Sermon: The Destruction of the Temple and the End of the Age (Pt. 2) (Luke 21:25-38)

The Destruction of the Temple and The End of The Age (Part 2)

Luke 21:25-38

Introduction

Last week we learned that Jesus gave His followers signs to look for that would indicate that Jerusalem was about to be a very dangerous place.  Our Lord’s desire was that His followers be able to escape the coming massacre that took place in 70AD when the Temple was torn down and OT worship ceased.

We also learned that while there were preliminary signs to allow God’s people to escape destruction there will be no preliminary signs for the Lord’s return.  Please don’t misunderstand; there will be signs that usher in the Lord’s return but not signs that alert us for the purpose of escaping.  For believers, the return of Christ is our great hope and one of the greatest events we’ll experience should we be the generation alive and the one Jesus speaks of in the later part of our text today.

Part of the reason that the earth and the heavens react the way they do with these signs is that creation is also waiting for the Lord’s return.  Creation heralds and shouts the Lord’s return with roaring waves and signs in the heavens.

Notice in the text that when these signs begin, we are to look up because our redemption will be near.

The reason there will be no signs to alert God’s people beforehand like with the destruction of the Temple is because we are not looking to escape but to meet Jesus in that day.  Our Lord’s desire is that His people live everyday in anticipation of His return.  The other reason there will be no signs is that there are no need for signs to indicate beforehand our Lord is coming back…His coming will be unmistakable.  No one alive on the face of planet earth will miss it or be able to miss it.  The very earth will throb and quake as its Maker returns.

Remember what we learned from…

Luke 17: 20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,

21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.

23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them.

24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.

Primary Claim

Christ’s second coming is certain and when it takes place everyone will know and everything will change.

Human Condition

We must be alert and watching for the return of our Lord.  Our battle here and now is to fight against the temptation to live our lives as if His coming is far off.  We get so focused on the here and now at the exclusion of eternity.  What we see now is passing away.  We are to live as sojourners on this earth because this is not our home.

Please hear God’s Word for Grace Community Church for today…

Luke 21:25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,

26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

29 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.

30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.

31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.

33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

37 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.

38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

1.  The Certainty of His Coming

Luke 21:25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,

26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

These verses are not intended to be a forecast as to what will happen on the earth immediately preceding the return of our Lord.  They are not given so we can sift through them and use them as preliminary indicators as to when Christ will return.  Rather they happen as He comes.  This entire passage is meant to show us the certainty of His return.

Through out human history there has been floods, earthquakes, storms, roaring seas, and nations perplexed.  At the coming of our Lord, these events will be to an alarming degree with great intensity as He returns.  The perplexed nations will see Christ coming.

No longer will they think they’re in charge.  No longer will the nations rule themselves.  No longer will America take popularity polls and live under the tyranny of lying politicians and unkept promises.  When Our Lord returns He comes to set up and rule in truth and in promises kept.

Jesus tells us at the very beginning of these events, look up because our redemption is near.

The question might be asked by some as to how when He returns will everyone on earth witness His coming?  The answer is that there will be such a change on the earth and even the whole universe that it will be beyond anything we can comprehend.  Our Lord has already told us in Luke 17 that no one will be able to miss it.

The bottom line is that the One who was spit on, beaten, and crucified will come bringing glory and majesty with Him.  All creation longs for that day.  I pray you long for the Lord’s return as well.

27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Here in this verse, we have the most exalted picture yet of our Lord.  Luke reports Jesus’ words that that day will witness Jesus returning in a cloud with power and great glory.

Daniel 7: 13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.   

Acts 1:9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,

11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”     

We should notice something in this text.  There is a big contrast between the reaction of the nations which overall mean lost humanity and the reaction of God’s people.

and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity…26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.

For those who stand lost and still in their sin, the return of Christ will mean certain judgment.  His return means judgment and condemnation is near and there is nothing they can do about it.

