Participants: Charissa Fong
Series Code: FGW
Program Code: FGW000016
00:26 OK. Tonight's subject: When Will Jesus Return?
00:30 This is one of my most favorite subjects.
00:33 And so before we begin I invite you to bow your heads
00:36 with me for an added word of prayer.
00:38 Father in heaven, we thank you for bringing us here again
00:42 tonight. And as we open the Word of Holy Scripture
00:45 we pray that Your Holy Spirit will be present
00:48 and will be our silent teacher tonight.
00:50 May we hear the Word, may we understand,
00:53 and may we be willing to be ready for Jesus when He comes
00:56 is my prayer in Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.
01:00 Jesus and His disciples had just had a very busy week.
01:06 Having left Jericho, they had come to Jerusalem.
01:10 And when they did come, the Bible tells us that Jesus
01:14 entered Jerusalem as a King riding on the back of a donkey.
01:19 All too soon the Passover arrived, and Jesus found Himself
01:23 in an upper room with His disciples.
01:26 And as Jesus looked around in the upper room
01:29 and He looked at the faces of those whom He had come to
01:32 consider as His closest friends,
01:35 His dearest companions, the Bible tells us...
01:38 Well the Bible doesn't tell us but I imagine
01:41 that at that moment He became concerned for them.
01:44 Because He knew that the shadow of the cross
01:47 was already falling upon Him.
01:49 He knew that the scenes which were about to unfold
01:52 would shake their faith to the core.
01:55 And so the Bible tells us He turns to them
01:58 and He says these words in John chapter 13 verses 33-35.
02:31 Now when He said this the look on their faces
02:35 must have been pathetic beyond description.
02:37 They had given up everything to follow Jesus
02:41 and now suddenly He was telling them that He was going someplace
02:46 that they couldn't go.
02:47 Now when Jesus had fed the 5,000 and the crowds who had
02:51 followed Him... they thought "Let's make Him King... "
02:54 and Jesus said: "No, no, no. I didn't come to be
02:56 that kind of a King... " many people had stopped
02:59 following Jesus. But the 12... well they had continued
03:03 to be faithful even though they, too, thought Jesus could
03:06 be a good King like they wanted Him to be.
03:09 So where on earth was He going?
03:11 And Peter with that reputation for saying the things
03:14 that everybody else wanted to ask
03:16 he asked the question the rest of them would have said.
03:24 And Jesus, seeing the obvious fear on their faces,
03:28 He then answers Peter's question
03:31 with words which have since become the great consolation
03:35 for the friends of Jesus Christ
03:37 in John 14:1-3... notice the words of Jesus.
03:42 He says:
03:45 I love that beginning.
04:02 "I go to prepare a place for the Americans... "
04:07 Are you happy with that, are you?
04:09 You like that translation?
04:24 Friend, Jesus says "I am going to die. "
04:27 "I am going to rest in a cold tomb but I will rise
04:32 on the third day. And when I rise on the third day
04:35 after a period of time I'm going to ascend into heaven
04:38 BUT I will come back. "
04:42 And friends, Jesus says "I am going to prepare mansions
04:46 for you. " Now have you ever been invited to somebody's
04:49 house? Maybe you can think back to your childhood when you were
04:52 sleeping over at other people's places and they offered you
04:55 a bed. They said: "You can sleep in this bed. "
04:58 Friends, when Jesus says "Come to My house"
05:00 He offers us mansions. Can you believe it?
05:04 I just think that's absolutely wonderful.
05:06 And how this promise of Jesus' soon return,
05:10 of His return, must have comforted the disciples' hearts.
05:14 They didn't fully understand how Jesus was going to go,
05:18 but the very fact that He said He would be back
05:21 gave them great hope. And friends, the return of Jesus
05:25 is the most talked-about event in all the Bible.
05:30 Approximately one in every 25 verses in the New Testament
05:34 have something to do with the return of Jesus Christ.
05:38 And theologians tell us that for every prophecy in the Bible
05:43 concerning Christ's first coming
05:46 there are about eight concerning His second.
05:49 Friends, the return of Jesus is the theme of the Bible.
05:53 Enoch preached it the Bible tells us in Jude 14.
06:09 David... he believed it with all his heart.
06:17 Paul... he believed it and in his letter to Titus
06:20 this is what he says. He refers to it as "the blessed hope. "
06:30 And friend, the very last chapter of the Bible
06:34 three times we are told... Jesus tells us "I am coming quickly. "
06:39 "I am coming quickly... " and the second last verse of that
06:42 chapter... it shouts to us of Christ's return. The Bible says
06:47 in Revelation 22 and verse 20:
07:06 The return of Jesus is the final apocalyptic message
07:11 of the Bible: He is coming. And this was the hope
07:16 that Jesus wanted to leave with His disciples.
07:19 Human promises and pledges often fail us, don't they?
07:23 I mean, most of us make New Year's resolutions
07:25 we can't keep for more than a week.
