Jul 31, 2016
Birth pains. It’s all about the birth pains.
As you will hear in this PODCAST, as we enumerate the final three of the six "signs of the times," both Paul and Jesus made it crystal-clear that we are to think of these signs in terms of birth pains.
Paul, who borrowed this most-meaningful metaphor from Jesus, used it most-appropriately when he in Romans 8 declared, "For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."
It would not surprise me one bit to hear that some of you -- Or should I say some of us? -- have been groaning a little more than usual this past week.
It is all about the birth pains, that increase dramatically in frequency and in intensity as the moment of birth approaches. This troubled planet of ours is undeniably in the later stages of its own labor pains, as it waits in breathless anticipation as the moment of Jesus’ return approaches.
So said Paul.
So said Jesus. Here in Matthew 24:8, spoken in the Olivet Discourse, on the Tuesday afternoon of His final week, in reference to these "signs of the times." Jesus said, "All these are the beginning of birth pains."
That is precisely where we are today. Groaning, watching, and waiting for the climax of human history as we know it finally and mercifully to dawn upon us.
In Luke’s abbreviated account of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus said in reference to these same "signs of the times," "When these things (these birth pains) begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Stand up; and lift up. Those are phrases that speak of victory, not defeat!
We don’t sit down in defeat; we stand up in victory!
We don’t hang our heads in dismal distress; we lift up our heads in victorious anticipation.
We are not defeated. Not by a long shot. We are encouraged.
These "signs of the times," these birth pains, have indeed begun to take place. Our redemption is indeed drawing nearer, every single day!
Yes, these six "signs of the times" have always characterized our world. Yet, these is no denying the acceleration of their frequency and intensity.
Let me briefly remind you of the first three, and then we’ll discuss in some detail the final three. All with a view to standing up and lifting up our heads, not in defeat but in glorious victory.
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God bless you richly as you listen.