Memphis Belle

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Luke 17:1-26


“Then said he unto his disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come; but woe unto him, through whom they come!  It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.  Take heed to yourselves:  If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him.  And if he trespass against thee seven times a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.  And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.  And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.  But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?  And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?  Doth he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded him?  I trow not.  So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all these things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.  And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:  and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.  And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests.  And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks:  and he was a Samaritan.  And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?  There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.  And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way:  thy faith hath made thee whole.  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:  neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there!  for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you [margin and Hebrew: among you].  And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.  And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there; go not after them.  For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.  But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.  And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.”


“‘Father we thank you for an opportunity to gather publicly Lord, to sing your praises, to study your Word.  Lord, we’re thankful that the roof didn’t fall off of our building this week, Lord, your building.  Lord, we pray for those that are still sorting out there lives, damages and injuries.  Father with everything that took place, it’s a wonder that there wasn’t a greater loss of life.  [Comment:  Well, there are two tornadoes listed as having hit Philadelphia within the timeframe when this sermon was given, one on June 1st, 1998, was an F2, in Bustleton, no injuries.  The other was on January 18th, 1999 at Marconi Plaza, injuring 18.  Pastor Joe makes mention of this in the next sermon transcript.]  Father we pray that people’s hearts would be stirred, their mortality would stare them in the face, Lord, that this would bear good fruit, that it would clean, Father, people’s lives, it would cause them to view the material in the light of your presence, how temporary life is, Father, and that hearts would be opened, Lord, in these days, that your Spirit Lord would find hope in this Lord, to convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment, of things to come.  And Lord, we pray that whenever we have the privilege to gather publicly Lord, that you would be in our midst.  We see you in the Book of Revelation walking in the midst of the Seven Lampstands, and we believe you’re the same, yesterday, today and forever by the same Word.  And Lord we ask that you would walk in our midst this evening, work in our hearts, work in my heart.  Lord, Lord, so much of what we desire is with you, Lord, beyond our own strength and power.  So many of the changes we desire to see in our own lives come from you, Lord.  We look to you this evening, ask that you would meet with us all in a special way, in Jesus name, amen.’


