Matthew 24:7-8, “You will hear of wars and rumors 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. All these are the beginning of birth pains…”
Some time back an earthquake hit Japan which added Tsunami tragedy. How should the church respond to such a tragedy? First Jesus tells us that we should not be alarmed. This does not mean that we shouldn’t care, pray, weep with those who weep, or send relief to the people affected by this horrific event. Jesus instructs us not to be alarmed because these things are a sign of the times. Even though we don’t desire these things to take place, we are reminded that these things are part of biblical prophecy, and can rest assure that our God is in control, in the midst of these times. We can’t explain such an event of this nature without looking to God. The Bible tells us that God cursed the earth because of Adam’s transgression. Weeds are a curse. So is disease. Sin and suffering cannot be separated. The Scriptures inform us that we live in a fallen creation. In the beginning, God created man perfect, and he lived in a perfect world without suffering. It was heaven on earth. When sin came into the world, death and misery came with it.
Secondly, Jesus spoke these things as “the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:4-8; Mark 13:8). Not only men, but the whole creation groans with “the pains of childbirth” anticipating the revelation of the sons of God at the revelation of the Son (Romans 8:18-22). Christians look forward and we”…wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” If you’ve given birth, then you understand the feeling of birth pains. Yet think for a moment at the full picture. God brings two people together in marriage. Sometime later they desire children and so through love the wife becomes pregnant. There is much excitement as the parents look forward to the birth of the child. However during the delivery there is great pain involved, until the baby comes, and once again there is joy unspeakable as God’s gift is seen in the birth. Jesus has called those that have repented and put their trust in Him, His children. However, we live in a time of the birth pains.
Thirdly, because of the birth pain it caused us to look forward to the coming of Christ. Luke 12:37 says, “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” In a moment in the twinkling of an eye He’ll return. No one was ready for the unexpected Tsunami that took the lives of thousands. But, we are commanded to have an expectant attitude for Christ’s return, and it too will be sudden! Those who understand Scripture eagerly await a new heaven and a new earth “wherein dwells righteous-ness.” In that coming Kingdom there will be no more pain, suffering, disease, or death. We are told that “no eye has ever seen, nor has any ear heard, neither has any man’s mind ever imagined the wonderful things that God has in store for those who love Him (1Corinthians 2:9).” What an encouragement to us as Christians.
Application: What are we to do now, just around twiddling our thumbs and wait, no way? Be holy (1Thessalonians 3:13); be zealous for the Lord anticipating His return; be confident (Ephesians 6:12, Revelation 20:10); be an encouragement (1Thessalonians 4:16-18); and be mobilized telling others of His imminent return. The Scripture tells us, “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 (Matthew 24:14).” Are you living godly? If you or one of your loved ones are suddenly swept away by the cold hand of death, are you ready, and are they to stand before the Lord? Blessings Pastor Phil