Part 1 – The Return Of The King
SERMON 1/5 | 02 & 03 MAY 2020 | All Services
Rev Stanley Chua, Pastor-in-Charge
Scripture Passage: Matthew 24:1-30
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Summary | There appears to be a great interest in End-Time Prophecy blending the Covid-19 fears with everything from fake news, false prophecies to political paranoia about conspiracy theories. What does Scripture say about the last days? In Matthew 24 & 25, the disciples asked Jesus about the future and this provided the occasion for the Olivet Discourse. Jesus gave four clear signs for His return. The four signs are found in the World, Church, Jerusalem and the Sky. An important thing to note about biblical prophecy is that prophecies in the Bible about the future are always given for the purpose of affecting behavior in the present and not just to satisfy our curiosity. When Jesus prophesied about His return, He was not only telling His disciples about the future, but He included in His prophecy, exhortations on how they ought to be living and behaving as they await His return.
1. Matthew 24:6-8 – Signs in the World (Wars, Earthquakes and Famines). Disasters happening in the world – wars, famines and earthquakes – have been happening for years but are getting more intense and frequent. Some translations of Matthew 24:6 include the word ‘pestilences’ which is found in a parallel passage in Luke 21:11. The original Greek Word ‘Loimos’ can be translated as pestilences or any deadly infectious maladies or diseases. The Covid-19 pandemic is not the only pandemic that the world has known. Past pandemics included the Plague of Justinian (541-542 AD); the Black Plague (1346-1353); the Influenza Pandemic (1918 and 1920), etc. Jesus advises us in v6 not to be alarmed when we hear of these world disasters as these are only birth pangs and not the end.
2. Matthew 24:9-14 – Signs within the Church – four parts:
2.1. Christians will face universal persecution – v9.
2.2. The Church will experience a great falling away where many will leave the Christian faith or remain lukewarm in their faith – verses 10 and 12.
2.3. Many false prophets and messiahs will arise – verses 5 and 11 and we will face a big problem with deception. The greater danger for the Church in the last days will be false prophets as they will do great damage to the Church by operating in signs and wonders and introducing false teachings and doc-trines.
We must be discerning and not be easily awed by their signs and wonders ministry but pay heed to their character and the fruit of their ministry (Matthew 7:15-16). Importantly, we must endeavor to know the Word of God by reading and studying so that we can develop discernment and protect ourselves against false prophets.
2.4. The Gospel will be preached to the whole world – v14. The Joshua Project estimates that out of 17,423 people groups there are still 7,410 unreached people groups which means over 3 billion unreached people.
So how should we, as Christians, respond to disasters happening in our world, particularly this pandemic? Can we attribute it to God’s judgement on the Nations? In Luke 13:1-5, Jesus addresses the issue of a twin tragedy that happened in his day. The disciples attributed the two disasters to God’s judgment, but Jesus’ response was that we must not be too quick to attribute all disasters to God’s judgment as we are all sinners. Instead, implied in Jesus’ response is that all wars, disasters, famines and pandemics are God’s megaphone call for all to come to repentance.
Disasters are a call for us to realign ourselves and start living for God. We see how fragile life is and how easily wealth is lost – Matthew 6:19. We should use this time to pause, reflect and repent! As Jesus says, “Unless you repent, you too will perish.”
(Sermon Notes by Frances Lim)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
- What is the context or background of Matthew 24 & 25?
- The speaker mentioned that prophecies in the Bible about the future are always given for the purpose of affecting behavior in the present and not to satisfy our curiosity. Do you agree? Give the reasons for your response.
- According to the speaker, what are the four signs mentioned by Jesus concerning his second coming?
- The speaker mentioned that the greater danger for the Church in the last days will be false prophets rather than false Messiahs. How does he justify it?
- According to Luke 13:1-5, how should Christians respond when we encounter tragedies or disasters happening in the world?
- What is the 1 promise (or thing) that I may act on?
Sermons In This Series:
- Part 1 – The Return Of The King (Matthew 24:1-30) – 02/03 May 2020
- Part 2 – The Return Of The King (Matthew 24:31-51) – 09/10 May 2020
- Don’t Be Caught By Surprise! (Matthew 25:1-13) – 23/24 May 2020
- What Does The King Require? (Matthew 25:14-30) – 30/31 May 2020
- Who Is In & Who Is Out? (Matthew 25:31-46) – 06/07 Jun 2020