Mark 13:1 – 8
The End Times
The Olivet Discourse
The Beginning of the End
May the words of MY mouth and the thoughts of ALL our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, our King, Our Strength, and our Redeemer!
A M E N …...
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Today we consider.... THE GOSPEL Message recorded in Mark.13 verses 1 to 8.
Known to many as the OLIVET DISCOURSE; THE END TIMES;
or THE BEGINNING OF THE END !
This particular passage is very important for us today,living in the 21st Century! To get the full import,I invite you to walk with me as we travel back in time to the actual scenario !
A STRANGE PREDICTION!
It has been a tense time for Jesus... and also for His disciples. They have just left the temple, where Jesus had observed the
[crowd putting money in the treasury out of their wealth,but a widow had put in all she had out of her poverty.] hypocrisy of the Jews. One of the disciples ,possibly trying to lighten the mood,after all the negativity they had experienced,wanting to say something positive, calls the Lord's attention to the temple... its construction and its beauty! The temple was their pride and joy and the Jews all met regularly,in the same place as instructed.
The Temple in Jerusalem was at that time considered to
– THE BIBLE!
(Hold Up) This manual of 66 Books.
B I B L E = BASIC INSTRUCTION BEFORE LEAVING EARTH !
The herald has made his announcement!We are not here to discuss theories and ideas about life, We have been given a message from the “Imperial Palace “and here it is.....sealed with authority, with the authority of God, It proclaims that all our questions have already been answered ! and all our problems have already been resolved! We have but to listen to the proclamation ,believe,exercise faith and find peace and rest for our souls!
If you should be asked to pass from time to eternity today, do you know where you are going? Listen carefully so You will be able to say with the Apostle Paul -
“I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” 2 Tim 1:12.
Thank God for preaching and authoritative pronouncement!
The admonition then should always be: God's Word the ultimate authority.
The second trump announces a plan and a purpose.
Jesus preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God said - “The time is fulfilled”. This means that the time that has been spoken of has now come to pass.
What is this “time”? This is the great message of the Bible – beginning to end – It is simply, that God has a plan, and a purpose for this world of sin and shame.
What can we do? Where can we go? Is there any hope of deliverance for us in our confused day-to-day state? Is there any possible way out?
The Bible puts it this way. It says that God made this plan even before the foundation of the world itself, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:7...
“We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” That is it! That is the essence of this proclamation that is being made. The essence of Christian preaching.
It does not say to us – Well now, there truth in this world of uncharted land & ocean. Get out onto it; take soundings, try to get your bearings; try to find out. Yes you have discovered a little bit! You may go and for some time you find nothing; weeks, months, years pass, then a glimmer – at last. Oh but then it won't happen on my time- It will happen perhaps in my grand-children's time or even longer than that. But go on it's marvelous. Keep on searching. You may be wrong as your forefather's were, but I'll go on seeking.
No! Christian preaching is the exact opposite to that. The message of the Bible is not to urge us to try to find the truth in a haphazard fashion,hit or miss attempts... it is to ask us to LISTEN to the truth; to God's revealed truth. For it's whole point is to say that God, knowing Himself, knowing man, knowing everything, has devised a plan whereby men and women can be delivered out of their failure and sin and can be made worthy citizens of God's kingdom.
GOD's PLAN! And He has made this plan KNOWN!
We read in Hebrews -
“God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son (Heb 1:1-2)
The Old Testament is nothing but God revealing His plan and His purpose and He did it in an extra-ordinary way. He took a man named Abraham and turned him into a nation – and then he spoke to that nation. He gave them His word, which was then collected. The called them 'The oracles of God'. We call them “the Old Testament.”
He took a man named Moses and gave him a revelation of how He had created the world and man; how sin had come in and what had happened. He revealed His plan of salvation and what we must do (a blueprint of the Heavens and Heavenly Temple).
God's great plan and purpose is already worked out – God has revealed it all – we need not waste time trying to discover truth. All we need to do is pay attention to the truth that God has already revealed.
Through the prophets.
Through the Teachers of the Old Testament.
Through His SON
Through the Apostles of the New Testament.
It's all HERE! (Hold up Bible)
We do not need anything more – all we need has already been given. Once for all time!
