Sun, 2017-06-25 12:19
2. Discerning the Signs of the Times
Matthew 16:1,3 (NKJV) Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He said … You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.
Jesus marvelled that, although they were able to discern the signs of the impending weather, but they were unable to discern the signs of the times.
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.
Matthew 24:3–4 (NKJV) … 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.
1. Deception is a predominant sign in these last days
1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV) Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
Although Jesus cautioned us against false christs, false prophets and false signs and wonders, we need to realise that religious deception is only a part of a bigger worldwide deception.
Matthew 24:5–10 (NKJV) For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And thenmany will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
2. Offended people is another pre-dominant sign in these last days
Although Jesus listed several outwards signs of the last days such as wars, and famines, He pointed out that there would be many offended people.
We might divide the sign listed into outward signs and inward conditions:
Outwards signs are:
Ø false christs
Ø rumours of war
Ø nation rise against nation
Ø kingdom rise against kingdom
Ø tribulation & hatred
Inward signs are:
Ø deceptions (many will be deceived)
Ø offenses (many will be offended)
Its amazing how many people are offended today. There are hordes of people today who have an axe to grind – who have a barrow to push.
They are offended at God, offended at the government, offended at their leaders, offended at their parents, offended, offended, offended.
Some of them spend many hours airing their complaints and their personal grievances through Facebook, Twitter, google, etc.
Today it is almost considered virtuous to be offended at all sorts of things. People consider themselves very wise and intelligent as they communicate their offenses and their petty issues.
Proverbs 19:11 (HCSB) A person’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense.
Quote by John Bevere: (Author, minister)
“An offended heart is the breeding ground of deception”.
Quote by Carlos Castaneda (Author)
“Self-importance is man's greatest enemy. What weakens him is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of his fellow men. Self-importance requires that one spend most of one's life offended by something or someone.”
Quote by Bryant McGill (Author and Leadership Mentor)
"The feeling of being 'offended' is a warning indicator that is showing you where to look within yourself for unresolved issues."
Quote by Rene Descartes (French philosopher)
“Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.”
Quote by Abraham Lincoln:
“We should be too big to take offense, and too noble to give it”.
Quote by David A. Bednar (American Clergyman)
“Certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”
We live in the days of the offended Christian:
Definitions of the word “offended” (Gr. skandalizo)
1. to be displeased and indignant
2. to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey
3. to cause to fall away
4. to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority
The Greek word for offense is “skandalon”. This word was originally used as “the name of the trigger of a trap to which the bait is attached”.
Offenses are the trap of satan to catch Christians and hinder them from moving forwards.
Proverbs 18:19 (HCSB) An offended brother is harder to reach than a fortified city, and quarrels are like the bars of a fortress.
Matthew 13:20–21 (KJV) But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and anon with joy receives it; 21Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, by and by he is offended.
2 Timothy 4:3 (NKJV) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
John 6:60–62, 65-66 (NKJV) Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” 61When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? … 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Mark 6:2–3 (NKJV) When the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.
Matthew 11:6 (AMP) And blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth.
Psalm 19:13 (GW) Keep me from sinning. Do not let anyone gain control over me. Then I will be blameless, and I will be free from any great offense.