Jesus said it would be better for Sodom than it would be for his wicked generation. How can this be? Jesus said the parting word of a witness session should be a warning. If we keep this in its actual context, it makes perfect sense. It explains why Jesus was urgent and aggravated with people’s excuses. He’s not talking about something happening two-thousand plus years from then. It’s the harvest of hell. He said don’t be ashamed. Warn how it will be worse than it was for Sodom. Let’s ponder this a moment.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 10

Better For Sodom Than You! (Luke 10:1-16)

By Delbert Young

Better For Sodom Than You! video audio notes

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Better for Sodom than for You – Luke 10:1-16

Scriptures: Luke 10:1-2; Matthew 13:30; Luke 10:3-9; Luke 10:10-12; Genesis 19:24-25; Luke 10:10-15; Luke 10:16

Allow me to set up the context for our study of Luke’s gospel for today. Jesus had ministered two years or more pouring himself into the lives of people going to every city, town, village, home, etc he could. Jesus resolutely set out forJerusalem (Luk 9:51) for his execution and to be taken up to heaven. During the journey, two people approached Jesus with excuses why they could not preach the near kingdom of God. Jesus asked another to go and preach the near kingdom who also gave excuses (Luk 9:57-62). Seems we all have excuses and this does frustrate Jesus.

Jesus responded with aggravated and seemingly uncaring remarks such as, “Let the dead bury the dead. You go preach the kingdom of God.” “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” In other words, the kingdom harvest is coming, but all you care about is your personal comfort. Jesus said “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” meaning you’re not fit to serve in the kingdom. Jesus was exacerbated by the lack of commitment from those professing love and dedication. In response, Jesus sent out seventy (or seventy-two) to preach the coming kingdom.

Luke 10:1-2 AFTER THIS the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them TWO BY TWO ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “THE HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Jesus sent out at least thirty-five teams of normal people like you and me. These were not “apostles.” His response to lack of commitment and excuses is teams. He placed people on teams. What team has he placed you on? Who’s on your team? We should be on an “accountable team” of people to affect and work the harvest – Life Group, Praise, Greeting, various ministry, etc. Jesus needs you on a team.

Also, most people think the harvest is harvesting people into the kingdom, but as we learned the true emphasis of the harvest is first the harvest of hell and judgment.

Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the HARVEST. At that time I will tell the harvesters: FIRST COLLECT THE WEEDS AND TIE THEM IN BUNDLES TO BE BURNED; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”

Jesus was grated by the lack of concern people had for those who will be harvested for hell. How much concern do you and I have for those who will be harvested for hell? When’s the last time you told someone about Jesus, brought someone to church, told someone about hell? Do you think Jesus could be upset with us? What’s a solution? Teams. (This is where we’ll continue our study.)

Luke 10:3-9 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house. If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. HEAL THE SICK who are there AND TELL THEM, ‘THEKINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR YOU.’

This was only the first part of the instructions Jesus gave the teams. It’s the second part that is shocking. These instructions are similar to the instructions given the twelve (Luk 9:1-6).

We could get into a discussion on those verses, but it’s fairly simple. Jesus warns preaching is not going to be easy. In fact, there are some mean people – wolves – out there. Jesus said don’t waste time. Make this a priority. Attempt to bring peace. Be appreciative for what people do for you. Love and minister, but primarily, you are doing this so you can “tell them, ‘THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR YOU.'” That’s your main objective.

Jesus basically said trust God for your safety and provision. It may sound easy, but until you’ve actually done this, you have no idea. Judy and I have for thirty years literally trusted God for shelter, food, and income. We have faced wolves, been very appreciative, ministered, and told people about the kingdom of God. The amazing thing is for thirty years, year after year, month after month, week after week, and day after day, God’s never failed. The worker deserves his wages.

One point we need to note is Jesus instructs us to heal the sick. This is a constant emphasis of our Lord. Pray for people. Heal them every way you can. As we’ve seen recently with our study of “Come Holy Spirit,” gifts of healing are for today (1Co 12:9). Jesus said, “heal the sick.” Has Jesus changed his mind?

Jesus then began moving into the essence of what their mission was about.“TELL THEM THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR YOU.” To us, this means the sweet gospel, the good news of the kingdom, right? No. We need to get our heads wrapped around the meaning of a kingdom, any kingdom, coming upon another kingdom. It’s violent and taken by force (Mat 11:12). That’s what Jesus meant. He said tell them a violent change of kingdoms is about to happen. It’s NEAR YOU. Before the end of that generation (70 AD), God sent the Roman armies through the entire region destroying, devastating, plundering, killing, and ravaging. The Judaist Kingdom terminated. The Kingdom of God came. The next verse says,

Luke10:10-12 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off AGAINST YOUYET BE SURE OF THIS: THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR.’ I TELL YOU, IT WILL BE MORE BEARABLE ON THAT DAY FOR SODOM THAN FOR THAT TOWN.

Better for Sodom? How can that be? I ask, how do you end a witness situation? It’s usually something like, “I’ll pray for you.” Jesus said the parting word of a witness session should be a warning.

