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The King Judges Unbelievers Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
September 28, 2021 1:00 am

The King Judges Unbelievers Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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September 28, 2021 1:00 am

Is the idea of hell repugnant to you? The Bible teaches that there is an ultimate lake of fire where unbelievers will go. But why will unbelievers be judged this way? And what is the basis of this judgment?

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Many people find the idea of hell repugnant, but the Bible teaches that there is an ultimate lake of fire where unbelievers will go. Today, the basis of judgment for those who never heard the Gospel and the basis for those who did. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, many say that hell is unjust for those who die never having even heard of Jesus. Well Dave, as you know, what I like to emphasize is that people will be judged not for the light that they didn't have but for the light that they did have.

And I think that throughout all of eternity we will agree that what God did was eminently just. I've written a book entitled The King is Coming. Actually, it is an exposition of ten events that you, my friend, in one way or another, are going to be involved in, all of them future, all of them momentous. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com. In a moment I'm going to give you a phone number, but I want to thank you in advance for helping us as we continue this ministry in 20 different countries.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. We believe that this resource will be of tremendous insight and help to you in your Christian walk. Now let us listen to God's word and the doctrine of hell. Now you have to understand that the principle by which God is going to judge is simply this. People are going to be judged on the basis of what they did with what they knew based on their conscience, based on the light of nature, and based on whether or not they ever heard the gospel.

All of that factors in. I mean, nobody is going to stand there who's never heard of Jesus. They've never heard the gospel, some pagan somewhere, and God is going to say to them, well, I'm sending you to hell because you didn't believe on Jesus. I mean, that would be manifestly unjust. How can you hold people accountable to respond to a message that they never heard?

So that's not going to be a part of the thing. It is going to be what they did with what they knew. Intuitively, because of conscience, they knew that lying was wrong, and yet they lied. Intuitively, because of conscience, they knew that immorality was wrong, and yet they were immoral. There was something deep within them that told this is not the way it's to be, and they squelched their conscience. The light of nature reminds them of the greatness and the grandeur of God. If they had contemplated that, they'd have known that as well. And then if they heard the gospel, my, how much more responsibility they would have. Jesus made the statement, he said that it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than it will be for those cities that rejected me when I was here on earth. Why?

Because of so much more light. It all is factored in. M.R.D. Hahn, who was a Bible teacher of another era, said that for the head hunter who never heard of Jesus, his hell will appear as heaven in comparison with the person who listened to the gospel and hardened his heart against it and did not believe. Jesus made it very clear that responsibility is based on knowledge. The one who knew God's will is punished more than the person who didn't.

It is all fair. And then not only that, but they are judged also on the basis of the impact that they had in terms of the perpetuation of evil. You know, Jesus said that if you offend a little child, if you cause a child to stumble, it would be better for you if you were drowned in the sea, actually. It'd be better to do that because if you take a child, and he's not just talking about predators. He's talking about parents who don't live for their children and teach them the way of righteousness. He's talking about causing little ones who believe in Christ to stumble.

Very serious. Now you take, for example, a man who is absolutely committed to immorality. He wants to be the most immoral man that you could possibly imagine.

Now that's one thing. That will incur one kind of judgment. But now take this man, and not only does he want to be immoral, he wants to dedicate his life to make sure that others are immoral, too, and to glamorize it. So he begins publishing pornographic magazines that are sold by the millions every month. And throughout all the world, there are people who are hooked on pornography because he introduced it to them. The Bible says in Romans chapter 2 that there are those who not only do evil, but they take pleasure in those that do it.

So he gets pleasure from knowing that his own lifestyle, which has been so immoral, has now been passed off onto so many, incur much more severe judgment. False teachers. Oh, we could just go into the New Testament. False teachers, because it's one thing to be wrong about your view of hell and salvation.

It's another thing to preach it to millions and to get them to believe. And so all of the judgment is going to be meticulously meted out in accordance with what they did, what they talked about, and who they were. So much then for the records and their examination.

Next we find that the sentence is pronounced. And they are brought forth, and this is the second death. If anyone's name, there's a second book here now, was not found written in the Book of Life. What's that Book of Life? We've encountered it before in the Book of Revelation, haven't we? The Book of Life is the Book of the Redeemed.

Do you remember chapter 13 when we mentioned it and I commented on it? It is the book of those who have been purchased by Christ and belong to Him. And so far as we know, nobody in this judgment is found in that book.

Those whose names are found in that book, they had a separate judgment, but they are in heaven with Jesus. If you've been following this series of messages, you will know that. And so I can imagine that there are people who are going to argue and say, well, look again. Look again. My name should be there. Lord, did we not cast out demons in your name? And in your name do many wonderful works. And the Lord will say to them, I never knew you.

Depart from me, you workers of iniquity. Your name isn't in the Book of Life. And so everyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was thrown into the Lake of Fire. You say, oh, Father Luther, this is overkill.

