How should we live?
Living in the last days Series / Matthew 24–25
Pr. Fabiano Niyonkuru / Melrose Park SDA Church
A story is told of a young law student, who was sitting in a village the law office in upper New York state. It was early in the day and he was alone in the room. Suddenly it seemed as though a voice spoke in his heart: “Finney, what are you going to do when you finish your law course?” His answer was, “Why, put out my shingle and practice law [in another words open a business, or put out a sign indicating that I’m a professional lawyer], of course.
“Make some money get rich.”
“Build a beautiful home and have a family, and be respected by everyone.”
“Well, I suppose I’ll get old and retire.”
“Well, men must die.”
Those words kept driving into his mind. “Then what? Then what? And, from the store house of memory, the words of holy Scripture heard in childhood: “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement. Hebrews 9:27
HMS Richards reports that this young lawyer ran to the woods a mile and half away (2.5 kilometres) and fell onto his face before God and prayed and vowed that he would not leave until he had made his peace with Heaven. He seemed to see himself at the judgment bar of God. He was living a life of self-seeking and enjoying the pleasures of this world. He wrestled with God for several hours and left the woods with a higher purpose of living. From that moment peace and joy filled His heart. He went on to become, not a lawyer, but one of the evangelists who have brought thousands to Christ.
Finney saw himself at the judgment bar of God.
We are living in that time – we are living in the anti-typical day of judgment.
- Are the signs we are seeing today indicating that the end is near?
Matthew 24:3 NKJV
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
The disciples wanted to know the signs or the signals that would indicate the second coming and when the end of the world would be.
In Matthew 24 Jesus tells them many signs: some in the natural world, political world, social world and religious world. In summary things WOULD GET WORSE AND WORSE.
From the destruction of Jerusalem, Christ passed on rapidly to the greater event, the last link in the chain of this earth’s history,—the coming of the Son of God in majesty and glory. Between these two events, there lay open to Christ’s view long centuries of darkness, centuries for His p 631 church marked with blood and tears and agony. Upon these scenes His disciples could not then endure to look, and Jesus passed them by with a brief mention.
Ellen Gould White, The Desire of Ages, vol. 3, Conflict of the Ages Series (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 630–631.
Jesus however, tells them what is most important besides the signs. According to Dr. John Pauliene
“These “signs” were not intended to stimulate speculation regarding the date of the End; they were, rather, to remind us of Jesus’ words, which encourage us to be watchful and ready for the End at all times (Matt. 24:42-44).”
Many of the signs spoken of in Matthew 24 have been with us ever since the days of the apostles. However, the Bible says that there would be an increase in the intensity of the events foretold.
Matthew 24:8 NKJV
All these are the beginning of sorrows.
The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 5 Sorrows
Gr. ōdines, “birth pangs,” “birth pains,” “labor pains,” “travail.”
There were false messiahs already in Jesus’ day ( Acts 5:36 , 37 ), and plenty more in the approach to A.D. 70.3 While peace characterized Palestine in A.D. 31, there were “wars and rumors of wars” throughout the A.D. 60s. There were famines ( Acts 11:28 ), earthquakes (Laodicea in 60 A.D., Pompeii in 63, Jerusalem in 64, and Rome in 684 ), and heavenly signs. 5 The New Testament contains abundant accounts of persecution, false teachers, and false prophets.6 Paul could even claim that the gospel had gone to the world within his lifetime ( Col. 1:23 ; Rom. 1:8 ; 16:26 ). It is no wonder, then, that the apostles believed that they were living in the last days ( Acts 2:14- 21 ; Heb. 1:2 ; 1 Peter 1:20 ; 1 John 2:18 ).
To answer the question:
With a population that is surmounting, (give example) political turmoil, moral decay and environment deteriorating, wild fires and more – we are surely living in the last days.
One may say – I grew up hearing that we are living in the last days. Well my friend, the prophetic timeline has never been closer than today.
- What did Jesus and Paul say about the time preceding the second coming?