Of Being Offended & Forgiveness


We are in Luke chapter 17.  Sunday evening we’ll be having Communion, those of you who are interested.  Sunday morning we are starting Deuteronomy if you want to read ahead.  Jesus is in the house of a Pharisee, invited for supper.  Little did the Pharisee know what he was in for when he invited Jesus to his home for supper, as Jesus began to teach about those who loved to have the best seats, as he observed the way they were seating themselves.  The man with dropsy, that was a setup, how he healed him.  And the lessons that he gave, and then how he was criticized for eating with tax gatherers and with sinners, and told of the lost sheep and of the lost coin, and of the prodigal son, and then begins of course to talk to them about Lazarus and the rich man.  Because he knew, it says, they were covetous, money hungry, and with a perspective that physical prosperity was a signature of God’s blessing, and that suffering or being poor was a signature of God’s displeasure.  And Jesus proved how wrong that perception was, what a great error it was, as he told of Lazarus and the rich man.  And with that as a background, until verse 10 here when this dinner is finally over, Jesus now continues, no doubt talking to those who were gathered to him with a proper heart, not to the critics.  “Then he said unto his disciples” which are not just the 12 now, which he named apostles, but a disciple is a learner, those who would learn from him.  “Then he said unto his disciples , It is impossible but that offenses will come:  but woe unto him, through whom they come!  It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (verses 1-2).  So Jesus begins by saying ‘Take heed, it is impossible that offenses won’t come,’ offenses are going to be there.  You know, sometimes I think as Christians, because we desire the coming of the Lord, and through different circumstances in life, we can easily abide in the mindset ‘Lord, get us outa here, come Jesus!  Just come Lord, quickly.’  And then when things get added on top of that, I think sometimes that we can be frustrated with the unsaved world, with all of the insanity and all of the sin, and with all of the things that we see, and we just kind of get this attitude towards the unsaved world.  Matthew 24, when Jesus speaks of the 2nd coming, he says that because iniquity shall abound, the love, the agape shall grow cold.  [actual Greek word used there is agapao, a derivative of agape]  It’s the only time that form is used in Matthew’s gospel.  I think we’re warned that, of ourselves, that because iniquity will abound, as Lot’s righteous soul was vexed in Sodom, that we can kind of get this attitude of ‘I don’t care what happens to everybody else, I just want to get outa here’ and we forget that God so loved the world that grates on us, that he gave his only Son, that whoever would believe wouldn’t perish but have everlasting life.  So Jesus is saying, ‘Look, it’s impossible to live in this world without offenses, we’re strangers, we’re pilgrims, our citizenship is in heaven, we have a different set of values, we look at things around us, we appreciate them in a different way.’  And I’ve been in the Mall or a public place and see some mom just slapping her little kid, just yelling at him and just whacking him.  And I’m looking at that kid and thinking ‘What a pretty kid it is’ and having a greater appreciation for the beautiful little face and those young eyes, and maybe the parent whose not a believer, and so aggravated and look into the face of a kid and realize ‘Lord, this is a stewardship from you, this is a future eternal being, this is a gift, this is something special, Lord, from you.’  So we just have a much different perspective, a much different perspective.  And it’s easy for us sometimes I think to slip right into the game that they play.  But Jesus is saying, ‘Look, offenses are going to come, but woe unto him through whom the offenses come.’  He says ‘it would be better for him if a millstone were hanged around his neck and he were cast into the sea.’  Now Jesus doesn’t say ‘Woe unto him’ because he’s gonna have a millstone tied around his neck and be cast into the sea, Jesus says ‘It would be better.’  That would be the preferable thing.  He doesn’t say what’s gonna happen, he says, ‘But woe to the one by whom the offenses come, because the preferred treatment over what he’s gonna get is if a millstone were tied around his neck and he thrown into the sea.’  Now I don’t know how many of you here who have ever been in the process of drowning.  I remember being a kid, seven, eight years old, knocked backwards into a pool with a lot of people, and just going down, and not having, just gulping in water, breathing in water, being able to see the light and water splashing on top of me, and you know your eyes are wide open, you’re just panicked.  Of course by the time they get you up out of there, they got to drag you up out of the pool, and you’re gagging and spitting up water, and half dead.  But I can’t imagine that with a millstone tied around me.  [Comment:  The method of execution in the Phoenician navy was to tie one of their stone anchors to the person being executed, and throwing him overboard in deep water.]  In those days there was the lower millstone and the upper millstone, the lower millstone was probably around ninety pounds, and the upper millstone somewhere  between fourteen to twenty-five pounds.  And let me tell you something, it doesn’t tell us which millstone he’s talking about here, but it don’t matter, you’re going down, whether it’s the upper or lower millstone.  You can only tread water so long with a twenty-five pound millstone, even if you’re real strong.  “Better” and you know, it’s interesting when he says “than that he should offend one of these little ones.  I kind of like the way Jesus sees us.  He’s a jealous dad.  And I believe with all my heart he sees the kid in all of us.  You know, I have the privilege sometime of praying with someone who comes forward to be saved, and they’re 80, 90, I prayed with somebody 93 years old not too long ago, came forward and got saved.  And I know when Jesus looks at her he sees a little girl, somebody’s little girl, somebody’s little boy.  And I like the way he looks at me at 47 and says, ‘He’s one of my little ones.’  Nobody else sees me that way, and I don’t feel that way when I wake up.  I like the way he sees me that way.  But I think we can apply it to kids.  There’s another place where he takes a child, and you think of what’s being taught in the public schools, what’s being forced into the minds of children in sex ed, in the name of sex education, or evolution, or teachers that are deliberately destroying the faith of a child.  Send your kid to school with one of these T-shirts, it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck [laughter].  “Take heed to yourselves:  If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him” (verse 3). Now it’s interesting, I don’t know what your translation says, mine says “If”, it seems like it should say ‘Take heed to yourselves WHEN thy brother trespass against thee.’  If you’ve been around human beings long enough, you understand.  “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”   Now, don’t be anxious to do this, by the way.  Don’t be anxious to rebuke people.  I’m kind of tentative, I don’t know about you, I do not like confrontation, it drives me crazy, gives me ulcers.  I’d just rather move to another planet.  But we’re instructed in the Scripture, there’s a proper time for it.  And somebody’s going to trespass against you, and it’s easier just to forgive that person in some cases.  But there are times when you’re to speak the truth in love.  And if you’re brother trespasses against you, be patient, because you, no doubt, have trespassed against other people.  Now sometimes you do it out of ignorance, sometimes you do it out of just stupidity, and sometimes we can have that little streak in us, called iniquity, where we do it on purpose.  You probably can’t relate to me, and what I’m saying, I hear in New Jersey they do this, but here in Pennsylvania this doesn’t happen amongst Christians, but there can be---and look, anybody from New Jersey, I’m only kidding, please don’t leave the church, know I’ll get letters this week, it’s just a joke, it’s not a theological truth.  We all have that streak in us, that enjoys, enjoys sometimes getting back, or at least being stubborn in our forgiveness.  ‘Well I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget.’  ‘Well I don’t think when they ask me to forgive, they were sincere, I want more than three tears.’  The proper thing is, when somebody trespasses against you, the idea is ‘Go to him, rebuke him.’  It doesn’t say ‘Get on the gossip train, and get a posse.’  It says ‘Go to him, rebuke him.  If he [or she] repents, forgive him.’  Now, you’re with me so far.  Then he says “And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him” (verses 3-4) “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith” (verse 5).  [Laughter]  I’m telling you, you get up in the morning and you pray ‘Lord, just help me,’ you know, if your life is a busy life, ‘Just help me try to get done today, and give me grace when I get interrupted,’ because there are divine interruptions, and many of them are mandatory, they’re not electives.  And you can do well sometimes, even to get through two or three of them in a day.  But it’s hard, and especially if it’s the same person.  Imagine the same person.  Now if you have a kid, or a wife or a husband, you can join in here.  But imagine the same person offending you seven times in one day, to the point where they have to come back and say ‘I blew it again, I know it’s the sixth time.  But would you forgive me again.’  ‘Uh-huh.’  Where are you at by then?  [laughter]  And I think Jesus is just using seven times because it’s a number of completeness.  If someone is just rubbing you the wrong way, and yet they continue to ask for  forgiveness, forgive them.  The disciples, the apostles say ‘Lord, increase our faith.’  “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you” (verse 6).  Now notice he doesn’t say this, because when we hear this faith of a grain of mustard seed thing, we always want to apply it to ‘In the name of JESUS!’ want to kind of put it there, in that context.  This is in the context of forgiveness, forgiveness.  And they’re asking for faith.  Jesus doesn’t say ‘If you have faith the size, and this is what we always do with it, ‘of the grain of a mustard seed.’  Just a little, little, little ity bitty faith.  He said ‘If you had faith of the kind that a mustard seed has.’  If you had faith as a mustard seed.  Because a mustard seed is just able, though it doesn’t seem to have much life in and of itself, to push through all of that dirt, and get to the light.  And that’s what Jesus is asking these guys to do.  You’ve gotta be able to push through all of the dirt, and get to the light.  That thing could be dormant for years and years and years and years and years and years, but it contains within itself what is necessary.  And you bury that thing and it knows which way is down, which way is up, it responds to moisture, it pushes to the light.  He said if you had just the kind of faith to function the way that you’re supposed to as a believer, you could deal with this impossible problem of forgiveness, like pulling out a mulberry tree, which were known for the depth of their roots.  And then he tells this parable I believe in light of that.  Now I don’t know, when I look at this, is Jesus saying ‘you only need,’ most people interpret it that way, ‘a little faith’? 


You Already Have the Faith to Forgive


Or is he saying, ‘You already have the faith you need to forgive’?  I think that might be what he’s saying.  Look at the parable he tells in light of this.  “But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down at meat?”  ‘Go and sit down to meat, at the table and eat.’  “And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?  And doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.”---which in modern jargon is Not!, I doubt it---“So likewise, when ye shall have done all these things, which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do” (verses 7-10).  Now, I think this is what he is saying, he’s saying, ‘Look, which one of you guys,’ and they understood this in the culture, ‘you have a servant working in the field, doulos, slave, and at the end of the day, when his work is done and he’s coming in from the field, you don’t say to him, Well go on in, sit down, enjoy a meal.  You say to him, no, no, finish your duty for the day.’  It’s been a long day, it’s been a laborious day, and you’re job’s not over, you still have to forgive the seventh time.  ‘Gird yourself, wait on me, and when I’ve eaten, and I’ve drunken, then you can take care of yourself.’  And he said you’re not gonna say “Doth he thank that servant because he did the things’ notice, ‘that were commanded him?”  ‘I don’t think so’ he says. 


