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20. And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21. Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
22. And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
23. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
24. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
25. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
26. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
31. 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.
32. Remember Lot's wife.
33. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
34. 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.
35. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
36. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
37. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
It would appear that the Pharisees almost like some posse was always chasing after Jesus trying to put Him on the spot and ask Him questions so as to keep ahead of Him and perhaps to entrap Him. This is no exception in verse 20. The actual language used here when it says they demanded of him literally means that with hostility and criticism. They were demanding that He should tell them about His future plans and about the coming of the kingdom of God. If He claimed to know about that, and He had indeed preached the kingdom of heaven is at hand, repent. They had heard of His messages. They knew of His teachings. And now they are just railing upon Him wanting Him to disclose His future plans. You know our Lord Jesus had a way of getting around people who tried to hem Him up. Sometimes they would try to catch Him and stone Him to death and He would just ease out of their midst and they hardly knew where He went or how it happened. He had that ability.
I want us to talk about the coming of the kingdom and look at some observations that our Lord makes in regard to the coming of the kingdom and in His answer, first of all to the Pharisees and then some specific instructions to His disciples and indirectly to us, with warning and caution for us all at the end of this passage.
First of all, He answers their questions with two negative statements. He said the kingdom of God does not come from your vantage point or observation so that you can be apprised of it, so that you can see it beforehand. That’s not the way it will happen. It does not come that way. You need not think you are going to prepare yourselves and be ready and watch for the unfolding of the kingdom of God so that perhaps you can take action in doing some things that you want to do because you will not be in touch with the signs that indicate the coming of the kingdom. I’m glad there are some things Satan doesn’t know, nor the people who serve him. I’m glad that there are some great hidden mysteries that the Lord only reveals to His people by His Spirit and by the Word and gives insight and understanding, especially with his plans for the future and what He is planning to do with us and for us and through us in that future. He said not to worry about trying to figure it out. It will not come to where you can see it. It will be out of touch with you. You will not be on the inside to understand it. He says another negative, don’t try to point it out here or there. A lot of people would love to be able to figure it out. I’m glad the Bible is written in some mystery. I’ve known people who could take the Word, Daniel, the prophets, the Book of Revelation, and they can figure to a T.
Jesus said to the Pharisees, these people who were so wise in their own eyes, don’t try to figure it out. Don’t say look over here or see over there or go yonder and you’ll see that it is unfolding. He said No, because the kingdom of God is in your midst already. This expression ‘the kingdom of God is within you’ literally means it is in your midst. It doesn’t mean the kingdom was in the heart of the Pharisees by no means. They were not about to be in the kingdom of God or the kingdom of God within them, although they claimed the kingdom. He is saying the kingdom of God is already at work and you didn’t know it. The kingdom of God has already been introduced and the Lord is reigning. He is King of Glory and He is reigning in the hearts of people already. It is already in your midst and you didn’t even know it. You were not aware of it. If you could see, if you could have spiritual insight and understanding and would accept My Words and My teachings then you would know that God is already at work establishing His kingdom in the hearts of people who will repent of their sins and turn to God and embrace Him as Lord and Master.
I’m glad that God works like that! He can get ahead of Satan anytime because Satan just doesn’t know everything. He doesn’t even know all about the Bible. He likes to quote it every now and then to try to entrap somebody, but he doesn’t know the future. As a matter of fact, Jesus Himself taught that He Himself did not know the day nor the hour that the Son of Man would come. That’s left up to the Father. That’s the Father’s will. That is the Father’s business. Which is to say that no human being can out-figure God, or can unravel all of the mysteries of the Word of God or the Holy Spirit. We are only able to see as the Holy Spirit gives us insight into the Word and we can only see like through a glass darkly, not absolutely clearly. Anytime you hear anybody that has it all figured out, and they are working in numerology and astrology and all this, you can know one thing for sure. They are listening to the voice other than that of the Son of God. One reason the Lord doesn’t let us know when He’s coming is because we would all want to leave a day early! I shouldn’t be facetious over such a serious subject such as this. Perhaps there are a lot of reasons why the Lord doesn’t let us all know the inside track. I imagine that one of them would be a lot of people would say Ok, I’ll just wait. If it’s going to be next July, I’ll wait until about June 1 and then I’ll get right with God. I’ll know when to start getting everything ready. He is going to teach in this passage tonight that judgment and the coming of the Son of Man when He is revealed in power and glory, that is going to ease up on this world so gradually until people will not be aware of any special things.
