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The Return of Jesus (Episode IV)

February 2, 2008

This series was initially started on the other blog, however, I’m minded to continue it here.  Therefore, I’ll link to the other three posts before continuing on.  These are a verse-by-verse discussion of Matthew chapter 24.  One thing that’s fascinating about the discourse in this chapter is that Jesus initiates it at a time when the disciples are consumed by current physical realities; that being the beauty of the temple.  Here are links to the three previous installments.

www.timbob2.wordpress.com/2007/11/23/the-return-of-jesus-episode-i/

www.timbob2.wordpress.com/2007/12/03/the-return-of-jesus-episode-ii/

www.timbob2.wordpress.com/2008/01/07/the-return-of-jesus-episode-iii/

A casual visit to the third chapter of II Timothy will reveal a most tragic condition that will be dominant upon the earth in the final days of this age.  People will be lovers of themselves to the point that natural affection will become a casualty in their pursuit of fulfilment.  A condition that’s completely opposite of the wonderous nature of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who gave his all to redeem us from everlasting death.  Those who have the testimony of Jesus will be hated on a scale that few of us in the west can comprehend.  It’s a pattern that we find throughout scripture, beginning with Abel, and continuing to this day.  (John 15:18) 

Matthew 24:9  “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my names sake.”

Oftentimes, time I come across such passages, I think of the thousands of professing saints who are heaping to themselves teachers having itching ears.  Teachers who, instead of encouraging them to draw closer to Jesus and be prepared for real persecution, (enduring unto the end) they lure them into an endless pursuit of material gain and status on planet earth.  One point that cannot be overstated is this: “Loving not our lives in this world” has nothing to do with legalistic religious practice.  It’s a matter of life and death as loving this present world will cause one to make REALLY bad decisions.  Decisions which, once put into play, offer no space for repentance.  (Remember Lot’s wife) Millions will recieve a mark that forever seals their eternal destiny, because of a desire to sustain their lives in this world. 

It’s imperative to draw close to Jesus and truly make him the focus of all that we say and do.  To lay up treasure in heaven and have our affections on those things which have eternal significance.  When we wholeheartedly love Jesus and are looking totally to him, nothing in this world will cause us to waver.  He will sustain us through any circumstance that we find ourselves in.  We will overcome the world by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.  The need to keep an eternal perspective cannot be overemphasized.

Matthew 24:10-11 “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” 

 A time of offense and betrayal; even by those who we trusted completely.  A time in which the ambience will not be condusive to living the American dream, retiring, and travelling the country in a motor home.  A time when we will be tried by fire and may be called upon to lay down our lives for Jesus.  At this very moment, saints are being killed in Kenya and India.  (It’s usually not covered on the main stream networks; not even in the crawl at the bottom of the screen)  We somehow have this notion that such events will never occur in the west because everything seems stable.  Subsequently, we’ve baracaded ourselves within our elaborate comfort zones where we loudly proclaim “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.”

We should be mindful to give praise unto God for each day in which the status quo holds up.  There are two reasons for this.  First: its a day which the Lord has ordained to be.  Before the foundation of the world, God determined that this day would come to pass.  Two: it’s proof of the incredible mercy of God because he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  (Ezekiel 18:31-32) God isn’t willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  (II Peter 3:9-12 outlines this perfectly and admonishes us as to what manner of persons we ought to be.)  The next verse tells of a danger that far exceeds that of persecution. 

Matthew 24:11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”

False teachers leading folks into a way which appears to be right but is completely not right.  With feigned words, they will lure away millions; a phenomenon that already takes place but will be greatly enhanced in the times ahead.  We know that the whole world will wonder after the beast saying “who can make war with this brilliant guy who has restored our peace and safety?”  I fear that none of us really grasp just how deceptive these times are.  Never has it been more important to be close to Jesus and have his word hidden in our heart.  Our faith in Christ may well have to stand in the face of what would appear to be overwhelming evidence to the contrary. 

Matthew 24:12  “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

Natural affection becomes a casualty in an age where sin has run amock.  This condition seems to become magnified with each generation until few have any concept of right and wrong.  “If it feels good, do it” is the order of the day and has been for quite some time.  Technology has made it possible to transmit every evil thought and scheme.  Today, a wicked imagination can be manifest, placed on the internet and made available to everyone who has access to such.  Likewise, the media has successfully dumbed down our culture to the point that nothing is wrong as programs which glorify sin and occult practices have become the norm

A casual scanning of the material offered up by the entertainment industry will reveal two disturbing trends.  One is that sin; fornication, adultery, same-relationships and the like, is held in high esteem.  The second is a glorifying of supernatural forces which are not of God.  “Magic” is in the airwaves and from very early on, children are fed a steady diet of programming in which “magic” plays a pivotal role.  Subsequently, we have a culture that has all but forgotten their Creator and is running headlong down a wide road that leads to destruction.  This post is already too long, but I must squeeze in this final passage because it outlines the importance of being mindful of the perils that surround us.

Matthew 24:13-14  “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom must be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

“Enduring” implies that resistance will be placed in our path that, if we’re not mindful of what’s taking place, we may be inclined to alter our course.  The hour of temptation when we will have to stand in the face of unimaginable odds.  Yet greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.  Jesus has overcome the world and we are more than conquerors through him.  Our job now is to preach the gospel in all the world as untold millions are in need of a Savior and only in the name of Jesus is there salvation.   Well, I’ll close for now.  This post may unnerving to many; however, if we remain close to Jesus his perfect peace will supercede anything that we face in this world. 

II Corinthians 4:18  “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 

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One comment

  1. Yesterday at church we were taking a look at Ephesians 2 and I am just in awe of these passages listed below:

    “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:4-7 NKJV)

    It is mind-boggling to think that we are seated together with Christ in heaven! Wow! As believers who put out faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are citizens of heaven. What a beautiful mystery! If we can set our sights on this reality, we will endure!

    May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you always,
    Scotti



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