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Countdown to Armageddon: Six Signs of the Second Coming – Matthew 24:1-14

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Sermon 1 of 9 from the The Last Days According to Jesus series
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October 2001 – Last Wednesday afternoon I stood at Ground Zero in Manhattan looking at the ruins of the World Trade Center. I was there as part of a group of five men from Calvary who traveled 2,400 miles through 11 states plus the District of Columbia in 100 hours to deliver 7,000 copies of the gospel book, An Anchor for the Soul, to Christian ministries in New York City. We left Oak Park on Sunday afternoon, drove straight through to High Point, North Carolina, where we picked up copies of the book from the Prison Fellowship warehouse. On Monday night we visited the Pentagon and stood not far from where the plane crashed into the building. Later that night we stood in front of the White House and prayed for President Bush and asked God to give him wisdom. On Wednesday we were in New York City, that evening we led a church service in the Bronx, and on Thursday we drove back to Oak Park.

I have three main observations from our whirlwind trip. First, the devastation from the terrorist attacks is worse than we have seen on television. You have to walk around the World Trade Center to realize the enormity of what happened. At one intersection we stood in total silence, surveying the twisted beams and remembering the thousands who died there. This was a crime, a terrorist attack, and also a well-planned act of war. It will take years to recover from what happened on September 11.

Second, it is clear that God has opened a door into the heart of our nation. We found it easy to witness wherever we went. In restaurants, parks, elevators, hotel lobbies, on the street, everywhere people were willing and even eager at talk. At the Pentagon we met a major who was surveying the damage for the first time. Once she started talking, she couldn’t stop. In New York City it was the same way with firefighters and people on the street. We found it easy to talk about the Lord because in times like these, people want to find God. They know they need his help.

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Third, I believe that difficult times are ahead. At our special prayer meeting the night of September 11, I told the congregation that as bad as things were, they would come closer to us before the trouble comes to an end. Back then (only six weeks ago) I knew next to nothing about anthrax. Now it has become a household word. The same for bioterrorism. And now all of us know the geography of Afghanistan almost by heart. And we know about the Delta Force, Haz Mat units, “sleeper cells,” and the Taliban. The government has warned us that further acts of terrorism are almost certain to happen in the United States or to U.S. interests around the world. The bubble of false security that kept us insulated from the realities of terrorism has burst, probably forever, and probably that’s a good thing.

In the midst of this uncertainty, it is fair to ask if we are living in the last days before the return of Christ to the earth. Is this the end of the world? What does the Bible say about times like these? In order to answer that question, we’re beginning a new series called The Last Days According to Jesus. For the next seven weeks we’ll be looking at Christ’s most famous prophetic message, the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24-25.

I. Introducing the Olivet Discourse

The Olivet Discourse is the second-longest sermon by Jesus Christ. The only longer recorded message is the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It is also the longest prophetic section in the New Testament outside the book of Revelation. For those reasons alone, it deserves our careful attention. However, when you consider the setting of this message, its importance is magnified even more.

It is now Wednesday of Christ’s final week. On this particular day he goes to the temple and there pronounces final judgment on the religious leaders of Israel, publicly branding them as hypocrites who in the name of God lead others astray. They are “whitened sepulchers” who look good on the outside but on the inside are filled with all manner of evil. He pronounces seven “woes” of divine judgment upon the professional religious leaders who have led the nation to reject him (Matthew 23). Knowing that his end is near, he offers this final word to Jerusalem: “You will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matthew 23:39). Then he left the temple area with his disciples, crossed the Kidron Valley, and found a place to sit on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. It is there, while looking across the valley at the temple and at the great city of Jerusalem, that Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse. It was a private message, intended for his disciples, a warning of what was to come after he returned to heaven.

As we read it, we should remember that even at this late date, the disciples have no idea that their Master is about to be crucified two days later. All the gruesome events of Good Friday are simply hidden from their view. Certainly they were keenly aware of the dark clouds of opposition swirling around Jesus, but they could not comprehend what was about to happen. Even though Christ had predicted his resurrection, that too was a mystery to them. And of his ascension to heaven and his long absence from the earth, they simply had no conception about that whatsoever. It is against that backdrop that Christ speaks to his followers. His major message is a warning of a long delay before he returned and of difficult times they would face. The first part of the discourse emphasizes the persecution that true believers would face in the world. The last part of the discourse is a call to faithfulness in light of the delay in his return and the hard times that would come.

