Sermon #152††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† Luke Sermons
†††† Title: †††† ††† ďMenís Hearts Failing ThemĒ
†††† Text:††††† ††† Luke 21:25-38
†††† Subject: ††† Christís Second Coming
†††† Date:†††† ††† Sunday Evening ó June 26, 2005
†††† Tape #†† ††† Y-73A
†††† Readings:†† Merle Hart and David Burge
(25)† And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
(26)† Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
(27)† And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
(28)† And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
(29)† And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
(30)† When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
(31)† So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
(32)† Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
(33)† Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
(34)† And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
(35)† For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
(36)† Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
(37)† And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.
(38)† And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.
I am fully aware that these verses speak specifically of our Lord coming to destroy Jerusalem and Judaism when he sent the armies of Rome to destroy that city and its temple in 70 AD. Our Saviorís words in verse 32 make that crystal clear. ó† ďThis generation (the generation then living) shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.Ē But that does not mean that they have no meaning for us today. Everything recorded in this passage of Inspiration is written for our ďlearning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hopeĒ (Rom. 15:4). Without question, all that we have read here has may be properly applied to this day in which we look for ďthe glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior,Ē the Lord Jesus Christ.
Historians tell us that the early saints used to greet one another with these words, ďHe is risen,Ē and upon parting they would say, ďThe Lord is coming.Ē Thus they constantly encouraged one another in the faith and constantly reminded one another of both the accomplishment of redemption by Christ and the certainty of resurrection glory with Christ.
Before he left this world, our Lord Jesus assured his disciples that, just as surely as he arose from the grave, he would come again to raise his saints from their graves and translate all his elect in resurrection glory to heaven.
Tonight, I want you to rejoice in the blessed prospect of our Saviorís return. The Lord is coming (Rev. 1:7). I want, by the Spirit of God, to stir up your hearts and my own to ever be mindful of this factó The Lord is coming! May God give us grace ever to live on the tip-toe of faith in the blessed expectation of Christís glorious, second advent.
Proposition:† The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again.
Divisions:† There are five things specifically revealed in our text to which I direct your attention.
1. The Glory of Christís Coming (vv. 25-27)
2. The Gathering of Godís Elect (v. 28)
3. The Parable of The Fig Tree (vv. 29-32)
4. The Certainty of Godís Word (v. 33)
5. The People Worthy to Stand Before Christ in That Day (vv. 34-38)
The Glory of Christís Coming (vv. 25-27)
(Luke 21:25-27)† "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (26) Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (27) And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."
Our Savior begins this discourse by describing the time of his coming as a time of great fear, so great that menís hearts will fail them. I do not know that this is the case, but if that is to be taken as a description of the days just before Christ returns, surely we may reasonably conclude that our ďredemption draweth nigh!Ē
Turn to Hebrews 9. I want you to see three things in verses 24-28 of that chapter.
A. The Son of God appeared once to put away our sins by the sacrifice of himself (v. 26).
(Hebrews 9:25)† "Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others."
(Hebrews 9:26)† "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
B. Our great Advocate and High Priest now appears in the presence of God for us, making intercession for his elect according to the will of God (v. 24).
(Hebrews 9:24)† "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:"
(1 John 2:1-2)† "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
C. Our great God and Savior shall, at the appointed time, appear again on this earth to consummate his great work of saving his people from their sins (vv. 27-28).
(Hebrews 9:27-28)† "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (28) So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
As our Savior describes his second advent in his Olivet discourse in our text, it is obvious that when he comes again, it will not be a secret thing. At his glorious second advent, he will appear with power and great glory. ó ďThere shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.Ē That is the language of Holy Scripture.
(2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)† "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (8) In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (9) Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (10) When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."
(Revelation 1:7)† "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
The Lord Jesus speaks about the sun being turned into darkness, the moon refusing to give light, the falling of stars, and the shaking of powers in the heavens. Such language conveys the idea of a great, universal convulsion, a climatic dismantling of creation by the finger of God. The language he uses is very much the language Peter used to describe his coming (2 Pet. 3:10).
(2 Peter 3:10)† "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
In other words, that which shall immediately precede the glorious appearing of Christ will be the conflagration of the universe. Without question, when that happens we will see, ďMen's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.Ē
The order of events at the second coming seems to be as follows. These things are not written in concrete. I would not argue in defense of them for even a second. However, this is what appears to me to be likely. I have formed this order by carefully comparing Scripture with Scripture. Whatever the order of events may indeed be, it will not take long to accomplish the whole thing. When the Son of God rises from his throne and says, ďBehold, I make all things new,Ē it will all be done quickly.
