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DON’T MISS THE SIGNS!
Intro: A truck driver was taking his load to a new destination. As he drove, he was intently watching the signs leading to his exit. In his effort to find the right exit, he missed the signs warning him of a low overpass ahead.
To his astonishment, his truck became stuck under the overpass. He could not go forward and he could not back up. Traffic began to back up and tempers began to flare. The police were called, wreckers were summoned and an effort began to free the stuck truck.
They tried tow trucks, wenches, grease, pulleys, wedges and anything else anyone suggested. Nothing worked. The hours passed and the truck remained just as stuck as ever.
By this time a considerable crowd had gathered to watch the workers in their attempts to free the truck. In that crowd was a little boy who was riding his bicycle over the overpass. He had stopped to watch the show, and after a few minutes, he called out to one of the policemen below.
He said, “Hey officer, I know how to get that truck out from under that bridge.”
The policeman looked up, but ignored the little boy.
The boy, wanting to help, cried out louder, “Hey officer, I know how to get that truck out from under that bridge.”
With a hint of irritation in his voice, the police officer said, “Okay young man, tell me how.”
Without a pause, the little boy said, “Let some of the air out of the tires.”
That’s what they did and the truck was able to pull free.
I don’t know if that tale is true or not, either way the story does teach a couple of important truths. First, it’s easy to overlook the obvious, even when it is staring you right in the face. Second, wise people learn to pay attention to all the signs.
Signs are important in this physical world. I have missed a few turns because I missed a road sign. I have been speeding because I missed a sign that told me to slow down. Signs help you to know where you are and what you are supposed to be doing. Signs serve a valuable purpose in our lives.
Just as there are signs in the physical realm, there are also signs in the spiritual arena. Those signs are even more important that the signs in the physical world. You can miss a sign or two here and things will probably turn out fine. But, if you miss too many spiritual signs, you might end up in Hell. At the very least, you will end up in deep trouble with the Lord.
This passage tells us about a group of people who missed all the signs and got themselves into big trouble with the Lord Jesus. Let’s watch what happens when you miss the spiritual signs the Lord has prepared for you. I want you to see the truths in this passage as I preach on the thought Don’t Miss The Signs. This is a warning that many should take to heart.
I. v. 11 A STERN DEMAND
· Jesus has just finished one of the greatest miracles of His ministry. He took seven small loaves of bread and a few small fish and He fed four thousand people. When the meal was over, the disciples collected seven baskets filled with leftovers from the meal. According to verse 10, Jesus and His men immediately leave by ship and go to another part of Israel.
· As soon as they arrive there, they are met by the Pharisees. You might remember that the Pharisees were the religious conservatives of their day. They were very legalistic and they hated Jesus because He refused to do things the way they said things were supposed to be done.
When Jesus arrives in their neck of the woods, they came out to meet Him. The Bible says, in verse 11, that they “began to question with Him”. The word “question” means “to dispute or argue” and the word is in a tense that suggests they wouldn’t shut up. They kept on trying to drag Jesus into a theological argument.
· We are told what they were trying to get Jesus to do. They wanted Him to show them “a sign from Heaven”. The Bible says that they were “tempting Him”. That is, they were putting Him to the test. They were trying to get Jesus to prove His authority and the source of His Power.
After all, if Jesus is of God, then surely He could do some wonder in the sky above to prove it. Other men of God had done similar things in Israel’s past.
Ø Joshua had commanded the sun to be still and it had obeyed, Josh. 10:12-14.
Ø Samuel prayed during a battle and the Lord answered with strong and loud thunder which confounded and discombobulated their enemies.
Ø Elijah prayed and it did not rain for three and one-half years, 1 Kings 17:1. He prayed again and it rained, 1 Kings 18:41-45. Elijah also called down fire from the heavens which consumed a sacrifice and the altar it lay upon, 1 Kings 18:36-38.
Ø Others had done similar things in the past to prove that they were from the Lord.
· What these men were really trying to do was to get Jesus to promise more than He could deliver. They knew about the things He had done with people, demons and food. They were trying to get Him to attempt a miracle and fail so that they could denounce Him as a false prophet.
· They were also saying that all the things Jesus had already done in the power of God were insufficient to prove that He was the Messiah. They knew the things He had done, but they wanted more!
· Consider all the miracles the Jews had already witnessed.
Ø Jesus had healed the sick.
Ø He had raised the dead.
Ø He had delivered people from the bondage of demon possession.
Ø Jesus had walked on water.
Ø Jesus had calmed storms.
Ø Jesus had twice multiplied a meager amount of food and fed vast multitudes with it.
