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Luke 1:1-38
Luke 1:39-80 Luke 2:1-38 Luke 2:39 - 3:17 Luke 3:19-4:23 Luke 4:14-5:11
Luke 5:12-26 Luke 5:27 6:11 Luke 6:12-49 Luke 7:1-23 Luke 7:24-50 Luke 8:1-18
Luke 8:19-40
Luke 8:40-56 Luke 9:1-27 Luke 9:26-50 Luke 9:51 to 10:24 Luke 10:25-42
Luke 11:1-13 Luke 11:14-44 Luke 12:1-21 Luke 12:22-48 Luke 12:49 - 13:17 Luke 13:18-35
Luke 14:7-35 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:24-32 Luke 16:13-31 Luke 17:1-26
Luke 17:26-37 Luke 18:9-27 Luke 18:31-43 Luke 19:1-27 Luke 19:28-48 Luke 20:1-26
Luke 20: 27-47 Luke 21: 5-36 Luke 22: 1-20 Luke 22:21-34 Luke 22: 35-53 Luke 22: 54-71
Luke 23: 13-43 Luke 23: 43-56 Luke 24: 1-35 Luke 24: 36-53    
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Luke 17:26-37

 

“And as it was in the days of Noe 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.  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.  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.  In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away; and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.  Remember Lot’s wife.  Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.  I tell you, in that night there shall two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord?  And he said unto them, Wheresover the body is, thither will the eagles [vultures] be gathered together.”

 

“‘We settle our hearts as we continue this evening.  Lord thank you that we can gather, Lord, and sing your praises, Lord, just have a great time Lord, lifting our hearts to you Lord, singing familiar choruses Lord, and just having that framework Lord to open ourselves before you, and to tell you what we think of you and how we love you.  Lord, to begin the evening by coming into your presence, Lord, with joy, with thanksgiving.  And Lord as we continue, and we open your Word, Lord we ask that you would continue as we worship Father in this Gospel of Luke, Lord, as we continue to lay our hearts before you, and then as we fellowship at the end of the evening.  And Lord we examine our hearts, Lord, I examine my heart Lord, anything that would hinder, Lord, your continued work, Lord, any place in our hearts like thorny ground or a shallow place, Lord, where your Word, this precious seed might fall this evening and not come to fruition, Lord, we ask that you turn that over, even now Lord.  We put before you those sins that so easily beset us, and we praise you Lord, that your work on our behalf was complete, Lord, that you’re faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse.  And Lord, that we ask that your Word, though we come to familiar passages Lord, would always be alive and new to us Lord, that we would always leave, Lord, having received the portion that you desire us to receive.  We put those things before you Lord, we look for your supernatural work this evening, we pray in Jesus name, amen.’

 

As Believers, We Need To Learn The Lesson About the Days of Noah & Lot

 

Luke chapter 17, we’re going to back up, and begin in verse 26, we kind of jumped into verses 26 down to 30, but we really didn’t take our time there.  Jesus answering a question about the coming of the Kingdom [i.e. 2nd coming of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God on earth].  And no doubt it is addressing in large part the perception that the religious Jews of his day had, of the coming of the Kingdom and of the coming of the Messiah, and of the overturning of the Roman bondage that was on them.  They were looking for a time when every man would sit beneath his vine and his fig tree, they were looking for emancipation, politically to be set free, and for Jerusalem to be the political center of the earth [cf. Zechariah 14:9, they knew this Scripture well].  They were looking for right things at a wrong time.  And the problem was that they were blind to their own sin, that there was a political problem in their hearts, too, that the wrong king was also there, there was also a bondage in their hearts.  Just as in their minds, it wasn’t just for Rome to be ruling over Israel, because they had the promises in the Scripture of the Prophets of old, the Messiah would come and set them free.  But they didn’t realize there was also a bondage internally of sin and of death, and that that also needed to be overturned.  And that is why of course Christ had come the first time.  They’re asking about the Kingdom that they understood, and Jesus answers them ‘It’s not coming with observation, it’s not coming as you think presently, but he says there is a time coming when it will come, suddenly, and by surprise.’  Verses 26-30, he says, “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.”  “Until the day…” again, important phrase.  “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.”  ‘The market was bullish, there were new housing starts…’  “Even thus shall it be when the Son of man is revealed.”  Now, as you look at this study in the days of Noah, there are a lot of parallels.  We could take a lot of time to look at the things that were happening in Noah’s day that are being reproduced now in an interesting way, and some of those things on a scale that hasn’t been in existence since the days of Noah.  But the point that he’s making as we come to this text is the suddenness of the flood.  That though it took Noah 120 years to build the ark, and though God’s message was preached to a generation that refused to listen for a hundred years, Noah was a preacher of righteousness, the day when it finally comes, it came, it shocked the world.  And what Jesus is saying, I think the lesson that’s important for us, because throughout the New Testament we’re told to be sober and to be vigilant and to be watchful.  And if you’ve been saved as long as I have, you know, since the early 70s, late 60s, we read “Satan Is Alive And Well On Planet Earth”, and Hal Lindsey’s book “The Late Great Planet Earth”, and we read all of the books about the coming of Christ, and we remember in the 70s the excitement over the return of the Lord, only the Lord didn’t come in the 70s.  And then we pushed back the date, and everyone thought ‘Well, he must be coming in the 80s…and if you add 40 years to this, and you do this, we certainly must be here.’  And now here we are in the 90s [this sermon was given in 1996-97], and I think the problem is that we can cool in our expectation of the return of Christ.  [When the actual return may be closer than ever now, now that we’ve cooled J ]  And what Jesus is saying is that the believers in our age, you and I, need to learn a lesson from the mistake of the unbelievers in the day of Noah.  Because though they heard the message continually, it had no effect on them.  They were taken by surprise, it shocked them.  And Jesus is saying to you and I, to take that and translate it into our own lives, that we can be accustomed to hearing over and over and over about the second coming of Christ, and what he’s saying to us is, ‘We can’t just sit around and say ‘Well it’s gotta get worse than this.’  Well we can say that as Americans, but in a large part of this world, it is worse than this.  And in a large part of the world tonight, believers, their only hope is lifting their head to the sky and looking for the coming of Christ, because their children are dying in front of them, and they don’t know where they’re going to get a meal today.  And Jesus says when he comes, there will be part of society that is marrying and given in marriage, and life will be going on as usual in certain places, as it was then in the days of Noah.  And it shocked them, the day that the flood came.  And he warns us to be aware, to be sober, to be vigilant.  Again, “as it was in the days of Lot,” it says they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying and selling, they were building new homes.  And that was the condition of society there, until the day that Lot was brought out of Sodom, and it rained fire from heaven and they perished.  And there was a suddenness to it, he says, “Even thus it shall be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”  So, I think a lot of those things are very similar to the situations that we live in today. 

