Sermon #71 Series: Matthew
Title: Christ’s Second Coming and The Parable Of the Fig Tree
Text: Matthew 24:29-35
Reading: Off. Ron Wood Aud. Buddy Daugherty
Subject: The Second Coming of Christ
Date: Tuesday Evening - January 23, 1996
Tape # S-17
Our Lord seems to have deliberately mingled the prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem and his own second coming. Thus, he carefully avoided satisfying the carnal curiosity of his disciples’ questions, while at the same time encouraging them to live in watchful anticipation of his glorious second advent.
Our Savior does not intend for us to know the day and hour of his second coming.
· Verse 36
· Acts 1:4-7
While assuring us of his second coming and inspiring our hearts with the blessed hope of that great day, our Savior wisely hides from us any information regarding the time of his advent.
Without question, much that is contained in these verses has direct bearing upon the coming of the Roman armies into Jerusalem as the instruments of God’s judgment upon that city and the nation of Israel. Immediately after the great tribulation that fell upon that nation, spiritual blindness engulfed that nation. Their sun, and moon, and stars, all the spiritual light they had was turned into darkness. The very things that had once been to them symbols of heavenly power and favor were shaken to the very foundation, and became to them a snare and a stumblingblock. However, it would be a great mistake to limit the words of our Lord in these verses to that terrible day of judgment upon the nation of Israel.
The verses now before us speak also of Christ’s glorious second coming to judge the world.
The title of my message tonight is, Christ’s Second Coming and The Parable of the Fig Tree. May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher as I show you three things in these verses.
1. The Second Coming of Christ (vv. 29-31)
2. The Parable of the Fig Tree (vv. 32-34)
3. The Infallibility of Holy Scripture (v. 35)
I. THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST (vv. 29-31).
There will be no need for the sun, the moon, and the stars, when he who is the brightness of the glory of the invisible God and the express image of his person shines forth in the fullness of his indescribable glory. Christ’s second coming will be a glorious event, universally known and acknowledged at once, both by the righteous and the wicked, the believing and the unbelieving.
“Christ’s coming,” wrote C.H. Spurgeon, “will be the source of untold joy to his friends; but it will bring unparalleled sorrow to his foes.” Without trying to expound the doctrine of the second advent, let me show you what our Lord teaches us in these verses about his coming. ***FOUR THINGS***
A. The Lord Jesus Christ really is coming again.
Scoffers abound, who think our faith is foolishness and that our hope is a dream. Do not allow their infidelity to rub off on you. There is a day of reckoning yet to come. Christ is coming again. There is yet to be a day of resurrection and of judgment.
· Acts 1:11
· Acts 17:31
· I Corinthians 15:19, 51-58
· I Thessalonians 4:13-18
· II Thessalonians 1:7-10
· Titus 2:13
· Hebrews 9:27-28
· Revelation 1:7
· Revelation 22:20
B. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to this world, it will not be in secrecy or in humiliation, but in power and in great glory.
There is no such thing as a secret coming of Christ, or a secret rapture. Our Lord here declares that all men “shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
· Jude 14
When Christ comes again, the very sun, and moon, and stars will melt before him. The heavens themselves, being on fire, shall melt with a fervent heat.
· II Peter 3:10-14
Our Lord’s second advent will be as different as possible from his first coming. At his first advent, our Savior came into the world as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” He came here in humiliation, born in a stable, laid in a manger, the child of a poor, insignificant woman. He took upon himself the form of a servant. He was despised and rejected of men. He was betrayed into the hands of wicked men by the kiss of a friend. Condemned by a mockery of justice, beaten, crowned with thorns, and covered with the spit of vile humanity, the Son of God was at last crucified between two thieves.
But when he comes again, he shall come in all the full display of his royal majesty as the King of glory, the King of heaven and the King of the earth. All the nations of the world shall be gathered before his august majesty, to be judged by him. Before him every knee shall bow. Every tongue shall acknowledged and confess that he is Lord.