07:27 But friends, when God makes a promise
07:31 He makes it because He intends to keep it.
07:36 Ah, you missed a good "Amen" spot.
07:38 When God makes a promise He makes it
07:40 because He intends to keep it. Amen? Amen.
07:43 Why... how do I know this? Because the Bible tells me
07:46 in Numbers chapter 23 verse 19:
07:55 On the 11th of March 1942
07:58 the Pacific theater of war was threatening and bleak.
08:03 One island after another was being buffeted into submission
08:07 and the enemy was marching then to the Philippines.
08:11 Surrender seemed inevitable.
08:14 It was at this moment that General Douglas MacArthur
08:17 he had only three words for his comrades as he hopped
08:21 into an escape boat destined for Australia.
08:25 He said: "I shall return. "
08:28 Upon arriving in the port of Adelaide at the age of 62
08:32 just 9 days later, he again reminded the people
08:36 of his promise. He said: "I came through
08:38 and I shall return. "
08:41 Two and a half years later -
08:45 on October 20, 1944, to be exact -
08:49 General Douglas Macarthur... he found his feet on Philippine
08:53 soil at last. And he made this victorious announcement
08:57 "This is the voice of freedom. General MacArthur speaking.
09:02 People of the Philippines: I have returned. "
09:05 Friends, MacArthur... regardless of what happened to him
09:10 he was determined to make good on his promise.
09:13 And friends, if MacArthur, a mere man,
09:16 a mere general, can make his promise good
09:19 then don't you think when Jesus says "I will return"
09:22 He can and He will? Of course He can.
09:25 And so friends, the disciples knew He was going
09:29 but how was He going to come back?
09:32 Well, to answer this question we need to turn to another chapter
09:35 of Jesus' life here on this earth.
09:38 In fact, just after the resurrection,
09:41 40 days later, the Bible tells us that Jesus and His disciples
09:46 they made their way to the Mount of Olives.
09:49 And when they got there, after a brief word of encouragement,
09:52 Jesus' last words to His disciples
09:55 the Bible tells us that something happened.
09:58 And let's notice what happens in Acts chapter 1:9-11.
10:08 Notice all the visual words in these verses.
10:42 Friends, when the disciples heard these words
10:45 from the angel's lips, as they began putting the puzzle pieces
10:49 together in their heads they realized
10:52 that what the angels were saying was simply this:
10:55 Jesus was going to return exactly the same way
11:00 He had left. In other words, His return would not be
11:04 some magical apparition.
11:06 It would not be in the form of some spiritual concept.
11:10 No. He would literally physically return
11:13 just as they had literally physically seen Him go up.
11:17 And notice: if we are going to build this as a theological
11:20 argument we need to get passages from the rest of the Bible
11:23 to support it. The Bible does.
11:25 In Revelation chapter 1 and verse 7 we are told:
11:37 So friends, the return of Jesus is going to be visible.
11:41 And I think that's good news.
11:43 Will we be able to hear Jesus when He comes?
11:47 Oh, you'd better believe it.
11:50 Notice what the Bible says in I Thessalonians chapter 4
11:54 and verse 16:
12:15 Friends, this verse has to be one of the loudest verses
12:19 in all the Bible. And I used to learn how to play the piano...
12:24 I used to have piano lessons.
12:26 And every time I went to see my dear piano teacher...
12:29 She was a seasoned musician; she had done all her lessons and
12:33 she was really good. And every time I went to play my pieces
12:36 for her I would sit there at that piano and I would
12:39 fumble my way through them making all these mistakes.
12:42 And she would get kind of frustrated and she'd say
12:45 things like: "Oh, I'm on the war path today. "
12:48 She would say: "Get it right or I'll blow up! "
12:51 And I remember because I was young. I actually believed
12:54 she might explode some day.
12:56 But she did say to me one day... She said:
13:00 "Charissa, if Mozart could hear that he'd turn in his grave. "
13:04 And you know, I've never forgotten that because
13:07 you know what? When Jesus comes back
13:09 for the friends of Jesus, they're going to do more than
13:12 turn in their graves. The Bible tells us
13:15 they're going to hear the voice of their Savior, their Redeemer,
13:18 and they're going to rise from the dead.
13:21 And I just think that that is a wonderful thought.
13:24 Just think of it... All the great Bible greats: Noah
13:28 and Peter and Paul and Esther.
13:31 All of those who were faithful to Jesus... they're going to
13:35 rise and they're going to be caught up to meet Him
13:38 in the air. And families are going to be reunited
13:42 in the air... those who have been separated by death.
13:45 What a wonderful wonderful thing that God is telling us here.
13:49 And friend, you couldn't miss it if you tried.
13:53 The Bible tells us in Matthew 24 verse 27:
14:08 It's not going to be a matter of: "Did you hear that? "
14:13 Or: "What was that noise? "
14:15 Friends, it's going to be bigger and better and louder than
14:18 Ben Hur and it's going to make the New Year's Eve celebrations
14:22 on Sydney Harbor look absolutely primitive.
