"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 48

Four Things To Remember As The End Approaches

Read: Mark 13

Text: (Mark 13:34 KJV) For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.

Theme: While we are waiting for Jesus' imminent return, we should be working and watching.


Introduction:

QUESTION - What are some that we see in this passage? (Discuss meaning of each as it is presented by class)

QUESTION - What things did Jesus warn are NOT signs of His coming?

ANSWER (QUOTE Wiersbe) - Jesus listed the things that must not be taken as the "signs" of His coming. Rather, they are indications that the Tribulation "birth pangs" are just beginning. These signs are: the success of false Christs (Mark 13:5-6), nations in conflict (Mark 13:7-8a), natural disturbances (Mark 13:8b), and religious persecutions (Mark 13:9-13). They have been always been with us, but since these events are compared to "birth pangs," our Lord may be saying that an acceleration of these things would be significant.

QUESTION - What are some examples of these "signs" which we have seen in recent times?

QUESTION - What has to happen before Christ's return?

QUESTION - What is the significance of Jesus' IMMINENT return to you, personally?

SONG "Redemption Draweth Nigh" -

"If back then it seemed so real,

Then I just can't help but feel,

How much closer His coming is today."


I. The AUTHORITY

"… and gave AUTHORITY to His servants…"

QUESTION - What authority did Jesus give His servants?

NOTE - A person must HAVE authority before He can GIVE authority. Jesus HAS authority.

(Mat 28:18 KJV) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

(John 5:26-27 KJV) For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

QUESTION - Who are "His servants?"

QUESTION - What is this authority based on? (ANSWER - The word of God, cf. Vs. 31)

QUESTION - How is this significant to you, personally?

A. You have the AUTHORITY of Almighty God!

(Mat 16:18-19 KJV) And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

B. You hold in your hands the POWER of the Almighty God!

(i.e. the Bible IS the power, it IS the authority)

(Jer 5:14 KJV) Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

(Jer 23:29 KJV) Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

(Eph 6:17 KJV) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

(Heb 4:12 KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

(Rom 1:16 KJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

C. This authority, this power, lasts FOREVER.

(Psa 119:89 KJV) LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

(Isa 40:8 KJV) The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

(1 Pet 1:25 KJV) But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

D. You have EVERYTHING YOU NEED while waiting for His return.

QUESTION - What, then, should occupy a prominent place in our lives as we await our Lord's return?

ANSWER - God's Word - understanding it, loving it, living it.

II. The TASK

"… and to every man his work…"

QUESTION - What is "his work?"

QUESTION - To whom is "his work" assigned? Is there a select group to whom "his work" is assigned?"

ANSWER - cf. Eph 4:11-13
QUESTION - Is this significant to you, personally? How?

QUESTION - What happens if "his work" is not completed?

A. Some would say that lack of completing this task holds up the return of Christ!

(Mat 24:14 KJV) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

(Mark 13:10 KJV) And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

B. The TASK is not optional.

"… MUST be published…" (vs. 10)

1. Witnessing is the business of the church.

QUESTION - Do you agree with this statement?

(Mat 28:18-20 KJV) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

(Mark 16:15 KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

(Acts 1:8 KJV) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

2. Witnessing is the MOST IMPORTANT business of the church.

QUESTION - Do you agree with the above statement? If so, what ramifications does it have for this church?

QUESTION - What are some activities that the local church involves itself in today? How do they fare in light of this statement?

QUESTION - What should we as a local church do to ensure we are in agreement with Jesus Christ on this issue?

3. Witnessing is the business of EVERY MEMBER of the church.

QUESTION - Do you agree with the above statement? If so, what ramifications does it have for you as an individual?

QUESTION - What are some activities that we as individuals get involved in today? How do these activities fare in light of this statement?

QUESTION - What should we as believers do to ensure we are in agreement with Jesus Christ on this issue?

C. The TASK is international.

(Acts 1:8 KJV) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

QUESTION - What can you, as an individual believer, do to ensure your witness is local and global at the same time?

III. The WARNING

"… and commanded the porter to watch…"

QUOTE (Bible Knowledge Commentary) - The verb "be on guard" (blepete) occurs four times at significant points throughout the
discourse (vv. 5 ["Watch out," NIV], 9, 23, 33).

QUESTION - What should we as a church be watching for (or "watching out" for)?

ANSWER - Ensure that at least the four things mentioned in the above 4 verses are included in the class' answer to the above question.

QUESTION - What would be the ramifications of Jesus returning and finding that we had not heeded this warning?

ILLUS. Parable of the 10 virgins (cf. Matthew 25:1f)

QUOTE "Those who wait until the 11th hour to be saved usually die at 10:30!"

(Jer 8:20 KJV) The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

(John 9:4 KJV) I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

IV. The IMMINENCE

"… coming suddenly…" vs. 36

QUESTION - What "coming" is referred to here (and in the remainder of the Olivet Discourse)?

QUESTION - What is He waiting for? What still has to happen before He can return?

A. NOTHING hinders Jesus' return!

ILLUS. Whisenant's book "88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988" was foolish and misguided, but it reminded many of this truth. Many lost people were genuinely concerned about it!

NOTE - The signs mentioned in this chapter refer to Christ's Second Coming in power and glory (vs. 26) NOT to the rapture, which is the next event on His calendar.

READ 1 Thes. 4:13-18

B. Jesus could come TODAY!

C. Many pray that He will!

(Rev 22:20 KJV) He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

QUESTION - How should we live in light of this knowledge?

ILLUS. Bill Cosby tells the story of one of his children attempting to steal cookies at a very young age. He makes us laugh when he points out that children this young don't understand that "sound travels," and as a result, dad can hear the surreptitious activity from the other side of the house. However, he makes us ponder a little when he points out that the child learns this truth, and eventually even works together with a sibling to "post a look out." Surely, if a child can learn the importance of "watching out" for dad, we as believers can see the importance of "watching out" for Christ's return. NOT so that we can avoid judgement for pilfering cookies, but so that He can find us busy doing what He commanded us to do in His absence.


Conclusion:

    1. The AUTHORITY that He has placed with His people.
    2. The TASK that He has given His people.
    3. The WARNING that He has left with His people.
    4. The IMMINENCE of His return for His people.


Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.