- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2006

The following are excerpts from Saturday’s sermon, “The Reason for Our Existence,” by Pastor Armando Miranda at the Triadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The 24th chapter of Matthew is perhaps one of the most well-known chapters of the Bible. Let us read it: “And His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple” (Verse 1).

The Gospel of Mark in Chapter 13 and Verse 1 says that one of His disciples said to Him: “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here.”

For the Jewish people — and the disciples were Jews — the temple of Jerusalem was the most sacred and important place on earth. They call it the Holy Temple. The temple of Jerusalem was the center, the heart, of the life of Israel. Not only of the religious life, but also of the whole life of Israel. It was the symbol of the nation; the symbol of the presence of the Lord among them.

The disciples, as well as the rest of the Jewish people, were proud of the temple, and they were now admiring the buildings and stones, and called Jesus’ attention to that fact.

What Jesus said was something amazing, because the disciples, and the Jewish people in general, never imagined that something could happen to their sacred temple. To say that the temple and the buildings will be destroyed was a crazy idea. It was an attempt on the life of the entire nation. It was something impossible.

But Jesus said: “Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” He didn’t say, “perhaps.” He said, “assuredly.” There was no doubt, no option; the temple and the buildings of the temple will be destroyed.

Jesus spoke to them about other things apart from the destruction of the temple. Notice 24:3. They asked Jesus three things: When will these things be? What will be the sign of Your coming? And of the end of the age?

As you see, they went from the shock of the destruction of Jerusalem to the hope of the Second Coming of Jesus and the end of the world. Now their concern and also their hope was the Second Coming of Jesus. Now they were not worrying about the destruction of the temple, but they wanted to have a sign of the Second Coming of Christ.

The disciples asked Jesus, “What would be the sign of Your coming?” If you notice, they do not ask for “signs,” but for “a sign,” and Jesus told them that wars and rumors of wars, and so on, are not the sign. These kinds of things are symptoms of the end of the time, but not “the” sign.

The sign is found in Matthew, Chapter 24 and Verse 14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

What does the word “gospel” mean? We see the answer in Acts Chapter 17, Verse 3, “that Christ must have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus … is Christ,” or Messiah.

When I was a very young man, I fell in love with the most beautiful girl of my hometown. I was really enamored, but, the only bad thing was that she didn’t know that I was in love with her. So, I made a plan to tell her about my love and ask her to be my girlfriend.

I prepared my speech, memorized each appropriate word, and I was ready for the next time we saw each other. But when we met again, I was very nervous, almost trembling. My heart was beating very rapidly, I was short of breath, and I forgot the speech.

You know what? Now we have been married for 33 years, have three children and two grandchildren, by God’s grace. Rosy’s response changed my life forever, because when she said yes, it gave me new motivation to work for the future; now I had a special strength, new plans for our future. I was ready to do my best in order to accomplish our dream to be together — to work together for the Lord — because when we are in love, we are ready to do everything.

But let me tell you that when I met Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior; when somebody invited me to hear the Gospel, and I found Jesus, I fell in love with Him, and my life was totally changed.

The Gospel is not a theory; it’s not a philosophy. The Gospel is a person, the person of Jesus the Christ, who loves me and died for me. And when we accept the Gospel, we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and now Jesus is in control of our lives. What a precious experience.

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