Spring Camp Meeting 2014

No One Knows the Day or the Hour

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Nathan Renner


Series Code: 14SCM

Program Code: 14SCM000004S

00:39 Well good morning and welcome to 3ABN's Spring Camp Meeting.
00:45 Are you enjoying it so far? Yes!
00:48 Well I want to welcome all of you that are here
00:50 and what an incredible group of people. What a good crowd.
00:55 And I see smiles on your face...
00:58 faces, so y'all are a happy bunch of people this morning,
01:01 too... happy in the Lord.
01:03 And I want to welcome all of you that are viewing us.
01:07 Our viewers and our listeners. You know, we have an audience
01:10 on radio as well as our television audience
01:14 and also the Internet and all of those other ways.
01:18 It's just amazing. We can't keep up with the technology
01:22 that is putting 3ABN on platforms all over the world.
01:26 And so that is an exciting thing.
01:28 But this morning we have Nathan Renner with us.
01:33 And I wanted to tell you a little... Actually, I wanted
01:35 to tell you a lot about him, but he is a very modest person.
01:40 My bio on him is only like two sentences.
01:46 But I was in the green room talking with him
01:49 and something we already know: he's been on 3ABN before.
01:54 He's an incredible teacher.
01:56 But what he has that really impressed me is spark.
02:00 He is excited, and he has a passion
02:04 for the things of the Lord.
02:05 And I really am looking forward to his sermon.
02:08 He's the senior pastor of the Sonora SDA Church,
02:13 an instructor at ARISE where he teaches classes
02:17 on Romans, Revelation, Bible Boot Camp, and evangelism.
02:22 So this man has experience
02:25 and he's got a passion for the things of the Lord.
02:28 But before he comes we have Celestine Barry.
02:32 Celestine, if you would come on out, please.
02:34 She's going to sing one of my favorite songs:
02:38 The Midnight Cry. Amen.
03:00 I hear the sound
03:04 of a mighty rushing wind.
03:12 And it's closer now
03:18 than it's ever been.
03:24 I can almost hear the trumpet
03:31 as Gabriel sounds
03:34 the call.
03:39 At the midnight cry
03:45 we'll be going home.
03:51 When Jesus steps out
03:57 on a cloud to call His children,
04:05 the dead in Christ will rise
04:11 to meet Him in the air.
04:18 And then those that remain
04:25 will be quickly changed.
04:31 At the midnight cry
04:38 when Jesus comes again.
04:47 I look around me
04:51 and I see prophecy fulfilling.
04:59 And the signs of the times
05:04 are appearing everywhere.
05:10 I can almost hear
05:14 the Father
05:18 say: "Son, go get My children. "
05:25 At the midnight cry
05:31 the bride of Christ will rise.
05:37 When Jesus steps out
05:44 on a cloud to call His children,
05:51 the dead in Christ shall rise
05:58 to meet Him in the air.
06:05 And then those that remain
06:11 will be
06:13 quickly changed.
06:19 At the midnight cry
06:25 when Jesus comes again...
06:32 At the midnight cry
06:42 our Lord will come...
06:46 He's coming soon...
06:49 again.
06:59 Amen!
07:04 Thank you so much, Celestine. That was beautiful!
07:07 That was beautiful. Good day to you 3ABN Camp Meeting!
07:11 It's a joy to be here with you today.
07:14 I'd like to welcome also our audience online and on the radio
07:20 on the television. Before we dive in, let's...
07:23 let's pray together, shall we? Let's bow our heads.
07:27 Heavenly Father, we thank you for this day of life.
07:30 We thank you for Your goodness.
07:33 We thank you for Your Word
07:36 that teaches us and nourishes us,
07:39 protects us, and gives us a great focus on Jesus.
07:46 Lord, as we open the Word, we pray that You would speak to us;
07:50 that You would be our Teacher;
07:53 that You would give us deep and good understanding.
07:57 And we thank you in Jesus' name, Amen.
08:03 Seven years ago I took a vacation.
08:06 and I went on that vacation with a couple of family friends.
08:11 And you may even know some of these people.
08:14 Have you ever heard of David Asscherick?
08:16 You know David Asscherick?
08:18 OK. I know some people watch 3ABN. Maybe they've seen him
08:21 a few times. So David Asschericks' family,
08:23 my family went on a family vacation together.
08:27 Also went on... and Scott Moore was also on that trip,
08:31 and you might also know Scott Moore and his family.
08:33 So it was the Asschericks, the Renners, and the Moores
08:36 and we went from Michigan where we were living at the time
08:40 to Wyoming. And we camped along the North Platte River
08:46 in Wyoming. Beautiful place! Yeah, maybe you know it.
08:50 And all three of us have what's called a cataraft.
08:54 It's like a white water raft with two pontoons on each side
08:58 or a pontoon on each side.
09:00 So we had a cataraft... each of us had a cataraft.
09:03 Our families would ride on the cataraft and then
09:05 we would fish. And we practice catch and release fishing.
09:09 And so we were there camping along the North Platte River,
09:13 fishing that river, floating that river,
09:16 and just having the absolute time of our lives.
09:20 The first day we arrived
09:22 we woke up after camping that night.
09:25 The next morning was beautiful. Perfectly blue sky.
09:29 Sunny, glorious, perfect weather.
09:33 We put our boats in the water and we began to float.