Ø Jesus had opened the Word of God, preached it clearly and made the meaning of the Scriptures plain to all who heard Him.
Ø The people were all talking about Him. They said “We never saw it on this fashion”, Mark 2:12. They said, “He hath done all things well”, Mark 7:37.
· The Pharisees had heard enough Gospel to save the world. They had seen enough proof to convince the most stubborn of skeptics. Their problem was simply that they did not want to believe on Jesus! They did not want Him to be their Messiah. They refused to bow to Him as their Savior!
· We still have the Pharisees with us today. We still have the people who demand to see something sensational before they will commit to following Jesus. People thrive on the sensational. Why do you think someone like Benny Hinn has such a following? It isn’t the hair! People flock to him because he promises them the sensational.
· Far too many people are waiting on some supernatural event to prove the existence of God. The fact is, God has already proven that He exists! While the world is looking for a sign, God tells us that He is visible in the ordinary things of this world. The things we take for granted every day are the very things that prove God is real. Let me share a few with you.
Ø Consider the heavens; Psalm 19:1-4a. God tells us that the heavens above tell us about Him.
(1) Our earth is traveling around its own axis at 1000 m.p.h.
(2) It moves around the sun at 67,000 m.p.h.
(3) It is carried by the sun across our galaxy at a speed of 64,000 m.p.h.
(4) It moves in orbit around our galaxy at 481,000 m.p.h.
(5) It travels through space at 1,350,000 m.p.h.
(6) Every twenty-four hours we cover 57,360,000 miles.
(7) Each year we travel 20,936,400,000 miles across empty space.
(8) And every movement in the billions of galaxies in the universe occurs with precise, split-second timing.
Ø Consider the vast size of our universe. It is so vast that it takes a beam of light, (which travels some 700 million miles per hour, or 186,411 miles per second!), over 100,000 years just to cover the length of our galaxy, the Milky Way. And, our galaxy is only one among many billions in the known universe.
Imagine it this way:
(1) Here an orange would represent the sun.
(2) A grain of sand is the earth, circling the orange at a distance of thirty feet.
(3) Pluto (most remote planet in our solar system) is another grain of sand, circling the orange at ten city blocks away (Lowes Hardware).
(4) Alpha Centauri (the nearest star) is 1300 miles away from the orange (Denver, Colorado).
Ø Consider how small our universe is. All matter in the universe is made up of atoms. There are so many atoms on the head of an ink pen that if an army marched past four abreast, every soldier carrying one atom, it would take that army 20,000 years to march past.
Ø Consider the marvel of the human body. David said that we were “fearfully and wonderfully made”, Psa. 139:14. A sperm and an egg join together to produce life. No two people in the world are exactly alike. No two fingerprints are alike. Consider the marvel of DNA. Every one of the 7.5 trillions of cells in your body contains the genetic material to make another you. And, your DNA is unique to you! You are difference from every other person who has ever lived.
Ø All of these things scream that there is a God! What more of a sign do you need?
· The fact is, these signs and many more, are proof positive of God’s existence. To reject Him and His Word while you claim to be waiting for a sign is nothing more than rebellion against God, Rom. 1:18-21.
· If you are looking for a sign today, look no farther than Calvary! That cross stands as an eternal sign of the love of God for lost sinners, Rom. 5:8. If you are looking for a sign, look to the empty tomb. It is the eternal sign that our Savior is alive forever, Rev. 1:18. If you need a sign pointing the way to God, look at the Bible in your lap! It has survived the attacks of all the enemies of God and it still clearly points the way of salvation, Acts 16:31. If you are looking for a sign to prove the claims of the Bible and of the Lord are real, just look around you! Changed lives are all the proof a person should ever need for faith in Jesus! (Ill. Those saved by looking to the brazen serpent, Ex. 21, were proof that a look of faith could heal the body!)
· The Pharisees didn’t believe because they didn’t want to believe. Their request for a sign was a smokescreen. Even if Jesus had rent the heavens, they still would not have believed in Him.
· They rejected Him because He wasn’t what they were expecting. What’s your excuse?
II. v. 12 A SOLEMN DECLARATION
· When Jesus hears their demand, He is grieved in His soul. His is a sigh of frustration and perhaps even of anger. His question, “Why doth this generation seek after a sign” was a question born out of amazement! After all, that generation had the greatest sign of all in their midst. They had the messiah, God in the flesh walking among them and they could not even recognize Him. They were looking for a heavenly sign and Heaven had taken up residence among them and they missed it!
· Jesus said, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father”, John 14:9. But, when men looked at Jesus, they didn’t see the Father, they saw the devil, Mark 3:22. That generation had all the signs and they could not see the truth that was standing right in front of their eyes. Here is how John described it, John 1:1-14.