 

What Was The Sin Of Sodom?

 

It is interesting that Ezekiel tells us this in chapter 16, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her, and in her daughters.  Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.  And they were haughty and committed abomination before me, therefore I took them away as I saw good.”  It says, “Pride, a full belly, and idle time was what produced perversion in Sodom.  The perversion started there.  When someone can produce more than what they need for their own family.  When we see in our own agriculture in America today the thousands of acres producing food.  You and I can drive through somewhere and get a meal, we’re not worried about ‘Are we able to eat today and get a meal?  We’re not worried about ‘Are we gonna be able to eat today?’  A dog in America eats better than two-thirds of the rest of the world.  And because we’re not worried about where our next meal is going to come from, and because we’re saying ‘I’m proud to be an American’, there’s idleness, there’s pride, there’s a full belly, what people look for then is sensation.  And you know what, I can be prone to that too.  You know, if I go somewhere to an amusement park with my kids, I don’t like merry-go-rounds and Ferris wheels.  I like the rides that make your heart skip, you know.  I mean, if I’m going to go there and pay to get in their, I want to get on those things that turn you upside down and go fast, and somebody else is throwing up while we’re in the ride [hopefully behind and below you J].  You know, I want, there’s something in me, if we’re going to go there and pay, I want to get something out of it.  I like to hear people screaming.  [laughter]  You know, amusement is a large industry in America.  Muse is the word that means to think.  When you put the prefix in front of it, “a-“ it means “not to think.”  It’s a big industry in America today, getting you not to think.  Whether it’s movies, or whether it’s drugs, whether it’s pleasure, whether it’s Atlantic City, whether it’s Las Vegas, whatever it is to consume our time so our brain is not working the way it should be working.  And if a full belly, and idle time, and pride was what initiated the perversion of Sodom, then America is easily explained, because that is the way our society lives.  And there is a challenge here not to be inculcated in that kind of an existence, that as the Church we need to remember the poor. Remember every day there’s people that have it worse than us.  When we start griping and complaining, we need to go to Shriners Hospital and help for a day with kids that don’t have any arms and legs.  When we start moaning and complaining, we need to go on one of the mission’s trips to Nepal or Mexico to a third world situation and wake up and come back to reality.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/Short-TermMissions.htm and read it and log onto the Christianity Today link about that mission in Juarez, Mexico.]  Because this isn’t reality, this isn’t reality, it can change snap! like that. 

 

‘And the challenge is, if we find ourselves in a situation where God’s bounty is still on this nation in an incredible way, that we shouldn’t grow dull’

 

That is the challenge here that God is bringing.  Lot’s soul, it says, his righteous soul was vexed in the middle of Sodom, and I hope that as you look around you, even in the nation that we live in, I hope that---I think the television sometimes desensitizes us.  I remember during the Persian Gulf crisis, we watched that every night.  It so drained me, I had to take vitamin B sometimes.  But you know, it become like a football game after awhile, ‘Yeah!  Get ‘em, look at that bomb!’   You see the X, ‘Babooom!  Yeah!’ and you almost forget, these are human beings [getting blown up], these are people with grandchildren and moms and dads, and cousins.  And I think the television can desensitize us sometimes, to reality.  And we’re told to be sober, to be vigilant, to be awake, because he says “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”  Now, take note of something here.  It’s interesting, he gives us a double picture.  Noah is preserved through the judgment, and Lot is taken out before the judgment.  And I think it’s interesting that both of those things are set before us, because that’s the way it will be when Christ comes, when the Day of Christ begins, which I think goes from the Rapture of the Church to the end of the Millennium.  [For a very interesting study which I think successfully harmonizes the Rapturist and Classic Pre-Millennial Scriptures about the 2nd coming, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm and read through both sections of that file.]  I think it’s a thousand and seven years long.  But when it begins, there will be those who will be preserved through, like Noah, the nation of Israel, 144,000, many will be saved during that period of time, and I think there will be those like Enoch, like Lot, that are taken out before the judgment begins.  [Now whether that “taken out” is a Rapture or going to a “place of safety” is open to a lot of debate and conjecture amongst differing parts of the Body of Christ.]  It is interesting to hear the angels say to Lot and his family “I can do nothing until you’re taken out of here.”  That’s why Jesus says to us, and again in Matthew chapter 5, in the grammar, it’s emphatic, when he says “You alone are the light of the world…you along are the salt of the earth.”  You’re a preservative.  The reason that judgment hasn’t fallen on the whole world from God already, is because you’re here.  And Abraham said “Shall not the God of all the earth do justly, certainly he won’t judge the righteous along with the wicked.”  Peter says he knows how to separate the wicked and the just.  And the reason it hasn’t fallen completely yet, is because the Church [Body of Christ] is still here.  There will be those who are preserved through, there will be those who will be taken out before judgment comes.

