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Matthew 24:36-41

WARNING: A TSUNAMI IS COMING

Intro: Sunday December 26, 2004 just before 7:00 AM a massive earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter Scale occurred some 6 miles deep, under the Indian Ocean. This great earthquake, the strongest in nearly 40 years, caused a 620 mile section of the earth’s tectonic plates to shift. This powerful earthquake released energy into the Indian Ocean equivalent to 1 million of the atomic bombs that fell on Hiroshima, Japan. The force was so powerful that the island of Sumatra was actually moved nearly 100 feet.

This energy caused water to be displaced, creating massive underwater waves. These waves were propelled by the force of the earthquake, away from the epicenter, until they reached speeds of up to 600 miles per hour. As these waves near the shore, where the water became shallower, they slowed down slightly and began to rise above the surface of the ocean. Some reached heights of up to 50 feet. When these waves hit the shores of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and several other countries, some were still traveling at nearly 500 miles per hour. Their impact totally devastated many areas and, at last count, has left at least 150,000 dead. The financial cost will reach into the tens of billions of dollars while the human cost is incalculable.

Over the past week and a half we have watched as pictures of this tragedy have filled the news. We have seen nations around the world send in aid and workers to help alleviate the suffering and bury the dead. This event will be remembered as one of the greatest tragedies of recorded history. When these things occur, people are caught off guard and seem to be amazed. But, those who know their Bibles should not be surprised. After all, Jesus said that these things would happen in the last days, Matt. 24:7-8.

As this tsunami has unfolded, I was reminded of the passage we have taken as our text this evening. This is a passage that speaks about events during the Tribulation period. It is a warning about a tsunami that is coming upon this earth. Not a tsunami of water, but a tsunami of the wrath of God. I would like to look into these verses for a few minutes this evening and preach on the subject Warning: A Tsunami Is Coming. I believe this passage has something to say to the church this evening. I also think it stands as a warning to those who do not know the Lord. It is a reminder to us all that the end is coming and that people had better be ready when it does. It is also a challenge to the church to get busy, for we do not have many days left in which to tell a lost world about our wonderful Savior. Let’s look at the thought Warning: A Tsunami Is Coming.

 

I. v. 37 JESUS MENTIONS A COMPARISON

A. Jesus tells us that the last days will be like the days when Noah built the ark and the world was destroyed by the flood. To see the state of affairs in Noah’s day, we need to look at Gen. 6:5-13. When we read these verses, we can see that the days when Noah’s lived were days filled with wickedness and violence. Men lived for evil and gave no thought to God or His will.

The word “imagination,” Gen. 6:5, means “to fashion as a potter. It means that men fashioned every form of evil and gave themselves over to every vile affection of the flesh. They were so wicked and so given over the pursuing the evils of sin that God was determined to destroy them from the face of the earth. The sin of man and the decision of the Lord literally stabbed God in the heart. The word “grieved,” Gen. 6:6 is “a love word.” We do not grieve for those we do not love. God wanted a relationship with man, but man had no desire for God and it broke the Lord’s heart.

B. Jesus tells us that the last days will be like the days in which Noah lived. We are seeing this prophecy come true before our very eyes.

Think about the fact that we are living in days when the pornography industry is a 12 billion dollar industry in the United States and a 57 billion dollar industry world wide. Porn revenue is larger than all combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises. US porn revenue exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC (6.2 billion) and child pornography generates $3 billion annually.[1]

What about abortion? 1,370,000 babies are murdered in this nation in the name of convenience and a woman’s right to choose.[2] That is over 3,753 babies murdered per day! And, that is just in America! World wide, there have been nearly 1 billion abortions since records began being kept.[3]

Add to these horrors the ungodly perversions of homosexuality and lesbianism. We are living in a day when a mere 1% of our population has an agenda; they want to force the rest of us to accept their lifestyle as legitimate, when God’s Word calls it an abomination, Lev. 18:22.

We haven’t even discussed the twin tragedies of alcohol and drug abuse, which destroy lives by the millions. We haven’t mentioned the spiraling crime rate where murder, rape, theft and other crimes impact the lives of millions every day.

C. I think it is easy to see that we are living in days like those in which Noah lived. Truly, “the wickedness of man is great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually.

 

II. v. 38-39 JESUS MENTIONS COMPLACENCY

A. When those tsunamis came last week, they caught people off guard and unprepared. Folks were just going about their daily lives when tragedy came swiftly and without warning. Many were in those tropical locations enjoying a little vacation time; they never expected what happened to them. Many of the natives were doing what they and their ancestors had done for thousands of years. They never anticipated the flood that came and took them away.

Of course, they were not without some warning! It appears that the animals sensed the coming danger and fled the coastline. A few Asian elephants that were being used to give children rides sensed the approaching waves, broke their chains and headed to higher ground with little children still on their backs. Those elephants saved the lives of their passengers and of their handlers and parents who were attempting to “rescue their children.

