Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] Out of love, God warns us, and He says, “You better listen because eventually, time is going to run out.”
The Bible is filled with warning prophecies. Each one of them have come to pass or they will come to pass at just the right time. Here’s a good example. We all know the story of Noah. Noah warned the people for at least 70 years that there was a flood that was coming. Now the people heard it. They thought about it, but they rejected it. And what was the consequence? They died.
Now God gives us warnings as well, but they’re warnings and prophecy to help us that we might live, prophecies for that purpose, hoping and looking to the future. In fact it should lead us to live a different kind of a life, a godly life, a transformed life because God wants the best for us and wants us to submit ourselves to His rule in our life. And so prophecy, think about prophecy for a moment. It certainly warns us about what’s to come. And when God warns us it’s factual, it’s real, and it’s accurate. And so we better wake up and take notice.
Christ Himself wants us to take notice. In fact, during His day, He warned the leadership at that time of those very things. Matthew 16:1 is a good example of that. The Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus testing Him, and they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. And here’s how Christ answered in verse 2. “He answered and said to them, ‘When it is evening you say it will be fair weather for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today for the sky is red and threatening.’ Then Christ said, ‘Hypocrites, you know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.’” You see they didn’t get it.
Now think about us. Do you recognize the signs that point to what time it is? What about the return of Christ? Christ was saying, “So many people can’t read the signs of the times.” They didn’t then, they don’t now. You see the things that are happening around us, and do you know the meaning? What does it mean? Are we really discerning the times that we live in? In fact if you take a look at the world around us, what a challenging world we live in. Are we headed in the best direction? And we see terrorism, we see crime and disasters, famine, disease, hunger, how long can it actually go on?
You see if we’re honest, are we really discerning the time that we live? Because the Bible says these types of things are going to continue to increase. Now don’t kid yourself, don’t block it out. People in Noah’s time did that. If you really examine the times that we live in we have to admit, mankind doesn’t know the way to go. Christ even used Noah’s story to make that very point.
Over in Luke 17, He uses Noah as that very example to get our attention. He says in verse 26 of Luke 17, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the son of man.” Now that’s talking about timing, talking about when Christ would return. Look at the comparison here. He says in the days of Noah, they ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage until the day Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all. And then Christ says in verse 30, “Even so will it be in the day when the son of man is revealed.” You see that’s what Noah was warning about. You need to listen to God. Christ was saying the same thing. And our times have those connections. Society had degenerated to a point that God was going to start all over with Noah.
Today our world turned its back on the living God. Now, what about you? What about your perspective? You see God’s saying, “It’s got to stop.” We look at recent times, the coronavirus that was just a precursor of things to come. Now did that get your attention? Well the world stood up for a moment. But you know God’s telling us, Christ Himself said, “It can’t be the same old, same old.” God says, “You’ve got to change. You’ve got to repent.” Have I been ignoring God? I mean the challenge is all too often we go our own way. And the results, well look at what Christ said. All too often when we do that we don’t trust God, we don’t trust our Creator. And the results? Awful.
In fact in Luke 21 Christ brought our attention to this very point. He said when you recognize these things, make it personal. Look at verse 34 in Luke 21, Christ said, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the cares of this life.” Now when you think about that it’s easy to identify carousing and drunkenness, but he says even the cares of life could make that day come on us unexpectedly.
Now do we get distracted? What about your job, your career? You know we get caught up in the bigger better things, a better house, a bigger car, the pleasures of life, some get caught up into politics or we just want to ignore it all and be entertained. You see Christ is saying take an inventory of your heart. Examine yourself. What are your thoughts? What are your concerns? What are the things that distract you? What are your worries? Do they cause you to have the wrong perspective?
You see in verse 35 Christ said this, “Because of those things,” it says, “It will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch, therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the son of man.” You see Christ gave that major warning. In fact not only found in Luke 21 but also in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. Christ was pointing to the signs of the times. Have you been watching? You’ve been watching the weather, watching the sky? We need to be doing that.