 

“Remember Lot’s Wife”

 

“In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away:  and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.”  And we find these warnings in Matthew 24.  “Remember Lot’s wife.  Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (verses 31-33).  ‘Remember Lot’s wife,’ interesting, the grammar is ‘Be in the habit of remembering Lot’s wife.’  Or ‘Be continually remembering Lot’s wife.’  And you know something, how much of us, how many here, continually remember Lot’s wife?  Now, you probably do in more of a sense than you think.  Now remember, Jesus is speaking to the apostles, he’s speaking to disciples.  Now this is not a women’s study, ‘Remember Lot’s wife.’  This is for all of us.  And certainly he’s not talking about, we don’t know her name when we remember her.  We don’t know what country she came from.  Did Lot drag her from Ur of the Chaldees when he came with Abraham?  Or did he pick her up in Egypt and marry her there?  We don’t know.  She seemed to have a heart after those things, it says, as he chose Sodom, it was like Egypt as one goes down to Zoar.  Or maybe she was a Sodomite woman, we don’t know.  Maybe she was a Canaanite he met in the land.  We don’t know that much about her.  She doesn’t seem very domestic.  If you look at the story, it says God and two angels came to Abraham, and it says Abraham went and killed a calf and it says Sarah kneaded the bread and made the meal [unleavened bread, so this could have been around Passover].  It says when the angels came to Sodom, Lot prepared the meal.  So I think the thing she liked to make best was reservations, I think.  [laughter]  But we don’t know much about her.  We don’t know what she looked like, at least not early on, anyway.  [laughter]  There is today, by the Dead Sea, I’ve been there many times, a mountain of salt they call Mount Sodom, Jabel Uzdum, five miles wide, seven miles long, they say that’s Lot’s wife.  We know that she wasn’t five miles wide and seven miles long.  That would explain why she would be lagging behind, but…[loud laughter] that’s not her.  It is interesting that Josephus, who wrote in the current time with Jesus, in his day, said that he had seen Lot’s wife.  Clement of Rome says in his day, shortly in the 1st century AD, that she was still visible.  Irenaeus says not only was she visible, but you could still see her arms and her legs through the salt.  [wow, salt is a preservative, her body must have been under a thick layer of salt, undecayed.]  Isn’t that interesting?  That would be an interesting archeological find, don’t you think?  Wouldn’t be a politically correct find, but it would be an interesting archeological find.  Obviously what we’re to remember about her is that she was turned into a pillar of salt.  I mean, everybody, a little kid in Sunday school, it’s what we know about Lot’s wife.  And we have this idea that she turned around, like Medusa, we see her with the snakes in her hair, bad hair-day lady, and you turn and look at her, and boom!  right away you’re turned to stone.  It’s not like Lot’s wife looked back one time, and boom! turned to salt.  Maybe she was crabby, and Lot said, ‘Honey, look at that!’  [laughter]  ‘Blue light special!’  It says “She looked back from behind him.”  She lagged further and further and further behind as they were leaving Sodom.  And from a distance behind Lot and his two daughters, from there, she was turning, and yearning, and she was overcome with the judgment that came on the world that she knew.  Obviously, the lesson is ‘Remember Lot’s wife, be in the process of remembering what happened.’  She was overtaken in judgment.  It’s to be an exhortation to us.  And I think the interesting thing is, as we look at her, look, she actually had angels that came and warned her.  What do we need?  She actually had angels that came.  And they actually took them by the hand and dragged them out so they wouldn’t be judged along with Sodom and Gomorrah.  But she was also a mom, she just had curtains, probably just got a new dishwasher, her whole life was there, I mean, she looked back at her house.  There were housing starts, and the thing is, in her mind, she knew what was right, she knew judgment was coming, she knew they were warned by God to flee, and not to look back.  And she started out that morning when she left, with what she knew, but she lagged behind in what she longed for. 