09:37 Now the river was running pretty fast.
09:40 It was running at about 14,000 cubic feet per second...
09:44 which is a lot of water down a medium-sized river.
09:49 But it was safe, and my son, actually,
09:53 who was maybe 6 years old at the time, was rowing.
09:56 He was on the sticks as we like to say.
09:59 So he was in the oarsman's seat and he was rowing.
10:02 And he had been rowing for some time.
10:04 I was up in the front fishing,
10:05 and we were just having a great time.
10:08 And Wyoming... You know, they have a saying in Wyoming
10:11 "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. "
10:14 And so... beauti... Do they say that here in Illinois?
10:19 They say that everywhere, actually. Yeah.
10:23 But it's actually true in Wyoming.
10:25 I'm telling you: Wyoming has the fastest temperature changes,
10:29 the fastest weather changes.
10:31 It was blue sky and sunny
10:33 and then literally as if a switch flipped
10:37 the wind was blowing 40, 45 miles an hour.
10:42 I mean literally just blue sky, sunshine,
10:45 and then the switch flips, the wind is blowing,
10:50 And at that very moment two rivers converged.
10:57 Now this was our first time floating this river
11:00 so we didn't really know what was going to be happening.
11:03 So in an instant the wind blows and at that moment
11:07 two rivers converge. And those two rivers converge
11:11 at a giant bend in the river.
11:14 Now if you've ever floated a river you know that the bends
11:18 are always where it gets scary
11:20 because the water pushes you into the corner.
11:26 Now remember, who was rowing?
11:28 Who was on the sticks? My six-year-old son.
11:32 There were 14,000 cu. ft. of water ripping down that river
11:35 and now the wind is howling 40, 50 miles an hour.
11:41 Well, I could immediately see it was time for dad to get on
11:45 the sticks. It was time for dad to be in the oarsman's seat.
11:49 So we were trying to make that transition
11:52 but before we could make the transition
11:55 the boat got pinned in the corner against a tree
12:00 that was leaning out off the bank into the river.
12:06 And so now we've got all of this water pushing
12:09 against the side of our boat that's pinned against this tree.
12:13 And we were tangled up with fishing rods and dogs
12:17 and two kids and wife, and we're trying to switch spots
12:22 so I can get us out.
12:24 And I felt the down-river side of the boat
12:28 beginning to lift. So before I could even
12:34 say "Get on the high side" literally the words
12:38 "Get on the... " Those words were coming out of my mouth
12:42 and in just an instant
12:45 the whole boat flipped upside down.
12:50 Now I was on the high side.
12:52 Because I was on the high side
12:54 I bailed out the back of the boat
12:56 and... and I was fine.
13:01 But my family was now trapped underneath our boat
13:06 in a river that's flowing at 14,000 cu. ft. per second.
13:13 And I start... I mean obviously, I'm freaking.
13:16 I'm... "Levi, Laurel. " I'm just calling their names.
13:20 I'm calling their names and there is no Levi to be seen,
13:24 there is no Laurel to be seen.
13:26 There is no Becky to be seen.
13:28 And then all of a sudden... All of a sudden
13:31 my son pops out from underneath the boat.
13:36 And I was completely relieved
13:39 so I swam to him. I grabbed him; I pulled him
13:43 over to the boat. Now he and I are there hanging onto the boat.
13:46 And now I'm screaming "Laurel, Becky. "
13:50 And no Laurel and no Becky.
13:56 "Laurel and Becky. " I mean, I'm screaming.
13:58 Still no Laurel; still no Becky.
14:02 And for what felt like an eternity
14:08 no Laurel, no Becky.
14:15 And then when it seemed like it was just too long
14:19 uh... I see my wife and my daughter come out the side
14:23 of the boat.
14:28 Now we were out in the middle of nowhere.
14:31 We were 10 miles from a road... soaking wet.
14:35 So once my wife and daughter are out, my son is out,
14:38 I swim to... I let my son go. I said:
14:41 "He's a big boy; he can swim. "
14:45 I swam to my wife and daughter. I grabbed my daughter.
14:48 I swam her to shore. I sat her down on the shore
14:50 and I said: "Sweetheart, no matter what happens
14:52 don't move from here. Do you understand? "
14:55 "Yes. " She was like four.
14:58 'Cause now remember we are ten miles out
15:02 in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming, right?
15:06 So now my wife is swimming to Levi
15:10 to swim him to shore, and what's happening with the boat?
15:15 It's floating down the river, OK?
15:18 It's just going.
15:19 So now I swim downstream as fast as I can...
15:24 as fast as I can, and eventually I catch the boat.
15:27 And then I have to swim the boat to shore,
15:31 drag it up on the shore. I get my wife; I get my kids.
15:34 Our friends were actually up ahead of us.
15:37 They were like: "Where are the Renners at? "
15:39 And they pull off to the shore and then they start hiking
15:42 upstream to find out what's going on.
15:45 As soon as I got my wife, my kids, and the boat to shore
15:49 you know what we did? We sang the doxology.
15:53 Right? Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.
15:57 Amen? Amen! My wife told me
16:01 when I said "Get on the high side" and the boat flipped
16:05 when I said those words she reached out and grabbed
16:08 my daughter. When she grabbed her
16:12 she literally had her with two fingers
16:16 pinching her shirt.