But make no mistake. Jesus clearly predicts his eventual return to the earth. Matthew 24:29-31 cannot mean anything other than a literal, physical Second Coming of Christ. The questions the disciples ask mirror their confusion about the future. When they comment about the beauty of Herod’s Temple, Jesus replies that a day is coming when the temple will be destroyed and “not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2). This prediction was literally fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Roman armies invaded Jerusalem and quite literally destroyed it, setting fire to it so that the gold melted and ran down between the stones that had fallen to the ground. During my most recent trip to Israel, our guide (Zvi Rivai) showed us the newly-excavated portion along the western side of the Temple Mount where researchers have discovered the very stones of the temple, still lying along the road where they were thrown by the Roman soldiers 2,000 years ago. For hundreds of years they were covered by rubble. The recent excavation offers dramatic proof of the literal truth of Jesus’ words. When the disciples heard this prediction, they asked three questions: “When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). In their mind those events were tied together—the destruction of the temple, the coming of Christ, and the end of the age. In Matthew 24-25, Jesus doesn’t directly answer the first question. He skips over at least 2,000 years to discuss the events surrounding his Second Coming. Although the destruction of the temple may be alluded to in verses 15-22, the main focus of the Olivet Discourse is clearly on events that are still future to us. By a careful study of what Jesus said, we can gain insight into the “signs” of the Second Coming and the “signs” of the end of this present age.

II. Six Signs of the Second Coming

In verses 4-14 our Lord reveals six “signs” of the times. As we study these verses, keep in mind that they have a double reference. These “signs” are true and present in every generation and they will be especially visible as we approach the end of this age.

A. Spiritual Deception vv. 4-5

“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’” (Matthew 24:4-5).

The first “sign” is a reminder that religious charlatans may be found in every age. In our own generation we have only to think of David Koresh and Jim Jones. Implied in the words of Jesus is this reality: As we approach the end of the age, spiritual deception will increase because spiritual gullibility will increase. Having turned away from the truth, people will follow anyone who speaks with authority and promises to help solve their problems and give meaning to daily life. And we should not be surprised that such teachers come “in my name.” Note carefully what I Timothy 4:1 says: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” Those “deceiving spirits” are in the world today and their evident success rate seems to be very high. All this deception will come to a climax when the Antichrist displays the work of Satan by using “all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders” (II Thessalonians 2:9-10). He will be so successful at mimicking the work of God through his “miracles” that millions of people will follow him to their ultimate destruction.

B. International Conflict vv. 6-7a

“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. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6-7a).

The Greek text reads, “You will be hearing,” meaning that we live in an age of unending commotion and upheaval. Leon Trotsky once commented that anyone seeking a peaceful world picked the wrong century to be born in. His words seem more true today than ever before. Do these names sound familiar? Rwanda, Cambodia, Chechnya, Serbia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Iraq, Kashmir, Northern Ireland, Somalia, Haiti, Kuwait, Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and dozens of lesser-known bloody conflicts around the world. Now we can add Afghanistan, Pakistan, and who knows how many other Middle Eastern countries to the list. Fifty-seven years ago, American troops were fighting Germany and Japan. Then we were in Korea, then Vietnam, then in the Persian Gulf.

“Such things must happen.” This simply means that we cannot reason directly from one particular war to the Second Coming. Our perspective is too short. I remember when Henry Kissinger was supposed to be the Antichrist. You don’t hear that theory nowadays. Once upon a time, the prime candidate was Mussolini. And so it goes. This world is marked by warfare, and we will not see the end of it until the Prince of Peace returns and men beat their swords into plowshares.

C. Natural Disasters vv. 7b-8

“There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:7b-8).

