THE RETURN OF CHRIST

Matthew 24:3-14,24-27,32-42

[a] Our subject is one that I like to return to often, because it is of paramount importance to both Christian and non-Christian alike!
[b] It is mentioned over one and a half thousand times in Scripture!
[c] It is a direct promise of Jesus Himself!
[d] Now even though Jesus makes it very clear that we cannot know exactly when it will happen, people down through the years have tried to put dates on it!
[e] "Many Jehovah's Witnesses, led to expect the End, most recently in 1975, have left the apocalyptic group in confusion. The latest bout of millennial fever is said to be occurring among Christians in central China."
[f] Yet as I mentioned this morning, once, when I preached on the fact that Jesus is going to return, some said to me "It's years since I
heard anyone speak on that!" In fact, just recently, someone said to me, "I've NEVER heard anyone speak about that before!"
[g] DO WE BELIEVE IT??
Let me put it another way, DO WE LIVE AS THOUGH WE BELIEVE IT??
DO WE LIVE AND WITNESS WITH THAT SENSE OF URGENCY THAT SAYS, "JESUS IS COMING SOON!"??

POINT 1 GOD'S LIGHT SHINING THROUGH HIS PEOPLE

[a] God's light shines out through His people into this dark age.
Can we imagine what it will be like, when all true Christians suddenly disappear from this world?
[b] Someone once explained to me that the darkness, miles down in a coalmine, was something they almost felt they could touch, it was so black.
[c] Jesus said to His disciples, YE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!"
Can we even begin to imagine what it will be like, when Jesus returns, and the spiritual Light goes from this world??
[d] A prominent New Age leader, was interviewed on the television recently, and he was confident that the New Age messiah 'MAITREYA' was not only born, but had already grown into a man, and was ready to reveal himself to the world. HE SAID HE BELIEVED THAT MAITREYA WOULD APPEAR ON TELEVISION THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, AND THE EFFECT THAT HE WOULD HAVE ON PEOPLE WOULD BE THAT THEY COULD NOT HELP BUT ACCEPT HIM AND FOLLOW HIM!
[e] Some of the teachers of the New Age movement, have been saying that the main obstacle stopping the godless New Age from engulfing the world, is the presence of born again Christians!
[f] Isn't it great to be a thorn in the the flesh of the devil??

POINT 2 THE PROMISE AND THE PROPHECY OF CHRIST

[a] Jesus Himself promises "I WILL COME AGAIN AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF." (John 14:3)
[b] Over and over again, He tells us to look at the signs of the times, so we will be ready and expectant for His coming!
[c] It is also an encouragement to do all we can to win others to Christ, before it is too late!
[d] Oswald J. Smith said, that God "wrote history in advance, and called it prophecy."
[e] In verse 37, Jesus says, "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the day of the Son of Man."
[f] Sin is openly practised everywhere and at every level today!
It is those who stand for the truth of God who are condemned for being too narrow minded, or vindictive against those with another way of life.
PEOPLE TODAY ARE NOT ASHAMED ABOUT THEIR SIN - THEY BOAST ABOUT IT!!
[g] We live in a day when life is cheap, and can be snuffed out at a whim. Again and again the subject of euthanasia grabs the headlines, and the question is asked yet again, "Have we the right to take life?"
[h] A subject came up in our Bible study - how we live in a day when it is respectable and 'normal' to be gay. The term homosexual is being left out of the vocabulary!
[i] In Luke 17:28-29, Jesus tells us that the last days would resemble Sodom and Gomorrah, immediately before God destroyed it for it's sinfulness.
[j] One of the greatest sins of Sodom was open blatant homosexuality, and there was even attempted rape on the angels who came to rescue Lot and his family! in fact when lawyers in courtrooms and elsewhere speak of the act of 'sodomy', this is where it comes from!
[*] George Carey said in an interview, "I think we've all got to understand that the Bible is consistently against practicing
homosexuality, and therefore I would have to say, probably with the majority of Bishops, and probably the majority of Christians in the Church of England, that we see no way of going against that tradition."
[k] Yet today, we find gay ministers, and even those who will go through the mockery of a gay wedding!!
[l] I think how rapidly things have changed in my lifetime, and I KNOW "THE COMING OF THE LORD DRAWETH NIGH!"

POINT 3 SUDDEN INCREASE IN TRAVEL, KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY

[a] In the Living Bible rendering of Daniel's Prophecy 12:4, it says, "travel and education shall be vastly increased."
[b] The world appears to have shrunk! You can get to America by Concord, in a couple of hours!
[*] In a few seconds, I can tap a couple of keys on my computer, and through the internet, log on to America, Australia, Japan, Europe etc.
[*] The Internet has been christened "The Information Highway" You can log on, and find out anything, about anything - just about!
[c] Places that a hundred years ago, would have taken months to reach, are now somewhere you can be to go to bed tonight!
GOOD GRIEF! WE'VE EVEN BEEN TO THE MOON!
[d] It has been said that more has happened this century than all the rest put together! You think about what life was like a century ago, and you look at today! It's as if we're not just in another country, but another galaxy!
[e] If you were able to speak to someone not much over a century ago, and told him, that not only would his horse drawn vehicle be replaced by a motor car, and that man would even walk on the moon - what would have been his reaction I wonder! Probably that you should be locked up!!
[f] It used to take a whole room of complicated equipment to house a computer that can now sit on your lap, or be put in a briefcase!
[g] We complain about our education system, but what a difference from a few years ago, when so many had to battle through life in illiteracy.

POINT 4 THE RETURN OF ISRAEL TO THEIR OWN LAND

[*] Jesus speaks of the Nation of Israel prophetically in verse 32, referring to it as a fig tree, coming into bloom again, and saying that when we see this happen, His coming is imminent! "This generation shall not pass," He says!
[a] Even 50 years ago, it would have been difficult to envisage the Nation of Israel as it is today.
[b] But even before it became a nation again in 1948, Jews have been
flocking back in their tens of thousands from all over the world.
[c] Ironically, one of the things that stopped the prophecy coming to complete fulfillment was the Berlin wall, and the Russian Communists, both of which have fallen, allowing Soviet Jews to now join their people.
[d] Now Jesus makes it very clear, that when we realise that these things are taking place - He is about to return!!
[e] Never in the world's history, has the stage been set so perfectly for His return!

CONCLUSION

[a] The big question is, if Jesus came back at this moment, would you rise to meet Him in the air, with all of us who are saved from sin?
Or would you be left behind, for all the awful things that will befall this world?
[b] I'm extremely glad that I won't be here - I'll be meeting my Lord in the air - WILL YOU??
[c] It's time to get right with God, and it's time NOW!
[d] Jesus died on Calvary, so that you could be saved - He bore your sin in His Own Body!
[e] But for that to be effective for you, you must repent of your sin, and personally receive Him as Saviour into your heart and life!
[f] I have made the truth of God as clear as I can, and I believe the Holy Spirit has applied it to your heart - but YOU MUST DO THE REST!
 

MEETING PLAN FOR SALVATION MEETING

Song 162 (TUNE 614)

Prayer Chorus - 53

Prayer Time

Chorus There's going to be a meeting in the air

BAND

Theme Song He's Coming Soon (sheet)

COLLECTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS

TESTIMONIES & CHORUSES

SONGSTERS

BIBLE READING Matthew 24:3-14, 24-27,32-42.

SOLO - Joy - I wish we'd all been ready

MESSAGE

Prayer Chorus no 49

Song 907 (TUNE 853)