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Where Will You Spend Eternity? - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2024 12:00 am

Where Will You Spend Eternity? - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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May 6, 2024 12:00 am

Gain knowledge on the two possible destinations for each person after death—heaven or hell.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, May 6th. Have you ever wondered about what happens after death? Let's find out in part one of Where Will You Spend Eternity? When you die, where will you spend eternity?

You're going to spend it somewhere and the question is, where are you going to spend it? Now, the word eternity is one of those words that's very difficult for us to comprehend because we were born in time. We think in terms of seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and years and decades and centuries, but the Bible speaks of eternal things.

That is, things that will last for eternity. That is, forever and ever and ever. And the theologians and the philosophers, the centrists have been trying to portray what would eternity be like? But they never have been able to come up with an adequate portrayal of what eternity is. And so to try to do so would be foolish except to say it is forever and ever and ever when time is ceased to be.

In the timeless forever, that's what we are talking about. That which has begun will never cease to be. The Bible speaks of the eternal kingdom, eternal life, eternal death, eternal salvation, eternal fire. The Bible speaks of many things being eternal.

That is, things that will keep on lasting and will never come to an end. Now, the theme of this message is simply that question. And I want to challenge you to listen very carefully, not to my opinion, but to what Almighty God says. And this is the book of God. This is the book by which you're going to be judged.

And don't you think it would be rather foolish for you to turn it off when you're about to hear what God thinks about where you are going to spend eternity? So I want you to turn, if you will, to Matthew chapter 25. And in this twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, the Lord Jesus Christ is beginning the judgment.

And in beginning in verse thirty-one, I want us to read verses thirty-one through thirty-four, skip to forty-one and then to forty-six because the passages between are familiar to you and I want you to get the import of these passages. Verse thirty-one, But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

And he will put the sheep on his right, and the goats on the left. Then the king will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. And then in verse forty-one he says, Then he will also say to those on his left, Depart from me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels. Now he, on the one hand, he says, Come, you who are blessed for the eternal kingdom prepared before the foundation of the world. To those on his left hand, he's going to say, Depart from me, ye accursed. And he will say to them, Into the eternal fire which has been prepared not for people, but for the devil and his angels. And he concludes this message in verse forty-six by saying, And these will go away in the eternal punishment, on the left, but the righteous on the right, into eternal light.

And the question is, when you die, not if, but when you die, where will you spend eternity? Now, all of us human beings have had a beginning. In that we are unlike God because He had no beginning because He's the eternal God with no beginning and no end. On the other hand, we're going to live forever. And in that light, we are like God. Once born, listen, once born, we live forever.

Unlike God, we have a beginning. Like God, we have no ending. Now the truth is, it's a very sobering thought to think, my friend, that you will never cease to exist.

You may not like your circumstances. You may say, I just wish I could die and end it all. The only thing you can end by dying now is your present circumstances.

You can't end your life. Because you see, our eternity is not something you and I have control of. Now, we do make decisions in life and we will make a decision which will determine where we will spend eternity when we die.

But you and I have no control over the fact that when we die, we'll keep on living somewhere. The Bible nowhere teaches non-existence. The Bible says that it is appointed unto man once to die. And after this, not non-existence, but after this, the judgment and following the judgment is our eternal state. When the Bible speaks of destruction, it does not mean annihilation.

Nowhere does the Bible even imply annihilation of the soul, annihilation of the body, or annihilation of the spirit. Once born, we live forever. Now, when you and I die, death is not the end. It is simply the transition between this life and the next life. And there are three types of death according to the Scripture. There is physical death, which is the separation of the soul from the body. There is eternal death, which is the separation of the person from God. And then there is the second death the Bible speaks of in the Scripture. And that second death is the finality, the finality and the fixation of that separation from God. Once a person has been consigned to one of two places in eternity, it is fixed and final forever. There is not one single verse of Scripture that even gives a hint of implication that you'll be able to move from one state of eternity to the other. So there's nothing in the Bible to imply annihilation, but rather that we will die.

And the Bible says it is appointed. That is, God has already set a time that every single one of us will die. And he says after that comes the judgment. Once born, we live forever.

