Do we know what's going to happen? A Full Christian Teaching of the End Times


Do we know what’s going to happen? A Full Christian Teaching of the End Times

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Sunday Sermon

9/3/2014 – New Elgin Christian Fellowship

Associate Pastor Steven Birnie

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Good evening and I hope this message finds you well. If you’re visiting for the first time then let me extend my hand to welcome you to the Blog Page of our Online Christian Bookshop. Most who have read before will know that aside from work and this Bookshop, I’m an Associate Pastor in our local church and when it’s my turn to preach, I tend to post the message as a Blog Article for those in our fellowship who might have missed it as well as an article for our regular friends and visitors, so I do hope you enjoy tonight’s message. It’s been good getting back into the swing of public preaching and I’m slowly beginning to feel comfortable again after our break with the babies, I almost forgot just how much I enjoy preaching, ministering and handing the Bread and Wine to a fellowship of God’s people and this morning was no exception, thanks to our members and a special thanks as always to our Senior Pastor Rob for his support.

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Please find below the sermon which was preached this morning, I’m glad I’m writing this tonight when it’s fresh in my mind however, I feel more at ease preaching God’s Word than writing out a sermon so I hope, by the presence of the Lord Spirit, that God will speak to you through this message and bless you with his great love and truth. God bless…..

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At this point in my own life, I’m tending to a live a life more of frustration than peace as my family would tell you and it seems at the moment, I’m just not entirely sure what God is doing, saying or where he is taking us however, as most experienced Christians will know, this is not all too uncommon in the life of a Christian. There’s many times God takes us down paths which we’re not too sure about, times where he takes us places and through circumstances which don’t quite make sense and during those times, doubt can arise in our hearts and with those doubts fear and with the fears, confusion. I think for myself, I just feel frustrated by my own position, I’m one who just wants to get going, move, break out and move forward and at the moment, God very much has me in a place where I am maxed out with things to do and keep me occupied.

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It’s this feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen which affects every Christian at one time or another however, when it comes to our place and future with God, you can be absolutely sure where you’re going and what your own personal fate is and it’s this assurance I’d like to share as a message tonight, especially for those who might not be aware of what their own personal future is in Jesus Christ. The subject I’m going to use to illustrate this teaching is that of the End Times Teachings, the things which we know will take place in the future and according to God’s Word, as a reassurance to us tonight that although we might not know what’s going on just now, we can know exactly what our future in the Lord Jesus Christ will be.

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The key to understanding the End Times Teaching and indeed an overview to the Book of Revelations is the doctrines of The Resurrection of the Dead and the Eternal Judgements and there’s three of each, which follow the pattern of the harvest. In the Old Testament, we see a very simple teaching of the Harvest which back then, had a very definite foreshadow of things to come. Before the harvest would begin, the High Priest would take a small amount of wheat from the field in a bundle called a ‘sheaf’ and that sheaf, was called the First Fruits of the harvest and he’d take it, waving it up and down to thank the Lord and then waving it side to side to ask the Lord for his blessing and help to harvest the wheat. When this was done, the harvest would then begin and the labourers would take the wheat and separate the good grain and store it aside then sweep up the unusable, the Chaff into a corner and burn it. This was basically the mode of the harvest and is a perfect foreshadow of God’s plans for the Harvest of Souls.

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Like I said there are three teachings of the resurrections and three of Eternal Judgement and each take place over a timeline (giving us a big key to the scriptures) and the first resurrection was of course, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is referred to in the scriptures as the First Fruits of the Harvest and for good reason. Jesus, in his priestly role, fulfilled the Old Testament practice of presenting a sheaf of the first fruits as a waive offering before the Lord, he died, was buried as a single grain but rose again with a handful of saints to present before the Lord and mark the beginning of the Harvest of Souls. This first event will never occur again, it was a one and only event to which only the perfect, sinless saviour could accomplish and it was because of this, that the doorway to salvation would be opened for all who believe, praise God!

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The second resurrection which will take place is the resurrection of the righteous dead, the Word tells us that the dead in Christ shall rise first and we who are alive and remain, will be caught up and there we will ever be with the Lord. This event is coming at a time no one knows, it could happen before I finish this article but this is the day which is referred to as ‘The Rapture’ or ‘The Catching Away of his Church’. At this point, all of the saints which have ever lived will face their own personal judgement at the judgement seat of Christ (Greek – Bema), this is the place where there will be a judgement upon each one of us for our works both good and bad but it will only be that, a judgement but with no punishment, Christ took our punishment and this is why this judgement seat is referred to as the Bema – The place of Judgement and Reward but no punishment – Praise God again.

