“WATCH!” – sounds like another time-ly message! (Mark 13)
October 28, 2018 10:30 AM
Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor
TODAY’S “SPECIAL”: “What would Jesus DRIVE?”
One theory is that Jesus would ride around in an old Plymouth because the Bible says, “God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury.”
But in Psalm 83, the Almighty clearly owns a Pontiac and a Geo. The passage urges the Lord to “pursue your enemies with your Tempest and terrify them with your Storm.”
Perhaps God favors Dodge pickup trucks, because Moses’ followers are warned not to go up a mountain “until the Ram’s horn sounds a long blast.”
Meanwhile, Moses rode an old British motorcycle, as evidenced by a Bible passage declaring that “the roar of Moses’ Triumph is heard in the hills.”
Joshua drove a sports car with a hole in its muffler, “Joshua’s Triumph was heard throughout the land.”
And, following the Master’s lead, the Apostles car pooled in a Honda: “The Apostles were in one Accord.”
This is a most amazing chapter of Scripture, not so much because of its content – but rather, because of its timing. The Savior – and we – know what is coming in chapters 14 and 15. The cross.
And yet in that scenario, our Savior graciously listens to His disciples ask the question of the ages: when is the timing of the coming of the end of the age?
And He answers as only He could. PRAYER
# 1. WATCH OUT! (v. 5)
A. Our Savior wears several hats!
The Bible says that the Messiah holds at least 3 offices at one time. He did not have to campaign for them. He did not have to run a race. They are His by virtue of His deity and His Messiahship.
He is a Priest – in fact, both the Old and New Testaments say that He is a “priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Ps. 110:1; Hebrews 7). The NT says that He is ever making intercession for us before the Father. Wow. He is our High Priest. This is an unusual title. The earthly high priests had to go into the holy of holies (where the ark was) once a year to offer a payment for sins – not only for the nation of Israel but also for his own. The Bible says that after the cross, the Savior went into the heavenly temple with an offering – not for His own sin, but for the sins of the world. And He only had to do it once – for His offering was the body broken and the blood shed at the cross. What a great High Priest we worship. The Book of Hebrews should be familiar to you.
He is a King! We know that at His trial before Pilate, the Roman condemnation was that He was, as it were, usurping the kingship of the Roman Emperor. But to Pilate’s question, “do you want me to crucify the King of the Jews?”, the crowd yelled back, “we have no king but Caesar.” But Revelation 19:16 tells us that one day all of eternity will be worshipping and extolling Him as King of kings and Lord of lords.”
And He is a Prophet! Just like your pastor! Well, sort of – and no disrespect is intended here. The office of prophet is two-fold. He proclaims God’s Word – and that is what your pastor does. Scholars say that the prophet “forth-tells”. But the prophet in Biblical times also tells the future. You got it – he “fore-tells”. Our Savior is an eternal Prophet! He not only gave forth God’s Word but He also foretold future events.
B. The disciples were curious about future events (vs. 1-27)
(1) Perhaps the disciples were overwhelmed with several thoughts. First of all, the Savior had just overwhelmed the money changers and other abusers of the true worship intended in His “house of prayer”. Perhaps they remembered His words, “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” So they tried to impress Him with the magnitude of the temple and its buildings.
(2) Our Savior showed them His prophet office. He told them that these stones were going to come down. In fact, in 70ad, they indeed did. Historians tell us the stones were literally crushed to the point that a horse could easily walk over the crushed stone. And remember, some of those stones were 40 feet thick.
You and I know that the only thing left of that temple is what the Jews reverently call “the wailing wall” – the wall where they offer prayers for their nation. They often put their prayers on paper and insert them in the cracks in the wall. That is true reverence for their building.
(3). But then the disciples asked Him about future events (v. 4). They wanted to know the “when”. Does Jesus answer their question? Perhaps this – and the passages in Matthew and Luke – have been royally misquoted, and thus mis-interpreted. Note His warnings:
(a). Many false Christs (v. 6) Jim Jones probably was one of those. The “Rev.” Sun Young Moon was probably another one. 1 John says there will be many false Christs before the Messiah comes. All of history has known many false Christs.
(b). Wars, rumors of wars (vs. 7ff). We all pick up on this. Yet we don’t remember that theologians at the time thought that World War 1 (not known as “1” back then, because the world didn’t know there would be MORE world wars!) was the war to usher in the kingdom. It wasn’t – and neither has any other war.
(c). Earthquakes, famines (v. 8b) Here we go! There are more of these now then ever. But what does the Savior say? That these are merely the BEGINNING of birth pains. I’ve never given birth to a human baby – some of you have. And apparently birth pains are not the birth of the child – they are but the beginning! And so are earthquakes and famines.
(d). Persecutions! (v. 9ff). I like this passage – it has great meaning to me personally, for two reasons. First, it tells that when you are being tried for your faith – DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SAY! Don’t even think in advance! The Holy Spirit will give you what HE wants you to say. Wow again! And second, it tells that throughout Christian history, there will be martyrs for the faith. I personally have known one – Tim Van Dyke – a New Tribes Missionary who was martyred in the 1990’s (I believe 1993 or so) by rebels in Colombia where he faithfully served. The reports are that he tried to lead his captors to Christ right up to the day he and his fellow captor were killed. Persecutions.
C. But did you notice the warnings!
“WATCH OUT!” (v. 5) The phrase literally means, “Look out! Beware! Open your eyes to a dangerous situation!”, as per Pastor Stedman’s Greek interpretation. What is the Savior saying? He is saying this: He is not so concerned with the so-called OUTWARD signs of the environment and nations. He is concerned about the INWARD sign of our worship, our steadfastness for Him until the day He takes us home or until when He returns. Note v. 13: “he who stands firm until the end shall be saved.” This is an holy perseverance, never giving up the faith, focusing on Jesus even when circumstances of the world make it hard.
There are other warnings in this passage, but let’s go on to the second “watch”.
#2. WATCH! (v. 37)
This word – and its use – is slightly different than the first watch of v. 5. This has the idea of the undying focus. The Savior gives two illustrations to make His point:
A. The fig tree (vs. 28 ff). By now we are quite familiar with His use of the fig tree. He has referred the tree to represent the nation of Israel. And here He is talking about the reality that we know when a fig tree is ripening – because the summer has come! His point is this: just as we can be sure that the summer is going to come and the fig tree will ripen, so we can be sure that God’s Word will be fulfilled. Every word. Have an undying focus that God’s word is going to be fulfilled. That should encourage us to get in the word!
B. The man going away (vs. 32ff) This, too, should have reminded the disciples of His parable of the Owner Who has given stewardship over the earth. Those stewards are to WATCH! They are to have an undying focus for the Owner’s return. They are to be occupied. They are to live in such a way that the Owner would be pleased with their stewardship of all He left them with.
Compared to some of you, I’ve only been here a brief time. But even in these years, I’ve seen several that have lost focused of the Savior. They have settled for earthly things. And the Savior, His Word and His church were no longer priorities in their lives. Now that is sad!
This indeed is a TIME-LY message! Pun intended! We are to watch out! We are to beware the dangerous situations which would cause us to deviate from our faith. And we are to watch! We are to be on alert for the Savior’s return, and so live that our lives will be pleasing to Him when He arrives.
How is your watching today?
Close in prayer