16:20 They're under the water bouncing off rocks -
16:22 underneath the boat bouncing off rocks
16:25 in the raging river - my wife literally has a hold
16:28 of our two-year-old daughter with two fingers.
16:33 She came up off the bottom
16:36 to come up and she hit the boat
16:41 and there was nowhere to go up
16:45 'cause in the boat the boat has a flat deck
16:47 except for in the very center. So she comes up, she hits...
16:51 There's no place to go up, there's no place to get a
16:53 breath. Remember, she's holding on my daughter.
16:56 She goes back down; she comes back up
16:58 and this time she happens to come up in the middle.
17:02 So she tilts her head back; she gets a breath of air.
17:04 She's still just holding onto the daughter by this. She goes
17:07 back under and she then gets to the side
17:12 and is able to pull our daughter out with two fingers.
17:17 Now, why do I tell you this story?
17:23 The only reason we survived that
17:26 is because we were prepared.
17:30 You know how we were prepared?
17:33 We were all wearing our life vests.
17:37 Here's the thing: when you get on a boat
17:40 in a raging river the question isn't
17:44 if the boat's going to flip someday, right?
17:48 The question isn't if you're going to have an adventure.
17:52 The question is when, right?
17:55 And because you know that someday there's going to be
17:59 a problem of some sort
18:01 someday, you know... Therefore, what do you do?
18:06 You get ready; you wear your life jacket.
18:09 Can you say amen to that?
18:11 I'll tell you, there has never been a day...
18:14 I mean - you know - I think about this all the time.
18:16 I think: "I am so glad I was wearing my jacket
18:18 and I'm so glad my kids were wearing their jackets.
18:21 Now, if you have your Bible, go with me to the book of Matthew.
18:24 Matthew chapter 24.
18:28 Matthew 24 is this great chapter about the coming
18:31 of our Lord Jesus Christ.
18:33 And in Matthew chapter 24 Jesus makes an incredibly
18:37 important statement. It's very short; it's very simple.
18:41 And Jesus says... Matthew chapter 24,
18:44 we're going to look in verse 36.
18:46 Jesus makes an incredible statement.
18:49 Matthew 24 verse 36
18:51 Jesus says: "Of that day and hour
18:56 no one knows... not even the angels of heaven
19:01 but My Father only. "
19:03 Now in Matthew 24 what we're going to see as we
19:06 study through Matthew 24 and several other texts...
19:09 what we're going to see as we study through these texts
19:11 is this: that Jesus' coming - the day and the hour
19:15 of Jesus' coming - is unknown and unknowable.
19:19 That is, nobody knows it and nobody can know it.
19:23 The only person that knows it is God the Father.
19:26 Jesus... In fact, look at the text. The text says
19:28 that Jesus Himself does not even know.
19:31 The angels don't know. It's only the Father who knows
19:36 when His coming was or is going to be.
19:41 Now, the purpose that Jesus tells us... Jesus tells us
19:45 over and over again that nobody knows when He's going to come.
19:49 It's not knowable, and what Jesus is going to tell us
19:52 after this is this: "That's why you need to be prepared
19:57 all the time. "
19:59 You cannot know when Jesus is going to come
20:02 so you cannot put off being prepared for another time.
20:07 You have to be prepared all the time.
20:11 OK. Now, let's look... Matthew 24 verse 36 it says:
20:16 "Of that day and hour
20:17 no one knows, not even the angels of heaven
20:22 but My Father only. "
20:26 Now in the book of Deuteronomy,
20:30 the Bible says... and you can go there, in fact.
20:32 Deuteronomy 29:29.
20:34 The Bible says: "The things that are revealed
20:37 are for us and for our children. "
20:46 Let's read it from the beginning: "The secret things
20:48 belong to the Lord our God but those things which are revealed
20:52 belong to us and to our children... " For how long?
20:56 "forever... that we may do all the words of this law. "
21:02 Now what Moses tells us in the book of Deuteronomy is
21:05 something really important.
21:08 That the secret things belong to God.
21:11 God is God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit -
21:15 the Trinity - it's OK for God to have secrets
21:21 inside the Trinity. Can you say amen to that?
21:24 Right? So it's OK for God to have secrets inside the Trinity.
21:28 And then it says that God tells us what we need to know
21:33 in order to be faithful followers of His.
21:37 Do you follow that? Notice it says
21:39 "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but
21:41 the things which are revealed belong to us and to our children
21:47 forever. " And then it says this:
21:50 "that we may do all the words of this law. "
21:54 So notice the idea here that God tells us what we need to know
21:59 in order to be faithful obedient followers of the true God.
22:03 Amen? So let's just make this point:
22:06 knowing the day and the hour would not help you spiritually.
22:14 Knowing the day and the hour of the coming of the Lord
22:16 would not help you spiritually. In fact, knowing the day
22:20 and the hour would actually be a detriment to you spiritually
22:25 because it would cause you to put off your necessary
22:28 preparation until a later hour.
22:31 So let's go back to Matthew chapter 24.
22:34 Going back to Matthew 24...
22:36 So Jesus says in Matthew 24
22:39 that we cannot know the day or the hour.
22:44 But Jesus actually makes it really clear
22:48 in Matthew 24. We're going to begin in verse 32
22:51 that though we cannot know the day and the hour
22:55 we can know the season.
22:58 Matthew 24. Let's pick it up in verse 32.
23:05 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree.
