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A Hell of a Message: The Opportunity to Avoid Judgement

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
April 8, 2021 3:00 am

A Hell of a Message: The Opportunity to Avoid Judgement

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 8, 2021 3:00 am

We can have a steady diet of donuts and burgers and then blame the giant carbohydrate conglomerates for our weight gain. We can speed and blame the cop for our traffic ticket. But at some point, we all need to take personal responsibility for our choices. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out no one goes to hell by accident. God gives opportunity after opportunity to choose the path that leads to heaven. Today, we’ll examine the clear choice where we spend eternity.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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The following message from Pastor Greg Laurie is made possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God, to find out how to know God personally go to know KNOW know he would you do me a favor sure this message was someone who needs to hear it. God wants everybody to have a force anyone to go there. Pastor Greg Laurie for child God gives everyone an opportunity to avoid judgment to many choose their own way then blame God the world to hell is paved with excuses was therefore a prison in which the doors are locked from the inside by us. Therefore, from the outside by God's where it's really up to guide donuts. Berg blamed the giant carbohydrate week, we can speed limit, for traffic at some point we all need to take personal responsibility for choices today and a new beginning.

Pastor Greg Laurie no one goes to hell by accident. God gives opportunity after opportunity. Choose the path that leads to heaven today will examine the clear choice where we spend eternity.

One of the criticisms of work for many years was you know I don't like all these hellfire and brimstone preachers.

I don't like to hear that sort of thing you know in a way I see that point, but here's my question. When's the last time you saw hellfire and brimstone preacher.

This is a subject that many pastors avoid now understand I'm not advocating hellfire and brimstone preachers if by that we mean you no condescending, self righteous, sweaty, weird people yelling at people.

Okay. But if by that we mean someone that tells the truth about both heaven and hell, maybe we could use a few more of them. Now I'm not saying that we would be talking about hell now every week. It's not like going to harvest all hell all the time know that but were not going to avoid the topic because I think we make a huge mistake when we say I don't want to discuss this subject because as I pointed out before Jesus spoke more about hell that all the other preachers of the Bible put together so Jesus, the very author of grace spoke about how more often in a vivid bloodcurdling manner than anyone else, it must be a crucial truth. If Jesus took the time to address it over and over again and clearly it matters so we need to know more about it now will get a look at Luke chapter 16. This is a behind-the-scenes look of the afterlife. A look at what really happens when a person leaves this life.

This story that Jesus told his true story. I might add, tells us what happened to a believer and a non-believer salutes 16. Let's read together starting in verse 19.

There was a certain rich man who is splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and he lived each day and lecturing reading from the new living translation and that is Gately a poor man named Lazarus was covered with sores as Lazarus lay their longing for scraps from the rich man's table.

The dogs would come and lick his open sores. Funny, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet drop down to verse 22 know I'm reading from the new King James version. The rich man also died and was buried in being in torment in Hades he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off Lazarus in his bosom and he cried and said father Abraham, have mercy on me, send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue fried tormented in this flame. Abraham said, son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things. Now he is comforted you are tormented. Beside all this beside between us. There is a great gulf fixed so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from their pastor was. Then he said I bet you therefore, father that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers that he may testify to them, lest they come to this place of torment. Abraham said they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. And he said no father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent and he said to him that they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither what will they be persuaded, the one rise from the dead. So. There we learned a few important things about hell that if you're taking notes you might want to write these down number one and help people suffer. I know that's a hard thing to wrap your mind around, but it's taught in Scripture. The rich man spoke of torment indicating suffering is a real thing in the hereafter. The word torment is used four times in the text of the story. When nonbelievers died they don't go to purgatory.

There's no such place as purgatory nor do they go into a state of soul sleep that doesn't exist either, nor are they reincarnated as a higher or lower life form depending on what kind of life. A blip. The Bible says it's appointed and women to die and then comes the judgment now.

Ultimately, the first of all, the go to Hades but ultimately they go to a place called the lake of fire spoken of. Later in the book of Revelation that is after the great white throne judgment. Now of course the first question the terms and reminders. The obvious one. How could a God of love. Send someone to hell). I thought God was loving. Why would he allow something like this. Okay, let me respond with this statement is not God giving people what they really wanted CS Lewis put it this way. Quote there are only two kinds of people in the those who say to God, thy will be done in those to whom God says in the end, thy will be done. All horn held choose it without self choice, there would be no hell." So you're really choosing this Timothy Keller put it this way, quote people only get in the afterlife. What they have most wanted either to have God as Savior and Master to be their own saviors and Masters hell is simply once freely chosen path going on forever." You know, we wanted to get away from God and God in his infinite justice sends us what we want to go so is Hannah want God. I don't want Jesus. I don't want to have been. I don't want forgiveness. Okay, you're just basically charting your own course toward a final judgment number two. Once you are in hell. You cannot cross over to have so you can pray for a person or do anything to get a person out of this place. It's done. Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body will be passed from the visible world into the invisible world. It's a one-way trip now for the believer. It marks our entrance into paradise in the presence of Christ.