Then He turned to His disciples. That was His answer to the Pharisees. Then He started talking to the disciples. Indirectly, that means He is talking to us as well. He said the days will come when you will long for one of the days of the Son of Man; days like you have spent with Him on this earth. You will long to see Him. You will long to be with Him in His presence and see Him with the natural eye. I’m glad He has arranged it so that we can walk in His presence every day. We can see Him by faith. We are aware of His presence and we can feel His presence. We know when He is with us. He said there will be days come that you will want to see Him, but you will not be able to see Him. But before that comes, before the day of the Lord really comes – and He is talking in this passage about the day of the revelation, the revealing of the Lord when He comes in power and glory to reign upon this earth – before that happens, you will see that the Son of Man must suffer.
Now in the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, there are three special passion predictions that Jesus gives. This is the second one in Luke that He is saying the Son of Man must go to Jerusalem and He will be arrested. He will be mistreated. He will be killed and on the third day He will rise again. He tells in the gospel of Mark it has those three predictions. Jesus keeps trying to help His disciples understand that He Himself in bodily presence will leave their sight and He will go on to other things, literally to ascend to His glory on high at the right hand of the Father.
It is very difficult for the disciples to grasp it, to accept it. Even after He had told them three times that He must suffer, they still disputed with Him and argued with Him as Simon Peter in particular protested Lord, this is not to happen to You. Not to You! This is not a suffering Messiah that we are looking for. This is not what we are looking for on this earth. Nobody was really expecting to have a suffering servant Messiah, Christ and King. They kept wishing with all their might. They kept pulling with all that they had within them that He would reveal Himself now as King of Glory and simply show forth His great power and set the enemies of God’s people back on their heels and everybody on the whole earth would understand without any doubt, without any criticism that yes, this Jesus Christ of Nazareth is indeed the Messiah, the Jewish Messiah. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But Jesus had to teach them My Kingdom now is not of this world. It is a spiritual kind of kingdom and I want you to understand that the Son of Man must suffer. Then, He said things will go on just like they’ve been going on for centuries.
He uses two illustrations here. First one, He says in the time of the coming of the Son of Man, it will be as it was in the days of Noah. He said they were drinking, marrying and eating. In other words, everything was just going normal like it does in this earth. Northing was alarming or outstanding, just a world growing more and more evil and wicked. No particular cataclysmic kinds of occurrences that would cause people to stop and think Oh, judgment must be about to fall! Noah preached, we don’t know how long, but you can figure up how long he was working on the ark because before he started, he was 500 years old and he entered into the ark when he was 600 years old. So within a 100 year span Noah had his family and built the ark. He may have been working on that ark for 75 years. Who knows? All that time people were scoffing him and mocking him and calling him crazy because here he was building a ship here on dry land. It never had rained and they didn’t understand what God was about to do. So they ignored this wild prophet who preached to them and they went on business as usual, except there was a gradual worsening of everything.
This is one of the reasons why the day of the Lord and the end of the age will catch people in such surprise. They are expecting special signs and wonders. We see signs and wonders all the time. We’ve seen them all our lives. We’ve seen earthquakes in divers places, wars and rumors of war, and all these signs that are given. They have been for centuries and centuries all down through time since Jesus lived. It has just been enlarging and getting worse and gradually getting worse and worse and worse. That is the reason the end time will slip up on people who are not in tune with the Word of God so quickly and easily.
They were just building. Prosperity seemed to be everywhere. Corruption growing more and more. They kept right on until the very day that Noah and his people went into the ark. Jesus said that’s the way it is going to be at the coming of the Son of Man.
