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Time is running out

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | August 23, 2023 | Matthew 24:32

KEY VERSE:

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near”. Matthew 23:32


MESSAGE:

In our previous studies, we have dealt with Jesus’ response to the questions the disciples asked in relation to the destruction of the temple, the signs of the second coming and the signs of the end of the age. In concluding on “when will these things happen? Jesus then uses a short parable – the parable of the fig tree. Here, Christ compares the signs He has described to the budding leaves of a fig tree in the spring. People in that region would have learned by experience that tender branches and new leaves mean summer is near. Jesus wanted His followers to understand that when the things He has described as signs of His return begin to happen, His arrival will also be near. The changing of a tree’s leaves is nature’s way to indicate a change in season is approaching. Jesus used the fig tree as His example. He possibly used the fig tree because He was sitting on the Mount of Olives (Mark 13:3) where fig trees were present. Jesus cursed a fig tree near this very spot a few days earlier on His way into Jerusalem for not having any fruit despite being in leaf (Matt. 21:19). And the nearby village of Bethphage means “house of the unripe fig” indicating that fig trees were abundant in this area. The fig tree also undergoes several obvious leaf cycles throughout the year.


Because it was Passover (early/mid spring), a fig tree’s branches were either already tender and putting forth its leaves or about to do so. Tender branches mean new growth. This takes place during the increasing warmth of spring. Everyone who saw tender branches in the fig tree would instantly recognize and know that summer, though not yet here, is near. Using this visible and simple example of approaching change from nature, Jesus told His disciples, so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near. The phrase “all these things” especially refers to the three signs Jesus said would precede His coming - the increase of wars and natural disasters— (Matthew 24:7) and persecutions—(Matthew 24:9-10) and lawlessness—(Matthew 24:12)


FEET AND HANDS FOR THE MESSAGE:

The second coming of Jesus is very near. Jesus said it is “right at the door”. As we consider the lessons of the fig tree, let us be encouraged to live each day with a readiness to meet Jesus our Saviour, Jesus Christ. As we witness the increase of wars and natural disasters, persecutions and lawlessness, Jesus can come at any time. Learn the lesson from the fig tree.


PRAYER:

Dear God, thank you for your faithfulness. I acknowledge that your Word assures us of the nearness of our Savior's coming. Just as the signs of the fig tree indicate the approach of a new season, I recognize the signs of the times pointing to the fulfilment of your promises. May the lessons of the fig tree inspire me to live with purpose, devotion, and expectancy. Thank you for the answered prayer in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSING.

SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!! __________________________ DAILY Word Study: SUMMER Matthew 24:32 (NIV) states: "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near."The word "summer" in this verse is translated from the Greek word "θέρος" (theros).

"θέρος" (theros):** This Greek noun refers to the season of summer. It signifies the warmer months of the year when plants are in full bloom, and the weather is typically characterized by higher temperatures. In this verse, Jesus is using the example of a fig tree to illustrate a principle related to recognizing signs. He draws a parallel between the observable changes in a fig tree's twigs and leaves that indicate the arrival of summer and the discernment of signs indicating significant events or seasons.


This teaching prompts us to be spiritually alert, to discern the times, and to cultivate a sense of anticipation for the fulfilment of God's promises. Just as summer follows the signs of the fig tree's growth, the fulfilment of God's plan will follow the signs and prophecies He has given.

Reflections

How can you develop a greater sense of spiritual discernment to recognize the signs and seasons in your own life and in the world around you? How does Jesus' teaching about recognizing the signs of "summer" inspire you to stay attentive and watchful for the fulfilment of God's promises?








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The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
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