In Forgiving, We’ve Merely Done That Which Is Necessary in the Light of  Our Own Dept


And look, I think the key to what he’s saying here is in verse 10 where he says “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all these things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.”  “Duty to do”, it’s an interesting word, “duty” there, is the word “debt.”  We have done that which is necessary in light of our debt.  Jesus said, when you pray, pray “Father, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  Jesus is saying to them, ‘Look, this world’s going to be filled with offenses, people are going to rub you the wrong way, they’re going to stumble you, they’re going to say things that really irk you and bug you, they’re going to be mean, they’re going to be selfish, you know, just know that.  But woe to the one who is causing the offense.’  It isn’t your problem because you’re offended, I mean, they’re going to come, offenses will come, as scandelon, the part of a trap where the bait is attacked.  There are things, that’s what the word “offense” is, the part of the trap where the bait is attached, “offenses” will come.  Things are going to snare you and stumble you in this world.  But the problem, woe is to the one who is causing the offense, better for him to have the millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the deepest part of the sea, than offending one of these little ones, destroying the faith of someone.  Whether they’re an 80-year-old little one or a 5-year-old little one. 


Rules For Extending Forgiveness Toward Brethren


‘But if your brother, family, another believer trespass against you, go to him, challenge him, rebuke him.  If he says ‘I’m sorry’, forgive him.  In fact, if he does it all day long, does it to you seven times in one day, and seven times in one day says ‘Look, I’m just having a bad day, on you’ and says, ‘forgive me’, forgive him.’  The disciples are saying ‘Lord.’  Because the rabbis in that day taught, they taught you only had to forgive up to three times in one day.  And they’re thinking, ‘Lord, you’re breaking all the wrong rules here.  Even in baseball you only get three strikes.’  They say, ‘Lord, increase our faith,’ they never heard anything like this.  And he said all you need is the faith of a grain of mustard seed.  I think what he’s saying is, ‘you don’t need faith, you need to obey.’  The answer to this is not, the answer of forgiveness is not within the realm of faith, it’s within the realm of obedience.  If God is telling us as Christians to forgive someone who has been terribly wrong towards us, and some of us have grown up with alcoholic parents, or sexually abusive parents, or we have grown up and everything has gone the wrong way, some of us have really taken years to put up our walls and they’re high, and they’re thick, and we have protected ourselves, and we read in the Word where Jesus is saying we need to forgive, you need to drop your baggage.  And we’re saying ‘Lord, I need faith’ and he’s saying, ‘No, what you need is obedience, not faith, because if you have a servant, and he serves you all day in the field, and he works hard, and he comes in, you don’t say ‘sit down and enjoy yourself,’ you say, ‘Now, continue to serve me.’  And when he’s served you, you don’t say ‘Oh, it’s so nice of you to do this.’  No, because when he’s altogether serving you, he’s still an unprofitable servant in light of his own debt.’  [i.e. culturally, Jesus is talking of bond-servants, who were in servitude because of debt they couldn’t pay off.]  And we need to remember that the people that have sinned against us and injured us, that are maybe asking sometimes for our forgiveness, and when we look at them, we need to remember that they are not in greater need of the blood of Christ than we are.  We’re both destined for hell without Jesus.  They’re not a greater sinner than we are.  You know, one of the greatest applications to this is in Corey ten Boon’s book “Don’t Wrestle, Just Nestle’.  Some of you know Corey ten Boon, Chuck Smith did her funeral, she had spoken at the Calvary’s, and I think we have one of her tapes up there at the library, where she talks about years after World War II, sharing the Gospel at a meeting, and having come up to her one of the men at the Nazi prison camp where she was interned and where her sister died.  And she said, “When I looked at him, all of the memories flooded back of his brutality, and all of the things that he had done, and he had been personally responsible for the death of my sister.”  And she said, “All of those things flooded my soul, and he came up to me and he said, ‘Corey, you know who I am?’”  She said, “Yes.”  He said, “I’ve become a Christian, would you forgive me?”  And she said “He put out his hand, to shake my hand.”  And she said, “I froze, because all my natural being was filled with all of the resentment and the hatred of all the years, they flooded back.”  And she said, “Under the conviction of the Spirit, I simply put out my hand, no heart,” she said “it was wooden, it was empty, and it was mechanical,” but she said, “as I obeyed,” and she said “as I took his hand” she said “the Holy Spirit flooded through my life.”  And she said “All of those years washed away, and I looked into the face of a brother who was a sinner just like me, was caught up in this world that was filled with offenses.”  And I think what Jesus is saying, is, ‘Forgiveness is not a matter of faith, it’s a matter of obedience.’  We ourselves were debtors, with a debt so great that we were destined to hell.  The Bible says that all of our righteousness are as filthy rags.  And both prophets use the most disgusting word possible to describe all of our righteousness.  It isn’t as though someone is a greater sinner than we are, that deserves hell more than we do, or deserves forgiveness less than we do.  Jesus is saying, This world’s gonna be filled with offenses, they’re going to come to you.  If your brother is the offender, and asks forgiveness, you put out your hand, and you forgive.  If he offends you seven times, just continues to offend you, and yet sees what’s wrong, and asks forgiveness, you continue to forgive.  I mean, I got saved in 1972, and the day that I got saved, Jesus forgave all my sins.  And you know how many times he’s forgiven me since 1972?  Twice [loud laughter], times 4,000.  You know, I don’t know.  I know that it says ‘That if we confess our sins, he’s faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’  If we confess, Homilo gao is the Greek word, it means “to say the same thing.”  And it means when God convicts us of sin, if we agree and say “Yes, Lord, this is wrong”, if we agree with the conviction that he’s saying into our hearts, “Yes, Lord, it is wrong”, and agree with him, that then he’s faithful.  That’s what we need to do to be to forgiven.  And remarkably he’s just to forgive us, because he paid the price once and for all.  See, isn’t that remarkable?  Not only is he faithful, he’s just, and that’s what blows my mind.  He’s just to forgive us.  If you backslide, if you do something stupid, if you’re backslidden like the prodigal for a year, for two years, if you come back and you confess, say the same thing, you repent, confess your sins, he’s faithful.  But more remarkably he’s just.  And do you know why he’s just?  Because when he died on the cross, he paid for your sins, past, present, and future, all of them [as long as we continue in this cleansing process, I might add].  And that person whose standing across from you, asking for your forgiveness, do you know how many of their sins Jesus paid for on the cross?  All of them, past, present, and future.  And if the Spirit of God is living within us, then when we have forgiven someone else, we have only done that in light of our own debt.  We have only seen things the way they really are, we are both of us sinners, saved by grace, by the wonderful work of God through Jesus Christ.  So likewise, when you shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say,’---don’t go out and brag, ‘Yeah, I really wanted to slug him, but because I’m a powerful young Christian, I forgave him, didn’t forget, but I forgave.’  No, after you’ve done all he’s commanded, say---‘we are ourselves just unprofitable servants, we’ve done that which was our debt to do, to forgive others as we would have them do you.’  


