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THE END IS NEAR #1

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, December 6, 2009

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).


Jesus gave the Disciples the “parable of the fig tree” in verse 32. He said that the budding of leaves on a fig tree are a sign that summer is near. The little green shoots sprouting out from the branches of a fig tree are a sign that summer is about to begin.

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

It is near.” What does “it” mean? “It” means that the Second Coming of Christ is near, as He said in verse 30,

“…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

When you see “all these things” you will know that the Second Coming of Christ “in the clouds of heaven” is near, “even at the doors.”

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

“When ye shall see all these things.” Who are the “ye” He spoke of? They are the disciples of Jesus. Remember that this entire passage was originally given to “the disciples” (Matthew 24:3). The original Disciples asked Jesus,

“What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).

He did not rebuke them for asking, but instead gave them many signs. But the original Disciples died long ago. So, as Jesus said, “When ye shall see all these things,” He was speaking of the disciples at the end of this age. Since the original Disciples would already be gone for centuries, Christ had to be speaking of disciples at the end of this age when He said,

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

There is no other credible possibility. Christ was speaking of the disciples at the end of this age.

Our deacon, Dr. Cagan, has often said to me that it is remarkable that today so few American Christians are interested in the prophetic signs of Christ’s coming. There was great interest in these signs in the first 75 years of the 20th century. But today American evangelicals are only concerned with personal peace and prosperity. Dr. Paul Marshall, in his book, Their Blood Cries Out (Word Publishing, 1997, p. 153) says that most American evangelicals are on “a ceaseless quest for personal tranquility: no stress, no guilt, no ‘unhealthy’ emotions [only] preoccupation with emotional well being.” American evangelical preachers like Joel Osteen and Robert Schuller constantly speak on subjects like these,

“Take Time to Laugh”
“Accept Yourself As You Are”
“Refuse to Worry”
“Give Everyone, Including Yourself, a Break”
“Freedom from Depression”
“How to Beat Burnout” (Marshall, ibid., p. 154).

It’s easy to see why American evangelicals who are fed this kind of pop-psychology and self-help pablum are no longer interested in Bible prophecy and the signs of Christ’s return. Many of the prophetic signs are very disturbing, and these modern American evangelicals, above all, do not want to be disturbed!

But American evangelicals are really only a small minority among the world’s Christians. Dr. Marshall points out that “…it is likely that the West contains [only] a fifth or less of the world’s ‘active Christians’” (ibid., p. 254). He says, “More Christians attend Sunday worship in China than do in the entirety of Western Europe. It may even be the case that more Christians attend worship in Indonesia…than do in Western Europe” (ibid.). This means that far more people attend church in China and Indonesia than in America and Europe combined! And these Christians are under constant persecution, as are Christians in Africa, in Sudan, which is a haven for Muslim terrorists, who make war without end against the Christians there, as they also do in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, Kuwait, Brunei, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, West Africa, and East Africa. And the persecution of Christians by Communists is just as great in China, Vietnam, Cuba, and North Korea, as is the persecution of Christians by Hindus and Buddhists in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Bhutan, Burma and Cambodia (ibid, pp. ix-xi). Dr. Marshall gave the figure of 225,000,000 Christians “experiencing severe state interference in religion, obstruction, or harassment…and persecution” (ibid., p. 254). Dr. Marshall “suggests that the average rate of martyrdom is about 159,000 Christians per year.” He says, “two hundred to two hundred and fifty million Christians are persecuted for their faith” (ibid.). It would be a real “eye-opener” for many American evangelicals to read about some of these horrible, bloody persecutions of Christians at www.persecution.com. The Voice of the Martyrs does a superb job of reporting Christian persecution in the Third World – the place where four-fifths of the world’s Christians live today.

The small minority of Christians who live in America and the West are no longer interested in the prophecies and signs of Christ’s Second Coming, but this subject is extremely interesting, and very important to the four-fifths of the world’s Christians living under intense persecution today. As they are beaten and imprisoned and tortured, they are encouraged by these words of Christ,

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

So, let’s look at some of “these things,” some of these signs that the Second Coming of Christ is near. “These things” include,

I. First, the sign of spiritual deception.

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5).

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many”
       (Matthew 24:11).

“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” (Matthew 24:24-25).

I believe that the “false Christs” are not people, but false concepts of Christ, proclaimed by the false prophets, such as the “spirit-Christ” of the last days, a Gnostic Christ who has not come in the flesh, and is only a “spirit.”

II. Second, the sign of wars, pestilences and earthquakes.

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6-8).

“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven” (Luke 21:9-11).

III. Third, the sign of persecution against Christians.

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another” (Matthew 24:9-10).

“But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake” (Luke 21:12-17).

IV. Fourth, the sign of apostasy and coldness among Christians,
especially in the West.

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:11-13).

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).

V. Fifth, the sign of revival in much of the Third World.

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

“And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:11-12).

“There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last” (Luke 13:28-30).

VI. Sixth, the sign of prayerlessness in the churches.

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint… Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith [in such prayer] on the earth?” (Luke 18:1, 8).

Commenting on Luke 18:8, Dr. Timothy Lin said, “The context of this verse clearly indicates that the word ‘faith’ here refers to the faith in prayer. And our Lord’s statement is a lamentation that His Church will lose the faith of prayer on the eve of His second coming” (Timothy Lin, Ph.D., The Secret of Church Growth, First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles, 1992, pp. 94-95).

VII. Seventh, the sign of unconverted church members.

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:1-13).

Half of the virgins were lost church people; half were saved. Will it be discovered that you are unconverted when Christ returns?

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

These and many other signs have been fulfilled. Are you ready for the Second Coming of Christ? You must be convicted of your sin. You must be drawn to Christ and washed clean by His Blood. You must receive a real conversion from God – through His Son Jesus Christ. Only then will you be ready when Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom on earth.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.comom. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 24:27-34.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“I Wish We’d All Been Ready” (by Larry Norman, 1947-2008).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE END IS NEAR #1

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

(Matthew 24:30, 3)

I.   First, the sign of spiritual deception, Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 24-25.

II.  Second, the sign of wars, pestilences and earthquakes,
Matthew 24:6-8; Luke 21:9-11.

III. Third, the sign of persecution against Christians, Matthew 24:9-10;
Luke 21:12-17.

IV.  Fourth, the sign of apostasy and coldness among Christians,
especially in the West, Matthew 24:11-13, 37-39.

V.   Fifth, the sign of revival in much of the Third World, Matthew 24:14;
Matthew 8:11-12; Luke 13:28-30.

VI.  Sixth, the sign of prayerlessness in the churches, Luke 18:1, 8.

VII. Seventh, the sign of unconverted church members, Matthew 25:1-13.