Signs of the Times
Matthew 16:1-3 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
Can we discern when the end of times will be, and are there ďsigns of the timesĒ that indicate that the end is near? This has been a subject of controversy and debate for centuries. The Scriptures teach that no man knows the day or the hour, and I doubt even year or the decade. But this is not to say that we cannot know the general time period of the Lordís return; especially if we are living in that time period. I believe that there will be some special characteristics of the age immediately proceeding the Lordís return. We want to observe 10 of these ďsigns of the timesĒ this morning, to see if our time just might be the time when Jesus will come again.
1. The atheistic, evolutionary world view of origins has been taught almost universally.
2 Pet. 3:3-6 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
For nearly a century our children and young people have been taught evolution in public schools and universities. They have been taught that mankind evolved by random chance, and that they were not created by Almighty God. In this way they were subtly taught that there is no God, and that they are not responsible to God for their actions. And in this way the foundation of the Christian faith, and faith in the Bible, and in God was undermined throughout our society.
2. There has been a general departure from the truth of Godís Word.
2 Tim. 4:1-4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Most of mankind today deny the infallibility and the literal interpretation of the Bible. The Bible is the foundation of the Christian faith, and if the foundations be removed, what can the righteous do? This leads to our next point.
3. There has been a general falling away from true Christianity.
2 Thessalonians 2:3† Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2 Thessalonians 2:11† And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
There has been a serious decline in genuine Christianity. This has happened over most of the world, but so subtly that most of us today never noticed.† This was caused by the teaching of atheistic evolution, and the departure from the teachings of the Bible.
4. There has been an over-all degeneration of human character and behavior in society.
2 Tim. 3:1-5† This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2† For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3† Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4† Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5† Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
This was caused by the lack of Bible teaching to our young people, and a disregard for the 10 commandments by nearly every institution in the land including schools, courts, the home, and yes, even many churches;† and by a lack of true spiritual religion in the world.
5. Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many believers has waxed cold.
Matthew 24:12† And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Love has grown cold toward God and His Word, toward His church and His people, and toward doing what is good and right in Godís eyes. And this has been caused by iniquity that is abounding in the land today.
6. There has been a tremendous increase in people running to and fro in the earth.
Daniel 12:4† But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Never before in the history of the world has mankind been able to travel to and fro like today.
Not only through high-speed transportation, but also through TV and the internet people can virtually be any where in the world in a few moments time.
7. And there has been an enormous increase of knowledge in the world in recent years. (Daniel 12:4).
Never before in the history of the world has knowledge been increased as it has these past few decades.
8. Today there is a general lack of faith among those who profess faith in the Lord.
Luke 18:8† I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
This is caused by a lack of love for the Word of God, and hearing of the Word of God. That Bible says that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. The lack of faith is evidenced by a lack of sincere, fervent, and persevering prayer among Godís people.
9. There is a spirit of slumber among those professing faith in the Lord today.
Mat. 25:1-6 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
I believe this caused by and materialism, and worldliness, and love for entertainment and amusement.
10. And finally, there is a general disposition of carelessness in the world today.
Mat. 24:37-39 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
People everywhere it seems, are going about their lives as though nothing is going to happen: as if the world is not going to come to an end; as though God is not going to judge this world; and as if Jesus is not coming again. Jesus said that His coming would be at such a time as we think not, when people are not looking for Him, and when we are not expecting Him!
Are we living in the last days? You be the judge! But I would rather err on the safe side and believe that we are, than be found ashamed before Him at His coming:
1 John 2:28† And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Be watching, beloved, be vigilant, for at such an hour when you think not, Jesus will come again!
The following are some ways that we as Godís people can prepare and protect ourselves against the evils of the last days:
-Building yourselves up in the most Holy faith through prayer in the Holy Spirit.
-Keeping yourselves in the love of God through spiritual exercises.
-Looking for the mercy of the Lord in His second coming. Being awake, alert, watchful, etc.
-Helping others in the faith, especially the weaker who are more easily tempted to falter.
-And, if possible, recover those who have erred, whether doctrinally or morally.
-Drawing near to the Lord in full assurance of faith and in purity of life.
-Holding fast the profession of our faith without wavering.
-Provoking (to stir up, rekindle, or encourage) one another to love and good works.
-Assembling with the saints in the house of God, thereby exhorting one another.
These are some of the ways that believers can prepare against the last days. The only way that lost sinners can prepare for the coming of Jesus is to repent and believe the gospel. That is, repent of your sins and sinful ways, and believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried in the tomb, and rose again the third day for your justification and eternal life.
May God bless this message to your hearts and souls, is our prayer!