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What follows are two events which mark the last 1007 years of the history of this present world, firstly 7 years will pass, we which are in heaven will celebrate the Great Marriage Feast of the Lamb while on earth, God will met out his sixth great judgement upon the earth, The Trials and Tribulations period. During this time on earth the issues will be unthinkable, the Anti-Christ will arise, one world religion, followed by worldwide slavery and at some point, a world war which will wipe out much of the planet’s population. Meanwhile, the saints will be preparing with Christ to return on his second coming and when the 7 years expire, Christ will come back with us and lay down all rule and sit on the second great Judgement Seat, The Throne of His Glory. There he will separate his sheep (The Believers, The Remnant of the Children of Israel) from his Goats, the unbelieving and the evil and there Christ will reign over the nations for 1000 years.

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So two resurrections and two eternal judgements so far….

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At the end of which, Satan will be loosed for a time but quickly defeated ushering in the third great resurrection and the third and final eternal judgement, The Great White Throne of God the Father. Each and every soul which died in an unsaved state will be risen from the dead that day and the great books will be opened and they will, be judged according to the things written in those books. Finally, the unjust will be thrown in the Lake of Fire for all Eternity along with Hell, the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet in an eternal separation from the light and grace of the Lord God on high then, the old heavens and earth will be done away and God will make a new heaven and a new earth and there, we will ever be with the Lord!

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The full teaching of the Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgements are part of our main EBook and Audio Sermon Package on the main website, please click here for a preview…..

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It’s quite an account is it not? The above is the result of many years of study, translating from the original Hebrew and Greek texts and seasons of public teaching and the above is the truest account any could offer upon the future of mankind. It’s not something we need to be afraid of but it is something we need to very aware of because the teaching above not only encourages us about our future but the fate of those who don’t believe. Just to be clear, if you’re not quite sure as I know it’s a lot to take in, but it’s far more easily understood when you remove the idea that death is the end of the life of a soul, a soul can’t die, it can’t just cease to exist, once it is created and walks about as flesh and blood it will simply never, for all eternity, ever cease to exist so, where does a person go when their physical body dies? The best illustration I could give is that of our Lord’s divine revelation to his hearers of what that unseen realm looks like, many have said this is just a parable but deep study in the original, reveals Jesus was indeed speaking about a very real situation which only he could reveal…..

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Luk 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
Luk 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Luk 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
Luk 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Luk 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Luk 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Luk 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

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Many will have heard this very well known account, we see the Rich Man going to Hell and the Beggar going to Paradise, one in torments and one in bliss but this isn’t even the concerning thing. The part of concern is when the Rich man begs that he might go back and warn his family and the answer in the heavenly’s was, NO! When someone dies they will die and leave in whatever state they lived, if they believed in the Son of God then they will go to Heaven, no come backs no strings attached but if an unbeliever dies, then the place they enter is that place of Hell from which there are no come backs, no negotiations, just judgement to come. For any Christian, this should be a very clear teaching and a very clear mindset because people are indeed dying out there and most, without the possibility of parole, a tree falls where it lands, if it dies in a state of Grace it will live, if unjust it will be eternally separated.

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My Mother was present at our sermon this morning and my eye caught her’s at a particular point and it reminded me of when we lost our dearly departed and Godly Grandparents, David and Jessie Mulholland. I’ll always remember us, as a family, in that room in the last few hours of Grandma’s life as she peacefully looked around at us unable to speak but able to just look and finally, her breathing started to labour and as quietly as she lay, she peacefully past off and died. My Mother let out a great wail of “thank you for being such a good Mother” and others began to weep in the room. My Uncle, Pastor Dave Mulholland, said a wonderful prayer as we all sat there with tears in our eyes but as we looked at each other and indeed thought on each other, it was evident, that there was no sense whatsoever, of hopelessness because we knew, she was, at that point, in the arms of Jesus Christ. Later that morning, all the family got together and we ordered take-away food as we sat round a box with all of the photo’s and belongings, our funeral director Danny came round and got some things organised showing us some options for caskets and our Elder Christ women, went off to prepare Grandma in her clothes and some light make up and again, there was no sense whatsoever of hopelessness. We just knew, without a shadow of doubt, that Grandma was in paradise, no more pain, confusion and hunger, no more need to be waited on hand and foot, all over and with Jesus Christ.

