HYMN It may be at morn
1 It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness and shadow is breaking,
That Jesus will come in the fullness of glory,
To receive from the world His own.
O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song,
Amen. Hallelujah! Amen.
2 It may be at midday, it may be at twilight,
It may be, perchance, that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory,
When Jesus receives His own. (Refrain)
3 O joy! O delight! should we go without dying,
No sickness, no sadness, no dread and no crying.
Caught up through the clouds with our Lord into glory,
When Jesus receives His own. (Refrain)
Children’s Talk. Matthew 24 – The End is Nigh
Hands up anyone who likes reading or looking at books ? What kind of books do you like ?
There is something which is the same about almost every book – they have two little words – what two words ? THE END !
These are words which might make you a little sad – particularly if it is a book you have enjoyed – but there is an old saying : All good things must come to an end!
Now some of you are still quite young and you can’t imagine that this old world of ours will ever come to an end – but it will. Now that might make some of you sad – but I have come today to tell you that it need not make you sad – because something very special is going to happen when the world comes to an end – does anyone know what that very special thing is ?
Jesus is coming back ! and He is going to sort out everything – and all of us who LOVE HIM are very keen to meet Him face to face. That should help us to trust Jesus every day.
READING Matthew 24
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 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.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
SERMON The End is Nigh
Did you hear about what was written on a Milngavie Church Notice Board. At one point there were TWO notices on the Board – the one read : Coffee Morning this Saturday the one underneath read: Jesus is coming.
This actually highlights something very important – namely Jesus is coming. Now I don’t expect that many here today would question that – you probably have some vague notion that Jesus will return some day – you may even have asked the question Why doesn’t He come back NOW ? ! Well, I want us all to see, this morning, what Jesus Himself says about His return.
I’m sure that the vital thing for all of us to see this morning is that there IS a plan to history. The world is not idly spinning round from chance happening to chance happening – there is a purpose in absolutely.
More than that – all of history points to one thing – namely the climax of history – the end of time as we know it – the date of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Why was it that Jesus launched into this great sermon? Well, He and the disciples were in the Temple and Jesus told them that all the stones of the Temple would be broken to pieces – impressive though they were. Naturally, the disciples wanted to know when this would happen – and indeed they wanted to know when Christ would come back and what would be the signs of the end of the world.
Well, Jesus tells us a number of things which are going to happen – firstly, sin and sorrow will increase greatly in the world – this would happen after the world had largely rejected HIM – but THEN – vs. 14 – the Gospel will be preached to the whole world.
Jesus simply warned His friends that Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed – and warned them to escape when they saw that time approaching. Now, the interesting thing which we learn from historians is that the early Christians, by and large, took Jesus’ advice – and before the city was besieged and destroyed – they left and went to Pella in Perraea and so they escaped the terrible events of AD 70.
Then in verses 23-27 Jesus warns us that when people stop believing in Him – then they become very superstitious.
Lest anyone be in ANY doubt about this – Jesus makes absolutely plain in the next verses that there will be a final judgment. No-one speaks more about the judgment and hell than does this man Jesus. We are also warned that there will be lots of imposters – people claiming to be HIM – but we must not listen to them.
When Jesus DOES return – then ALL the world will know – there will be no doubts in anyone’s mind – we will all see Him simultaneously.
Now, as to the TIMING of this great event – NO-ONE knows. There is a story told of that great Scottish preacher Robert Murray McCheyne. One night he asked a group of friends gathered in his house if they thought Jesus would return that night. One by one they thought about it and said to him “I don’t expect so”.
After they had all replied in similar vein he solemnly quoted Jesus words of verse 44 : You must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.
No-one knows when Jesus is coming back – if anyone claims they DO – then they are either misguided or evil – in either case avoid such a person !
Another thing which Jesus makes very plain is that when He returns, there will be a very obvious separation of His own family from all the rest of the world. At the moment, we all look alike – it’s very difficult to tell who are the Christians – NOT IN THAT DAY !
The final coming of Jesus will show everyone up for what they really are in their hearts – for good or for evil – and there will be not a few surprises on that day.
The watchword in all of this is WATCH ! Don’t watch the clouds for signs of Jesus – but rather WATCH YOUR LIVES – given that the return of Jesus is always just around the corner, we must live every day in the joyful expectation that it could be today. Horatius Bonar (the prince of Scottish hymn-writers) every morning when drawing open his curtains would say : Perhaps today, Lord ? And every night, with the same degree of eager expectation Perhaps tonight, Lord ?
Is that YOUR expectation – or MINE ?
There is a story told of a very fine Christian whom God had used greatly. The man had a chauffeur called John. One day coming home in the car, the Christian man was speaking to John about the Return of the Lord Jesus.
He said, John, when Jesus comes back, you can have my cars… you and your wife can come and live in my nice big house… indeed you can have all my money and all my possessions.
John was overwhelmed by this kindness and went home to tell his wife who was also thrilled. However, that night, John couldn’t sleep and in the early hours of the morning, he went to his boss’s door and told him :
Sir, I don’t want your cars – nor your house.. money.. possessions and WHY NOT said the man? What DO you want? I want to be SAVED – to be READY when Jesus returns.
Hymn At the Name of Jesus
At the name of Jesus
every knee shall bow,
every tongue confess him
King of Glory now.
‘Tis the Father’s pleasure
we should call him Lord,
who from the beginning
was the mighty Word:
Humbled for a season,
to receive a name
from the lips of sinners
unto whom he came,
faithfully he bore it
spotless to the last,
brought it back victorious
when from death he passed.2
Bore it up triumphant
with its human light,
through all ranks of creatures
to the central height,
to the throne of Godhead,
to the Father’s breast;
filled it with the glory
of that perfect rest.
Surely, this Lord Jesus5
shall return again,
with his Father’s glory,
with his angel train;
for all wreaths of empire
meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him
King of Glory now.