1. Christ will come in the clouds of heaven.
2. He will raise up those bodies of his saints which sleep in the earth.
3. Those who are living in faith when he comes shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
4. He will destroy the present creation and all his enemies with it, and make all things new.
5. Then we shall come with him to the earth. We shall come with him into a new heavens and a new earth.
6. Then will come the resurrection of the dead and the great white throne judgment.
7. After these things ó ETERNAL LIFE WITH CHRIST!
Our Lordís second advent will be radically different from his first. Our Savior came the first time in humiliation, an infant, born of a poor woman, laid in a manger at Bethlehem, unnoticed, unhonored, unknown. He is coming the second time in power and great glory, in royal dignity, with all the armies of heaven surrounding him, to be seen, recognized, known, acknowledged and feared by all people, nations, tribes, and tongues.
Christ Jesus came the first time to suffer, to bear the sins of his people, to be made a curse, to be despised, rejected, unjustly condemned, and slain. He is coming the second time, as the reigning, almighty Monarch of the universe, to put down every foe, put an end to all rebellion, to take possession of all the kingdoms of this world, to rule them in perfect righteousness, to judge the world, destroy his enemies, and to be eternally admired by redeemed sinners.
D. We would all be wise to lay these things to heart and meditate upon them regularly.
These facts are filled with comfort for every believer. Our great King, our all glorious Christ, will soon be here again! We shall, with him, inherit all things. We will soon exchange the cross for a crown. We shall enter into everlasting honor, joy, bliss, and life.
But, for you who believe not, the facts revealed in this Book about the second coming of Christ ought to be terrifying. Indeed, if you dare think upon them, I know, they are terrifying to your soul. Christ, whom you despise, reject, and mock, will soon call you before his holy bar of judgment. That God-man, whose gospel you trample beneath your feet, will soon hold you accountable. In that day, you shall receive of the Lordís hand your exact, just due for all your sins. Hell will be your everlasting portion. ó What is hell?
∑ Eternal Fire!
∑ Eternal Misery!
∑ Eternal Woe!
∑ Eternal Wrath!
∑ Eternal Torment!
∑ Eternal Darkness!
∑ Eternal Isolation!
∑ Eternal Cursing!
∑ Eternal Madness!
∑ Eternal Death!
The Gathering of Godís Elect (v. 28)
In verse twenty-eight, our Master tells us plainly that the first order of business and the primary purpose of his great second advent shall be the gathering of his elect. Throughout the Word of God we are distinctly and constantly taught that our God does all things for the electís sake.
(Luke 21:28)† "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
(Mark 13:27)† "And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven."
Just as Godís servants, as the angels of God, are sent out by the preaching of the gospel to gather his elect into his kingdom from the four corners of the earth, so at the end of time those heavenly spirits created to minister to the chosen shall be sent forth to fetch them out of the earth and gather them, all of them, even their dust and ashes unto Christ in glory! As the angels carried Lazarus into Abrahamís bosom, so they shall carry all Godís elect into heavenís bosom to be with Christ!
I told you before that the gathering out of Godís elect will immediately precede the Lordís judgment upon the earth. Our safety shall be taken care of, when the Lord consumes the earth with the fiery brightness of his coming. Nothing shall be done to destroy the earth, my brothers and sisters, until you are beyond the reach of harm (2 Pet. 3:9).
∑ Not one drop of rain fell until Noah was safe in the ark.
∑ Fire and brimstone could not fall upon Sodom until Lot was safely secluded in Zoar.
∑ And Godís wrath will not consume his enemies in the earth until he has taken his saints out of the earth.
Blessed be our God, there is a great gathering day coming! We who believe ought to look forward to that great day with unmingled joy, without the slightest dread or fear (2 Thess. 2:1).
(2 Thessalonians 2:1)† "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him."
∑ A Gracious Gathering
∑ A Righteous Gathering
∑ A Common Gathering
∑ A Loving Gathering
∑ A Complete Gathering
∑ A Permanent Gathering
The Parable of The Fig Tree (vv. 29-32)
(Luke 21:29-32)† "And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; (30) When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. (31) So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. (32) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled."