23:09 When its branch has already become tender and put forth
23:14 leaves you know that summer is... " What?
23:19 "is near. "
23:21 I love that time of the year, don't you?
23:24 Long, cold, gray winter... right?
23:29 All of a sudden the trees just have these tender little buds.
23:34 And isn't it the most beautiful, most vibrant,
23:38 the brightest green? The first shoots coming out of the tree...
23:43 the first buds? And that's what Jesus says.
23:45 "The moment you start seeing that green sprouting out
23:49 what do you know? Summer is coming. "
23:52 I live in California. If Jesus was telling this story
23:54 in California you know what He would say?
23:56 "When the dogwoods start to blossom
24:00 you know summer is coming. "
24:04 Verse 33: "So you also when you see all these things
24:10 know that it is near... at the doors. "
24:17 Now what Jesus has told us earlier in the chapter, and I
24:20 want to take some time and look at what Jesus has told us.
24:23 So what Jesus has said is: "You can't know the day and the hour
24:26 but you can know the season. It's like when summer is coming
24:30 and the trees begin to blossom and bud
24:32 then you know summer is coming. " Jesus says:
24:35 "I'm going to tell you some signs. In fact, I have told you
24:38 some signs. And when you see those signs, then you know...
24:42 then you know that My coming is near. "
24:45 Can you know the day and the hour? No.
24:47 You can't know that. The angels don't know that;
24:49 Jesus didn't even know that when He was here on planet earth.
24:53 So let's look. What are some of those signs?
24:55 Look there... we're going to look at verse 4.
25:01 Matthew 24... Jesus tells us the signs
25:05 that indicate what season we are in.
25:10 Matthew 24 verse 4:
25:12 "Jesus answered and said to them
25:14 'Take heed that no one deceives you, for many will
25:17 come in My name saying I am the Christ
25:20 and will deceive many.
25:24 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.
25:27 See that you are not troubled for all these things must come
25:30 to pass... ' Now notice this next little phrase here.
25:33 What is the next phrase?
25:35 'but the end is not yet. ' "
25:39 Wow! Now what Jesus...
25:43 The disciples ask Jesus: "What are the signs of Your coming? "
25:47 And Jesus says: "Well, you guys are going to see people
25:50 claiming to be the Messiah.
25:51 You're going to see false Christs.
25:53 They're going to deceive lots of people.
25:56 You're going to hear about wars and rumors of wars.
25:59 See that you are not troubled. "
26:01 Jesus says: "All these things must come to pass, but the end
26:06 is not yet. "
26:10 So often as Christians while we see wars and rumors of wars
26:15 and we think: "Jesus is coming again! "
26:18 And what Jesus says is:
26:21 "Wars and rumors of wars...
26:23 don't get too excited about that. "
26:28 Is that shocking? No.
26:33 Jesus says then: "For nation will rise against nation... "
26:36 I'm in verse 7:
26:38 "kingdom against kingdom.
26:40 And there will be famines and pestilence and earthquakes
26:44 in various places... " And then notice what Jesus says:
26:49 "All these are the beginning of sorrows. "
26:57 Really?
26:59 The disciples say: "What are the signs?
27:01 What are the signs that You're coming soon? "
27:03 Jesus says: "Wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes,
27:06 famines, pestilence, kingdoms against kingdoms,
27:09 nations against nations. These things are just the beginning. "
27:17 Verse 9:
27:21 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you
27:25 and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. "
27:32 Jesus says: "All right, you're going to see wars, rumors of
27:34 wars, famines, pestilence, all these things.
27:37 These are just the beginnings of sorrows.
27:40 They're going to deliver you up to tribulation.
27:44 There will be persecution and you will be killed.
27:47 You will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. "
27:51 Verse 10: "Then many will be... " What?
27:55 "offended and will betray one another. "
28:00 The word offend in the original, it's related to the word
28:05 stumble. And so what Jesus is saying is this. It's very
28:08 amazing: "Wars, rumors of wars... don't get too worried
28:11 about that. Famines, pestilence, earthquakes...
28:12 Yeah, the end is not yet. That's just the beginning.
28:15 When they start persecuting then you can know
28:18 you're getting close. "
28:20 And then it says: "Then people will be offended
28:23 because of Me. " What Jesus is saying there is
28:26 that believers - professed believers -
28:30 are going to be offended. And the word there...
28:32 It's the word stumble, and so it's like let's say we're...
28:36 we're friends and we're both Christians
28:38 and there's famines and pestilence. OK, OK.
28:40 And now all of a sudden there's persecution
28:42 and somebody starts to stumble.
28:44 That's what it means to say people will become offended.
28:48 Believing people are going to start stumbling
28:52 over the gospel because of persecution.
28:55 That's what Jesus was saying.
29:00 And then they will betray one another.
29:03 So Jesus is saying that when times get really difficult
29:07 for us who confess Christ
29:11 when we start to betray... when we start to stumble
29:15 because of Jesus, we start to abandon...
29:18 People start to abandon the faith
29:20 then those people that abandon the faith
29:23 will begin to betray the people they used to associate with.
29:28 "Then Jesus said: 'At that time... '
29:33 Verse 11: 'then many false prophets will rise up. ' "
29:39 OK. So tribulation comes and then people start to stumble
29:44 out of the Christian faith. They begin to betray the true
29:48 Christians and then it says that in that context
29:53 many false prophets will then arise
29:57 and they will deceive many.