He used another illustration, the destruction of Sodom. There was nothing to indicate that there was going to be a great earthquake and fire spewing into the heavens and fire and brimstone falling upon these cities of the plain and wiping them out and destroying them. Nobody could sound any alarm or signal. No special kinds of things, people just going on as usual, blinded to what God was doing in the world, paying no attention to the warnings that were coming through righteous people like Lot and Abraham and others.
Pastor was talking about deception Sunday night, a very challenging and solemn message for us because we need to understand that nobody is going to come and wave a big flag and say it’s just down the road. It’s right around the bend. It’s the next day or two. No, they can’t do that with any kind of real correct approach, with any accuracy at all. Slowly, gradually the world grows worse. Evil men wax worse and worse. The church is doing its best fighting against the forces of evil and darkness and winning victories. We’ll ultimately win the war because Jesus will come in great power and glory. The fact is, there is not much to disturb and alarm people until some tragedy hits them specifically in their home, and then they start to call on God. People are interviewed after the tornadoes and hurricanes and stuff. When asked what they were doing, they say Oh man I was really praying to God!
Some of them thought maybe this is the end of the world. He says as in the days of Lot they were doing the same kind of thing, eating and drinking and buy and selling and planting and building, just like in America, just like in any city in this world, just like in any country, just going on and on, with corruption and evil growing and growing. We know that there are some moral conditions that were in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot that we have seen come to fulfillment in a far greater measure than we ever knew here, like homosexuality in particular. You can read religious or secular history all the way back to Jesus’ times and they had it then in those times. Paul preached at a church in Corinth that had members who had been adulterers and fornicators and homosexuals and all that and he said Such were some of you. But you are sanctified and justified which is to say you are not that now when you come under the blood of Jesus Christ. I don’t believe a person can be under the blood of Jesus Christ and be cleansed and be a Christian and stay under the influence of Satan.
The point I’m making is, things continue as they always have, just growing worse and worse and worse, and that quite gradually. I doubt seriously if Corinth had a thing on San Francisco or even Atlanta, Georgia for all I know when it comes to sinfulness, wickedness and evil. He said that’s the way it is going to be; business as usual. People will be buying and selling and building and planting and everything and corruption and evil will be growing worse and worse and that’s the way it’s going to be.
If God were to send angels or if He were to sound some alarms, people might awaken but they have the word of the prophets. They have the word of God. They have the word of Christians. They have the lives and testimonies of people who pray and who know God and if they won’t hear them, they won’t hear it if somebody rose from the dead. What kind of a sign would it take to awaken some people and cause them to believe that they need to get right and get ready to meet God? Whether or not the world ends tomorrow, the Lord may come tonight. Whether or not the world ends tomorrow, you and I or one of us or any of us could be gone from this earth through death and be with the Lord. The end could come for anybody at anytime. He is saying, then, you better remember how it was in the days of Lot. Then He said to be sure to remember Lot’s wife who had formed such an attachment to this world that it was very difficult for her to turn her back upon Sodom. I don’t know what kind of ties may be binding you or attempting to hold your attention to this world. I’m sure we all have plenty of our own to struggle with and to pray about and be sure that we are completely dedicated to God and yielded to Him. But it would appear that Jesus understood that His disciples, all of them, all of us, need to remember situations like in the days of Lot and Lot’s wife who turned to look back. Her heart was longing perhaps for some of her children. Her heart was looking back perhaps to her possessions that she had accumulated. I don’t know what all was involved in that turning back for that last look, but I think I understand it a little bit. Don’t you? I think I understand what king of a feeling she may have had looking back. Just think on that for a moment.
Jesus was telling the disciples and us You remember that woman. Remember what she did. Remember what she lost. The urgency about focusing attention because no sooner had Lot moved out of that city than fire and brimstone and hailstones began to fall to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and all the cities of the plain and leave it nothing but a barren deadness to this day.
Then He gives a very strong statement after He says to remember Lot’s wife. It’s a great preaching text. It is a Word that I hope will sink deep into our hearts. He said Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. Now that’s not just some cheap double-talk. That is the profound statement of the reality of life in Christ Jesus that He states here. If you try to keep your life, hold on, grasp everything, you will lose it. If you put what you want and what your life is about here on earth, if you put that first you are going to lose it. But if you put that and if you put your life in the hands of God and you are ready to lose your life for His sake, then you find it and you find it forever. That is difficult for us earthlings to accept and understand because we really do get adjusted to this world.
