What are some signs that we are living in the last days?

I just received a newsletter from Compass (2016 Issue 2), and they list 10 signs that we are now in the last days. They mention that anyone with at least 2 brain cells will definitely know we are in the last days after looking at these signs. I’ll make my own comments as we walk through these signs together.
1. Israel is back in her land (Ezek. 37:21). 
Over 8 million Jews have returned from being dispersed throughout the world. They started coming back to their homeland in the 1800’s – after 2000 years of being everywhere around the globe. In 1995 I was in Israel with a Compass tour, and I had an Ethiopian Jew serving me dinner at one of the hotels. I saw first hand Jew who longs to return to their national homeland. In 1917, at the end of WWI, the Balfour Agreement gave the Jews a legal right of return. And on May 14, 1948, the United Nations declared Israel a sovereign nation. 
2. Israel is a World Problem (Zech. 12:3)
Israel is in the news almost daily. Israel’s neighbors do not like them, and their goal is to drive them into the sea. Israel  has a population of 8 million people, the Arabs 450 million, and yet look at what Isarel has accomplished  for its size. Why do the Arabs desire to drive Israel into the sea?  The seed of Ishmael do not like the people from the seed of Isaac. They have been at odds with one another for thousands of years.  Are you aware that every U.S. President since Israel became a nation in 1948 has tried and failed to establish a peace treaty between Israel and her Arab neighbors. We hear on the news not that the Arabs are the trouble makers, but the Jews. How many times do you have to have rocks thrown at you, or some suicide bomber kill your family members before you begin to protect yourself, and if necessary build walls. 
I have read the book of Revelation and I know that in the end that the Antichrist will bring a massive army against the Jewish people. They will be bent in destroying the Jews. But the Bible is clear that God will show up, and with the breath of his mouth destroy the entire army (Rev. 20:7-10). 
3. As in the days of Noah, or Sodom and Gomorrah (Matt. 24:37, Lk. 17:28-30, Gen. 19:5)
 Today we are witnessing an unparalleled assault on moral values in our land. Jesus said that in the last days we would witness things like what were occurring when He destroyed the world in a flood (Gen. 6). And that we would see events taking place like they did in Sodom ad Gomorrah. Not long ago the U.S. Supreme Count said that homosexual behavior is to be legitimized. 
Homosexuality IS a sin. Contrary to people being born that way, it is a choice. Now I agree that born sinner will often choose sinful behavior. This is what spiritually dead people do. However, this doesn’t mean that we should tolerate and accept sinful behavior. God will one day judge this sin. 
What makes me sick is that we have now an entire movement that is pressing for rights for their sinful behavior, and it doesn’t matter that states vote to protect their people. Unjust judges over-turn the vote and voice of the people. How long will this keep happening in America? When will we say enough? Sinful homosexual behavior is not a constitutional right.
And now we have to watch the movement of the transgender people claiming that they have a right to use the bathrooms of a “sex” that they were not born. They claiming that people are discriminating against them if they speak out against this. As we saw in North Carolina.  People wanted to oust the Governor because he signed a bill saying that people had to use the bathroom for the gender of their birth. 
4. We are moving to a cashless society (Rev. 13:16-17)
A recent survey said that only 10% of Americans always carry cash. A lot of people don’t even know what the dollar looks like anymore. They are so use to debit and credit cards. More and more people are going with electronic payments. We use watches and smart phones to swipe and make payments. 
Because banks are now global in scale it’s not impossible for one day the entire world to be controlled by one person. We are rapidly approaching a world-wide Babylonian system, both in the area of finances, and in religion. It’s coming – it’s a matter of time. 
5. Russian/Iran Coalition (Ezek. 38:2-8)
Are you aware that the Bible predicts that God/Rosh (Modern day Russia) will invade Israel from the north with Persia (Modern day Iran) as one of her principals allies. Today we are seeing that Russia and Iran are becoming close military friends. 
The prophecy above was written 2700 years ago, pinpoint the time to be after Israel comes back into their land in the latter days. 
6. Nuclear Weapons (Rev. 6:4, Zech 14:12)
There is enough nuclear weapons on the planet to kills every man, woman, boy, and girl, and there are nations still seeking to obtain its power. The U.S. recently tried to broker a deal with Iran to stop their nuclear ambition, but do you really think they are going to stop? No, they desired the U.S. to allow their money to flow again. 
North Korea is testing at this time. 
7. Knowledge shall increase (Dan. 12:4, Nah. 2:4)
Look at the speed of the internet, and all the information at your fingertips. What are you search for? It is available. Need help with something – Go to Youtube. Do a search. There you have it. 
8. Mocker denying the Second Coming of Jesus (II Pet. 3:3-4)
People laugh today when we speak of what the Bible says about the return of Jesus Christ for the second time. Go ahead and laugh – God is patient, and he desire that you repent. I know there are various views of the end times, but the Bible is clear that Jesus will come again. 
Compass says in this article that 80% of the Christian Church is A-millennial, meaning “No Thousand Year Reign” of Jesus Christ as described in Rev. 20. Many of them believe that the church will make the world a better place, and usher in the kingdom of God. 
Christians don’t you deny the Second Coming of Jesus.
9. The 144,000 Jewish Evangelists identified (Rev. 7:4, 14:3-4)
It is believe that these will be unmarried Rabbinical Jews between the ages of 18-30. Today it is estimated that their number is somewhere around 150,000, and growing. 
10. Israel Deserts will Bloom (Isa. 27:6, 35:1-2)
In 1995 I saw just how lush Israel was. At that time they were being called the bread basket of Europe. I saw farmlands full of vegetables. Banana plantations were everywhere. In the hotels I enjoyed fruits and all types of breads. It was amazing. 
In the 1800″s Mark Twain commented that there was hardly anything green in the entire land. 
The Turks of Ottoman Empire, who controlled the land for 400 years, had heavily taxed trees on property. So most of the people simply cut down their trees to avoid paying taxes. 
Since the Jews have returned to their land the land has changed, and they have planted over 250 million trees throughout the country (which is roughly the size of Vermont). 
Yes, if you ever get a chance to visit Israel you too will be amazed at just how green everything is. Israel has bloomed! 
All of these prophecies ought to excite you. Yes, we are living in the last days. Are you fixing your eyes on things above? I hope you are. 