What do you mean the Lake of Fire? OK, so they sinned against God. OK, so they were evil. But why such a strict judgment? Well, let's think about that for a little bit.

What if the greatness of a sin was dependent on the person against whom it was committed? Let's just assume that. You know, when we were boys growing up on the farm, someone has given this illustration, which I'm using. When we were boys out on the farm, we used to throw snowballs at one another.

No big deal. But you know, if you throw a snowball at a postman, the mailman, you might be in a little bit of trouble. You throw it at a policeman, you might be even in more trouble. You throw it at the president and you're arrested. And you say to yourself, wait a moment. Are you throwing a snowball?

We used to do them all the time when we were growing up in Iowa. What's wrong with throwing a snowball at the president? Wait a moment. The higher you go up in the ladder, the more culpability. And those small, petty sins that people commit thinking, it's no big deal. It is a big deal because all sin ultimately is against a wholly transcendent, pure, eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent God. And that makes it a big deal. So sin is a much bigger deal than you and I think it is because of whom it is committed against.

There's another thing. You are an eternal being. Whoever you are today listening, by whatever means, let me tell you, you will live somewhere eternally. And remember this, that those who find themselves in this judgment are eternally guilty. Eternally guilty.

Wow. You say, well, is the fire of hell literal? I don't know because on the one hand it says the fire and the other hand it says outer darkness where you are separated from others. Both of those descriptions are in the Scriptures.

Even if it is symbolic, it has to be symbolic of something. Something horrendously awful. And catch this now for all of eternity. And I could give illustrations to help us understand the dimensions of eternity. I won't do that, but it is a long, long, long time with no end.

And so they are thrown alive into the lake of fire. The regrets are eternal. Imagine with a heightened memory an ability to recall everything including this message today at the Moody Church.

Imagine these words being replayed in your mind and you said, I sat there and he gave an invitation to come forward and I wouldn't because I was concerned by what others think of me and now look where I am. Thinking those thoughts throughout all of eternity. As Dante said in his Inferno, abandon all hope ye who enter here. You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, you said that the problem with these people is they lacked something that God needed.

What was it? Well, you know what the good news is this. The people who aren't here, who are in God's presence, they settled out of court. That's what they did. They took advantage of a provision that God made so that you don't have to be here.

And the provision sounds something like this. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. He who believes on the Son is not condemned, but he who believes not on the Son is condemned already because he has not believed in the Son of God. Jesus said that those who believe in Him will not see death.

Well, they will die physically, but they will be raised. And here's the good news. The good news is this that these people took advantage, as I hope you have and as I have, they took advantage of settling out of court because Jesus said that if you believe on me, if you believe that my death was a sacrifice for sinners, if you believe that and you receive it as your gift, you will be saved on the basis of my merit because I bore your hell when I died on the cross. And if you trust me, you don't have to bear yours.

Isn't that good news? You say, well, why Jesus? Why Jesus? There's nobody else out there who's a Savior.

I mean, who are you going to go to? Buddha? Buddha didn't claim that he was a Savior. Enlightened but no Savior.

Muhammad himself said that he wasn't sure of his final destiny. He can't help you. Sorry, but he can't. Krishna can't help you.

Baha'u'llah surely can't. He said he had enlightenment, but no answer to the problem of sin. You see, because Jesus was God, he's the only one qualified to give you the righteousness that God will accept. He gives you two gifts, forgiveness and righteousness, the gift of God of righteousness, so that you are credited with his righteousness even though it isn't inherently yours. It is his, but it's given to you. And on that basis, God says, well, if you trust my son like that, I will welcome you into heaven as if he is, as if you are my son.

You're going to be welcomed and received. And that's why Stephen, when he was being stoned, he looked into the heavens and he saw Jesus on the right hand of the Father. And Jesus was in effect saying, Stephen, be faithful because when you die, I'm up here for you. I can tell you this, Stephen will not be at this day of judgment.

And neither will you and neither will I if we humble ourselves, admit our sinfulness and believe on Christ. A friend of mine said that he saw a bumper sticker, actually, a very blasphemous bumper sticker, I might say. It said, he died in 33 AD.

Get over it. Can you imagine that? And we say, yeah, he died in 38 AD. He was raised three days later. He's coming again. We're going to worship him and we will never get over it, OK?

Are you OK with that? Have you trusted Christ as Savior? You say, well, I'm unsure.

Hey, you haven't. Because assurance comes to those who believe. Like we sang a moment ago, the vilest of sinners who truly believes that moment from Jesus a pardon receives. Listen, there are going to be people in heaven who committed sins much greater than those who showed up at this judgment. But because they received Christ as Savior, they will make it to the pearly gates, all because of him.

It's all about him. But you have to receive his provision. So what excuse have you brought to this meeting?

