Matt 24:37                             The Day of the Lord                                   10/6/2013     

 

·        Pride Goeth Before Destruction (Isa 2:12-19, Prov 16:18)

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       The Sovereignty of God (Matt 24:37-42, Gen 7:1)

 

 

 

 

 

·        Family (Luke 17:26-30, 1Thes 4:13-18, Rev 11:12, Gen 7:1, 2Pet 2:7)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Many and the Few (Matt 24:37, 7:13-14, Rev 20:7-14, Rom 8:28)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       We Also Need to Be Saved (Psalm 50:16-17, 58:3, Rom 5:5)

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 2:12 (2X). The sermon of today is titled: The Day of the Lord (2X). When we search the Bible we find this subject matter, “The Day of the Lord”, many times. In fact we find it 26 times in these words. And if we extend this same topic in different words we could at least double the number of passages where we can find the descriptions of the Last Day. This tells us that God values the story of the Last Day very high, almost as high as the Gospel itself. The first time where we find the words “The Day of the Lord” is in Isa 2:12,

·        Pride Goeth Before Destruction (Isa 2:12-19, Prov 16:18)

Remarkably, when we read about the Day of the Lord, we also read about the pride of man. The natural man is by nature very proud. This is how we are born into this world. And if we remain unsaved until the end of our days we will be very proud all the way until the end. And thus, when God judges all the unsaved on the Last Day He will see a bunch of very proud human beings. Man are imitators of their father the devil. There is no such thing as a humble devil. We read in Isa 2:12-19,

Isa 2:12-19,  “For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

13-14  And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,  14  And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,

15  And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,

16  And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

17  And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.  18  And the idols he shall utterly abolish.

19  And they (the people) shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”

There are some remarkable things we can glean out of this passage. First of all, we see God’s great abhorrence of pride. It seems that this is one of the sins that God hates with a passion. Yes indeed. All other sins are fading into oblivion. Secondly, we do not see anything about adultery, and stealing, and murder, and lying, and covetousness in this passage. Why is God so angry about pride? God did not create the sin of pride. Sin began its existence in the realm of angels. We can look to almost the beginning of creation, and there we see that pride was generated in the realm of angels, and they imported the sin of pride to this earth by tempting Eve and then Adam into sin; and ever since the entire human race has been preoccupied with pride. Mankind is proud of themselves, and is proud of their accomplishments, which they claim they have done by their own intellect and by their own free will. And so, God takes vengeance on those sins on the Last Day, first by leaving man in his own conceits, leaving him in the pride of his own free will, and then by judging him for it.

#1.       The Sovereignty of God (Matt 24:37-42, Gen 7:1)

Please turn to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 24:37, where we read about the condition of mankind on that awesome Last Day. What is going on there? The pride of man leads him to abandon the God of the Bible and to end up with a god of his own liking. We read in Matt 24:37-42

Matt 24:37-42, “37  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39-40  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  40  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

There are many topics mentioned in this passage. But the only topic I want us to focus on today is this: “so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The word “so” does not mean “then”, but it means “in like manner”. And thus the Lord Jesus prophesied that just like the conditions were at the time Noah finished building the ark, so, or in like manner will be the second coming of Christ. Look at the conditions before the flood. Just like the rescue of Noah and his family just before God destroyed everyone else in the world with a flood, so, or in like manner will be the rapture of the saints just before God will destroy everyone else in the world by fire and remove them to a place of judgment. How many people were saved in the ark? There were only eight people saved out of the entire world of that day: Noah, and his wife, and his three sons, and the three wives of his sons. What was the world’s population in those days? No one knows. But they all were speaking one language and they all lived together in one place before the flood. My guess is that there were about one million people in the world, or perhaps two million. Out of this two million God saved only eight people. That is a fraction of only 0.0004%. In other words, if the last days will be similar, or in like manner as the days of Noah, then we will have to wait until the number of truly saved individuals will be as small as 0.0004% of the world’s population. Let us put this in perspective. The Los Angeles metropolitan area has a population of about 12 million. According to the Bible, the number of saints will continually decline. But when the number of saints in this Los Angeles area will have reduced to about 48, then the Lord may come, for that will be the ratio that God speaks about in Matt 24:37. Look at this again from a different perspective. The probability that anyone would be saved near the end of time is only 0.0004%. Noah was saved, for God declared in Gen 7:1, “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” Noah was the only one in that household whom God declared righteous. The probability that his son standing next to him was also saved is 0.0004%. And the probability that both his first son and his second son were both saved is 0.0004% X 0.0004%. The probability that his first son, and his second son, and his third son are all three saved is 0.0004% X 0.0004% X 0.0004%, which is a very small number, and so on down to the probability that seven individuals who were standing next to Noah were also saved. This is an amazingly small number. What this tells us is that the probability that all eight persons of this household would be saved is such a small probability that it takes an act of God to make this coincidence come to pass. Only if God elected all eight persons to be saved could all eight be saved from the waters of the flood. Even people who do not believe in election would have to admit that, and this proves that God is thoroughly familiar with the doctrine of election, and it also proves that election existed already in the time of Noah.