14:25 It is going to be the greatest event the world...
14:29 No, sorry, let me rephrase that...
14:31 the universe has ever seen.
14:34 But friends, if the dead are raised then what about
14:37 the living? What about those who are still alive?
14:40 What happens to them?
14:42 Well for the friends of Jesus, for those who have encountered
14:47 Him and believed in Him as a result of that encounter
14:51 in this life, the Bible has more good news for you and I tonight.
14:56 In I Thessalonians chapter 4 and verse 17 the Bible says:
15:12 Talk about a family reunion up there in the sky.
15:16 What a wonderful day: to be caught up and to meet your
15:20 loved ones again. To be reunited with your family members
15:23 again. And then best of all to look straight into love's
15:28 shining face... to behold the beautiful face of Jesus Christ.
15:34 Philippians tells us in Philippians 3:20-21
15:56 More good news. Not only will we be caught up
16:00 but the Bible tells us that we are going to be given new,
16:04 perfect bodies. No more aches; no more pains.
16:07 We're all going to look a good 21!
16:10 Notice what else the Bible says in I Corinthians 15:51.
16:22 What's that "twinkling of an eye? "
16:24 It's like saying in the blinking of an eye.
16:26 That's how God will change us.
16:28 And what more news? What news could be more welcome than that?
16:32 Jesus goes on. This just keeps getting better and better
16:35 tonight. The Bible tells us in Matthew chapter 25 and verse 31:
16:51 This will be an event that CNN will not be able to break
16:56 to you. It's going to be glorious and you couldn't
16:59 miss it if you tried. Because Jesus isn't returning to this
17:03 planet as a lowly babe in Bethlehem.
17:06 No... this time He is returning as the King of Kings,
17:10 the Lord of Lords. And according to the text we just read
17:14 He is coming back with all the angels of heaven.
17:18 Wow! Now how many angels are there in heaven?
17:22 We don't really know, but according to the book of Daniel
17:26 in Daniel chapter 7 and verse 10... it's not on the
17:28 screen, you can just make a mental note...
17:31 But in Daniel 7:10 we know that from that text
17:35 there must be at least 100 million of them.
17:39 So can you imagine that? Just looking up into the sky
17:42 seeing it filled with angels, and there in the center of them
17:47 all is your Redeemer, your Savior,
17:50 your forever Friend, Jesus Christ.
17:55 Friends, the Bible is emphatic: Jesus is coming back.
18:00 His return will mark the very climax of earth's history.
18:03 It will not be secret.
18:06 It will not be imaginative. It will not be figurative.
18:10 It will be literal.
18:11 So the next logical question we have to answer tonight
18:15 is when will this glorious event take place?
18:19 And how soon are we to the second coming of Jesus?
18:23 Could it happen in your lifetime and mine?
18:26 Again, to answer this question we need to go back to the Bible.
18:30 Because one day the disciples took Jesus on a tour of
18:34 Jerusalem, and as they were walking through Jerusalem
18:37 they came and they stopped to marvel at the temple there.
18:41 It had just been rebuilt by the Roman government
18:45 and it was one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture
18:48 in the then-known world. And as the disciples and Jesus
18:52 were gazing at this beautiful building, the Bible tells us
18:55 that Jesus had something to say to His disciples
18:58 that literally shocked them.
19:01 He said to them in Matthew chapter 24 and verse 2, He said:
19:18 Now this was the greatest building to the Jewish nation,
19:24 and yet Jesus predicted that this beautiful building
19:28 was going to be utterly destroyed.
19:31 And the disciples were naturally shocked.
19:34 It would be like you and I standing at the foot of the
19:37 Harbor Bridge marveling at its architecture
19:40 and then someone standing beside you and saying: "Oh,
19:42 by the way in a few months that bridge is just going to
19:46 collapse. " It would be absolutely shocking
19:48 when you think about it like that.
19:50 And so when they went up to the Mount of Olives
19:52 they all had these questions on their mind.
19:55 "Why would Jesus say something like that? "
19:57 And so they asked Jesus the question we all would have
20:00 asked Him:
20:11 You see, to the disciples if the temple was destroyed
20:15 it had to be equated with the return of Jesus
20:18 and the end of the world... because they just couldn't see
20:21 it happening any other way.
20:23 And so really when they asked Jesus this question
20:26 they were asking Him a loaded one... there were two questions
20:29 in one rolled into this question.
20:31 First question: when would Jerusalem be destroyed?
20:35 And second question: when would Jesus come again?
20:38 What would mark the signs of the end of the world?
20:41 And so Jesus in His response... He cleverly outlined
20:46 and answers both of those questions by describing a series
20:51 of signs that would indicate the nearness of His coming.
20:55 And He indicated that these signs would be seen
20:58 in the scientific, economic, political, and religious world
21:03 and they would show us that His coming was eminent.