 

Guard Your Heart, The Heart Will Always Convert the Mind

 

And the Bible tells us that we should guard the heart with all diligence, because it’s from the heart that the issues of life flow.  It’s not from the mind.  It’s from the heart, there’s something deeper within us than our mental capacity, there is desire.  It’s something we can hardly understand.  It’s more than, again, your physical capacities.  You’ve eaten at a restaurant to where you’ve sinned, and you’re so full you feel like you’re going to throw up, and you’re trying to loosen your belt under the table where nobody sees you, and you can’t eat any more, and the food’s backed up your throat to the top of your esophagus, and then they bring the desert tray, and you’re going ‘Ohhh, I’ll split that one with you honey.’  You know it has nothing to do with physical appetite at that point, your body wants to die.  It isn’t a physical thing, it’s just you see it, and you long for it, it’s something that physically you don’t have much capacity to fit more in.  But the heart will always make a convert of the mind.  And you can know it’s right, and she knew what was right.  And we can sit here tonight and say ‘Oh, I read Wolvaard’s latest book,’ or ‘Dwight Pentecost’s latest book’ or ‘I’ve read the latest books written by Hal Lindsey’ or ‘Grant Jeffrey’s, and I know Christ is coming, we see the signs on TV’ and you can still go out in the week and commit sexual sin, still go out in the week and get stoned, and sit there thinking ‘Oh man, I hope he doesn’t come now.’  [We’re talking about sinning out of weakness, and not habitual like the unrepentant sinners of the world.]  And it’s because the heart makes a convert of the mind, if you let a desire play there, and mull over it and you ruminate on it, and you don’t turn to Christ and bring it captive to him, and you let it find a place to lodge there.  [Comment:  That’s exactly how James says sin begins, James 1:13-15, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God:  for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust has conceived, it bringeth forth sin:  and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” and 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations [margin: reasonings], and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringeth into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…”]  As time goes on our heart’s desires can make a convert of the mind.  When people come in here that have sinned, families are being destroyed, it is unbelievable to listen to the ridiculous excuses that they give of how they got into the circumstance.  Their mind will think of all kinds of things to explain why they’re there.  But it’s because it flowed from something deeper, it flowed from the heart.  And she longed, it was deeper than her mental capacity.  She knew judgment was coming, she was warned, she fled, but she longed for Sodom.  And the thing is, you know, the warning is, the reason it says “Remember Lot’s wife”, Jesus is telling the disciples and telling us, we’re disciples too, he’s telling us to remember because we can get in that place where we know what’s right, ‘Hey, the days of Noah, the days of Lot.’  In our minds we can agree with mental capacity, we see the signs on television and Time Magazine, and we see the world is changing.  But we can deceive ourselves and still allow our hearts to long after those things. 

 

Real Key to Christian Growth

 

What we do with that when it happens, is I think, in 1st John 1:8-10, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us., it’s so important that we confess.  We go to God and we confess when we’re wrestling with something.  Homilo gao, to say the same thing, that’s what confession is, you agree with God about what’s wrong in your heart or in your life, to say the same thing as God.  You confess your sin.  It says then he’s faithful and just for forgive us, and to cleanse, cathorizo, some of you’ve been in a hospital, you cathorize.  You know it’s not a pleasant experience, but what it does is it drains the poison out of your system you’re unable to get out by yourself.  That if we confess, we go to God, and agree with him, ‘This is wrong Lord’, he’s faithful and just to forgive us and to cathorize us, to cleanse, to take the poison of sin out of our system and out of our hearts.  We stay in his Word.  “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way, by taking heed unto thy word, O LORD.  “I have hid thy word in my heart” not my head “that I might not sin against thee.”  [i.e. God’s Word has to be imbedded in our hearts, not just in our minds as so much head-knowledge, that is the all-important difference here.]  We’re warned, “Remember Lot’s wife”, that’s his word.  “Where your treasure is, that is where your heart will be also.”  And he says, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall loose it; whosoever shall loose his life shall preserve it” (verse 33).  I heard a very famous celebrity who died within the last month, and I don’t have the newspaper article yet, so I’ll protect the names of the innocent…but I heard, on his deathbed, the last thing he said was, “I’m loosing it.”  If I can get the article I’ll…Seek to save your life?, and get ulcers, grow old fast, loose your hair, get wrinkles, because you’re loosing it.  People say that ‘I’m loosing it.’   Well let go of it!  If you let go of your life you can’t loose it, you’ve got nothing to worry about, because you’ve got nothing to loose.  Seek to save it, you loose it.  “Whosoever shall loose his life shall preserve it” in the sense of ‘in the cause of Christ.’

 

In Relationship To His 2nd Coming, Jesus Knows How To Separate the Chaff from the Wheat

 

