Sermon delivered April 6, 2002 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Signs of Our Times

The World paid expensive tuition on September 11. We learned that the thin veneer that separates the civilized world from barbarianism is thinner than we thought. Mens hearts are failing them from fear as they see that veneer unraveling before their very eyes.

Come to Jeremiah 8 in your Bible. If you've watched the news this week, there is trouble in the Middle East. I would like to share with you: Jeremiah 8 talks about a bomb(?) balm in Gilead. Jeremiah 8:22. Is there no balm in Gilead? I guess at one there wasn't. Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? I will tell you that Jesus Christ is the only Balm of Gilead. And now Bombs have replaced Balm. And that's the problem. Until we get Christ back in Palestine there will be no peace in Palestine. Terrorists strap bombs to their bodies and walk into family restaurants and kill the innocent as they sit down for a holy meal. It's not good.

Zechariah 2 talks about the holy land. In fact, in the verses that I looked it up in, it was the only reference in the entire Bible about the holy land. Zechariah 2:12 (KJV) And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. I think there is a place in this world called the holy land, but I'm not sure how holy it is. It seems to me like is even more holey since the invention of gunpowder and bullets. There are more holes in Palestine than there were last week. An ad in a religious magazine says: "Visit the holy land from the safety of your home computer...take a photo journey!" And it gave the website.

Will things get better in the holy land before Jesus comes? I'm afraid not. If this old world lasts another fifty years, do you realize that the current population of six billion will skyrocket to nine billion. Most of that increase will be in the developing countries. The middle east is one of those. There will be even more people jammed into that volatile spot. We can manipulate human genes, but we cannot master human nature. We've tried and tried, and I believe the only hope is Jesus Christ. His coming. Jesus must come first into my heart, into your heart and finally into our world to take us home.

It seems that Palestine today is a God-forsaken place. It is dangerous for its residents let alone its tourists. It all started when Abram allowed Hagar into his tent. God promised the Holy Land to Abram's descendants. Abraham had two boys: Ishmael and Isaac. Mohammed was an Ishmaelite and Isaac was the first Jewish child.

Genesis 16:12 gives the prediction that we have read before in our discussion of Abram in that series we enjoyed. It makes this statement about Ishmael and his character: "He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers." In other words, this text says there will be no cure for the conflict as in the Middle East. As long as there are Muslims and Jews they will not have peace. They will be at each others throats.

The war today in Palestine could very well escalate, drawing into its vortex Iraq, Iran, Syria, and who knows who else. Mid East oil would surely be affected. The last days are not child's play. 2 Timothy 3:1- But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

We are supposed to be in a new world order. But what we see on our TV screens is a new world Disorder. Terrorism is rampant everywhere causing bloodshed and violence. The sword cannot bring salvation. Only Jesus can save. So what is next? Only God knows what is next, but He gives some hints in the Bible. Matthew 24:6- You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

The true terrorists are not the terrorist that fly jet aircraft into buildings. The true terrorists today are the ones that penetrate the human heart with their deadly cargo of sin. Our greatest danger is not Anthrax but Apathy. Our greatest loss is not buildings but belief. Jesus said, "When I come, will I find faith?" (Luke 18:8) That's the greatest danger. Prior to September 11 Americans were mired deep in sin, and I think maybe that God allowed it. I believe God may have allowed this destruction to try and wake up the world because we have been involved. The Devil had us engrossed in prostitution, pornography, pleasure and profit. Love of money must be replaced by love of the Master.

Just before World War Two, Nazi Germany made laws taking Religion out of all government functions. Taking prayer out of all public places. God was removed from all government activities. We, here in America, have been systematically doing the same thing in. It is high time to get back to God. Nine- one-one was a wake up call.

Jesus continues with His table of contents for last day events: Matthew 24:7 (KJV)- "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."

Pestilence means "Any virulent or fatal contagious disease." Aids could be referred to here. Eighteen hundred new babies are born every day infected with HIV. Six new people become infected each minute. U S News and World Report, July, 24, 2000 p. 24 says that Aids is the worst plague ever to hit human population.

Matthew 24:8- "All these are the beginning of birth pains."

Matthew 24:9-12 - "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, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold." Including Christians.

Is love toward God growing cold? Is wickedness increasing? Did you know that born-again Christian adults are more likely to experience a divorce than are non-born Christians. (27% vs. 24% source: Survey Expert - George Barna Research Group, year-2000).

Another fact:

Barna suggests that America is now entering a period that historians will someday regard as the "beginning of the era of Moral anarchy." This is happening very fast. "Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones." Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 11.

