Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Where Do You Go For News?

Due to the timeliness of this material, this transcript may contain additional material not aired on the actual radio program.

Leslie Basham: In our current climate of fear, people are trying to be prepared in all sorts of ways--making emergency plans, stocking up on smallpox vaccine, even buying duct tape and plastic sheeting. But there's another important way that we can be prepared to meet the challenges of our day. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Ground your mind, your heart, your life in the Word of God. Then you'll be prepared for whatever comes.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Jesus told His disciples to expect wars and rumors of wars in Mark, chapter 13. During this time of conflict in our world, we've rearranged our schedule so Nancy can give some perspective from this passage. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Where do you go to find out the news, what's happening in the world? Do you go to the newspaper or turn on the television or go to the Internet?

We're looking this week at a passage in Mark, chapter 13 where we find that there's another source that we need to turn first to find out what God is doing in this world.

Just to set the stage and give us the context here, let's begin in verse 1 of Mark 13. "And as He came out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, 'Look, Teacher! What wonderful stones! And what wonderful buildings!'"

And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings?" that is, the temple buildings? And then He predicted this startling prediction, "There will not be left here, one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down."

Now, in between verse 2 and verse 3, Jesus goes with His disciples from the temple site, across the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives which is just east of the temple in the city of Jerusalem.

Then verse 3 tells us, "As He sat on the Mount of Olives, opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew," those are the first four disciples that Jesus had selected, those four disciples asked Jesus privately, "Tell us, when will these things be?"

What things? Well, the destruction of the temple and other future events. And the second question: "What will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?" In other words, "How are we going to know when it's close to the end of the age? How are we going to know when Your great millennial kingdom is going to come to earth?

So these disciples pulled Jesus aside. He had made this prediction about the destruction of the temple and the disciples wanted to know more. So, Peter and James and John and Andrew talked to Jesus privately and they asked for more information.

And let me just say before we move on in this passage that, you know, when you have a relationship with Christ, when you're close to the Lord, you want to understand the times in which you live.

And the place we need to go first to get understanding is to the Lord--to the Lord who is in control of our time. So He's controlling the timetable and the clock for this world. So the disciples went to Jesus and asked Him for wisdom, for understanding, for instruction.

So, I want to ask you, where do you look to find out what's going on? Where do you turn for answers to your questions as our world faces these upside-down, insecure, frustrating times?

Can I suggest that the answers we most need are not going to be found on the evening news? Even if Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw is sitting in Baghdad, right at the site of the action, they're not going to be able to tell us what we really need to know in these kinds of days.

You're not going to find the answer on the Internet. You're not going to find it by asking your friends "What's going on?" You're not going to be able to find it if you could talk to the President himself. He can't really tell us what we need to know.

We need to ask the Lord for wisdom as those disciples did. "Lord, help us understand. What's happening? What's going to happen? What do we need to know? What should we anticipate? And what are we supposed to do to be prepared for the future?"

You see, the disciples were expecting Jesus to bring in the splendor and the glory of His Kingdom any time now. And they thought that the destruction of the temple would signal that it was the end of the age and would bring in that great kingdom. They didn't realize that in God's timetable, there was going to be quite a lengthy interval between those two happenings.

And so they weren't prepared for the things that had to happen between now and then. Jesus spoke to His disciples in Mark 13, and He speaks to us to try and prepare them and to prepare us for the things that we're going to have to face.

Now, the near fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy took place in A.D. 70 as Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by Roman forces. But there was an ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy that is yet to take place.

That has to do with the season of the great tribulation and the return of Christ to earth. You see, the conditions back in Jesus' day as the Roman forces were going to come in and destroy the temple were similar to what conditions will be in the end days during the time of tribulation, leading up to the return of Christ.

And, so the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples in their day are relevant for us and for all believers living in this period of time between the resurrection of Christ and the return of Christ here to earth as we face similar conditions in unstable times.

So we come to verse 5, and Jesus begins to tell us what we're to expect and what we're to do in light of what's going to happen. Jesus begins in verse 5 by saying to His disciples, "See that no one leads you astray." See that no one leads you astray. Jesus says first, "be on your guard."

Now, I've been using the English Standard Version here, and the word is "See that no one leads you astray." But some of the other translations that you may be using translate that word instead, "Watch out or take heed that no one leads you astray." It's a word that means, "Keep your eyes open. Be on your guard. Be aware." In fact, you'll find that word four times in this chapter--verse 5, verse 9, and then verses 23 and 33--where Jesus says, "Be on your guard." In these tumultuous times, in these distressing days, in times like these, be on your guard.