Our Lord sternly reproved the Pharisees because they could not ďdiscern the signs of the timesĒ (Matt. 16:3). They could not see that the scepter was passing away from Judah. They did not see that Danielís seventy weeks were fulfilled. Let us beware of such blindness. It is a blindness caused by spiritual lethargy and an overmuch fondness for this world.
This parable of the fig tree is not a deep, mysterious, secretive thing. In this parable, our Lord tells us plainly that when we see the things spoken of in its context, as Mark relates this discourse (Mark 13:14), when we see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet), his glorious second advent is at hand.
The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel is the revelation (to Godís saints, not to the world) of antichrist (Arminian, freewill, works religion). It is that which Paul speaks of in 2 Thessalonians 2, the loosing of Satan to deceive the nations of the world (Rev. 20:1-8).
The lesson of the parable of the fig tree is just this ó While we must never even guess at, or try to figure out, the time of Christís coming, increasing darkness, ungodliness, apostasy, and idolatry ought to cause every believer to live on the tip-toe of faith, looking expectantly for Christís appearing.
The rising infidelity, increasing acceptance of popery, Islam, Judaism, and mysticism, the worldwide will-worship of this apostate age, the lawlessness, the anarchy, the contempt of authority, the acceptance of sexual promiscuity, (fornication, adultery, homosexuality), and the general calling of evil good and good evil ought to be glaring beacons in our eyes and trumpets in our ears telling us ó THIS IS THE END!
∑ Judgment has begun.
∑ The end is near.
∑ The Lord is coming.
The more we see these things coming to pass the more reason we have to look up in hope. Our redemption draws nigh! We must therefore watch, be sober, keep our garments white and unspotted from the world (Rev. 16:15). Armageddon is here. The judgment of the great whore is at hand. The Lord is coming!
The Certainty of Godís Word (v. 33)
In verse 33 our Lord seems to have anticipated our tendency toward skepticism and unbelief and therefore warns us emphatically against it.
(Luke 21:33)† "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."
We must never allow ourselves to give any credibility to any questioning of Godís Word. Let us never dare imagine that any word of prophecy is improbable, or unlikely, simply because it seems contrary to nature, or experience, or our judgment. Let us never be found among those arrogant fools who imagine that they are smarter than God. We must never find ourselves agreeing with those scoffers who, walking after their own lusts, say, ďWhere is the promise of his coming?Ē (2 Pet. 3:3-4).
The People Worthy
Now, look at verses 34-38. Here our Lord Jesus tells us to watch and pray, that we may be found worthy to escape his wrath and stand before the Son of Man when he comes to judge the world.
(Luke 21:34-36)† "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (35) For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. (36) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
Let us watch, lest we be corrupted from the simplicity of Christ and engulfed with the corruptions of the religious world around us.
∑ Will Worship
But how can we be counted worthy to escape the arath of the great Judge, when he comes in his glory to judge the earth? How can we be made worthy to stand before the Son of Man in that day?
∑ By Blood Atonement!
∑ By Righteousness Imputed to us in Justification!
∑ By Righteousness Imparted to us in The New Birth!
∑ By Faith in Christ!
Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay,
When, with His righteous garments on,
I am as holy as Godís Son?
Godís Restless Servant (vv. 37-38)
I cannot fail to call your attention to our Saviorís constant, faithful devotion to the souls of men, the glory of God, and the preaching of the gospel, as it is described in verses 37-38.
(Luke 21:37-38)† "And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. (38) And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him."
He never wearied of his labor of love. He never laid aside his commission. Yes, sometimes we find him obliged to sit to rest himself by a well, and sometimes obliged to catch a nap in the day. But, even then, he was resting to meet a woman who needed grace and sleeping on his way to save a wild Gadarene. He came here to seek and to save that which was lost, and never gave up the work. Arenít you glad? I sure am! It is no marvel that ďthe people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him!Ē
It is my constant prayer that he who so graciously served and serves my soul, will give me the constant supply of his grace that I may serve him in serving your souls for the glory of God, preaching the gospel of his grace in his house.
Application: I make no pretense of being either a brilliant scholar, or a learned theologian, or an inspired prophet; but I am a preacher. I do know Godís message (2 Cor. 5:10-11).
(2 Corinthians 5:10-11)† "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (11) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences."
I send you home now with these facts to consider. May God the Holy Spirit burn them into your heart.
1. Christ is coming again.
2. You are going to meet God in judgment.
3. You are going to spend eternity somewhere.
4. Your only hope is Christ!
5. My brothers and sisters, the Lord is coming. REJOICE!
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)† "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words."