21:06 Now signs are very important, aren't they?
21:10 They're very important.
21:12 I don't know about you but I really enjoy looking
21:15 in real estate. I love looking in new houses and just seeing
21:19 how people live in other houses.
21:22 And not so long ago, my family... we put our house
21:27 on the market. And when we did, of course,
21:30 we had to look for another house.
21:31 And so my mum and I got on the Internet,
21:34 Googled some houses, and we found this really nice house
21:37 and it wasn't too far from where we were staying.
21:41 So we had some spare time that afternoon,
21:44 jumped in the car, and drove to this place where the house
21:47 was supposed to be for sale.
21:49 When we got to the place where we thought it was
21:52 there was no sign outside the house that we were expecting
21:56 to be for sale. But that's OK, we could do our own inspection.
22:00 And so we got out of the car and we both walked to the
22:03 front of the house and we peered in through the window
22:06 at the front of the house. And as we were peering in
22:08 the window, yes, oh, a nice staircase, yes...
22:11 I noticed an apple on the floor and I said: "Mum,
22:15 there's an apple on the floor. "
22:18 And without missing a beat she said: "Oh, don't worry, dear,
22:20 the workmen must have left it there. "
22:22 Sorry... I thought: "That's OK. "
22:25 So we opened the side gate and we went round the back
22:27 to look at the house from the back, you know?
22:30 See what else we could see.
22:32 And so we got to the back window and both of us,
22:34 faces on the glass, were looking in.
22:37 We could see a few more things.
22:39 There were flowers on the table.
22:41 There were dishes on the sink.
22:42 There was detergent there on the counter as well.
22:45 And needless to say, we both got out of there quick smart.
22:48 I'm glad the person wasn't home because they would have had
22:51 a rude shock seeing two strangers peering in
22:54 their back window.
22:56 But friends, had we taken the absence of a sign
23:00 as a sign that that house wasn't for sale
23:04 it would have saved us a lot of trouble.
23:06 And so friends, Jesus... He wants you and I to know
23:09 when He's coming. So He tells us a series of signs
23:12 to save us a lot of trouble.
23:14 Notice what the Bible says... what He tells His disciples
23:18 in Matthew chapter 24 verses 4 and 5. He says:
23:35 Friends, Jesus knew that before He returned
23:38 Satan would try to impersonate His return.
23:42 And by the way, for every truth of God
23:45 Satan has a counterfeit.
23:47 But according to Jesus, you know, they may talk like Jesus
23:51 talks. They may have a soft, melodious voice
23:55 like you and I might imagine Jesus to have.
23:57 They may wear clothes that He might have worn.
24:01 They may do things that you think Jesus might do.
24:04 They may quote a whole lot of scriptures, but according
24:07 to Jesus He said: "Have nothing to do with them
24:10 because they are an imposter, they're not the real Jesus. "
24:15 And that is why it is so important for you and I
24:18 to understand how Jesus will come.
24:21 Because Satan cannot impersonate the true coming of Jesus Christ.
24:26 He cannot come back to this earth with all the angels
24:29 of heaven, can he? No, he couldn't do it.
24:32 Friends, that's why we must know how Jesus is coming.
24:35 Jesus isn't going to come in some remote location
24:38 or step off some space ship. The Bible tells us
24:41 in Matthew chapter 24 and verse 26:
24:57 And friend, no one is going to come up to you, tap you on the
25:01 shoulder and say: "By the way, I'm a false prophet. "
25:05 No one's going to do that.
25:06 And so if you think about this:
25:08 imagine a cry went up in Taree...
25:11 "Jesus has come to Taree. "
25:14 Or "Jesus has appeared in Sydney
25:18 or Rome or New York City or He's in China; He's in Hong Kong. "
25:23 Suppose a cry like that went out
25:25 and people everywhere all over the world were called
25:28 "Come to Christ. " Would you go?
25:32 Well it would be very tempting, wouldn't it? Because
25:35 when people flock to one location it's this herd
25:38 mentality. Everybody wants to have a look.
25:40 I know that because whenever there are bush fires
25:43 down where we used to live people would come
25:46 and come to have a look at the fires.
25:48 And the same way, if you're in the shops
25:50 and you're walking past in the shop
25:52 and you see someone looking in the window and they're just
25:54 staring, the natural, knee-jerk reaction is to stop and see
25:58 what they're having a look at. It would be very difficult
26:01 to not go. But friend, Jesus said:
26:04 "Have nothing to do with it. "
26:05 In Revelation chapter 16 verse 14 He says... Why?
26:14 And friend, as I said before, signs are really important
26:18 so that you know who you're looking out for.
26:20 Not that long ago I was invited by a Chinese church
26:25 in Queensland to come and speak for a camp
26:27 that they were running.