The question is, where do we live? Secondly, once born, we will stand before the Lord and give an account for our life. For you see, according to the Scriptures, all of us have been given a stewardship of life. Even in this very passage in Matthew chapter 25, one of the most famous of the Lord's parables is the one of the talents. And you'll recall in this fourteenth verse, he says, The master called his servants and said to them, Going away, I want to entrust something into your hands, and I'm coming back to ask you to give an account. The one he gave five talents, another two, another one. The story goes that the master went away and he came back, and he asked them to give an account for the way they had invested their talents.

Two of them, the five and the two double theirs, one hid his talent. And the Scripture says that the master was very displeased and said the one who hid his did not use it, did not bring it to its full value. It would be taken away from him. And verse 30 says, And he cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness, and that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And he begins the very next verse, our scripture we just read. But when the Son of Man comes in his glory and all of his angels with him, then he will sit on his throne.

That is his throne of judgment. And all of us are going to give an account for our life. He says, for example, in Romans Chapter 14, verse 10, that all of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for our life. He says in Second Corinthians Chapter five and verse 10, that every one of us will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and give account for the deeds done in our body, whether they be good or evil.

In First Corinthians Chapter three, verses 11 through 15, Paul is describing the judgment seat of Christ when you and I who are believers stand before him. And he says in this passage that the foundation of our life is the Lord Jesus Christ. But upon this foundation, all of us by our daily life are building either out of wood, hay and stubble, or gold, silver, precious stones, works that will last or works that will be consumed when you and I stand in the judgment of Christ and give an account for our life.

That is, we are all going to give an account. Those who have decided that they do not want Jesus Christ as their savior will stand in the great white throne judgment and they will be condemned and they will be judged because of their works. All of us who received the Lord Jesus Christ will stand before him in that day and we too shall be judged. And here's what he says in this third chapter of First Corinthians. He says, as we stand before him in that day, he says, if any man builds upon the foundation that is of Christ, gold, silver, precious stone, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will be tried.

It'll be tried by fire and it will be revealed the quality of his life. That is, when you and I stand before the Lord, the quality of our life, the way you and I invested our time, our talents, our gifts, all that God has placed at our disposal, he says, is going to be revealed. And verse 14, if any man's work which he's built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward.

It's going to be a time of great reward. If any man's work is burned up, wood, hay, stubble, that is corn shucks, wheat, that is, things that are combustible, wrong motives, poor use of our time, wrong use of our money, wrong use of our relationships, he says, these things will be consumed because they're combustible and he says, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. That is, the judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ is not going to be easy even for believers because more than likely we're going to see what we could have been, what we could have done, what we could have accomplished, what God meant to do, and then we'll see what we did, what we've accomplished, what we've achieved. The Bible says that God's going to wipe away all tears because I believe that judgment's going to be a time of great tears, of great sorrow. When we look at the Lord Jesus Christ and see him in all of his glory and all of his power and see that he lived within us all of our life and everything God wanted us to do we could do, those things that God led us to do he would empower us to do, those things that we thought we couldn't do because we didn't think we were good enough, didn't have the ability, didn't have the talent, didn't have the means, God will show us we had all of that living on the inside of us and all we had to do is to believe him and we're going to lose so much of what could have been ours to enjoy for all eternity and what is left we're going to be able to enjoy for eternity.

It's going to be a time of weeping. But every single one of us is going to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ. Then the Bible says in Revelation chapter 20, look at that if you will, in the 20th chapter of Revelation one of the most sorrowing chapters in all the Bible.

And here again is evidence that man is not destroyed, he has not become extinct, he is not annihilated, he lives. Verse 11 of chapter 20 of the book of Revelation says, And I saw a great white throne, and him who sat upon it from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books according to their deeds.

Now listen, they're coming from everywhere. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them, and they were judged, every one of them, according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire, this is the second death, the lake of fire, and if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown in the lake of fire. Chapter 21 verse 7, He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their parts shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. My friend, if you are one of those persons who's decided in life that you're just going to have yourself one big time, you're going to live your life, you're going to live it up, you don't want God interfering with your life, you certainly don't want any churches, no preachers, no Christians bothering you, you've already decided that you're going to live your life and you're going to do just like you please, and one of these days when life is just about over and you're sort of too old to enjoy life anyway, you're finally going to say, okay God, here I am. I want to tell you, my friend, that is the most foolish, that is the blindest, most ignorant, and could be the most eternal mistake you'll ever make in your life to think that you're going to live your life as long as you choose, ignoring, shutting God out, and then finally one of these days you're going to turn over the leftovers to God. I want to tell you, my friend, that is to blaspheme the very purpose for which God created you in this world.