In fact we’d like to help you to do that very thing. And so we’ve prepared a study guide to help you recognize those signs, “Seven Prophetic Signs Before Jesus Returns.” And it’s been nearly 2,000 years since Christ gave that prophecy in Luke 21. And there are a number of prophecies in the Bible that couldn’t be fulfilled until our time, until this time. You need to know about those things. So be sure and order our study guide, “Seven Prophetic Signs Before Jesus Returns.” You can do that by going online to beyondtoday.tv. In fact there you can read it, you can download it to your smartphone, or your iPad, your computer, read it for yourself, or call us at the number on your screen. Because God certainly wants you to be filled with a hope to live His way, to do His will. And these prophecies should help us to be transformed by the Word of God. And so be sure to call us at the number on your screen and order your free copy today.
Because what you’ll find in our study guide, is you’ll find meaning behind these powerful messages that are given. In fact Christ Himself in Matthew 24 gave us a powerful warning as His disciples came to Him and asked Him about these things. Take a look at Matthew 24:3, “The disciples came to Christ, and they said, asking him, ‘Tell us when these things will be and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?’”
Now Christ responded in an interesting way. He described conditions and events that would lead up to His second coming. And He wasn’t talking about the annihilation of the world or the end of the earth. He talked about the end of the age. The end of the age, like Noah’s age, ended with that gigantic flood. This present age is coming to an end. And here’s what Christ said in verse 4, “Take heed, no one deceives you, for many will come in my name saying I am the Christ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you’re not troubled.” He says, “All these things must come to pass. But the end is not yet, for nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, pestilences, earthquakes in various places, all of these at the beginnings of sorrows.”
Now thinking about those various signs, we could dismiss it. We could be like those people in Noah’s day and just say, “Well, we’ve always had those things. They’ve been around for hundreds and hundreds of years.” Christ was talking about these things continuing to escalate. In fact a little later in verse 32, He gives a story as an example and He says, “Learn this parable from the fig tree. When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know summer is near.” Now the comparison, He says in verse 33, “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near at the doors. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away, until all these things take place.”
Now do you get what Jesus meant? I mean many are puzzled by this. I mean do you see these signs and these warnings? I mean did He mean that that generation of the disciples and those He was with at that present time were the ones that would see these things? Perhaps there’s a future thing going on here. His disciples didn’t see these things in their generation. There was no way that that generation saw that kind of warfare. And in fact in verse 22, Christ was very specific, He said, “Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved.” I mean were the weapons of warfare that day sufficient to bring about that prophecy? I mean yeah they saw some wars, and famines, and plagues and persecutions but that certainly wasn’t the ultimate fulfillment of what Jesus was talking about. Jesus was predicting global warfare, world-shaking events that would ultimately lead to His return. And that wasn’t the generation that had the ability to destroy all mankind.
So when we look at this what did Jesus mean when He said this generation will by no means pass away? It wasn’t that generation. They all died without seeing the events that ultimately would lead to His return. So if we see the signs of the times, we’ve recognized, He could only have meant that the generation of the last days, the end time. Jesus said once these end-time events are set into motion, they’re going to happen within the lifetime of that one generation. One generation are going to witness all of these global conditions that He was describing throughout Matthew 24. And once they were beginning, all will be fulfilled.
In fact even His return would occur within the lifetime of that one generation. Are you watching the weather? Are the leaves on the trees? How close is summertime? We consider the signs that Jesus foretold. Isn’t it fair to say summer’s right here? In fact there are so many specific prophecies in the Word of God that could not have been fulfilled until this time. And we’d like to help you recognize this time that we live in.
So be sure and order, “Seven Prophetic Signs Before Jesus Returns.” The prophecies that are covered in this guide right out of the Bible, will come about before Jesus’s second coming. And you need to know about them, you need to understand them. So be sure and call us at the number on your screen, or go to beyondtoday.tv where you can read it immediately for yourself. You can download it, read it later or in fact if you contact us we’ll send you a free copy absolutely free right to your door. And so when you consider this it will help you to be ready, to be aware of what’s coming so that it doesn’t catch you unaware. In fact it even addresses a prophecy that Christ said was one that was oftentimes overlooked.