Now, interesting.  “I tell you, that in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.”  men is italicized, I’ve got a King James here, it’s italicized, it’s not in the text, it should just be “two in one bed”.  Two womenyou can cross that out, it is italicized.  Two shall be grinding together [in the mill]; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”  “Two men again italicized men, “shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”  Now, what is he saying?  You have to understand, now some people say ‘Now what he’s saying is, one will be taken away to judgment, and the other will be left.’  Some are saying, ‘One will be taken away in the Rapture, and the other will be left behind.’  Well it doesn’t make any difference.  What it’s saying is he knows how to draw a line, he knows how to divide.  In relationship to his coming, he knows how to separate the righteous from the unjust, if it’s taking the unjust away to judgment, or if it’s leaving the unjust for judgment and taking the righteous, either way, his point is, he knows how to separate.  And it is very interesting because he says ‘Somewhere it will be night, somewhere it will be evening, grinding at the mill, and somewhere it will be daytime in the field.’  Jesus is telling us the world is round.  This will be a global happening when it happens.  Because somewhere in the world it will be nighttime, somewhere in the world it will be evening, somewhere in the world it will be daytime.  That’s what he says in these three verses.  It will be a global experience, it will shock the whole world when it happens.  And we know that.  Jesus Christ is going to interrupt human history, listen to what I’m saying.  The Bible says ‘The Lord himself shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, and we which are alive, as believers, and remain, shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet our relatives and friends, who have gone on into heaven, in the air.  So shall we ever be with the Lord.’   Paul says ‘So shall we, including himself, because he expected it in his day, ‘be with the Lord.  Comfort one another with these words.’  That’s our comfort, it’s the blessed hope of the Church.  [Comment:  There are various interpretations within the Body of Christ.  Calvary Chapel’s and other Pre-Tribulation Rapturists believe Christ will come for the Church before the Tribulation occurs, and we’ll remain with him in heaven until his 2nd coming, and then they’ll all come back to earth with the returning Christ.  Classic Pre-Millennial Christians believe we all arise at the blowing of the 7th Trumpet in the first resurrection to immortality, at the time of Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming, while he is on the way back down to earth while the Battle of Armageddon is taking place in Jerusalem, this all being somewhat as an instantaneous event, the 1st Resurrection to immortality coupled to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  Then there is a 3rd interpretation, which harmonizes all the passages used by both groups.  To read this harmonized version see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm.  Also this period in prophecy is described in Matthew 24.  To read an expository paper on this related subject, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/mathew/Matthew24-1-31.htm.]  See how crazy the world is?  It’s crazy, isn’t it?  And you tell them, you know, it says we should be able to give an answer to every man for the hope that that we have.  You tell people ‘Well I believe Jesus died for my sins, I believe I’m saved, not by my own righteousness, but by what he’s done on the cross, and I believe he’s coming again!’  ‘What do you mean coming again!?’  ‘Well, he’s coming again.’  ‘To judge the world?’  Yeah, to judge the world, but he’s going to take me out first!’  [Whether by a pre-trib rapture or going to a place of safety, again, pre-trib, makes no difference, we’re taken out.  Revelation 3:10 is clear on this point.]  ‘What do you mean, take you out!?’  Maybe it’s your mom, she’s already thought about taking you out a few times herself.  ‘I’m going to disappear in the twinkling of an eye.’  And they’re in the Yellow pages looking under Psychiatrists.  They think we’re crazy for believing that?  The world is crazy, we’re not crazy.  The world is crazy, look at the world that we’re living in.  What are people hoping for in this world?  Nuclear disarmament?  Is that realistic?  Has there ever been a generation of human beings that haven’t used the weapons that they’ve made?  And again, it’s bad enough we’re worried, as Americans.  I think when people that believe in reincarnation have nuclear weapons, I don’t feel very good.  ‘What have they got to loose?’  they’re thinking.  With Islam, they believe if they die for the cause of Allah they go straight to heaven, what have they got to loose?  I mean, it isn’t even a rational game anymore, we can’t even play chicken anymore, because the guy on the other side thinks that loosing is winning.  How do you play chicken with somebody like that?  The world is crazy.  And the hope that we have is sane.  And Jesus says, he’s going to interrupt human history, and the world will be shocked.  It doesn’t matter that you’re a minority.  Noah in his day, 8 people were right and the world was wrong.  Lot in his situation, him and his wife, who was wrong later on, and his two daughters were saved, and the whole cities of the plain were destroyed.  Don’t feel bad because you’re not the majority in this conviction, it has nothing to do with it.  Because Jesus said, ‘Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life, few there be that find it.  Broad is the way that leads to destruction, many there be that go thereon.’  In fact Revelation again tells us ‘Multitudes, nations, kindreds and tongues will marvel after the Beast who receive his mark, whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life.’ 

 

‘God Measures Time Morally, Not By Clock or Calendar

 

There is nothing to withhold his coming.  I pray for a revival in the Church [greater Body of Christ], I pray for an awakening.  I pray that we’ll see a huge ingathering before Christ comes.  He doesn’t owe that to anybody.  He’s not indebted to us.  It seems in the Old Testament before judgment came there was always at least reform, there was always a Josiah, there was something.  And in our hearts as believers I think we hope that will happen.  Does he owe it to us?  No.  Look, it says “And they answered and said unto him,” verse 37, “Where, Lord?  And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles [vultures] be gathered together.”  Man, there’s a lot of interpretations to that, isn’t there?  But you’re going to hear mine, because I have the microphone.  [chuckles]  You know, some say it’s speaking of the Rapture.  I, I don’t believe that.  Because really it’s vultures there, it’s not eagles.  I love eagles, but I don’t consider myself a vulture.  [I love turkey vultures, they are the very best fliers and gliders of all the birds, better at it than eagles.]  Some say it’s talking about the birds of prey at Armageddon that come to feast on the captains and princes and kings, and I don’t think that’s what it’s talking about either.  They’re of course thinking Jerusalem, “Where Lord?”, and in one of the other Gospels it says “When Lord?”  I think what the Lord is saying is this.  Just as when a corpse or a carcass rots to the point where it starts to draw the vultures and the birds of prey, so when this world becomes so rotten and so putrefied with sin, and the same way judgment then will begin to gather and to loom on the horizon.  Again, because God measures time morally, not by the clock or the calendar.  And consider where we’ve come, morally.  I mean, it’s unbelievable where we’ve come.  16,000 new cases a day of AIDS, that they’re admitting to, 16,000 new cases a day.  That’s really nothing as far as death, in comparison to a million and a half abortions on average per year in America.  And that’s not my drum, I’m not beating it, constantly.  Again, interesting, if you’re under 23 [back in 1996], half your generation never made it out of the womb, never born.  You’re in a fiftieth percentile, Satan’s not done trying to destroy you yet.  Globally they’re saying now, 40 million abortions a year, 40 million.  Which means we’re willing, as a race, human beings, to kill for our own ends, to destroy life.  And will we accuse God of being unjust if he decides to do the same thing.  You know that within the last 25 years in America, those abortions, close to 35 million, you figure that is probably about 21 times all of the casualties of all of the wars we have ever fought as a nation since the Revolutionary War, up to the Persian Gulf, 21 times.  Imagine this, in America, 35 million abortions in the last 23 years.  Figure Philadelphia proper maybe has 4 million people in it.  So that’s almost nine cities the size of Philadelphia.  Figure from South Philly, take yourself down there, Pat Stakes, you know where I’m at, Spectrum, that hospital down there, come all the way up South Philly past Yunk, just come on up to South Street and keep moving up, all the way up along the river, going all the way up here to North East Philadelphia all the way towards Chestnut Hill over in that direction, down Roxborough, across Cityline Avenue, all of West Philly and Overbrook and all the way down that side of the city, and then everything up Adam’s Avenue, and Huntington Park and everything in the middle and North Philly---imagine taking every human being in a city this size, and wiping them out, and then doing it to nine other cities this size.  It’s unimaginable.  It’s unimaginable.  It’s a holocaust.  And that is by our own doing.  You know they say there’s 26 new viruses now, that are emergent, that we don’t have any means to treat.  AIDS may kill somebody in two to five years, the Ebola viruses, some of them, three different Ebola viruses, and they’ll kill somebody in 10 hours, turn your internal organs to jelly, 10 hours.  No way to treat it.  Contain it, no way to treat it.  What do we do?  I think we’re ripe for judgment.  [This sermon was given 17 years ago, in 1996.  If we were ripe for judgment then, how much more are we ripe for judgment now?]  Jesus says this.

