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Signposts on the Road to Victory (#3 of 3)

Read Luke 21:5-38 in your Bible. I used the NLT to prepare these remarks.


https://www.behance.net/gallery/110813615/Sermon-Illustrations-2022

REVIEW:

1. The context of Jesus’ “Last Days” teaching.

2. Signpost #1: FALSE CHRISTS will appear.

3. Signpost #2: Violence will occur.

A. Violence against humanity.

B. Violence in nature against itself.

C. Violence against the Church.

NEW:

Someone poked fun at how secular media sources would cover the end of the world. Here are their headlines:

The Wall Street Journal: DOW JONES PLUMMETS AS WORLD ENDS

Microsoft Systems Journal: WE DON’T HAVE A PATCH FOR THIS

Sports Illustrated: GAME OVER

Reader’s Digest: BYE

TV Guide: DEATH AND DAMNATION; NIELSON RATINGS SOAR!

Ladies’ Home Journal: LOSE 10

POUNDS BY JUDGMENT DAY WITH OUR “ARMAGEDDON DIET”

People: CELEBRITIES DIVIDED INTO “SHEEP” AND “GOATS”

We’re joking here, but the end of this age will be no laughing matter for the folks who have rejected Jesus Christ as their Savior. If our study of Luke 21 has taught us anything, it should teach us that there will be terrifying times leading up to the end. A purpose of Jesus’ teaching is to motivate us to be prepared and to assist as many people as possible to be prepared too.

The Last Days will end at Jesus’ Second Coming.

3. Signpost #2: Violence will occur.

D. Violence against God’s city (Jerusalem). (20-24)

This is the third time Jesus predicted the fall of Jerusalem (see 13:31-35; 19:41-44). He did not want people to misinterpret the fall of Jerusalem as a sign that God had forsaken Israel. Instead, God’s promises will be fulfilled only after a delay during the PERIOD OF THE GENTILES.

I have puzzled whether this sign - the city’s destruction - should understood as having been fulfilled in AD 70 (in the past), or at the end of the age (in the future). As parts of it fit with a past fulfillment and other parts a future fulfillment, I’ve decided it must be both. What I mean by “both” is that the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 was an indication of the horrors to come before the end of the age.

For example, the phrase DAYS OF GOD’S VENGEANCE could be applied to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 or to a future time of violence against God’s city. From Jesus’ perspective, the phrase, THE PROPHETIC WORDS OF SCRIPTURE WILL BE FULFILLED could easily be true of the first century or the last.

One example of a first century fulfillment of PROPHETIC WORDS begins in Daniel 9:27 where Daniel predicted a DESECRATION of the temple. Before he destroyed the temple in AD 70, the Roman General Titus sacrificed a pig on the altar. That event could accurately be described as a DISASTER IN THE LAND AND GREAT ANGER AGAINST THIS PEOPLE.

Verses 21-22 gives a partial reason for the warning: to give residents of the city a chance to save their lives by staying out of the city. PREGNANT WOMEN AND NURSING MOTHERS were offered as examples of vulnerable people in harm’s way as the city is destroyed.

Verse 24 also describes things that happened when Titus sacked Jerusalem in AD 70. Over a million Jews were KILLED. About 97,000 survivors were taken captive and sold into slavery. As these prophecies were fulfilled in our past, we might be said to be living in the PERIOD OF THE GENTILES. This would be a span of years where the Gentiles (especially the pagan ones) would mistreat the people of Israel. Historically, this has certainly been the case.

4. Signpost #3: Jesus’ Second Coming. (27-28)

We often think of this chapter of giving signs of Jesus’ Second Coming. The fact is these are signs of the end of the age. As verse 27 starts with the word THEN, we understand Jesus’ Second Coming to be the last of the three signs. Jesus’ Second Coming is the last and most important sign.

Here’s what will happen.

“EVERYONE WILL SEE THE SON OF MAN.” Before the advent of satellite TV people were skeptical of this claim. Technology has made simultaneous worldwide transmission of an image a daily event. Regardless of how it happens, every person on earth will be simultaneously aware of the Lord’s presence. While the other two signs might be misinterpreted, this one cannot possibly be mistaken as anything other than Christ.

“COMING ON A CLOUD WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY.” Vindicated and triumphant, Jesus will return ON A CLOUD, just as was promised in Acts 1:9-11. The Son of Man appears in the clouds in Daniel 7:13-14. Revelation 1:7 predicts Jesus will appear in the clouds. In Isaiah 19:1, God rides on the clouds. This connection implies the divinity of Jesus.

Here’s how we are to react.

“STAND AND LOOK UP.” It could be said that faith is looking up when everyone else is looking down.

Be relieved to know YOUR SALVATION IS NEAR! Scripture uses the word “salvation” in every different tense – past, present, and future – in this case, our salvation will be fully realized after the Second Coming: it will be NEAR. This is an important motive for us to stand firm in our faith; our salvation will appear any moment and we don’t want to cheat ourselves out of the blessing.

5. Jesus continued to teach in the temple. (37-38)

This teaching was given in the last week of Jesus’ life. It accomplished at least two things. One, it reassured His disciples that though their world might be turned upside down, God was still working all things out for their salvation. Second, it further aggravated the Jewish leaders which forced their hand to incite them to kill Him.

It probably intimidated the Jewish leaders was that Jesus was drawing CROWDS at the temple every day and even EARLY EACH MORNING.

The Last Days will end at Jesus’ Second Coming.

Let’s review.

- Jesus said the first sign (in chronological order) would be violence. Violence will be perpetrated by nations against one another, against God’s people, and against God’s city. Even nature will turn against itself with all kinds of unnatural events.

- After that, false Christs and false claims about Christ will be made by a great many people.

- The third and final sign will be Jesus’ appearance to all humanity at once. After this unmistakable sign occurs, Judgment Day will follow and the present Heaven and Earth will be replaced by a New Heaven and Earth.

This vision of the future is supposed to affect this present moment. We are to live each day with these events in mind, preparing for this day of our salvation. 1 Corinthians 15:58 supports this attitude of hopeful expectation and our daily work of preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus:

SO, MY DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS, BE STRONG AND IMMOVABLE. ALWAYS WORK ENTHUSIASTICALLY FOR THE LORD, FOR YOU KNOW THAT NOTHING YOU DO FOR THE LORD IS EVER USELESS.

Be hopeful and ambitious, child of God! By word and deed let the world know Jesus awaits us at the far horizon of time.


RESOURCES:

Message #1297+1298

Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol. 12, The Gospel of Luke, 2006, Allison A. Trites

The Bible Knowledge Key Word Study, The Gospels, Darrell L. Bock

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