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Breaking Barriers Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church Logo

The Final Judgement - Revelation 20:7-15 - In The End

Breaking Barriers / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church
The Truth Network Radio
May 18, 2024 8:00 am

The Final Judgement - Revelation 20:7-15 - In The End

Breaking Barriers / Andrew Hopper | Mercy Hill Church

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May 18, 2024 8:00 am

Jesus’s victory gives you certainty about eternity.


Well, hello Mercy Hill Church. Good to be with you. I was super excited. I get to hear Pastor Randy spitting that vision and I just get so excited about what's to come. I hope that that's going on in your heart as well. Hey, if you're not familiar with me, maybe you remember some of the nicknames that Pastor Andrew has been giving me in sermons.

It seems like every single one. I think most recently I've been labeled that heavy guy. The heavy guy that he walks heavy, lifts heavy, and apparently I even breathe heavy in the microphone when we're trying to do a podcast. But hey, keeping in light with all of that, I'm gonna try to stay true to form with the heavy stuff tonight and we're gonna start right out of the gate really, really heavy.

So if you can just buckle up, I think we're gonna make it to the other side of this thing, but we're gonna start off pretty heavy. All right, so hey, when I was 28 years old, I moved down to Southwest Florida with my family and I was taking a new church job down there. Even though I was 28, I had been in ministry at that point for nine years already. I had never done a funeral before and I had just three months before we moved, I had done my first wedding. So we moved down there, we move into the house, and I go in the first day in the office and the lead pastor, he tells me, hey Jonathan, next week you're gonna be doing a funeral. Now you may say, yeah, that's kind of weird, but I got kind of excited about it. Got kind of excited because I had heard from other pastors that when you're hanging with a family, when they're in that grieving process, there's like this openness to the gospel. And I was excited to experience what that was like for the first time.

So I was excited about it for about five seconds. And then I started to find, I found out more about what the situation was. Turns out that the person I was gonna be doing this funeral for was a seventh grade boy. And just as you're kind of, your heart's sinking, my heart sank as well, it turns out that this seventh grade boy had been riding his go-kart on the street. And a street, I mean not a street, a car had come and hit him.

And he had died right there in the street. I started to press in, you know, hey who is this guy connected to in our church? What kind of things was he, was he doing in our church?

And that's where it got worse, y'all. Turns out he didn't know anybody at our church. He had never even been to our church. As a matter of fact, he had never been to any church.

None of his family had. This distant relative that they had was connected somehow to our church and that's how they had gotten connected to us to be able to do this funeral. And so as I begin talking with the family, it was pretty heartbreaking when they start saying things to me like, hey Jonathan, he he was starting to put figures, figurines of angels beside his nightstand.

They were thinking, they were so hungry for certainty that their son was in heaven, that they were willing to put at best angel worship as something that was making their son right with God and at peace with God. We hear that and it's like, gosh that is so so heavy. But isn't that what we want? I mean don't we all come in wanting to have that kind of certainty about our future? That kind of certainty about our eternity?

I think we do and that brings me to the big idea for today. Jesus' victory gives you certainty about your eternity. Hey, so here's the roadmap for the sermon where we're gonna be heading. We're gonna be in Revelation chapter 20 verses 7 through 15. So if you've got your Bibles and you want to pull those out, you can go ahead and flip there.

If you're gonna be on a device, you can go ahead and pull that out and tap away and get to the right spot. If you don't have any of that with you, we're gonna have the the verses up on the screen and you can follow along there. I'm gonna read through the entire passage. I'm gonna draw out a few things out of first out of verses 7 through 10 and then we're gonna then we're gonna look closely down at the last verses verses 11 through 15 and I'll draw out a few more things.