For the nonbeliever in March. Their entrance into Hades or hell. Number three.

Your conscious there, and fully aware of where you are. Your conscious there, and fully aware of where you are. Notices guy mentions his brother's verse 28.

I have five brothers and I want to testify to them so they don't come to this place of torment. You know, so he's kind of angry even seems angry at God.

Hey, I know about this place and this is unfair and I want to go warn my brothers and Abraham effectively puts them in this place for 29 Abraham said they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear that notice of Richmond did not see a great time and I glad my brothers are coming because were going to party because you gotta fight for your right to party. Beastie boys told me that you're not going to party and help you to be torture and eternal separation from God. Yes, he says, but what of one goes to them from the dead, then they will repent what they let's say someone died and we could do a legitimate resurrection were God brought them back from the grave would people believe is a result of that happened to a guy name Lazarus thought this Lazarus another Lazarus. Remember Lazarus died. He had been in the tomb for multiple day in the immortal words of Martha King James. He said Lord. By now he stink it. That's King James for he was decomposing. He was long gone and what did Jesus do.

We went to the tomb of Lazarus and he said Lazarus come forth and Lazarus was restored to life and what a drag to be Lazarus been in heaven like three days now. It's awesome. And the Lord says I have some bad news.

Have to send you back and you have to go back now. Why is Jesus is calling you better get back there. It's a good thing.

Jesus didn't just say come forth because of you just said, come forth every body and every grave all around the planet would burst out simultaneously yet to be specific. Lazarus, come forth.

Diesel wrapped in bandages is what is tenant awkward help of the young found him he was a lot. So then we come to the scene in the Bible where Jesus is with his disciples Martha serving Mary's made the food and Lazarus. Is there I mean can you imagine how amazing that conversation would been so Lazarus tell me a little bit about the afterlife. He was alive. He was a man brought back from the dead, so everybody believed right now the Pharisee started plotting about how to kill Lazarus how great he gets to die twice now, but my point is simply this care was a man brought back from the grave was alive in front of them and they wanted to kill why because the world doesn't like to see resurrected people the world doesn't like to see people transformer the power of God. The world is a like it when somebody is been a heroin addict or alcoholic say I've been set free by Christ. The world doesn't like it when someone who's been in a gay lifestyle, just God is transforming that I've left that lifestyle that I'm following Jesus all they don't like to hear that story they want to silence people who tell that story. And that's why we must tell the story to as many people as we can because Christ can bring people back to life again. Yes, physically, but without question spiritually and really the spiritual resurrection is even more significant than the physical, because even if you're brought back from the grave. You don't die anyway so you and I have to die twice. Okay. And as I said last time no one in heaven if given the choice, would choose to come back to earth again. We can be sure that by now, of course, the most obvious example cost. We know that rose from the dead. Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead, and he was crucified he was beaten beyond human recognition. His body was so traumatized. Isaiah said you couldn't even tell he was a man but yet here was Jesus walking among his disciples, preparing a meal for his disciples, and of course he ascends to heaven.

But the point is that everyone believe after Christ rose from the dead son did, but many did not. So even if someone came back from the grave. A person would not necessarily believe yeah so this is what the Bible teaches Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message just a moment, everybody Greg Laurie here personally inviting you to join us for what we call Harvest at Home. It's a Bible study.

It's a worship service. It church in your home, you're not able to get out your church right now. If so, join us per Harvest at Home people are listening this from around the world listen to this.

We have seen thousands of people make a commitment to follow Christ. Join us this weekend harvest@home.o today. Pastor Greg is resenting an important message about the judgment.

People choose when they don't choose to come to God through Jesus Christ. Let's continue. Now let's make this person who's going to go to heaven and who's going to go to hell. It's really up to us.

But if we believe biblical teaching. Here's the reality. Jesus said brought as a way that leads to destruction, and many there are the go that way, but narrow is the way the lease alive and few there are that find you decide what road you're going to get on you decide if you're going to be on the Broadway. The easy way. The popular way or you decide if you're going to be on the narrow way of following Christ and God wants everybody in heaven but is not enough force anyone to go there the road to hell is peeved with excuses.

