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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, August 26, 2001
"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" (Luke 17:28-29).
The city of Sodom existed near the place where the Dead Sea is now located, in Israel. It is a bleak, burned-over district to this very day. Throughout the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah are pictures of sin - materialism, sexual promiscuity, perversion, greed, and disregard for God. Christ said that world-conditions would be like those in the city of Sodom at the end of history.
One of the most unfortunate developments in 20th century Christianity is the false theory that this passage of Scripture refers to the Jews at the end of the Tribulation. Nothing could be farther from the truth in the Bible.
At the end of the Tribulation, the Scriptures tell us people will have incurable sores on their bodies (Revelation 16:2); the world's water supply, on land and sea, will be poisoned (Revelation 16:3-7); the sun will scorch mankind (Revelation 16:9); people will experience such great pain that they will gnaw on their tongues (Revelation 16:10-11); the most gigantic earthquake of all time will occur, and 75-pound chunks will fall in a hailstorm of meteorites on the earth (Revelation 16:21).
Such conditions will make the end of the Tribulation a ghastly time of pain and terror. It will not be a time when people are holding wedding banquets, or thinking of marriage at all! (Luke 17:26-27). It will not be a time when people are carrying on business as usual! (ibid). They won't be doing business at all during the closing day of the Tribulation, described in Revelation 16:1-21. With no water to drink, with large painful sores on their bodies, with total darkness all around them, gnawing on their tongues for pain, with their houses in rubble-heaps from the earthquake, the idyllic scenes (of normal farming, business-as-usual, and wedding feasts) described in Luke 17:27-28 will not happen at the close of the Tribulation!
Instead, the scene depicted in our text shows judgment falling on a world in relative peace and tranquility. It is a picture of the rapture, before the Tribulation begins with the signing of a peace pact between the Antichrist and Israel (Daniel 9:27). Also, Luke 17:28 says that they "bought and sold." No Christian will be able to buy and sell in the Tribulation, because they will not have the mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:16,17). This passage, therefore, refers to the time in which we live, right now!
I. A warning for you
This passage of Scripture is a warning to you:
"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 (Noah) 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 (Jesus Christ) is revealed…Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17:26-32).
The main point of the passage is this - "even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed" (Luke 17:30).
And then comes the "kicker" - the application. So much preaching today has little application. Too many ministers are "teaching the Bible" instead of "preaching to the people" - with reproving, rebuking, and exhortation (cf. II Timothy 4:2-4). But Jesus was not like these modern "Bible teachers." He gave a strong application - a heavy warning to you:
"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 be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be 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" (Luke 17:32-36).
This passage, "One shall be taken and the other left," refers to the rapture (I Corinthians 15:50-54; I Thessalonians 4:15-18). One person will be taken up to be with Christ and another will be left on earth to go through the horror of the "Bowl Judgments."
John MacArthur incorrectly says that "one taken" refers to being "taken in Judgment" (MacArthur Study Bible, note on Matthew 24:40,41; Luke 17:34-36). But like so many other subjects where MacArthur is wrong, this one has a very simple explanation.
1. When MacArthur says that the Blood and the death of Jesus are exactly the same thing, he is easily proven wrong by the two elements of the Lord's Supper (cf. I Corinthians 11:24-27).
2. When MacArthur says the Blood is not in Heaven, he is easily proven wrong by noting that it is listed as one of the things in Heaven (cf. Hebrews 12:24).
3. When MacArthur says that "one will be taken" means "taken in judgment," he is corrected by the very next six verses, in which the Lord says that the wise servant will be blessed and the foolish servant "cut off." What reason would Christ have for reversing the order two verses later? Therefore, in context, "one taken" refers to the wise servant, who is taken at the rapture. To reverse the order two verses later is to force a theological opinion onto the Scriptures, which is not actually found in the text itself.
Those who are taken are the saved. Those who are left behind are the lost. If you are left behind, you will go to Hell.
This passage of Scripture is a warning to you.
II. A revelation of sin
The judgment that came on Sodom was a judgment for sin. Throughout the Bible we are told that God burned this city in fire because of their sin and rebellion against Him. The sins of Sodom are listed in detail in the book of Ezekiel:
"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness 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" (Ezekiel 16:49-50).
God lists the sins of Sodom:
1. Pride (Are you too proud to admit that you need Jesus Christ? Are you too proud to admit that you need to be in the local church every time the door is open?).
