Luke 21:34-36

Signs of the End of the Age
Luke 21:34-36
Intro: Did you know that each time Christ referred to His Return on the Last Day and to the events leading up to it He counseled His disciples to live prepared for that moment?

Why did Jesus make these prophecies about the end of the world? Was it to satisfy our natural curiosity? Was it to give His followers an occasion to delight in the demise of the wicked? No and no. It was to safeguard them against being casual converts.

Thinking properly about the End Times is vital to Christian living. It produces hope that overcomes skepticism. Contemplating the Return of Jesus should have a sanctifying affect.

Such thinking should keep our souls athletically fit, free from the weight of the excessive and useless.

Such thinking should aid us in keeping gains and losses in proper perspective.

Such thinking should chase away the demons of dulling dissipation and cheer us with the news not only that today is a gift of God but also that tomorrow we stand in the presence of the Son of Man.

All of us are directed by Jesus to live like those who expect His Return and final judgment at any moment.

Luke 21:34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.


(a)    Do not transgress Mt. Sinai/God’s Presence on pain of death

Ex 19:10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 
Ex 19:11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
Ex 19:12 You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.’”

(b)    Do not forget the covenant God made with you

Deut 4:23 Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you.
Deut 4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

(c)    Do not commit apostasy by worshiping other gods

Deut 11:16 Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them

Coming from the mouth of Moses, Israel’s lawgiver and foremost prophet, this warning carries the strongest gravity. How seriously should we take Jesus when He says the same thing in His last public address in Luke?

“lest your hearts be weighed down”

WHAT WEIGHS DOWN THE HEART? Two conditions are the objects of Jesus’ final warning against hearts that are weighed down.

unbridled indulgence

“carousing” – a heavy bout of drinking and the unpleasant physical effects that inevitably follow (dissipation)

Some deal with their fears about the future or the troubles of daily life by getting intoxicated. Rather than finding their comfort in Jesus, they try to make themselves feel better – or else feel nothing at all – by drinking alcohol or using other drugs.

The Scriptures do not forbid the moderate use of wine. In fact, the Holy Spirit tells us that God is the one who causes “wine to make glad the heart of man” (Psalm 104:15).

The Apostle Paul even recommended a little wine for Timothy to treat his stomach ailments (1 Tim 5:23).

But what the Bible sternly prohibits is any form of drunkenness. The command could not be clearer.

Eph 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit

Isaiah 5:22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink (ESV)

If you have been getting drunk – or if people who love you are concerned about how much you are drinking – stop using alcohol immediately. If you find that you cannot stop, you now have clear proof that you have a problem.

You made need medical treatment if a chemical dependency has developed. No matter what, you stand in the need of intercessory prayer today because your judgment is regularly impaired. It has a quenching effect on the Holy Spirit in your life.

Prov 23:29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?
Prov 23:30 Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine.
Prov 23:31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly;
Prov 23:32 At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper.
Prov 23:33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things.
Prov 23:34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
Prov 23:35 “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?”

Dissipation is obviously harmful. Even the most rebellious understand that these actions hurt others and themselves.

Rom 13:13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.

Drunkenness is a sin not just because of what it does to a person (which is bad enough), or because of what it leads to (which is even worse), but also because of what it keeps a person from doing, namely, serving God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 4:3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
1 Peter 4:4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
1 Peter 4:5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

According to the Lord Jesus, one thing that prevents us from getting ready for the day of death or for the end of the world, is a lifestyle of senseless debauchery. 

Someone who is going out and getting wasted or drowning his sorrows at home is not ready for the Return of the Son of Man.

This warning is not limited to drugs/alcohol, however. The other main thing that prevents us from being prepared is distraction.

unexamined routines

“cares of this life”

Drunkenness and dissipation are examples of a broader temptation, which is to fill our lives with so many intoxicating pleasures that we do not have any time left for God: work, hobbies, sports, gaming, grandchildren, shopping, traveling – the list is endless.
Any interest or entertainment that we use to escape from the serious issues of life/death causes the same problem. It keeps us from being ready when the time comes.

Our earthly affairs may be good in themselves, and God certainly calls us to do our daily duties. 

But these can also drag us down spiritually, weighing down our hearts the way a heavy backpack hinders a first-grader.

illus: Wisdom is “skill at living life”…Friday night at the movies I saw a guy who has learned how to win. He brought his own container of garlic salt for his extra-large tub of popcorn!

Mundane cares, after all, are a normal part of life. Precisely because they are routine, they are the more dangerous, because routine things are easy to justify in our own minds. 

We do that without thinking. Our daily habits and schedules go unexamined.

Abandoning yourself to the cares and pleasures of life will blind you to the approaching climax of the Last Days. 

Whether we are tempted with dissipation or distraction, we are committing the sin of excess – either excessive drinking or excessive concern with our worldly business. Both weigh down the heart.

Some people like to break all the rules. Like the prodigal son, they spend everything they have on riotous living (carousing).

Others like to keep all the rules. Like the older son in the prodigal story, they work hard in the fields every day. It is not so much the bad things that tempt them, but too many of the good things. Yet their hearts are just as far away from God.

They are so caught up in what they are doing that they are no longer looking for their Father’s joy.

A weighed-down heart becomes a hardened heart that refuses to change.

Exodus 7:14 So the Lord said to Moses: “Pharaoh's heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go.”

Hard hearts “refuse.”

“and that Day come on you unexpectedly.”

Amos 5:18 Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light. 
Amos 5:19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him!

When the End finally arrives, it will affect all of us – every person who has ever lived.

Luke 21:35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Thus far, Jesus has said that we must not attempt to calculate the date or even to prepare what to say in case of persecution. 

Neither should we think that earthly signs, no matter how traumatic, from war to earthquake to martyrdom, will tell you that the end is coming.

To the contrary, personal suffering when we testify to Jesus is not a sign of the end, but instead it is a sign of endurance.

When the end comes, no one will be expecting it, but everyone will know.

Luke 21:36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”


This instruction is not to know the future, but to be vigilant and to persevere in the present.

We watch by praying. We watch by praying intelligently. We watch by praying diligently. We watch by praying at all times.

Rom 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer

Eph 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints —

1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.

Preparing for That Day depends on being watchful this day.

Do not get caught unaware! 

The day of judgment will come suddenly and almost completely unexpectedly, snapping the world shut like a trap. Even before they realize what is happening, or have time to do anything about it, many will get caught by the justice of God. 

Are you ready for the end of the world or the end of your life, whichever comes first?

Conclusion: What is the temptation for you? Are you finding comfort in the drunken pleasures of a fallen world? If so, you are hurting yourself and the people you love. 

But maybe it’s different for others. Are you driving yourself to distraction with all the things you are doing, including all the things you think you are doing for God? Be careful, or else you will miss Jesus on the Last Day and come under judgment. 

Jesus means for us to make some consequential decisions about the truth in this Bible passage today…

It is our secrets that often cause us the most suffering.