Are you ready?
Bible Text: Luke 21:29-38 | Speaker: Nelson Nyman | Series: Luke |
Abraham Lincoln: Thanksgiving Day, 1864
It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards.
Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.
Intro: Halley’s Comet was one of thousands of incorrect predictions of the ‘end of the world’. 1835, 1910, 1986… and next in 2061
Mark Twain: 1835-1910
“I came in with Halley’s comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”
Seen as a sign from heaven about the impending fall of Jerusalem by the Jewish historian, Josephus when it passed by the earth in 66AD.
‘Confirmation Bias’ – a celestial phenomena happening anytime would illicit people linking it with significance to things in their lives.
The disciples even asked Jesus, When will these things happen?
29 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“these things”… what things?
1. The sacking and exile of Jerusalem in 70AD by Rome.
21:20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.”
– some standing there would live to see Jerusalem’s fall.
2. Jesus returning to earth in the clouds.
21:25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves…”
When would these things happen? In that generation?
21:32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.
Jesus said this in about 30AD, Halley’s Comet passed by in 66AD, and Jerusalem fell in 70AD.
But what about the son of man returning?
That ‘generation’ is long gone!
The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.
Could mean the ‘Jewish people’ would not become EXTINCT in the fall 70AD.
Jesus told them to look for Roman armies (read the signs) but he didn’t tell them the hour.
1. There are certainties about the future.
When a tree buds after winter, you know it’s Spring and then Summer.
The natural is a mirror of the supernatural
People will always to try to predict the dates with varying success.
What is the point of thinking of the future?
To be ready. To be prepared.
Jesus tells them for one reason:
2. Judgement will come for all people.
Example: I’ve heard people say the Bible sounds negative and instead, they want something that sounds more positive.
What is the potential cost of listening to only what sounds ‘positive’?
They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word.
This is breaking the 3rd commandment.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Sometimes the truth hurts, but the information can save life.
A warning about going the wrong way might seem unpleasant, but what’s the alternative?
3. Willingness to act on the truth is wise.
For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
Do what we can with the knowledge we do have.
Example: I have something growing on my forehead. My wife says to get it checked out, but I don’t want to.
Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
Jesus predicting the fall of Jerusalem and his return might sound unpleasant.
There was a chance for people to leave before the Romans burned the city.
4. Some disasters are unavoidable.
A comet striking the earth. Evil existing in the world.
What is the advice of Jesus?
34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Preventable disaster is tragic.
The warnings of Jesus can be heeded and disaster can be averted.
5. Spiritual disaster can be averted.
“Change the things you can.”
No one exempt.
** The result is the same, whether he comes to us or we go to him.
Jesus tells us how to prepare…
36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
37 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. 38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.
Stay awake (praying) instead of going to sleep (being dissipated by the world).
And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.
The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Example: Have you ever had the dream where you show up at a wedding without the right clothes? …to preach with nothing to say? …to the exam without having studied?
What’s the solution? Be prepared.
1. Don’t fall asleep by being polluted and weighed down by the world. (dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life)
2. Stay awake by spending time in prayer. (even if everyone else is sleeping)
Ask yourself: “Do I really believe that judgement will come?”
Am I living like it?