My wife and I were headed north on I-75 this week. We had left the Conference Office and we were getting off at Exit 317. We were following one of these semi trucks, about three or four hundred feet behind that truck. Somehow, someone had dropped a four-by-eight sheet of plywood on the freeway. When that truck went over, its vacuum sucked it up and here we came along. I will tell you that just before you could do anything, that piece of plywood, we hit it square on with our car. There was no chance to do anything. The plywood hooked on a portion of the fender and lodged there. Here was this sheet of plywood. I thought, "Well, maybe we should stop and get it off." So we pulled over and it took my wife and me, yanking on this plywood to get it off the car. It happened so quickly. You might think, "Why didn't he dodge it?" Snap! It was just like that. The final movements will be rapid ones.

Could this be the time of the end? I don't know. Do I know when Jesus is coming? I don't know. Do I know when the next sheet of plywood will come? I don't know. I'm just thrilled it didn't come on edge. I think about that.

Events are changing to actually bring about the second coming of Christ. The former generation stood on the threshold of these things. It seems like we are standing, witnessing the unraveling of society. Just months ago the world seemed to be safer. Now, the globe itself seems to be changing. There is an ice island the size of Rhode Island that has broken away from Antarctica and some of that ice was made before Jesus was born. This has never happened before.

The world is disintegrating. Events are capturing the attention of prophecy students. Signs are everywhere. Massive Volcano s are about to erupt. Earthquakes are threatening. The areas most prone to Earthquakes are the most populated!

Come back here to Daniel 2 in your Bible. This tells the approximate time that Jesus will come. Daniel 2:34 - "While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them." That will happen quickly because a sheet of plywood can't go faster that a rock. And that Rock is Jesus. Jesus come approximately in the time of the ten toes, those ten nations of Europe. The ten modern kingdoms over there. Those kingdoms are in existence. His coming surely is soon.

Matthew 24:13,14 - "But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

Sometimes I wonder how this will happen. Take China for instance. Some Chinese citizens this year are being sentenced to death whose only crime is assembling in a private home for Christian worship. Bibles are being confiscated. But the gospel will soon go to all the world and then Jesus will come.

Revelation 13 talks about the power of the beast. Revelation 13:11,12 - Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. When you look at the world right now, you see a very believable Revelation 13. The goals of the beast result in universal worship. All will worship together. All will soon be forced to worship.

Soon there will be forced worship throughout the entire world. How could they do that? How could they make sure that I was in church? Is that technology available? Just this week, the Seventh-day Adventist Southern Union Religious Liberty office published a bulletin which was sent to all ministers. I am quoting: "A Florida company, Applied Digital Solutions, is planning to market a computer ID 'VeriChip' which would be implanted under the skin. It is about the size of a grain of rice and needs no power supply. It could be used to store medical information, or other personal information. The company is also developing an implantable device which would allow satellite tracking of an individual's every move." - Waymarks, March/April 2002 p. 3.

How will Revelation 13 be fulfilled? Is the technology becoming available for that? Yes it is. It's just a matter of time. How much time? Nobody knows until these things take place.

The freedoms we enjoy today could go down with the setting of the sun some day. I believe they will. I believe that we don't have much longer. Maybe God is opening windows.

Maybe one of the last pieces of the gospel going to all the world was accidentally given to us by these terrorists. Because I think there are doors that are poised to open, now, that terrorism has changed. Have you noticed the Ten Commandments are springing up everywhere? Have you noticed that things are changing? Prayers are coming back into schools. I think doors are poised to open to a new order in the world. Finally the gospel of Jesus will be preached to the entire world, and then Jesus will come.

The most important thing that we are to do is not to buy up bottles of water, not to buy up food, but to buy in on Jesus. The most important thing that we can possibly do, is to establish our relationship with Jesus Christ, to make sure that is solid, to make sure that we know Jesus. We may not see Him face to face, we may not even see His feet. But we can sense His presence in our hearts. And that relationship with Jesus is all that matters. It is all that matters that we stay right with Jesus, that we stay connected, that we help others get connected.

Everything seems to be lining up. Are we lining up? Are we awake? Are we doing our duty to warn others? Are you really connected with Jesus? Or are you sitting in church today because your parents are here? Because your kids are here? Why are you here?

The World paid expensive tuition on September 11. I hope that we will not forget the lessons that have been learned. That we will be wide awake and never ever go back to sleep. Watching, preparing. Matthew 25 makes a final statement that I would like to read to you this morning. Matthew 25:13 (KJV). This is perhaps the conclusion that we should conclude with. It says, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." We need to watch and be ready. Jesus' coming is soon. Don't allow anything to lull you back into sleep. Let's be ready, and stay ready, and get others ready. In time like these we need a Savior. We need Jesus.


Hymn of Praise: #213, Jesus Is Coming Again
Scripture: John 14:1-3
Hymn of Response: #593, In Times Like These


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