Matthew 24:5-8 ~ Deceptions, Disasters, Destruction, Disease & the Daily Drudgery - (Through The Trickery PART 3)
Let us pray and ask God by his Spirit to help us and then we will get to work. Father, we just come to you this morning and we beseech you Father not because we are deserving but, because of the righteousness your son gives to us. On behalf of what you did on the cross we ask for your spirit come to us and that you would use your spirit to open our minds to understand exactly what it is that your son is teaching us in this text. We pray Father that your spirit would just illuminate and shine on the passage before us this morning. We ask these things in Christ’s name, amen.
In the Christian life there are two things that will remain true from here until the day that you die or until the day that the Lord comes back; whichever event happens first. The first thing that you will always hear and experience all throughout your life is there will be profits who will predict that the end of the world has happened, that it is happening and that the rapture is about to take place. You will hear that forever. The second thing that you will always hear from now until the end of time is another false prophet that will say everything is fine and everything is great, there will be no disaster, there will be no destruction, you can have a prosperous and happy life right now and there’s nothing to fear.
Both extremes do not match up with what Jesus is saying to us in Matthew chapter 24. I’ll give you two examples. First, has anyone ever heard of Harold Camping? Harold Camping is the founder the Family Radio Network. He offered forth the ultimatum in a quote from 1994 through his radio network, that if you ever wanted to get saved you better do it today because on September 6, 1994 arrives no one else can be saved. The end has come and we will be raptured. Well, you would think that on September 7, 1994 when no one was rapture that Harold Camping would have learned his lesson, but no. You see there is a mathematical equation and if you keep working the numbers eventually we discover our mistake. This is what led him to, throughout 2008 and 2009 and 2010, to offer the explanation that he had made a mathematical error in his elaborate formula. He makes the statement that we now have no further option having seen the new equation, but to understand the Bible teaches that in fact May 21, 2011 is the day of the rapture; it is the day that judgment day comes.
Now he did this back in 1994 and he did it again May 21, 2011. As he was very popular in Dallas, I teased with my wife that what I wanted to do on that day was to put a lawn mower in my front yard and leave it running, maybe throw some clothes on the ground behind it and see just see what my neighbours would say when that day rolled around. On May 22, guess what, we are all still here. No great surprise. We are all aware that the prediction didn’t come to happen, judgment day did not come, the rapture did not happen. None of it came true. It was an error in the mathematical formula of course. It’s always the mathematical formula to blame. He went back and reconsidered his numbers and he discovered there was an adding or dividing mistake of some form and it was all just arithmetic. He came back that same very year and said that he made a mistake and we must realize that it is now October 21, 2011; that will be the final day of this Earth’s existence. You guys are all laughing. I want you to know many Christians in the Dallas, Fort Worth area who took out insurance on their animals because they were convinced by this man that they would be raptured off this Earth and their poor animals would be left behind. They entered into financial agreements with various individuals who swore that they weren’t believers and would take care of their animals after they left. These were rather expensive contracts. Yet on October 22 we discovered that Harold Camping was wrong again. You will throughout the course of your life always hear these prognostications.
Yet, Jesus is very clear in Matthew 24, no one knows the day or the hour not even the son, only the Father.
To the opposite end of the spectrum you will also hear promises of delight. You will always encounter individuals who will say we have plenty of time on this earth, there’s no reason to fear, you can go out and you can be rich and prosperous and make lots of money. In fact, they say, that’s exactly what God wants for your life. He wants nothing more than for you to be healthy, wealthy, happy and wise. Perhaps the poster boy for this movement is an individual from Texas named Joel Osteen. Joel Osteen in his book “Your Best Life Now” makes a couple statements and I will just recount them for you. Page 35, “God wants to give you your own house and he has a big dream for your life and he wants you to have the best life could possibly have right now.” Page 41, “Perhaps you find yourself searching for a parking spot in a crowded parking lot. Perhaps you are at Wal-mart and you can’t find anywhere to park. Say to the Father, I thank you Father for the leading me and guiding me. Your favour I believe will cause me to get a good spot. Look and wait for your deliverance.” A little further on, on page 80 he talks about Sarah the wife of Abraham and he says “I wonder how many great things God is trying to do in your life. We are all just like Sarah. We just can’t conceive of the blessing that God wants to bring an in to our lives. We are not in agreement with God. So because we are not in agreement with God we are missing out on his blessings, so start believing. God didn’t make you to be average. God created you to excel. If you will start believing it and acting like it and talking like it and seeing yourself as more than a conqueror you will know only financial prosperity and you will have a victorious life right now.”
