From my friend Jesse Weeks -

“Hope in Troubled Times” from Mark chapter 13. What an awesome chapter to start a series of sermons, and what a great start this past Sunday.

We see as we start the chapter that Jesus begins His prophecies foretelling the demise of the temple. We could easily title this prophecy as “The Temple of Doom!” The disciples wanted to know when the temple would be destroyed. Jesus gave them a prophetic picture of that time, including events leading up to it. He also talked about future events connected with His return to earth to judge all people. Jesus predicted both near and distant events without putting them in chronological order. Some of the disciples lived to see the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. This event would assure them that everything else Jesus predicted would also happen.

Jesus warned his followers about the future so that they could learn how to live in the present. Many predictions Jesus made in this passage have not been fulfilled. He did not make them so we would start a guessing game, but to help us remain spiritually alert and prepared at all times as we wait for His return. Believers have nothing to fear of the end times based on the promise in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whomsoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” We will be a part of the rapture with other believers signaling the beginning of the end times, and not suffer but be glorified.

Then when will this happen and what are our responsibilities prior to that glorious rapture? Peter answers both questions in 2 Peter chapter 3. Verse 10 says, ”But when the Day of God’s Judgement does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief.” (The Message) This is preceded by verse 9 that says, “God isn’t late with His promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining Himself on account of you, holding back the End because He doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.” (The Message) Before the end of the age can come, the good news of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed to the ends of the earth. That has not happened to this date. Our great commission as stated by Jesus in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit,” (NIV) We are also told that we must grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to get to know Him better and better. This is the most important step in refuting false teachers. No matter where we are in our faith, the sinful world always will challenge our faith. We still have much room for growth. If every day we find some way to draw closer to Christ, we will be prepared to stand for truth in any and all circumstances.