The Friendship Factor

The Friendship Factor

Read: Romans 16:1-16

Who are your friends? Can you list seven friends right now? Go ahead, do it: 
How important are friends? Read: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
   9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Who is your BFF? Do you have a best friend forever? 

The Apostle Paul had many friends, and it was easy for him to make friends. It has been said that the greatest ministers are those who can make friends. 

In this lesson I want us to consider the twenty-seven (27) people that Paul lists here as he brings the book of Romans to a close. All twenty-seven (27) people played significant roles in Paul’s life. As do our friends today! 

Paul’s List of Friends

Friend 1 – Phoebe – 16:1

  • Servant of the church
  • Receive her
  • She has been a helper of many and of myself 

Friend 2 & 3 – Priscilla and Aquila – 16:3-4 

  • Fellow workers in Christ Jesus
  • Risked their own necks for my life
  • Give thanks
  • Church in their house 

Friend 4 – Epaenetus – 16:5 

  • Firstfruits of Achaia to Christ 

Friend 5 – Mary – 16:6 

  • Labored much for us 

Friend 6 & 7 – Andronicus & Junia – 16:7 

  • My countrymen
  • Fellow prisoners
  • Apostles – messengers
  • Were in Christ before me 

Friend 8 – Amplias – 16:8 

  • My beloved in the Lord 

Friend 9 & 10 –  Urbanus and Stachys – 16:9 

  • Fellow worker in Christ
  • My beloved 

Friend 11 & 12 – Apelles and Aristobulus – 16:10 

  • Approved in Christ
  • Household of Aristobulus (not one, but many) 

Friend 13 & 14 – Herodion and Narcissus – 16:11 

  • My countryman
  • Household of Narcissus (not one, but many) 

Friend 15, 16, & 17 – Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis – 16:12 

  • Labored in the Lord
  • Beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord 

Friend 18 – Rufus – 16:13 

  • Chosen in the Lord
  • His mother and mine 

Friend 19 – 23 – Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, and Hermes – 16:14 

  • Brethren with them (again, not one, but many) 

Friend 24 – 27 – Philologus, Julia, Nereus (his sister) , and Olympas – 16:15 

  • All the saints who are with them (again we have many) 

In Romans 16:16 we read,  

“Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.” 

   This was a custom, and still is in eastern cultures. In our culture we see women who hug each other, and men who shake hands. Do we really grasp the significance of the kiss, the hug, or the handshake? It is a mark of friendship.

 Wrap Up

How many of the people on your list of friends are you actively involved in ministry with?  How many of them do you attend church with? Who on your list has risked their life for yours? Who have you brought to the saving knowledge of Christ? Who are your beloved? How many people on your friendship list have you done ministry with? Do those on your list belong to a church family? How many of your own family are serving Christ with you? Are your friends better because you are a part of their lives? 

The Friendship Factor equals the true value of friendships. Why not jot a note to those you value the most – encourage your friends.  Write them a quick sentence telling them how important they are to you. 

Tonight, I want to express to all of you how much I appreciate serving the Lord along side of you. Thank you all so much for all you do. You are my beloved!