Jesus says, and I quote, “see that no one leads you astray.” “For many will come in my name saying, I am the Christ, and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed for this all must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.” Jesus’ is teaching to the disciples is twofold. He said bad things are going to happen, disasters are going to strike, but the end is not yet.
So we find that as Jesus is approaching his disciples and trying to tell them what they can expect regarding the end of the world, these two swings, these extremes on either side are not to be trusted and not to be believed. Jesus said that bad things will happen but, just because bad things do happen it doesn’t necessarily mean that the end has come.
What can we can glean from looking very carefully at this passage regarding when the end approaches is that this life that were living, this world that we are residing in will experience a continuous decline. A social decline in that He makes the statement “nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom.” We will experience an environmental decline in that He says we will have famines and earthquakes in various places. One thing not mentioned here in Matthew 24, but Jesus mentions in the complementary passage in chapter 21 is plague or pestilence. You will experience disease, you will experience death, you will experience wars, you will hear rumours of wars and you will see the environment and the world around you deteriorate. None of this is new. In fact, I can show you any newspaper from the last 10 or 20 years and you will say “yes it’s happening.” The reality is this, it’s been happening ever since the first century. The first thing that Jesus says, if you look again very carefully at verse 5, “many will come in my name, saying I am the Christ.” The first thing that Jesus says is don’t be alarmed that the end has come. There will be many antichrists, there will be many who will claim to be Jesus and that is not necessarily a guarantee that the end has arrived.
I Googled it because I was just curious. There are lots of people who are mentally unhealthy, have mental health issues and who might claim to be Jesus and that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about people who claimed to be Jesus who were charming, charismatic, and persuasive and gathered a following. My thought was that if I looked into this and I research it that I would probably find may be 20 or 30 individuals over the last 2000 years that claim to be Jesus and got a significant following of individuals who believe them. Do you know what I discovered when I began to look into it? My estimates of 20 to 30 were very low ball. We are talking hundreds upon hundreds. Lots of people claim to be Jesus and lots of people succeeded in getting a following of 20 or more individuals.
I will give you just a few examples. The first one has some significance to me because of an interaction I had with a fellow in the early 2000. We got to talking and I discovered he was a Christian. We were having coffee and we began to share a little bit about our Christian faith. I asked him if he had prayer requests and he stopped me and said “you don’t have to actually pray you can just call him.” At first I was a bit confused and I was like “yeah prayer is kind of like calling God” and he said “no seriously, you can call him on the phone. Yahweh ben Yahweh imprisoned in Florida State Penitentiary. You can call him and you can talk to him and share your quests with him.” I was dumbfounded. Born Hulon Mitchell, Jr. he was a black nationalist and the separatist. He re-named himself Yahweh ben Yahweh which means God or son of God or something of the like. He proclaimed himself to be God and he had over one hundred followers. In 1992 he was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder and he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He passed away in 2007 having never fulfilled any of the claims that he made about himself. That’s not a very successful God if you ask me.
David Koresh – I’m sure you can all recall him from the early 90s. Born Vernon Wayne Howell, he was a Branch Davidian leader based out of the Mount Carmel Center near Waco Texas.
There seems to be a number of these guys from Texas. I am one of the good ones from Texas, just put it out there ha ha (laughter from the parishioners).