In fact in Matthew 24:14 Christ pointed to that prophecy that had to come about as well before He returns. Here’s what He said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations. And then the end will come.” And do you know what that gospel is? What is the gospel that Christ talked about? Now we know the word gospel really means good news, good news. Well, good news of what? You see when you think of the gospel it points to good news from God. It was what Jesus Christ Himself taught, it was what His disciples taught. It was what the New Testament Church was all about, and what they preached, and what they taught.
Now, I’m sure you’re probably familiar with part of that gospel message. It’s about Jesus Christ, it’s about His life, it’s about His death, it’s about His resurrection. Because there is no doubt Jesus Christ is the key figure. He’s of first importance in God’s plan, in fact a major part of that passage. Absolutely. You’ve probably heard about that part. Most of those people who understand a little about the Bible know that.
But there’s more. There’s more to the story because what was the good news that Jesus Himself preached about? Well Christ preached about the Kingdom of God. He preached about returning to this world and that Kingdom that He would establish at His return because those signs are pointing to the time when Christ will return and the entire earth will be brought under the dominion and ruler ship of Jesus Christ. And that’s a real thing. That’s a literal thing. That’s not some ethereal thing, but reality. Christ will return and man’s evil systems, mankind’s governments will be gone, and the Kingdom of our Lord will be established. That’s the gospel, that’s God’s plan, God’s purpose for mankind.
Now you may not have heard much about that from other sources but we’ve been preaching it and publishing it on “Beyond Today” for decades and decades. And in fact, when you consider this gospel going out to the world it really wasn’t until recently that that was even possible. I mean think about that for a moment. Without the Bible, without God’s Word, without the freedom of religion, that wouldn’t have been possible. In fact that’s a big part of the story. And it’s only since the time of mass communication of radio and TV that it even became possible to reach out to the world, to the millions and millions of human beings around the world with the true message of the Bible. But of course even with radio and TV it didn’t reach everyone. There are still many countries that don’t allow freedom of religion. They suppress the Word of God.
But is it possible that that gospel is going out to the entire world? When we look around us, we know the internet has changed everything. It is so much harder for governments to control that message. So it is possible for the gospel to go out. The gospel of the coming Kingdom of God is going out to the entire world. And ultimately that’s going to lead to the return of Jesus Christ. As mankind faces those dilemmas of famine, of pestilence, of war, as mankind is teetering on the edge of annihilation Christ is going to return.
Now I have to ask, do I really understand that? Do I understand the gospel message? I mean do you know your Creator? Do you know what His purpose is? Do you know why you were born? Do you know what your destiny is? You see God wants us to understand all of those things and live our life with a godliness, and a sense of urgency because we’re coming to that point evermore as the days pass. In fact Christ said something very interesting in that prophecy in Matthew 24 because it was more than just understanding the signs. Take a look at Matthew 24:44. Notice the emphasis that Christ gives in this passage. He says this, “Therefore, you also be ready for the son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect, who then is a faithful and wise servant.”
So in making this point to be ready Christ uses a little bit of a metaphor between different kinds of servants. One who’s prepared, one who’s not. Well who is a wise servant? He says, “Blessed is that servant,” verse 46, “whom his master when he comes, will find so doing? Assuredly, I say to you, he’ll make him rule over all his goods.” So he’s doing the master’s will. But then verse 48, “If that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying His coming” and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he’s not looking for him, and in an hour he’s not aware of, and will cut him in two, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites, and there’ll be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Do you feel that the Lord delays His coming? I mean what’s the result of continually ignoring God’s warnings? I mean we have a God of love but ultimately when people ignore God, the flood comes. God’s love will be turned to anger, His blessings turn to judgment. I mean that’s the story of Noah, that’s the story of the Bible, that’s the story of ancient Israel. They ignored God continually until finally they were taken into captivity and it’s going to happen to us unless we change our ways. It’s time to look to God. It’s time to repent. It’s time to seek His love and His mercy. And yes God is a God of mercy, He is a God of grace. But He also tells us His justice will prevail. And so out of love God warns us, and He says, “You better listen. Because eventually time is going to run out.”