So what mental barrier, what hardness of heart stands in the way of you responding to Jesus? In a moment, our soloist is going to come and he's going to sing a song that we ought to sing more often, Rescue the Perishing. It's a song for all of us. After he sings that, we are going to sing a stanza or two of Just as I Am. I was watching a Billy Graham special last night. I do that whenever I can.

And he was on last night. And I was reminded of that song that I love so much, the one that I want to be played when I'm dying in a hospital, just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me and that thou bidst me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come. And I want you to come and I want you to shake my hand right front here to receive counsel that you might leave here today and know that your name is actually in the Book of Life.

Don't let your friends keep you. Couples can come together. Families can come, boyfriends, girlfriends. You join me up here after we have prayed together, after we have listened to a song, and then we shall sing one. Let us pray.

Father, what more could we say, except that we thank you that you give us the privilege of settling out of court. We thank you today for Jesus, who came to rescue us as we were perishing. Help us to spread that message to everyone we meet in one way or another, to represent him well, because eternity is coming. For all those who have never believed on Jesus, perhaps listening by radio or the internet, or right here in the balcony of Moody Church in the lower floor, cause them today to believe. Overcome their resistance and grant them salvation in Jesus.

Amen. My friend today, this is Pastor Lutzer. I want to speak directly to your heart. You have just heard a very hard message, but I believe that it's a true message. And I want to warn you that unless you trust Jesus Christ as your savior, your eternity is going to be horrible, and eternity is a very long time.

We might argue with God saying that he's the one that, of course, seems to be harsh from our standpoint, but he makes the rules, he knows who he is, and we submit to his holy word. Would you believe the gospel today right where you are? Admitting your sinfulness and your need of a savior. I've written a book entitled The King is Coming. It's a resource that we are making available to you so that as you think about the future, you will think about how to live in light of it.

For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. The future is coming and there's nothing that we can do about it except prepare.

rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time once again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Soteriology is a fancy word for the study of salvation. There are two major theological camps on how people actually come to Christ.

Bonnie listens to Running to Win and is concerned about what she hears. Pastor Lutzer, she says, From what I understand about John Calvin, he believed that only the people that God chose will be saved. You said you believed that what John Calvin taught was right. I believe that everyone who's ever been born will have a choice to make. I don't believe that God just chose who he wants to go to heaven. If God only chose certain people, then why would Jesus have to die?

It would be unnecessary. Is this true? Now, Bonnie, you've asked a number of different questions and I need to separate them out. So to clear the air, first of all, I'm not sure what context you heard me talk about John Calvin, but I don't agree with everything that Calvin believed. And that's why I don't like to be called a Calvinist. For example, he believed in infant baptism. He had a different view of the church and so forth.

So I need to separate that out. But the whole issue of whether or not the Bible teaches that only those who have been chosen by God will be saved, that isn't an issue that somehow arose with John Calvin. The real question is not what Calvin taught, the real issue is what the Bible teaches. And as you know, in the book of Ephesians, for example, it talks about the fact that we have been chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world. In the Gospel of John, you have a phrase that is often repeated. Jesus talks about those whom the Father has given me. And I think he uses that phrase six times in John 17 alone. And that's a group of people whom God chose to be saved.

So whether Calvin teaches it or not is not the issue. The question is, is this what Paul and Jesus taught? And I think that we have to agree with Paul and Jesus on this point. Now keep in mind that the invitation is for everybody, whosoever wills may come.

But as you know, there are some people who come and some who don't. The other comment that I want to make is you're saying, if God just chose certain people, why did Jesus have to die? Whether or not God chose certain people, of course Jesus had to die. Because even if God just chose certain people, somebody would have to die for their sins, they'd have to be reconciled to God, God would have to justify them. So I hope that what I've said here is helpful.

Let me give you sort of a summary, because these are huge doctrines. On the one hand, the Bible does teach that God has elected people to eternal life. On the other hand, we do have the invitation for all who wish to believe. And if people listening right now have the desire to believe, they can then prove in effect that they are God's chosen by believing.

So we need to be able to hold those two points in tension. I think that this is as far as we'll get today in giving this answer, but I want you, Bonnie, to wrestle with the scripture yourself. Read it carefully, think about what it says, and I hope that you're able to live with the tension that on the one hand, the Bible does teach about the elect.

On the other hand, the invitation is for everyone, and individual responsibility is taught in the scriptures. Thanks, Bonnie, for making us jump into the deep end of the swimming pool. God bless you, and you have a good day. And thank you, Dr. Lutzer, for that jump into the pool. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. One day, heaven will literally come down to earth in the form of the New Jerusalem. This is what Jesus meant when He said, In My Father's house are many dwelling places. Next time on Running to Win, we'll contemplate the wonder of the Holy City. Thanks for listening to our series on the return of Christ. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-19 03:19:21 / 2023-08-19 03:27:59 / 9

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