However, God’s people, those who have been saved from their sins by Jesus Christ, for them His return will be the greatest event they ever saw.  Look up Jesus says your redemption draws near.

What does our Lord mean when He says, because your redemption is drawing near.?

Remember, we live in the days when our salvation is not completely finished.  God has justified those of us who have been forgiven of sin and have placed our trust in Christ alone.  That has already happened.  We are in the process of being sanctified, being made more and more into the image of Christ by repentance and obedience.  But we have not yet experienced the end of our salvation, namely complete sanctification and glorification.  On that day, we will experience the consummation of our complete redemption.  We will be changed.

The phrase look up is also Jesus’ way of showing us that His return is certain.  His return plays a key role in redemption.  Without His return there would  no redemption.  Just as without the cross, there is no redemption.  As certain as the death of Christ took place on the cross is His second coming.

Our completed redemption is near when our Lord returns.  There is also, something else that has begun and is now being formed that will see its completion at the Second Coming…God’s Kingdom.

2.  The Certainty of His Kingdom

29 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.

30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.

31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

Jesus moves now from the certainty of His coming to the certainty of His Kingdom.  His focus is that His people are ready and waiting for His return.

Just as it is evident when new leaves are seen on a once barren fig tree and summer is beginning, summer is already near, so too when these signs are viewed, Christ’s coming is beginning.

The word translated as near is the Greek word that means already beginning to come to pass., as the KJV translates it, nigh at hand.

Just as the fig leaf appears to mark the beginning of summer, so shall great signs appear to mark the coming of our Lord and the consummation of the Kingdom of God.

3.  The Certainty of Salvation and Judgment

32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.

33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Here, our Lord wants us to see that these events are coming and they are certain.  Our redemption is certain, the coming of the Kingdom is certain, and the generation that is alive when these events start will be the same generation that sees the return of Christ…32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.

Jesus goes on to declare that these Words are more certain than even the earth and the heavens themselves.  The Bible teaches that there is a time when this earth and the heavens will pass away in order to make way for a new heaven and a new earth.  Even after this takes place, Jesus’ Words will remain and remain unchanged.  His Words are certain and eternal.

Our job is to be watchful…be ready.  As God’s people we must not fall asleep, we must not be drunk but be watchful.  He uses drunkenness as an example of those who are not watchful.  To be drunk is to be in a state of The time is drawing closer and closer are we ready?  For some, the return will be a blessing for others it will be like a trap.

We must be ready and watching.  We must remain focused on Christ and not on the cares of this world or this age.

Are you living life in preparation for Christ’s return or do the cares of this world entrap your focus and your affections?

4.  The Certainty of the Closing of the Age

37 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.

38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

If you remember from last week, Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple.  The age of the OT Temple was drawing to a conclusion.  I think Luke is pointing out the fact as a conclusion to the ministry of Jesus that the people were not coming to the Temple first and foremost to offer sacrifices, although that was still going on, but to hear and obey Jesus.

God was drawing worshippers and they were coming to Jesus…in the Temple.

When Solomon dedicated the first temple, God declared that it would be a place where His presence would be in a special way.  He would hear prayers and forgive sin if His people would repent.

2 Chron. 7:15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.

The Temple was the place where God met with His people.  Immanuel, God with us.  Now, a new age is dawning and Luke so wonderfully highlights the fact that the people are still coming to the Temple to meet with God…

38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

Primary claim refocused

Christ’s second coming is certain and when it takes place everything will change.

Live with a current expectation.  This could be the day or the week Jesus comes back.  Long for Christ.  Strive to live every minute for His glory.  God about your daily activities anticipating His return.  Plan for the future in light of His return.

Human condition changed or Human need met

Jesus meets our human need in this text.  The end could be a time of fear for us.  Rather than being like mankind in general who will be afraid of the Second Coming, we can look up and see our redemption not our judgment drawing near.

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