I'll wrap it up with how this applies to every single one of us in the room and give everybody an opportunity to respond and that'll be our time together. So if you will let's go over to Revelation chapter 20 and here is the text for the sermon. And when the thousand years are ended Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth Gog and Magog to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. They marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the Saints and the beloved city but fire came down from heaven and consumed them and the devil who had deceived them who was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it from his presence earth and sky fled away and no place was found for them and I saw the dead great and small standing before the throne and books were opened then another book was opened which is the book of life and the dead were judged by what was written in the books according to what they had done and the sea gave up the dead who were in it death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them and they were judged each one of them according to what they had done then 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 into the lake of fire hey so if you're new I bet you're kind of thinking what in the world just happened here I thought I was coming to like a fall festival around Halloween where I was gonna be bobbing for apples but I feel like I'm kind of stuck in a haunted house where there's all this scary stuff that's going on and everybody's dressed in black well here's the deal nobody bobs for apples anymore I mean that's kind of gross just don't do that and the whole dressing in black thing I mean pastor Bobby does that every single day of his life but the scary stuff y'all that's for real that's for real seriously I do think we have to acknowledge how this stuff makes us feel when we read through it I mean we're talking about a judgment that's marked with a kind of finality it's not like it's a judgment where we can wait for something to be corrected after that I mean this is the final stuff it has this really ominous feel to it when I was in seminary we had this class that we had to take called the evangelistic mission of the church and as part of this field trip so to speak that they did with us we went to a central prison in Raleigh that's a state penitentiary they took us to the prison we walked in they they shut the the bars behind us you know some of the people just freaked out right there and they had to leave and that was like the end of their experience I guess they failed the class or something I don't really know but the rest of us we start walking through the prison and we have people with us and it's not like it was an unsafe environment or anything like that but they take us you know through the through the cafeteria where the prisoners eat we're seeing all of this stuff the and the infirmary that's there we get to see that they walk us down through death row and I'm sitting there looking at these at these inmates that are in these cells knowing what their life is going to end up like and then they take us to the actual execution chamber and that wasn't what I expected you know I expected it to maybe be more like what it looks like on TV or something like that but it wasn't like that I mean it's crowded only a handful of us could fit in that space at a time and you crossed over that threshold and there's this smell in there I can't I can't really describe what it smelled like but it's it was like the smell of death it was just it was it was horrible they're walking around and I see what they used to use as the gas chamber that's in there they had the electric chair that was sitting there I don't know why but I like reached down and touched that so I wanted to see what it felt like or something it was kind of like this shiver just went over my body and you want to talk about something that just felt really unsettling so unsettling that even now when I think about it even here talking to you about it I can feel that same unsettled feeling and I think that when we walk through a passage like this when we're talking about these kinds of images you need to know it's okay to feel unsettled like that it's if you're not feeling unsettled something might be wrong like you might not be thinking about it right if you're seeing it correctly all these images unfolding it's just it feels a certain kind of way and so what we want to do is I'm hoping that I can I can walk you right through that unsettledness of it all and that we can get to the other side of that and on the other side of it we're gonna find some hope and so if you'll bear with me I'm gonna do my absolute best to get us there but first things first going back to that passage that we just read we've got to understand this that even Satan's release from prison as part of God's plan that he's in control of that it's a setup for the judgment that God is getting ready to bring we got to understand that he is released from the prison it's not like Satan escapes from the prison there's a big difference there God is still in complete control of what's going on and Satan is only doing what God allows him to do Satan goes right back to doing the same stuff that he's always done from the beginning of when he entered the world and brought all of this deception and lies and he goes and he starts lying to people rallying this army the plan of what he wants to do is to gather this enormous army by deceiving them bringing them around him and they are gonna wage this massive war upon God and God's people that's the plan there's so many that it's