Jesus told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Do you ever travel? Of course, you do. When you do, you keep looking for signposts because they point you in the right direction, ensuring you don’t get lost. The Bible is full of such signposts, pointing us in the right direction. It first points towards Jesus Christ, who famously declared. “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). And then Jesus points us towards heaven by telling us what needs to be done, often prefacing his words by saying: “Listen.”
In the passage today, he says, “Look,” pointing us towards the signposts that will herald his return and the dawn of a new age — or new season, if you prefer — which is the inheritance of every believer. Now, we have been talking a lot about the signposts pointing towards the heaven that is to come, but how about talking about the signposts that point us to the heaven that is already here.
I will point you to one, and it’s a crucial one, so listen. (Ahh, there’s the “listen” word!) Shortly before Jesus left, he told his apostles that when he went to heaven, he would send the Holy Spirit. And, he said, “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
All we need to do to not miss any signposts along the way is to stick close to him, and he will point them out to us. Paul advises — and I am mixing and matching a little here to frame it properly: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. Those who live by the flesh won’t inherit the kingdom of heaven” (Galatians 5:16-17). Now that’s a big signpost there.
Now look at the little signposts (and there’s the “look” word for you): “Sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” If you follow those roads, you do so at significant risk because Paul says, “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
So, watch out for the signposts.