Ten Lepers Seek Jesus For Cleansing


“And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee” (verse 11).  And I’m sure this Pharisee is glad to get him out of his house.  “And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:  and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (verses 11-13).  So, he’s heading through Samaria and Galilee, runs into these men, ten lepers.  It says they “stood afar off.”   Now, if you were downwind, and you were a leper, and you were downwind from someone, you could be fifty paces away, and you had to cry “Unclean!”.  If you were upwind from them, and the wind was blowing across you towards the person, you had to be over a hundred paces away, and you had to cry “Unclean, unclean!”.  So, it says “they stood afar off.”  They’re doing what they’re supposed to do.  We find out some interesting things about these lepers.  These lepers, nine of them evidently are Jews, and one is a Samaritan.  Now the Samaritans and the Jews, we’re told in John, had nothing to do with each other.  They detested one another.  They were prejudiced against one another.  But we know that misery loves company.  When you’re lepers, you have a stronger identity than being a Samaritan or a Jew.  When you are suffering from a terminal disease and you’re going to die, your birth doesn’t matter as much.  And suffering had broken down all of the walls.  You know, I bet after Sunday night [when that nasty tornado blew through Pastor Joe’s neighborhood], I bet there were some neighbors that hadn’t talked to each other in a long time, that were out checking on each other to see if they were killed when the tree fell on the house.  I bet there were some folks out, just glad they were alive, reaching out to a neighbor they really…or maybe a neighbor of a different color.  I bet there were folks out there, looking at each other saying ‘We are both alive, and that tree is on our house, we should be dead’, and I bet there was an equalizer there.  And suffering does that.  It doesn’t matter so much, when you look into the eyes of a Samaritan, and his face is being eaten away by leprosy, and you look into the eyes of a Jew, and his suffering is the same, and the tears are the same.  Birth doesn’t matter so much anymore, origin doesn’t matter, because their destiny at that point is the same.  These ten men were lepers, they were considered dead while they were alive.  The Jews considered leprosy the finger of God.  They were very superstitious about it, because they didn’t understand, and we don’t today either, really know, how it’s spread.  We call it Hanson’s Disease today, after the man who discovered the bacilli that causes leprosy.  We can arrest it, but we still don’t cure it.  There are over 5,000 lepers in the United States right now.  There are over 15,000,000 lepers in Asia.  And we don’t understand a lot about it.  We have deliberately tried to infect people with leprosy and have been unable to do that.  Men that have worked in leper colonies have volunteered themselves, ‘inject the bacilli in me and see if it spreads’  and  it’s unable to spread for some reason.  And yet other people have contracted the disease not knowing exactly how.  One thing they have discovered is that they can culture it in armadillos because the armadillos’ body is three degrees lower than the human body temperature, is down around 95, and they realize that the leprosy turns up first in the ends of the fingers, and the end of the nose, and the appendages where it’s just a little cooler.  And because the body temperature of the armadillo is cooler, they’ve been able to culture it and use armadillos, lucky little guys, to work with leprosy. 


Leprosy, A Picture of What Sin Does Within A Believer’s Life


But it’s a very interesting type of sin [ie, a symbol for sin, not that leprosy is sin or a result of sin], throughout the Scripture.  It’s not healed, it’s cleansed.  You never go to a doctor, you to a priest [Biblically, in the Old Testament].  It starts where it’s cooler.  And that’s the way sin works in our lives as Christians, when we cool off, luke warm.  And it starts in your nerves, it eats away at your nerves, so that you loose your sensation, you can’t feel anymore.  A lot of times you see lepers with their hands wrapped and their feet wrapped.  That’s not because of the disease, it’s because if they sleep with their appendages in the open, rats will come and eat the end of their fingers off, they don’t know it, they don’t feel it.  Or they’ll break their toes, break their bones when they stub their toes, and not even know because the nerves have died back, and there’s no more sensation, there’s no more feeling, they become numb.  And sin does that to us.  It numbs us, it makes us without sensation, without the sensitivity that we had to the Lord, to his Spirit. 


If You Sense You’ve Cooled, Cry Out to Jesus


These ten men come, they stand afar off, they lift up their voices.  Now this is just a nice way of saying they were screaming.  They weren’t saying ‘Hey Jesus, Master, excuse us.’  They were crying out like blind Bartemeus, they were screaming, ‘Have mercy on us!’.  “And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests.  And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed” (verse 14).  Now, it’s interesting, they’re crying out to Jesus.  There was no hope for them.  The religious community told them it was the finger of God.  And yet they’re seeing something in Jesus, this prophet from Nazareth, of the love of God they hadn’t seen anywhere else, that gave them enough hope.  Whether they heard the tone of his voice or saw the look in his eyes, there was something in Jesus, that they were able to cry to him, and cry for mercy, ‘Have mercy!’.  They weren’t saying ‘Give us what we deserve’, they’re saying ‘Have mercy on us!’  And Jesus never turns away from that.  I don’t know who you are this evening, but if you feel like sin has done that to you, it’s entered into your life because you’ve cooled, or if it’s taken away even your ability to sense, if you’ve just become numb and dead inside because of your sin, and you don’t even feel like you want to go onward---you have the same prerogative to cry out to Jesus for mercy.  The Bible says he’s the same yesterday, today and forever, because he’s immutable.  You know, it’s one of the things on one side of the coin that bothers unbelievers about God, is that he’s immutable, that he never changes.  They could put up with God, if he only had a four-year term, and we could elect somebody else to be God.  If we could elect Howard Stern for four years, we could put up with God for four years, that’s the way the world thinks.  [I love you Joe!]  One of the things they hate about God is he’s immutable, he never changes.  Sin will always be sin.  Adultery will always be adultery, fornication, it will always be sin, he will never change his standards.  This is not archaic, it’s eternal.  Heaven and earth will pass away, the Bible says, not one period or coma from the Word will pass away.  But yet on the other side of the coin, one of the great consolations about the fact that he’s immutable, that he never changes, is for the sinner and you and I, is you can cry out on him today and ask for mercy, and he’s the same today as he was then.  In regards to mercy too, and in regards to love, and in regards to grace, that side of him hasn’t changed either.  [Comment:  One of the hardest things most Christians try to fathom and understand is the subject of Law & Grace.  To see an interesting study on it, log onto:] 