This is the second time Jesus said “the kingdom of God is near you” in this passage. Have you ever felt like wiping the dust off? If we keep this in its actual context, it makes perfect sense. It explains why Jesus was urgent and aggravated with people’s excuses. He’s not talking about something happening two-thousand plus years later. If we interpret it with the doctrine of man, we’ll miss his meaning. It’s the harvest of hell. He said don’t be ashamed. Go public into the middle of downtown streets and knock the dust off your feet. Warn how it will be worse than it was for Sodom. Let’s ponder this a moment.

Genesis 19:24-25 Then the LORD rained down fire and burning sulfur from the heavens on Sodom and Gomorrah. HE UTTERLY DESTROYED THEM, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, eliminating all life – people, plants, and animals alike.

Sodom and Gomorrah are the poster children for God’s judgment. Their homosexuality is supposedly the apex of wickedness and evil, but not so. Cities rejecting Jesus and the warnings of Jesus receive a far worse judgment than Sodom. I’m going to teach this in context, but it’s also very relevant.

How many would admit at some point God warned you about your doing something, but you rejected his warning? How many? How did that work out for you? The worst situations I’ve ever experienced in my life were when I ignored God’s warnings. It was devastating not only to me, but to everyone around in my plain. In many ways it was worse than fire and brimstone. I know you have experienced exactly what I am talking about. We need to learn from this. Jesus will send people to warn us. He isn’t going to force us to heed his warnings.However, much of the horror we go through in life – the hell fire and brimstone times – is because we reject the warnings sent by Jesus.

Back in the context of Jesus and resisting the tendency to jump into eschatology – notice exactly to whom Jesus spoke.

Luke 10:10-16 ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this:THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR.’ I TELL YOU, it will be MORE BEARABLE ON THAT DAY FOR SODOM THAN FOR THAT TOWN. “WOE to you, Korazin! WOE to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will BE MORE BEARABLE for Tyre and Sidon AT THE JUDGMENT than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.

Jesus was speaking specifically to towns and cities of his time. Woe is ouai {oo-ah’-ee} – exclamation of grief. So, it’s “grief” to you, Korazin! Korazin was a small town a few miles from Capernaum where Jesus ministeredNothing of it can be found today. It was destroyed in AD 70. “Grief” to you Bethsaida! Bethsaida was another town where Jesus minister. It can’t be found today. It’s gone – AD 70. Capernaum was the primary headquarters for the ministry of Jesus and was a fairly large town. It couldn’t be found for centuries. Archeologists finally uncovered parts of it, but there is no functioning city there today.

These were all cities and villages of people who saw and experienced ministry and heard the message, yet rejected Jesus and his warnings. It brought grief. It’s grief to us when we don’t heed. They discarded him. They saw and experienced so much. How much have we seen? How much have we experienced? Most of these people were Jews who thought they were just fine – the special children of Abraham. Were they? Are we? So much of the grief rained down on us is simply because we refuse the warnings Jesus sends us. We say, “That won’t happen to me,” right? “I’m special!”

Jesus became very personal as he spoke out loud the names – Korazin, Bethsaida, Tyre, Sidon, Capernaum, Sodom. Its interesting that here personal judgment can have something to do with the city and towns in which we live.

Luke 10:12-15 …Sodom… “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! …But it will be more bearable for Tyreand Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum …you will go down to the depths.

I’ve never thought about this exactly this way before. Do you believe the mentality of the people you live around will bless you or bring judgment upon you and your family? Use Sodom as an example. Unknowingly, the mentality of an area, city, town, community, and neighborhood has an affect upon us. The people we run with and live with determine how our lives go. Where we live can be a “Woe” or a blessing. How’s your city? Is the mentality here a woe or a blessing?

I want us to also see in this passage how there are levels of judgment in hell/Hades. Hell is hell, but notice there are comparative punishments just as there are comparative rewards in heaven (Mat 16:27, etc). Those in Sodom received comparatively less punishment when compared to the cities rejecting the kingdom message. Judgment was not as bad comparatively for those living in Tyre and Sidon when compared to Korazin and Bethsaida. A point is, it’s better to have never heard about Jesus than for those who heard and rejected. Jesus died for our sins and there are consequences for sin, but judgment of horrific proportions for rejection.

The mentality of a city and area brings blessings or judgment, but it comes down to the individual. The last instruction Jesus gave his teams as he sent them out was this:

Luke 10:16 “HE who LISTENS to you LISTENS to me; HE who REJECTS you REJECTS me; but HE who REJECTS me REJECTS him who sent me.”

We listen to those Jesus sends or we reject those Jesus sends. Judgment comes to us individually. I can’t blame other people, or a town for my degree of judgment. It’s “He who listens” and “He who rejects.” Do you listen and receive, or reject the warnings of Jesus?

Delbert, how do I recognize the warnings from Jesus? You’re kidding right! You know. You will hear the warnings in church. You will read the warnings as you read the word of God. You will hear when you pray. You will hear Jesus through people who love and care for you. You are hearing his warnings right now.

Other Related Sermons:

Mustard Seed – sermon video audio notes

Treasure and the Pearl – sermon video audio noteLight A Candle NEW YEAR – sermon notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young