· That generation had all the signs and they failed to see the truth. Thus, Jesus told them they would be given no sign, but the sign of the prophet Jonah, Matt. 12:39-40. The only sign they would be given would be Christ’s resurrection from the dead. When that sign came to pass just as Jesus had said it would, they also rejected it, Matt. 28:11-15. That generation refused to believe because they didn’t want to believe! Jesus knew their condition and He refused to play their game. He told them that He wasn’t in the sign business.
· There are two basic problems with signs. First, when a sign is given, another sign is desired. It’s never enough! No matter what Jesus did, these men would have never believed! He could have opened the heavens and caused myriads of angels to appear, but they would have wanted to see more. He could have done any number of signs and wonders in the heavens above and they still would not have received Him! They would have always wanted one more miracle. The same is true today! People are never satisfied. If they come because of the sensational, they will require more and more of the same.
Second, signs don’t save, faith does! Jesus could have done all the signs imaginable and it would never have saved a single soul, unless that soul reached out to Him in simple, childlike faith! It isn’t the miracles that save souls, it is faith. When faith touches grace the greatest miracle of all, the salvation of a human soul, takes place.
· Jesus isn’t in the sign business! He is in the salvation business! If you are waiting for a Damascus Road experience before you come to Jesus, you will probably be waiting a long time. Most folks don’t get the dog and pony show. Most folks are convicted of their sins, drawn to Jesus and called upon to respond to Him by simple faith, Eph. 2:8-9.
If you are waiting on a sign, you might just go to Hell while you wait. Again, the greatest sign of all has already been given! Look to Calvary, and see a crucified Savior. Look to the tomb and see Him resurrected from the dead. If you can believe those two events and take them at face value, you can be saved, Rom. 10:9!
· Here is what the Lord is trying to tell you today: “There shall no sign be given to this generation.” If you are waiting on a sign, you are waiting on something that isn’t coming! Come to Jesus now and be saved while you still can!
III. v. 13 A SORROWFUL DEPARTURE
· The words of verse 13 are among the saddest in all the Gospel record, “And He left them…” There was nothing more to say and nothing more that could be done. They refused to believe, and He abandoned them to their choice.
Those men experienced the wrath of God’s abandonment. He turned them over to their own ways and left them in their darkness! What a horrible thought, but that is just what the Lord does, Rom. 1:18-28.
· He will not deal with you forever, Gen. 6:3. There will come a point when He will walk away from you, never to return. He will abandon you to the eternity you have chosen.
If God has been speaking to you about being saved, you need to heed His voice! There will come a day when He will stop speaking to your heart. When will that day be? It could be today; it could be tomorrow; the fact is, that day will come. Don’t bet your soul on the thought that you always have tomorrow to get right with the Lord, Pro. 27:1. “Today is the day of salvation, behold now is the accepted time”, 2 Cor. 6:2!
· Friend, no one goes to Hell because God sends them there. People go to Hell because they refuse to turn from their sins and believe on Jesus. People go to Hell because they “love darkness rather than Light.” People go to Hell because God is a God of love Who does not force Himself on anyone against their will. People go to Hell because God allows them to have their own way. Is that what you want?
· I am not trying to scare anybody today. I can’t scare you into salvation. You can only be saved, and you will only be saved, when the Spirit of God is drawing you to Jesus, John 6:44. If I could scare you to Jesus, I would not hesitate to do just that.
I can’t scare you into it, but I can tell you this: if you don’t come to Jesus Christ and believe on Him for salvation in this life, you will spend eternity in Hell, apart from God, for all eternity! Please, do not sin away your day of grace. Come to Jesus while there is time. Come to Jesus and be saved. Come to Jesus today.
Conc: Are you still looking for a sign? Let me show you a couple.
· Here’s one: John 3:16-18 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
· Here’s another: John 6:35-37, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
· Here’s another: John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
There are many more signs, if you are interested, and every single one of them is found right here in the Bible. Heed the signs and Heaven will be your home. Ignore the signs and you are headed for a tragic ending.
Is the Lord speaking to you about your soul and your salvation? Heed His voice and come to Him right now!
Imagine a driver traveling down a highway passing sign after sign telling him that the bridge over the river ahead was out. Imagine that same driver plunging to his death in the river because he ignored all the signs. You say, “No one would do something so foolish!”
Oh no? Isn’t that just what you are doing? You are speeding down the road of life toward your death and the bridge is out. Yet you ignore sign after sign telling you to stop and change roads. Don’t plunge into Hell! Come to Jesus and be saved. Come today. Come now!