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The Return of Christ and the Judgment of God

Sunday, June 7, 2009 • Steve Hogan • End Times
Luke 17:27-37

Throughout the history of the world there've been all kinds of kingdoms & empires. 
- You had the Babylonian kingdom, the Grecian empire, & the Roman empire.
- You had the Han dynasty, the Ottoman empire, & the Incas in Central America.
- You had the Hapsburgs, the British empire, Hitler's 3rd Reich, & the Soviet Union.
- And some would say that the United States has been a kingdom these past 50-60 years, exerting her power & influence around the world.
- Psalm 2. And so there are kingdoms of men, but God's kingdom is radically & positively different, infinitely more powerful, absolutely holy, & enduring forever.
Lk 17:20-21. Now the Roman Empire was ruling over the Jews in the 1st century, but now Jesus is now in their midst, & many were wondering if He was the King, & if He was going to usher in this promised Kingdom; & so you can understand why the Pharisees are asking Jesus this question re: when the kingdom of God was coming.

But they didn't understand God's overall & divine plan, & that there'd be two comings of Christ, & that at His 1st coming, Christ would be establishing a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of people. Luke 17:21b. "The kingdom of God is within you."
- Mk 1:15. "The time is fulfilled, & the kingdom of God is at hand; repent & believe in the gospel." Jesus' main message when He was on earth the 1st time was that people needed to repent & turn from their sin. They needed to stop trying to run their own lives. They needed to turn to Christ as Savior, as One who could save them from
their sin, & as Lord, as one who could lovingly reign & rule in their lives.

And all those who repented of their sins & believed in Christ were forgiven, & were children of God, & were brought into the spiritual kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God was within them, in that Christ as a King, thru the power of the Holy Spirit,
was now living and working in their lives. Galatians 2:20
- And the true Christian submits to the Lordship, to the rule of Christ in his life; & this submission & obedience leads to blessing, peace & spiritual success. Job 22

Now most Pharisees didn't like what Jesus telling them that they were sinners & that they should repent, & follow Him; & so most of them rejected Christ. Matt 5:3
- In Luke 17 then Jesus is talking to the Pharisees about His 1st coming, & the spiritual kingdom of God. But then He turns to His disciples & talks to them primarily about His 2nd coming & the physical kingdom of God.

Luke 17:24. We talked 2 weeks ago about how Christ's 2nd coming will be different than His 1st coming. He won't come secretly & quietly. He won't come unannounced. And He won't be coming by land.
- Jesus will be coming in the sky w/ a shout, w/ the voice of an archangel, & w/ the trumpet of God. And the appearance of His coming will be like lightning, but more bright & brilliant than any lightning you've ever seen. Christ's entrance back into this world will be unmistakable, clearly visible, shining forth for all to see. Indeed, JChrist is coming the 2nd time w/ power and great glory.

Lk 17:26-30. Jesus gives 2 stories, about what it was like on earth in the days of Noah & what it was like in Sodom & Gomorrah in the days of Lot. In vs 31 Jesus concludes by saying that what it was like during those days is what it's going to be like in the world, before His 2nd coming, before the rapture of the saints, before he judges the world. Let me explain more what it's going to be like on earth before Christ returns.

1. The people living in the world right before Christ's return will be involved and engrossed with the affairs of everyday living - eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling & planting. People will be living like everything is fine, liking nothing bad is ever going to happen.
- Now people living like this can think they're not doing anything wrong, but a person who is indifferent to God & ignoring God, one who is self centered & absorbed w/
the things of life is a sinner just like one who is outwardly & very visibly in sin.
- Ryle - "Exclusive attention to these things may ruin us as thoroughly as open sin."

You see, we're not born to just do the normal things of life. We're born to worship the Lord & to serve Him. And the people described in these vss weren't loving the  Lord, & weren't focused on the Lord, but rather were focused on activities, which in & of themselves aren't bad, but done apart from God reveal a sinful heart.

And so the people living on this earth before the return of Christ will be absorbed & engrossed in their own lives, their own activities, their job, their families. And they will be indifferent to the claims & truths about Christ. They will be living as if there were no judgment to come, as though they were no God to whom they were responsible. And so they will deserve the holy judgment of God. 2 Peter 3:3-7

2. The people living during the days of Noah & the days of Lot were doing normal everyday activities, & were in sin, but as Genesis says, they were actually in great sin. The people living during those times were in great rebellion against God, & so
too there'll be great & terrible evil in the days before Christ's return.

2 Tim 3:1-5, Matt 24:12. People living in the end times will have no regard for God's truth, God's commands, for God's law. They will be rebelling against God; they'll be lawless & worshiping the lawless one, the AC.  The people will also be very unloving; it will be very evident that most people will have turned to the dark side. 1 Thess 5
- A world greatly filled w/ sin will be a world ripe for judgment, a world that will deserve the great wrath of God that is coming upon her. Rom 2:5 - dam.

