These Troubled Times

Posted on 09/21/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

Ross - Just had cancer removed, will be starting one year of chemotherapy


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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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WHAT A MIGHTY GOD

What a mighty God we serve
What a mighty God we serve
Angels bow before him
Heaven and earth adore him
What a mighty God we serve

HE IS THE KING

He is the King of Kings
He is the Lord of Lords
His name is
  Jesus, Jesus,
     Jesus, Jesus
Oh, he is the King

His name is Jesus, Jesus
Sad hearts we've no more
He can heal the broken hearted
Open wide the prison door
And he's able to deliver evermore

JESUS I ADORE YOU

Father, I adore you
Lay my life before you
How I love you

Spirit...
Jesus...


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***

I'd like to begin today's message by reading from the book of Matthew chapter 24, starting with verse 3:

Matthew 24:3-14

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.


Lord, I ask that you would bless the reading of your Word, and that you would open our eyes and our ears so we can hear what your Spirit wants to say to us today.


Today's message is titled "These Troubled Times."

You don't have to look very hard to find very depressing news today. In fact, you'd have to isolate yourselve pretty carefully to avoid hearing it.

Banks are failing, and the government is going further into debt to avoid immediate disaster. The United States treasury is printing more money, weakening the dollar even more.

Because the banks were forced by the government to give loans to those who could not pay them back, home foreclosures are at an all-time high.

Gas prices are high and unstable. Situations in the middle east are escalating. Persecution of Christians is on the rise, even in free countries such as the United States and Canada, where political correctness is the new anti-Christ.

Natural disasters have never been so fierce and so frequent. There is no stability anywhere in the world today. We're quickly nearing a climax in the unrest of this volitile society in which we live.

When talking about the end time, Jesus says that men's hearts will fail them for fear of what is coming on the earth. Why is Yoga becoming so popular? It's because the world's hearts are failing them for fear, and people are desperately seeking something to soothe their tensions and distract their troubled minds.

But Jesus says that all this is just the beginning of sorrows. It's going to get much, much worse.

In fact, it's going to get so bad that the Bible tells us if those days were not shortened, no one would survive.


Are you troubled? These certainly are troubled times. Is your heart troubled? Are you worried? Fearful of what is coming? Afraid that you might be the next one without an income, unable to support yourself and your family, unable to meet your needs?

But Jesus says in John 14:1-3,

1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

Yes, we live in the twilight, as the light fades from the earth, as darkness prevails, and it's only getting worse. Will our economy collapse? Yes. Will true Christianity become illegal? Yes. But Jesus says, "Let not your heart be troubled. I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come again for you, that where I am, there you may be also."

I think we can learn a lot from the time that Peter walked to Jesus on the water. Jesus had sent the disciples to the other side of the sea as he stayed behind to pray. In the middle of the sea, a great storm came upon them, threatening their life.

Here they are, in the middle of a dark and stormy sea, struggling for their lives, and not knowing if they would be drowned in the dark, deadly waters. And on top of that, Jesus wasn't even in the boat with them.

Have you ever felt like that? Maybe you feel like that now. The world all around you is dark and stormy, and your boat is quickly filling up with water. You don't know if you're going to sink, and you fear what tomorrow may bring.

Let's pick up this story in Matthew chapter 14, beginning with verse 25.

Matthew 14:25-33

25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."

28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
29 So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."


Here were the disciples, with the waters about to push them under, when here comes Jesus, walking on top of the same water. And Peter had a faith that could have come only from God. He believed that if it was Jesus, he could give him the power to walk to him on the water.

And he did just that. Peter got out of the boat and started to walk across the water toward Jesus.

Remember when you first came to the Lord, repented of your sins, and felt the peace that comes only from receiving Salvation and having the weight of sin and shame removed from your shoulders? You were light enough not only to walk on water, but to fly!

Perhaps you had been bound by drugs, alcohol, or other things you thought you could not overcome. And Jesus set you free. You walked over those things, trampling them under your feet, as you walked toward Jesus, his face filling your sight and captivating all your attention.

You knew that he would take care of you, and that nothing that happens around you could ever be too great for him to bring you through.

You walked on the water just like Peter. But just like Peter, the wind and the waves are taunting you, threatening you, promising to pull you under.

And what happened? Verse 30 says, "But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 'Lord, save me!'"

It says "But when he SAW..." The wind and the crashing waves caught his attention. When he saw only Jesus, he was able to walk on the water. But when he saw the water, he began to sink.

Of course Peter knew long before Jesus came to them that the wind was boisterous, and that the waves were threatening to sink their boat. He knew that when he stepped out of the boat. And he still knew that even as he was walking on the water toward Jesus.

But then he became afraid. And he started to sink.

Is your heart troubled? Are you being pulled down? Jesus is saying to you, "Let not your heart be troubled." And if you cry out to him today, he will stretch out his hand, and he will catch you.


Let's read a few more verses from Matthew chapter 24, starting with verse 26.

Matthew 24:26-27, 29-31

26 "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it.
27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

...verse 29...

29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.


Between Peter and Jesus was a dark and stormy sea. Between us and eternity is a dark and stormy world. But we should keep our eyes on the prize, on Jesus, who has already declared the end, and has already determined in his sovereignty what happens in the last chapter of the book of time.

This passage tells us, "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

It is already determined that Jesus will step into our boat and will, with a mighty hand, bring an end to everything that rises up against us. He will speak peace, and all his enemies will be destroyed.

This dark and stormy world, this world that grows more evil and unstable with every passing day, will soon pass away. If we get our eyes on the stock market, on our employment status, on our bank accounts, on our dwindling freedoms, on our declining health, then we will start to sink.

But someone greater than all this is coming. Jesus is walking to you on the water, in the middle of these troubled times. And if you are bold enough to trust in him, then you will answer his call to set your eyes upon him and, instead of cowering in dread or sinking in fear, to walk upon his promises, walk upon his Word, and with your eyes set straight in front of you, seeing through time into the soon return of Jesus, then nothing, absolutely nothing, will take you out of the reach of his strong and ever-present hand!


So let not your heart be troubled. Yes, we live in troubled times. But this too shall pass. Jesus is coming to forever still this storm, and it is already written upon the tablets of time itself that he will take us safely to the other side.


The ministry team can come to the front now.


*** listen to the audio for the message closing and altar call ***