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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mark 13:24-32 (Sermon for the week of November 19th)

Gospel
Mk 13:24-32

Jesus said to his disciples:"In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky,and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

"And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

"Learn a lesson from the fig tree.When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates.

Amen, I say to you,this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away,but my words will not pass away.

"But of that day or hour, no one knows,neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

SERMON:
I need to start off this sermon by emphasizing an important point. Who has just spoken of an impending apocalypse?
John in the Book of Revelation? NO!
Daniel the prophet? NO!
Ezekiel? NO!
IT IS JESUS! Jesus who is the focal point of Christianity has just spoken these words that there is a tribulation, the sun WILL darken, the stars WILL fall and HE who is the Son of Man will be "coming in the clouds" !!
There are two prevailing views out there that I am trying to address. Apocalyptic scripture is obessessed on by some areas of Chrisitanity and ignored as "too scary" or "not pleasant to read" on the other side of the scale. I have been shocked to hear some say that the Book of Revelation should be removed from the Holy Bible because it creates confusion and leads to people coming up with alot of "wacky" predictions and talk about the "Rapture".

Well, you know what? If you don't like what what was revealed to John in the Book of Revelation and want it removed...then you better remove the Gospel of Mark and what Jesus said with His own words! The words Jesus speaks in this weeks reading are scary, and should be scary.

The words Jesus speaks should grab your attention and better grab your attention. This is not your world or my world to pick and choose what we like and don't like about God and what Jesus tells us.
If you are a person who refuses to believe in a punishing God and ignore anything "scary" then how do you ignore what is said here in the Gospel of Mark by Jesus Himself? I don't understand this...do you just throw it out as nonsense and tell yourself, "Well, Jesus loves all of us and God wouldn't destroy this earth with his creatures still living on it..." Really?

Then Jesus is wrong and you are right? RIGHT? Why don't these people go and re-write the bible and save all of us better than Jesus did...for you know more than Him and can do better than Him.

No?
OK...then we need to listen to the Gospel message. And the Gospel message this week can be summed up this way...Jesus Christ came to give Himself as a worthy sacrafice to save those who have faith in Him...and those people who are so "wise",those who are so "logical", and those who can't believe in Him or won't believe in Him...there is a time when the patience runs out and those who are here either believe or they don't and those that don't are staying here.

Who says God is saving everyone? Why would God do that? Look around you...do all of these people around you love God? Do all of these people know God? Do they believe in what God did through Jesus Christ? Either you love God or you don't. Either you believe in Jesus or you don't. Jesus suffered tremendous pain and suffering to give us an opprotunity for eternal life...if this isn't the most supreme gift out of LOVE, than what is?

And some say that those who don't believe are going to be loved by God anyways and saved too? Well, I really wish this wasn't so...but it is so...because men make it so, and those people who don't love God will not be loved by God. Jesus saves those who believe in Him because those who believe in Jesus, love God.

This world as Jesus says will go through a "TRIBULATION".
Do you understand what the word TRIBULATION means?
It means "grievous trouble or suffering". That can't be good!

When this time of grievous trouble and suffering happens, will the tide turn and people here will begin to blame God for being cruel? Who knows...but nothing spiritually enlightening comes from man anyways...so I bet they will blame God.

JESUS SAYS:
"And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky."

To all of those people who have the bumper sticker on their cars mocking the believers in Jesus asking if they can have our cars when the "rapture" or the time when the "Son of Man comes in the clouds", my answer is YES, you can have my car. If I am living and the "Son of Man comes in the clouds" and then I am not living...then I really want you to be able to drive my car up to a scenic lookout point to watch the sun darken and the stars begin to fall! What a show I will miss! I wonder if the "scientists" left (and there will probably be plenty of them) will be there to explain why the sun could darken!
I will ask those left here to pick the National Geographic out of my mailbox and read about it.
I want them to have my coats too so that they can hurry to bundle themselves up because it will be getting cold...really cold.

Jesus says this and IT MUST COME TO PASS! Jesus did not and cannot tell a lie. For if He lied then He would not be perfect. An imperfect Son of God could not be a worthy sacrafice and there is no one to say that Jesus did not live a perfect life.

I have a healthy fear of God for one reason. Jesus who is the Son of God and spoke these words and I know they must come to pass. Do you? If you don't like "Rapture" talk then you don't like Jesus' talk, because this weeks reading is as Apocalyptic as you can get. If you find it safe to preach the Gospels, then you have to preach this verse. Don't be afraid to talk about it. But don't think you can ignore it either!

When will this happen?
Jesus says:"Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates."

Why a fig tree? The Middle East is known for evergreens. Evergreens do not lose their leaves seasonally. Fig trees do lose their leaves. Fig trees grow well in the Middle East and fig trees are also one of the most reliable trees for telling that the seasonal change of summer is near. Other tress may bloom early or late....but the fig tree will begin to form leaves and bloom right when summer is near.

We will know when these events are about to take place just as clearly a fig tree tells that summer is near. It may seem that the present conditions of the world may be lining up for destruction....but the fig tree hasn't bloomed enough for me to say...yes, this is it. I do believe that it will be easier for the us to gauge when this will happen...maybe as we approach there will be a consensus as to what year. I think that this will be the closest that can be predicted....what year it begins.

We will be able to know the year...maybe the month...but not the day and the hour for Jesus says:
"But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

I want to conclude with one more statement. Through the ages, Christians have endured persecution and attack. The Romans fed us to lions for entertainment, the heretics attacked with deceptive delusions, the physical church governed by men turned from faith and persecuted us by persecuting other people and leaving us with egg on our face. Our faith has led to divisions and ridicule within our own families and subject to ridicule of bumper stickers and the media. This weeks reading are His words and not ours. The tribulation will happen because the Son of God said it would...just like the Son of God said His Words would never pass away.

In fact, His words will be here when this earth as we know has gone away and when heaven has gone away!

"Heaven and earth will pass away,but my words will not pass away."

Non-believers can attack us all they want...but they fight a power they have no clue about. Allowing me to take up my own cross and bear attack is the work of faith and I have experienced this enough to know exaclty what can happen. But if this world and the little men in it think that they can use deception to argue that "religion must be eliminated" and try to convince people relgion is bad in order to destroy the Holy Bible... then take the challenge.

I challenge those people: Try to take Jesus' words from this earth.
Go and advocate that you have a better way and that the Holy Bible is nonsense.
Try to wipe his words from this earth.
Do it...and tell me what happens.

To the believers... rest in knowing that we as believers do not have to make it our mission to keep His Word safe, He will do that all on His own and make some of us the medium to work through.
The printing press helped thwart the plan to erase the Holy Bible.
Mark His words, NEVER...no not EVER will any human, devil, demon,or EVENT take His Word from this earth!

God bless you and your familes this week!


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