Morality at a Tipping Point

Standing strong during the erosion of morality

We are currently living in the most immoral time in the history of the world. 

I was in Florida for a speaking engagement, and I was talking with the pastor of the church before I went out to speak for him.  He said to me, “Jimmy, I’m calling an emergency meeting of the parents of our church to talk about the immorality in the high schools and in our city.” His church is in a major city in Florida. 

He said, “My son is in high school and he told me recently that the new term in school is not homosexuality or bi-sexuality.  The new term that is being used by students in school is pansexuality.  His son said that the students would no longer define their sexuality by being limited to anything.  The students were effectively saying, “I’ll have sex with anybody or anything, any time I want to. And nobody will tell me different.”

We are simply seeing the erosion of morality and sexuality unlike anything we’ve ever seen before and it’s happening faster and more severe all of the time.  We are seeing a moral free-fall in the world that we are living in today, and it is a major sign of the end times that the Bible talks about very clearly.

Jesus prophesied that the days just before His return would be just like the days of Noah and Lot. Both of these men lived in extremely immoral cultures.  This is what Jesus said in Luke 17:26-36:

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.  Likewise as it was in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.  Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 

In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away.  And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back.  Remember Lot’s wife.  Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.  I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one bed [this is the rapture]; the one will be taken and the other will be left.  Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken, the other left.  Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken, the other left.

Jesus effectively said, “When I come and rapture you, it will be just like the days of Noah before he got on the ark, and just like the days of Lot before he was taken out of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah.” He is describing a very immoral culture. 

I want you to notice there are four parallels between our culture and the cultures of Noah and Lot. 

  1. The first parallel is a “business as usual” attitude in the world today.  The world is acting as though things are going to go on forever.  There’s no fear of God.  They are buying, they are selling, they are marrying and they are giving in marriage as they are living very immoral lives and defying God’s authority - just as in the days of Noah and Lot. 

  2. The second parallel is a refusal to listen to the voice of truth.  Did you know that Noah was a preacher of righteousness—and he never had one convert?  Lot was also a righteous man who shared the truth with the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah.  But did you know, between Lot and Noah, neither one of them had one convert? It was because the world they lived in was so hardened to truth.  And this is the world that we’re seeing today.

  3. The third parallel is a sudden removal of the righteous from among the wicked.  When people tell me that the church is going to go through the tribulation, I believe it is a very ignorant and dangerous statement.  First of all, it goes against the words of Jesus.  Here is an important question for those who believe we will live through the worst time in human history:  How many raindrops hit Noah’s head?  The answer: Zero.  Noah was put on the ark before the rain ever began and never experience judgment on any level. 

    Here is another question:  How many hailstones of fire and brimstone hit while Lot and his family were in Sodom and Gomorrah?  The answer again is zero.  Lot and his daughters were completely removed and spared judgment. And just as Noah and Lot were removed and spared - the same will happen for us. In the same text in Luke chapter seventeen where Jesus told us about how the end-times world would parallel the days of Noah and Lot - He described the rapture in detail. That is no coincidence.

  4. The fourth parallel is cataclysmic judgment.  And this is not just any judgment—it is the wrath of God.  And again, in Noah’s world, a flood came on the world that destroyed every single person.  That is cataclysmic judgment.  This is not just bad things happening, or wars and rumors of wars and earthquakes and famines.  This is cataclysmic.  In the case of Lot’s world, it was hailstones of fire and brimstone that came down from heaven and destroyed every single human being.

The tribulation is not judgment.  The tribulation is the wrath of Almighty God poured out on the earth.  Here is a very comforting promise from the Apostle Paul that specifically states that we are not going to go through wrath:

“They themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

Jesus is going to deliver us from the wrath of the tribulation that is to come.  Here is another example from 1 Thessalonians 5:9 and this is also a very graphic Scripture: 

“God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are doing.”

So I want to comfort you.  We’re not going to go through the tribulation, because God hasn’t appointed us to wrath.  He’s not going to judge us along with the world.  We are going to be taken in the rapture, and while the world is going through seven years of hell on earth, and billions of people are dying and being tormented, we will be marrying Jesus in heaven.