26:29 And so I was communicating with the organizer on the e-mail
26:33 and their name was Frances. And so Frances and I were
26:36 sending back e-mails. And I thought: "Oh, it's really good
26:39 working with such an organized young lady. "
26:41 And I flew to Brisbane, and when I got to the Brisbane
26:44 airport my phone rang so I answered it.
26:46 I said: "Oh, Frances, hi. How are you? I'm here. "
26:49 And this male voice answered the phone.
26:52 That was shock #1.
26:53 He said: "I'm in the car park. If you just come out
26:57 you'll see me. " I said: "Oh, how'm I supposed to know
26:59 what you look like? " He said: "Oh, I'm in a Ford
27:02 Falcon and it's white. "
27:04 As if I know what a Ford Falcon looks like.
27:07 So I walked out into the car park
27:10 and, of course, what do I see? Cars everywhere.
27:13 I said: "Francis, I can't see you. " He said:
27:16 "I'm the Ford Falcon with the ladder on the top. "
27:19 Well that helped a little bit more.
27:20 And I kept looking and I just couldn't see him.
27:23 And then suddenly I heard this voice that I'd heard
27:26 on the phone. And I spun around and there was Francis.
27:29 Now I had thought that he was going to be Asian
27:32 because I was going to speak for an Asian church camp.
27:35 And he was an Aussie. And so, friends, it helps
27:38 to know who you're looking out for, doesn't it?
27:40 It helps to know the signs 'cause you could just end up
27:43 going with the wrong person.
27:44 And so that was a really good experience for me to learn that.
27:48 In Matthew chapter 24
27:50 and verse 7, Jesus... He goes on and He says:
28:07 Now friends, there have always been wars,
28:11 but the 20th century was the bloodiest century
28:16 of mankind's history. World War I
28:20 saw 20 million people sacrificed on the altar of war.
28:25 World War II saw an additional 50 million people
28:29 slaughtered as the result of war.
28:32 And following the Cold War the world now trembles
28:35 at the thought of weapons of mass destruction
28:38 falling into the hands of terrorists and rogue nations.
28:43 The danger of war still hangs constantly over the Middle East
28:47 and the Bible says in I Thessalonians 5:3
28:58 Oh yes, everybody talks of peace,
29:01 but according to the Bible it's just really talk.
29:04 Broadcasting from Hiroshima in 1945
29:07 after the dropping of that atomic bomb,
29:10 William Ripley... he was reporting and he said this:
29:13 "I am standing on the place where the end of the world
29:17 began. " I wonder what he would say today if he could see
29:21 the unprecedented nuclear proliferation
29:24 that we today witness in countries around us.
29:27 Jesus goes on in that same verse... in verse 7. He said:
29:34 Now there have always been famines. I recognize that.
29:38 But friend, tonight did you know that half the world
29:41 goes to bed hungry every night?
29:44 In fact, the experts tell us that 25,000 people
29:48 a day... that's 9 million people a year...
29:51 they die as a result of hunger.
29:54 Those numbers... they just boggle the mind.
29:57 You and I can't begin to comprehend what that really
30:00 means in terms of the degree of pain that is experienced.
30:04 And so to handle numbers like that we resort to this thing
30:07 called massification: we just lump them all into a statistic
30:11 and that's how we deal with it.
30:12 But you and I... we should never forget that those huge numbers
30:16 every integer that makes them up represents an individual
30:20 like you and me. Jesus goes on.
30:23 I've been talking about famines.
30:25 He also talks about other things in Matthew chapter 24 verse 7.
30:30 He says:
30:35 Now there have always been diseases. I recognize that.
30:40 But never have we had so many diseases happening on the scale
30:45 and intensity which we see them around us in our world today.
30:49 I mean, do I even need to mention:
30:58 Do I even need to mention those?
31:00 No, I didn't think so because listen:
31:02 even our computers are coming down with viruses.
31:05 Insects are developing immunities to these deadly
31:10 pesticides... so much so that we now have these things called
31:14 superbugs. You just can't destroy them with the same
31:17 things you used to use.
31:18 Cancer with approximately 100 different strains
31:22 is spreading like an epidemic destroying infants
31:26 as well as the aged. According to the World Health Organization
31:30 they estimate that we have approximately - and I believe
31:34 the number has probably risen since this statistic -
31:37 we have approximately 40 million cases of HIV in our world today.
31:43 Whole countries... whole nations will be wiped out
31:48 if something isn't done to stop it.
31:51 The Bible also mentions in that same verse
31:54 earthquakes. Yes I know, there have always been earthquakes.
32:00 But today, friends, we have over 4,000 seismograph stations -
32:05 seismograph stations - around the world that record
32:08 somewhere between 12,000 to 14,000 earthquakes every year.
32:12 And according to the record, they believe that
32:15 we have approximately 6,000 major earthquakes every year.
32:20 And this year alone you and I know that to be a fact,
32:23 don't we? We have seen it in the news. We hear of Haiti
32:26 and Indonesia and Chile.