 

Luke 18:1-8

 

Luke 18:1-8, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that man ought to always pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  And he would not for a while:  but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

 

Parable of the Unjust Judge

 

If You’re Not Going to Faint, You’d Better Be Praying

 

Jesus says this, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”---I think we have two options in light of all of these things, one is to pray, and the other one is to faint.  You look at the world, you know I’ve got kids that I love dearly, and I look at them, and I think, ‘They don’t have a future, really.’  Do I hope to see my grandkids, and if I have grandkids, what right will my kids have to their own kids by then?  And I don’t know if my kids have a future in this country.  I know this, this country doesn’t have a future without my kids.  And I’d better pass Christianity on to them in full force.  In light of all this---“men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge which feared not God, neither regarded man:”---so he was powerful, and heartless, interesting, because those two things are the two tables of the Law, he didn’t fear God, that’s the first of the Commandments, the First Table, didn’t regard his fellow man, that’s the Second Table of the Law, this man was heartless, powerful, like the world we see, we feel helpless, the System, the world, it’s heartless, it’s powerful, Washington, Russia, Tehran, what are we going to do?  We’re just individuals.  Pray, so you don’t faint.---“and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.”---she doesn’t say ‘Revenge me,’ just ‘avenge me,’ help me out of this situation, help me, deliver me from this difficulty.  She’s not asking for revenge that someone would die, she’s just saying ‘Help me out, deliver me from this situation, avenge me of mine adversary.  And it said, by the way, that Roman judges could be bought for a pound of meat, you could probably do that today, depending on the meat.---“And he would not for awhile:  but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”  Troubleth” see that “eth” on the end, that means she is troubling me, and troubling me, and troubling me, and she has developed into a constant trouble for me.  She came into the court room, he said ‘No.’  He came out to his car at the end of the day, she was standing by his car, he said ‘No.’  Looked in his rear view mirror on the way home, she was following him in the car behind, going ‘Please, please.’  He said ‘No!’ and sped away from her.  Pulled over to have a drink, walked to his favorite bar, she was sitting on the stool next to him saying ‘You’ve got to listen to me.’  Came home and she was parked outside the house calling him on her cell phone.  He got up to go to work the next day, she was following him again.  He said, “Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”  ‘This lady is wearing me out.’  I don’t know if you ever met a lady like that before.  ‘She is wearing me out.’  It’s interesting, the Greek says, “She gives me black eyes’ where it says “weary me”.  I don’t know if it’s from lack of sleep or just a bad reputation.  Now, “And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” (verses 6-7)  Now Jesus is not comparing his Father to an unjust judge.  This is not a parallel, this is a comparison.  What he’s saying is, if this guy, who is heartless, has no regard for God, which means he has no mercy, he has no fear of God, there’s no sense of accountability, and because of that and what flows out of that, he has no regard for his fellow man.  And yet, if this guy whose heartless, for the most selfish motives in the entire world, finally says ‘I’m going to take care of this lady, because she’s driving me out of my mind.’  He says, ‘You hear what that guy said, he’s selfish.’  Jesus says ‘Shall not God avenge his own elect, his own dear children, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?’  “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (verse 8).  The King James says, faith on the earth”, “shall he find the---definite article there---“faith upon the earth.”  You know, Jesus says this is what’s going to happen, like the days of Noah, it’s going to be like the days of Lot.  It’s going to be difficult times.  And people that seek to save their life are going to find themselves loosing it.  Take heed to yourselves.  Remember Lot’s wife.  Remember how she longed for this world, and what happened to her.  Because it’s going to come as a shock when it does come.  And God will know how to separate the just from the unjust, all over the earth.  And it will come when this world becomes so corrupt morally, that it’s like a body on the side of the road that’s rotting and the vultures are gathering over it.  And if it’s that rotten, it’s going to be pretty depressing. What do we do to face that?  Pray.  That even in life, a woman can drive an unjust judge out of his mind to where he finally says ‘All right!  All right!  Oye Vey!  You’re going to make me crazy, OK!’  He says “Shall not God avenge his elect, which cry day and night unto him?”  Yeah, we may face difficult times.  You know, I don’t know what’s going to happen in America, I don’t know, is it just going to continue to go on like this?  Are some terrorists at some point gonna get a nuke in somewhere?  [No, but five years later the Twin Trade Towers were hit on September 11th, 2001.]  Or put a virus into a reservoir?  Anthrax, the poor man’s atomic bomb, they tested it on an island off of Scotland in World War II over 40 years ago, and that island is still uninhabitable.  You hear of VX and Serin and these other nerve gases that a terrorist might use.  The thing is, the wind blows them away and you’re done with them.  You put anthrax down and 40 years later, you still have a major problem.  What will happen to the world we live in?  Will we just come every week, week after week on Sunday and sing praises, Jerry Paradise, imagine a guy with a name like that.  Jerry Paradise will lead us in worship, having a great time worshipping the Lord, and then we’ll have Bible studies, sing songs about Jesus, we’ll hug each other and go home, and we’ll never be effected by what’s going on in the world?   No, I’m afraid it will touch our lives at some point.  [To see how that might be, how it might touch our lives, see:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/mathew/Matthew24-1-31.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/saga.htm]  I don’t think God will judge us with a Christ-rejecting world.  The Bible is clear that he saved us from the wrath to come.  But this world is due [overdue] judgment, that is separate from his wrath.  It is just disintegrating in its own judgment.  [Just in the food and agriculture business alone, this is happening.  Order the DVD “Food, Inc.” on amazon.com, if you haven’t seen it already.  This DVD movie came out in 2007, and things haven’t gotten any better.] 