30:03 Verse 12: "And because lawlessness will abound
30:08 the love of many will grow cold. "
30:13 The focus of this text is not the world.
30:15 The focus of this text is the church.
30:18 So what Jesus is saying: "Yeah, famines, pestilence, wars,
30:22 rumors of wars... don't get too worked up about that.
30:24 The end is not yet. When tribulation comes
30:27 for the people of God, then you're getting a little closer.
30:30 When the tribulation gets so intense so that people
30:34 are stumbling out of the Christian faith,
30:36 then you know you've got some serious issues going on.
30:39 Then those people that stumble will begin to betray
30:42 and their love will grow cold
30:45 and then people will begin to fail to endure to the end. "
30:51 Look at verse 13:
30:52 "He who endures to the end shall be... " What? "saved. "
31:02 Verse 14 is the punch line of this section of scripture
31:05 and verse 14 is actually one of the most important
31:08 and powerful verses here. "And this gospel of the kingdom
31:13 will be preached in all the world
31:17 as a witness to all the nations
31:20 and then the end will come. "
31:25 You know what the real sign that Jesus is coming soon is?
31:30 It's not wars. It's not rumors of wars.
31:34 Those have been happening for thousands of years.
31:37 Famines... pestilence?
31:39 That's been happening for thousands of years.
31:42 Tribulation, persecution? Yes, that's been happening.
31:46 It will intensify as we get near to the end, but
31:49 the greatest sign of the soon coming of our Savior
31:54 is the gospel being preached to all the world.
31:58 Can you say amen to that? Amen!
32:01 Now what Jesus says is: "You can't know the day
32:04 or the hour. " OK?
32:06 So if somebody comes to you and says: "Jesus is
32:08 coming on such and such a date such and such a time"
32:11 or even you know... then you can know
32:14 that guy has not been reading the Bible carefully enough.
32:20 But Jesus is pretty clear: "Though you cannot know the day
32:24 and the hour you can know the season. "
32:27 And the season where Christ is soon to come
32:33 is the season where the gospel is going to all the world.
32:37 The season where Christ is soon to come
32:40 is the season where God's people begin to be persecuted
32:44 and people begin to betray one another.
32:48 Former believers begin to stumble out of the faith
32:51 and then there is this urgent call to God's people
32:55 to love and not become lawless and to endure to the end
33:00 preaching and teaching the gospel to all nations.
33:03 That is the sign that we are in the season
33:08 that Jesus is coming soon.
33:10 Amen? Amen! By the way, I would say that
33:14 we are in that season. Amen?
33:17 We are in that season. Now, I am so encouraged
33:21 by the progress that the gospel is making around the world.
33:26 Are you encouraged by that?
33:28 But is it possible that I can be simultaneously encouraged
33:33 and discouraged at the same time?
33:36 Absolutely.
33:38 OK. So in one sense I'm totally encouraged.
33:42 I mean, look at what God has done through ministries
33:44 like 3ABN. Right?
33:47 The good news of Jesus is going all around the world
33:49 with great power through radio and television and the Internet.
33:54 But there are 6,829 people groups
34:00 who have never heard even the name Jesus.
34:07 Hard for you to believe that, isn't it?
34:10 It's hard to believe that.
34:11 See, often as Seventh- day Adventist Christians
34:14 we're patting ourselves on the back because we've got a mission
34:18 in every part of the world. We do! In almost every country
34:22 we are represented. The problem is is that just because
34:25 you have a mission office in Turkey doesn't mean
34:29 that anybody in Turkey's ever really met Jesus
34:32 except for the one guy who moved there to run the mission.
34:35 No offense, by the way, if you run the mission in Turkey.
34:38 I'm not picking on you.
34:46 You follow that? Yes or no?
34:50 So you have a country like Turkey
34:52 where there is less than .01% of the population
34:56 that's Christian.
34:58 These people have no... They're not going to tune in.
35:03 They don't know anything.
35:05 In fact, this 6,829 people groups
35:10 represent about 2.74 billion people.
35:19 So in one sense we can be encouraged.
35:23 We don't know the day or the hour. We can know the season
35:25 and the gospel is spreading around the world in remarkable
35:29 ways, amen? And yet there are 2,74 billion people
35:35 who need an opportunity.
35:38 If we want to be the generation that sees Jesus come,
35:43 the mission work of this world needs to be front and center
35:47 in our thinking. Amen?
35:49 Now, Jesus is clear. No one knows the day or the hour.
35:54 Only the Father knows; not even the angels know...
35:57 but we can know the season.
35:59 And when we see famines and pestilence
36:01 we don't get too worried. When we see...
36:02 I mean we get worried for the people that are suffering.
36:05 We see earthquakes we don't get worried Jesus is
36:07 coming soon. But when we see persecution
36:10 and when we see the gospel going around the world
36:13 then we get excited because we know that we are in
36:17 the season when Jesus is going to come. Amen?
36:22 Now let's look down at Matthew chapter 24.
36:28 Matthew chapter 24.
36:33 And we're just going to pick it up in verse 32 again.
36:37 We've read it already, but let's read it again.
36:39 So Jesus says: "Learn this parable from the fig tree.
36:43 When its branch is already become tender and puts forth
36:48 leaves you know summer is... " What? "near.