Many manuscripts add the word “pestilences” in verse 7. A pestilence is an outbreak of disease on an epidemic level. In this connection, one needs only to think of words like anthrax, smallpox, botulism, or even the plague. As I am typing these words, there is another report of postal workers possibly dying from anthrax. Today I spoke with a man who works with the Hazardous Materials Unit of the Chicago Fire Department. They have responded to dozens of false anthrax alarms in the last few days. After telling a few strange stories (including someone who thought that the chalk lines on a baseball field might be anthrax), he commented that anthrax is not the worse. Not by a long shot. Should anyone find a way to release smallpox, that would be a threat that could kill tens of thousands of people. And lurking out there somewhere is the threat of nerve gas and other unnamed chemical agents.

Famines, earthquakes, and outbreaks of disease have been with us since the beginning of time. They are with us today and will be with us tomorrow. These things, bad as they are, do not in themselves point to the Last Days. They are like “birth pangs” or labor pains as one world dies and another one takes its place. That image is particularly useful to help us get the right perspective on contemporary events. When a woman is pregnant, she knows from the calendar the general time when the baby is due. Her body begins to send specific signals as the day approaches. Those signals are called labor pains. They begin with low intensity and low frequency. Sometimes they can go on for several days and then suddenly stop. They may start and stop several times (so-called “false labor"). But eventually the labor pains start in earnest. Even then the tempo is slow and steady. As time passes, the pains come more frequently and with greater intensity. In the end the pains come rapidly and finally in one great burst the baby is born. Something like that will happen at the end of this age. The coming kingdom of Christ will be preceded by an unprecedented period of seven years of suffering and worldwide travail. The clearest picture of that seven-year period is found in Revelation 6-19. But many other passages in both the Old and New Testaments speak of it. Jeremiah 30:7 calls it “the time of Jacob’s trouble” because it is primarily for the nation of Israel, not for the church. I personally believe the church will be removed from the earth before that seven-year period of tribulation begins (I Thessalonians 4:13-18). True believers will be “kept from the hour” of testing that will come upon the whole earth (Revelation 3:10).

The crucial question involves how close we may or may not be to those end-time sufferings and ultimately to the return of Christ to the earth. Verse 8 warns us about the dangers of too much speculation. As bad as the current situation may be, things may get much worse in the days to come. Perhaps the terrorists will attack again with even more devastating results. Or possibly things may be much better in the world by next spring. No one can say with certainty. The “signs” we see around us remind us that there is much evil in the world. And the picture of the “birth pangs” teaches us that there is a flow or tempo to world events that is controlled by our Heavenly Father. In the last days before Christ comes, the world will seem to disintegrate before our eyes. The very systems in which we have placed so much confidence will utterly fail, chaos will spread across the earth as men and women cry out for a leader to bring them peace and safety. In those frightful hours, a man of peace will rise up with a promise of deliverance for those who follow him. Millions will do so to their eternal regret because that man will prove to be the Antichrist.

D. Fierce Persecution v. 9

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me” (Matthew 24:9).

This is a verse no one likes to read or memorize. I’ve never known anyone who chose it as a “life verse.” It’s too negative to be very popular, yet there it is, clear and easy to understand, right from the lips of our Lord. Jesus told his disciples to expect the worst. A time will come when the followers of Christ will be hated by all nations because of our relationship to him.

Those of us who live in America don’t know much about this sort of thing. We’re upset if someone gets offended when we wear a cross to work or if we can’t sing Christmas carols in school. Meanwhile in parts of the world we can hardly find on a map, our brothers and sisters are suffering and dying for Christ every single day. In some Muslim countries, you can be thrown in jail for converting to Christianity. And in the olden days (I’m thinking about the days when Communism was our chief enemy), we heard stories about believers thrown into jail in the Gulag because they dared to preach Christ in a society that glorified atheism. Thankfully, those days are past (at least for the moment), at least in some parts of the world. But in many places persecution and hatred of Christians is on the rise. That trend will continue in the days to come and will come to a fearful climax in the final days preceding the return of our Lord.

E. Widespread Apostasy vv. 10-12

“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:10-12).

