The flow of the Olivet Discourse in Matt 24-25

I have been preaching through Matthew’s gospel account for the last few years and recently completed the section commonly known as “The Olivet Discourse” (Matthew 24-25). The following is an expositional outline based on my own understanding of the text. Some of the phraseology is new and some is borrowed. The intent of this outline is to capture the flow of the text. This is not necessarily a preaching outline, although it can be if handled with care. I picture the text like eight movements in a musical score with each movement contributing to the overall masterpiece that is Jesus’ final sermon to His disciples.

I.               Introduction (24:1-3)

A.     The Setting (vs. 1)

B.     The Occasion (vs. 2)

C.     The Subject (vs. 3)

II.             Movement One: The Signs of Tribulation (24:4-14)

A.     Leadership troubles (vs. 5) (cf. vs. 24; see also 2 Thess 2:11)

B.     Geopolitical troubles (vs. 6)

C.     Natural troubles (vs. 7) (cf. Luke 21:11; Joel 2:10, 31; 3:15; *Rev 6:8)

D.    Initial timing of the signs (vs. 8)

E.     Religious troubles (vs. 9) (cf. Rev 7:14; 2 Tim 3:12; Matt 10:24-25)

F.     Faithfulness troubles (vs. 10) (cf. Mk 13:12; Luke 21:16; 1 John 2:19; 1 Pet 1:5; John 10:27)

i.     Because of persecution (vs. 10)

ii.     Because of deception (vs. 11)

iii.     Because of sin (vs. 12)

iv.     Encouragement (vs. 13)

G.     The gospel and the end (vs. 14)

III.           Movement Two: The End of Tribulation (24:15-28) (cf. Rev 7:14; Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1)

A.     Characterized by unholy worship (vs. 15)

B.     Characterized by unrelenting persecution (vv. 16–20)

C.     Characterized by unparalleled distress (vs. 21)

D.    Characterized by unshakable sovereignty (vs. 22)

E.     Characterized by unmistakable return (vv. 23–28)

IV.            Movement Three: Return of Christ (24:29-31)

A.     The Surety of Christ’s return (vs. 29)

i.     Historical

ii.     Future

iii.     Cosmic

B.     The Sign of Christ’s return (vs. 30)

C.     The Splendor of Christ’s return (vs. 31)

V.              Movement Four: Parable of the Fig Tree (24:32–41)

A.     The Parable: a word of instruction (vs. 32)

B.     The People: a word of encouragement (vv. 33–34)

C.     The Passing: a word of warning (vs. 35)

D.    The Teaching: anticipation (vv. 36–41)

i.     The timing (vs. 36)

ii.     The analogy (vv. 37–39)

iii.     The result (vv. 40–41)

VI.            Movement Five: Parable of the Thief and the Two Slaves (24:42–51)

A.     The Thief: vigilance (vv. 42–44)

B.     The Two:  faithfulness (vv. 48–51)

i.     Faithful servant (vv. 45–51)

ii.     Unfaithful servant (vv. 48–51)

VII.          Movement Six: Parable of the Ten Virgins (25:1–13)

A.     The Delay (vv.1–5)

B.     The Arrival (vv.6–9)

C.     The Feast (vv.10–12)

D.    The Meaning (vs. 13)

VIII.        Movement Seven: Parable of the Talents (25:14–30)

A.     The Journey (vv.14–15)

B.     The Investment (vv.16–18)

C.     The Reward (vv.19–30)

IX.            Movement Eight: Return in Judgment and Glory (25:31–46)

A.     The Setting: Return for Judgment (vv. 31–33)

i.     Messiah is in control (vs. 31)

ii.     Universal in scope (vs. 32)

iii.     Final in nature (vs. 33)

B.     The Invitation: Inheritance of the Sheep (vv. 34–40)

C.     The Rejection:  Condemnation of the Goats (vv. 41–45)

D.    The Conclusion: A Fulfilled Promise (vs. 46)

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