The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
E. L. Bynum
Read Matthew 24:44-25:13
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 24:44)
There are many Scriptures that teach us that Jesus Christ is coming again. Many Christians say that they are looking for His coming, however the majority of them are not really ready for His coming. It is our prayer that this message will cause those who read it, to seek to be ready for His coming.
I. THE PROMISES OF HIS COMING.
While there are many promises of the Second Coming of Christ, we shall mention only a few.
1. Jesus promised that He would come again. John 14:1-3, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
How can anyone deny the Second Coming of Christ, without calling Jesus a liar? He plainly said, I will come again.
2. The angelic messengers promised that He would come again. When our Lord went back to the Heavenly Father, after His death and resurrection, two men stood by in white apparel. They had a wonderful message for the disciples. Acts 1:9-11, And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
3. Paul promised that Jesus would come again. The beloved Apostle had much to say about the Second Coming of Christ. He mentions this event in every chapter of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. I Thess. 4:13-18, But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
The above passage of Scriptures clearly reveals to us what is going to take place when Jesus comes for His own. Please note that no mention of the lost is made in this passage. This describes the dead in Christ, and the living Christians, who will be changed and go up to meet the Lord in the air. The unsaved dead will remain in their graves for more than 1,000 years, before they will be resurrected. The unsaved living will enter the 7-year tribulation, and be under the reign of Antichrist.
This is why we believe in the premillennial, pretribulation Second Coming of the Lord. Many false teachers are making an all out effort to destroy this doctrine, but they shall not succeed. It is taught in the Word of God, and therefore it will stand forever.
II. THE PORTENTS (Signs) OF HIS COMING.
When we speak of the signs of His Coming, we do not mean that we can set a date for this event. We simply mean that certain events that are prophesied to take place in the last days are beginning to come to pass.
1. A falling away will happen before His coming. II Thess. 2:3, Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. Surely no one can deny that we are in the midst of a great apostasy today. Multitudes are falling away from the truth of God's Word. Religious leaders are denying the fundamental truths of the Bible. Many examples of this could be given.
2. A departure from the faith...before His coming. I Tim. 4:1, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. One cannot depart from the faith, without first professing the faith which was first delivered to the saints. Almost daily we hear of men who once proclaimed the truth, who now deny what they once preached.
3. A time when they will not endure sound doctrine, before His coming. II Tim. 4:3-4, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. Cults, Charismatics and other promoters of false doctrine are often growing by leaps and bounds. Cults offer error, and very little truth, but multitudes are flocking to them.
The Charismatic movement (generic pentecostalism), is one of the religious phenomenons of our generation. It has nothing to offer but a mixture of psychology and emotionalism, but they are drawing large crowds across America. They dominate the religious television broadcasting industry. They largely control the Promise Keepers movement, which is drawing huge numbers of men from all denominations. Many who are leaving the dead modernistic denominations, are now flocking to the Charismatics. They have excitement and emotionalism, but they have little more truth than they had in the liberal Protestant churches. These people will not endure sound doctrine. They literally turn away their ears from the truth. They are being turned unto fables.
The Christian psychology movement is being used to turn many away from the truth. Christian (?) psychology is deeply imbedded in the teaching of John McArthur, Bill Gothard, Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels, Lee Strobel, Chuck Swindoll, and many, many others. Yet, they attract large crowds, and some of them have large radio and TV ministries. People are turning away from the truth, and are being led into fables. John McArthur's teaching on the blood of Christ is nothing short of pure heresy, but multitudes follow him. Unfortunately the doctrines of these men are now being brought into Independent Fundamental Baptist churches. It is pure poison, but many are drinking it as if it was the water of life.
Billy Graham continues to attract large crowds in his crusades. He has done more to break down the barriers between truth and error, than any man in the 20th Century. He consorts with the Pope and Catholic leaders. He sends so-called converts back to the Roman Catholic Church. He allows Catholic nuns to counsel those who come forward in his meetings. Yet, many evangelicals and fundamentalists still support his meetings. Truly men are unwilling to endure sound doctrine.
4. Perilous times will come before His coming. II Tim. 3:1-7, This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
How can anyone read the above passage of Scripture, and not believe that we are living in the last days? Perilous times are so evident, that it seems foolish to even argue the point. Lover of their own selves, is an apt description of the self-esteem, self-love movement of our day. It is being taught as a doctrine of truth, when it is a doctrine of error. The covetous, the boasters, the proud, and the blasphemers are everywhere to be found.
