Matthew 16:1-4
The Times Are the Signs

The religious leaders came to Jesus seeking a sign, some evidence of
what God was doing or was about to do.  Jesus told them that while
they could discern the whether, they could not discern a sign if it
came up and bit them on the nose.  (Thatís my paraphrase.)  Jesus
was saying that the signs they were seeking were all around them.
The times were the signs.  Tthe miracles, the sermons, the love that
Jesus was showing the people, those were the signs.

As it was in Jesusí day, so it is today.  Many do not realize that
the times are our signs as well.

    I. We need people to know that some things have changed.
        A. Times have changed.
            1. To say that times have changed seems to be an extreme
                understatement.
                a. We have become a drug abuse culture.
                    (1) 51.9% of those 12 and older use alcohol on a
                         regular basis.
http://alcoholism.about.com/od/faq/f/How-Many-People-Drink-Alcohol-
In-The-U-S.htm

                    (2) An estimated 36.5% of American have abused a
                         illegal drug at some point in their lives.
http://www.drugscope.org.uk/resources/faqs/faqpages/how-many-people
-use-drugs

                    (3) I could not find a statistic on how many
                         might be abusing prescription drugs but I
                         did find an article dated 10/26/2011 which
                         stated more people now die by abusing
                         prescription drugs than illegal drugs, and
                         their source is their own medicine cabinet.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/26/
prescription-drugs-number-one-cause-preventable-death-in-us.aspx

                    (4) Of course, with several states now legalizing
                         the use of marijuana, I believe those
                         numbers are going to increase.
                b. We have become a socialized culture.
                    (1) 49.2% of the American population are
                         receiving government aid in the US.
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/census-49-americans
-get-gov-t-benefits-82m-households-medicaid

                    (2) That is only going to get worse.
                c. We have become a violent culture.
                    (1) I know the government keeps saying crime is
                         going down but I am not seeing a decrease in
                         crime around here.
                    (2) From our music, movies, and games to our
                         everyday life of gangs, shootings,
                         bullying, rapes, home invasions, and
                         murders, our world has changed.
                d. We have become a sin-tolerant people.
                    (1) The definition of a marriage has been changed
                         by  our government.
                    (2) Even churches have changed their views.
                         (a) I saw two articles in the last two days
                              on the Presbyterian Church USA, the
                              more liberal Presbyterian organization.
                               i. They voted to withdraw financial
                                    support from three major funds
                                    (HP, Caterpiller, Motorola)
                                    because those funds support
                                    Israel.
                              ii. Allowing gay marriage.
                         (b) It is not just the Presbyterians.
                               i. The Baptist Union, a union of
                                   Baptist churches in the UK, have
                                   opened themselves to the
                                   possibility of gay marriages.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock/2014/05/the-baptist-union-
to-allow-differences-on-same-sex-marriage/

                              ii. 80 pastors of the United Methodist
                                   have recently signed a letter
                                   stating their concern that their
                                   denomination will split over gay
                                   marriage.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/10/southern-
baptist-methodists-gay-marriage/10261611/

            2. I give all of these statistics merely to say that
                TIMES have changed.
        B. People have changed.
            1. The lost world will not agree with us, but the truth
                is that people have become worse, more sinful, more
                debased, more anti-truth and more anti-God.
            2. The reason the world will not agree is because they
                refuse to believe the ruler, the Bible.
            3. The Bible not only condemns sin.  It measures sin.
                a. The more sins we accept and the more extreme the
                    sins that we accept, the darker the human race
                    becomes and the closer to Godís judgment the
                    human race gets.
                b. \\#Romans 1:19-32\\

Romans 1:27  And likewise also the men, leaving
the natural use of the woman, burned in their
lust one toward another; men with men working
that which is unseemly, and receiving in
themselves that recompence of their error which
was meet.
28  And even as they did not like to retain God
in their knowledge, God gave them over to a
reprobate mind, to do those things which are not
convenient;
29  Being filled with all unrighteousness,
fornication, wickedness, covetousness,
maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate,
deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud,
boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient
to parents,
31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers,
without natural affection, implacable,
unmerciful:
32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they
which commit such things are worthy of death, not
only do the same, but have pleasure in them that
do them.

            4. Another way to measure the evil of mankind is to note
                how much of Godís Word they will listen to.
                a. I am not saying "accept."  I am saying, "listen
                    to."
                b. The world has never been so intolerant of the
                    Bible.
                    (1) The Jews were intolerant of the Word
                         concerning Jesus.  (Stephen)
                         (a) \\#Acts 7:54\\ When they heard these
                              things they "gnashed on him with their
                              teeth."
                         (b) \\#Acts 7:57\\ Stopped up their ears and
                              ran upon him and stoned him.
                    (2) However, the other cultures and nations
                         listened and learned.
                         (a) \\#Acts 8:14\\ Samaria "received the
                              word"
                         (b) \\#Acts 17:10-11\\ Berea received the
                              word with "all readiness of mind."
        C. If times and people have changed, you can betÖ
            1. The church has changed.
            2. Our nation has changed.
            3. Our politicians have changed.
            4. Our judiciary has changed.

   II. We need people who know that some things have NOT changed.
        A. The Bible has NOT changed.

Ps 119:89  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled
in heaven.

Mt 24:34  Verily I say unto you, This generation
shall not pass, till all these things be
fulfilled.
35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my
words shall not pass away.

            1. Man may update, revise, rewrite, re-release, alter,
                add or subtract from his personal copy of the Bible,
                but the Word of God will never change.
            2.
        B. That being the case, we also understand that:
            1. God will never change.

Mal 3:6  For I am the LORD, I change not;
therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

                a. Based on that verse, I believe that if God did
                    change, it would not be to become a more liberal
                    Being but a more just Being.
                b. If God ever changed, He would be LESS merciful!
            2. Sin will never change.
                a. The definition of sin doing what God says is
                    wrong not what man says is wrong.
                b. Manís definition of legal and illegal, right and
                    wrong, moral and immoral may change.
                c. Godís has not and will not.
            3. Death and judgment will never change.

Heb 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once
to die, but after this the judgment:

                a. Death and judgment are both inevitable, imminent,
                    and, if you are without Christ, agonizing.
                b. There will only be two choices for eternity,
                    heaven or hell.
            4. Salvation will never change.

Heb 7:25  Wherefore he is able also to save them
to the uttermost that come unto God by him,
seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for
them.

                a. Salvation will always be through Jesus Christ and
                    Jesus Christ alone.
                b. The conditions will always faith and repentance.
                c. Your opportunity will always be limited to being
                    a live and the Holy Spirit drawing you.
            5. The return of Jesus will remain the focal point on
                Godís calendar until Jesus comes.
                a. It is may not be clear to you without studying
                    our text some but Jesus was chide against the
                    religious leaders not recognizing the times was
                    that they did not recognize the time of His
                    coming.
                b. \\#Dan 9:25-27\\ Daniel gave the Jews the exact
                    year, some would say, the exact date that Messiah
                    would be on the earth.
                c. We do not have that much detail regarding the
                    coming of our Lord, but He is coming and all of
                    manís efforts to deny it will not stop it from
                    happening.
                d. All that is happening in our day is an indication
                    that the return of Jesus is getting closer!

  III. We need some people who will stand regardless of what else
        changes.
        A. I believe I am preaching not only to the saved but to some
            of Godís best.
        B. However, this is not the environment that will determine
            that.
        C. What you do for Jesus as the world continues to change for
            the world will.
            1. Political pressure
            2. Peer pressure
            3. Persecution pressure

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole
armour of God, that ye may be able to
withstand in the evil day, and having done
all, to stand.
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