 

When the Evils of this World Overtake Us, What Should We Do?

 

And what the Lord says to us is we should pray.  We should stay in his presence, we should seek his face.  We should pour our hearts out in front of him, we should be current in our communion with him.  We should be talking to him, we should say ‘Lord, this world’s freaking me out.’  We should certainly be praying “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”  [For more on prayer, this website has a whole section on prayer.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/prayer/bibleway.htm.]  And he says, ‘Know this, that your Father does hear you, you’re his elect children.’  His motive is love, unlike an unjust judge who would selfishly do something just so he ain’t hassled.  And when he begins to avenge, it says, it will happen speedily, entaxia.  We have the same thing in Revelation, we have the same thing in the end of Romans chapter 16, verse 20, God shall avenge his elect speedily, he shall crush Satan under your heal speedily.  It doesn’t mean fast, because here’s the Church 2,000 years later saying ‘That wasn’t very fast.’  It’s not a Greek word that means soonness, what it means is once it starts, it will come to a swift conclusion.  You ever see the cartoon where the guy falls in the snow and starts rolling and turns into a snowball with just his feet and hands sticking out of it, and it’s getting bigger and bigger, just snowballing?  That’s why we have a tachometer in a car to measure speed, entaxia means once it begins to happen it will snowball to its conclusion, it will happen speedily.  And here we are crying out, ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’  Like the Psalmist, we look at the world, and the Psalmist in Psalm 73 says “When I observed the wicked, and I looked at their prosperity, my feet well near slipped, I almost stumbled.  Because I looked at people that were just no-good, and they were making money hand-over-fist, they had the best cars and the prettiest women and the handsomest guys, and the most power, the world was unjust, they could pay off judges and they could do whatever they wanted to do.  And here I am, a little Christian, trying to be nice to everybody, try to help somebody with a car broken down and he steals my wallet!  And I try to pay my taxes and can never keep up and this jerk down the street is selling heroine and he wins the lottery too!  And I want to get some of this, this is not fair.’   The Psalmist says, ‘When I observed the prosperity of the wicked, my feet almost slipped, almost went down, almost took me.’  And then he says, ‘I went into the house of God,’  and he says, ‘It brought my life back into the light of eternity, it brought my perspective back into the light of eternity.’  That’s one thing that should happen here as we gather.  We should bring our lives back into the perspective of eternity.  Because there’s a day coming, when we will all stand around his throne.  And it says ‘He himself will wipe the tears from our eyes.’  You will feel the hand of Jesus upon your face.  He’ll wipe the tears from our eyes, there’ll be no death, no sorrow, no suffering, no sickness, no curse.  There will be a reunion with grandmothers and parents and children, standing around his throne, with Abraham and Isaac and with Jacob.  So remember Lot’s wife.  Don’t let your heart draw you to this present world.  Don’t think that worldly men have something that you don’t.  Listen to the voice of a multi-multi-multi-millionaire in his last gasps saying “I’m loosing it” and realize you can’t hold onto any of it.  But it is your Father’s good will to give you the Kingdom, that’s what the Bible says. 