At any rate, I’m sure you all recall a raid in 1993 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) that resulted in the significant loss of life at the compound. It was burned to the ground, but not before 4 ATF agents and 6 Davidians were killed during the initial two-hour firefight. There were a few survivors and the stories that came out of that event were simply this: he claimed to be Jesus, he claimed to be God and he predicted the end of the world was coming. So, when federal authorities showed up on their doorstep all his followers believed that this was the end as he suggested. He engaged in a number of just awful things with the women in his compound, the children in his compound, things that I won’t bother to go into detail here about.
Jim Jones is another one. I’m sure many of you may recall Jim Jones from the 70s. He was the founder of the group the People’s Temple. It started as an offshoot of mainstream Protestantism and was a splinter group of Pentecostalism. He claimed that he was the incarnation of Jesus, Akhenaten who is an Egyptian Pharaoh. He also claimed he was a reincarnation of Buddha, Lenin, and Stalin as well as God in the flesh. He organized a mass murder suicide. He took a number of people from California down to South America where they formed a compound. When he suspected that federal authorities were beginning to exert pressure on local authorities, his paranoia got the best of him and he instructed his followers to drink Kool-aid that was laced with cyanide. We may be familiar with the saying “stay away from the punch,” that’s where that comes from.
None of this is new. In Galatians chapter 2 the apostle Paul, writing to the churches that he had planted in the province of Galatia, offered this warning regarding the Judaizers and the individuals who are coming in saying salvation and trust in Jesus are a good thing but, you also have to be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul offers this warning regarding the false prophets, who have been brought in to spy out the freedom that we have in Christ in order to enslave us. Paul goes further in verse 5 “to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.” We are called to recognize the reality of false prophets, claiming falsehoods and that He himself is Jesus Christ. We are called to recognize it and to oppose it. You say “okay pastor, that’s all well and good. What about some of these other things? Nations will rise against nations. Yes, war is going to be a present reality of our environment. It’s quite shocking when you stop to think about how many millions have died as result of war. Perhaps the greatest conflict in the last 2000 years, which claimed the most lives, is the Mongol war. The Mongol Empire, initially named as the Greater Mongol State, in the 13th and 14th century experienced a bloody Civil War. An estimated 60 million people died. Of course you can all recall World War I where 5 million people perished and World War II where 75 million people perished. But, the biggest one of all most of you are not familiar with. The Taiping rebellion was also contributed to a false prophet. The Taiping rebellion was a widespread civil war in southern China that took place from 1852 to 1864 lead by a false prophet, a guy setting himself up to be the Christ by the name of Hong Xiuquan. Over 100 million lost their lives.
“There will be false prophets who will come in my name and they will lead many astray.” To say that you find yourself in a group of lots of people is no comfort and no assurance. Jesus himself said many will be deceived. The greatest war of all time was a war led by a false prophet. I’m mentioning just a couple of the false prophets, the ones that are better known to us, where hundreds and hundreds died as a result of their influence. There is no safety in numbers and there is no substitute for the real living Jesus Christ.
The other thing that we can experience is natural disasters. In fact a recent study released not too long ago by Tom Parsons, who is a geologist with the United States geological survey service, made this statement “"We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded." Now our understanding of earthquakes and our recording of seismological activity only goes back about 300 years and only in the last 50 to 60 years have we been able to record seismic activity all around the world; therefore, we don’t actually have a comprehensive amount of data going all the way back to when Christ made this prophecy but, this much has been said - there is an uptick, an increase in earthquakes and seismological disasters. In addition earthquakes may give rise to other natural disasters such as cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, and of course tsunamis. You will all recall in 2011 the tsunami that rose up as a result of an earthquake just off the shore of Japan. I remember coming home from care group one night and someone texting me to turn on the TV and see what’s happening. I turned on the TV and there was a guy on a little moped scooter flooring it for all his life. A helicopter was flying overhead observing as this giant, at least 10 foot, wall of water was just barreling down on him. He didn’t make it. Unbelievable destruction devastation and heartache. We see these things on the news and Jesus clearly predicted that they would come. Now we turn back to fellows like Harold Camping and Joel Osteen and ask, for those poor unfortunate souls who were caught war, caught in conflict, and natural disasters was this the best life that they could hope for? You say “preacher, I hear everything that you’re saying but, Jesus makes a statement here in verse 8 - “all these are but the beginning of birth pains.” Doesn’t that mean on some level that when we see these things happen we know that sort of like an hourglass being tipped over, time is ticking and that there is a countdown that has been unleashed because of this metaphor of the birth pains? Should we not expect that this will get worse and worse and worse until the end arrives?” That is a popular interpretation. Jesus makes a statement, all these things are the beginning of birth pains, and as we consider the analogy of a woman going into labour, when she has that first contraction you know that it’s going to happen. Of course the contractions at first will start out very far apart and then as she gets closer and closer to delivery those contractions will start to get closer and closer together. Many have looked at this analogy that Jesus offers here and they will say what Christ is saying is that we can experience these things and we can experience an increase of these things as we get closer and closer to the end. That is one interpretation.
