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The Beginning of Labor Pains

End of the World

Matthew 24:1-8


See also pt. 2: "Welcome to the Tribulation"



Life begins at conception.  But in order to bring a child into this present world and not rob them of that privilege requires a delivery to take place, beginning with the earliest labor pains.  I’m no expert at labor, but I’ve seen it happen a few times!  And Jesus says in our text that it is the same when it comes to the end times. 


In our text, it’s the week that Jesus goes to the cross, no more than 2 or 3 days before His passion.  And He will prove that what the world thought was the end of Him was only the beginning.  The same is true for what we call 'the end of the world''s only the beginning as well!


v. 8  ‘sorrows’ = ‘birth pangs ... labor pains start low and they increase in intensity as they continue.  They also start slow and increase in frequency.  So it is with the signs of the times, which are many!  This world is getting ready to deliver!


Jesus has finally gotten it across to the disciples that He’s not in Jerusalem this time to set up His kingdom, and that He will be going away and returning for the end of the world.


v. 1  The Temple in Jerusalem was an amazing configuration of buildings, made largely of white polished marble.  It was still under construction at this time, not to be completed until A.D. 64.  Some of the stones that made up the temple were up to 40’ x 20’ x 12’. 


v. 2  Jesus walked out of the temple for the last time, never to return to it again.  His prophecy about its demise was astounding to His disciples, but it came to pass in A.D. 70 when the Roman General Titus surrounded Jerusalem and laid siege to it.  He cut it off from the rest of the world and eventually breached the wall and gained access to the city.  They demolished the city completely, with not one stone left upon another.


Mark tells us that Peter, James, John, and Andrew went to Jesus off to the side to ask Him these 3 questions found in v. 3... [Olivet Discourse]


Good men disagree on some of the interpretation of Jesus’ answers, from chronology to specific events.  We won’t try to settle those fights, but to see the big picture of how the shadow of events to come are already cast across our day today, leading us to be warned that there is wrath soon to come to this world!


In the end there will be:

1.     Spiritual Deception.

v. 4-5       A word of caution from the Lord that before the antichrist, the great deceiver, there will be others who do the same.  I won’t name names because there are far too many in our lifetime who claim to be God, and many are gaining bigger and bigger followings.  False prophets are all around, wolves in sheep's clothings, disguised as angels of light!


Hal Lindsey said, “When Jesus returns many churches will not have to look for a new pastor.”


I want you to know that even though we are committed to staying here, when the rapture occurs we’re outta here!  And I hope you are coming with me.  [By the way, when that happens, you have my blessing to vote in my associate!]


Here’s a couple of things which are seeding deception today...

·       Heresy in the church

1 Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

George Barna does Christian research using Gallup Polling methods, and every year his research shows how those who call themselves Christians move further and further from Bible truth.

-Nearly half now say the devil is not real, just symbolic of evil

-All believe in heaven but nearly 2/3rd’s say there is no hell or it is not permanent.

-Many deny the virgin birth, the inspiration of the Bible, and that Jesus could have lived completely sinless in this world.


There is a major movement to embrace signs and wonders, and the health and wealth gospel, and people are being conditioned to accept anything their leader says as long as he says God told it to him.  It used to be that everyone gasped for breath when someone like Oral Roberts said a 900 foot Jesus appeared to him, or Kenneth Hagan said Jesus came to his bedroom and dictated a sermon to him verbatim, or Benny Hinn said there are actually 9 gods.  Do I believe Jesus appeared to these men?  I believe Jesus is at the right hand of God just like the Bible says he is!


How about apparent miracles these days?  I don’t deny true miracles of God, nor the existence of the spirit is real and all around us, but all that glitters is not God!  The Holy Spirit and angels are real, but they are not the only supernatural beings around us.  The devil is real and his demons right along with him.  It’s a huge deception going on all around us today.


The antichrist will come with signs, wonders, and miracles, and all he needs are people who are conditioned to see that and say, “Well it must be of God!”  We’re there already today.


·       Blurring of the truth.

Satan is mixing error in with truth in the church, and he’s also mixing all churches together these days with the notion that we all must get together, lay aside our doctrine, and be one big happy family.  [We’re all going to heaven, just taking different roads.  We all believe in the same God even if we call Him by different names.]


If you want to talk about tearing down walls between churches, you’d better be talking about walls of racism, legalism, or false doctrine, then I’m all for coming together.  We can be bad about not cooperating with likeminded believers in effort to reach our community.  Let me say that I’m not one to major on the minors and have all kinds of minor preferences that I consider tests of fellowship.  Secondary separation is a lot like Pharisee-ism to me.  But on the other hand there are some essentials to true Biblical Christianity and when you tear THOSE walls down you are in violation of Scripture which commands us not only to maintain such standards, but to separate from those who do not.  In short, the ecumenical movement does more harm than good in this world and is a greased slide toward the one world church coming during the Great Tribulation. 