3. The judgment that came upon the entire earth during the days of Noah, & upon the cities of Sodom & Gomorrah during the days of Lot was sudden & unexpected. And judgment will come suddenly, unexpectedly & surprisingly upon the unbelievers living on the earth during the end times.
- 1 Thess 5:1-3 says people will be saying, "Peace & safety." They'll be enjoying life, thinking everything is going all right. But they'll be dead wrong. "Destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman & they will not escape."

Now I believe people living during these days will be warned re: God's coming judgment, but they just won't believe it. But God is righteous, & so destruction will come upon them, & come upon them suddenly, like a "thief in the night."
- Rev 6:12-17. The unbelievers will be shocked by these signs they see in the heavens & this earthquake they feel on the ground; & they'll know God's wrath is coming, & they'll want to escape it, & they'll try to escape it, but they will not be able to.

4. God's judgment upon people in these 2 examples resulted in destruction, in loss of life. People were destroyed by the flood, & by fire & brimstone. 2 Peter 2:4-10.
- The people in those days were "eating and drinking, buying and selling" one minute, and the next minute they weren't. Destruction came upon them - they were punished & died, but their souls remained alive, & they were sent to hell. John 5:24
- Now this judgment of God in the end times takes place during what is called the Day of the Lord. And this judgment, this world wide destruction, described in the book of Revelation, starts surprisingly & suddenly, but it takes place over a period of time.

Lk 17:30-33. This last part of Lk17 is re: the Son of Man, re: J Christ being revealed. And on that day when Christ is revealed, & as soon as Christ is revealed, in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, we're raptured; we're out of here; we're rescued from the wrath to come; we're taken up into the clouds to be w/ Christ. 1 Thess 1:9-10, 4:15-18
- And on that same day that we're raptured, God's judgment will begin to be poured out upon the earth. As soon as Noah & his family were safely in the boat, as soon as Lot & his family were safely away from Sodom & Gomorrah, then the judgment of
God came upon the people. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10

And so when we look at vs 31 we realize that those people on the housetop, those people in the field are referring to unbelievers, for the believers will be gone; they were immediately raptured at the revealing, at the coming of Christ.
- And Christ is making the point that it won't do the unbelievers any good to try to escape God's judgment; there's no getting away from God, no hiding from God, no mercy from God. The wrath of God has come. God knows & sees each & every unbeliever; & they can't escape from God; they can't run away from God. Our righteous God will see to it that they will pay the penalty for their sin. Norman.

Luke 17:32. Do you remember Lot's wife. Genesis 19:23-26. Why did God tell us to remember Lot's wife? She is to be an illustration of people who are professing to be Christians, who are acting religious, but who are not truly saved. And there are many, many people like this in the world. Ironside - page 541 / Ryle - 246

Both Matt 24 & 2 Thess speak about the great apostasy that'll occur before Christ comes back, re: how a great number of so called Christians will fall away from the faith, which means they were never true Christians to begin with. 1 John 2:18-19
- Ryle said this of these kinds of people: "the world is in their hearts and their hearts are the world; their Christianity will prove rotten at the core."
- The lesson here is that before the Lord, you need to make sure you are saved, that you're forgiven of your sins, that you have the true grace of God in your heart.  And if you are involved in the world, & love the world, & love your own life, then
you need to ask yourself whether there really is a true love of God in your heart. For the true Christian is one who loves God. 1 John 2:15-16, Eph 6:22.

Luke 17:33. This is an axiomatic statement, a principle that is true about the real Christian. One who is truly saved is one who in general does not love his life, his things, his car, his house, his money. But he loves the Lord, & he is not seeking what he wants, but he is seeking God & His kingdom & His righteousness. Luke 12
- If you are not sure of your standing before God, then find out where you are at with God. Seek the Lord; look to His Word; examine your heart; talk to others who you know are believers.

And if you are not saved, repent of your sins, and place your trust in Christ alone, and He'll save you & give you eternal life, & an inheritance in heaven. Acts 26:18
- And if Christ comes back in your lifetime, than you will be given relief from tribulation, you will be rescued from the wrath to come; you will be raptured into heaven; and you will reign with Christ forever.
- If Christ doesn't come back in your lifetime, than at that moment you breath your last breath, your soul will leave your body & you'll be immediately taken into heaven
- Amazing things are taking place in our world around us at this time, fulfilling God's prophetic Word, but many more amazing things will be taking place as we get closer and closer to the revelation and return of Christ. Hebrews 10:24-25

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

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