The children who are disobedient to parents are increasing in number every day. Discipline in the home and school is a lost art. It might damage their self esteem. Many are without natural affection. Mothers that murder their babies through abortion are without natural affection. Parents that go off seeking pleasure, while their children are left alone, are without natural affection. Homosexuals and Lesbians are without natural affection. We are truly living in a perverse world.
We do not have to look far to find those who are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Pleasure is the principal thing for many. All sorts of pleasures are pursued to gratify the desires of the flesh. Where are the lovers of God? God is not given His proper place and worship. Man wants God to be 2nd, 3rd, or 10th. I have news for you, God is not going to play 2nd fiddle in anyone's band. Every kind of pleasure is sought by this generation. Both legitimate and immoral pleasure are promoted as the ultimate answer to the need of man. God is really what man needs, but the poor pleasure seeking fools press on to their ruin.
Much of religion today is only a form of godliness. Devoid of the truth of God, and puffed with Satan's lies, it has become a popular commodity today. This is exactly what is prophesied to take place in the last days, before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We live in an age of education and learning, but what good is it doing us spiritually and morally? Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, is an apt description of this genera tion. There has been much learning, but there is very little knowledge of the truth. There is much more in this text, but space forbids us to go further with this.
Some would say that I am a pessimist, but I am a realist. I see a bright future for the born again children of God. Jesus is coming, and there is victory ahead!!!
5. Return of Israel to their homeland prophesied in the last days. Please read Ezek. 36-37. Ezek. 36:24, For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. They will be hated, and invaded. See this in Ezek. 38-39.
There are many places in the Bible that give us prophesies of the restoration of Israel to their home land. We do not say that this restoration has been completed, or that it will be completed before the rapture of the saints. Since 1948, we have seen the unfolding of the saga of this restoration. Israel is in deep trouble today, and this was prophesied long ago. We do not know how this will all take place, but we are confident that God will restore Israel to their land, and that many of them will turn to Christ in the last days.
6. The building of the Ecumenical Harlot One World Church of Rev. 17. There will be a one world government, a one world religion, and a one world race of people, just like at the Tower of Babel. This will be fulfilled completely after the rapture, but it is already forming. This one world religion is pictured as a woman. Rev. 17:3-5, So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
This Church will be composed of the Roman Catholic Church and her apostate Protestant daughters. Everywhere you turn today, you will find ecumenicalism being promoted. The Catholic Church is promoting it, and so are Promise Keepers. The Protestant liberals have been promoting it for many years. Unfortunately liberal Baptists are moving in that direction. Even the most conservative Southern Baptists are often engaged in these ecumenical activities.
III. THE PREPARATION WE NEED, FOR HIS COMING.
A. You Must Be Converted (saved) To Be Ready.
1. The five foolish virgins of Matt. 25, were not ready.
They took lamps, but no oil. The oil represents the Holy Spirit. Those who are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit are not saved. Rom. 8:9, But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. There are many church members who are just like the five foolish virgins. They are not saved. All they have is an emp ty profession (empty lamp). They have no oil, no light, and no life. When Christ comes for His own, they will be left behind, because they have never been born again.
You will notice that they slept instead of making preparation. There is much apathy today. People are spiritually asleep, and are not looking for His coming.
The five foolish virgins thought they could borrow oil for their lamps. Many men are trying to get by with their wives’ religion. We speak to many about salvation, and when we ask them if they are saved, they start talking about how faithful their father or mother had been in some church. They are trying to go to heaven on a borrowed salvation.
The five foolish ones thought they could get oil at the last minute. People tend to think that they have plenty of time. Some are planning to be saved on their death beds, but most of these will end up in hell.
These foolish ones thought they could get in when they desired. Little did they realize that they could not come to the Lord at all, without the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Multitudes of church members are going to be surprised, when they find out that church membership is not a ticket to heaven.
What a sad day it will be for many, when they face the Lord unprepared. Matt. 7:21-23, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
2. See how it was in Noah's day. Matt 24:37-39, But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the com ing of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. They continued on with their sinful busy ways until it was too late. Sinners have plenty of time for eating, drinking and marrying, but they have no time to prepare to meet God.
3. Remember Lot's wife. Luke 17:32, Remember Lot's wife. She represents those who will not be ready for the coming of the Lord. She had been exposed to the faith of Abraham, but it did not change her. Even her husband was a believer (backslidden), but she had no heart for God. Her love and interests were in Sodom, and not in the things of God. In our day, there are those who have good religious connections through relatives, but their own hearts are given over to the sinful things of this world. They will not be ready for His coming.