2. Fulness of bread (gluttony. Does much of your life center around the sin of gluttony? "Whose God is their belly, and whose glory is their shame," Philippians 3:19. Is what you eat more important to you than coming to Christ and being in church?).
3. Abundance of idleness (refusal to work. "We commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat," II Thessalonians 3:10. Are you working or going to school full-time? There is no place for a government check for a healthy person. Get a job and tithe your money! Live for God or you'll go to Hell with the lazy people of Sodom).
4. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination (You care nothing about helpless babies - forty million of them murdered by abortion. You commit sinful sexual practices, adultery and other sexual perversions, just like the people of Sodom, who tried to rape the men (angels) who came to stay with Lot in his home, recorded in Genesis 19. You have been looking at pornography. You have committed lust in your heart. How can you hope to escape from Hell?).
But notice in Luke 17:28-29,
"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 main reason they were destroyed is that they were materialistic. They cared only about material things according to Luke 17:28-29. Many of you watch hours of television, but have no time to go to church on Sunday night. How are you different from the people of Sodom? You miss prayer meeting on Wednesday night for TV as well. Your materialism will damn you to hell as surely as it damned the people of Sodom. I don't think you're converted.
Will you come to church only when it is convenient, or only when you feel like it? When a trip, or a job, or a party comes up - will you miss church? Then you are no better than the people of Sodom. One man came to everything in church until he heard Dr. Chan talk about tithing his money. Then he said, "This is not the place for me." He's right! The place for him is Hell! He was too selfish to tithe his money every week, like the rest of us do. He was a materialist, like the people of Sodom. Paul said, "I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7). It was Paul's knowledge that he had broken God's law by covetousness that drove him to Christ to be forgiven. How about you? I say that you are no better than the people of Sodom.
1. They were always ready for a wild party - "they did eat, they drank." So are you! When a party comes along - you'll miss church! You are not a Christian yet.
2. They always made business more important than God - "they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded." Do you miss church for business? If you do you are not a Christian yet.
You have sinned, like the people of Sodom. You are a guilty sinner. If you don't tithe that's a sin, because Jesus said to do it in Matthew 23:23. You owe God literally thousands and thousands of dollars from the past - with interest! How can you ever pay God back all the money you owe Him? And these sins are recorded in God's books up in Heaven. Every one of your sins is recorded in those books - and the record of your sins will condemn you to Hell at the Last Judgment.
III. A judgment by fire
Now, the third thing I want to point out from this passage is this: God judges sin by fire. Notice verse 29,
"But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:29).
This is a picture of Hell. The Bible tells us that God condemned them,
"Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly" (II Peter 2:6).
Again, the Bible says,
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7).
Notice that the fire of judgment on Sodom is an "example" of "eternal fire." The fire of Hell is eternal- for ever.
Christ will say to you,
"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire"
"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment"
The only way to escape from the fiery judgment of God is by turning away from sin and coming to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him (Jesus) might be saved"
Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. Christ shed His Blood so your sins could be cleansed; no matter what sins you have committed, they can be cleansed by Jesus' Blood because He loves you.
"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"
(I John 1:7).
Turn away from your sins to Jesus. He is alive, up in Heaven, at the right hand of God. Come to Him. Believe in Him fully. Then come into the local church and live the Christian life for Him.
I would like to talk to you in my office about leaving your sins and coming to Jesus. I'd like to talk to you briefly in my office about how Jesus can wash away your sins by His Blood. I want you to get up and come and stand here in front of the pulpit. We're going to sing a hymn from memory. While we sing, you get up and come. We won't keep you very long, but I want to talk with you about trusting Christ and getting saved. While we sing, you get up and come.
Scripture Read Before Sermon: Luke 17:26-36.
Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "In Times Like These"
by Ruth Caye Jones (1944)
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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
"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" (Luke 17:28-29).
(Revelation 16:2,3-7,9,10-11,21; Luke 17:26-27; Daniel 9:27; Luke 17:28; Revelation 13:16-17)
I. A warning to you, Luke 17:26-32; II Timothy 4:2-4;
Luke 17:32-36; I Corinthians 15:50-54; I Thessalonians 4:15-18;
I Corinthians 11:24-27; Hebrews 12:24.
II. A revelation of sin, Ezekiel 16:49-50; Philippians 3:19;
II Thessalonians 3:10; Luke 17:28-29.
III. A judgment by fire, Luke 17:29; II Peter 2:6; Jude 7;
Matthew 25:41; Matthew 25:46; John 3:7; I John 1:7.