Cleansing Brings A Restoration of the Senses, both physically and spiritually


And you can cry out tonight and ask for him to touch you, to cleanse you.  With lepers, the returning of their sensations, it comes through cleansing, not through healing, through cleansing, sensation returns.  He says to them ‘Go show yourselves to the priests’  “And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.”  Notice, in their obedience they went, not in their logic, and “as they went, they were cleansed.”  Now I don’t know what this scene was like.  Imagine these ten guys, ‘Alright, I thought you said he spits and makes mud and puts it in people’s eyes.  I thought you said he touched that guy you saw, and here he is saying ‘Go show yourselves to the priests’, I feel like an idiot…’ and as they’re walking, the leprosy’s clearing up.  All of a sudden one of them is saying to the other ‘You ain’t as ugly as I thought you were.’ [loud laughter]  As they went, all of a sudden they’re healing, the fingers are growing back, their ears are growing back, their noses are growing back, as they’re going.  What an amazing scene.  Not because they went in their logic, but because they went in their obedience.  “And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks:  and he was a Samaritan.  And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed?  but where are the nine?  There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.  And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way:  thy faith hath made thee whole” (verses 15b-19).  Not cleansed, but whole, salvation.  He’s a believer.  He glorified God and came back and fell at the feet of Jesus.  Interesting for me to take note here, that Jesus notices when God gets robbed of his glory.  Jesus notices when somebody comes back and says ‘Thanks’ and when people just go on their way and don’t say thanks.  And I think, I don’t know if my average is much better than one in ten.  When I sat around and thought about this today, I thought ‘Do I come back to you?  What is my percentage?  When I pray and you bless me, do I thank you every day?  I pray.  I praise you when we sing songs.  Where’s my average on thanks here?  How often do I come and just say Thank you for my life, thank you for my health, thank you for my kids, thank you for my wife, thank you for the sun, thank you for the sky today, thank you for the tree that didn’t fall on my house…Is my average better than one-in-ten?  Or is this a kind of picture of what goes on in my heart?’  And isn’t it interesting that Jesus notices when someone comes and says thanks, and when somebody doesn’t? 


The Testimony of the Cleansed Lepers---The Messiah Is Here, Lepers Are Being Cleansed In Israel!


