Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

Luke 21:5-28

Good morning Brothers and Sisters…Aloha, and Welcome to Ocean View Baptist Church

Announcements:

I have an important announcement to make before we start…During my last sermon, I made a reference to the use of the Jewish Messianic title “Son of David”…in which I stated, “…so it would be completely absurd for someone to even think that our Lord Jesus could be the son of David…” This was in error, and I take this error seriously; for it is a great honor and responsibility to stand before you and speak the word of God.  So, I would like to clarify what was actually supposed to be on my sermon notes before being inadvertently edited out by my word processor…I am having difficulty with the program in my new computer, which tends to erase or edit-out text as the curser jumps around on its own without me moving it, or noticing that it has moved…to that end, I have recently asked for someone, exceptionally skilled with computers, to help me in correcting this computer flaw. But at the same time, this also tells me that I must make absolutely sure of what is printed-out, before I read it or mention it to the congregation…Now, as sermons usually take some time to prepare, I was able to go back through different saved versions to locate the particular text in question…Therefore, let me read to you what the text was supposed to say…“…so it would be completely absurd for someone to even think that our Lord Jesus could be the “son” of David if they were not familiar with the biblical prophecies of the time…” As you can tell, the sentences are close to being the same, but individually they mean something very different from one another.  I pray, however, that everyone can understand that this mistake I made was unintentional and have the compassion in their heart to forgive me.

Now, let’s continue, with a quick recap of Brother Nate’s Sermon from last Sunday:  Where, Jesus, while at the temple, observes many rich people putting their gifts into the contribution box…when he notices this widowed old woman dressed in tatters putting-in two small copper coins.  Jesus then remarks that the old woman who was obviously poor and had very little in life to live on, gave of the little she had… …while the rich gave of their abundance…and that in truth, the old woman gave more than the rich people did…because she had not much to give and they had plenty.

Today’s sermon is from the book of Luke 21:5 to 28  (Things to Come)

While Jesus was still at the temple in Jerusalem, some of the people there were talking about how beautiful the temple was with its magnificent stones and ceremonial gifts…Now, just imagine if you will… the immense size of the temple and its grandeur, the gigantic walls surrounding its vast court area, with many of the stones used in its construction being the size of a small car. But in verse 6 Jesus says this to them… “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.”Jesus, here, is once again predicting the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, which actually takes place in 70 AD… repeating His earlier prediction written down by Luke 19:44,  about what Jesus said when He entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey…“and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”This destruction would be primarily brought on by the revolutionary revolts of the time, following the death of our Lord Jesus years earlier.  But Jesus also seems to be sharing a glimpse of the destruction in the end times; echoing what He had said back in Luke 17:22-37 when He had foretold of His second coming.  Luke, here, seems to place his emphasis on the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, unlike that of Matthew and Mark who place it largely on the end of the age when the “Son of Man” returns.Now, if you can, picture the look on the people’s faces as Jesus tells them these things…in verse 7 they become inquisitive and wonder what He means…7 They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”

The use of the word “sign or signs” in the time of Jesus, often referred to an “attesting miracle”, but these kinds of signs or miracles He is talking about…are heavenly and frightful, and are actually described later-on in this chapter. But let’s continue with the next two verses 8 & 9…where Jesus wants to keep the listeners on track by answering them this way…8 And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am He,’ and `The time is near.’ Do not go after them.”9 “When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”

In these particular verses, similar to that in Luke 19:41-44 – where Luke tells us Jesus weeps for Jerusalem knowing it will be torn down and destroyed…Jesus is foretelling of a time to come when there will be false prophets and those claiming to be the Messiah or claiming to perform works under His authority…He is referring to a time when there will be wars and insurrections…He is giving them a wake-up call and wants them to understand that, truthfully, these things will happen and the end of the age will come…He wants them to “pay attention”, so that they can recognize  what these things mean when they appear before them. Brothers and Sisters, this is for our benefit as well…we are to “pay attention” also!  We do live in a different time; but there are wars and rumors of wars happening across the globe right now?  We are to pray and be alert…we are to act as Christ would have us…by loving others and forgiving them and helping them…Remember this…we may or may not be alive for the end of times, but if we act with sin in our heart and do not repent and correct our actions, we will surely not be in heaven with our Lord when our time comes…so please, “pay attention” so you can recognize the signs before you.

Think about this for a minute…say its December of last year, you’re going about your life, going back and forth to work, paying bills, buying groceries, shopping and getting ready for Christmas…and someone tells you that by summer, you’ll be wearing a mask everywhere you go…in stores, in the post office, in your Doctor’s office, in the bank…you’d probably think they fell off their rocker…in fact, if you wore a mask and a baseball cap into the bank in December, the alarms would go off thinking it was a robbery…but now, they won’t let you into the bank without a mask!  Friends, we need to pay close attention to the signs of the times, because things can turn on a dime.

Now, Jesus resumes telling the folks of future things to come in Luke10 & 11…” Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” These two verses are significant, and suggestive of other scriptures such as…2 Chronicles 15:6…which says…Nation was crushed by nation, and city was against city, for God threw them into confusion by all sorts of trouble.

