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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Adrian Rogers » Adrian Rogers - Signs of the Times

Adrian Rogers - Signs of the Times

Adrian Rogers - Signs of the Times
TOPICS: Remembering Tomorrow, End times

Would you take God's Word and find Matthew chapter 24. We've been thinking in these days about end time prophesy and the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now let me tell you something folks, we're not talking about something that is incidental. We're talking about a major doctrine in the Word of God. In the Old Testament, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is mentioned 1,200 times, and in the New Testament there are over 300 direct prophesies that deal with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Now if the Bible puts that emphasis upon end time prophesy and His coming, so should we. Now, we live in a world that wants to know the future and man has always had an intense desire to prophesy and to look into the future and so we have all kinds of so-called clairvoyants and soothsayers and prognosticators and astrologists and all of these who portend to tell the future; but they make some colossal mistakes. The only book that bats one thousand is the Word of God. The Bible says in Second Peter chapter 1 verse 19, "We have a more sure word of prophecy". And I want to say about the Bible: many times people say the Bible is up to date. Friend, the Bible is ahead of time, more than up to date, more than does it fit in with today's headlines, it fits in with tomorrow's headlines, when they have not yet even been written.

One of the great chapters on prophecy is Matthew chapter 24. Let's look in verse 1, "And Jesus went out and departed from the Temple. And His disciples came to Him for to show Him the building," or, "the buildings of the Temple". Now the Temple was a magnificent structure. An ancient historian who's name was Josephus said that, "The Temple sat there on the mountain like a mountain of snow itself". It was indescribably wonderful and beautiful. But why all of this attention concerning the Temple? Because in the prior chapter, chapter 23 and verse 38, Jesus had said that temple would be destroyed. And Jesus said in Matthew 24 verse 2, "Not one stone would be left upon another".

Now Jesus was prophesying what the Romans would do 40 years later. Titus, the Roman General came, surrounded Jerusalem with armies in order to starve out the Jews that were there inside Jerusalem. But it would have been an unthinkable thing for Titus to have destroyed that Temple because the Romans were not destroyers of temples; they were preservers of temples. And Josephus tells us that Pilate had given orders that the temple was not to be burned, not to be destroyed. And yet Jesus had said, "Not one stone would be left upon another".

I want to tell you something folks, it did not seem reasonable that the Temple would be destroyed, that's the reason we need to learn to live by revelation and not by reason. Because what happened is this. During the warfare, somebody shot a flaming arrow, or something, into the temple and the temple caught on fire. It was done inadvertently, but the Temple burned and as it burned, the timbers and so forth caved in upon themselves and left a charred ruin. Now you know that the temple, parts of it, were overlaid with gold and there were all kinds of treasures on the inside. And in the succeeding days and months and even years people wanting to loot and to find the gold in that temple got their great pry bars and began to pry the stones apart one from another, and when they were finished, not one stone was left upon another; exactly as Jesus had said.

So, the disciples have come out to Jesus and said, "Lord Jesus, look at this temple". That's verse 1, "And Jesus said unto them, 'See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.'" That's Matthew 24 verse 2. If you were to visit Jerusalem today, and go to the temple mount you would say, "Yes Lord, You were exactly, precisely, right". You can visit the ruins of other temples and they're still there. But not the ruin of this temple, not one stone is left upon another. Read in Matthew 24 verse 3, "And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives the disciples came unto Him privately saying, 'Tell us when shall these things be?'" That is, when will the temple be destroyed? "'And what shall be the sign of Thy coming?'"

Now the word for coming there is parousia and it literally means, "What is the sign when, Lord Jesus, You are going to take over". The word parousia means to take over, to be present, to rule, to reign, as a king. "When, Lord, are You going to take Your rightful kingdom"? And then they asked the question, "And what will be the end of the world"? Now when He says, "The end of the world," and, "Of the end of the world," the word for world there literally means age; it's the Greek word that we get our English word eon from. And so they're not talking about planet Earth disintegrating, but when is this present age, this dispensation, going to come to an end? "When is the temple going to be destroyed? Lord, Jesus, when are You going to come and rule and reign, and when will this present age end"?