Very interesting scene if you’re a student of all of this, because Jesus is sending streams of lepers to Jerusalem, to the Temple, to the priests.  Leviticus 13 and 14 give us the record of the diagnosis of the leper and what to do when the leper has received supernatural cleansing [ie, it is a miracle].  Leviticus chapter 13 gives us the medical diagnosis for leprosy. And of the cleansing or the offering offered by the leper in the day of his cleansing is given in Leviticus chapter 14.  And you have to understand, these priests knew Leviticus chapter 13 well, because they had diagnosed many lepers.  These lepers, you have to realize, they lived like us, normal lives, they lived a normal life like this, until their leprosy appeared.  One day they woke up, and noticed a sore.  And they do what we do, ‘Heh, oh I must have banged myself, or the kids hit me with…’ and the next day the sore was still there, and as the week went by it just started to bother him and ooze a little bit and got a little worse.  And then, you know, they didn’t go down to the Hup or something, they went to the priest, they had to go show themselves to the priest, and the priest did what he did, he had to set him aside for seven days, examine him, lower skin, higher skin, going through all this.  And at some point that priest said, and it was Caiaphus [the high priest had to make this judgment, as it was a judgment that essentially destroyed a person’s life], he’s been in there for a number of years now [as high priest during the life of Jesus], and Annus working with him, said, ‘You’re a leper.’  When those words fell from his mouth, his life was changed forever.  He couldn’t be with his wife, he couldn’t be with his kids, he couldn’t be in his town, he couldn’t go into his house again, he couldn’t lay on his bed again.  He would go years without feeling the embrace of a child.  He would hear of his mother and father’s death, and not be able to attend the funeral.  He would live every day with his fellow lepers, and watch those who had the disease longer than him progressing unto death.  Every day he lived with a living reminder of his own future, the rest of his friends were slowly rotting away and dying.  And Jesus now is cleansing lepers.  In the history of Israel, we only have two records in the Bible of a leper being cleansed, one was Miriam, and that was before the Law was finalized, she was cleansed in the same day that she complained.  And Naaman, the Syrian.  He wasn’t even from Israel, was cleansed of leprosy.  There is no record in Israel of lepers being cleansed, and this law has now been on the books for 1500 years since Leviticus was written.  And now all of a sudden lepers are coming to Jerusalem saying ‘Hey, you remember me?  My name’s Tony, remember me?  Seventeen years ago you told me I was a leper.’  And the guy’s looking in the record, saying, ‘I think that’s you.’  He said, ‘Well, look.’  He checked him all out, and then he had to go to Leviticus 14 and Caiaphus said to Annus, ‘You ever work out of this chapter before?’  And Annus is saying ‘Not me, what does it say?’  Caiaphus is saying, ‘I never even bothered to read it, we never saw lepers cleansed, I don’t even know what the sacrifice is.’  And there’s this whole beautiful process that’s going on now as Jesus is now sending ten lepers at a time.  You remember when he heals the first leper, he says to that leper, he said, “Tell no man, but go to Jerusalem, offer the offering Moses prescribed in the Law as a testimony unto them.”  Because these priests now, would take these ten lepers, and for each one they would take an earthen vessel.  And for each one they would take two doves.  And they would kill the one dove and mix his blood with running water, living water in the earthen vessel.  And dip the other dove into the blood and set it free, a type of Christ dying for us, and us being then set free, washed in his blood.  And then they would take that man and they would shave him, shave his head, like a cue-ball, every hair on his body, wash him down, put him away for seven days.  On the eighth day they bring him out and re-examine him again.  Those priests had eight days to think about what was going on in Israel.  And when they brought him out again, they looked at him all over again, found nothing again, and then they would take a sacrifice, and they would put blood on his ear, and blood on his thumb, blood on his big toe, to signify of course the beauty of Christ changing what we listen to, and changing what we do, and changing where we go.  And then it says they took oil, the anointed oil, they put that on his ear, thumb, big toe, the symbolizing the Holy Spirit, directing how we live, where we go, what we give heed to.  And put it on his hand, the Holy Spirit directing what we do, and put it on the great toe of his foot, the Holy Spirit directing where we go, what we do with our lives.  And these priests had never offered those sacrifices.  And then they would have to call the congregation of Israel together and restore them publicly.  And then the people were saying to the cleansed lepers ‘What’s going on?’  They’re saying ‘The carpenter from Galilee, great guy!  Jesus of Nazareth!  And the voice was speaking to the religious leaders in Israel, ‘The Messiah is here!’  And Jesus in love, is sending those cleansed lepers.  And the voice was speaking to them saying ‘The Messiah is here, lepers are being cleansed in Israel.’  This had never happened before, for 1500 years since Leviticus was first penned by Moses.  Now, you and I, same thing.  How many of us were refuse, like Paul says, as far as the world was concerned?  How many of our lives were just washed up?  How many of us were a waste?  How many of us, you know, came out of the world?  Not all of us.  But I know I have comrades here.  [chuckles]  I was spending every cent I made on cocaine.  I’d be dead by now if it wasn’t for Jesus.  I was a leper.  The world had no cure for me.  Or you, whatever it was with you, alcohol, gambling.  I know who you are.  Your wife tells me.  [laughter]  Just kidding.  Pornography.  Or some of you were just so self-righteous nobody could even stand to be around you, that’s why the rest of us drank, because of you.  [loud laughter]  Just kidding.  [But it does apply, it is just as obnoxious as any of the other sins]  You know, we all had our leprosy, we all had our disease.  How remarkable, your transformed life, your changed life is a witness to your unsaved friends and relatives.  That’s what Paul says.  He says ‘You have the savour of life unto those who are saved, and the savour of death unto those who are perishing.’  You have, spiritually, a smell.  It’s a good one, to other saved people.  You go over to your relatives house, your mom’s house, and you’re you know, ‘Praise the Lord, praise the Lord’, and you get your Bible, and they say ‘We’re Christians!!’  ‘I believe ya, I didn’t say you weren’t.’  I mean, just the way, you basically through your joy say, ‘I have something you don’t have…I’m saved, I’m going to heaven [or into the kingdom of heaven].’  ‘What are you doing, you go to that church Sunday [or Saturday] morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night, what’s going on there!? It’s a cult!  Don’t you know what’s going on there!?’  Well, it’s the testimony of the cleansed leper.  You know, your life has been transformed, it’s been changed.  That’s one of the things that led my mom to Christ, because she watched me, and she watched me go through all of the things I went through.  She watched me with the hair down the middle of my back.  She said ‘I thought I had a son, you look like a girl.’  You know, I’m going out with long hair.  And she watched me go from there to Meditation, you know, I was a vegetarian for three and a half years, swallowing rags, used to swallow this long rag and do this exercise with my stomach, spit this long rag up again, I know, I know [loud laughter].  Imagine what we’d be doing now if we hadn’t got saved, waiting for UFO’s.  And all of a sudden I come home talking about Jesus.  Now, their initial reaction was, ‘There ain’t much left.  Now where’s he going after Jesus?  Flying saucers?  There’s not much, there ain’t much left.’  But then eating a ham sandwich, which is a breakthrough, I’d been a vegetarian for three and a half years.  I read in the Bible, you say grace, you can eat anything, I thought ‘Oh great, I’m glad I’m saved.’  [Comment:  But the dietary laws in Leviticus 11 have been proven to be health laws.  So use caution in what you put in your mouth.  Cancer patients are told to avoid the very foods forbidden in Leviticus 11 by their doctors.  I know, my dad died of cancer, and my sister had it, and recovered.]  People say you get sick after being a vegetarian for years not eating meat, if you eat meat.  First time I ate meat, I had two hot dogs and a big ham sandwich, I felt great, I was praising Jesus.  You just say grace.  Now if you’re a vegetarian that’s fine, I don’t mean to offend you.  People are vegetarians for different reasons, some people are vegetarians because they love animals, some vegetarians are vegetarians because they love vegetables, there’s different reasons you can be a vegetarian.  Some of you are trying to bring about world peace, I’m trying to bring about the 2nd Coming, I eat meat.  But the point was, way back there, they saw my life change.  They saw it transformed.  And they watched.  The Bible says that we’re living Epistles.  And you know, your life speaks way louder than your mouth.  There’s nothing more confusing than someone whose saying they’re a Christian, saying Christian things, and in the mean time living in sin and living in compromise.  And for an unbeliever to look at that, and think, ‘Why should I become a Christian, there ain’t no difference between the way you were then and the way you are now.’  But you don’t have to say much if you’re living it the way you should live it.  And it is the most powerful testimony to your kids, if your life lines up with your mouth, because they are observers, and they will become what you are, and not what you say.  And you should have the same testimony, you guys, cleansed leper. 


We Need to Occupy Until He Comes---We Need To Be About His Business---and we should live with awareness


Here comes the Pharisees again, verses 20-21, “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:”---now it’s the only time the noun form is used in the entire New Testament, verb form is used six times, it means to “to look at critically.”  When it talks about sometimes when he’s going to heal the man with the withered hand, ‘They watched him’, it was to criticize.  He says---“The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:  neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, lo there!, for behold, the kingdom of God is within [margin: among] you.”  King James, bad translation, “within you”, entos, “in your midst.”  The kingdom of God was not within the Pharisees.  He’s saying ‘It’s in your midst, right in front of you, the King is standing here.  You’re looking for the kingdom of God, it doesn’t come by observation with a critical eye, you’re standing around me, I am the King, the kingdom’s in your midst, lepers are being cleansed, people are being healed, miracles are happening, the Good News is being preached.  You don’t see it because of the way you look.  You have a beam in your eye. It doesn’t come with observation the way you think it does.’  And now they had some expectations, because the Old Testament prophecied that the Messiah would overthrow the tyranny of the world, and every Jew would sit beneath his vine and his fig tree, and experience peace, and a Temple would be established in Jerusalem [cf. Isaiah 40-48].  They had some expectations that were good and were Messianic.  [Comment:  To see where they got these expectations, see: and]  But of course they didn’t understand their sin, they didn’t understand the first thing that he came to deal with [i.e. the sin of the world, paying the penalty for it].  And he said it doesn’t come by observation the way you think, ‘The kingdom of God is in your midst, it’s present [standing in your midst]’  “And he said unto his disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” “He says to the disciples,” that’s to us.  “And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there:  go not after them, nor follow them.  For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day” (verses 22-24).  They are looking for the coming of the Messiah to set up his Kingdom.  Jesus says it’s not happening the way they’re looking for it.  The days are going to come when they’re going to long to see one of the days of the Son of man.  If someone says he’s in the secret chamber, here, Matthew gives more detail, or in the secret place there, don’t go.  Jesus says ‘You won’t need any false prophets to let you know when I’m coming to set up my Kingdom’ (which is different than coming for the Church).  [For an interesting prophetic scenario that harmonizes the Scriptures used by both Rapturists and Classic Pre-Millennialists, see:]  ‘ When I’m coming to set up my kingdom, the sun will go out, the moon’s going to refuse to shine, the stars won’t give light, and the only visible thing to the human eye, as the lightening shines from the east to the west,’ ---that’s just the way earth rotates, and I don’t know how many days he will take to descend, the Bible says the whole world will see him, all of the tribes of the earth will mourn because of him.  He says ‘You won’t need any secret knowledge to discern, when the kingdom you’re expecting, comes.’  “But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (verse 25).  Notice, Jesus is seeing his coming in light of generations. 