These verses paint a picture of unprecedented religious apostasy in the last days. They especially apply to so-called Christian leaders who depart from the Christian faith. These are the leaders who (in the name of ecumenism) deny the inerrancy of the Bible, deny the necessity for the blood atonement, deny the virgin birth, deny the lostness of all people, deny the reality of eternal hell, and deny that those who die without Jesus Christ are lost forever. They turn away after fads and popular social causes and pander to the powers that be. They support the killing of unborn babies, support Gay Rights, and support the right of pornographers to practice their evil trade. They do not preach the gospel because they do not even believe the gospel. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

II Timothy 3:1-9 tells us that in the last days “terrible times” will come as men become lovers of pleasure instead of lovers of God. They will turn away from the truth because their minds are depraved. False teachers who cleverly counterfeit the truth will lead many others astray. Truly those “terrible days” are upon us—both in America and around the world. So-called ministers of the gospel deny every tenet of the Christian faith and still remain in the pulpit. They can even justify gross immorality because they have rejected God’s Word. The worst is yet to come.

F. Worldwide Evangelism vv. 13-14

“But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:13-14).

This sign may seem surprising because we are used to thinking of the signs of the Second Coming in purely negative terms. But along with all the social and economic descriptions of the end-times, we are given a clear picture of the worldwide spread of the gospel in the last days.

The biblical argument goes something like this:

1. It is God’s desire to bless all nations through the seed of Abraham. Genesis 12:1-3

2. The church of Jesus Christ is the spiritual seed of Abraham. Galatians 3:29

3. Jesus Christ has commissioned us to take the gospel to all nations. Matthew 28:19-20

4. The coming of Christ is delayed so that all people may come to repentance. II Peter 3:8-10

5. The gospel must be preached to all nations and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14

6. In the last days a vast multitude will come to Christ from every nation. Revelation 7:9-14

Therefore, we may reasonably conclude that one mark of the last days is that the gospel will go forth to all the nations of the earth. Please remember that “nations” in Matthew 24:14 does not refer primarily to political entities, but to the various “people groups” of the world. Note the word “then.” It implies a chronological sequence. First, the gospel is preached. Second, it is preached to all the nations of the world. Third, then (and only then) does the end come. According to Jesus, the “end” cannot come until all the nations have heard the gospel message.

Does this mean that every single person must hear the gospel message? No. Does it mean that the world must become Christian? No.

It means that the gospel must be preached in every nation. What, in a practical sense, does that entail? It means that as we approach the end times, there will be a marked increase in the tempo of world evangelization, it means a renewed interest in fulfilling the Great Commission, it means a new sense of urgency will grip the missionary enterprise, and it means a new focus on reaching the unreached people groups of the world.

And that is precisely what we find happening at the beginning of the 21st century. Where do we stand in the great task of evangelizing the world? By all accounts, we are closer today to finishing the task than ever before. The missiologists tell us that there are approximately 12,000 unreached people groups left in the world. The good news is that almost 9,000 of those people groups have already been targeted for missionary expansion. That leaves 3,000 people groups unreached and without any clear plan for reaching them. The number is large but it is dropping all the time. All of this fits precisely with what Jesus predicted for the last days. As we near the end of this age, we will see a rapidly increasing tempo of world evangelization as the gospel goes out to every nation and the final harvest of souls begins.

Brian Bill notes that during his noon broadcast last Monday, Paul Harvey reminded his listeners that Billy Graham’s words were heard all around the world when he spoke at the National Cathedral on September 14. Mr. Harvey then quoted the words of Jesus stating that the gospel would be preached to the whole world and then the end would come. He then paused and said this: “To some of you this brings great comfort. To others of you, if it’s not comforting, you can make it so.”

We ought to be comforted both by the powerful message Billy Graham gave and by the fact that it was heard by billions of people around the world. The explosion of gospel outreach in this generation is one more sign that the coming of Christ is not far away.

III. Three Final Thoughts

Let’s wrap up our study with three observations about the six “signs” Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24:4-14.

A. These “signs” will be present in every generation.

In every generation there will be false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, strange diseases, persecution of believers, apostasy, and the preaching of the gospel. It would be a mistake to read about anthrax and jump to the conclusion that Jesus must be coming soon. Or to think that a national I.D. card means the Antichrist will soon be revealed. Or to suppose that the war in Afghanistan is the first stage in the Battle of Armageddon. The Bible warns us of “perilous times” to come in the last days. But we must not make the mistake of reading too much into any one contemporary event, or even into a series of events. We need to have a longer time frame than that. The biblical writers routinely spoke of things that would take place over generations and centuries. That’s vastly different than the latest news flash from CNN or the latest piece of video from Kabul.

