Matthew 24:36-44 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. “Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. “But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
We have just crossed over into a New Year. There have been some prophecies regarding this new year and many are concerned about the state of our nation as well as our world. The uncertainty of the future has people in turmoil, fearful of what lies ahead. We clearly are moving according to God’s timetable through the last days before the return of the Lord!
Jesus, when approached by His disciples in answer to their questions about the end of the times, stated several different things that they could use to measure when that would occur. In this portion of Scripture He indicates that no one, not even He, knows the exact date and time of His arrival because that knowledge is reserved for the Father only. He is the One who decides when He will send His Son back to reclaim those who are His. But there are some signs that we can use to determine the nearness of His appearing. One of the signs that give us an indication of the timetable used to determine His return is the condition of the world; the condition of the hearts of people. He said the time of Jesus’ return would be like that of Noah in the days before the flood. He specifically mentions the lifestyle of those living at the time of that great flood. They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. In other words, life was lived to their own liking regardless of the fact that Noah had been warned of the flood and was building an ark for safety for all who would believe and enter into it with him. We can understand more about the lifestyle of the people of that day by looking at the record of Noah and the flood found in Genesis, chapter 6.
Genesis 6:5-8 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart,. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
The lifestyle portrayed by this portion of scripture leads us to believe that wickedness and evil, or lawlessness abounded in the hearts and lives of the people of Noah’s day. Jesus said in Matthew 24:12 that lawlessness would be a sign of His return.
Matthew 24:12 “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
What is lawlessness? It is willfully disregarding the righteousness of God and choosing sin above His ways.
1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
Hebrews 1:9 says that Jesus loved righteousness and hated lawlessness, so lawlessness is the complete opposite of God’s righteousness and is a practice of willful disobedience to His ways. Sin, or falling short of the glory of God through willful disobedience, choosing your own way over His, is considered lawlessness. That was the picture of life in Noah’s day before God destroyed the life of man and beast through that great flood. Jesus said life in the last days would be like that. Can you see the similarities in the lifestyles of those in our world today?
There are many prophecies going around regarding the day and age in which we live. There are those who prophesy doom and gloom and others who are claiming to have a word from the Lord regarding God’s grace and favor being manifested in this upcoming year. Who are we to believe? Are the warnings valid and the great grace invalid, or vice verse, do we listen to the prophecies of God’s grace being manifested and fore-go the warnings of the day of the Lord’s return growing near? I don’t see it as an either or choice that we must make. Revelation 19:10 tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Clearly He has shared with us the ultimate prophecies regarding the end of the age and His approaching return.
Hebrews 1:1-4 GOD, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Jesus has warned us that the time is near. The signposts all point to His return! We must be ready! We must warn those around us that the end is near! Salvation must be appropriated in this life, before Jesus returns or we die a physical death. That decision to receive His payment for the penalty for our sin must be chosen before we are caught up to meet Him in the air at His return or we die and leave this body to spend eternity either in the presence of the Lord or eternally separated from Him in outer darkness.
There is one thing that I want to point out to you about the great flood in the day of Noah….it is found in Genesis 6:8:
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Noah lived at the same time as the others who perished in the flood and yet he found grace in the eyes of the LORD. What was different about Noah that caused God to extend His grace to him?
Genesis 6:9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
We see three things that exemplify the lifestyle of Noah: 1) He was a just man; 2) he was perfect in his generations; and 3) he walked with God.
Noah found grace in the eyes of God because of his relationship with God. It affected his lifestyle and granted him salvation when others around him were perishing. God’s grace was greater than the lure of the world to eat, drink and be merry. Noah was a righteousness man; he listened when God spoke and obeyed His command to build an ark in preparation for a great flood!
Genesis 6:22 Thus Noah did, according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
Even though we don’t see specifically in scripture where the people questioned him about what he was doing and the ridicule he must have received for telling them that God had told him to build an ark in preparation for an upcoming flood, we know that it would only be human nature for him to have experienced those questions from the community around him. So it has been throughout the ages that those who follow Jesus have suffered persecution and always will. And yet Noah chose God over the ways of the world around him. And so he found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Will you choose God over the ways of the world and thus find grace in God’s eyes. God’s grace was given through the sacrifice for sin offered on the cross when Jesus was nailed to that tree.
Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign through the One, Jesus Christ.
Those who receive the gift of righteousness that Jesus purchased for them will also receive an abundance of God’s grace. Righteousness comes through receiving Jesus Christ as the payment for your sin. Grace is God’s unmerited favor towards us given through the blood of His Son. Jesus is God’s gift of salvation.
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:12, 13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Yes, there is a need for warning mankind of the eminent return of Jesus Christ. That will happen in God’s timing and we must be ready for His appearing. But we, who have received Him have been given the right to be children of God and thus have entered into that ARK of safety which is only found in the relationship that we have with Jesus Christ. We have been given great grace! We reign with Him in life through that abundance of grace; the favor of God resting upon those who have chosen Him over the wicked ways of the world.
Will you be ready for His return? Will you be busy about the Father’s business telling others and warning them of the impending danger of not entering into covenant relationship with Jesus? There are only two classes of people in God’s eyes; the saved and the unsaved; those who know Jesus and those who don’t. Which class will you be in?
If you have not made the choice to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord I must warn you that the time is drawing near for His return. If you have not made the decision to choose Him over the world, you must do that in this day before it is too late. God’s gift of salvation is free to all who will receive it. He gave His all that you might have life eternal; life spent eternally in the presence of God.
If you have never received Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord and would like to do that, please pray with me this prayer and mean it sincerely in your heart:
Father, I come before you this morning with the understanding that I am a sinner, both by birth and by choice. I admit that I have lived my life for me and me alone, disregarding Your will and ways. Father, I thank You for giving Jesus to die for my sin. I believe that He is the Son of God, was crucified for my sin and was raised to new life and lives today seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. I ask You to forgive me for my sin and to come into my heart and be my Savior and Lord. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to come into my heart and save me! Thank You, for Your salvation. I receive it today and I confess Jesus as my Savior and Lord, I promise to live every day of my life from this day forward for You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Father, I bring those before You this morning who may be fearful about what lies ahead in these uncertain times. Father, Your word says that we are not to be overcome with fear for Your grace is greater than anything the enemy could have planned for us. You are the greater One who lives within the hearts of Your children and You are greater than he who lives and rules in this world system. To You be the glory due Your name! May You be exalted in these last days, Lord Jesus, over all the evil that is taking place in the world. Please forgive us of our sins, Father, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness that we might be fit to rule and reign with Christ Jesus in the days ahead. Establish Your kingdom in the hearts of believers that we might take back what is rightfully ours that You have given to us as our inheritance here on earth. I declare that no weapon formed against us shall prosper but we shall rise up as Your people, the army of God and pray and speak out at Your direction to effect change in our world. Give us courage and boldness through Your Spirit to live as You direct and be about Your business until the day of the Lord’s appearing! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.