Hell is therefore a prison in which the doors are first log from the inside by us and therefore are locked from the outside by God, then repeat that hell is a prison in which the doors are first log from the inside by us and therefore are locked from the outside by Godson, who said where did God send you to hell for the person or Denzer know they went there of their own volition and not only did they go there of their own volition. They practically had to climb over Jesus to get there because here's Jesus who says I don't want you to go to hell to pay the price on the cross so you don't have to and I will forgive you of all of your sin and all you have to do is believe in me, and turn from you soon will.

I don't want that will please and he pleads with us in throughout our lives. The Holy Spirit calls us in reaches out to us and we say no no no no no no no and then our hearts get hard and harder and harder so we end up in this place really who sent us there.

We set ourselves there. God try to keep us from going there. God is a much better plan for us and that of course is heaven, Jesus effectively phased hell for you on the cross.

2000 years ago Jesus entered the darkness that you might walk in the light. Jesus was forsaken that you might be forgiven because what he say on the cross, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me was that all about. That was the moment. Many believe what all the sin of the world all of your sent all of my sent all of our sin of all humanity, past, present, and those to come was placed on Christ in he was temporarily separated from the father as he bore our sin, he did all of that for us so we don't have to go to hell.

The gospel is a universal declaration that hell is not God's desire for anyone.

For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have ever lasting life but God loves you and he invites you, but if you want to go to your father's house.

You don't have to and he will make you sometimes I think we wish you would. But he won't.

He gives us a choice in the matter. He says I set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life, that you may live here it Is Your Choice Narrow Rd., Broadway life and death, heaven or hell. It's up to you.

I'm asking you to choose Evan I want you to choose Evan, I want to welcome you in heaven. If you don't want to join me in heaven and you chart your own course that final day is going to come in this Kennedy well a very final day and so the first thing that comes to my mind is I want to make sure that if there's anyone I know that is not a believer that I go and give them the gospel and you and I think were reluctant to bring hell out because it really might offend you can't tell him the truth might be like going to the doctor and you're very sick and you can read going to vacation any want the doctor to give you, you know, clean bill of health. You want to say you're good to go in. The doctor rents testing you know she really, you're in trouble you to go in for surgery tomorrow and he is going to vacation take a month off.

It's all good.

The doctors that he should be a doctor need to tell you the truth so I think we're the same way sometimes up. Oh yes, believe in Jesus.

It's so wonderful to forgive you of all of your sending you that I have and it's also one of I don't believe in Jesus will be due. It's a big deal wanted to say hell, why not.

Jesus said hell.

The Bible says hell explain it explained that God is want people to go there but I think there's a point where we should warn people about judgments. Otherwise we cannot declare the whole counsel of God, I'm so glad I'm not going to hell and I'm so glad you're not going to hell as I know the probably everyone here believes in Jesus, but there might be a few of you that don't, and here's what needs to happen now you decide will you spend eternity by what you do with Jesus Christ died on the cross for you, he paid the price for your sin, and he rose again from the dead and now he stands at the door of your life, and he knocks and he says if you hear his voice and open the door he will come in. So here's my question to you.

In closing, if you died tonight. Where would you go all go to heaven. And why do you say that because I'm a good person know you're not, what else you got about Girl Scout cookies.

The other day.

That's nice. What else you got very careful when I take my trash out the recycling that I keep the garbage 70 okay well she got while I was baptized.

That's nice. What else is only one correct answer. I turned for my sin to put my faith in Jesus, you're good to go. Good to go. That's the right answer Jesus. None of that other stuff that not all the religious stuff doesn't matter. You have that hope if you don't you want you can believe in him right now you're saying are you telling me that despite the life I've lived in the best things done. If I were to say to God right now. I'm sorry for my sins.

Are you actually telling me ball preacher, are you saying to me that God would forgive me of every wrong I've ever done. And I get out go to have.

Yes I'm saying that because God says we can happen for you, but you must come to him now were going to pray, to give you an opportunity to ask Christ to come in your life and no that you go to heaven when you die you don't know this. This is your moment to get right with God. That spring father we pray now for everybody here. Everybody watching and listening wherever they may be, and I pray Lord that is we talked about a difficult subject for the true one that you will help people to see. This is no game.

This is no joke. This is the most important thing of all, what will spend eternity and I pray for every person who does not know you that you will help them become to you and believing you in Jesus name I pray a great glory.

Important word of prayer.

And if you know you need to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord.

Pastor Greg will come back to help you do that in just a moment before today's addition of a new beginning wraps up to here today study again.