That's the question that they're asking. And if you want to understand the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew you have to understand the setting where they are asking this very important question. Now, the Lord Jesus begins to answer this question. And that's what we're going to do. Jesus gives them the signs of the times: what the age will be like between His first coming and His Second Coming, what we can look for, what will happen and then what will be the convergence of these signs so that we can know that the Lord Jesus Christ, is at the door. Now, let me give you these signs. I'll let them start with the letter D, so you can remember them. Alright?

Number one: deceptions. That's the first sign; deceptions. Look if you will in Matthew 24 verses 4 and 5, "And Jesus answered and said unto them, 'Take heed that no man shall deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, 'I am Christ,' and shall deceive many.'" So, deceivers and deceptions are one of the marks of the last day. Put in your margin, First John chapter 4 verses 1 through 3, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits," that is test the spirits, "whether they are of God. Because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Here by, know ye the Spirit of God, every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God". That is, don't look for another Messiah, don't look for another Christ; the Lord Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. That's the Spirit of God.

Now, notice verse 3, "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God, this is that spirit of antichrist where ever ye have heard that it should come and even now already is it in the world". That is, there are many antichrists already in the world today. As we told you last week, an antichrist means somebody who comes opposing Christ and instead of Christ. The prefix anti, A-N-T-I means instead of and against. It means both of these things at the same time. Now, has this prophecy been fulfilled? And is it being fulfilled? Well, we're told that in our generation, many of you here at least fifty years of age, not all, but many, in the past fifty years, no less than 1,100 significant persons have claimed to be Christ. In the past fifty years, they've claimed to be Christ and the Savior of the world. But Jesus said, "These days will be marked by deceptions and false Christs". And the Bible says, "We are not to believe every spirit". That's why you had better get a lock on the truth that is revealed in God's Word.

Alright, sign number two. Not only are you going to find deceptions, sign number one, but divisions, sign number two. Look in verses Matthew 24 verses 6 and 7 if you will, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, see that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation. And kingdom against kingdom".

Here we're talking about divisions. That is, people down through the centuries will never solve the problem of war. Now suppose that we lived in a world where there were no more wars. Then Jesus would have been proven to be a false prophet. But we have been plagued by the specter of war and as we get toward the end of the age, we see more and more wars in number and intensity. Now let me say that from World War One to this present time at least, there has been, every month, there has been an attempt, since World War One, once a month at least on an average, an attempt to take over the government of some country, either by war or by terrorism, or by political, or economic, or racial, or religious change. Our world is in a state of division.

See what is happening in our world today. You see the spreading terrorism, sky-jackings, you see bombings, you see assassinations, you see sabotage, on every hand. You and I when we go through the airports today, we have to be searched, bodily searched. We have to take everything out of our pockets just to walk through that magnetometer that sees if we are carrying any particular contraband upon us. We see what is happening in the Holy City Jerusalem. It's a fulfillment of prophecy. Zechariah chapter 12 verses 2 and 3, listen to it, "Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about when they should be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. In that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people". Folks, that Scripture is being fulfilled before our very eyes. Go home, get your newspaper and read it. Our Lord says, first of all, there will be deceptions. Secondly, there will be divisions.

Now, here's the third sign. There will be disasters. Look if you will in verses 7 and 8 of this same chapter. The last part of verse 7, "And there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers," or in different, "places". Now our Lord Jesus looked down through the court of time, and the Lord Jesus knew that man with all of his wit and wisdom, with all of his ingenuity, with all of his agricultural know-how, would not be able to solve the food problem. He knew that famines would spread across the Earth. Did you know that today in this so called modern society, we're living in a time of unprecedented famine? This is for two reasons. Reason number one is agriculture itself. We have raped the lands. The top soil is gone and we'll talk about that later on, but a second reason for famine is not agriculture, but war.

Now, he's just talked to us about war. And even where there are places where we have the food stuffs, we cannot get the food stuffs to the people because of the divisions in those countries. And so it's a compounded problem. One well known biologist said this, listen to this quote; it's staggering, he said, "There is not the slightest hope of escaping a disastrous time of famine from this moment onward". He said "There's no hope; it's going to come". He's not a Baptist preacher now. He said, "It is shockingly apparent that the battle to feed man will end in a rout," that is, we'll lose the battle. Not just lose it slowly; it will end in a rout.