32:28 And there are many other earthquakes that don't even
32:30 make the news any more because if they did
32:33 we'd just be listening to the earthquakes and we wouldn't know
32:35 what else is going on around us.
32:38 And so they tell us that in the last 90 years
32:41 1.5 million fatalities have been as a direct result
32:46 of earthquakes. A horrible tsunami... it hit the South
32:50 Pacific, it hit Asia, and instantly 300,000 people
32:55 had their lives just snuffed out.
32:58 It is as if all of nature is shaking in an attempt to
33:02 wake the inhabitants of planet earth to realize that Jesus,
33:06 our Creator, our Redeemer, is almost here
33:09 and time is running out.
33:11 In October of last year I woke up to something that looked
33:16 like this. Did the dust storms reach Taree as well?
33:20 Wasn't that a fascinating day?
33:22 I was... You know, I woke up and I didn't know what was
33:24 going on outside. And my sister... she actually took
33:27 that picture down where we lived
33:29 in the early hours of the morning.
33:32 And people all over Sydney and I suppose all over this side
33:35 of Australia... they were pretty worried, weren't they?
33:38 And I just found some of these comments that people were making
33:42 at the time. They said:
33:52 And another writer wrote in to the ABC. He said:
34:05 Friends, I believe that this sign of a planet out of control
34:09 is also another sign that Jesus is coming soon.
34:12 We can see the signs all around us.
34:15 And Jesus... He continues to describe them.
34:18 He goes on and He says in Matthew chapter 24 and verse 12.
34:22 He talks about a coming persecution for those who
34:26 believe in Jesus. And He says:
34:35 The world is all worried about global warming.
34:37 But God said there will also be a global cooling
34:41 that we need to watch out for as well.
34:43 And so, friends, I'd like you now to notice
34:46 the moral condition of the world at the end of time.
34:49 Notice what the Bible says in II Timothy 3:2-5.
35:25 It would almost appear in this passage
35:29 as though Jesus was reading the headlines of the local newspaper
35:33 and He is summing them up for us.
35:35 I mean, we are living in these times, friends.
35:40 And you and I don't need a theological... theology degree
35:43 to realize that. It's only taken the movies 50 years
35:48 to go from silent to unspeakable.
35:51 And statistics tell us that by the time a child
35:55 reaches the age of 12 they have witnessed
35:59 more than 8,000 televised murders.
36:03 And in addition to that, over 100,000
36:06 televised violent acts.
36:10 It is no wonder our society is slipping into a form
36:13 of social and moral decay.
36:16 Because listen: if, when I was a child,
36:18 I was so impressionable that when I saw the Sound of Music
36:22 and Captain von Trapp whistling for his children
36:25 and I thought my parents should do the same as well.
36:28 Then it is no wonder that when we look at our society today
36:32 children are mimicking what they see on television.
36:36 And by the way, adults do the same as well.
36:39 To illustrate my point a little bit further
36:42 I did some "prac" teaching in a school in western Sydney
36:47 at the end of last year as part of my degree.
36:50 And I got to sit in on one of the worst classes in the school
36:54 so they told me. And when I got in to sit in this class
36:57 I was quite surprised because half the class
37:00 were away because they were on suspension for bad behavior.
37:04 And the half that turned up that day
37:07 had just come off suspension for bad behavior.
37:11 So I think to myself: "What a time in history
37:13 to be studying to be a high school teacher. "
37:16 And friends, the sins that called for the destruction
37:19 of the world in Noah's day... they exist today.
37:23 Notice again Matthew 24:37-39 the Bible says:
37:53 Friends, in Noah's day when Noah gave that warning
37:58 many people rejected what he said.
38:01 They rejected the warning... and when they did
38:04 they sealed their own fate.
38:07 And friends, the same thing can happen to you and I today
38:09 as well. Men and women haven't changed
38:12 with the passing of time. No, we still find it very easy
38:16 to lose ourselves to a thousand different distractions
38:20 and pursuits. And when that happens, it may be
38:23 that you and I can only faintly, very faintly,
38:27 hear the call of God.
38:30 The Bible tells us, too, In Daniel 12:4
38:39 Now this increase in knowledge refers to two kinds
38:43 of increases. The first increase is referring to an increase
38:47 of knowledge in general.
38:49 And friends, we learned that to be the case
38:52 because today astrologers know more about what's above us;
38:55 geologists know more about what's beneath us;
38:58 and biologists know more about what's within us
39:02 than in any other generation we have ever seen
39:04 in human history. Today surgeons perform surgeries
39:08 that medical science didn't even dream of a decade ago.
39:12 And some have estimated that approximately
39:16 80% of all the scientists who have ever lived...
39:20 they are alive today.
39:22 And listen to this... I think this is really fascinating:
39:25 the scientific material that they produce in just 24 hours...
39:30 it is enough to take a person a lifetime to read.
39:35 Isn't that amazing? That's how much knowledge is
39:37 increasing in the area of science.