outnumbering I mean it should be an absolute slaughter but the thing is that it just doesn't quite go down as expected here's the first thing that I want you to see about God's judgment it's comprehensive and complete and you know when a judgments levied we don't really like ambiguity do we we want it to we want there to be clarity around a judgment I mean that's the reason that in sports we have instant replays I mean it's like when you're looking at somebody throwing throwing throwing a ball and baseball over to first base and it's a close thing you know you want the instant replay to be able to see whether or not the ball gets to the first basements glove before the runner tags the base we want to be able to know these things we don't want there to be any kind of ambiguity well so last year our staff went over to the grasshoppers ballpark to watch a ballgame did this whole cookout thing there when you have a bunch of people there sometimes you get to participate in the games that they have between the innings when they're when they're shifting around the field and all that and so we did this thing where we thought it'd be really fun if our executive team played one of those games here's the game you go down there on the field and they're gonna have a race now y'all know who races who likes to run who's the running pastor you may see that you know pastor Bobby's gonna be in on the action so he's part of the thing that's going on and so it's it's me joining him and pastor Randy and pastor Brandt as well so the four of us are down the field and here it is Bobby and I are gonna be racing each other it's awesome it's awesome and so what happens is Brandt has teamed up with me and Randy has teamed up with Bobby and Brandt is coming and he's taking these inner tubes and he's having to stack them over my body and the same thing is happening I don't know if you've noticed but I'm probably about twice as wide as Bobby is and so the whole scene was pretty pretty fun but instead of me telling you about it we actually have a little video going down so just check out what happens here here comes the race and he's off now watch this y'all y'all I dusted him I mean I put him in my rearview he goes falling down trying trying to dive across the line I mean he says he was diving we know that he was really falling down but here's the point here's the point Bobby's defeat is comprehensive and complete that's the way we want a judgment to be right seriously going back to the text Gog and Magog those are some weird names that show up there John's using this metaphor trying to connect it back to some things that took place in the Old Testament it's using a metaphor to help us understand what Satan's army was about in Ezekiel 38 and 39 Gog is a king that comes in to invade Israel from the north he's from Magog and as he brings the brings his troops in they're expected to have this huge battle but instead God intervenes God intervenes battles never fought and everybody is consumed as as God brings down fire from heaven now the same thing happens here in Revelation chapter 20 one commentator says it this way what was supposed to be a battle became an execution the devil just like the beast and the false prophet back in chapter 19 is thrown into the lake of fire and consumed this is the end for the devil this is Satan's demise this is where it ends that great tempter that had brought evil into the world back when he tempted Adam and Eve and has unleashed all kinds of evil upon the world since then he is dead and gone the judgment is comprehensive and complete the next thing that I want you to see is that God's judgment is indisputable and inescapable so my early days of ministry I was doing student ministry and I took this group of students on a mission trip to the big metropolis of Rocky Mount North Carolina we were there doing like this day camp kind of thing with a bunch of kids and so you want to have something fun that you're doing when you go on a mission trip to kind of lighten everything up and so there was a place right outside of Wilson that's pretty close to Rocky Mount that was called acid park things were different in the 90s y'all all right and so we loaded up a whole bunch of these kids way too many kids that should have been in one van and we loaded them up in the van and we take off this place is located on this very dark two-lane road way outside of Wilson and so there are all these urban legends that go along with acid park there's a car that's sitting down there where acid park is that sort of correlates to a lot of the urban legends that had been made up about the place so what we do is as we get them in there we start telling them one of these urban legends as we're driving to the place it's the kind of urban legend that would be very inappropriate for me to relay to you in this environment as I'm saying y'all things were different back in the 90s so we're telling them the story and just as we wrap up the story we crest the hill and the headlights of that van hit the towers that had been built there at acid park now acid what it is these towers that are built they're covered in these moving reflectors and so when your headlights hit them it just lights up the sky and so as we're wrapping up the story and the headlights hit the place I mean kids are crying some of them are screaming they want to go home all that kind of stuff but here's the point when you come over that hill and your headlights hit the thing there's no way you can miss it it's not like the northern lights last week where a lot of people went out looking in the sky and they're trying to see the