Another has said, and I quote, "Planet Earth is no longer a sustainable society. With world population doubling twice in this century, the world's land is being worked so hard for food that one quarter of the top soil is turning sterile or eroding away". Now, that takes us back to sixth chapter of the book of the Revelation. In the sixth chapter of the book of the Revelation, the Bible says, "The day will come when it will take a day's wage to buy a quart of wheat. A day's wage to buy a quart of wheat". Put in there, Revelation chapter 6 and verse 6, and listen to it, "And I heard a voice from the midst of the four beasts say, 'A measure of wheat for a penny and three measures of barley for a penny.'"

Now, a measure of wheat is a little less than a quart. The word penny is a denarius. It was used as a day's wage. And so it would take to buy in the days that are coming, from $80 to $120 to buy a quart of wheat. Now, are we seeing the potentiality for that prophecy being fulfilled? Then Jesus said, not only will there be famines, He also said there would be pestilences. Well, would you think that in the last days that man would be able to solve the matter of pestilences? What is the pestilence that comes to your mind more than anything else? It's AIDS is it not? And that is a pestilence we don't know what to do with. But not only famines, not only pestilences, but earthquakes, Jesus said, would be a part of the signs of His coming and the end of the age. There has been a dramatic increase in earthquakes in the last days.

Now, seismologists, those who measure earthquakes, have explained what is happening by what we call plate tectonics. That is, that the land masses of this Earth are floating on semi molten earth beneath, and these crusts of the Earth, which are seventy miles thick, are resting on this semi molten, seething center of the Earth. And, as these land masses, these plates get close to one anther, there's incredible pressure that's built up underneath and they sit there for only so long, and then they begin to slip. And when they slip, giving way to this pressure, of course, that's an earthquake. And these places where they are joined together are called faults. And when they break lose, it means that not only has there been an earthquake, but more earthquakes are likely to follow.

And seismologist and historians have calculated that megalithic earthquakes have increased over 2,000% since Columbus discovered America. Now, look if you will in Matthew 24 verse 8, Jesus talks about these disasters, and Jesus says, "All of these are the beginnings of sorrows". And the word for sorrows here literally means birth pangs. It's as though Mother Earth is heaving in pain, and our world is pregnant with judgment. And, "These are the beginnings of sorrows".

When you see these things you know that a birth is about to come forth. And now let me mention the next sign. Number four, write down defamation. Look if you will in verse 9 of this same chapter, "And they shall deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake". So He's talking about believers now; those who take the name of the Lord Jesus. They are going to be defamed. Did you know this world has room for almost every religion except that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? The persecution is going to center in the name of Jesus. The world does not mind religion, but it resents Jesus. Because Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by Me".

Did you know in twelve months in World War Two, it is estimated, that more Christians were tortured and slain than died under Rome in all of the early centuries. In just twelve months. Some authorities claim that over 50 million Christians were put to death and slaughtered in Russia, and other communist countries when communism, the red devil of communism was moving as it has. And if you're astute at all, you know that Christian bashing is a favorite sport today, now, in newspapers, radio, and television. This is what Jesus is saying, "You're going to be hated of all people, for My names sake". And the devil now is getting more and more blatant in his persecution of Christians.

A young man was given a skateboard by his granddad. He got this skateboard from a Californian skateboard manufacturer. When they were unpacking the skateboard, a leaflet fell out, looked like a Gospel tract, and the title of the leaflet was, "Let's Make A Deal," and on the front was a smiley faced devil. Talking to someone that he calls Flame Boy, and he is explaining to Flame Boy, this devil is, to what happened when he was banished from Heaven.

Now, this is in a skateboard for kids. Quote, "First of all, they set up a bunch of dumb rules. And then they imposed a really strict dress code. I'll wager that people must be quite bored up there," that's in Heaven, "but hey, that's what they get for being good". And then he says, "Flame Boy, even a dimwit like you can see that Hell is by far the best place to retire. Just look at all the fun to be had". And in this tract was a place for the child to sign his name, a contract, by which he would give possession of his soul to the devil for eternity. Now, can you image a child getting a hold of something like that? Folks, that's what we're up against. Now there will be defamation of Christians. I must move on.