Matthew 24:7 NKJV
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
Matthew 24:11–12 NKJV
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Matthew 24:21–24 NKJV
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 Timothy 3:1–5 NKJV
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
These would be signs in the religious world. Take note that those who have a form of goodliness are not unbelievers. Sadly the evils referred to here would be manifested amongst some of those who profess to be Christians. We can see that today… This is one of the most saddening passages of the Bible.
John 16:2 NKJV
They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.
FURTHERMORE, the events of the end times will be heavy, consequential and momentous, the strangely however, they will be characterised with normalcy.
Matthew 24:37–39 NKJV
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.
Luke 17:28 NKJV
Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;
The events of the end times will be heavy, consequential and momentous but the strange thing is that they will be characterised with normalcy.
The last days began in the time of the disciples but the end times began in 1844 when the prophetic clock prophesied in Daniel 8:14 was fulfilled. From that moment, Jesus began the work of the Most Holy (as typified in the Sanctuary service).
- What were the days of Noah like?
Genesis 6:5 NKJV
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.
The parallels are trucking. We are living in a time that is similar to that of Noah and to that of Lot. One author has said…
- A time in which God’s word (the Bible) is questioned with unrelenting scepticism and those who dare believe in the Bible are called lunatics.
- A time when gross evils and injustices are legislated and even intellectually defended by academics under the guise of scholarship
- A time when having an opinion or a moral standard sits under the title of “judgemental” or “lambasted” as politically incorrect or out of date.
- A time when society cries out for swift justice or unforgiveness against particular crimes, while it embraces an entrenched legal system whose loopholes allow brazen criminals to obtain mercy because of a technicality – instead of sincere sorrow for their actions.
Jesus and the apostles believed in the flood account. Sadly, many Christian and scientist are denying not only the flood account taught by these two great moral teachers, but also the six literal days of Creation.
There is a storm coming. We are about to are about to experience something similar to that of the antediluvians (as that of the people in Noah’s day). Peter says the following…
2 Peter 3:3–7 NKJV
knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
• they wilfully forget the events of the past which foreshadow the events of the future.
Just as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be in the last days.
What is it that contributed to the downfall of the people in Noah’s day?
every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen. 6:5).
Patriarchs and Prophets Chapter 7—The Flood
Man will rise no higher than his conceptions of truth, purity, and holiness. If the mind is never exalted above the level of humanity, if it is not uplifted by faith to contemplate infinite wisdom and love, the man will be constantly sinking lower and lower.
Notice in v. 3 God says “My Spirit will not strive with man forever…” The Holy Spirit will not contend with you forever.
Mankind will rise no higher than his conception of truth, purity and holiness.
Our conception of truth – Who Is Truth? That is Jesus. Can you see how important our understanding of Truth and Our conception of holiness is? The standard is High, and we must pray and seek to rise higher and higher in Holiness in these last days so we may reach the goal God has set out for us.
Patriarchs and Prophets Chapter 7—The Flood
Many at first appeared to receive the warning; yet they did not turn to God with true repentance. They were unwilling to renounce their sins. During the time that elapsed before the coming of the Flood, their faith was tested, and they failed to endure the trial. Overcome by the prevailing unbelief, they finally joined their former associates in rejecting the solemn message.
Our High Calling December
Half-hearted Christians are worse than infidels; for their deceptive words and noncommittal position lead many astray. The infidel shows his colors. The lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling nor a good Christian. Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do.
In the days of Noah sin became general – normal. Sin will become more tolerable. Every imaginable abominable sin was practiced.
Q: How did Noah live like amidst wickedness?
A: Noah stood like a rock amid tempest.
Patriarchs and Prophets Chapter 7—The Flood
Surrounded by popular contempt and ridicule, he distinguished himself by his holy integrity and unwavering faithfulness.
Another storm is coming
2 Peter 3:5–7 NKJV
For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
- What does the Bible say about the days of Lot?
Luke 17:32 NKJV
Remember Lot’s wife.
