A Monarch Publishing & Communications, L.L.C. publication
This message, The Last Watch, has been adapted from the transcription of a spoken message delivered at The Eagles Nest, Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 6, 1993.
Adapted by Mark E. Kouri Edited by Dr. Ines U. Kowalski, Ph.D.
All rights reserved. Copyright ÂŠ 1993-2011 by Monarch Publishing & Communications, L.L.C.
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CONTENTS: Introduction What is God doing?
The Setting of These Passages The Context The Commissioning
The Symbolism of These Passages The Master Teacher The Boat The Sea and the Storm The Other Side
11 18 20 27
The Substance of These Passages Matthew 8: The First-century Church 31 Matthew 14: The Contemporary Church 37
Humility and Obedience Patience and Vigilance
Conclusion The Key to the Success of the Church
â€œThe Last Watchâ€? has been adapted from the transcription of a spoken message delivered at The Eagles Nest, Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 6, 1993.
The Last Watch
INTRODUCTION What God is Doing We are living in a time of great upheaval with cataclysmic changes taking place all over the world and in almost every area of life. Social commotion, political unrest, market meltdowns and turmoil characterize the time in which we are living. And, if you are a believer, you must be wondering and asking; Lord, where are you? What are you doing? Where are we going? But rest assured, nothing that is happening now or will happen in our world will ever be hidden from His people. The Lord has declared that He does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). And His 1
prophets should be hearing what the Lord is speaking to His church in this hour. I believe there are two distinctive passages of Scripture that reveal to us or speak to us of two critical eras of church history. They are found in Matthew 8 and Matthew 14. These passages are called action-parables. In other words, they record more than a simple narrative where an action takes place and shows the results; they actually are signs performed by our Lord; and in doing so, He was establishing the fact that the Kingdom of Heaven is in our midst. If we are able to understand these passages of Scripture, then they will help us understand not only what God is doing in this hour, but also where and how we, as the people of God, are participating in the unfolding of His purposes. So, let us open our hearts and hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
The Last Watch
The Setting of These Passages The Context First, let us look at Matthew 8:18, 23-27: Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea [lake]. When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, â€œSave us Lord! We are perishing!â€? 3
He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him.” This powerful passage of Scripture is two-dimensional. It not only describes a dreadful natural event but it also reveals the underlying spiritual truth. First, the divine purpose and authority of Jesus are revealed. He established His leadership, even with the foreknowledge that a storm was coming, He ordered the disciples to get into the boat. This action was more than the desire to get to the other shore; it had a divine purpose that would reveal an even bigger reality than His authority over the elements.
The Last Watch
Second, it focuses on the role of faith in obeying Him. The human condition was exposed as the group of frightened men could only see the immediacy of the danger and the fear of drowning gripped them. Unbelief and lack of faith guided them. Even with Jesus in the boat, they focused on the threat instead of on the provision that was right in their midst. Now, let us read the narrative of a similar event as recorded in Matthew 14:22-33: Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the 5
wind was against it. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them walking on the sea [lake]. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying: “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid.” Do you ever sense that the wind is against you? That the attack is so relentless that it seems you will die under its pounding? And, if you are honest with yourself, you feel that the Lord really does not care? The disciples faced such an ordeal. But, it is not only the wind and the waves that disturbed the disciples; they also feared a “ghost.” I believe that a key part of what the Lord is saying to His people today is, ‘’Take courage! It is I, don’t be afraid!” However, the issue is not only fear but also faith. 6
The Last Watch
Let us continue with Matthew 14:28-33: Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command Me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying “You certainly are the Son of God!” There is a profound message for the church contained within these passages of Scripture. Follow me now as I share with you the message of “The Last Watch.” 7
The Commissioning A number of years ago when I was just fresh out of a denomination that will remain unnamed, the Lord visited me. At that time, I had just been exposed to the reality and fullness of the Holy Spirit. I had met the Third Person of the Trinity, and to say I was green in spiritual matters is a total understatement. I was in Kansas on a ministry trip and I had fallen into a sound sleep, and those who know me know that when I fall asleep I don’t wake up until the next morning. I am a sound sleeper and I can sleep through hurricanes and tornadoes. I was sleeping on a little cot-type bed. I couldn’t lie on my back, I had to lie on one side or the other, and I was facing the wall. It was about two in the morning when I was awakened suddenly by the consciousness of the Lord’s conscious of the Lord and I was so afraid that I would not turn over and look.
The Last Watch
As I told you, I had just been introduced to the reality of the Holy Spirit, and I was completely unprepared to face the spiritual dimension that was unfolding before me. I was so new in the matters of the Spirit that I wasn’t sure I was ready for this holy encounter. But the Lord spoke to me even though I wouldn’t turn over and look at Him. He said to me, “Tell My people this is the Last Watch.” I thought the Lord was telling me to tell His people that the Second Coming was at hand! It took a number of years for me to really understand what the Lord was saying to me when He said, “Tell My people this is the Last Watch.” The keys that helped me understand that message were these passages in Matthew 8 and Matthew 14. Later on the Lord directed me to these passages of Scripture and showed me that He was not talking about the Second Coming. Actually, He was telling me that before Jesus comes back, there is going to be a great revival worldwide. A great gentile revival and entire nations are going to be swept into the 9
Kingdom of God. So, He said to me, “Tell My people this is the Last Watch.” And that is exactly what I’m doing.
OTHER MATERIAL AVAILABLE If you have enjoyed “The Last Watch,” then you will be interested in these other materials available from George E. Kouri and Monarch Publishing & Communications, L.L.C. The Sign of the Kingdom The Kingdom of God in Light of the Olivet Discourse
Available in paperback, audiobook and eBook at www.signofthekingdom.com
Podcast Sermon podcast available weekly George E. Kouri, Pastor
For more information about George E. Kouri and his work, visit www.georgekouri.com.