On one beach, a ten year old girl from England was vacationing with her family. She watched as the water began to recede from the beach. She recognized this as a sign of a tsunami. She had just studied tsunamis in school. She became frightened and warned her parents. They spread the alarm and over 100 people were saved. In fact, that beach was the only one in the affected areas where there were no deaths or injuries. People were saved because they heeded the warning.

Others saw the water receding from the beaches where they were and followed it out to explore the exposed coral. They were many feet from shore when the tsunamis hit and buried them under the sea. They didn’t recognize the warning signs and died as a result.

Scientists say that a tsunami early warning system could have given the people time to flee the coast, thus saving thousands of lives. But, sadly, there was no such system in place. Such systems exist, but the 20 million dollar price tag seemed too steep for some the cash strapped nations to pay.

B. Jesus says that this was how it was in Noah’s day. God had an early warning system in place. The people were warned by Noah. For 120 years, as he built the ark, he was preaching about the coming cataclysm, 2 Pet. 2:5, but the people just ignored his warnings. They did the things they always did. They ate, they drank, and they married and lived it up. While Noah preached, the people partied! They ignored all the warning signs and they paid an eternal price for doing so! Verse 39 reminds us that they “knew not until it was too late.

C. As we watch the end approaching, we are also living in the midst of a complacent people. God is still warning people to flee the wrath to come, but people are refusing to heed the warnings and the warning signs. Preachers are still preaching, but people are not listening. God still has His early warning system in place!

Why? People have plenty, they are entertained, they are contented and do not see their need of a Savior. They hear the Gospel and are warned to avoid Hell, but they do not see a reason to change their lives and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. They have been blinded by Satan, 2 Cor. 4:4, and see no need to change. We are living in a day of spiritual complacency and moral apathy. People have great spiritual needs, but they cannot see them and they do not care! For most, life is about fun, entertainment and the quest for things. People are refusing to heed the warning signs and when the tsunami of God’s wrath comes, they will be washed away forever!

 

III. v. 39-41 JESUS MENTIONS A CATASTROPHE

A. The phrase “took them all away,” is tragic. People were going about their daily business when the flood came and they were taken out of this life into a Christless eternity in an instant! They were wiped out with no hope and no more chances!

B. That is what happened in Asia last week. People were living their lives one moment and many were in eternity the next, caught up in a terrible catastrophe from which they could not escape and from which there was no remedy.

C. Jesus tells us that His coming will be just like that. A cataclysm of unprecedented proportions is coming upon this world. Jesus is referring the Tribulation. During that time, 150,000 dead will be a drop in the bucket. Rev. 4:8 speaks of one-quarter of the earth’s population dying at one time. In today’s numbers that is 1.25 billion people. Add to this the tragedy of the Sixth Trumpet, Rev. 9:13-21, and you see over the world’s population dead! Can you imagine? We read of meteors falling to the earth, poisoning the waters, causing many to die, Rev. 8:10-11. We read of wars, pestilence, and death on an unprecedented scale during that awful time. Those are just some of the things that will come upon those who fail to heed the warnings to turn to Jesus for salvation.

The only way to avoid these events is for men, women, boys and girls to place their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. Before these terrible events occur, Jesus is coming to take His people away, 1 Thes. 4:16-18. Those who are saved by grace have heeded the warning and will miss the tsunami of God’s wrath.

 

Conc: Did you notice that Jesus tells us that in that day “one shall be taken and the other left? We saw the same thing as the tsunamis unfolded last week. A model name Petra Nemcova from the Czech Republic was in Phuket Thailand with her boyfriend in a bungalow when the tsunamis hit that island. Her boyfriend was washed out to sea and has not been found. She was able to grab the top of a palm tree and hold on for eight hours, in spite of a shattered pelvis, until she was rescued. Her boyfriend was taken away, she was left.

In these verses, Jesus is not talking about the rapture. He is talking about the Second Coming. He is talking about that time at the end of the horrors of the Tribulation Period when He will return in power and glory to rule on the earth. He tells us that when that day comes, one person will be taken away in judgment and the other left to enter into His kingdom. The only problem is that those who have heard the Gospel prior to the rapture of the church will not have an opportunity to be saved during the tribulation, 2 Thes. 2:11. Therefore, it is imperative that people be warned now. It is imperative that they heed the warning now.

If there was ever a time for every one of us to “make our calling and election sure, and be sure that we are saved, it is now! If there was ever a time when the church needed to take the Gospel in to “the highways and the hedges and compel them to come it, it is now! A terrible tsunami is coming upon this world, only those who have heard and heeded the warning will be spared.

Are you sure that you are ready to meet Him? Are you sure that you are doing all you can to sound the alarm and warn others of the dangers ahead? If God has spoken to your heart this evening, please come before Him and do whatever it is that He wants you to do.



[1] http://www.familysafemedia.com/pornography_statistics.html

[2] http://womensissues.about.com/cs/abortionstats/a/aaabortionstats.htm

[3] http://womensissues.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.johnstonsarchive.net%2Fpolicy%2Fabortion%2F

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