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The reason among many why I shared this story was to show, especially those who might not necessarily believe just how much peace you can have in your life knowing what your fate will be on the day that will catch up with everyone. Another reason was to illustrate what Jesus said on the cross, “today you will be with me in paradise”. You see when a person suffers the physical death, their body goes to the ground and the soul either goes to paradise with Jesus or Hell to await their day of judgement. For Grandma, if the rapture was to happen today well, the dead in Christ shall rise first and we who are alive and remain will meet them in the air and there we will ever be with the Lord but for the unjust dead, they won’t live again for 1007 years until their day of judgement, at the Great White Throne of God.

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So let’s think on it for a moment Christian, if Jesus did indeed come back tonight. You, will be caught up in the great rapture Sunsetalong with all the dead and alive believers to come before the Throne of Judgement but no punishment, each receiving a reward for the things we’ve done and a rebuke for the works which were bad but no punishment friend, none at all. After that while the Tribulation takes place, you’ll be in paradise with the Lord and all his saints, no pain, no suffering, no need, no fear, no possibility of getting hurt or sick, a new being in Jesus Christ. So once that period is over, you will come back to earth with Jesus Christ as a judge and reign with him for 1000 years. Then at the end, after the great judgement of God the Father, you will spend an eternity in the new heaven and the new earth forever! Friend it’s mind-boggling and although we’ll never know the details till we get there, you can be absolutely sure about what I’ve just written because it is written in his Word, he does not lie.

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But what about the unbelieving out there tonight, I know that within a mile radius of me just now, that there’s someone shooting up heroin, a child going off to bed with no food or hiding under the covers because their parents are arguing. Women who could be being beat up or men lying drunk on there sofa’s, friends, let be in a place of joy about our lives and our future but lets not forget, there are those who need us even of they don’t realize it themselves. They are desperate and despite the faces we see each day, they are just living day by day with no real hope about what’s happening or about to happen and I know this much Christian, we can’t do it alone. The only way we can do this is if we come together, we throw away all the silly arguments of doctrines, giving, healing and what color the carpet should be in our church and focus on the mission in hand, to save the lost.

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Christian, an assembly of God’s people exists for three reasons, to praise, worship and adore our God, to look after the one’s we have and reach out to those who don’t have Jesus. Our churches aren’t a club, something we can just come and go as we please, we can’t make it our own to make it a safe, comfy and ‘nice’ place to be, people need none of those things, they need JESUS and the only way they’ll find him, is if we stop bickering and get in line with God’s true plans and purposes instead of our own, to reach this lost and dying world. There’s 100,000 people in my area here in Scotland and I don’t see a church in our area pulling in the numbers, “oh it’s not about numbers!” – yes it is. I want to save as many souls as I possibly can so they can escape the fate of what I’ve shared above in this teaching, people are dying every day without Jesus, it’s already an emergency but we cannot do it alone, we need to do it together!

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Friends I dearly hope that you’ve firstly been blessed as we’ve reminded ourselves of our great salvation and great future in Jesus Christ, if we’re not in that place of joy how can we share with others?. However on the other hand, the other part of our mission, please remember the lost, please remember the kind of fate they will have and if all you’ve been called to do is pray then pray, if you’ve been called to serve coffee and tea in the service then serve but if you’re called to oversee or be part of the oversight of an assembly then this should be a wake up call, people are dying and the Christians are looking to their oversight to guide, instruct and lead by example otherwise, we are going to loose many souls to Hades, many, and I for one won’t stand by and allow that to continue you here.

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God bless and I hope this message has been an encouragement coupled with a challenge, thank you for reading and I pray the Lord bless you with a passion, in the measure of faith he’s given you, to reach the lost of this world……

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Associate Pastor Steven Birnie

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www.christianbacktobasics.com

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About Pastor Steven

Steven Birnie is a former local Church Minister and the author of Christian publications which include non-fiction, fictional and teaching eBooks with audio sermons. From the north-east coast of Scotland, Pastor Steven is married to Sharon and together, they have two young children called Emily and David. After seven years of training, three years of overseeing youth and young adults and, three years of being the Assistant Pastor in his local Church, Pastor Steven moved on to focus on writing Christian Publications. In the future, he hopes to open a Christian Children’s Home in his home town and write The Tribulation Soldier, his newest Series of Fictional, Military EBooks on the End Times, the Rapture and the Tribulation Period, as a 2.5 Million Word Series. But despite continuing pastoral work and writing, Steven remains devoted to his children, enjoying his family life with caravan holidays in the Highlands, fishing, canoeing and his favourite pastime, riding his motorbike through the Scottish countryside.