36:52 So you also, when you see all these things... "
36:55 When you see the things that Jesus has just talked about...
36:59 the tribulation, the gospel going to the world.
37:02 When you see all of that: "You can know that it is near,
37:05 at the doors. " Verse 34: "Assuredly I say to you
37:10 this generation will by no means pass
37:14 till... " What? "all things take place. "
37:18 You know what Jesus is saying?
37:20 The generation that experiences the gospel going to the world
37:23 and the generation that experiences the tribulation
37:28 that He has described will be the generation
37:31 to see Jesus come again.
37:34 Now, Jesus then says in verse 35: "Heaven and earth
37:38 will pass away but My... " What?
37:41 "words will never pass away.
37:44 But of that day and hour... "
37:47 Who knows? "no one knows.
37:51 "not even the angels of heaven but My Father only. "
37:55 Now what Jesus begins to do now is to illustrate this fact
37:59 that nobody knows the day or the hour. OK?
38:02 How does Jesus illustrate it? Verse 37:
38:04 "As the days of Noah were so also will the coming of
38:08 the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood
38:13 they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage
38:16 until the day Noah entered the ark. "
38:18 And notice it says, verse 39:
38:20 "And did not know until the flood came and took them
38:24 all away. So also will the coming of the Son of Man be. "
38:29 Now what I want you to notice here, my friends: Jesus
38:31 starts in verse 36 "no one knows. "
38:34 Then He says: "It's going to be like in the days of Noah.
38:36 People are eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.
38:39 Things are going along, and they didn't know until the flood came
38:44 and swept them away. "
38:46 And so, my friends, I want you to think about this:
38:49 did Noah know the season that the flood would come?
38:54 Yes or no? Of course he did.
38:56 God had him building the ark. The ark gets built.
38:58 And OK, now the ark is built... we know we're getting close.
39:02 In fact, interestingly enough Methuselah died right around
39:06 that time. And you know the name Methuselah: when he dies
39:10 it will come.
39:12 His name was a prophecy.
39:15 So Noah knew the season.
39:18 Noah knew the season, but he didn't know the day or the hour.
39:21 Then God says: "All right, Noah, get on the boat. "
39:24 All right. So Noah gets on the boat.
39:26 Now how long's Noah on the boat before the rain starts to fall?
39:29 Noah's on the boat seven days before the rain starts to fall.
39:32 For those seven days the people were like
39:35 "Noah built a boat on dry land.
39:40 Now he's in the boat on dry land
39:42 with the door closed and all those animals.
39:45 Noah is mentally ill. "
39:49 All right. Isn't that what everybody was saying?
39:52 No question. Everybody's "Noah: he's mentally ill.
39:56 There's no question about it. "
39:59 And then the first pitter-patter of rain began to fall.
40:05 And then the fountains of the great earth broke forth
40:09 and swept them away.
40:14 And they were totally surprised.
40:18 Even though Noah had been preaching for 120 years
40:23 they were still completely surprised.
40:31 Jesus says no one knows the day or the hour.
40:34 It's going to be like in the days of Noah.
40:36 It's going to be a shock to those who are lost.
40:41 Verse 40 He illustrates it: "Two men will be
40:44 in the field. One will be taken; the other left.
40:46 Two women will be grinding at the mill...
40:48 one will be taken; the other left.
40:51 Watch therefore... " Now this is Jesus' punch line:
40:55 You know the season; this is Matthew 24.
40:58 You know the season. You don't know the day or the hour.
41:02 It's going to be a complete surprise.
41:05 "Watch therefore... " That's the punch line.
41:09 "Watch therefore for you do not know
41:14 what hour your Lord is coming. "
41:18 My friends, really what I want you to do
41:21 as a result of this sermon is be vigilant in your life.
41:27 I want you to be a vigilant, serious Christian
41:32 living before Christ comes. Watch.
41:37 That His point: "Watch... be vigilant. "
41:40 "Watch therefore for you do not know what hour your Lord
41:44 is coming. " Verse 43: "But know this
41:48 that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief
41:53 would come he would have... " What?
41:56 "he would have watched and not allowed his house
42:00 to be broken into. " I mean, wouldn't it be nice...
42:03 Wouldn't it be nice if the thief before he's going to break into
42:05 your house texted you ahead of time?
42:07 You know, like: "I'm going to be there at midnight. "
42:11 "OK, I got your text. What are you going to do at midnight? "
42:15 You're going to be there, right?
42:18 You're going to be there. This is southern Illinois...
42:20 you might be there with your shotgun, right?
42:26 So
42:32 Jesus says: "If you know what time the thief is coming
42:37 you're going to be awake... you're going to be watching...
42:40 you're going to be paying attention. " But check this out:
42:44 But you don't know what hour Jesus is coming
42:48 so you need to stay awake all the time.
42:51 You follow that? You need to be vigilant
42:54 all the time. In other words, my friends,
42:57 there is no time where you can say: "You know what?
43:01 Jesus isn't coming for a few more years
43:04 so I'm going to just kind of chill. I'm going to let my
43:06 spiritual guard down; I'm going to just coast. "
43:09 Right?
43:10 Because the moment that you begin to let your guard down
43:14 as a Christian, it's at that moment that disaster's going to
43:18 strike in your life.
43:20 Jesus' point is He's going to come like a thief.