northern lights to no avail it's not like that this is one of these things when your headlights hit it if you didn't want to see it you're out of luck you have to look at the thing it just lights up the sky it's the same way when we're talking about God's judgment here I mean it's it's something that you cannot ignore when that final judgment occurs people won't be able to just pass by when you're talking about a great white throne judging all these resurrected dead people according to what is written in two books that is one of those things you can't ignore hey check it out this is what it says then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it from his presence earth and sky fled away and no place was found for them and I saw the dead great and small standing before the throne and books were opened then another book was opened which is the book of life and the dead were judged by what was written in the books according to what they had done and the sea gave up the dead who were in it death and Hades gave up the there's a lot going on here y'all death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them and they were judged each one of them according to what they had done then 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 into the lake of fire there's a whole lot of lake of fire stuff going on you got this stuff that's going on here with books you got this stuff going on with dead people raising up and standing before this great white throne of judgment I mean it is a scary scene and some people when they read this they say you know it's it's got to be a symbol I mean it can't be it can't be like that it's got to be a symbol for something else I mean maybe it is maybe it is but what do you think it's a symbol for like a going on a picnic in a butterfly park eating s'mores at a campfire I mean it's not that whatever this thing would be symbolizing if it's a symbol and not literal here's what you got to understand it's terrible it's terrible it's a horrific kind of thing no matter how you take it why is there a great white throne of judgment got to understand this thing about a throne Jesus is the only one that's able to sit on that throne because he is the ultimate judge of morality we can't sit upon that throne we can't sit upon the throne because we depend on things in us to determine morality like our own moral compass or how we feel about things only Jesus is able to sit upon that throne he tells us in Mark 10 that only God is good only he sits upon the throne because he is the definition of good why is that thrown white well it's white because there's no blemish because the one who sits upon the throne has never sinned he has never done anything wrong the only thing he has ever done is please the father why is it great it is great because everyone will bow before it all of humanity will be brought before this throne and judged it is great in the truest sense of the word what's going on these books well it doesn't call it this exactly but you can think of it as books of deeds because it says that the dead will be judged by what is written in the books according to what they have done according to their deeds so here's the thing everyone along with everything they have done is recorded in those books the books of deeds that kid that bullied you back on the playground yeah all his stuff gonna be in that book of deeds that co-worker that stabbed you in the back and stole your promotion all that's gonna be in those books of deeds and the drunk driver that killed your family member gonna be in the books of deeds but also the preacher that shared the gospel with you that's gonna be in there too his book his deeds so your parents so your kids your spouse and you everything you've ever done will be recorded in those books of deeds a lot of people think that if they can fill more pages in those books of deeds with the good things that they have done that it will somehow outweigh the bad things that are written in that book and that's what they're dependent on but there's a problem there because what we see is that everyone who is judged no matter how much good they have done or how much bad they have done everyone who is judged according to those books is going to be thrown into the lake of fire they will not measure up you and I if judged by the deeds recorded in those books we will not measure up it says that everyone who is judged according to those books of deeds will be cast into that lake of fire so just like the people who were who lined up with the devil gathered around him to wage war on God and they stand before that great white throne these people that have died will be resurrected and their deeds will be held and judged according to those books but remember we're gonna make it through the other side y'all this is where it turns for lots of bad news anybody ready for some good news let's go back to that verse 15 if anyone's name was spent was not found written in the book of life book of life oh we got another book he was thrown into the lake of fire there is more than one book in fact they're books of deeds but in addition to the books of deeds there is also a book of life this book is not a book of deeds it is a book of names if your name is not in this book then your judgment is based upon what's in that book of deeds and as we've just talked about that ain't good it's not good for you to be judged by that but if your name is written in that book of names that book of life you are not cast into the lake of fire why is that watch this that's because the book of life is not a book of deeds but a book of one deed it's a book based