I want to be fair and say that if you were to actually go out and do your research and look at particularly seismological evidence, we don’t have very good evidence for floods or hurricanes or anything of that nature but, if you are to look at the earthquake records for the last 200 years there seems to be a correlation.
But, when we look at this expression here in Matthew 24 we have to ask ourselves the question “what does this expression mean as Jesus is using it? What would he have understood it to mean and do we see other instances of it being utilized within the rest of the Scriptures?” In order to actually arrive at a crystal clear understanding of this expression we’ve got to look at how it’s been employed elsewhere. This has been employed on a number of different occasions. There are a handful of references in the Old Testament and one additional reference in the New Testament that employs this metaphor, the metaphor of the birth pains, as attributed to world Apocalypse type prophecies. I’m just going to share the conclusions that we can draw from the author using birth pain analogy within the passage. Isaiah 13 verses 6 to 9 reads “Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty7 Because of this, all hands will go limp, every heart will melt with fear.8 Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.9 See, the day of the Lord is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.”
Now there’s the birth paint analogy utilized in a prophecy where Isaiah is talking about the end of the world. If you consider carefully, it says that people will be seized in anguish there will writhe with pain like a woman in labour. For now all we can conclude in that particular passage is that the birth paint analogy is being used to say that there will be sudden sharp pain that comes.
Look at another passage also Isaiah chapter 26 versus 13 to 21. I am just going to give you versus 14 to 17. “They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them.15 You have enlarged the nation, Lord; you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself; you have extended all the borders of the land.16 Lord, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer.17 As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, Lord.”
Now you see in that reference to the birth pains, it is used as an analogy to describe the pain that they are experiencing. Again, it’s not necessarily a reference to time, it is not necessarily a time indicator, it is a reference to the sharpness and the severity of the anguish that is being experienced by the people who have had these events happened to them.
Consider another one this one from Jeremiah chapter 4 “What are you doing, you devastated one?” That’s an interesting expression that we will consider in a later passage about the abomination of desolation. Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold? Why highlight your eyes with makeup? You adorn yourself in vain. Your lovers despise you; they want to kill you.31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child—the cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, “Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers.”
In that particular passage the expression is being used prophetically to say that when Israel’s been attacked by people, when outside invaders have come in and they’ve broken up the city and their dragging the Jews off into captivity, they cry out in agony and they scream in pain similar to what you would expect from a woman who is in labour. That’s what this passage is saying. Are you noticing a recurring theme here? It’s not necessarily a time indicator. Nowhere is it saying that when you’re experiencing birth pains, now this is going to happen. It is simply describing that you’re going to be in agony and pain when these things do happen.
There is a New Testament reference to Paul in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verses 1 to 3 “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” Again a reference to the labour pains. In all of these references this is the analogy that we get. Number one, It is sudden unexpected. Number two, in fact the emphasis from the scriptures seem to be on the pain that is being experienced is on a level of pain that women experience when they are giving birth and their delivery. Are we to conclude about this statement that Jesus saying that once we experience these things clock is ticking down?