There's another word that He uses twice in this passage, in verses 33 and 35, where Jesus says, "Stay awake." It's the same idea--to be watchful. Don't go to sleep, Jesus is saying. Be vigilant, be alert, don't get sluggish, don't get complacent, don't get lulled to sleep, don't get distracted and preoccupied with other things that are going on in life.

You know, not too long ago, as Americans faced the threat of further terrorism and the possibility of imminent war, Tom Ridge, the secretary of Homeland Security said, "Americans have a choice. They can be afraid or they can be ready." What was he saying? Be prepared. Be on your guard. Be alert. And, if you are, you won't have to be afraid.

You know, Christians have a choice. In times like these we can live in fear, or we can be spiritually prepared to face whatever comes. So Jesus says first, "Be on your guard." Be like a night watchman. Stay awake. Stay alert. Be alert to what is going on around you. Don't fall asleep. Stay awake.

And then He says, "Don't be deceived." See that no one leads you astray. Now, keep in mind that Jesus is giving this warning to four of His closest disciples. And that suggests to me that anyone can be deceived, anyone can be misled.

You can be deceived. You can be misled in times like these--and don't think you can't! I could be deceived. I could be misled. Everyone of us needs to keep our spiritual eyes open and to make sure that we are not deceived.

In verse 6, Jesus goes on to tell why He's giving this warning, why He cautions us against being deceived in these last times. He says, "Many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,' and they will lead many astray."

And then look down in verses 21‑23 later in the chapter. Jesus says "If anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, there he is!' Don't believe it. False christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard, [stay awake, be alert]. I have told you all things beforehand."

You see, in Jesus' day, the Jewish people were looking for the coming of the Messiah. And I'm told that around the time of Christ, there were hundreds of teachers who came forth and said, "I am the Messiah." So Jesus in that immediate context was warning them, "Don't be deceived. Don't think that any one of those people is truly the Messiah. I am the Messiah. And don't believe any of those deceivers."

But now as we move into the New Testament era, we're cautioned in the New Testament that, not only will there be those who say that they're the Messiah as they did in Jesus' day, but there will be false teachers who will come along saying, "There's another way to heaven. There's another way to the Father than to come through Christ."

And, so the caution of Jesus applies to us as believers saying, "Watch your doctrine. Be careful. Don't let false teachers, don't let false religions deceive you."

Any religion, any philosophy that is not centered on Christ, and that does not exalt Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world and the King of the universe--any other religion or teaching is false. It's a false gospel, and we need to be careful not to be deceived.

You say, "Certainly, I couldn't be deceived. Certainly, people in our churches wouldn't be deceived." You know, you'd be amazed. I hear things coming out of evangelical believer's mouths today that just astound me! People who are doctrinally deceived. They believe that one religion is as good as another.

They're into false and New Age religions and Eastern mysticism and in many ways being deceived. You say, "How can I avoid being deceived?"

Well, the best way to not be deceived, is to know the truth. Jesus is the Truth. His Word is Truth. And in times like these, it is so important when many people are confused and deceived, it's so important that you and I know the Word of God--that we get grounded in the Word of God so that we can answer the questions and the objections and the false religions and philosophies that are being hurled in our direction during these times.

And so Jesus says, "In times like these, be on your guard. Be alert, be watchful. And don't be deceived." Ground your mind, your heart, your life in the Word of God.

 

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray. She has been reminding us of our need to apply God's Word to the challenging situations we observe in our world today.

To help you keep Scripture and prayer your focus, Nancy has written a booklet called In Times Like These. It contains a list of Psalms for perilous times that you can meditate on. It also lists several ways you can pray effectively for nations and government leaders at this time of conflict in the Persian Gulf. You can get a copy of the booklet In Times Like These when you call us at 1-800-569-5959. We're making it available when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts.

If you're unable to give at this time, don't let that stop you from calling and getting a copy. Maybe you can support us by praying for the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

We rely on your financial gifts and your prayers to keep this program on the air in your area and appreciate your help. Again our number is 1-800-569-5959 or visit our Web site and order the booklet. Our Web address is ReviveOurHearts.com.

And you can write us at Revive Our Hearts. Tomorrow, we'll hear how our current world situation can be compared to a woman's labor pains. I hope you can join us and find out more. Now let's pray with Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Oh, Father, help us to be watchful during these days, to be spiritually alert. We pray that we would not be looking primarily to the world's sources of news to find out what's going on, but that we would be turning to You. We would be praying and getting counsel and wisdom from Your heart to know what to expect and how to be faithful servants of Yours in these days.

Keep us from being deceived and may we study and know and teach others Your Word in these days. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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