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When Will the End Be? Matthew 24.36-44

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Question:  When will the end be? 

Jesus is coming to restore all things.  There will be no more dying and no more fear.  Jesus gives the disciples the hope of His return.  He wants them to have assurance.   

“When are you doing to all these things?” the disciples wonder.  We do this with other things in our lives as well.  For example, when someone gets engaged we ask, “When’s the date?”  When someone is about to graduate we want to know the graduation date.  We want to have the details.  This is a natural curiosity.  We have the same questions the disciples had. 

Answer: We do not know when Jesus will return.   There’s the answer!  It’s an important answer.  This is the most important future event of our lives, when Jesus answers the disciples in verse 36:

                        36“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 

Jesus says clearly that no one knows.  Sometimes it makes national news when someone has created a complicated mathematical formula or has used an ancient code to predict when Jesus will return.  There’s major press coverage and usually a book to accompany it.  Jesus is clear: nobody knows!  God is the only one who knows.  It’s been settled.  We cannot know the answer to this.  Jesus doesn’t want His disciples to spend their time and energy trying to figure this out.  So what do we do while we are waiting?  The angels in Heaven do not even know when Jesus will return.  The angels know what’s going on in Heaven.  Our prayer is that you and I bring the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, doing God’s will on earth as it is in Heaven.  Angels are sent out with special messages to earth. 

Jesus says he doesn’t even know.  This is called the “self-limitation” of Jesus.  In some things Jesus limited himself about what he knows.  Jesus chooses this.  Jesus died on the cross and became our substitute, our sacrifice.  Jesus could have known when God will return, but He chooses not to.  You and I want to know everything!  What if we could know?  Jesus chooses not to know.  Knowing everything isn’t the most important thing in life.  Jesus demonstrates this.  We don’t know and we don’t need to know.  What we do know is that He is going to return.  What do we do while waiting?  Are we ready for the return of Christ? 

His return will be sudden.

His return will be unexpected.  We don’t know the timing.  Jesus gives us examples:

                        39and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 

The Noah is charged with proclaiming the message God was going to destroy the earth.  Any laughed at Noah.  There were two groups of people:
1)     Those who were surprised and unaware some aren’t concerned about the return of Christ.  They would laugh at us too.
2)     Believers who are waiting and longing for the return of Jesus. 

Noah’s family knew it was coming but they didn’t know when.  People will be doing what they’ve always done and will laugh.  ALL of us will be surprised.  We’ll be going through life and instantaneously He will come.

                    40Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.

In verses 40-41 they go together: men in the field women in the mill.  This describes the same thing happening; people are separated.  One is left and one is taken.  The point is men and women are working, believers and unbelievers. 

Work is a good thing!  We don’t like the concept of work but it’s good and it’s fulfilling for us.  God gifts us with the ability to work and to serve.  In the early church some were anticipating Jesus’ return, so some stopped working.  The pastor of First Baptist Jerusalem reminded them that Jesus said that if a person doesn’t work, let them not eat.  There’s nothing wrong with working.  In the end we will be working and in an instant all will be transformed.  We keep doing what God has called us to do until He returns.  In that moment there will be a definite and permanent separation.  God calls us to live with awareness.  There are people all around us.  When Jesus comes some are separated from Him for eternity.  There is coming a day when there will be permanent separation.  God calls us to enjoy sunsets, enjoy the labor of our work.  We need to remember that this is all temporary!

Be ready.

                        44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

This message is for the disciples gathering with Jesus.  They have a clear relationship with God.  God wants to reconcile with us and for us to have peace.  There is a fixed point where we won’t choose to follow Him or not.  When that happens there’s no more opportunity.  It will be permanent, set.  Christ wants us to be ready.  We don’t’ know when we will take our last breath.  I say this to you not to scare you, but to scare you!  Why take that risk?  Will you today give your heart to Him?  This is a message to believers too.  You must also be ready. 

Verses 45-47 – There’s a steward of a house that will be ready for the master’s return.  To the one who has been faithful the master will say, “well done.”   What will it be like when He returns?  What will God say to you?  He has even more for us to do in Heaven.  We will be given greater prominence.  We won’t be sitting around on clouds bored.  We will be doing things in Heaven that God has prepared us for.  God will entrust us with more.  Use this time we have now to serve Him. 

Our King is coming!  We feel the urgency of taking God to our family.  You also be ready.  It will happen in a moment we cannot anticipate.  Will you give your life to God today?  Use your abilities for God.  God will return to make all things new.  Are you ready for His return?


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