Sunday, May 22, 2011

THE END TIMES - Part 1: Near, Here, Fear

The End Times
Part 1 - The End is Near, Here, Fear
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

Matthew 24:3-4
 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.


INTRODUCTION

With the recent developments in the news concerning Harold Camping and the end of the world, I felt it necessary that we speak on this matter, examine the Word of God and see what exactly Jesus has to say about the “End Times”, false prophets and what we should be doing about these things.



       I.            MAY 21ST, 2011 - THE END HAS COME...AND GONE

a.      Predictions, Fortune-telling and other non-sense
                                                             i.      Matthew 24:36 36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”


b.     False Prophets are a dime-a-dozen


c.      Where Harold Camping had it right
                                                             i.      We are living in the “end times”, this series will explore the description from the Word of God about what the “end times” looks like, what will take place, and what we are supposed to do about it.


d.     Where Harold Camping had it wrong
                                                             i.      No one, but the Father in heaven “Knows” the exact hour...
e.      The Problem with Annihilationalism
                                                             i.      Camping believes and teaches doctrines which are NOT from the Word of God...such as Annihilationalism, which is the belief that there is no eternal hell, like Jesus teaches, “Gehenna”.


f.       Believe the Word of God over All Men
                                                             i.      If we are followers of Christ, then we must believe the Word of God is above all other words...



   II.            WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS ABOUT THE END

a.      What Jesus Told the Disciples
                                                             i.      Matthew 24:5 “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.”

                                                          ii.      24:6 6 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.”

                                                       iii.      24:7 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”

                                                         iv.      24:88 All these are the beginning of birth pains.”


b.     Many will Come in My Name
                                                             i.      False Messiahs
1.      2 Timothy 4:3-43 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

2.      Puerto Rican preacher José Luis De Jesús Miranda says a wondrous thing happened to him in 1976 when he was living in Massachusetts. He claims that two heavenly beings took him to a marble hall where an apparition merged with his body and began to speak inside of him. De Jesus believes that he and Jesus Christ became one and the same in that instant. He now has a following of 100,000 plus.

3.      BTW, he also has a tattoo of 666 on his arm, claiming everyone misunderstands its meaning; the number represents the one who “replaces” Jesus Christ on earth.

4.      Mark 13:22-2322 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.”

5.      Sun Myung Moon is a South Korean citizen and the founder and leader of the Unification Church, a world-wide occult organization that believes Moon to be the "Messiah" sent by God to complete the earthly mission of Jesus. His followers number in the millions.

6.       Adolf Hitler
Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s chief propagandist, said in a broadcast on April 19, 1936, that "Germany has been transformed into a great house of the Lord where the Fuhrer as our mediator stands before the throne of God."

"Spiritual" sentiments of this kind were echoed time and again during Hitler’s glory years. Another powerful voice in the Nazi party, Dr. Robert Ley, proclaimed that "We believe on this earth in Adolf Hitler alone! We believe in National Socialism as the creed which is the sole source of grace!"

7.       James Warren (Jim) Jones (1931-1978)
In 1978 Jim Jones forced 913 of his followers to commit mass suicide at his enclave The Peoples Temple in Jonestown, northern Guyana.

Jones developed a belief called Translation in which he and his followers would all die together, and would move to another planet for a life of bliss. Mass suicides were practiced in which his followers pretended to drink poison and fell to the ground. Jones was known as the Mad Messiah.

8.      Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles
led the "Heaven's Gate" New Age cult in which some male members underwent voluntary castration. The cult's end coincided with the appearance of the Hale-Bopp Comet in 1997, when Applewhite convinced 39 followers to commit suicide so that their souls could take a ride on a spaceship which they thought was hiding behind the comet.


                                                          ii.      Other signs Jesus says we will see; Wars, and rumors of wars
1.      Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Upon earth distress of nations (civil unrest)


                                                       iii.      Nation rising against nation
1.      118 wars between 1945-2005


                                                         iv.      Kingdom against Kingdom
1.      Satan’s Kingdom and the Kingdom of God

2.      Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity
   between you and the woman,
   and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
   and you will strike his heel.”



                                                            v.      Famines and earthquakes in various places
1.      Natural disasters will INCREASE!

2.      Luke 21:11 "And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven"


                                                         vi.      This...is the beginning of the end
1.      Jesus says in Matthew 24:8 that all of these are just the beginning of the end.  The birth pains of what is to come!


c.      Warnings of False Teachers
                                                             i.      Jesus also warn us to beware false teachers, because there are many.


                                                          ii.      Can the elect be fooled?  YES!
1.      "But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the great power of God."   Acts 8:9-10


                                                       iii.      "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'   Matthew 7:22-23



III.            SO WHAT ARE WE TO DO?
a.      Why are there so Many False Prophets?
                                                             i.      1 Timothy 6:9-10 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

                                                          ii.      Judas was a lover of money... Judas Iscariot did not care for the poor, "but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it."   John 12:6

                                                       iii.      "For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money"   Titus 1:7


b.     How to Identify a False Prophet

                                                             i.      SIGNS AND WONDERS
1.      Some false prophets use phony miracles, signs and wonders to lead people astray. Jesus Christ warned that in the last days there would be a false “signs and wonders” movement afoot – phony miracles, statutes weeping, appearances of “Jesus” or “Mary” in church windows, or false healings. His exact words were, “For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before” (Matt.24;24-25). These “signs” will be very persuasive – and yet totally false and misleading!


                                                          ii.      FAILED PROPHECIES
1.      Another sign of a false prophet is the failure of his “inspired” predictions and prophecies. God thunders, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD [claims to have a divine prophecy from God Himself], if the thing follow not nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath NOT spoken, but the prophet hath spoken presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deut.18:22).


                                                       iii.      The Scriptural Test
1.      The apostle Paul commands us to “Prove ALL things” (I Thess.5:21). He declared that “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Tim.3:16). Jesus Christ tells us, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Therefore, the teachings of God’s true servants must conform to Scripture. They must be provable by the Word of God. Any “prophet” or “teacher” who teaches doctrines which do not conform to Scripture – false doctrines – is a FALSE PROPHET! “Thy Word is TRUTH,” Jesus declared (John 17:17). He declared further, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Anyone who teaches doctrine contrary to the Word of God is a FALSE PROPHET!


                                                         iv.      JUDGE BY THE FRUITS
1.       Jesus Christ declared: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them BY THEIR FRUITS. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall KNOW them” (Matt.7:15-20).




CONCLUSION

Jesus gives us advice about what to do in the End Times...

            First, in Matthew 24, He says “Don’t worry, these things must take place.”

            Secondly, in Matthew 28, Jesus gives us the “Great Commission”, this, and this alone, is our instruction for how we live during these times.  Sharing Salvation with all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that Christ has commanded.

It is true, we are in the “End Times”, and over the next few weeks we will look at the scriptural proof of this, as well as what is to be expected in these times and what is now taking place.

All of this is just more evidence that the Word of God was TRUE, is TRUE, and is GOING TO BE TRUE in all matters.