You simply can’t comfort people by telling them they’re going to go through the tribulation.  The comfort is that Jesus is coming for us.  He’s not going to leave us alone.  He’s not going to leave us here on the earth as He’s pouring out His wrath.  We are not appointed to wrath.  Be comforted by that, and comfort other people with that. 

And so the parallels between Noah and Lot’s days are also true for our world.  Let’s look at Noah’s world more closely for just a minute. This is Genesis 6:9-13:

This is the genealogy of Noah.  Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations.  Noah walked with God.  And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  The earth was also corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.  So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.   And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

The word for “corrupt” there that God used is the Hebrew word shachath.  It means evil, filthy and immoral.  Does that sound like the world we live in right now? God looked down on the world of Noah—and it wasn’t just a bad world, it was an evil world.  It was a filthy world, like the world that we’re living in today. 

This is what the Apostle Peter had to say about Lot’s world in 2 Peter 2:4-9:

If God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemning them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority.  They are presumptuous and self-willed. 

That is a very detailed text about the world of Lot.  But the word “filthy” is used there. And the word for “filthy” in the Greek language is aselgeia.  It means licentious, sexually immoral, having an insatiable desire for pleasure with absolutely no fear of God whatsoever.  If you remember, when the angels came in to deliver Lot and his family, the men of Sodom and Gomorrah tried to force themselves on the angels.  So that is how ungodly they were. And that’s what it was like in the days of Lot.

God looked down on the world in the days of Lot, and His answer was severe, cataclysmic judgment, which is coming on our world very soon.  God looked down at the world of Noah, and it was an immoral and violent world—just like our world is right now.  Jesus used a direct parallel between those two worlds where God poured out cataclysmic judgment — and it is about to happen to our world very soon. 

Let me who you an even more graphic description of our world. This is a prophecy given by Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3.  Pay attention to what Paul says about what’s going to happen in the last days to morality in the world: 

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.” 2 Timothy 3:1

After that statement he then lists nineteen descriptions of people in the last days.  Look at them and see if you agree that this is the way people are in the world today.

Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!  For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, and always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  So as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith. 2 Timothy 3:2-8

And what the Apostle Paul is talking about here is the wholesale deconstruction of morality in the world.  And this wasn’t true when I was a boy. The world that I grew up in was just simply a different world than we see today.  First of all there was respect for authority.  If you got in trouble at school, your parents didn’t call the ACLU.  They didn’t threaten the teachers.  When you got in trouble at school, you went home, and you got in trouble at home.  We didn’t lock our doors at night.  As kids, we went out and played outside all day and at night by ourselves. 

You assumed your neighbors were Christians.  You assumed your teachers were Christians.  We prayed in the name of Jesus every day at school. That was elementary, junior high and high school.  It was just simply a different time. And there were immoral people, but people were generally moral.

I want to take the nineteen characteristics that Paul listed and break them into four categories.  Here are the four basic categories of what Paul was describing: 

  1. The first is exaltation of self and narcissism: lovers of self, boasters, proud, haughty, headstrong.  People are very narcissistic.  It’s all about us. 

  2. The second thing is rejection of authority: disobedient to parents, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.   If you’re in authority, this is a dangerous world. The police of America are under assault.  It is a difficult time for parents, teachers and anyone who is in authority.

  3. The third category is rejection of moral standards:  unholy, without self-control, despisers of good.  Being persecuted for doing good.  This is what it says. 

  4. The fourth is disloyal, unloving and verbally vicious: unloving, irreconcilable, unforgiving, blasphemers, slanderers, brutal, traitors and unthankful.

I will now reverse those four statements and show you what a godly person should look like.  If you reverse the four, here’s the number one: exaltation of God over self.  Godly people shouldn’t be haughty and proud.  Godly people should exalt God and be humble.  1 Peter 5:5 says, “Clothe yourself with humility.” You know why the Bible says to clothe yourself with humility?  Because you don’t have it on naturally.  You have to put it on.  We’re prideful.  It’s part of our sin nature.