And God has been warning. He’s been warning our world, He’s been warning our country, He’s been warning you. Now the world doesn’t seem to care, the country doesn’t seem to care. But do you? I hope you do care. I want to help you to have the right perspective when it comes to these prophetic signs. So be sure and order our Bible study aid “Seven Prophetic Signs Before Jesus Returns,” you’ll find the prophecies that are covered in this guide will show all about the things that were going to happen before Christ’s second coming, and more importantly what you need to do about it. How it needs to impact and change your life. So be sure to call us at the number on your screen, or go online, go to the internet, go to beyondtoday.tv. You’ll be able to find the study guide there and you can read it right online or download it, read it at your convenience. Because it’s so critical that we begin to identify that we need a relationship with God. We need to do something about these times that we live in. Not just to know about them but have it impact your life. In fact that’s such a major part of the prophecies of the Bible.
The Apostle Peter wrote about that as well when he thought about the second coming of Jesus Christ. In 2 Peter 3:10 he wrote much similar to the way that Christ spoke. He started verse 10 of chapter 3 of 2 Peter by saying, “The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, the elements will melt with fervent heat.” You see even look beyond the return of Christ. And ultimately what’s going to happen to this physical world? You see, he said, “The physical is going away. The works that are in it will be burned up,” he said. Now what about that? See, it’s not just recognizing that’s going to happen. Verse 11, he says, “Therefore since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire and the elements will melt with fervent heat.”
You see Peter talked about that time and the impact it should have. Are we expecting it? Is it something we’re looking forward to? Is it something that we’ve set our minds on, that we want to follow God and we’re eagerly awaiting the return of Christ? In fact Christ Himself said, we need to be eagerly anticipating that time. He said, “Pray Thy Kingdom Come.” You know you’re looking forward to that Kingdom. Because all too often we can get distracted by the cares of this life, the things that are here in this physical earth. We get squeezed in by our job, we get squeezed in by the distractions, and the finances, and our relationship difficulties. You see those types of things can get off our focus in the wrong direction.
But we’re told, hang on just a moment. Live your life devoted to God. Be sure you have that kind of conduct, Holy conduct. Strive to live a godly life, turn to God, desire a relationship with Him, seek His mercy and His grace. In fact, don’t take things for granted, don’t get distracted, live your life with an expectancy that Christ is soon coming and anticipate that time. And as Peter said here, be diligent, be diligent. Develop the kind of character of Jesus Christ, the kind that we need to be on the inside. Because ultimately when we look at what’s happening in the world around us we have to see the signs of the times. Mankind just doesn’t know the answer. They don’t know the way. God’s standard is the only acceptable standard.
When you examine Bible prophecy it reminds us of that fact over and over and over again. The story of Noah reminds us of that. The weather should remind us of that. Be a good gardener recognizing the trees and the leaves, they are coming out. And so now is the time to draw close to God. Now’s the time to learn of His way. Now’s the time to choose to live a godly life because all the signs are pointing to the fact Jesus is coming back. So choose to be spiritually prepared for the return of Jesus Christ.
[Narrator] Please call for the booklet offered on today’s program, “Seven Prophetic Signs Before Jesus Returns.” Just what does the Bible say lies ahead for you, your family, and the world? Order now, call toll free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. It will not only give you essential information about this critical subject, but it will help you prepare spiritually for Christ’s second coming. When you order this free study aid, we’ll also send you a complimentary one-year subscription to our “Beyond Today” magazine. The “Beyond Today” magazine brings you an understanding of today’s world and hope for the future. Six times a year, you’ll read about current world events in light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family. Call today to receive your free booklet, “Seven Prophetic Signs Before Jesus Returns,” and your free one-year subscription to “Beyond Today” magazine, 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.
[Gary Petty] Hi, I’m Gary Petty, a pastor with United Church of God. If you’re looking for a church that encourages living what the Word of God really teaches, you’ve found the right place. We’re a community of believers dedicated to seeking the truth and preaching the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. We’d like to welcome you to come and join us on this spiritual journey. We have hundreds of congregations around the United States and across the world. Visit ucg.org to find a church near you. We’re looking forward to meeting you soon.