as they viewed it from the Mount of Olives.
Jesus Response to Awe
But what Jesus says in response to this amazement, is just as astonishing.
Luke 21:6 KJV 1900
As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Incomprehensible - Fortress
The idea of this massive complex being brought to ruin was nearly beyond comprehension. The construction wasn’t just for show. The Roman historian Tacitus wrote
The Temple resembled a fortress and had its own walls, which were more laboriously constructed than the others. Even the colonnades with which it was surrounded formed an admirable outer defense.
Whatever power, whatever military might that was going to do like Jesus said, and not leave one stone upon another, was going to be unlike anything they had ever seen.
Follow Up Question
And so there was a follow up question. And I wouldn’t take this as they are questioning Jesus, but that what Jesus is saying is so astonishing that they were having troubles understanding.
They ask in
Luke 21:7 KJV 1900
And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?

Comfort in a Lie

Truth
Looking at the parallel passage to this in Mark we read that this was a private question asked by some of Jesus’ closest disciples.
Mark 13:3 KJV 1900
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
Look at this group. These are 4, very high profile Apostles and really they had the exact same reaction that we would have if confronted by prophetic descriptions of great destruction. They wanted to know when it was going to happen and they wanted to know how they would know it was happening.
Jesus doesn’t really answer their question until all the way down in v20
Luke 21:20 KJV 1900
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
But the things Jesus says about the events surrounding the desolation of the temple are pretty grave. Jesus will go on to say that when you see it happening flee to the mountains, and that you are going to be in bad shape if you happen to be pregnant or nursing. It is understandable that the disciples would want some inside information on when this was going to go down.

The Danger

But it would be about 40 years before the fall of Jerusalem, and understanding men he knew how easily their fear and uncertainty could be used against them in order to lead them into believing fiction.

Motivations

An paper published by the Association for Psychological Science discussing the psychology behind conspiracy theories states
People who lack instrumental control may be afforded some compensatory sense of control by conspiracy theories, because they offer them the opportunity to reject official narratives and feel that they possess an alternative account
In short, it is an empowering and coping mechanism.
Look at the list of things Jesus says are going to come:
In v9 we read that there will be wars and commotions. Commotions is the greek word akatastasia and it means riots and revolts.
In v11 Jesus says there will be great earthquakes. Famines. Pestilences, meaning diseases. There will be fearful sights and great signs in heaven.
When events like this take place, people fear powerless and look for the comfort of some sort of explanation, no matter how implausible.
And so Jesus warns in v8
Luke 21:8 KJV 1900
And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
He didn’t want the disciples to hear someone with a comforting reason for why these events were taking place to lure them into false teaching.

Christian Conspiracies

Application
TGC Article
In an article posted, just last week, by the Gospel Coalition entitled “Christians are not Immune to Conspiracy Theories”. Joe Carter points out some of the absurd things people have believed since the beginning of this mess. And regardless of how you feel about how the government is handling the situation, some of these things should give you pause:
A French conspiracy website started promoting the idea that 5G antennas were causing or aiding the spread of COVID-19. The result was that cell towers and street lamps were set fire to and torn down and Telecom workers were assaulted.
One theory is that COVID-19 is a bioweapon made by Bill Gates
Unfortunately even Christian groups have gotten in on the conspiracy theories.
The American Family Association is promoting the idea that the Anthony Fauci (A member of the Coronavirus Task Force) new for 15 years that a drug called chloroquine was an effective treatment of coronavirus and intentionally was withholding recommending it for treatment.
Another Christian Group related that COVID-19 was all part of a shadow government conspiracy to destroy the economy and change election rules.
A Radio Show in Edmond, Oklahoma made international news. A recent headline from the UK newspaper “The Express” reads “Coronavirus: Fears Fourth Seal of Apocalypse broken as Bible warning of pestilence unfolds”
Taking Advantage
One very famous televangelist said of the Coronavirus said he would destroy the virus with then wind of God and I quote
I blow the wind of God on you, You are destroyed forever, and you’ll never be back. Thank you, God. Let it happen. Cause it to happen.
He then went on later to say that even if you lose your job
Whatever you do right now, don’t you stop tithing!
And I guess I would agree, because a tithe is a 10th of your income and if you don’t have a job you have no income. But I suspect that is not what the televangelist had in mind.
See, just like we read about in the last chapter, people will try to use your faith to take advantage of you. That is why Jesus says
Take heed that ye be not deceived
He knew what kind of false teaching from false teachers would be coming down the line.

Not By and By

Inspiration
Narrative Split
I want to point out a couple of things in v9. But appreciate the context first. Luke 21 from verse 5 to verse 24 is speaking about the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem. Then in v25 the conversation expands to the time of the Gentiles, which is the time we are living in today. So we sort of have a split narrative in this Chapter.
But the underlying theme continues through both narratives and I don’t think it would be inappropriate to apply this statement to those looking forward to the destruction of Jerusalem or to us now, looking forward to the return of the Lord.
Jesus says
the end is not by and by
I know that is not a natural phrase for us today. In the Greek the statement is only 4 words, “to telos ouk eutheos” The End is not and that word translated to “by and by” means immediately following. So what Jesus is saying is that when you see all this stuff going on. That doesn’t mean that the end is immediately following.
Our History
Look at our history. I can’t imagine living through World War II and not wondering if Hitler was the Anti-Christ. Pol Pot was responsible for the deaths of 2 million people as a result of starvation, overwork and exhaustion. We have been hearing a lot about the Spanish Flu lately. 1/3 of the world was infected at one time with a virus that killed 50 million people. The Asian Flu killed 1.1 Million people including 116,000 deaths in the United States.
People throughout history have seen persecution, famine, genocide and disease to extents that make what we are going through today seem like a minor inconvenience. And through all of that the End was not By and By

What Day

Action
Someday the Lord is coming back. And the end will finally have come. But what does Jesus tell us of that time? In Matthew 24:36 he says
Matthew 24:36 KJV 1900
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Whatever great difficulty we are going through as a nation or as a world, we don’t know when the end will be. There really isn’t any gain in speculating. Best advice for now
Best advise
The best advice I can give is what I read in Matthew 6:34
Matthew 6:34 KJV 1900
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Let’s concern ourselves with today. There are difficulties and we are certainly making plans for what we will do when everything opens back up in the future. But how can we bring the gospel to people today. How can we encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ today? How can grow spiritually today?
We can’t be so convinced of the end times, that we don’t do anything in the mean time.
Pray
Leave a message in comments if you have any questions about this mornings message or if you have something else you would like to discuss or pray about.
Also, let us know in the comments if you want to know more about our Savior Jesus Christ. We serve an awesome and loving God and It would be my privilege to tell you more about him.
Finally, there are a couple of ways you can support this ministry. Liking and following the Harvest facebook page and sharing posts like this video go a long way in getting the word out about our mission to serve the community of Ross.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 tells us that two are better than one. Our ministry would be greatly benefitted by some faithful Christians to help us in this work. So I ask that you pray that God will work on the hearts of some people to come along side us in this work and that if you feel that this is a ministry God would have you to participate in I ask that you pray about it and then let us know.
Until next time, thanks for checking out Harvest@Home, I hope this message has been a blessing to you, and Lord willing we will see you again next week!
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