The Parable of the Fig Tree
February 19, 2006
ILLUS: When my wife and I drive down to the Delta, instead to taking Highway 5 and turning off at Highway 4 to Rio Vista, we enjoy taking the river route. It is a beautiful drive, with the river on one side and farmland on the other side. If you've ever driven that way, you will have noticed the many, huge fig trees along the roadside.
Now if you want to bless my wife, simply bring her a box of figs and that will do it. She loves figs. It is a great temptation for us to drive by some of these fig trees and not stop to pick them; but, since I'm a preacher and she's a preacher's wife, it wouldn't look good if we got caught snitching someone's figs.
INTRODUCTION: Matthew 24 is referred to as the Olivet Discourse. In (vs. 3), the Bible says, And as he[Jesus] sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Jesus responds by giving a prophetic statement about the future. In chapter 24, He begins with Jerusalem's coming destruction in 70 A. D., and continues through history until His return at the end of the tribulation period. In (vs. 30), it says, And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
The disciples wanted to know the same thing we want to know today; "When is He coming?" In answer to that question, the Lord uses the parable of the fig tree (vv. 32, 33), Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
With that background, let's consider three things:
I. Discerning the Signs
II. Considering the Times
III. Separating the Kinds
I. DISCERNING THE SIGNS
Jesus said, So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Just as we can know that summer is close at hand by the developing leaves on a fig tree, in much the same way, we can know the Lord's return is near by the signs and indicators mentioned in this chapter.
What are some of the signs? What are some things that will take place just prior to His return? Well first of all there will be...
A. Indescribable sorrow (vs. 8)
1. Would you not agree that these are sorrowful days in which we live? The heartache and untold suffering and misery we see in the world have left few people untouched.
ILLUS: According to a recent statement by the International Federation of the Red Cross; "Floods and snowstorms have wrecked hundreds of thousands of lives across the Russian Federation and Mongolia. Tens of millions of Asians, Africans and Latin Americans have been forced ...
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