[Calvary Chapel] 1999-07-31 - Completely Unexpected

Luke 17:26-30 And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Just as it will be on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. (NAS)

This is a well known passage by many both Christian and non-Christian. It has been used to attempt to scare people into the Kingdom. It shows the awesome, powerful judgment of God in two instances where His long-suffering has been finally exhausted. Those who hear this used to cajole them into accepting Jesus out of fear will rarely hear of that profound delay on God's part giving those who are disobedient ever last opportunity to turn back to Him. He stands ready to forgive anyone who will simply accept the gift of salvation He offers. We must swallow a little pride and admit that we are not perfect, that we are sinners. Perfection being what it is, this should not be a tremendous leap of logic for any of us.

Matt 11:28-30 Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My load is light. (NAS)

Both in the time of Lot and the time of Noah, there were a few things in common. Let's take a look at each one quickly.

Life was continuing on as normal right up to the very moment that the cataclysm is unleashed. There were couples or the parents of couples planning weddings, and even weddings taking place. There was sufficient food and drink to prevent a general famine. They were eating and drinking. There is given a sense of general well being. Commerce was proceeding without serious incident. Everything was normal. But by whose standards?

But wickedness was also rampant in both instances as well. In the case of Noah, we read that God was grieved that He had even created mankind. This is an amazing contrast to the statements we are more familiar with where we are told that God has done everything He can do for even the worst of men to offer them salvation. There is a point where God in His omniscience knows that a mind has become reprobate, incapable of repentance or feeling bad about the wrongs they commit. In the case of Lot, the men of the city were supernaturally blinded. Yet they were so focused on getting their hands on Lot's guests they failed to be amazed by the fact that not one of them could see all of a sudden! They groped about for the door until they were exhausted. It staggering my mind.

Their wickedness had become normal. They no longer saw what they did as abhorrent or anything less than acceptable. Does it remind you of 1999? Living together is now not unheard of even in Christian circles, partners in homosexual relationships and live-in relationships are slowly but surely gaining the same or similar status as spouses in heterosexual marriages, personal accountability is being ridiculed or ignored, parental authority exercised in traditional fashion is under attack and a mother wishing to stay at home and be there for her young children is held up to derision by the 'experts'. Go back to 1977, twenty short years ago and compare. And yet, we eat and drink and marry. We are living in the longest climbing market in recorded history; business is good.

There is one difference today. There is still a spiritual hunger among the people. Some may laugh it to scorn, and yet the person sitting next to them at a crusade will get up and walk the isles with tears in their eyes. The person laughing is as likely to be covering up his or her own insecure feelings and as hungry for Jesus as the person who walked down to meet their Savior. The mocker has simply not yet reached the end of his personal resources … yet. But when it comes, just like the destruction that came upon these two situations, it will be completely unexpected to him or her. I urge each one to pray and continue to be a witness to the world around them. It is still light, but night is falling.

Lord Jesus, we thank You for the time that we have left to live and work for You. Give us hearts that know when to be gentle and when to be firm in reaching out to a lost and dying, terribly deceived world. We only know the light because You have picked us up and put us there. Help us to be mirrors reflecting your light and love. Amen.

Grace & Peace,