We are talking about the God who is your creator, and you're going to offer him what is left over when the very purpose for which he gave you all that you have is to glorify and to honor him. The Bible says that every single one of us is going to stand before the Lord and give account in one of two judgments, either in the judgment seat of Christ, where only rewards will be at stake because our salvation has brought us to that judgment. The great white throne judgment, only those will be there who have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. And listen, in the judgment seat of Christ, our capacity to enjoy and to be used of God for eternity is going to be determined, my friend, by what's going on here and now.

When a person lives their life and rejects the Lord Jesus Christ and dies and stands before the great white throne judgment, I want to tell you, my friend, your suffering and the intensity of it in a place called the lake of fire is going to be determined by what you're doing here and now. That's why every day of our life is important. The way we invest our time, our talents, our gifts, remembering the purpose for which we have been created to glorify and honor the God, the eternal God who is the God of this universe and before whom we shall one day bow and confess that his son Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Once born, we live forever. Once born, we live forever and will stand before him and give an account for our life. Once born, we're going to spend eternity in one of two places. Somebody says, well, I'll tell you, I believe in a loving God.

So do I. Somebody says, well, I believe that God will certainly take into consideration. He certainly will.

Something very simple. Whether you have deliberately rejected his son or whether you have accepted his son as your personal savior, that is the ultimate question that will determine where you spend eternity so that no one can ever accuse God of being unfair, unjust, unloving, unkind. God is fair. God is just. God is loving. God is kind.

And if you'll think about it, God has done everything in his power to make it possible for every single one of us to become the maximum of all that he potentially made us to be. That's why he sent his only begotten son Jesus Christ into the world. And he died on an old rugged cross and spilt his blood in order that you and I may be forgiven of our sins. We may be saved by his grace.

We may be indwelt by his Holy Spirit and we may glorify him in our life. God has done everything he can possibly do and still be God. God has done every single thing he can possibly do to make it possible for you to spend eternity with him for which he created you. He will not cross out your will. He will not violate your right to make the final choice of where you're going to spend eternity. He has done everything he could possibly do and still remain God in order to get you to heaven. Now listen to what the Bible says. In that 14th chapter of John, as the Lord Jesus Christ in the upper room is sharing with his apostles right before he leaves them the next day, going to be crucified, here's what he said.

He said, Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions.

If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. Now watch this. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there you may be also. Do you know what makes heaven heaven? It is the presence of God the Father, the presence of God the Son, the presence of God the Holy Spirit. You recall when Paul the apostle is writing to the Thessalonian church and he's describing the events that are going to take place at the rapture of the church when he comes for his church. Listen to what he says in verse 16 of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Jesus says I'm coming to receive you to myself that where I am, there you may be also. He says when he comes and our bodies are raptured up and translated up, he says we shall forever be with the Lord. The thing that makes heaven heaven is the presence of the living God.

Now think about this. When the Lord Jesus Christ saved you, what did he do? When the Lord Jesus Christ saved you, he came in to live on the inside of you in the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ who saved you and me has come to live on the inside of us and Paul the Apostle said he has now become our life so that when he appears, we also shall appear with him. God the Father, so intent on wonderful perfect fellowship with us, not only is satisfied with being in heaven and speaking to us and giving us the Bible and sharing with us from there, but he's come to live on the inside of us through the Holy Spirit until he calls us home to be with him. When he calls us, he will judge us and reward us and when he judges us and rewards us, he will assign us into the place called eternal heaven. That is the eternal presence of God where we will live forever and ever and ever, no clocks, no calendars, no time, forever we shall be with the Lord because one day back there somewhere, we placed our trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary and the moment we did that our sins were forgiven, salvation became ours and name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life and forever and ever and ever, we were deemed at that time sons and daughters of the living God having been translated into the kingdom of God, into the family of God where we shall live forever and ever and ever. That is the blessing of the redeemed, we are a part of the kingdom of God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-06 05:46:24 / 2024-05-06 05:54:50 / 8

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