Motivational Monday-This is Your Sign, Part 3
We have been considering a riveting conversation between Jesus and His disciples about what things will be like as we near the end of this earth’s history from Matthew 24. In part 1, we discovered Jesus’ paramount concern for His last days followers is that we be not deceived (Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 24-25). Christ warns us about false teachers, false prophets, and false “christs” three times in this one chapter and also many times throughout the Bible.
In part 2, Matthew 24:6-8 revealed how we will see an increase in frequency and intensity of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes the closer we come to Christ’s return. He has told us ahead of time how things will get worse and worse the closer we come to that great event, so we shouldn’t be surprised, instead, we can have peace and faith (John 14:29).
What else did Christ tell us we should expect to take place as we near the time of His return?
Matthew 24:12 says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Iniquity is rebellion or continual disregard for law, in this case God’s Law. Jesus foretold a rebellion against God and His ways that would intensify at the same time love for God and His ways would wane. Is this happening today? Is the world at large cold and indifferent to the things of God? We shouldn’t be surprised because Jesus foretold such a condition during the last days of this earth’s history.
To what other world-changing event does Jesus compare the end? “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37. What were the days of Noah like? “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:38-39. At the end of this earth’s history, the Bible tells us people will be going through all their rounds and routines without any thought of God, His Word, or His ways.
Genesis 6:5 and 11 helps us understand how great the prevailing wickedness was in Noah day. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” The antediluvians’ problem was their evil thoughts that led to evil actions continually. Do we see this becoming a description of our world today? Let’s consider some violence statistics:
Thirty percent (30%) of U.S. students in grades six through ten are involved in moderate or frequent bullying — as bullies, as victims, or as both — according to the results of the first national survey on this subject. (Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001).
8% of students miss one day of class per month for fear of bullies.
43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
100,000 students carry a gun to school.
28% of youths who carry weapons have witnessed violence at home.
282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
Playground statistics - Every seven minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention - 4%. Peer intervention - 11%. No intervention - 85%.
46% of males, and 26% of females reported they had been in physical fights. (Source: Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001).
Recent studies show that as many as seventy-five percent of children have been victims of bullying during their school careers, however, about half of parents in this survey see bullying as no problem for their children. (Source: Are We Safe? The 2000 National Crime Prevention Survey, National Crime Prevention Council, 2001).
Thirty-nine percent of middle schoolers and thirty-six percent of high schoolers say they don’t feel safe at schools. (Source: 2000 Report Card: Report #1, The Ethics of American Youth: Violence and Substance Abuse: Data & Commentary, Josephson Institute of Ethics, 2001.).
School Violence: 1990-1994 33% increase in violence, in 1993-1994 55% increase.
10% of teachers and 25% of students in public schools say that they have been the victim of a violent act in school.
One fourth of high school seniors reported they had been threatened with violence (“Stop the Violence.” North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Center for the Prevention of School Violence Statistics compiled by Kathy Knoll at: http://hometown.aol.com/kthynoll).)
The average American child will witness more than 200,000 violent acts and more than 16,000 murders on television by the age of 18. Children learn what they live as the acceptable norm and model what they see (good or bad). It is a law of the mind that as a man thinks so is he (Proverbs 23:7).
“It is a law both of the intellectual and the spiritual nature, that by beholding, we become changed. The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is allowed to dwell. It becomes assimilated to that which it is accustomed to love and reverence. Man will never rise higher than his standard of purity or goodness or truth. If self is his loftiest ideal, he will never attain to anything more exalted. Rather, he will constantly sink lower and lower. The grace of God alone has power to exalt man. Left to himself, his course must inevitably be downward.” (Great Controversy, p. 486.)
We are raising a generation numb to violence – they think it is normal. Adolescent homicide rates have reached the highest in US history. Juvenile arrests for homicides in 1982-1992 increased 228% from the previous decade. The conclusion of why this is happening is attributed to the changing patterns of family and community life, increased focus on materialism, both parents working outside the home, and society redefining violence as normal and acceptable.
Are we seeing Christ’s description of the last days being fulfilled right before our eyes? How much of the imagination and thinking of mankind is evil and filled with violence continually today? God only knows…
How will God’s people respond to all this wickedness? “I will sing of mercy and judgement: unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way…I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before my eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Psalm 101:1-3. The followers of God, like Noah of old, will dwell on the things of God and will refuse to deliberately set any wickedness before their eyes. They will follow the commission of Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…honest…just…pure…lovely…of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Those who desire to follow God and His ways will focus on the good and right and true and will be found “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5), and will intreat God to “search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting,” (Psalm 139:23-24).
How are your thoughts and thinking patterns? Jesus can help you become the person described in the above paragraph. Why not have a little talk with Him right now?
If this resonates with you, I invite you to check out the Days of Noah Series hosted at the Eureka Springs Convention Center beginning October 29.
In Part 4, we will consider Jesus final prophesy of Matthew 24 regarding the end. That will all happen right here next Wednesday, so stay tuned!
Would you like to learn more about God?
Join us Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm CT at
Abundant Health Wellness Center, 240 Huntsville Rd., Eureka Springs, AR 72632