on the one deed of grace that gives us hope the gospel here's the third thing I want you to see from this scene of judgment through the gospel Jesus took your death and gave you life now for some of you that grew up like I did you may be shaped by some pretty bad theology around this stuff where you're told things like this that you are going to stand as a believer in front of this great white throne and that God is going to make all of your sin known to everyone as everyone watches you that maybe even he's going to put all of your sin on a screen for other people to watch as some kind of movie and that in doing that that you're gonna have all of this shame and guilt and embarrassment just heaped upon you and here's what I gotta tell y'all if you are in Christ that is a lie that is a lie because Jesus has already taken all of your shame and all of your guilt away he has bared it upon his shoulders so that you never have to feel that you never have to carry the weight of that because he has done it for you here's what I want you to see it's not just what he takes away because if you're in Christ you gotta remember you get none of what you deserve but he does more than just take it away it's what he's given you it's the reason that thing is called the book of life the gospel says that in Christ we have life it's not just that you get none of what you deserve you actually get the life you don't deserve I'm not talking here about believing in your mind that Jesus died on the cross for you there's a lot of people that believe a lot of things about Jesus we're not talking about believing things about Jesus here we're talking about placing all of who you are all of your life in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus we're talking about yeah your intern at your eternity but we're also talking about your marriage we're talking about your singleness we're talking about your sexuality your career your will we're talking about your passions we're even talking about your bank account and your portfolio every single bit of it placed in the hands of Jesus y'all I'm married to Felicia there's a lot of stuff I can tell you about her she enjoys baking and even when she's not baking she can't turn down a cookie her favorite colors pink her first concert was an REM show when she was in the third grade and she's never listened to REM since as embarrassing as it is being in the South she likes Hellman's not Dukes she stops to help turtles cross the street she can watch a scary movie but only if it's on mute and she has her eyes closed or something overhead which I guess really it watching the movie something else I know about her she would hate that I'm telling you all this but that's not what makes us one knowing that stuff about her oneness takes time oneness starts from the covenant you make before God and spend the rest of your lives knowing each other profoundly oneness means that I now pick up my dirty clothes off the floor put them in the hamper most of the time oneness means that now she sits with me on the couch and rubs my ears before we go sleep at night is that a little much I thought that I would never dance but now I go dancing with my wife on Tuesdays and Friday nights out 109 then in Denton it also means that we shared the same goals and dreams for our family it means I trust her she trusts me it means she will never betray me nor I her I know how she feels y'all not because she tells me just because I know I can see how she's standing when she walks in the door and know what kind of days she's had how do I know that because I know her not just about her do you know God like that if you don't know God your name is not written in that book of life that's bad news for you because that lake of fire awaits hey but the adverse of that is also true if you know Jesus and trust him with your life your name is written in that book of life and if it's written there all of that judgment has fallen on Jesus and not you you will not perish you won't be thrown in that lake of fire you will not be a recipient of the wrath of God here's what I want to call us all to do trust Jesus as life remember we're not talking about choosing to believe some things about Jesus here salvation is about giving every aspect of your life to Jesus as we grow into Christ he reveals more and more of our lives that we need to submit to him it never ends he reveals more we give more he reveals more we give more I want to talk to two groups of people in here tonight those of you that are following Jesus whose names are written in that book of life have you trusted Jesus with your life but haven't yet trusted him as your life does your career the decisions you make within your career reflect Jesus hey what about your friendships your friendships look like relationships that honor Jesus what about the way you spend money is that in line with what Jesus wants for your life because he is life what about your marriage the way you take care of yourself and your health what about what you want out of life many of us spend years of our lives with our names written in that book of life but we never really experienced life in Christ like we stopped growing at some point we stopped saying yes when he asked us for more of our lives you see how long has it been since you have given away more of your life God continues to point out more and more of our lives to submit to him and he does it as long as we live he's trying to make us look more like Jesus if it's been a while since that's happened in your life hey you might have been deceived you might have been deceived by the enemy into thinking that