What’s God Up To?

Do you ever feel like life is going nowhere?  And do you sometimes wonder if there’s an overall plan for life on this planet?  I want to assure you that life is going somewhere and that there is an overall plan.  Regardless of what it looks like around you, God is up to something.  In this message, you’ll learn more about his plan for the world and how you can be part of it as it unfolds. (Recorded September 5, 1999)

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Message Notes

Matthew 24:3-14

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.  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.  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.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 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.”

Outline

Introduction

I’ve just finished a web site called the Window of Opportunity.  I hope you’ll take a look at the site not because I worked on it (although I very much like the way it turned out).  But I want you to see what God is up to regarding carrying out his plan for the world.  The address is 1040window.org.

Working on it has reminded me that there are many people who still don’t know what God’s plan is for the world.  Even people who know Bible stories may know the facts about the stories, but somehow have missed God’s overall plan for the world.  I know I did until twelve years ago, when someone walked me through the entire Bible, showing me what God has been doing all along, and what he will continue to do until the end of the world.

Today I’d like to take you on that walk through the Bible, pointing out God’s plan throughout history, and then I believe God wants to invite you to join him in that plan.  He will accomplish his purposes, but he is looking for people through whom he can do it.  I’ll tell you about a few of those, but know that they were people just like you, but they became extraordinary people when they joined God in what he was doing.

1.  The Cover-to-Cover Plan

Many people have heard Bible stories like Moses and the plagues in Egypt, or David and Goliath, or Daniel in the Lion’s Den.  There are good things to learn from those stories but often people simplify the message as to how it applies to our lives today.

Here are some common lessons taught from these stories:  Little David faced big Goliath and won.  Moral: you can do anything even if you’re little.  Or Daniel faced the Lions and lived.  Moral: you can face the IRS and live.

But there’s something bigger going on in these stories that you can see if you look at all these stories from God’s perspective.  They describe what God is doing in the world.  The purpose, at the end of all these stories, is the same:  God is trying to tell people that he is alive, and that He is God.  Let’s look at a few of these stories.

In each one, you’ll see that God is trying to make his name known to people all over the earth.

David and Goliath

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel (1 Samuel 17:45-46).

Daniel and the Lion’s Den

Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land: “May you prosper greatly!

“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

“For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions” (Daniel 6:25-27).

Moses and The Plagues

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my People go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth (Exodus 9:13-16).

Joshua Crossing The Jordan

He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God” (Joshua 4:21-24).

Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

In every case, God used the situations to spread his name to people around the world.

2.  Jesus Came to Give Us One Last Chance

God so much wanted to save us that he sent Jesus the first time to give us the chance to be free from the coming judgment of the world.  And than he called us who believe in him to take his message to the whole world.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned (

Jesus will come back again one day for that judgment, a day called judgment day when the earth will be finally destroyed by fire.  Even scientists confirm that this blazing inferno will occur one day when the Sun goes out.  The sun will become a “supernova” collapsing on itself and exploding into a cloud of fire that will consume the earth.

3.  But When Will This Be?

Jesus told us when it would be.  He had a mission for us to do before it could happen.  He wanted people from every nation to hear about the way of escape before the earth is destroyed.

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: …..

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 24:3, 14).

Before Jesus comes back again, the gospel must be preached throughout the whole world.  As you’ll see if you visit the 1040window.org website, there are still entire groups of hundreds of thousands of people each who have never heard of the name of Jesus.

Many people want to predict when the end will come, but I promise you it’s more fun to be involved in bringing it about, than just predicting it.  It will come when we go and take the message to every nation in the world.

A researcher at MIT University was asked about his predictions about the future.  He replied:  “We don’t predict the future, we’re inventing it.”  I want to encourage you not to be satisfied to just predict and discuss and analyze when you think Jesus is coming back.  You can actually speed his coming, but going yourself and sharing what Christ has done for you.  Won’t you join God in his plan starting today?!

You’ll find meaning and purpose…you’ll defeat giants, you’ll cross the sea on dry ground, you’ll face the lions and live.  Not to say that many won’t give up their life like Jesus did to achieve the same thing, but the point is, if you’ve found God, there’s nothing greater than to live for him, and to share that with others, regardless of what it costs you.  There’s a purpose that goes way beyond your life here on this earth.  And you can take part of it whenever you’re ready to say “I will.”

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