A person made a statement to me one time at a prophecy conference, he grabbed my arm and he said “Josh we’re closer than we’ve ever been before.” You’re laughing. If you think about it, that statement is always true. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve seen something great, had some grand thing and failed and that it’s imminent. It’s sort of the idea that sin compounds as time progresses and we are always getting closer to the return of our Lord, Amen? And yet as we see all these phenomena taking place we cannot necessarily point in any one of them say this is the harbinger of the end. This is when the hourglass has been turned over and now the sand is ticking through and we are going to see this contraction getting sharper and closer together. It’s going to get worse and worse and we can’t actually calculate any kind of time reference.
Many use that verse to say exactly that but, that actually goes against the thrust of what Jesus plainly does say. Look back with me verse 6, “you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed for this last take place.” The statement is that it is necessary and this has to happen. The very next statement “but the end is not yet.” Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus’ statement here is that he says look, all these things are going to happen and it is going to be bad but, all of these things are just the beginning of birth pain. All of these are just the beginning of more incredible pain that is coming and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the observance of any of these natural disasters has suddenly tipped over and hourglass and unleashed a ticking time clock from which we know that the end is imminent. At the same time, that is not Jesus’ meaning in this passage. We are closer than we’ve ever been before. Fair enough statement. But, I should never use that statement nor should anyone else ever use that statement to instill fear and you. Look at what Jesus says “you will hear of wars and rumours of wars see that you are not alarmed.” It’s an interesting construction in the Greek. The command comes in the first word. It’s a verb meaning to look to it, make sure, it’s an active verb. You need to take action, to do something. What it is that you’re supposed to do, not be alarmed. The verb for alarmed is passive. It’s not something that we do it’s just something that happens to us. We are easily scared. It’s an emotion that we may not necessarily have any control over. Something happens and it terrifies us. You don’t stop and think to yourself “perhaps now’s a good time for me to be afraid.” None of us ever has to contemplate whether or not we’re going to be afraid when something terrifying happens because it is a natural reaction, a God given, God ordained reaction that we will be afraid. I recall watching that tsunami sweeping across Japan. I’m watching it live on TV thinking to myself how I truly terrified even though I was I was in no danger. I was just watching the poor faces of these people running for their lives and I’m just filled with fear because I recognize I cannot actually keep myself safe. I cannot protect myself. I give it my best effort. I’ve got a lock on the front door of my house, I locked the windows, I live in a city that is governed by law, which is patrolled by police officers, and safest places regarding earthquake safety in the entire world. Yes we live in a safe town, yes I have a good lock on my front door and yet at the end of the day I know when I watch this thing on TV I can’t keep myself safe. I can’t. The fear comes of its own. I don’t have to cause myself to be afraid, it’s there. Jesus’ exhortation to us is actively see to it that you do not allow yourself to be afraid. My daughter sometimes has nightmares in the middle of the night. All of you who have had children will have this experience. At about 2 AM you’re right there in the sweet spot, REM sleep, you need that to be a functioning productive normal person in the morning and that’s the moment that your child comes to you and wakes you up. You’re discombobulated and she says “daddy I had a bad dream and I’m afraid. Can I sleep with you?” In which case I’m halfway back to sleep already at this point and just say “it’s all right. Just go back to sleep. “Dad I’m afraid!” “Its fine, its fine, there’s nothing to be afraid of just go back to bed.” In that moment do you want to know, honestly, what my motivation is? I want to go back to sleep. Is my daughter terrified? Absolutely! Is it really the call of my heart in that moment, is the passion of my life to say I am going to be there like a knight and shining armor? Am I going to grab the flashlight and walk all the way downstairs and shine the light all around us to say “look there’s nothing to be afraid of?” No, because that would mean I’d have to get out of bed and being tired I want to go back to sleep. When I say to my daughter don’t be afraid, you know what it is? It’s an empty platitude. What I really mean is “don’t bother me.” I confess this freely to you; don’t judge me you’ve all been there (laughter from the congregation).