Let us read and study it daily to know the Truth of God's Word
That is why preaching is possible. If it were anything else it would not be preaching. It would be a sort of PHILOSOPHICAL or a SEMI-POLITICAL ETHICAL SOCIETY, and it would be saying - “well you see the mess we are in, what can we do?” It would put theories and ideas before you and say - “What do you think about it?” Shall we try this or try that? You see it has nothing to do with God's Prophetic and fulfilled message in Christ.
Thus saith the Lord – or in effect – (Hold up Bible) – THIS IS MY WAY, THIS IS MY PLAN. BELIEVE THIS AND YOU WILL FIND THAT IT IS TRUE.
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTON SON THAT WHOSOEVER believes IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE !
That is the message, Nothing matters but This -
God does not change. He is a Holy God. “He is the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning! James 1:17.
I will go further. God cannot change. It is impossible. He is the eternal, absolute God, the all in all. I AM EVERLASTING – I AM WHAT I AM, He says.
The problem is MAN. Man is a moral being with free will.
This is a vital point. Christianity is not a private teaching, it is RECORDED HISTORY –THIS IS WHAT GOD HAS DONE!
The message of Christianity is this – The gospel of the kingdom of God – the time is fulfilled – It has happened. It has come! DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?
It means that your salvation and mine depends not upon our thoughts, nor upon our discovery of truth, but entirely and utterly upon something that happened in this world almost 2000 years ago!
Look back! Go back 2000 years to the first century AD.
Salvation was in God's heart through Jesus. Before the founding of the world.
“When John was thrown into prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God and saying, THE TIME IS FULFILLED. LISTEN TO ME.
Our salvation depends upon what God has done in Christ.
Our Gospel and Bible readings today all point to God's plan
In Mark10: 35-45, we learn of the request of James and John blinded by AMBITION
ask for places of prominence in the Kingdom- little realizing that his glory would be to hang on a cross! The other disciples are jealous and angry. Jesus tries to show them that power is shown in SERVICE Jesus must also explain that He is the son of Man-to be supremely honored by God BUT he would show his
supremacy by giving himself up He would offer up his life in payment for the sins of the world.
Brothers and sisters do we see ourselves in any of the scenarios mentioned? James and John's request is PRAYER GONE WRONG!Please let us take note! We should be saying to God -
Lord,we want to do whatever you ask. Not we want you to do whatever we ask?
Remember,He, Jesus was pierced,and crushed for the sins of others not for anything he had deserved -yet his wounds healed the world.!
Brothers and sisters let us always be mindful that humility and Service characterizes those fit for God's Kingdom!
In the reading from Isaiah 53:4-12. We see the Servant's suffering in a new light. It was our suffering he was carrying. Sorrow,rejection,illness.-people dismissed him as hopeless and worthless. Yet the description of what happened to the servant is for Christians- yes a description of what happened to Jesus and for the same reasons. In his sufferings he was meek and un-protesting – like a lamb being shorn and sacrificed. Are we like that? Jesus trial was unfair and his fate undeserved. Crucifixion was the ultimate cut off from dignity,life and hope. Most strangely the servant's grave was with a rich man.....and Jesus on his death was given the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea!Isaiah sees all this as God's will
Through innocent suffering and death will come a great FORGIVENESS and mighty RESURRECTION-- THIS TERRIBLE DEATH MEANS LIFE AND RESURRECTION FOR ALL. Hallelujah!
Finally in Hebrews 5 1-10
Jesus said He was our friend. I once heard a testimonial in which the speaker described a friend this way:
A friend is someone who will stick with you through any problem.
A good friend is someone who will remove the evidence. An amusing concept …. but it ceases to be amusing in the light of what Jesus has done for us!
In the days of the Tabernacle the Jews had a High Priest,a human being just like themselves,who knew the temptations of everyday life. In this way he could empathize with his people.
Once a year ,on the Day of Atonement,the High Priest offered a sacrifice for his own sins. He was then allowed through the tabernacle curtain,into the Most Holy Place,to offer sacrifices on behalf of everyone else.
Today,as Christians,we too have a High Priest,JESUS CHRIST,who has passed through the Heavens. He had no sins of his own for which to make sacrifice. Instead he offered himself as THE PERFECT SACRIFICE FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD!
My Brothers,and sisters and friends Look how good and how pleasant it is for us all to dwell together in unity! Let us collectively and individually resolve as from today to consult our God Given Manual,daily,pray and follow its precepts & believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as you heard the Trumpet call