What happened? Let’s look at the background to the story of Lot’s wife.
Two angels came to Sodom at evening, they had a mission of saving Lot out of the city of which God’s judgment was about to fall. Abraham and Lot made a choice of where to live and their choices had lasting impact as we shall see.
Luke 17:28 NKJV
Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;
Life was going on as normal. No one knew what was about to happen. Lot seeing these strangers wanting to sleep outside the city, his hospitality alarm rang. He begged the strangers to come into his house so they may stay the night. They consented…
Genesis 19:4–5 NKJV
Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.”
They wanted to sleep with them… so homosexuality began long time ago and this the Bible condemns – this sin the Bible condemns.
Romans 1:27 NKJV
Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
Continuing… The angels then said to Lot…
Genesis 19:12–16 NKJV
12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place! 13 For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking. 15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
Genesis 19:17 NKJV
17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.”
Genesis 19:26 NKJV
26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Patriarchs and Prophets Chapter 14—Destruction of Sodom
Living in that wicked city, in the midst of unbelief, his faith had grown dim.
- The choice of where to live resulted in the loss of some of the family members
- His sons and daughters chose the luxurious life of this world and forfeited salvation being blinded by the worldlings.
- The wicked city had affected their spirituality.
The Watchman October 3, 1905: This Same Jesus Shall so Come
The crisis is stealing gradually upon us. The sun shines in the heavens, passing over its usual round, and the heavens still declare the glory of God. Men are still eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage. Merchants are still buying and selling. Men are jostling one against another, contending for the highest place. Pleasure-lovers are still crowding to theatres, horse-races, gambling hells. The highest excitement prevails, yet probation’s hour is fast closing, and every case is about to be eternally decided. Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied, and entranced until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door of mercy forever shut.
- How should we prepare?
Matthew 24:42 NKJV
42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 NKJV
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
• be temperate, be calm, be prepared
Philippians 4:8 NKJV
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
This is the litmus paper for those who are living and watching and praying in these last days.
- True – Believe the truth (Rev. 12:17)
- Noble – Holy
- Just – Righteous, modest, blameless
- Pure – Matt. 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart | This also means pure sexually
- Lovely – lovable
- Good report
- Virtue – Moral excellence
- Praise worth.
The films we watch, the books we read, the music we listen to and the entertainments we enjoy must be tested by this litmus paper.
ONE MAY SAY – BUT WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE – IT’S FAIT ALONE…
Not too fast… Notice what Paul, the preacher of righteousness by faith said.
Titus 2:11–14 NKJV
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 7 11. Grace
The triumphant note in Paul’s gospel is that men and women do find victory over sin (emphasis mine), that the Christlike life, once revealed in flesh and blood, may be duplicated in every Spirit-motivated man or woman.
We believe in salvation by faith that works . AMEN!
Let’s go to the book of Hebrews – Hebrew 11
V. 4 – By Faith Able did what?
V.7 – By Faith Noah did what?
Look at all other names presented in this chapter
The Good news is that it transforms your life.
Sin wounded Jesus my friend
Sin killed the Son of God
Sin Kills, if not today soon or later it will.
That’s why we must by the help of God remove sin from our lives.
Matthew 19:26 NKJV
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Phil. 4:13 – What does it say? It is Jesus not me who does this work in me BUT I must be willing, and I must persistently ask for help and do something about it. It is a work of co-operation.
I appeal to you brothers and sisters who have accepted the truth to remain faithful.
1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
Titus 1:9 NKJV
9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
It saddens me to see those who once embraced the truth for this time leaving the ark. Choosing to join unbelievers and sometimes becoming opponents of truth. Others have not totally left the church, however, they think that they are secure and do not see a need to continue growing in their faith and to guard the avenues of their soul from all impurities.
ASK YOUR SELF THIS QUESTION:
- They work on Sabbath; even medical doctors choose to work when they do not have to. Do they put the money for that day in the treasury of God?