 

Conclusion

 

I’m going to challenge you this evening, have the musicians come.  If you don’t know Christ, what is your perspective, what are you going to do about the present world?  You know, people are worried about Y2K.  I’m not sure how much of a concern it is.  [It wasn’t a problem at all, in hindsight.]  People are saying, ‘Well there’s going to be anarchy, move to the hills, buy some rice, get some guns.’  Let me tell you something, man, what’s coming on this world, you can have all the rice and guns in the world, if that’s gonna protect you from God’s judgment, he ain’t doing a very good job.  There’s a day coming when it says creatures are going to come out of the Abyss with hair like women and teeth like a lion, spiritual beings [what I call spirit-beings], they’re going to go right through your wall, through your guns, through your rice, and chew on you for five months, it says.  If we could survive God’s judgment by storing rice and guns, it wouldn’t be the God that I serve.  What we need to do is we need to have our lives in order, we need to be ready to meet our Maker.  And if you don’t know him tonight, if you don’t know Christ personally, we want to give you the opportunity to do that before we leave.  Look, the Bible says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that every human being is a sinner.  It says even if you haven’t committed adultery, you’ve lusted after someone in your heart.  The Bible says as far as God’s concerned, that is adultery.  You’ve already committed it, you’re already an adulterer, you’ve proved it by lusting in your heart.  You just haven’t had the opportunity to prove it physically yet.  Or in traffic, you get mad at somebody and say ‘Buddy if I could get my hands on you!’  You’ve already proved you’re a murderer, you just haven’t had the opportunity to prove it physically.  And we’ve all sinned and come short of the glory of God.  And the Bible says the wages of sin is death, that all sinners deserve an eternal death.  But it says the free gift of life through Jesus Christ is forgiveness, if we come to Christ and we ask him to forgive us.  ‘Lord, I know I deserve hell, if it’s all real Lord, I sure don’t deserve to go to heaven.  And if you love me, if you’re there, forgive me, be my Saviour, be my Lord.  I turn away from my sin.’  Repent, the Bible says, which means make a U-Turn and come to the Lord.  Not to Calvary Chapel, not to a denomination, but to the Saviour, to Jesus, and to ask him to wash you and cleanse you.  We want to give you that chance before you leave tonight.  If you don’t know…let me tell you something, last week a tornado went by, it’s a block from my house.  It was right down the street, it was a hundred foot, I could throw a baseball from your back yard, man, you should see the path cut through the woods almost about three quarters wide as this sanctuary, a block from my house, one block from my house.  Trees are twisted, they’re down, it is unbelievable.  And I was sitting in the living room watching the weather channel that was telling me not to worry.  [loud laughter]  My wife and kids are in the basement, and my son is crying because he’s afraid I was going to get sucked up in a tornado, I’m sitting upstairs watching the weather channel saying ‘You don’t have to worry.’  The weather channel says ‘No sweat.’  You should have seen my neighborhood the next day.  I’m glad there was an angel over my house.  But life can change like that.  You ready?...What will happen to you if you die this week?  Where will you be?  Are your sins forgiven?  Have you come to Jesus and said ‘I’m a sinner and need your forgiveness.’  Or are you going to gamble?  ‘Ah, I’m gonna wait.  I’m not ready for this Jesus stuff.  I’m going to go out, have me some women, cocaine, some power, some money, some Atlantic City.  Before I die I’ll get saved.’  It’s a great theory, if you know when you’re gonna die.  The Bible says it’s appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment.  It says that God knows the day, it’s appointed.  You don’t know when it is, he does.  But we do know this, the Bible says today is the [an] acceptable day of salvation, that before you leave this building, though you don’t know when your physical life will end, before you leave here you can be sure that your eternal life will never end.  That in his presence you’ll find fullness of joy.  You can secure your eternal life before you leave.  You can’t secure your physical life, could happen anywhere.  I could have been sitting there watching the weather channel and just gone up in a whirlwind, like Elijah, it could have happened.  A lot of people died in those tornadoes.  But I know where I was going.  My body may have landed somewhere, but I know where my spirit would have landed, right at the throne.  And we want to give you a chance tonight to make that decision.  Let’s stand together, we’re gonna pray, I don’t want everybody to run out.  Want you to pray together.  If you’re a believer, pray, say ‘Lord, make me sober, make me vigilant, just kind of wake me up, let me take a fresh look at the days that we live in, let me live with an urgency, Lord, let me walk circumspectly,’ like it says in Ephesians, acrebos, like an acrobat on a tight-wire, ‘Let me walk, Lord, let me be aware, let my eyes be open spiritually’ if you’re a believer.  If you don’t know Christ this evening, personally, and we’re not talking about religion, we’re talking about relationship.  As we sing this song we want you to just to come and to stand here publicly.  You’re going to stand publicly before him one day, either to be judged, or to be welcomed into his arms because you’re saved.  So what we want you to do, as we sing this song, you come and you stand here.  Maybe a friend brought you, they’ll come with you to encourage you.  We want you to come and stand here, we want to give you a Bible, we want to give you some literature to read.  We do not want to give you offering envelopes, we don’t want your home address, we’re not going to hock you for money, we want you to have something.  We don’t want nothing from you, we want something for you, we just want you to be saved.  Because he saved us, so he can save anybody.  Look at this crew.  And he can save you.  He loves us, he loves you.  So let’s pray, and we’re going to sing a song, as we sing you come, to be saved tonight…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Luke 17:26-37 and Luke 18:1-8, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]

 

Related links:

 

With the evils of today “man ought to always pray, and not faint.”  How do we not faint amid today’s growing evils?  This website has a whole section on prayer.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/prayer/bibleway.htm

 

How Will What’s Going On in the World Touch Our Lives?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/mathew/Matthew24-1-31.htm

 

How Do I Become a Christian?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_2.htm

and scroll to the bolded paragraph titled “How to Become a Christian”

and read from there.                 

Click Here to Print

 

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