43:24 Jesus is coming like a thief. You don't know when He's coming
43:27 and so don't let your guard down. Be a vigilant,
43:31 sober-minded Christian. Not just when you think
43:35 Jesus is coming. You need to be a vigilant
43:38 sober-minded Christian right now.
43:41 Now in Matthew chapter 24 verse 42
43:47 Jesus - or 43, excuse me - Jesus uses this illustration
43:50 of a thief. Now, this is actually a very common
43:55 metaphor that is now picked up from Jesus
43:59 and used by other authors in the New Testament
44:03 to describe the coming of Jesus.
44:06 This thief metaphor is designed to let us know
44:09 we can't know the day or the hour. That concept
44:13 became a very important theme
44:16 for other writers in the New Testament. In fact,
44:18 it's used by 5 other authors or in 5 other places.
44:24 And we don't have time to look at all of them, but
44:26 let's go to I Thessalonians 5 where Paul uses it.
44:29 I Thessalonians 5...
44:43 I Thessalonians 5... we'll start in verse 1.
44:49 "But concerning the times and seasons... "
44:52 I Thessalonians 5 beginning in verse 1...
44:58 "But concerning the times and seasons, brethren,
45:00 you have no need that I should write
45:03 for you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the
45:07 Lord comes as a... " What? "thief in the night. "
45:10 Where did Paul get that? He got that from the teachings
45:13 of Jesus. "When they say 'peace and safety'
45:18 then sudden destruction comes upon them
45:20 as labor pains upon a pregnant woman
45:23 and they shall not escape.
45:24 But you, brethren, are not in darkness so that this day
45:29 should overtake you as a... " What?
45:32 OK, now what is Jesus saying here?
45:34 Jesus is saying that those who don't follow Jesus,
45:39 those people, the day of Jesus' coming
45:42 is going to burst on them like a complete and total surprise.
45:48 But then he says: "But the day is not going to come on you
45:52 like a thief. " Why? 'Cause we're going to stay awake.
45:57 Amen? We're going to stay awake.
46:00 We're going to stay vigilant; we are going to pay attention.
46:03 You know what we're going to do?
46:05 We're going to make sure to have our life jacket on.
46:08 Amen? We're going to keep our life jacket.
46:12 We're not going to: "Oh, you know, the river's nice and calm.
46:14 There's no reason to keep... Let's just relax,
46:16 take our jackets off. We're OK. "
46:19 He said: "No! That day is not going to come on you like
46:24 a thief. " Notice what Paul says:
46:26 Verse 5: "You are sons of the light
46:29 and sons of the day. We are not of the night
46:35 nor of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep
46:38 as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
46:48 For those who sleep sleep at night,
46:50 and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
46:53 But let us who are of the day be sober
46:56 putting on the breastplate of faith
46:58 and love and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
47:04 For God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain
47:07 salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ:
47:10 He who died for us that whether we are
47:12 awake or asleep... " Now that means alive or dead.
47:16 "we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort one
47:20 another and edify one another just as you also are doing. "
47:25 You follow what Paul is saying? What Paul is saying here
47:27 is something really simple. Jesus' coming...
47:31 nobody knows the day, nobody knows the hour.
47:34 For the wicked it's going to be a complete and total surprise.
47:38 When they're saying "peace and safety; everything is
47:41 great, " it's at that moment that sudden destruction
47:44 comes. But for us, it's not going to be a total surprise
47:47 because we are not getting drunk. We are sober.
47:50 We're awake; we're paying attention.
47:53 And what we're doing is this:
47:56 and I like what he says at the end. He says that we
47:59 should comfort one another and edify each other.
48:06 So... what do we do as we're staying awake?
48:10 We are awake looking for the coming of our Lord
48:14 and we are encouraging each other.
48:17 Amen? Now, go with me
48:23 to Revelation 16. I want you to see the very
48:27 last time that Jesus says
48:33 that He's coming like a thief.
48:36 It's the last time.
48:39 It's Revelation 16 verse 15.
48:45 I actually find this to be a very interesting text.
48:49 I mean shockingly interesting.
48:52 Now Revelation 16 is the section of scripture
48:56 that deals with what is referred to as the seven last plagues.
49:02 OK. Now, the name seven last plagues
49:06 means that they are the very last judgment of God
49:10 to fall on the earth. OK?
49:12 And there are seven of these plagues.
49:14 And just to give you an idea, the first one is terrible sores
49:19 on people's bodies. The second one
49:21 is the sea turns to blood.
49:24 The third one is the rivers turn to blood.
49:26 The fourth one is the sun scorches people.
49:29 The fifth one is darkness covers the earth
49:32 and people are in pain.
49:34 Now, do those seem really dramatic and obvious? Yes or no?
49:39 I'd say if that was happening
49:41 we would all be pretty clear:
49:44 "OK, we've got the seven last plagues going on. "
49:47 Right? Right? Yeah? I mean you pickin' up?
49:51 She's picking up what I'm laying down.
49:54 Look in verse... Then you get the sixth plague, OK?
49:59 Now notice what Jesus says in the midst of the 6th plague:
50:06 "Behold... " I'm in verse 15.
50:08 "Behold I'm coming as a... " What?
50:13 "thief. " Are you kidding me?
50:17 I mean, people are covered in sores.
50:20 The sea has turned to blood... the waters have turned to blood.
50:24 People are being scorched by the sun.