Just go to or use our harvest app. You can stream the message for free or for a CD copy. Call 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24 seven phone number again 1-800-821-3300 yesterday were so happy to make available your brand-new book called Billy Graham the man I knew and then it you talk about some abilities early days preaching, and how sometimes it didn't go very well, yeah, and you said in the book that you've had a few times when you first started that didn't exactly make the highlight reel. Oh, what would you say to a young person who feels called to preach and teach but they're just wondering if they have what it takes to what I would say I think of the words of the Lord to Moses who had something of a speech impediment and try to get out of being called to represent him and the Lord said, I'll be with you, and I think you know you just have to take steps of faith and be willing to leave your comfort zone to let God use you and nobody starts out perfectly and Billy had his hardships and challenges and difficulties. One time he got up to speak and and pretty much took every sermon he had ever come up with and give them all at one time and it was over with them like nine minutes. Heather reminds me of one of the times I spoke in front Billy. They asked me to be in his Board of Directors and I was there the table and there said Billy Graham and Cliff Barrows and other legends of the Graham team and and they asked me to do a little devotion and all I remember is is not going into an altered state of consciousness. I mean here. I've stood in stadiums and preach the thousands of people, but I've never been more and intimidated that I was speaking in front of Billy Graham himself and and he was very affirming and very encouraging buddy. He was Billy Graham. And when you're starting out serving the Lord. If your preacher or just sharing your faith.

You can make mistakes but that's okay. You know, just give it your best shot at learn from your mistakes, and press on and that's what Billy did and in fact he became a brilliant orator the master communicator, but he never lost touch with who he was a farm boy from North Carolina and God raised him up to be the greatest evangelist not only of his lifetime, but in my opinion the greatest evangelist in human history. So that's why wanted to write a book about a minutes called Billy Graham the man that I knew by the way, that title came from Franklin Graham. I've written other books on people you may have heard of like Steve McQueen and Johnny Cash wrote a book called Steve McQueen the salvation of an American icon wrote another book called Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon, so was my intention to call this book, Billy Graham, the making of an American icon, Franklin said to me that he would not want to be called an icon. Is it really says no you shouldn't call it that.

You should instead call it Billy Graham, the man that I knew and I said that's a good title so we had already on the cover art was on its way and we redesigned it were able to change it to this title, and he was a man I knew I got to know him well and he never disappointed me.

That's quite a thing to say but it actually is true. Well, it's a landmark biography on Billy's life with exhaustive painstaking research that literally took years in spite of how well Pastor Greg knew Billy personally. He found out so much more. During that in-depth research and you'll benefit from these deep insights so we hope you get in touch for your own copy of Billy Graham, the man I knew will send it to say thank you for your donation of any size. Your donation makes a huge difference not only in being able to bring these studies your way, but also reaching out with the gospel.

Just as Billy Graham did we saw more than 150,000 decisions for Christ in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic and is because listeners like you said yeah Greg, I want to help that kind of outreach happen. So thank you for your investment right now and to thank you tangibly will send you a copy of this brand-new biography, Billy Graham, the man I knew just write a new beginning.

Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300. We are here to take your call around the clock. So again, dial 1-800-821-3300 or go online to will Pastor Greg, a couple of moments ago you talk to the importance of coming to the Lord to have our sins forgiven.

Yes if somebody listening right now wants to do that. Could you help yeah I can do that David be happy to the book of Isaiah we read these words seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous man their thoughts let them return to the Lord and he will have mercy on them and to our God, for he will freely pardon this and that's God's word to you and let me address this to the person was never asked Jesus Christ to come into their life. Why don't you do it now that versus seek the Lord while he may be found, God is touched your heart today perhaps and you thought I need this relationship of the Lord. One of these days I'm gonna make that commitment to Christ no, don't wait for one of these days.

This is the day this is your moment, seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.

Listen God is near to you and he is ready to come into your life and there's another part of this verse when it says let us return to the Lord.

I want to also extend an invitation to you that have fallen away from your faith. You fallen away from the Lord, and you need to make a recommitment. So if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life if you want your sin forgiven, if you want to go to heaven when you die, or if you fallen away from the Lord, and you want to return to them.

Pray this prayer with me, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner but I also know that you are a Savior and I need your help. I need your forgiveness come in the my life and forgive me of all of my sins, I choose to follow you from this moment forward be my Savior be my Lord be my God in be my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer.

Thank you for answering this prayer in Jesus name I pray, amen and want you to know on the authority of Scripture.

If you just prayed that prayer and minute Christ is heard you and he is forgiven you, so God bless you and we want to help you begin to grow in your new faith. We want to send you some resource materials we call our new believers growth packet. It'll answer some of the questions you might have and get you started off right to contact us for your new believers growth packet will send it free of charge if you prayed with Pastor Greg for the first time today. Write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300 or go to and click the words know God well next time more from Pastor Greg series the afterlife and the eternal look at Angels and Demons next on your on a new beginning.

Pastor Greg Laurie possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God sign up for pastor grades free daily email,

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