Now the question arises: Why were the two million other people not saved? The answer is that they were worshipping another god. Salvation is entirely the work of God. But condemnation is earned or deserved by the works of man. The sins of man are what earn him his condemnation for man sins voluntarily. Why is it that man sins? He sins because he does not believe that he is insulting the true God of heaven and earth. He has no fear of the God who created heaven and earth. He sins because he is worshipping another god. He sins because he is barking up the wrong tree. I have been using this metaphor frequently to illustrate the sin of idolatry. The picture is that of a dog with his front paws against the trunk of a tree, barking up the tree, because he thinks that the cat is there hiding behind the leaves of the tree. But the cat is not there. The cat is in the tree next door. And thus the dog is barking up the wrong tree. There are many applications of this metaphor. For example, when the heathen make for themselves an idol of wood or stone, and they worship that idol, then the heathen are barking up the wrong tree. Will God save anyone who is barking up the wrong tree? NO, NOT ONE! We can clearly see this when we consider the heathen who are worshipping a man-made idol. God will not save them while they are in the act of idolatry, insulting God. How then will God save anyone? They must be under the hearing of the true Gospel, meaning that Christ has purchased the forgiveness of their sin by paying the ransom for their soul, and God the Holy Spirit must be present to make their soul alive so that they will believe the Gospel that they are hearing. But if anyone, in the pride of his own heart, believes that he is saved because he has by his own free will accepted the salvation offered to him, or he believes that he is saved because he has submitted himself to water baptism, or he believes that he is saved because he has been so wise to have done this or he has done that, then this person is controlled by his own pride. His faith rests in the works of man, rather than in the works of God. In his pride he has abandoned the Gospel of free grace alone, and he is clinging to another god, a god who is more generous and more loving and more merciful than the God of the Bible. A person who believes in a do-it-yourself salvation has put his trust in the works of man, and is not saved. In his pride He has abandoned the God of the Bible, the God of free grace alone, and has begun to worship a god who is more a servant of man rather than the omnipotent Almighty who rules sovereignly in the kingdom of man. Now we want to take a look at family.

·        Family (Luke 17:26-30, 1Thes 4:13-18, Rev 11:12, Gen 7:1, 2Pet 2:7)

Please turn to the Gospel of Luke, Luke 17:26 (2X). Let us now consider the benefits of “family”. This is another aspect of Matt 24:37 for which I do not have a clear explanation. I have observed it, and I want to share it with you, but I do not have a clear understanding of it. You might think that I am placing too much emphasis on the word “so”. Here in Luke 17:26-30 we see this word “so” again and here God clearly states that the meaning of it is “likewise”, or “in like manner”. We read in Luk,

Luk 17:26-30, 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 Noe 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.”

Here, God states clearly that like the circumstances were in the days of Noah, and as they were in the days of Lot, “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” How many people were saved in the days of Lot? The answer is “three people”: Lot and his two daughters. Four cities were destroyed: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim. How many people lived there? We do not know; certainly many thousands. But when God says, “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” we understand that like as these three people were saved in the nick of time just before God rained down fire and brimstone upon these four cities, even thus shall God save the saints in the rapture just before God destroys the unsaved on the earth with fire and brimstone. It is significant that God chose fire and brimstone, for these are the elements of Hell. With this metaphor God is indicating that all the unsaved in these four cities were killed, and their destiny is that they will stand before the judgment throne and be condemned to Hell. Let us now consider the word “Family”.

Who were saved in the nick of time? Noah and his wife, his three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their three wives were all saved. And when we look at the miraculous salvation of this family in the nick of time just before the earth is destroyed, it is a picture of the rapture. This tells us that the rapture which was promised by God in 1Thes 4:13-18, will occur on the Last Day just before this earth will be destroyed. The rapture will not take place secretly, in an uninhabited place, and followed by a thousand years of the reign of Christ on this earth. No, the rapture will take place publicly, and everyone will see it and know it. And judgment day will follow immediately, just like in the rescue of Noah and his family, and just like in the rescue of Lot and his family. We read in Rev 11:12,

Rev 11:12, “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”

Look at those last five words, “and their enemies beheld them.” In other words, the rapture of the saints will be in broad daylight, and all the unsaved will know that it has occurred. There will be no secret rapture. And what is the picture of the rapture? Noah and his entire family were saved, or Lot and his two daughters were saved. But when we search the Bible we find that only Noah was declared righteous in God’s sight, and only Lot was declared righteous in God’s sight. We read in

Gen 7:1, “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”

There is no mention anywhere of the family of Noah being righteous in God’s sight. We find the same circumstances for Lot and his family. We find in 2Pet 2:7,

2Pet 2:7, “And delivered just Lot, (righteous Lot), vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:”

And thus Lot was righteous in God’s sight, but not a word was said about the righteousness of his two daughters. But all three persons were saved from the wrath of God. Now the question is this: Does God save entire families? I do not think so. God saves individuals by first electing them before the foundation of the world, and then by having Christ pay for their sins on the cross in AD 33, and then by having God the Holy Spirit make their souls alive at some point in their life.