He says to be ready to lose it for My sake. Be ready to do sacrifice of your own will. Be ready to take up your own cross and follow Me. That is what He is really getting at. If you try to avoid your cross, you will lose your life. If you accept your cross then you will gain life. Your cross is nothing other than the divine will of God coming down like a great light in a vertical dimension cutting across your will on the horizontal plane. Where God’s will cuts across our will, that’s where our cross is raised up. That’s what our cross is all about. It’s not having to live with a mean companion. A lot of people who are sinners have that and that’s not the cross. It’s not even disobedient children or some other thing. The cross has to do with our own personal will. When we can take up our cross and give our lives and surrendering our will, that’s when you find your life. That’s how you stay ready for the coming of the Son of Man.
Be prepared. This passage starts off by the Pharisees asking When? Give us a date. It closes with the disciples in verse 37 saying Where? When and where are You coming in power and glory with the kingdom of God? He has to say it is already working in your midst and it’s going to be some time. I have to suffer first. Then He says there will be some other things happen as it was in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot. You remember what happened in those days how judgment crept upon the people ever so slowly, but finally and decisively. Then He says remember that is the way it will come when the Son of Man will come like the lightning shining from the east to the west and from one side of heaven to the other. In His Revelation. When He is revealed is what we are talking about. When He comes in great power and great glory and is revealed to this whole earth.
Well just as the angel of the Lord hastened Lot out of Sodom before the destruction there, the church in our day is expecting the Lord to come to catch away His saints, His Bride, before this terrible and notable day of the Lord when He comes with power and vengeance upon this earth in judgment.
I have spent a lot of my lifetime studying the prophets of the Old Testament. I have watched them stand up one after the other and announce to the nations and announce to the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah that here is what God is going to do. Get ready. Turn to God. He is moving in judgment. Turn to Him. Turn to Him. We watched as they stood up and their message was unheeded and people bowed their necks in stubbornness and pride and went on independently as if they could live without God and finally, the day came. Sometimes it took a whole generation for the prophecy to come to pass. Sometimes it took a hundred years. Sometimes it took over that for it to come to pass. But we can look back and see the Word and see those prophecies that came to pass. Some, they talked about, especially in regard to the day of the Lord, have never come to pass yet. It is still to be seen. They could see the mountain peaks of what was going to happen in the future. People went on very indifferently until judgment came.
Now, where does that leave us tonight? I think it leaves us in this position of being members of the kingdom of God and already honoring the part of the kingdom of God that is already overlapping into our time. Brother French Arrington preaches and teaches about one of the great Biblical truths and it refers to the overlapping of the world as it now is with the world that is to come. That’s where we live now in an age where there are already manifestations of the kingdom of God like the outpouring of the Spirit of God, people turning to the Lord, people being filled with the Spirit. These are all evidences that the Kingdom of God is already in our midst and in the hearts and lives of people who honor Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and King. There is a lot about the Kingdom of God that is yet to come that now is but is yet to come. The prophets saw the whole panorama and Jesus is talking about that whole panorama too. He wants us to understand that in a day when people generally think not is when the Son of Man comes. It’s not that He is wanting to be secretive and catch people in traps. No. He goes to every length possible to show His love in this world to spread the gospel. That is why it is such an urgency for the church to carry out the great commission. That’s why it is such an urgency for the church to worship in Spirit and in truth because worshipping in Spirit and in truth and carrying out the great commission is the greatest thing we can do to let the whole world know that the coming of the Lord is indeed near.
I was challenged as the Pastor closed his message Sunday talking about thinking of someone we could go to and talk to this week about their soul, to encourage them to see and to understand the good news and turn to Christ. I would just add that I think coming out of this passage that Jesus is saying to us to be prepared and be ready. Allow the Kingdom of God to work in your life to its fullest extent. Let it be revealed in your life and let it be revealed to others around you and let God have His own perfect will. That’s the reason I think Jesus taught us to pray Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.
Would you stand please? Would you join me and let’s pray.
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