Jesus says “see to it that you are not afraid.” Is he giving us a false platitude? No! Is God just trying to get us off his back so he can go back to bed, no not even close. The disciples asked this question, tell us what are these things going to be? Jesus shares with them a message that has got no other reasonable outcome but, to strike fear and terror deep into their hearts. Before he gets into any of those details he makes the statement “see to it that you are not afraid.” This is going to shock some of you, do you want to know what the most common command in the whole Bible is, Old Testament and New Testament? There are a couple of obvious ones such as to believe or to have faith. There are lots of references to those. You will probably suggest to love, to love our fellow neighbours, to have a lot of love for them and you’re right there are lots of references for those. In fact those are the second most, but do you know what number one is? The number one command given in all the Scriptures and that is repeated way above and beyond more than any command to love or command to believe and have faith is the command not to be afraid.
This is not our Father giving a platitude where he is saying get off my back I want to go back to sleep, don’t worry there’s nothing to be afraid of. He is coming to us now in that moment and he is saying, look I’ve told you all of these things and I made you aware of them all ahead of time. I want you to know this is going to happen and because I have told you beforehand that it will happen, you know that the Father is in total control. You will be afraid because it will come naturally of its own accord, but remind yourself of the God in heaven who is in total control and who has authority over everything. Remind yourself of this when he says “don’t be afraid.” It’s not like us trying to put our kids back to sleep. It is a promise from Him that he is with us, walking through it together with us. This is not Jesus saying “hey it’s the end of the world I’ve got better things to do.” This is Jesus saying “I know that you’re going to be afraid, don’t be. I’m right there with you.” Hey pastor, it doesn’t actually say that in the text! It does, not’s in this one, but in Matthew 28:19-20 it does. Jesus says “19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Don’t be afraid when the terror comes. To reinforce that He gives this final promise in Matthew 28 “I am always with you.” Just for today? No! We would assume that “I am with you Olive, go back to bed. I am with you” said by ourselves would be us just making some empty platitude, we assume that of Him as well. He says “I’m with you even to the end of the age.” So what should we do to deal with our fears? Interestingly enough sing to the Lord. I asked this question of the Bible, what would the Scriptures have me to do in this moment? As I was reading and researching the verse that just sort of seemed to jump out at me was from Psalm 46 verse 10 “ be still and know that I am God.” As I was thinking about what assurances I could offer to you as a church to know that you don’t need to be afraid, as I looked at a lot of different cross-references and prayed about it that Psalm just kept popping up in every possible conceivable circumstance. It is an interesting Psalm. You’ll find that the Psalmist wrote it to exalt the glory of God and to remind the people of Israel that in the midst of social instability when nations were coming to attack Israel they could trust in God. When they are there with climactic environmental instability the Psalmist in Psalm 46 highlights that you can still trust God. In fact the title of Psalm 46 is “To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.” Do you know what that Alamoth means? It is translated from the Hebrew into the Septuagint and means “hidden things,” Psalm for you to show of the hidden things, the things that you don’t know are coming. And of course Martin Luther used this Psalm when he wrote a complementary hymn A Mighty Fortress is our God. I think he captures the essence of this song - whatever comes against us, whatever may happen, whatever disasters, whatever wars, whatever calamities we face we know that our God is a mighty tower. In him we have safety and we will always have his ultimate deliverance. Maybe not in this life but, he has promised one day to rescue all of his people.
In conclusion, Psalm 48 verse 8 “Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.”Verses 9 and 10 say “He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
So first Baptist Church, as we consider the end of the world it is a moment to be terrified, but see to it that you are not. How pray tell do we do that? Be still and know that God is God.
Father we come to this morning and we just lift high your name. We say Lord you are our hope, you are our firm foundation, and you are our mighty tower that we run to. Father when we are afraid we want to run, run, run our first instinct is to always run and yet the call of Psalm 46 is that we would sing. That rather than running we would take our fears and we would come into your presence, that we would be still and we would exalt you in singing the Psalm of the hidden things, knowing that you are our God. Lord, help us to always be still, particularly as we encounter uncertainty and dark days. Help us father to know you are God and you are in control. We pray these things in Christ name, Amen.
The Gospel of Matthew is a story about a once and coming King. Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of David, the long awaited for Messiah. He has come once, and Matthew tells the story of His arrival, ministry, sacrificial atoning work on the cross, and His promise to return soon.