Summary: This message warns that the Lord’s coming could occur at any time.
“WILL IT BE MERCY OR WILL IT BE JUDGMENT?”
TEXT: Luke 17:20-32
INTRODUCTION: This passage of Scripture tells us what the days will be like when the Lord returns. When this event takes place all opportunity for people to be saved will be lost. For the believer who is lifted up in the rapture, it will be mercy; for the unbeliever, it will be awful judgment. “Will it be mercy or will it be judgment?”
I. THE PERIOD OF THE LAST DAYS DESCRIBED. (Vv. 20-32)
The word “day” in its singular form and the word “days” in its plural form give us a definition of what the days of mercy will be like as opposed to the Day of Judgment. We will give special consideration as to how these days are referred to. Remember, God makes no mistakes in the way that He uses Words in the Bible.
A. The Plural Word “Days” Speak of Mercy. (V. 22; V. 26; V. 28)
The word “days” is used to describe the days in general which describe an ongoing time period, whereas the word “day” speaks of a particular day of judgment. Examples of this are: “days of the Son of man”; “days of Noe” and the “days of Lot”.
Even though the word “days” speaks of mercy it can also refer to the days when men are wicked upon the earth or it may even describe the days as being “perilous”. (Read: 2 Timothy 3:1-7).
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
B. The Singular Word “Day” Speaks of Judgment. (V. 24; V. 27; V. 29; V. 30; 31)
Here, are listed examples of how the word “day” is used to speak of a singular Day of Judgment or a beginning Day of Judgment. “his day”; “the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all”; “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”.
II. THE PATTERN OF THE LAST DAYS DESCRIBED. (Vv. 26-29)
Two characters are given in our Text which describes the last days and the conduct of the people during that time. The first mentioned is Noah and then Lot is mentioned. I prayerfully asked, “What was the significance of these two Old Testament personalities being mentioned?” It seems that the Lord helped me on this… I believe that by way of application that these personalities could refer to the attitude of the believer as judgment is approaching. The one, Noah pictures the believer who is serving God as a faithful witness. Lot, though a believer, was living a very wicked life. He pitched his tent towards Sodom and eventually sat in the gate with the wicked people of Sodom. He forfeited his name, family and testimony because of his compromised lifestyle.
A. The Pattern Described By the Witness of Noah. (Vv. 26, 27)
Noah likely faced great persecution and ridicule while faithfully building the ark. For nearly 120 years, he labored until that Day of Judgment came and the door was slammed shut. It would have been easy for him, humanly speaking to become discouraged, but he maintained a faithful witness during that time and was listed in faith’s hall of fame (Hebrews 11). Likewise, this passage of Scripture should encourage the believer to exercise faithful obedience to the service of God even in these wicked last days.
B. The Pattern Described By the Wickedness of Lot. (Vv. 28, 29; cf. Genesis 19)
Lot’s wickedness was very pronounced as a result of his long time spent in a compromised state. His entire family was very negatively affected by his carnal actions. Even when God sent angels to warn him, he did not understand the urgency of the hour leading up to judgment. It was as though, he did not believe it. This shows that a believer can get so far from God that he has no feeling towards the things of God. This could explain how even some saved people seem so callous and distant from the Truth of God’s preached Word. I remember how a preacher of mine years ago characterized such believers when they refuse to hear. He said, “Preaching to some folks is like pouring water on a duck’s back”.