I THESSALONIANS 4: 13-18

This year in 2013, let us serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to strive for I Corinthians 10:31:  “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Did you ever stop and consider the enormity of this exciting statement?  Would you agree with me that it is another way of saying “God I adore you!”  Wow, how awesome, how impressive it would be if we all worked at achieving that on a daily basis in 2013.  Boy if we are living like that when the Lord returns we will hear “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

Today we will examine several compelling reasons why Christ is coming back very soon. The evidence  for the soon return of our Lord and Savior is overwhelming.  Several scholars will give you multiple reasons why His return is soon. One even lists 167 converging clues in just the last few years.  Today we are considering just a few.  Let’s consider some:

I.  ISRAEL’S REBIRTH

Our Lord prophesied that the Jews were to be scattered during the Jewish-Roman war at A.D. 70.  Listen to Him:  “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near…And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations.  And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  (Luke 21: 20,24)

The Scriptures also prophesied that prior to Christ’s return, the nation of Israel will be miraculously reborn…it happened on May 14 1948.  Israel has been called “God’s time clock.”  God’s time clock is real and all we have to do is listen to Scripture:  “But when the fullness of the time had come redeem those who were under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”  (Galatians 4: 4-5)

A second reason we might consider is the:

II.  PLUMMETING MORALITY

In Paul’s final epistle addressed to Timothy, he gives a detailed revelation concerning the extent or departure from God’s Truth.  The doctrinal term is “Apostasy” or departure from Christ in the latter times.

Studies have looked at the morality of the world during the last half of the last century.  What they have found is a plummeting morality. Listen again to Scripture:  “But KNOW this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanders, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.  Having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!”  (II Timothy 3:1-5)

In this detailed analysis of the wickedness of the human heart, Paul was referring, of course, to those who were unsaved, who may have a form of religion but turn away from it to manifest their true character.

Apostasy, of course, was already present in the time that Paul lived, but with the progress of the present age, in spite of the dissemination of God’s truth and the availability of Scripture,  the world undoubtedly will continue to follow the sinful description which the Apostle Paul gave here.

Paul gave further description of the character of the apostates, [vv. 6-9]  “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.  But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.”

III. THERE WILL BE FAMINES, VIOLENCE AND WARS

Jesus said the signs before His return would come as intensifying birth pangs, seeing increased famines, violence and wars, a clear picture of our planet.  (Matthew 24: 6-8)

POVERTY

A new global hunger index released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows that some one billion people have faced hunger this year so far.

One group estimates that almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes – one child every five seconds.  In America it is estimated that there are 5.1 million kids – 43.6% – are at the poverty threshold.

WARS

If I gave you a quiz that asked:  “How many current conflicts are there that America is involved in “What would be your answer? 2, 3, 10, 20?”

Answer:  If you count all current conflicts where conflicts where hostilities are still present, and conflicts that have ceased hostilities but are still unresolved there are approximately 41.

This includes the obvious conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as conflicts like the Korean war that have ceased fires in place but are still unresolved and the 2 sides stare at each other over a gun barrel. [Answers.com]

VIOLENCE

Violence is epidemic.  A study of wars since 500 B.C. shows a recent dramatic increase.  More that 100 conflicts have erupted since 1990, about twice the number for previous decades.

IV.  INCREASE IN EARTHQUAKES

The USGS estimates that several million earthquakes occur in the world each year.  Many go undetected because they hit remote areas or have very small magnitudes.  The NEIC now locates about 50 earthquakes each day, or about 20,000 a year.

As more and more seismographs are installed in the world, more earthquakes can be and have been located.  However, the number of large earthquakes (magnitude 6.0 and greater) has stayed relatively constant.

Starting in January 2009, the USGS National Earthquake Information Center no longer locates earthquakes smaller than magnitude 4.5 outside the United States, unless we receive specific information that the earthquake was felt or caused damage.

V.  EXPLOSION OF TRAVEL AND EDUCATION

The two prophecies – Daniel 12:4 “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end:  many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

After reading this passage many years ago, the great scientist ( and Christian), Sir Isaac Newton, is reported to have said:

“Personally I cannot help but believe that these words refer to the end of times.  Men will travel from country to country in an unprecedented manner.  There may be some inventions which will enable people to travel much more quickly than they do now.”

This was written around A.D. 1680.  Newton went on the speculate that this speed might actually exceed fifty m.p.h.  Some eighty years later, the famous French atheist, Voltaire, read Newton’s words and retorted:

“See what a fool Christianity makes of an  otherwise brilliant man!  Here a scientist like Newton actually writes that men may travel at the rate of 30 or 40 m.p.h.  Has he forgotten that if a man would travel at this rate he would be suffocated?  His heart would stand still.”

One wonders what Voltaire would have said had he known that some two centuries after he wrote this,  an American astronaut, Edward H. White on June 3, 1965 would climb out of a space craft a hundred miles in the sky and casually walk across the continental United States in less than fifteen minutes, strolling along at 17,500 m.p.h.?

Or that during the moon landings,  man exceeded a speed some twelve times faster than a twenty-two-caliber rifle bullet travels.

In this same prophecy Daniel predicted an intensification of knowledge.  Our county is just over two hundred years old.  Yet, during this time we have developed the public educational system from absolutely nothing to its present level.  We now have over 60 million students in America alone, attending some 72,000 public elementary schools, 27,000 secondary schools, and 1200 colleges and universities.  Each year we spend 36 million dollars to finance all of this.

VI.  EXPLOSIONS OF CULTS AND THE OCCULT

Counterfeit spirituality is everywhere with cults and false Christs (Matthew 24:24), psychic phenomena, spiritism, Satan worship, witchcraft, nature worship and the New Age movement (I Timothy 4:1)

VII. THE NEW WORLD ORDER

Increased centralization of world financial and political power is a prelude to the soon-coming world power system in the hands of the “Antichrist,” who will be the incarnation of Satan and who wil deceive most of the world.  (Daniel 7-12; Matthew 24: 15; Revelation 13)

Beware of the “mark of the beast.”

VIII. INCREASE IN BOTH APOSTASY AND FAITH

The Bible predicts in the last days, “A form of godliness, although they have denied its power.”  (2 Timothy 3:5)

Today, many churches deny the eternal truths of Scripture and power of the Holy Spirit, replacing them with ungodly, temporal and “politically correct” values.

When Christ Returns

Jesus will return to claim His own

The exact day we do not know

Ready your heart and be prepared

If you plan to go

Jesus shed his blood and died for your sins

Repent and be among the saved

For those left after the rapture

The outlook will be grave

Your ticket to heaven was paid by Christ

God’s most perfect love

And when the trumpet sounds, believers on the ground

Will rise with Jesus above.

(M. Zegilla)