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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost
Third Last Sunday 
Series C

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Option #1: "A Deja Vu Preview"
Luke 17:20-30

Rev. Wayne Dobratz

They call it "deja vu". It's the strange feeling that you've been in a place you've never visited before or have done something that you're certain is brand new to you. No one seems to have an explanation for this that withstands much scrutiny. The Hindus say it's proof of a previous life. Some psychologists say that it indicates we share unconscious thoughts with people we've never met before. The "Collective Unconscious" is what they call it.

When Yogi Berra saw history repeat itself, he said it was "deja vu all over again." Given Yogi's history of mangling the language, that brought a laugh from many, but there really is such a thing as "deja vu all over again." You could use that phrase to describe one of Jesus' predictions about the end times.
So join me in looking at A DEJA VU PREVIEW. Jesus said: "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man," and "It was the same in the days of Lot... It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed."

I. Pay no attention to prophets who claim knowledge of the end
   A. Jesus' coming will be so sudden, no one will able to predict it--v24, "like lightening"
   B. Many false prophets will come--cf Matt 24:3ff
   C. This is none of our business--cf Acts 1:6-7

II. It is our business to learn from History and to keep from repeating it
    A. As in the time of Noah
        1. It was business as usual until it was too late--v27
        2. They "knew nothing" (Matt 24:38-39) because of unbelief
        3. They "knew nothing" despite the fact that Noah preached about the coming flood for 120 years (Gen 6:3; 1 Pet 3:20; 2 Pet 2:5)

       4. Deja vu! So it is today when preaching is not mixed with faith--cf Heb 4:2
    B. As in the time of Lot--cf text, vv28-30
        1. Sexual license was rampant--Gen 19:5
        2. Warnings were given--Gen 19, passim
        3. Prayers of intercession were prayed--Gen 18:20ff
        4. Deja vu! It's still with us today--Rom 1:18ff

III. The most dangerous sin--then and now--is "business as usual", the insidious notion that one's eternal future can be put off until another time
    A. Deja vu! as in the time of Noah--text, v27
    B. Deja vu! as in the time of Lot--text, v28
    C. The Bible warns against this attitude
        1. Eccl 9:12
        2. Matt 24: 36 & 48ff
        3. Matt 25:6ff
        4. Lk 21:34
        5. Lk 12:40
        6. 1 Thess 5:2
        7. Rev 16:15

Adam Clarke has written: They did eat, they drank, etc. They spent their whole lives in reference to this world; and made no sort of provision for their immortal souls. So it was when the Romans came to destroy Judea; there was a universal carelessness, and no one seemed to regard the warnings given by the Son of God.

Matthew Henry writes pointedly on the warnings of this text: Look as far back as the old world, when all flesh had corrupted their way, and the earth was filled with violence. Now observe concerning both these, 
[1.] That they had fair warning given them of the ruin that was coming upon them for their sins. Noah was a preacher of righteousness to the old world; so was Lot to the Sodomites. They gave them timely notice of what would be the end of their wicked ways, and that it was not far off. 
[2.] That they did not regard the warning given them, and gave no credit, no heed
to it... When they should have been, as the men of Nineveh, fasting and praying, repenting and reforming, upon warning given them of an approaching judgment, they were going on securely, eating meat, and drinking wine, when God called to weeping and to mourning, Isa. 22:12, 13. 
[3.] That they continued in their security and sensuality, till the threatened judgment came. Until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and Lot went out of Sodom, nothing said or done to them served to alarm or awaken them... In like manner, when Jesus Christ shall come to judge the world, at the end of time, sinners will be found in the same secure and careless posture, altogether regardless of the judgment approaching, which will therefore come upon them as a snare; and in like manner the sinners of every age go on securely in their evil ways, and remember not their latter end, nor the account that they must give. Woe to them that are thus at ease in Zion!

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Option #2: "Expecting the Unexpected"
Luke 17:20-30
Rev. Kelly Bedard

A. Life As Usual
    1. Careful and hostile observation seeking a temporal and external kingdom
    2. The deep sleep of security and sensuality--not so much wickedness but, instead, worldliness
B. The Unusual Life
    1. A suffering and rejected people comprise God's true Church
    2. God "floods" (Baptism) and "fires" (the Holy Spirit) His suffering Church for Life here and hereafter
1. Dr. Charles Fineberg, a noted Jewish-Christian scholar, says that in the course of Israel's history since the time of our Lord, sixty-four different individuals have appeared claiming to be the Messiah
2. The kingdom of God is within you. It is not of this world. Its glory does not strike [peoples'] fancies, but affects their spirits, and its power is over their souls and consciences; from them it receives homage, and not from their bodies only. The kingdom of God will not change [peoples'] outward condition, but their hearts and lives. (Matthew Henry)
3. The church of the good old days: in the deep sleep of security and drowned in sensuality. (Matthew Henry)
4. Though the antediluvian world and the cities of the plain were awfully wicked, it is not their wickedness, but their worldliness, their unbelief and indifference to the future, their unpreparedness, that is here held up as a warning. (David Guzik)

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