The Last Days Will Be As It Was In The Days of Noah & Lot


“And as it was in the days of Noe [Noah], so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.  They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all” (verses 26-27).  Until the day those are the three words you should underline in your Bible.  The days of Noah, and in the days of Noah there were eight people that were right, and several billion people that were wrong.  ‘So it shall be as it was in the days of Noah,’ you know, Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life, and few there be that find it.  Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be that go thereon.”  You know, sometimes you and I think, and I do, in my own heart, I pray ‘Lord, grant a revival, grant an awakening in America, there are millions of unsaved people here.’  Drive down route 95 when it’s not burnt up, and you look across the city, and you think, ‘Lord, millions, upon millions, upon millions of people that don’t know.’   And yet it says when the anti-christ comes, it says multitudes, nations, kindreds and tongues receive the mark of his name, whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life.  I don’t know, I long to see a revival in these days.  But God is just to order his own business.  In the days of Noah, they mocked.  No, it took him a hundred and twenty years to build the ark.  And he’s building this boat.  Imagine the tree-huggers that had a heart attack, he cut down every tree for miles.  He’s got a boat in his driveway 475 feet long.  He’s not near water.  It’s taken him a hundred and twenty years to build it.  People are coming, saying ‘What are you doing!?’  Imagine, he’s laying the keel.  Along the way he has three sons, maybe to help finish the boat, I don’t know.  And people are saying ‘What’s going on?’  ‘I’m building a boat.’  ‘What do you mean, a boat?’  ‘Well, it’s a big floating thing you get in and it takes you up above the water.’  ‘What water?  There ain’t no water here.’  ‘Well it’s gonna rain.’  The Bible says it had never rained [from the time of Adam to Noah’s time], a mist went up from the ground and watered the earth.  It’s like him saying ‘It’s gonna knarf…’  [laughter]  ‘buckets, cats and dogs.’  And the people are saying ‘What is rain!?’  ‘Water is gonna fall from the sky’  ‘Ah, hahaha.’  You know, like we have Memorial Day and Labour Day, they must have had Noah Day, every year to come back and make fun of him. It took him 120 years to build the boat, 120 years.  Judgment was coming.  He was right all along.  He was right all along.  [And just in case you don’t want to believe the Bible alone, that there was a worldwide flood that killed most of humanity, over 80 ancient cultures have a worldwide flood legend written within their cultural histories, all quite similar to the Biblical account.]  And some of us say, ‘Well, you know, if the Lord’s coming’ and he is, and he could be coming sooner than we think, that’s not why I’m looking at my watch [laughter], it says that he’s coming at an hour that you think not, so if you’re not expecting him now, it’s maybe when he comes.  Some Christians say, ‘Well, why should I go to college if Jesus is coming?  Why should I pursue a medical career?  Should we have kids?  Yeah.  Where you want to be when Jesus comes, is faithful to his leading.  And if he’s led you to medical school, you need to be there, and you need to be studying to be the best doctor, or the best surgeon.  Or if you’re married and the Lord’s putting it on your heart to have children, yes, I see what’s happening in the world.  But you have to understand, some generation will be interrupted.  It has to happen.  There’s going to be some student whose gone through ten years of medical school, whose just going to be getting the diploma put in his hand, and go snap!, Rapture.  It’s gotta happen to some student.  There’s got to be some woman on the delivery table, in transition, going ‘Huaaa!’ and boom!, their gonna get Raptured.  And they won’t be in their third trimester throughout eternity, that wouldn’t be heaven.  I mean, it’ gotta happen to some generation, some generation is going to be interrupted, it has to happen.  [Comment:  Now whether it happens through a Rapture as some teach, or going to a place of safety, as others teach, no one knows for sure, as some interpret the Scriptures in a certain way to teach the Rapture, whilst others emphasize different Scriptures to teach the Pre-Millennial ‘place of safety’ scenario.  One interpretation that takes the Scriptural passages emphasized by both opposing groups and harmonizes them can be viewed at:  Since belief in one prophetic interpretation of the Bible over another is not a salvation issue, you are free to believe as you like in this area.  How it actually turns out in the end will be revealed as it happens, by Christ himself.  So if you’re not sure, wait, we’ll all be finding out soon enough.  These differences should not be dividing us as believers.]  It has always had to happen.  And you know what, I’d rather have it be our generation than any other generation [applause].  So we need to occupy until he comes.  We need to be busy about his business.  The problem in this situation was they were getting married, “they were giving in marriage, until the day came, and took them all away.”  What it says, is the believers today need to learn a lesson from the unbelievers in the days of Noah.  Because they just made fun of the whole idea of judgment, didn’t give any heed to it, and they were taken by surprise, in judgment.  It says you and I as believers are to learn the lesson from the mistake that the unbelievers made in the days of Noah, and that we should live with awareness.  We should be watching, we should be ready.  [And watching would include watching current events, coupled to a healthy understanding of Biblical prophecy, so that we can properly interpret those current events.  And yet doing this without going bonkers, becoming unstable prophecy-nuts, to the exclusion of the study of the rest of God’s Word, as some have done.]  “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (verses 28-29).  ‘And they sold’, the market was bullish.  ‘They planted,’ they had food.  ‘They builded,’ housing starts were up.  “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (verse 30).  Up until the day in Sodom and Gomorrah, and the angels came and drew them out, and said ‘Get thee hence, I cannot do anything until you come out of this place’, because the God of all the earth would not judge the righteous along with the wicked.  The angel said ‘I cannot do anything until I get you out of here.’   And some people say, ‘Well, there was this natural phenomenon, there are tar pits there, and lightning ignited, there was a natural upheaval in an earthquake, and the plates shifted, and because of all the tar, there was fire.’  You know, Jude verse 7 says that God set them as an example, coming under the judgment of eternal fire.  The Bible says eternal fire fell from heaven, and burnt Sodom and Gomorrah up.  [And this fire burned out when it’s job was done, it wasn’t everburning.]  And by the way, that’s the largest fissure on the face of the earth, it runs from above Israel, above Damascus, all the way into central Africa.  It cracked the earth one fifth of its circumference when that fire hit.  It was serious.  It was serious.  But the point is, it happened in a day.  Lot seemed as though he was mocking, even to his son-in-laws.  The people in Sodom, because of their sexual perversion, were blinded, they had no ability to see.  And now we live in a world that seems so much like that.  And these Pharisaic religious people are saying ‘What about your coming, where is it?’  Jesus said, ‘It’s not coming by you standing around here being a critic, when it comes, it won’t be a mystery.’  He says, ‘As the lightening shines from the east to the west, that’s how it will come, and it will come suddenly, like the days of Noah, when judgment had been preached a long time, and the whole world mocked, and a few were saved.  Like in the days of Lot, when they were warned, and the angels came, so it will come.’ 