39:40 And some of you here tonight... you may remember the day
39:43 where people traveled by horse and buggy
39:46 and yet you have lived to see man walk on the moon.
39:50 We have gone from fountain pens to e-mail;
39:53 from telegrams to mobile phones;
39:56 and it's all happened in the last 60 years.
39:59 That's how exponentially knowledge has increased.
40:04 My sister and I... we used to be very close.
40:08 We used to talk to each other all the time.
40:10 When I first met her, we had so much to say to each other.
40:14 Whether or not the other sister understood what the other
40:17 sister was saying 'cause we were little at the time
40:19 that's what totally... that's the total of the story...
40:22 But friends today my sister and I...
40:25 we can sit in the same room and we cannot... we might not say
40:29 a word to each other. You know why?
40:31 Because we'll be talking on the computer.
40:33 There's no need to raise your voice when you can type.
40:36 That's another sign of how technology is impacting
40:40 our lives today. But friends,
40:43 Daniel's prophecy also talks about an increase
40:47 of knowledge where it comes to understanding the Word of God.
40:51 In understanding Bible prophecy as it relates
40:54 to His soon return. And for this reason
40:57 Jesus says in Matthew 24:14... He says:
41:16 And friends, of all the signs that you and I have looked at
41:19 tonight, it is this sign that is still awaiting its complete
41:23 fulfillment. The Bible predicts a global, world-wide revival
41:28 that will take place before the return of Jesus.
41:31 And tonight's meeting is part of the fulfillment
41:35 of this prophecy of Jesus Christ.
41:37 The aged apostle John writing from a barren island
41:42 in the Aegean Sea... he adds to this
41:45 and he says in Revelation 14:6,
41:48 And you can see the picture above me here at the front.
41:51 It says:
42:04 Friend, God has a last-day message that will reach
42:09 every nation, kindred, tribe, tongue, and people.
42:12 Why? Because Jesus is coming soon and the world must know
42:17 that He is coming.
42:18 It is a certain message. It is a unique message.
42:22 It is an impressive message.
42:25 And friends, through the medium of satellite technology
42:29 and the Internet and the printed media and other forms of media
42:34 the gospel of Jesus Christ is ricocheting around the globe
42:38 as I speak tonight. It is penetrating Communist Cuba
42:43 and it is going to the very heart of China.
42:46 In Australia there is a spiritual awakening.
42:49 All throughout Africa and Kenya
42:52 and Ghana and Sudan, Christians and people there
42:55 walk into Christian meetings to hear the everlasting gospel
42:59 preached, and people are making their decisions
43:02 for Jesus Christ. It's happening in Central and South America.
43:07 It's happening in Europe; it's happening in the South Pacific.
43:10 And I have a soft spot for the South Pacific because
43:14 my heritage - my family heritage... it goes back to
43:16 Samoa. And I know that the gospel is spreading
43:20 in the islands of the sea. The Holy Spirit is on the move,
43:24 friends. Time is running out.
43:26 The last few grains of sand are falling through.
43:30 Soon the Son of God will pierce the star-studded sky.
43:33 And when He does, the world will encounter Jesus.
43:37 It will be the greatest encounter we have ever seen.
43:41 And tonight I believe that that encounter
43:45 is closer than we think.
43:49 Having concluded His lengthy list of signs
43:53 Jesus then says this in Matthew 24:33. He said:
44:09 Friends, they say confidence is the feeling you have
44:13 before you fully understand the situation.
44:15 But friends, as we fully understand how Jesus is
44:19 coming back and the signs that precede His coming
44:22 it should increase our confidence.
44:25 God doesn't want you and I to see the signs and then
44:28 hang our heads in despair and say: "Oh, no.
44:31 Look at what's happening to the world around me. "
44:33 God wants us to lift up our heads and rejoice
44:36 and be delighted because Jesus is coming.
44:39 We are not waiting for something to happen...
44:42 we are looking for someone to come.
44:45 And friends, since Jesus spoke those words
44:48 to His disciples 2,000 years ago
44:51 time has continued to march on.
44:55 And all of those disciples to whom He first
44:58 gave this glorious message... they now rest in their graves
45:02 and they await the return of Jesus when they will hear
45:06 His words and they will rise from the dead.
45:09 And I wonder... I really do...
45:11 what Peter and Andrew and James, would all think if
45:15 they were living today. If they could see what we see today.
45:18 Because I'm pretty sure that even Thomas
45:21 who is so often remembered for his doubting
45:24 I'm pretty sure that even Thomas would have no doubts
45:28 as to just how close we are to the end of time as well.
45:33 Friend, as I said before, it's closer than we think.
45:36 And in Matthew 24:44 Jesus concludes and He says:
45:49 When the disciples watched Jesus ascend into heaven
45:52 at that moment when He did start rising up
45:55 I'm sure that a pang of pain must have pierced their hearts.
46:00 But the angels quickly appeared and they gave them that promise
46:04 "Look He's coming back, and He'll come back
46:06 exactly the same way He left. "
46:08 And friends, how that must have encouraged them.
