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The End
Scripture: Matthew 23:37-39; Matthew 24:1-6; Matthe...
Running time: 1 hour, 01 minute, 02 seconds.
There is a fact that many Christians still dont understand and the world has yet to accept, The End doesnt come until God says it is the end. No one person, nor a group of Mayans or anyone can say or predict when the end will come. Only God knows it and only God has the power to make it happen. The end wont take place until God is finished with his will.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

The End

One of the more somber bits of news I usually read every year at this time is the list of the famous people who died. In 2012 some of my favorite actors died. I loved watching them when I was a kid.

Andy Griffith, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Klugman, Larry Hagman, Neil Armstrong, Phyllis Diller, Sherman Hemsley, Frank Cady, Richard Dawson, Davy Jones, George Lindsey.

I loved these people because they made television as a kid real as life. They were fun to watch and they had character. It is tradition in this country to look back at the end of the year and review what that year was like. I do the same thing with my calendar; I look through all the weeks and look at the appointments and events I had to attend and they remind me of all the problems and anxiety I experienced and yet, I am here this morning and I am still doing fine. It is amazing how God takes care of the things that seem at the time so large and insurmountable. Yet life moves on no matter how good or bad things were.

On Monday, December 31st, we will celebrate the ending of another year. I find it interesting that this was supposed to be the year when the world came to an end and yet, if God allows, on Tuesday we will usher in another New Year, 2013. On New Year’s Eve people can get a little nostalgic remembering the past and trying to hold onto the good things that happened and to carry them on into the next. For many this is a sad time because it reminds them of the finality of the human existence. We are born, we grow to maturity and then start that road to growing old and eventually die away. For some this is how things go, for many others, life ends much sooner.

There is a fact that many Christians still don’t understand and the world has yet to accept, The End doesn’t come until God says it is the end. No one person, nor a group of Mayans or anyone can say or predict when the end will come. Only God knows it and only God has the power to make it happen. The end won’t take place until God is finished with his will.

Right before Jesus was about to be taken and crucified, He wept over the city of Jerusalem. Jesus said this:

Matthew 23:37-39 (NIV)
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

That prediction quickly was fulfilled because within that same week Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem while the crowds praised Him and sang “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” But Jesus prediction also prompted questions from the disciples asking Jesus to explain what would happen in the years to come and centuries to follow.

Matthew 24:1-6 (NIV)
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Matthew 24:30-31, 36, 42 (NIV)
"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

Little did the disciples know that His prediction would soon take place. By AD 39 Caligula declared himself a god and demanded that every temple display his image only, including the Temple in Jerusalem. The great sums of money were taken from the temple treasures waking a sleeping giant in the Zealots. By AD 66 Israel had risen in rebellion and won several military victories over the Romans. They appeared to be on the verge of winning their independence until Vespasian became emperor. He sent his son Titus to sweep through Israel and eventually lay siege to Jerusalem. In 70 AD Titus broke through the city walls destroying the Temple and the city. So complete was the destruction that today, there are no remnants of the temple left, only the mount on which it once stood.

But on the eve of Jesus death, He spoke these words to his disciples:

John 14:1-3 (NIV)
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Jesus made a four word promise that make Him totally different than any other historical figure. What was it and how does that make him different? I will come back!

With that promise, what would be human nature as Christians to do? Why? When we see the command from Jesus, “Stay Alert”, how seriously should we take this and if serious, how do we properly live this?

A View to the End

The first generation of Christians lived in eager expectations that Jesus would return and establish his kingdom in their lifetime. They had not been promised a date but they had been told to be ready. Jesus could return at any time and when he did, one fact was certain, it would be sudden.

Imagine if you were one of those Christians, what would daily life be like waiting for Jesus to return? What were some of the problems the church elders had to deal with? What were some of the vulnerabilities they had to protect the church from?

As years passed, false teachers began to play upon their doubts. Questions began to undermine their trust.

What questions do you think the church started to rise? What problems do you think started to pop up? What if I die before he returns? Will I miss out on the Kingdom? I’m suffering! When do I get to enjoy my promised abundance in the Kingdom? The Kingdom promised justice. Will my tormentors be held accountable if they die before Jesus returns? What about those who died? Will I ever see them again?

These were several questions Paul had to address in his letters. Jesus Himself didn’t personally teach these principles but were given to the Apostles by the Holy Spirit as the church grew and experienced life before the return of Jesus. Paul wrote specifically about death, destiny, the resurrection and Christ’s return. Jesus warned His disciples about the days to come and the false prophets and false messiah’s to come claiming to be the returning Christ. I don’t know if you realized but Rev. Moon died this year as well. Where is he today…dead and rotting?

False teachers have been with us ever since the beginning of the church age. They will be with us until the very end when Jesus does come back. When He comes the following will happen and there won’t be any mistake knowing if it is real or not.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 (NIV)
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

All of this fulfills a promise made by the angels to the disciples right after Jesus ascended into heaven.

Acts 1:10-11 (NIV)
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

If this is all true, doesn’t the world in which we live today tell us that Jesus failed and was a fraud? If Jesus was to return, why has he waited so long? If he fixed the problem in man, then why is there still so much evil? What is the message of the church today?