Number two is submission to God’s authority and His delegated human authority.  As believers, we need to be submissive to authority. Even Jesus was submitted to authority.

Number three is the acceptance of absolute moral standards of the Bible.  We all want to do things the Bible says don’t do.  And we all do things the Bible says we shouldn’t do. 

None of us are perfect. but there’s a difference between committing a sin and practicing a sin.  And practicing a sin means, “I’m doing it.  It’s okay.  I’ll do anything I want to do, any time I want to do it.  And I’ll find a Scripture to make it look right.  It’s my lifestyle.  It’s the way that I live.” 

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you’ll be saved.”  And here’s what Jesus said:  “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don’t do what I say?”  

You can’t come to Jesus and make Him your Lord and tell Him what the terms are. I’m saying the Bible is the absolute, infallible, inspired Word of Almighty God.  The Bible tells us what truth is.  It tells us what sin is.  I believe every word in the Bible.

And the fourth of the four is loving others loyally and sacrificially.  Remember, it says they’re unloving, irreconcilable, unforgiving, blasphemers.  Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.  You will be called the sons of God.” Matthew 5:9  Believers shouldn’t be troublemakers and mean-spirited.  We should be peacemakers, if we’re going to call ourselves sons of God. 

This is what Jesus said in Matthew 5:13-15:

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. 

As we are living in these last days, we need to be a light to the world.  Our lives need to show somebody else the way to God. Rather than us being influenced by the world, we need to be influencing the world.  Rather than other people drawing us unto sin, we need to draw other people into righteousness and to Jesus Christ.  We need to live our lives intentionally for the purpose of glorifying God, being prepared when Jesus comes, and taking as many people with us to heaven as we possibly can.

The day after the flood started, Noah looked like a genius.  There had never been rain on the earth, and he was building a massive ship on dry ground.  Can you imagine the mockery?  Can you imagine how foolish he looked? But when the floods came, it revealed who was wise and who was foolish. 

Your family may be mocking you because of your faith.  Your friends may be mocking you and making fun of you for loving Jesus.  But the day after the rapture, you’re going to look like a genius. 

The angels came in to get Lot and his family, and the men of Sodom and Gomorrah tried to force themselves on them.  They were arrogant.  They were ungodly.  They had no fear of God whatsoever.  Then Lot and his family were taken out, and the fire and brimstone started.  Think about the day before the fire and brimstone and the day of the fire and brimstone—and the difference in the spirit.

I was in New York City the December right after 9/11.  If you’ve ever been to New York City, you know there’s a lot of noise.  But after 9/11 it was absolutely quiet.  Churches were filled.  People were respectful.  Horns didn’t honk.  If you’ve ever been to New York City, you know that’s an absolute miracle.  We were there for a week—and I didn’t hear a horn honk once.  People were respectful.  They were humble. 

Let me tell you something.  The tribulation will make 9/11 look like a Sunday School party.  The world will change dramatically the day after the rapture.  Don’t envy sinners.

One last thing I want to encourage you to do is to keep living for God and not this world.  We need to keep God first—whatever it takes.  We need to be in accountable relationships with fellow believers.  Here is an important exhortation in Hebrews 10:24-25:

“Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, is as the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The writer of Hebrews is telling us here that as we are witnessing the signs of the end-times and see the return of Christ drawing nearer, that it will be even more important for us to see the fellowship, accountability and encouragement of believers and church.

I have followed Jesus for over 46 years.  I’m a pastor.  I’m a spiritual man.  I know the Bible.  But if I got out of Christian fellowship in the world we are living in, I would fall.  If I did not have close Christian friends around me, holding me accountable and loving me, I would fall.  I don’t believe any person in this world can make it spiritually without church and without good, godly friends.  Your friends are your future.

The moral climate of the world we are living in a major sign of the end-times. The reason I have called this series on the end-times Tipping Point is because the world we once knew will never be here again. The world around us will become even more corrupt until Jesus comes. We have reached the Tipping Point. And now as believers we must focus more than ever on living for Jesus and not allowing the world to corrupt us.

You can watch an extended clip of Morality at a Tipping Point below.