- Others have embraced the holy wood entertainments – of which is full spiritualism and all sorts of evils.
- Others see no issue with homosexuality nor do they see an issue with embracing the theory of evolution.
- What should we be doing today to prepare for the soon return of Jesus?
Joel 2:12–13 NKJV
12 “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” 13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.
We are living in the anti-typical day of atonement friends. It is not a time to sing and shout. It is not a time to dance to the cool and the latest. It is time to be reverent and to worship God in truth and Holiness. Let us beware of the schemes of the enemy.
Satan invents unnumbered schemes to occupy our minds, that they may not dwell upon the very work with which we ought to be best acquainted. The archdeceiver hates the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful mediator. He knows that with him everything depends on his diverting minds from Jesus and His truth.
Those who would share the benefits of the Saviour’s mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God. The precious hours, instead of being given to pleasure, to display, or to gain seeking, should be devoted to an earnest, prayerful study of the word of truth. The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. How important, then, that every mind contemplate often the solemn scene when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, when, with Daniel, every individual must stand in his lot, at the end of the days.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin.
Matthew 15:19 NKJV
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them, how he taunts Christ and holy angels with their course, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away. Through defects in the character, Satan works to gain control of the whole mind, and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. Therefore he is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome. But Jesus pleads in their behalf His wounded hands, His bruised body; and He declares to all who would follow Him: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29, 30. Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable.
 Ellen Gould White, The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan, vol. 5, Conflict of the Ages Series (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1911), 489.
The light, frivolous [lack of seriousness, irrelevant, ] spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work . We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another.  Ellen Gould White, The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan, vol. 5, Conflict of the Ages Series (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1911), 490.
To one who asked him the secret of his service, George Mueller said: “There was a day when I died, utterly died;” and, as he spoke, he bent lower and lower until he almost touched the floor—“died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will—died to the world, its approval or censure—died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends—and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.”
—British Weekly  Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 1366.
Some the lonely 83-year-old man cried himself to sleep. Five years earlier he’d been devastated when Eddie, his wife of 30 years, had died. Her calm and reserve balanced his feisty, sometimes cranky nature, and together they had travelled widely in the 1957 pink Cadillac with a gold- plated wheels.
Now the old man lived with his 16 cats and in 1883 player piano in a rustic Lodge on the south shore of the lake near the base of a beautiful snow-capped mountain. He was a minor area celebrity–a fascinating front porch storyteller who could keep tourists spellbound with his tales of the area.
But in the spring of 1980 state officials paid him a visit and want him to leave immediately, because they fear the ancient volcanic mountain was about to erupt. But Harry Truman refused to leave his lodge at the base of Mount St. Helens. He’d been there for 54 years. “The mountain’s part of Harry, and Harry’s part of the mountain” he said. “I’m coming down feet first or–I’m not coming down at all.” He is defiant stand quickly spread to the national media, and Harry became an overnight celebrity.
On May 17 officials tried once more to reason with the old man of the mountain. Again, he refused to leave. The next morning Mount Saint Helens exploded with a force of 23 Megatron nuclear bomb. In seconds the top 1300 feet (0.4 kilometres) of it nearly 10,000 foot (3.05 kilometres) peak blasted into the sky, bearing Harry’s Lodge beneath hundreds of feet of volcanic ash and the debris.
In the days of Lot, his family struggled with “leave now, leave now while you still can.” Many people today are struggling to head the warning as well. They are comfortable in their sin. God is calling you my friend to leave while you still have a chance.
Revelation 18:4 NKJV
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.
Come out of Babylon. Come out of that confusion. We have a hell to lose and heaven to Gain.
I would like to make an appeal today.
- You recognise that we are living in the end time and would like to watch and live soberly. OR
- You have been convicted by the Holy Spirit that you have not been living according to the light you have received, and you would like Jesus to help you live a new life. You would like victory over a known Sin. Get on your knees and ask Jesus to help you today, ask Him to give you victory over sin and to help you live a transformed life.