Whatever ungodly men and women say and do now, things will be different in that day. There will be no scoffing then, no jesting, no infidelity. Every mouth will be stopped! We need to constantly remember these things, so that we may wait patiently for our Savior’s arrival. Our Master will one day soon be acknowledged by all the world; and we shall see him with joy.
· Job 19:25-27
C. When our Lord comes again, his first concern and his first order of business will be the security, salvation, and glory of his own elect (v. 31).
As it always has been, so it shall be then: our Master’s great concern shall be his people. When he comes again to judge the world, he will first take care of his elect. Not a hair of their heads shall fall to the ground. Not a bone of his mystical body shall be broken.
When God destroyed the world in the flood, there was an ark for Noah and his family. When he poured fire and brimstone down upon Sodom, Lot found refuge in Zoar. And when the wrath of God at last bursts out against the wicked to destroy this world, his elect shall first be gathered by his holy angels to their blessed hiding place, Christ Jesus.
Those holy angels, who rejoiced over each repenting sinner, who ministered from the beginning to those who were chosen to be the heirs of salvation, shall gladly gather them all out of the earth in one mighty sweep of grace! Our Savior has gone to prepare a place for us. When the place is ready and the time has come for us to be glorified together with him, he will come. And when he comes, his first work will be to send his angels to gather his elect from the four corners of the earth.
“East and west, and south and north,
Speeds each glorious angel forth,
Gathering in with glittering wing
Zion’s saints to Zion’s King!”
D. The day of our Lord’s second advent will be a great and terrible day of judgment and wrath for all the wicked; but for believers it will be a day of great glory and great joy.
This is a point that really needs emphasizing. Nowhere in the Word of God is the second coming of Christ set forth as a matter of fear and dread for believers. Not at all! This is the one day we ought to look forward to and anticipate with great joy.
When Christ comes in his glory all God’s elect shall be gathered together as one; and we shall be one! The saints of every age and every tongue shall be assembled at once before his glory! All shall be there, from righteous Abel down to the very last soul to be converted to God, from the oldest patriarch down to the smallest infant to be aborted by wicked hands. What a happy gathering that will be, when all the family of God meets together in perfection and glory! Our little meetings and reunions, our assemblies for worship and our conferences here are matters of great delight to us. How we look forward to meeting God’s saints here. Just try to imagine what that will be, when we meet that great multitude which no man can number!
Illustration: Newton’s Three Surprises in Heaven
After commenting on these things, J.C Ryle wrote, “Surely, we may be content to carry the cross, and to put up with partings for a few years. We travel on towards a day, when we shall meet to part no more.”
II. THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE (vv. 32-34)
There has been much speculation about this parable of the fig tree. Numerous sermons have been preached about it; and far too many books have been written about it. But there is nothing really mysterious about it. Our Lord simply drew another illustration from nature, as was his custom, to enforce what he was teaching. As men know that summer is near when they see the trees, in this case a fig tree, putting forth its leaves, so our Lord said, this generation would know that God had come upon the nation of Israel in judgment when the Roman armies left Jerusalem as a heap of ashes in a pool of blood.
The key which must determine our interpretation of this parable is verse 34. Our Savior said, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
“It was just about the ordinary limit of a generation when the Roman armies compassed Jerusalem, whose measure of iniquity was then full, and overflowed in misery, agony, distress, and bloodshed such as the world never saw before or since.” (C.H. Spurgeon)
III. THE INFALLIBILITY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE v. 35)
The Word of God is infallible. It will stand forever. Everything written in it must and shall be fulfilled.
· Isaiah 40:8
· I Peter 1:25
Our Lord’s predictions will be fulfilled. He knew that scoffers would come, saying, “Where is the promise of his coming?” He knew that when he comes again faith will be a rare thing among men. He knew how terribly prone we are to unbelief. Therefore, he gives this word assurance concerning his Word. Let us be wise and hear what he says.
A. Every promise he has made of mercy, grace, and pardon shall be fulfilled.
B. Every prophecy of wrath, judgment, and everlasting punishment must be fulfilled.
When heaven and earth have passed away, as they must, the Word of our God, and the purpose for which he created the heavens and the earth shall stand forever.
· II Peter 3:9-14