46:12 The Bible tells us that they went forth and then 10 days
46:15 later there was Pentecost.
46:17 And friend, history tell us that every single one of those
46:21 disciples - bar John who died in exile - but every single one
46:26 of them... they died a martyr's death.
46:29 Why? Because they were convinced,
46:34 they believed with all their heart,
46:36 that Jesus really loved them.
46:38 And He loved them so much so that He was going to keep His
46:41 promise and He was going to come back and take them to His home.
46:46 They held onto that even on pain of death.
46:49 And friend, Jesus had predicted the destruction of Jerusalem.
46:53 And 40 days later the destruction of the temple...
46:56 40 YEARS later... those predictions were fulfilled.
47:01 You can visit the site in Jerusalem today.
47:03 Titus, the son of the Roman emperor Vespasian...
47:07 he captured and razed that city in AD 70.
47:11 Jerusalem was set on fire, and as Jesus said
47:15 not one stone was left upon another of that temple.
47:18 And friends, will we ignore the signs that we see around us
47:23 concerning the return of Christ
47:25 if the signs He said that would happen before the
47:28 destruction of Jerusalem happened as He said?
47:31 The Bible says in II Peter chapter 3 and verse 10
47:41 How many thieves do you know that knock on your door
47:44 and say: "Good morning. Just wanted to let you know
47:46 I'll be dropping by your house tomorrow night
47:48 to steal your plasma television. "
47:50 Hmmm? No thief does that. And friends,
47:52 I think Jesus' coming is sooner than we think,
47:56 but I just think that not too many people are thinking
47:58 about it at all. Why hasn't Jesus returned yet?
48:04 Well friends, there remains one reason
48:06 why Jesus has not yet come.
48:09 And that's because He is waiting for the inhabitants of planet
48:12 earth - that's you and me - to be ready to meet Him.
48:15 The Bible says in II Peter chapter 3 and verse 9
48:34 Friends, the way to heaven is just turn right at Calvary
48:38 and then keep going.
48:40 The key to being ready for Jesus' return
48:43 is to encounter Him today.
48:45 As D. L. Moody said:
48:53 God just doesn't want you to know the signs of His coming.
48:56 He wants you to know Him... to have a relationship with Him.
48:59 Before He comes, He wants you to know Him as your
49:03 personal Savior and forever Friend.
49:06 Because He will come... The story is told
49:09 of a young man who was seeking to win the heart
49:13 of the girl of his dreams.
49:15 And he had been trying for quite some time
49:17 but it just seemed that no matter what he did
49:20 he just couldn't quite get through.
49:22 So one day he had a brilliant idea.
49:24 He thought to himself: "I'll buy her a bunch of roses. "
49:27 And so he did. And one day she opened the door of
49:31 her front... her front door when the doorbell rang...
49:33 and there were these beautiful red roses
49:36 and attached was this note. And she was just shocked!
49:39 I mean, it wasn't her birthday.
49:41 It wasn't Valentines... it wasn't Christmas.
49:43 But there they were... just for her.
49:45 And so she picked them up and she took the envelope
49:49 and opened it and read the letter that was attached.
49:52 And as she read, she read of someone who loved her.
49:55 Someone who admired her... who thought the world of her.
49:58 And it was all very beautiful, but the line that stole
50:02 her heart went something like this:
50:03 "You are someone I would like to get to know better.
50:07 And if someday you might be interested in someone like me
50:11 then I think you are worth waiting for. "
50:14 And friend, like that young man, Jesus loves you.
50:18 Only He's no secret admirer.
50:20 And you know what? The only reason He hasn't come back
50:23 is because He thinks that you are worth waiting for.
50:27 So much so that you're worth coming back for.
50:30 And tonight, maybe He is waiting for you. The Bible says:
50:38 Friend, don't hesitate... don't delay.
50:41 Don't wait... because none of us know if we have tomorrow.
50:45 Tonight would you like to be ready for Jesus to come?
50:48 If that is your desire, would you stand with me
50:51 now and say: "Lord, I want to be ready when Jesus comes. "
50:55 How do we be ready?
50:56 We need to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ
50:59 and then commit our lives to Him.
51:02 Read your Bible. Pray and talk to Him.
51:05 Grow a friendship with Jesus
51:07 and you can be ready to meet Him when He comes.
51:09 Let's pray. Our Father in heaven,
51:12 we thank you, Lord, that You love us enough
51:15 that You're willing to come back for us.
51:17 We thank you, Lord, that You think we're worth waiting for.
51:20 And so Lord tonight, as we see the signs all around us
51:23 shouting at us that Jesus is coming soon,
51:26 I pray, Lord, that You will help us to be ready
51:29 to meet You when You come. As we go from this place
51:32 to develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
51:36 Please, Lord, help us to be faithful to You
51:39 till You come is our prayer tonight in Jesus' name, Amen.