When Judgment Comes, It Will Be Morning Somewhere, Evening Somewhere, and Night Somewhere---the earth is round


Now, I want you to read ahead, we can’t do this tonight, because it says, in verses 34, 35 and 36, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, whosoever shall lose his life, shall preserve it”, that’s how we want to end tonight, we want to understand this, “I tell you, in that night there shall be two” the word “men” in your Bible is in italics, it needs to be crossed out, it just says “two.”  “I tell you, in that night there shall be two,” insinuating a husband and wife, “in one bed.  The one shall be taken, the other shall be left.”  “Two women” should be crossed out, “shall be grinding.”  The idea is working at the mill together.  “one shall be taken, the other left.”  “Two” “men” should be crossed out, “shall be in the field, one shall be taken, the other shall be left.”  The interesting thing is, what he’s saying is this, somewhere in the world it will be nighttime, two will be in the bed, one will be taken, one will be left.  God will separate.  It doesn’t matter whether it means taken in the Rapture or taken into judgment, whatever your position is, God draws a difference, that’s the teaching.  But somewhere in the world it will be night.  Somewhere people will be grinding, that’s either early morning or evening.  And somewhere people will be working in the field, that’s during the day.  Jesus is saying, the world is round.  When this happens, it will be night somewhere, it will be evening somewhere, it will be morning somewhere, it will be daytime somewhere.  Greg Laurie said last year, he said at a conference on the West Coast, he said “The Lord revealed to me what time he’s coming.”  Everybody kind of looked at him.  He said, “He’s coming at 2 O’clock,” because he said, “It’ll be 2 O’clock somewhere when he comes.”  In regards to his judgment, in regards to the end of the age, this is what the Bible says.  And we are right there, and in a few weeks we are going to be in Luke 21, and then we are given all of the details of the end of the age.  And the things that we see around us in the news right now, all around us, and Jesus gave it in great detail, and said ‘When you see these things, know that your redemption has drawn nigh, and pray that you be accounted worthy to escape all of these things that are coming on the world.’  Because, there are two destinies, there is Jesus’ coming for his Church [whether to take them to a place of safety on earth somewhere, or in a Rapture, it matters little], and Jesus coming with his Church.  Those are two different things.  He’s coming back to judge a Christ-rejecting world.  But before he pours out his judgment on a Christ-rejecting world, he will take out those who have not rejected him.  And you can have your position.  If you’re saying, ‘Well, I don’t believe that, I’m a post-Tribulationist.’  I don’t even eat post-toasties, I don’t care what you are.  And look, if I’m wrong, I can change my position.  If you’re wrong, you’ll be wrong forever.  And you hope I’m right.  I believe Jesus could come at any moment, because the teaching through the New Testament says it’s immanent.  It says over and over the Lord’s coming is at hand.  And the Lord said ‘who is that wicked servant that says ‘the Lord delayeth his coming.’’  You can’t hold both views, they’re mutually exclusive.  The New Testament Church believed that Jesus could come at any moment.  Paul says, “Then we,” personal pronoun, including himself, ”which are alive shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, wherefore comfort one another with these words.”  He said, ‘Treat your wives as Christ treats the Church’, now if you’re a post-tribulationist, you’re wife’s in trouble.  You think about it.  It’ll come.  He doesn’t tell us to pour fire on our wives and let scorpions go on her.  Honor her, cherish her, treat her own body as your own.  Jesus is coming for us, and it could be tonight.  It could be anytime. [Now Pastor Joe and all Rapturists, do not take into account that going to a place of safety, sanctioned and led by Christ, in a pre-tribulationist setting, is no different from being protected in a Rapture from the tribulation, except in the location of that protection.  Both sides on this doctrinal fence love to make a doctrinal mole-hill into a doctrinal mountain, whilst slamming the people on the other side of this doctrinal divide.  This website cannot do that, nor take stances like that.]  You know, people are all freaked out about this 2000 Y2K bug, the computers are all going to go down, and the whole world’s going to freak out, anarchy’s going to rule in the world.  No, the anti-christ is going to come, anarchy’s not going to rule.  I was talking to Chuck Smith about it, he says “No, it’s overblown.”  He said “In fact, at our New Year’s service I’m going to have somebody pull the Main at 12 O’clock, just to freak everybody out.”  Look, as we end the service, we always like to make an opportunity for those of you who may not know Christ personally as your Lord and Saviour.  I want to have the musicians come…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Luke 17:1-26, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]  


Related links:


What is Grace and the delicate balance between Law & Grace?  See:


Jewish expectations of a conquering Messiah and the glorious establishment of God’s Kingdom of peace and prosperity are solidly based on Bible prophecy.  See:


For an interesting prophet scenario that harmonizes the Scriptures used by Rapturists and Classic Pre-Millennialists, see:


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