Spiritual deception is everywhere...not only in the church.  It’s open season on Christians today, from the media to politics, to the pop culture of Hollyweird!  And the general population already has bought into the lies of Secular Humanism, postmodernism, situational ethics, evolution, and New Age Philosophies.  Our senses are dulled and deception is already at epidemic levels.


Spiritual deception...


2.     National Disruption.

v. 6-7a     War has always existed in this world.  There will be no peace until the Prince of Peace returns and establishes it.  The International Red Cross estimates hundreds of millions have been killed in wars since the beginning of the 20th C.  But notice the phrase ‘rumors of wars’.  What could this be?  I believe it to be the cowardly militia known as global terrorism, which wears no uniform, has no flag, and strikes out at innocent civilians to inflict terror and fear.  Imagine what it is like in many parts of the world when you cannot get on a bus or a subway without thinking about it possibly being blown up.  Imagine eyeballing everyone around you in an overcoat, or carrying a briefcase or backpack, wondering if they are about to blow themselves up along with all of you standing near them!  That’s rumors of war, where you cannot see it, but you know it’s out there...and don’t be surprised if it’s coming to a country you love or a city you now live in! 


I can't count the number of TV shows and websites devoted to 'prepping' for the end.  Apocalyptic fever is all around us, and a growing sense that doomsday may not be far off.  God's patience has run long, but it ends abruptly when suddenly the sky begins to fall!


Spiritual deception, national disruption...


3.     Physical Destruction.

v. 7b-8    

Famines:  The World Health Organization maintains today that 1/3rd of the world is well fed, 1/3rd is underfed, and 1/3rd is starving!  400 people die of starvation every...[hold on!]...every minute!  Just do a Google search for famine in the news and read multiple reports of new famines being reported for the first time that week!  West Africa is already preparing for major famine as a result of Ebola.  The UN cannot keep up, charities cannot gain access to many stricken areas, and beauty pageant contestants never quite seem to end world grows worse and worse by the day!


Pestilences:  This is an incurable disease.  Name some diseases for which there is no cure.  In the 1960s medical science was optimistic, stating that “we have solved forever the problem of infectious disease.”  But because of the misuse and overuse of antibiotics there are now a record number of strains resistant to them.  Viruses like Ebola change and mutate.  It's been like pulling teeth to try to get our government to admit that Ebola can spread thru a sneeze.  They are afraid of the panic if we believed it could be aerosol or 'airborne.'  Well, many scientists are warning that it could make that leap with just a mutation.


We hear of ‘bird flu’ and ‘mad cow’ disease and think it’s about animals but humans are dying in increasing numbers as these things leap thru biological kingdoms.  The SARS scare a while back demonstrated how despite medical technology and advancement, man is in God’s hands, not the doctor’s hands, and it’s the Great Physician we should be looking to!


Earthquakes:  These stats will knock you off your feet!  Could these be right?  Surely the increase are the result of better detection, right?  Think again.  Let’s just talk about killer earthquakes – 6.0 or greater


[most stats from US Geological Survey website.]

1890-1899       1 worldwide

1900-1910       3

1910-1020       2

1920-1930       2

1930-1940       5

1940-1950       4

1950-1960       9

1960-1970       13

Then in 1967 the Jews regained control of Jerusalem and watch this...

1970-1979       51 killer quakes.

1980-1989       86

1990-1999       152

2000-2005       960

Next, go to the website above and prepare to have your mind blown for recent years!

The 2011 Honshu, Japan quake was 9.0, and the 28,000+ killed is the most direct deaths from earthquake alone [no tsunami] since accurate records have been kept.

        Now consider the devastating earthquake like the 2004 one that triggered the Asian Tsunami, killing more as a result of earthquake than any in human history.


‘ divers places’ = strange, rare, unusual locations, conditions. [not part of Pacific Rim [ring of fire]


Last 7 days:  Click

Live look at today's quakes:


The point is that the birth pangs are growing closer and closer together, and greater and greater in intensity!  The whole earth is crying out, “Jesus is coming!”


Spiritual deception, national disruption, physical destruction...


How should we respond to all of this?  Well, Jesus didn’t give these prophecies to excite the curious, but to exhort the consecrated.  I know people who will drive hundreds of miles to prophecy conferences, and they love to study it and hear about it, but won’t let it change their habits, won’t come to church any more often because of it, and won’t live much differently in light of it!


When Jesus comes there won’t be time to get saved or to get right!  And He could return at any moment.  “What shall be the signs of thy coming?”  The signs of the times are all around us.  The labor pains are a minute apart, the world is dilated to 10, but many so-called Christians seem to have opted for a spiritual epidural!  We must wake up and get to work while there is time!  The time is NOW, the world is on FIRE, and Jesus is calling YOUR name!  Christians, He’s calling our names today to live differently while there is time.  If you are not saved, He’s calling your name while there is hope!


Next sermon: Welcome to the Tribulation


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