Look at the fifth sign. There will be desertion. Look if you will in Matthew 24 verse 10 now, "And many shall be offended and shall betray one another and shall hate one another". When this persecution begins then true Christians will stand true to the Lord Jesus, and He says in Matthew 10 verse 22, "They that endure to the end will be saved". But many are going to be leaving their churches. Why will they leave? Because they will not be able to stand the heat. Do you know what we have in churches today, churches that are full churches of empty people. People have never committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. And when the persecution begins, they will leave like rats leaving a sinking ship. Because some churches have been filled with a Gospel with no Hell, no judgment, no cross, no repentance, no Lordship, they have become glorified country clubs with steeples on top. And then when this begins they are going to leave. This is what the Lord Jesus said. Look if you will in verse 10, "And many shall be offended and shall betray one another and shall hate one another". There's going to be a contention within the churches. Real unity is in the Lord Jesus. I must leave that point and go on the next.

There will be disinformation. That's the next sign. Number six. Look if you will in Matthew 24 verse 11, "And many false prophets shall rise and deceive many". Now, what's the difference between a false prophet and a false Christ? A false Christ is definitely religious. A false prophet just means somebody who speaks with authority; he will become a philosopher of this day. Now, there's so many strident philosophies and humanistic philosophies that are in the world today. Humanism stresses the rights of mankind. A true prophet stresses the rights of Almighty God. Now, we're up against new age humanism today, and I don't have time to get into that, but, I must hurry now. Disinformation; our world is awash in disinformation with many false prophets who seem and claim to speak with authority.

The next sign; number seven, is depravity. Look if you will in Matthew 24 verse 12, "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold". And when you have these false prophets, who are preaching self-interest rather than the rights of Almighty God, you're going to lose your moral anchor. And we have a generation today that no longer believes in a fixed standard of right and wrong because of these false prophets. And because of that, the moral anchor is gone and they go down, down, down, down, down into a swirling sewer of depravity. For further information, read any newspaper. In Job 15:16, the Bible speaks of man who drinks, "Iniquity like water". And the word iniquity here in the Bible is the word lawlessness. It speaks of violence and the lawlessness that will be a sign of the last days. I wish I had more time for that, but I must move on.

Write down the next sign. And the next sign, the last sign, and I love it. It is declaration; the Gospel will be preached around all of the world. Look if you will in Matthew 24 verses 13 and 14, "But he that shall endure unto the end shall be saved". There will be, listen; there will be faithful people who will believe in the Lord Jesus right on to the end of the age. Listen, "He that endure to the end, the same shall be saved". He's not saying that you're saved because you endure; He's saying that you endure because you're saved. You want to know who the saved people are? Those who endure. And then He says this, "And this Gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in all the world for witness unto all nations". That means, all tribes, all ethny, "And then shall the end come". Now, these other things will exist throughout all of the age, but then He says, "There's coming a special sign at the very end".

This is the last one. This is the 'coup de grace'. This is when the Gospel is being preached around the world. This was impossible in all other ages except our age, and now, it has come to pass in our age. You think about what is happening in this generation, through radio and television, and books, and tapes, and leaflets, and crusades. All of the world has heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not every person, but all nations, all ethny. Around the world, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached. Now, notice what our Lord is saying, our Lord is saying here, "And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come".

Now, ladies and gentleman, what does all of this mean? What does this mean to me? What does this mean to you? Let me tell you what it means. It means first of all, you can trust the Word of God. It means secondly, that Jesus Christ is coming; the end of the age is coming and we'd better bring people to Jesus Christ. Thirdly, it means that those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ ought to be moving one step higher. And God's people said Amen.

Let's bow our heads in prayer. Heads are bowed, eyes are closed. And if you're not saved, today is the day that you need to be saved. If you're saved, begin to pray for those who are not saved. And if you're not certain that you're saved, I want to tell you that the Bible says clearly, plainly, sweetly, sublimely, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved". That word believe doesn't mean mere intellectual belief. The devils believe that way. It means trust. Trust the Lord Jesus. Make Him the Lord and Master of your life. Trust Him and you will be saved. Pray like this:

Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner; I need to be saved. I deserve judgment, but I want mercy. Lord Jesus, You died to save me. You promised to save me, if I would only trust You. I do trust You Lord Jesus, this moment. (Tell Him that.) I do trust You this moment, with all of my heart. Come into my heart. Come in now; right now, and save me. I don't ask for a feeling. I don't look for a sign. I stand on Your Word. I trust You to save me. I receive it by faith. Now, Lord Jesus, help me never to be ashamed of You. I will make this public for Your glory. Amen.

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