Weekly Belong Group Lesson
Spring Semester (January 20 - June 26)
Title: Signs of the End-Time
Icebreaker: What is your favorite news source - is it social media, a news channel, or word-of-mouth? Why do you trust this source?
This Sunday our Bishop picked back up on his series, Coming Soon, to discuss the signs that Jesus prophesied would point to the end-time when he returns. Similar to a billboard or a commercial, these signs only speak of what is to come, but many people can see the signs and miss the message behind them. As we continue studying these signs of the end-time let us not only see the signs, but accurately interpret what, and Who, they are pointing to.
I. Do Not Be Deceived (Matthew 24:4-5)
a. As the disciples asked about the end-time Jesus prophesied to them all that would happen to point to his impending return. He did not say when or how He would come, but He did instruct them, and us, on how to notice that His return was near.
b. The first warning that Jesus gave his disciples in regards to the end of time was not to be deceived. Deception means perversion, or twisting, of the truth. Jesus warned that as the time of his return drew near many people would be misled by false doctrines, false teachings, false prophets claiming to be the messiah. And this warning was not to the gullible, but to the elect - those who seem too wise to be deceived.
c. There are many false ideologies growing popular in our world today - beliefs that we can live as we please, pray to any name, and still be saved. There is a growing attack on the truth that is found in God's word and many people are falling for this tactic of the enemy.
d. It is crucial for believers to get into the word of God, to seek truth and teach the Scriptures with accuracy and love to overcome the deceitful spirits that are rampant in our world today (2 Timothy 1:13).
Why is it so easy for people to be deceived, and why is deception so dangerous? How can we discern truth from the lies that fight for our attention daily?
II. Signs In the Earth (Matthew 24:7)
a. In speaking of the end-time Jesus also pointed to several signs in the earth itself, including pestilence like the virus that has caused a global shutdown for over a year now.
b. Changes in weather patterns will be evident as we approach the end-time. This will be signified not only by unexpected cold or warm weather, but by drought and famine around the world, as well.
c. Earthquakes and more frequent natural disasters will also increase as the end-time draws near. These are not things for us to fear, but to take notice of as we continue awaiting Jesus' return.
With chaos in the earth can we expect people to help one another get through these end-times, or will our relationships be strained, as well?
What can we do to maintain peace and unity in the body of Christ as these end-time signs appear?
III. Persecution & Offenses (Matthew 24:6-10)
a. The bulk of Jesus' conversation with the disciples centered on issues among people. Not only deception, but wars and discord between nations, organizations, and ethnic groups.
b. Amidst all the fighting and persecution of certain groups, the persecution of the Church will become more severe. We cannot take for granted that we have the privilege of freely gathering to worship, while believers around the world are being imprisoned and martyred for their faith.
c. The root of all these issues among people and groups will be the increased bend toward offense. These offenses will cause people to not only leave the church, but to break apart families, to attack those they view as enemies, to wage war against other people and groups over differences in opinion. Deception gives way to offense, which gives way to dysfunction.
d. These signs of the end-time are not for us to fear and panic, nor are they justification for us to grow callous toward those who do fall. Rather, these signs should inform us of the reality of Jesus' return, and motivate us to be prepared. While these may be uncomfortable times to live through, Jesus left us with a hopeful promise that if we endure to the end we will be saved when he does appear again (Matthew 24:13).
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Wednesday Morning Prayer: You can participate in corporate prayer every Wednesday morning at 7 AM on Facebook. Join us each week as we continue to pray for our church, our city, and our nation.
City Life TV: You can watch our Bishop deliver thoughtful messages throughout the week. Tune in to WHNO, channel 20, Monday-Friday at 7:30 PM.
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Have an amazing and spirit-filled group!
College & Young Adult Lesson
There will be no college lesson this week. Please follow along with the general lesson and have a powerful, spirit-filled group!