B. Your Conduct Must Be Proper to be Ready.
1. Some will be living in sin. Luke 21:34-36, And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
2. Some will take advantage of the Lord's absence. Matt. 24:48-51, But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
3. The 2nd Coming of Christ is a purifying hope. I John 3:2-3, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. I Thess. 3:12-13, And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Those who believe that Christ could come for His people at any time, should be living separated, dedicated lives. This doctrine, if truly believed, will cause us to be a holy people.
4. Some will be ashamed at His coming. I John 2:28, And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. Christians who are caught with their hand in the cookie jar, will be ashamed when they have to face Him. Christians get your life right with God, so you will not be ashamed when He comes.
C. To Be Ready, Your Work Must be Complete.
1. Every Christian has assigned work. Mark 13:34-37, 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 com manded 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. His house, is the local church, and every Christian ought to be a member of one. This is where we ought to be serving and working for Him.
If you doubt that the local church is the house of God, read the following scripture. I Tim. 3:15, But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
2. Jesus gave His work assignment to the church and its people. Matt. 28:18-20, And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. If we are not a part of a New Testament Baptist Church, and helping to carry out this command of our Lord, then we are not ready for His coming.
3. You can see this principle in the parable of the talents in Matt. 25:14-30. We need to pay careful attention to Matt. 25:24-26. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed. Christians who are not using their money, time, opportunities, and God given talent, are not really ready for the coming of Christ.
If you ever missed a homework assignment in school, you found out that it was no fun to face the teacher, and it didn't help your grades. I can remember some sad times when I neglected to do some work that my dad assigned for me to do. How I hated to see him return. I knew that when he did, I would have to face the music.
D. You Are Not Ready If Your Loved Ones Are Unsaved.
1. Noah built an ark to the saving of his house. Heb. 11:7, By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Noah's faith was a faith that worked. It was a saving faith. He was saved, and his family was saved. Christians should never be content to see their loved ones in a lost condition. Those unsaved loved ones will be left behind at the rapture. This will mean that they will go to hell for eternity. By prayer, and by witnessing to them, we can see them saved.
2. Lot lost his wife, his daughters, his sons-in-laws. He did not reach his family. Even though he was a righteous man, he did not live a separated consecrated life for God. (II Pet. 2:7-8). He built no altar, and he never taught his family to practice separated living. His daughters that married, married lost men. A lot of people are like Lot and their family members are unsaved.
3. What a day of separation that will be. Matt. 24:40-41, Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Luke 17:34, I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Only the dead in Christ, and the living Christians will go up to meet the Lord in the air. The rest will be left for the tribulation and the Antichrist.
Saved people sometimes have the sad experience of losing their husband, wife, or child through death. This is a sad experience, but we know that the separation is not eternal. We know that our loved one has gone on to be with the Lord. It will be different at the rapture. The unsaved loved ones that are left behind will be lost for all eternity. Hell will be their eternal home.
In spite of all of this, many Christians seem unconcerned about their lost mates and their lost children. Many profess to be saved, and yet they do not even know whether their loved ones are saved or lost. Such people need to examine their own spiritual condition, for they very well may be lost themselves.
What is your excuse for not witnessing to your loved ones? Some people say that they cannot witness, because they do not know what to say. If you were driving by a loved one’s house and it was on fire, and they were on the inside. Would you just drive on by because you didn't know what to say? After all, this is your first experience with such a thing. You have never had any training in such things, so you shouldn't be expected to do anything. Wrong!
You hear on the radio that a tornado is headed toward the community where a friend, neighbor, or relative lives. Would you use the excuse of inexperience, timidity, or lack of training, for not trying to warn them? No, you would not!
Something worse than a house fire or tornado is headed toward your lost loved ones. God is going to judge sinners, and they will face His wrath. Hell awaits those who are outside of Christ, and we should pray, plead, and witness to them. While we cannot save them ourselves, we know the God who can save them. Let us never be ashamed of the gospel. Rom. 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
When Oliver Cromwell was ruling over England, there was a young soldier who was condemned to die. The sentence was to be carried out the next day at the time of the ringing of the bell in the great cathedral. When the man began to pull the bell rope, he could only hear a dull thud, and the bell did not ring.
Others assisted him in tugging on the rope, but still only the dull thud was heard. When they climbed up in the bell tower, they found a young woman with her arms, legs and body wrapped around the great clapper of the bell so that it could not ring. When they pulled her bruised and bleeding body away from the bell, they found that she was the sweetheart of the young soldier. This so touched the heart of Cromwell that he pardoned the young soldier. Later the young couple were happily married.
People today need to be that interested in the salvation of their loved ones.
Are you ready for the Second Coming of Christ?