SIGNS OF THE LAST DAYS
DECEIVING TEACHERS – Vss. 5-6
DEPRESSING NEWS – Vss. 7-8
DEPLORABLE TREATMENT – Vss. 9, 12-13
DELIGHTFUL EVANGELISM – Vs. 10
DEPENDABLE HELP – Vs. 11
DECISIVE INDICATION – Vs. 14
THE WORD FOR A NEW YEAR
The old year is over. The New Year is here.
I feel that you and I need a word for the New Year
We need a word to live by as Christians that will help us and keep us focused no matter what happens in this current year.
The word that God has led me to for this new year is a word that Jesus Himself used. It is a word, a command that Jesus used. It is the word, “watch”!
Mark 13:32-37 - But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
Jesus makes it very clear. He is speaking to all, especially all of His followers or disciples. And He says “watch”!
When Jesus gives these words He is completing what is known as “The Olivet Discourse”. Jesus was answering the disciples’ questions about future events, and in light of these future events he is telling them to “watch”.
The event that Christians, including you and I, should watch for is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the resurrection of all believers from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18:
In Mark 13:32 Jesus tells us that no man knows the day or the hour when the events described in the Olivet Discourse will be fulfilled. This means that no man knows the day or the hour when Jesus is returning for us. It could be anytime.
The word Jesus gives us in light of His coming is “WATCH!”
Using this passage and a couple of others, I want to suggest to you that there are at least three ways that we should be watching for the coming of the Lord Jesus.
Vs. 34 – Jesus gives an illustration.
A man is taking a long journey.
He gives to various members of the household different responsibilities. He tells them what to do while he is gone.
He tells the porter to watch.
The porter was the door keeper. While the other members of the household were also to watch for the return of their master by going about their business, it was the job of the porter to be awake and looking for the return of the Master, so He could alert the others.
The church today is like the household in the story.
Our Master is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before He left to go on His long journey to Heaven he gave instructions to the church. Matthew 28:18-20.
The Epistles give us even further instruction. God has intended that each Christian, after coming to Christ, live a life patterned in good works. Ephesians 2:10
God also has given each of us abilities or spiritual gifts that are to be used to further His kingdom.
1 Peter 4:10-11
So Jesus has gone away. He has given us jobs to do.
And as we do the jobs He’s given us to do, we are to do them as if Jesus were coming back soon, even today!
Vs. 35 – Jesus says, “You watch, for you don’t know when I’m coming.”
The watch Jesus talks about is to be a persistent one.
We don’t know when He is coming, but we should be about His business, doing what Jesus has told us to do.
Vs. 36 – It will be a tragedy if Jesus catches us “napping” when he comes.
This napping or sleeping needn’t be thought of as literal.
· If we are caught up in our own pleasures when Jesus comes we will be napping.
· If we are worrying about our own well being when Jesus comes we will be napping.
· If we are delaying serving the Lord Jesus when He comes, thinking we have plenty of time, we will be napping.
· If we are concentrating on our business, our families, our comforts when Jesus comes, we will be napping.
When Jesus comes, I shouldn’t really be surprised. I should be expecting Him!
I should be expecting Him, because He told me to watch for His coming!
Mark 13:37 - And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
So, what you do today should be based on the fact that you believe that Jesus could come today. And because Jesus could come today, you should be about His business.
Actually, that’s why God delays the coming of Jesus, so that we can accomplish more of His work.
2 Peter 3:8-9
Turn please to Titus 2:11-13.
When someone is perceptive they know what’s going on.
They sense things. They understand things.
As we watch for the coming of the Lord Jesus in 2005, we are to watch perceptively.
Titus 2:11 - For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
The grace of God has appeared unto all men, to all types of people.
The grace of God is God’s unmerited favor.
You don’t deserve forgiveness for your sins or a place in Heaven.
You don’t deserve to be a child of God.
But if you have turned to Jesus Christ, believing that He died for your sins, and trusting Him for forgiveness and eternal life, the grace of God has touched you.
If you have put your faith in Christ then the grace of God is at work in your life.
Among other things, the grace of God teaches us to be perceptive.
Titus 2:12 - Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
God’s grace not only saves us, but it teaches us.
First of all, it teaches us to deny ungodliness.
What is ungodliness?
Ungodliness is anything that God wouldn’t do Himself.
It is anything that is not fitting or true of God.
Ungodliness is also anything that we do without God.
If what I am doing is not dependent upon God or approved by God, it is ungodly!
How do I go about denying ungodliness?
I deny ungodliness by staying close to Jesus!
John 15:4-5 - Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
I am not only to deny ungodliness, but I am to deny worldly lusts or desires. These are basically anything that I do to excess.
How do I deny worldly lusts?
I deny worldly lusts by allowing God’s Holy Spirit to control me.
Galatians 5:16 - This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
The grace of God not only teaches us to deny ungodliness and world lusts. It also teaches us to live soberly.
To be sober is to be serious.
If we live soberly we will live seriously. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have a sense of humor.
It means that we will take our commitment to God seriously.
The serious Christian lives seriously practicing the things of God on a continual basis.
Sunday Morning attendance is only one part of the bigger commitment to Christ that includes a daily walk with Him!
Not only are we to live soberly, but righteously and Godly.
Our activities should be right in the eyes of God.
Our activities should be the things that God would do if he were in our situation!
So why does the grace of God teach us the way it does?
Titus 2:12-13 - Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
If we truly live lives that deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and that are serious, righteous and godly, we will also be perceptive enough to be looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ!
The “blessed hope” and “the glorious appearing” are one and the same!
The one who is looking for the wonderful coming of the Lord Jesus will be perceptive to live as if He is coming back at any moment.
If you expect company, you clean up the house.
If you expect Jesus, you clean up your life and keep it clean on a daily basis. You look forward to His coming, so you live as if he is coming.
Let’s go back to Mark 13 for a moment.
Mark 13:32-33 - But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
Watching and praying go together!
Jesus commanded it here. It is also commanded in the Epistles.
Colossians 4:2 - Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
1 Peter 4:7 - But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
Why do watching and praying go together?
· Praying helps us have victory over temptation.
· Praying keeps us Spiritually sharp.
· Praying accomplishes God’s purposes before Jesus returns. John 14:13-14 says, And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
· God doesn’t want anyone to perish, so we are instructed to pray. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
The Word for 2005 is “watch”!