Do we not see, in the daily news, this very same thing happening today…murders happening with a rapidly growing pace, our cities in turmoil with rioting and destruction, buildings set ablaze and historical monuments being torn down or defaced…Mankind is headed away from God and straight into the jaws of the beast.  We mustabsolutely must… pray for strength and gird ourselves with the armor of God…if we are to endure. Likewise, Luke’s verse 11 also depicts God’s divine judgement upon the earth…similar to that of verses like Deuteronomy 32:24…which says…  They will become weakened by famine and consumed by plague and bitter pestilence; and the teeth of wild animals I will send against them, with the poison of the creeping things in the dust. And in Revelation 16:18…where it also speaks of the divine judgement to come…And there were lightnings and sounds and thunders, and there was a great earthquake, as has not happened from the time humanity has been on the earth—so great in this way was the earthquake. Though apocalyptic on its face, there is something more to be understood by these verses…they indicate, that in the coming judgement, there will, indeed, be punishment in eternal hell…but greater, is the reward of eternal life with our Lord in heaven.

So, Let’s continue now with Luke, verse 12… “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My namesake.” In this verse recorded by Luke, Jesus was foretelling the suffering of His disciples…This is also recorded by Mark in 13:9-13 and paralleled by Matthew…see what Matthew says in his version in Matt.  10:17, 18…“But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

Later on, in other books and scriptures of the bible, it is proven…that what Jesus had prophesied would happen to His disciples…actually came true, including some of them being put to death…For instance, you can find multiple examples of their treatment, in the book of Acts 5:18And they laid hands on the apostles and put them in the public prison. And again, in Acts 5:40 . And they summoned the apostles, beat them, commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and released them.Or how about in Acts chapter 12…where Herod kills James and imprisons Peter…and  then, there’s Stephen…stoned to death while Saul watched with satisfaction…Friends, it was not easy being an Apostle or Disciple of Jesus in the early beginnings of the Church…

Now, as we continue in Luke 21:13-15 where Jesus instructs them on how to address what they are ill-fated to endure…He tells them… “It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.” We see, here, that our Lord is reassuring His disciples…before their sufferings become very real…He is letting them know that they will be given divine help in dealing with their troubles ahead…they will be given the wisdom and words to speak…the divine help He speaks of is that of the Holy Spirit, which they are anointed with, soon  after He ascends into heaven, 40 days following His resurrection. In the next two verses 16 & 17…Jesus continues to warn His disciples of the cruelty they will endure, at the hands of even their closest friends and family…listen to what He tells them…16 “But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death,17 and you will be hated by all because of My name.”

Now, amidst the horrible picture of what is to befall them…Jesus continues to give them hope…and that because of their faith and belief in Him, they will persevere…as He says here in verses 18 & 19  Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.” As our Lord continues with His prophecy, switching back from what is to happen to the disciples, to what is to happen to Jerusalem…see what He says here in verse 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near.

This verse depicts the future fulfillment of Daniels scriptural foretelling of the destruction of Jerusalem…which correlates with other written accounts, such as what Matthew said in Matt. 24:15 So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken about by the prophet Daniel standing in the holy place” (let the one who reads understand). Jesus then goes on to tell them what will continue to happen during the days of vengeance against Jerusalem…that the people must flee to the mountains, for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to the people…that they will fall by the edge of the sword or be taken captive and led away to other nations…that all things that were written will be accomplished…and that Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.Jesus uses the destruction of Jerusalem to come in 70 AD, and the destruction to come at the end of the age, to help typify each other.  But, here in this part of Luke’s gospel, Luke seems to be focusing primarily on the sooner destruction of Jerusalem…whereas Matthew and Mark seem to focus there’s primarily on the future end of the age, and the second coming of Christ…For instance, see what Matthew says in Matt. 24:3 And as he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came up to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

However, Luke now references the signs and things that will appear before the coming of the Son of Man, as he quotes our Lord in Luke 21: 25, 26, & 27…There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.”  Mark echoes what Luke repeated that Jesus said about the coming Judgement, and puts it this way in Mark 13:26  And then they will see the Son of Man arriving in the clouds with great power and glory.

My friends, while the destruction of Jerusalem must have been terrible and frightening…the destruction and the second coming of our Lord, will most certainly be on a scale never before envisioned or experienced.Though written for an early generation, where some of them were around when the destruction of Jerusalem took place, it should be pointed out, that the gospels depicting these events were also written for a later generation present today.That being said, in Luke’s last verse of this sermon, Jesus again gives hope to those who listen and pay attention…when He says in verse 28…“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Also, its remindful of what is said in Psalms 60:1-2 Arise, shine! For your light has come, and the glory of Yahweh has risen on you. For look! darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples, but Yahweh will rise on you, and his glory will appear over you.

Brothers and Sisters…yes, we know their will be great tribulation in the end times…but just as it says in the scriptures…our redemption draws near and the light and glory of God shines upon us.  But I would remind you, that we are to pay attention and be watchful…strive to live as our Lord Jesus Christ would have us…be fruitful in our faith and be a light to others in darkness.There are many signs today, that the end of times are certainly marching towards us…nations upon nations, cities in turmoil, people worshiping idols and trying to take God away from us…but as scripture tells us, these are but the “birth pangs”…and we are to lift our heads because our redemption draws near as we joyfully welcome our redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Let’s close in a word or prayer:

Loving, Father in Heaven, we thank You for the many gracious gifts You bestow upon us…the life You have breathed into us…the earth we walk on…and the heart to love one another…we glorify You and offer our praise to You…we humbly ask Your forgiveness for the wrongs we commit against others, as we forgive them…Father, we ask for the wisdom to understand Your word and the strength to live by Your Commandments…we ask that You have mercy on those that are suffering…help us to humbly serve those in need of Your gospel…and let us be a light to others on Your path of righteousness…we pray these things, Father, in the name of Your Son…our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.   AMEN

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