B. The tempo of events will increase as we approach the last days.

This is the primary meaning of the “birth pangs” reference in verse 8. While all these “signs” will be with us in every generation, there will be an increase in tempo and in intensity as we approach the close of this age. If you could graph it, I suppose it would look for many generations like a typical up and down graph, but as you approach the end times the line would slowly begin to go upward as events flow together leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. It is that tempo or flow of events that we should look for as we anticipate the coming of the Lord.

C. Since history is truly His Story, let’s keep our eyes focused on Jesus because he may come sooner than we think.

If we take no other comfort from the words of Jesus, we ought to rejoice that he clearly is the Lord of history and the master of all earthly circumstances. Before he left the earth 2,000 years ago, he could see clearly into the distant future. He knew about the wars that would ravage mankind, and he knew how his followers would be brutally attacked. He saw clearly that many false messiahs would claim his name, and he also looked to a day when the true gospel would be spread across the earth. No wonder he could say, “See to it that you are not alarmed” (Matthew 24:6). That’s a good word for times like these when fears of anthrax have gripped the nation. The very next sentence reads: “Such things must happen.” This is not a promise that we will be spared from suffering, but it is a declaration that hard times are foreknown by the Lord. But it also means that the difficult days in which we are living are ordained by the Lord. They “must happen” because Almighty God has willed it so. This even includes the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11. That monstrous evil was committed by the hands of evil men who will face an awesome punishment. But they could not and did not act apart from God’s sovereign control. The same God who created the world in seven days had the power to restrain them from their evil deeds. We may wonder why he did not do so, but even in our uncertainty about the ways of God, we affirm that his ways are not our ways, and that everything God does is right. He still has the whole world in his hands.

I have a dear friend who is not given to speculative comments. My friend is not the sort to say, “The world is ending soon.” Yet several times this person has said to me, “I believe this is the end of the world.” Is it? Perhaps it is. I suppose we will know the answer soon enough. If the world ends tomorrow, then my friend was right! And I do think this might indeed be the beginning of the end, so to speak. Suppose that Jesus is coming soon. How then should we live? I offer three words of advice:

1) Fear not,

2) Get your life in order,

3) Keep your eyes on the skies!

At the end of our worship service in the Bronx last Wednesday night, I talked with a young fire fighter from Yonkers named Scott. His company had been called to the World Trade Center about 1:30 a.m. on September 12. Everything was still in chaos. Other buildings were about to collapse. The scene sounded like something out of Dante’s Inferno. As he recounted the story, Scott said that what he saw and experienced had caused him to get serious about his Christian faith. I think many of us have made the same sort of new commitment. And it needs to happen to many others as well.

This is no time to play church. It’s time to get serious with the Lord.

This is no time to be religious. It’s time to get right with God.

This is no time to go through the motions. It’s time to make Jesus first in your life.

So let me ask a very simple question. Do you know Jesus? This is no time to be without him. And if we are living in the last days, you don’t want to be caught by surprise when Jesus comes again.

Let me put it in very plain language: If you don’t know Jesus, you’d better get saved right now. Don’t wait. Don’t say, “Tomorrow I’ll come to Christ.” How do you know what tomorrow will bring? How can you be sure you will be alive tomorrow?

Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready to meet him?

The Woman in Central Park

I close with one final story from our trip to New York City. On Wednesday morning we got up early and decided to visit Central Park, which was only about four blocks from our hotel. There we happened to meet a woman walking her dog who, when she found out we were from out of town, offered to give us a tour of the park. Judy has lived in New York City for 25 years, walks her dog in Central Park almost every day, loves the city, loves the park, and loves to show it off to visitors. She was the perfect guide because she is enthusiastic about Central Park and knows it like the back of her hand. Along the way, she told us that she is Jewish and attends a large synagogue not far from the park. Eventually she discussed the terrorist attacks and how they had profoundly changed everything and everyone. She talked about Rudy Giuliani, Bill Clinton, and about her own personal theology of good and evil. When we left the park, she told us she wanted us to visit the fire station near where she lived. We arrived there about 8:15 a.m. She banged on the door but no one answered. She banged again and no one came. I thought it was time to leave but she kept on knocking until a man opened the door. “These fellows have come from Chicago to minister here and they would like to talk to you,” she said. The man said that would be fine and opened the overhead door. Her mission done, Judy excused herself and left.