50:26 Darkness descends and people are in tremendous pain, and
50:30 then it says in the 6th plague: "I'm coming like a thief. "
50:38 My friends, could it be...
50:41 Could it be that though we can know the season
50:45 right? Could it be that though we can know the season
50:51 we even will be shocked
50:54 by the rapidity of the final movements?
50:59 Notice what it goes on to say.
51:03 "Behold I'm coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches
51:08 and... " What? "keeps his garments lest he walk naked
51:13 and they see his... " What? "shame. "
51:18 In ancient times there was a group of people
51:23 whose job it was to be the policemen
51:26 for the sanctuary.
51:30 That was their job.
51:32 And we have ancient Jewish documents that say
51:36 if one of those guys was found sleeping on the job
51:39 they took his clothes away.
51:45 Now I don't know about you but that would motivate me
51:47 to like not fall asleep at 2 in the morning.
51:50 Amen? Amen!
51:52 I don't want to be the guy that has to walk through Jerusalem
51:56 naked. You get home... You know, you knock on your door...
52:00 You come home; your wife and kids are there.
52:02 They're like: "Dad, what's going on? "
52:05 "Oh, I fell asleep at work last night. "
52:08 You want to be that guy?
52:10 I don't want to be that guy.
52:13 Now check this out:
52:16 at the very end of time
52:21 five of the seven last plagues have fallen.
52:24 It should be so obvious.
52:27 And you know what Jesus says?
52:30 "Even at the very end you can go to sleep. "
52:35 Even when it appears com- pletely and totally obvious
52:40 you could still fall asleep.
52:45 Stay awake. Amen? Stay awake.
52:49 Go with me... Luke 12.
52:50 I'm going to wrap this up in Luke 12.
52:52 Same story... Or excuse me... not Luke 12.
52:55 I'm going to go to Luke 21. Go to Luke 21.
52:59 It's the same story; it's the fig tree illustration.
53:02 Luke 21... but Luke adds something
53:07 and I want you to see what Luke adds.
53:15 Luke 21, we're going to look in verse 29.
53:24 "Jesus spoke to them a parable:
53:27 'Look at the fig tree and all the trees. "
53:31 I like that. Luke was writing to the Gentiles.
53:33 He knew that his book would go all over the world...
53:36 maybe even places without fig trees.
53:38 Right? Matthew was writing to the Jews
53:40 so when Matthew writes to the Jews what does he say?
53:43 "The fig tree" because Matthew is the gospel for the Jews.
53:46 Luke is for the Gentiles.
53:47 There might not be fig trees everywhere, so Luke expands it
53:50 a little bit. "Look at the fig tree.
53:51 Actually, look at all the trees... "
53:53 Amen?
53:55 "and see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
54:00 So you also when you see all these things happening,
54:03 all the signs, know the kingdom of God is near.
54:07 Assuredly I say to you this generation will by no means
54:10 pass till all things take place. "
54:11 Verse 33: "Heaven and earth will pass away; My words
54:13 will by no means pass away. "
54:17 Verse 34: "But take heed to yourselves... "
54:22 OK? This is the last exhortation for us.
54:28 "take heed to yourself lest your hearts be weighed down
54:32 with carousing, drunkenness,
54:37 and cares of this life
54:40 that that day will come upon you... " How? "unexpectedly. "
54:49 "For it will come as a snare. "
54:51 Now I don't know if you've ever seen an animal caught
54:53 in a snare? It's just going along just fine and then ching.
54:58 Completely out of nowhere snapped up.
55:03 "It will come as a snare on those who dwell on the face
55:06 of the whole earth. " Verse 36:
55:08 "Watch therefore and... " What? "pray always. "
55:15 Now my translation - I'm reading the New King James -
55:18 says "that you may be counted worthy to escape. "
55:21 Many of the other translations say "that you may have the
55:25 strength to escape. "
55:30 In fact, you check the margin in your New King James.
55:32 It says: "that you may have the strength to escape
55:38 all these things that will come to pass and to stand
55:43 before the Father. "
55:45 My friends, we want to be ready when Jesus comes.
55:50 Amen? And if we want to be ready when Jesus comes
55:54 we have to stay awake. We have to keep watching
55:56 because no one knows the day or the hour...
55:58 so there's no time we can go on a spiritual vacation.
56:01 We need to stay awake. We need to stay vigilant.
56:04 And Jesus tells us through Luke how to do that.
56:08 How do we do that? We watch and we pray.
56:12 And as we watch and pray we find strength from God.
56:17 Amen? When we watch and pray
56:20 we find strength from God that we may escape
56:24 through these things. And then it says
56:26 "and stand before Christ. "
56:30 Amen? The day's going to be a surprise.
56:34 You don't want to be caught naked.
56:37 Amen? You don't want to be found sleeping on the job.
56:40 You don't want to be caught in this unexpected coming
56:44 of Christ. You want to watch and pray
56:48 and find strength from your relationship with Christ
56:51 so that you will be able to stand on that last great day.
56:55 Let's bow our heads together.
57:00 Heavenly Father, that day could come unexpectedly
57:05 for any one of us.
57:08 It would be easy for us to lose our footing.
57:12 It would be easy for us to fall asleep.
57:17 It would be completely possible
57:21 for us to be among those who get caught sleeping on the job.
57:26 Please Lord... keep us safe, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Revised 2021-08-02