you are at more at one with Christ than you really are what part of your life do you need to bring into alignment with what Jesus wants for you hey there's some of you in a room like this I know where you're coming in here your name isn't written in that book of life where you've been you've been placing your trust way more in the book of deeds trying to do more things to outweigh the stuff that you've done wrong it doesn't work if that's you coming in here it's likely that the enemy is trying to distract you from what we're talking about right now you know my my daughter was four years old we went to this pool party and for her one of her cousins and you know Catherine she couldn't she couldn't swim yet put swimmies on her we told her to stay in the kiddie pool surrounded you know three sides and then had that kind of ramp thing that goes down where the water gets deeper we told her to stay playing in there everybody breaks you know and we go to eat pizza and cake and all that stuff and I get caught up in this conversation with somebody somebody in the family having that conversation standing up poolside and I look up and I noticed that Catherine's in the water she's walking down that little ramp doesn't have her swimming zone anymore and just as I see her she falls face-first into that water she's laying there she's she's she begins to flail I mean all she's got to do is put her feet down stand up but when you're in a panic mode like that you just don't you don't realize it you know especially when you're four years old so she's flailing and panicking scared to death we're trying to breathe through the water it's not going good I mean what do I do in that moment I finished my conversation I could get another slice of pizza I just say hey she's gonna come out of the water wet so I better go get a towel first there's a lot of things that I could do there's only one thing I needed to do and that was run to her and grab her out of that water and save her life for some of you tonight you're sitting here you're facing that kind of distraction and what the decision you've got to make there's a lot of things you can do we could be tempted to hey I'm gonna put this thing off just because he's calling to you now does not mean he will tomorrow don't be distracted because what God is trying to do right now is the one thing that you need to do that's to save your life so if that's you the Spirit speaking to you in that way and you can feel him saying I want your name to be written in that book of life then I'm gonna want to pray for you here's what's gonna happen this is the way you get your name written in that book of life you admit that you are a sinner that all of that stuff that you've been trying to do doesn't matter because you've already sinned and that's messed the whole thing up that's automatically put you in that book of deeds that you're a sinner the second thing is that you believe that Jesus has done everything necessary for your salvation that you don't do anything else that he's done it all he's taken your sin he's taken your shame he's taken your guilt he's taken your punishment he's taken all of it you believe that he has done all of that and then you confess him as the Lord of your life and that means that he's the boss that means he caused the shots in your life that means that you from now until the day that you die continue to surrender more and more of yourself to him as he reveals it to you if that's what you want to do then we're gonna give you an opportunity to do that tonight I'm gonna ask if everybody would to bow their head close their eyes if that's you that I'm talking about and the Holy Spirit is speaking to you nudging you and you know that your name is not written in that book of life but you want it to be after you walk out of here would you just lift up your hand because I want to pray for you I want to pray for you thank you I'm gonna pray for you after I pray for you here's what we're gonna do you can put your hands down I'm gonna pray another prayer it's not like a magic prayer or anything like that but it's just telling God these things that I've just going through with you it's confessing those things it's marking a moment in time when you surrender to Jesus and I'm just gonna ask you to repeat after me and quietly in your own heart as I pray that prayer first let me pray for you father all of these folks that are sitting in this room that you were calling to now that they have raised their hands and they have said Jesus is calling to me in this moment and I want my life to change I want my name to be moved into the Lamb's book of life God I pray that you would be with them and that you would give them the strength that they need to step across that line to be saved right here right now so those of you that have raised your hands if you would secure to God quietly by yourself you can pray this father I know that I am a sinner and that I have failed and that I fall short of what you want for my life and I know that I can never make it up no matter how much good that I do God I'm telling you that tonight I believe that Jesus has done everything necessary to save me and he's taken all of my sin and he died in my place so that I can have life and God I promise that I am going to live for you for the rest of my life and that every time you say to me I want this to be submitted to me that I will do that that I will make you Lord that you are now the boss of my life in Jesus name amen
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-18 16:30:32 / 2024-05-18 16:44:25 / 14

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