PRACTICAL ANSWERS TO AN IMPRACTICAL QUESTION
Though they were curious about when he would destroy Jerusalem and the temple, when he would come again, and when the end of the world would be, our Lord knew that it was far more important for his disciples to know both what to expect in this world and what was expected of them. Rather than directly answering their question, the Master seized the opportunity to teach seven important, practical lessons.
1. We must never judge God’s blessings, or God’s works by external things (vv. 1-2). When our Lord left the temple, his disciples turned back to see that spectacular building, and came to show it to the Lord. To them it was a glorious thing to behold. To him it was a sad sight. His Father’s house had beome a den of thieves and must soon be destroyed. How much like these disciples we are. We delight in the temporal prosperity of the church, her buildings, her wealth, her numbers, and those things that impress men. That is a great mistake. All that is external will perish. Only that which is wrought of God is substantial.
2. We must exercise great care not to be deceived by false prophets and false religion (vv. 4-12). “Take heed that no man deceive you” is the Lord’s response to the disciples’ question. Do not take it lightly. It is absolutely wrong to try to make the things described in these verses fit any single period of time. These things could be applied to every age, including the one in which we live. Therefore, this warning is as needful today as it was in the New Testament era and as it shall be in the ages of time that may yet come. I cannot imagine a more needful warning. Satan knows how easily men and women are deceived. We must take heed not to be deceived by false christs (v.5), the opposition we endure from the religious world around us (vv. 6-11), the many false prophets Satan raises up to destroy our souls (v.11), or the apostasy of others (v.12).
3. We must not expect to see the triumph of the gospel and the kingdom of God until the war is over. Far too often, men get discouraged in the work of the ministry, and church members get discouraged in the service of Christ because they expect to see the fruit of their labors in this world.
4. “See that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass” (v.6). Heresies, troubles, and temptations must come. They come by the hand of God, according to the will of God, to prove who are the people of God (I Cor. 11:19).
5. We must endure all these things in faith (v.13). We must continue looking to Christ; and if we are truly his we shall. Grace will keep us still! “The righteous shall hold on his way.”
6. We must learn to look upon this world and everything in it like scaffolding to a building. This world exists only for the building of God’s church and kingdom. Like scaffolding, it must come down, once the building is complete.
7 It is our duty and privilege to preach the gospel in all the world (v.14). This is the means by which God will save his elect And this will be the basis of divine judgment in the last day (II Cor. 2:14-17).
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #624
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 606-236-8235 - Email email@example.com