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Friday, May 22, 2015

It's all about Jesus: The Olivet Discourse (Pt.3)

Part 3 of 3

Jesus’ teaching on deception, persecution, and tribulation found in the Olivet Discourse culminate and point to one specific moment:

At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”-Mark 13:26-27.

Jesus’ teaching on the end of days is not intended to encourage us to set dates, or to try and identify the anti-Christ, or decipher the meaning of the blood moons; but instead he instructs us to be on guard and remain alert for what is coming:

No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”-Mark 13:32-33.

By declaring that no one knows the day or the hour of his return, it is clear that Jesus never intended for us to focus on his return as an event to be diagramed, studied, and forecast. The assurance from Jesus of his return is to guide us toward living a life that honors God so that when he returns we will be found ready:

It’s like a man going away; He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!”-Mark 13:34-37.

The Gospel of Matthew drives home this point with three amazing parables: Parable of the Virgins, The Parable of the Talents, and the Parable of the Sheep and Goat.

The Parable of the Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) encourages us to evaluate our own spiritual condition in light of his coming. In the parable, ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. Five were unprepared and had failed to fill their lamps with oil. Five were wise and took oil with them so that they would be prepared in case the bridegroom was a long time in coming. When the cry rang out that bridegroom was coming the five foolish virgins were forced to leave and go buy oil because their lamps were going out. Because they were unprepared they were shut out of the wedding banquet. It is a dangerous thing to believe that you can wait until the last minute to begin living for Christ. He will come when you least expect it and you will find yourselves shut out of the kingdom because you were not prepared for his coming.

The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) teaches us how to invest our lives in light of his coming. This passage describes how the Lord will reward those who are good stewards of the faith, gifts, and talents that God has given each of us to use for His glory.
The Parable of the Sheep and Goat (Matthew 25:31-46) teaches us how to invest in others in light of his coming:

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Jesus declared that whatever you do for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Jesus teachings on the Mount of Olives are designed to condition us to live for God, reject sin, embrace holiness, and to do the work of God until he comes to receive his church.
Are you ready?
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

It's all about Jesus: The Olivet Discourse (Pt. 2)

(Part 2)

“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. Brother will betray brother to death and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”-Mark 13:9-13

Jesus never sugar coated the Christian life. His teaching from the Mount of Olives confirms that Jesus foresaw that in addition to the deception that would come upon the earth in the last days there would also be an increase in persecution towards those who call themselves followers of Christ. Jesus warned that those who followed him would fellowship in his sufferings and be hated by all men because of him.  

He warned that as the persecution comes there will be a great falling away or turning from the faith:

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.”-Matthew 24:9-10.

Yet through all the hatred, betrayal and persecution the gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached to all nations. Persecution and the preaching of the gospel will go hand in hand.

In addition to the deception and persecution that will plague the earth will also come a time of tribulation that will be unequaled to anything else in history:

When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong- let the reader understand- then let those who are Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequalled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now-and never be equaled again.”-Mark 13:14-19.

It is during these days that the antichrist will arise and pollute all that is holy. Persecution will break out against the people of God. It will be a dreadful time to live upon the earth. Even the earth and heavens will be shaken:

But in those days, following that distress, “’the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; that stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”-Mark 13:24-25.

Because of the severity of what is to come, Jesus instructed his disciples to be careful and pray that they may escape it:

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”-Luke 21:34-36.

Deception, persecution, and tribulation are coming and together they point to a specific event: the second coming of Christ!


Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church


Thursday, May 7, 2015

It's all about Jesus: The Olivet Discourse (Pt.1)

(Part 1)

“On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half the mountain moving north and half moving south.”-Zechariah 14:4.

Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Old Testament Prophet Zechariah proclaimed that when the Lord returned (at His second coming); He would come back to a specific location east of Jerusalem known as the Mount of Olives. It was from this site, after His resurrection, from which Jesus chose to ascend into heaven:

After he had said this, he was taken up before their eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.-Acts 1:9-12.

So it isn’t surprising that when Jesus taught regarding the end of days and His second coming that he communicated the majority of his teaching from the Mount of Olives. This teaching is commonly referred to as the Olivet Discourse. The Olivet Discourse can be found in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke; and although there are subtle differences between them in style and emphasis, they each relay three very significant truths regarding deception, persecution, and tribulation that will prevail on the earth in the last days.

Jesus begins his teaching by pointing to several signs that will herald the nearness of His coming:

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, “I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”-Mark 13:5-8.

It is significant to note that of all the signs to which Jesus could have pointed to initially; the first he pronounces is the flood of rampant religious deception that will prevail on the earth just prior to his coming. He warns that there will be many false teachers and false prophets that will come. They will claim to speak and teach on Christ’s behalf. Some will even go as far as to claim to be Jesus and many will follow them believing that they are the Messiah.

 Equally, if not more concerning, is the erosion of morality, the discounting of holiness, and the abandonment of absolute truth that is plaguing the church. Many wolves in sheep’s clothing have infiltrated the Body of Christ preaching a message of false grace. William Booth, Bible preacher and founder of the Salvation Army, warned that this day was approaching when he said:

“The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”

Jesus warned his followers from the Mount of Olives to be prepared and that the increase in religious deception is a sign of his soon return.


Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church