Sun, 2017-07-09 11:59
4. Discerning the Signs of the Times
Matthew 24:1–5 (NKJV) Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
In this series of messages we explore some of the signs of our times to determine where we are in relation to biblical prophecy about end times.
1. ‘Deceived people’ is a predominant sign in these last days
2. ‘Offended people’ is another pre-dominant sign in these last days
Matthew 24:10,12 (NKJV) And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
3. ‘Lawlessness’ is another pre-dominant sign in these last days
Lawlessness is a complete disregard for Natural Law, Human Law and Divine Law.
The end-times will be marked by lawlessness and a complete contempt and rejection of any kind of authority and the laws which they have established.
4. ‘Back-slidden and Lukewarm Christians’ is another pre-dominant sign in these last days
Matthew 24:12 (NKJV) … the love of many will grow cold.
Word Studies in the New Testament by Vincent Marvin:
“Their spiritual energy will be blighted or chilled by a malign or poisonous wind”.
The malign and poisonous wind of lawlessness in the world around them will cool off out the love of many Christians.
Jesus’ Message to the seven churches:
Revelation 1:9–11 (NKJV) I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
The seven churches of the book of Revelation & their descriptions:
1. Ephesus (the love-less church)
2. Smyrna (the persecuted church)
3. Pergamos (the compromising church)
4. Thyatira (the corrupt church)
5. Sardis (the dead church)
6. Philadelphia (the faithful church)
7. Laodicea (the lukewarm church)
This list of churches gives us a summary, not only of the seven churches that existed in Asia at the time when the book of Revelation was written, but also of every type of church there is and has been throughout the dispensation of the Church Age.
When we carefully study the layout and content of Jesus’ message to each of the seven churches we notice the following pattern and headings:
a. The name of the church to whom the letter is written to (7/7)
b. Introduction of Jesus as the author of the message to that church (7/7)
c. A commendation of what they were doing well (7/7)
d. A correction or rebuke for where they fell short (5/7)
e. A call to repentance for where they have failed (5/7)
f. Consequences spelled out if there was a lack of repentance (5/7)
g. Further instructions on what else they should do (6/7)
h. A promise to those who would overcome (7/7)
i. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (7/7)
Jesus said things like: “I know your works, your labour, your faith …”
He also said: “Nevertheless I have this against you …”
Jesus’ message to the church of Ephesus:
Revelation 2:1–7 (NKJV) “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
Revelation 2:4 (NKJV) … you have left your first love.
You have left (abandoned, let slip and moved away from) your first love.
Verse 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works,
You’re no longer doing what you used to do when you were on fire for God.
Get back to where you were, and do what you used to do.
Jesus’ message to the church of Laodicea:
Revelation 3:14–19 (NKJV) “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then,because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Lukewarm – tepid, insipid, so-so, bland
Lukewarm Christianity is just that – lukewarm. It is neither hot or cold.
It is neither refreshing as a cold glass of water on a hot day, nor is it as satisfying as a hot drink on a cold day.
Jesus’ message to the church of Philadelphia:
Revelation 3:7–13 (NKJV) “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’
Some theologians and end-time teachers have suggested that in the last days the churches of Philadelphia and Laodicea will co-exist side by side.
In other words, the faithful church and the lukewarm church co-exist side by side in these last days.
The question is: Which of these two churches do you belong to?