Being Ready With Faith in Godís Word
Luke 17:20-33 - 25th Sunday after Trinity - November 17, 2013

Judgment Day is coming. It’s a serious day to think about. Very serious subject matter here, because after that day, there is no going back. There are no more second chances after that day. All souls will go to either one place, or the other, for all eternity. One is everlasting joy. The other is everlasting punishment. There will be no more time to reconsider things. Now is the time to reconsider. Scripture says now is the day of salvation, not tomorrow!

And so by the aid of God’s Spirit, today we cast out whatever is offensive to God, we repent of our sins, and rely on God’s grace and forgiveness in Christ.

Judment Day is coming. By God’s grace we are ready for that day with true faith in Christ. But even the most faithful can be tempted to feel some anxiety. Even the most faithful can be tempted to question, and to doubt. “What if? What if I lose my faith? What if I fall away?”

Our comfort is that faith is not something that we create or sustain by our own reason or strength. The Holy Ghost has called us by the Gospel, and He keeps us in the one true and saving faith. How? By the word of God. By the comfort of the Holy Scriptures. But what comfort? We are told to, “Comfort one another with these words.” What words? Christ has died, and has risen. And we too will rise, because He did enough for us.

“Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God.” He promises to keep us, to sustain us, until our very last day through the Word.

Judgment day is coming. In the book of Peter we learn that everything will be burned up. And we hear about all this fire and brimstone (burning sulfur), Sodom and Gomorrah being completely burned up, the flood destroying everything and everyone but 8 souls, and it’s easy to focus on the negative only. But let us not forget the positive.

Judgment Day is coming. But for the believer in Christ, Judgment Day has already come and gone. Judment Day came when the Lord laid on His Son, the iniquity of us all. It came when the Son was forsaken of His Father on the cross. And it went when Jesus said, from the cross, “It is finished.” He did enough. We are not saved by our own faithfulness, but the faithfulness of God’s Son. He keeps us faithful. He continues to draw us in by His Word, “Come to Me…believe in Me. All things are now ready…Simply believe, and thou shalt be saved.”

For the believer in Christ, Judgement Day has already come and gone. Scripture clearly says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” How can that be? Because Jesus already embraced the condemnation we deserved, when He was forsaken of the Father. All is forgiven through Christ.

This is the hidden Kingdom of which Jesus speaks. It’s hidden, it’s hidden within you, because it’s received through faith alone, by the Word of God alone.

Even those who witnessed Christ’s crucifixion, those who saw it all, could not see sins being forgiven, but rather, they heard Jesus say, “Father forgive them.” They had the exact same opportunity we have today, to hear, and believe, by God’s Spirit working through those words.

The Scribes and Pharisees practically begged Jesus to show them another sign so they could observe God’s kingdom coming to them. But we walk by faith, not by sight. Jesus says, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Perhaps we’ve thought, “if only they saw, they would believe. If only they saw Noah’s ark, or saw someone rise from the dead, they would believe.” Yet, Scripture clearly says, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” And as far as a great miracle, Jesus Himself says, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Judgment Day is coming. The biggest problem by far, today, is “who cares? As long as I have my earthly goods – what I can touch, and hold - my money, my good times, my earthly things, who cares?” As it was in the days of Noah, and Lot, so “shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Before the great flood, and later, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, life was business as usual selling, buying, working, playing, marrying. And of course there’s nothing wrong with those things, in and of themselves. But notice the lack of anything spiritual. They had their earthly business, but where was the faith in God’s Word? Where was the turning to God in repentance, and seeking forgiveness? Why not? Because they didn’t care. Noah preached repentance. Judgment is coming. The wrath of the Almighty God is coming, and who can withstand His great power? Their response: “Who cares. I’ll take from you God, and I’ll take advantage of every earthly blessing you give me. I’ll take, and take, and take, but when it comes to being faithful to you, don’t judge me. I’ll do what I want, thank ya very much.”

This is the characteristic that Christ says will precede the last day – indifference. “Who cares?” And if there’s one thing people do care about…it’s: “Don’t judge me.” That is the ultimate crime today. Anything goes, but don’t you dare judge me. Don’t you dare pass judment on anyone else’s behavior. More and more, what used to be immoral, is now accepted, because who are we to judge?

But Judement day is coming, whether people like it or not. And Jesus says clearly, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

The good news is that He calls us by the Gospel. He keeps knocking on the door of our heart. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And we do find rest unto our souls.

His goodness leads us to true repentance and faith. He offers complete freedom from the power of sin, and there are no strings attached – just His unconditional love and forgiveness. Believing in Him, in His Word, we do find rest unto our souls, and we will inherit everlasting life through Him.