Everyday Heroes

It turns out that six men from that fire station died in the collapse of the World Trade Center. Outside the station on the sidewalk there was a shrine honoring those six men. It was covered with pictures, notes, cards, letters, poems and flowers. As I studied the faces of the six men who died, I thought that they were All-American types, the sort of people you would want for next-door neighbors. They didn’t look like heroes in a special sense. They were just good guys who showed up one day, answered the call, and died in the line of duty. True heroes.

We talked for a while with one of the firefighters who told us that he got to the World Trade Center shortly after the second tower fell and didn’t leave for 24 hours. His eyes spoke of pain and sadness and determination. When we offered him a copy of An Anchor for the Soul, he said he would read it and would be glad to give copies to his buddies as well.

He Wouldn’t Let Us Leave

Then Mike came up to talk with us. He was older and taller and seemed more in charge. I gathered he had served with the fire department for many years because he said he had known 40 of the nearly 350 firefighters who died on September 11. His eyes were a window to his soul. There was sadness there and frustration and incredible intensity and a sort of weariness you see in a man who has been through a terrible ordeal and is struggling to make sense of it. He wasn’t nervous but he kept moving, always talking, gesturing, saying how stressed they all had been, how they hadn’t been able to sleep, how they had been working day and night since the attacks. He said the city sent counselors to the station, but who wants to talk to counselors? He would rather be back in the kitchen with his buddies. He didn’t seem angry, just a man pushed passed the limit of normal endurance who is nevertheless still doing his job. On September 11, he was at the station but was off duty so he wasn’t at the World Trade Center when his friends died. No doubt that fact played on his mind, too.

We told him why we had come, offered words of encouragement, and he thanked us very sincerely. He shook our hands and we turned to leave. But he kept on talking to us so we stayed. No one knows what it’s like, he said. We work all day, never stop, always answering calls, no time to rest or think, always under pressure. He wasn’t complaining, just stating facts. Then he thanked us again, shook our hands, and we started to leave. This time he followed us out and kept on talking. He had just heard from one of his friends who said that some of the firefighters were freaking out, drinking, partying, refusing to go home, not talking to anyone. He had a girl friend, he said, but he wouldn’t talk to her, he kept her at arm’s length because he didn’t feel like he could open up to her. He had a good family he could go to, but what about the guys who didn’t have that? We listened, he thanked us again, shook our hands again, and we turned to leave. By now we were out of the station and on the sidewalk. This time he followed us a few feet and kept on talking. Eventually someone asked, “How can we pray for you?” He said we should pray for all the firefighters because they were all having a hard time. So we made a circle and prayed for Mike and for all his buddies that they would find the peace of God that comes through Jesus Christ. After our prayer, he thanked us profusely and turned to go back into the fire station. One of our guys said, “I wish we could stay here all day. He wants to talk to someone.”

I tell that story because it illustrates so many of the underlying truths of our text. Evil has been let loose in the world in a way that has shocked us out of our false sense of security. Now as never before, people are looking for hope. They truly need the Lord. The mighty Twin Towers have crumbled to the dust. Where will we go to find safety? Solomon gave us the answer 3,000 years ago: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10). These are days of uncertainty, fear, and for many people, deep sadness. Our only hope is in the Lord. He is our hope for today and also for tomorrow for he holds the future in his hands. Those who trust in him will never be put to shame. Whatever else you do to get ready for tomorrow, make sure you trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. And don’t keep the Good News to yourself. The world is full of people like Mike who are searching for the answer. They are searching for Jesus and don’t even know it.

There are many things we know and many things we don’t know about the future. This much is certain: Jesus is coming again. And his return may be sooner than we think. The bottom line is quite simple: If Jesus comes today, will you be ready? If He comes tomorrow, will you be ready? If He comes in your lifetime, will you be ready?

If this really is the terminal generation, the smartest thing you can do is to give your life 100% to Jesus Christ so that if He comes today or tomorrow or next week or next year or in 100 years, you will have no regrets but will be ready to see Him when he returns. Amen.

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