No! God does not save families. We can clearly see that when we remember that God said, “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated.” Jacob and Esau were brothers from the same family. And so, how can we explain that the entire family of Noah was saved? The only way we can explain this is by the election of God for this entire family. The probability that each one is saved individually is such a small number that there would not be enough people on the earth to make this probability come through. This was a special act of God for this entire family. Let us return to Judgment Day:

#2.       The Many and the Few (Matt 24:37, 7:13-14, Rev 20:7-14, Rom 8:28)

Matt 24:37, “But as the days of Noe were, so, (in like manner) shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” When we read the Bible we always come away with the notion of “the many and the few.” For example, in Matt 7:13-14 we read that many are on the broad way leading to destruction, but only a few are on the narrow way leading to eternal life. This has always been the plan of God for this human race. But when we approach the Last Day this principle will be greatly magnified. What will happen to the few? The few are the elect of God who are loved by God. “Jacob have I loved,” and God loved Jacob from everlasting past, before He created the first speck of dust. On Judgment Day the Lord will gather His elect from the four corners of the earth and takes them to be with Him forever.

But what will happen to the many? Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 20:7 (2X). The many will first be killed by fire and brimstone as in the days of Lot, and then they will be resurrected in a new body in which they can endure Hell, and then they all will be brought before the Judgment Throne. We read in Rev 20:7-14,

Rev 20:7-14, “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

8  And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

9  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

10  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

11 ¶  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and the grave delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14  And death and the grave were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

Every last one standing before the Judgment Throne will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Even though this Lake of Fire is only symbolic for the real Hell, we can be assured that it will be a truly dreadful place. The present world population is about 7 billion. If all the people who have ever lived are about 15 billion strong, then it will be only a remnant, let’s say 15 million, who will be with Christ forever. What will happen to the 14,985 million? They will be cast into Hell where the devil and his demons already are, and they will gladly torment the 14,985 million human beings who are there with them, and the demons consider the human beings to be the cause of their pain and suffering.

Most pastors speak only of the 15 million who will enjoy eternal bliss with Christ in the New Heaven and the New Earth. They speak only of the few to comfort the people in the pews. But most of the people in the pews belong to the many who will be cast into Hell. And where is our compassion for the many? Is there no pity for the many? It is true that they are grievous sinners but so were we. The only difference between us and them is that the grace of God and the cross of Christ have covered all our sins, and that is why we escaped Hell. If we have any compassion for them, why did we not bring the true Gospel to them while they still were alive? Why is there so little enthusiasm for evangelism among Christians? Why is there so little compassion for sinners? We look upon them with disdain. We look upon them as if they were third class citizens, as if they were more grievous sinners than we; and that is not so. We claim that we did bring the Gospel to them, but they did not want to listen. And that is partly true. But why do they not want to listen? Is it not because we have mistreated them in the past, and is it not that we have helped them to develop into the ungrateful people that they are? Moreover, the grace of God has been withholden from them. That is why they have never been converted, and that is why they have developed into the kind of animal that they are. It is very difficult to communicate with someone who distrusts us from the beginning, but it does not excuse us from trying. And so, if we notice that they are spiritually deaf, we should not put all the blame on us, and we should not put all the blame on them. The fact of the matter is that God ordained in their lives as well as in our lives that “all things must work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).

#3.       We Also Need to Be Saved (Psalm 50:16-17, 58:3, Rom 5:5)

We also need to be saved. We need to be honest with ourselves that we would not be unsaved, for then we would still be in the camp of Satan. The spreading of the Gospel is a task reserved for the saints only. This is clearly stated in Psalm 50:16-17. And there we read,

Psalm 50:16-17, “But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?  17  Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.”

Who are the wicked in this Psalm? The wicked are all those who are still unsaved. A baby, most likely, belongs to the wicked. That is why God wrote in Psalm 58:3,

Psalm 58:3, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”

How can we examine ourselves to see if we have been saved? This is a very difficult question. We can look at many signs if we really have been saved. If we have an ongoing desire to do those things that are pleasing to God, and if we believe the whole Bible from cover to cover, and if we have an ongoing desire to study the Bible and seeing that Christ is the Word of God, and if we have an ongoing desire to love the brethren and to have fellowship with the brethren, and if we have an ongoing desire to be the Lord’s witnesses wherever we may be, these are all signs that God has made us born again.

What are you doing the first thing in the morning? Where are your thoughts and actions the first thing in the morning? Do we enjoy singing praises to the Lord? I wake up in the morning with a song in my heart. These are all things that are pleasing to the Lord. But most of all we must remember and meditate on what God said in Rom 5:5,

Rom 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us.”

It means that we become aware of the love of God for us by giving His only Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, which are many, and that we become aware of our love for God, because He loved us first, and that we become aware of our love for the unsaved out there, because the Lord has committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation. Unsaved people are enemies of God. They need to be reconciled to God so that they will have peace with God. This is not something that depends on us. Only God can do this. We are accountable only for being the instruments through which God operates. And with this we need to be content.

AMEN.