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June 6, 2021 1:00 am
The idea of final judgment offends many people. They can’t believe that God would send anyone to an everlasting hell. But we must take a sobering look at what the Bible teaches concerning the final destiny of all who never believed in Jesus for salvation. Why will unbelievers be judged this way? And what is the basis of this judgment?Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
Revelation 2015 and if anyone's name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. The idea of final judgment offends many people they can't conceive of a God who would send anyone to a fiery hell today a sobering look at what the Bible teaches about the final destiny of all, who never believed in Jesus for salvation.
Please stay with us from Chicago.
We welcome you to The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are today we continue attend part look into the future.
Recalling when he shall come later in our service will learn about a severe reality when he judges unbelievers. Pastor Lutzer comes now to open our service. Our worship theme during the past weeks has been when he shall come because we been speaking about prophecy and the return of the Lord in those events that accompany this coming and speaking of prophecy were reminded of the words of Scripture worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and it made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.
Now is the time to prepare for heaven, now is the time to worship. Would you join with me as we pray. Father, we invite your blessed Holy Spirit to guide us today were trusting you to open hearts that may be closed. Hearts that perhaps are in different parts, whose attention is drawn to other matters bring us together to hear from you today and transform us by your power as we honor you and our worship in Jesus name Amen amen. Chapter 5 verses one through five. Joining the bold print, God's holy word.
Therefore, we find a we will through him we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God more than that, we rejoice in our knowing that suffering produces endurance, and enduring character, and character produces hope, and how will I only given in an and will and will in time when an and avenge a list made the statement that more people come to saving faith in Christ through preaching the love of God and through preaching the judgment that might be true but I need to say that we don't really understand the love of God until we understand the judgment of God in that sense, the two attributes of God are related. Today's message is a very hard message. It's one that I have been thinking about for weeks actually because it is difficult to preach and for some of you it's going to be very difficult to receive but I need to begin by saying that what God is going to do in the description that is laid out for us in this year is not something that he particularly enjoys doing Bible says that he does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, but the judgment happens because of necessity given the attributes that God has let me say also that as I speak. I hope that you will not be judging God would be easy to sit back and perhaps fold your hands and to say you know that's unfair. Cooper said that there were those who took from God's hand and the balance on the rod they judged his justice and became the judge of God and I warn you not to go there.
Perhaps you remember a story that I probably told you before about me being on a plane and an older woman sitting next to me and I was witnessing to her and she was from a very liberal church that didn't believe in hell. And one thing she said is that if there's anything I know for sure hell doesn't. I said that's interesting. And then I smiled. He always try to work up a smile at a moment like that and I said you know you put me in a really difficult dilemma, because on the one hand, I wish that you were right, but on the other hand, Jesus said mentioned hell at least 11 times more than he did have and so put me in a predicament because either I have to go with you right have to go with Jesus on this one. Don't feel to hurt but I'm going with Jesus.
Alright I'm going with newsflash about this topic. Your opinion doesn't count.
Remember that your opinion doesn't count. So instead of hardening your heart, and many of you are going to be tempted to do and to say how could God do that instead of hardening your heart what you pray right now and ask God to soften it. What you open your heart to what God may have to say because I have no doubt that for some of you this is your moment to believe on Jesus and you say well how do I know whether or not I'm in that number and that is if you have no assurance that if you died today go to heaven. I'm particularly talking to you.
Of course I'm talking to all of us. Well, the topic comes up in the book of Revelation, which you can turn to Revelation chapter 20 Revelation chapter 20 and if you have a Bible like mine. It's probably on page 1040 and 1041. I'm going to read in these five verses and then were going to go through the text. Basically, almost phrase by phrase and then we'll see what there is to learn and what God has to teach us.
Chapter 20 of Revelation beginning of verse 11 then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and the sky fled away. No place was found for them.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne and the 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. This is the judgment, the mother of all judgments. This is the judgment that is frightening and yes chilling.
Let's move through the text. First of all, we begin with the one who was seated on the throne. You'll notice he says I saw a great white throne. The throne is great because it is majestic.
This is the throne of God. This is the throne. Indeed, that is forever the throne that exists from all of eternity.
God is on this throne and it's a white throne absolute holiness. Absolute purity no one able to tweak things to make them look better. No possibility of bribery because we are now in the presence of the sovereign judge who will do justly, and do what is right. It is a pure and holy throne and him who sat on it and who sitting on it.
Well, the Bible in Revelation speaks about the throne of God and of the Lamb.
But here, of course, we know it is the Lamb. We know it's because in John 522 Jesus said the father has committed all judgment to the son, and Paul said in the book of acts in Athens.
He says God's appointed day by which he will judge the world by one man but is Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who is on bathroom meek and mild Jesus that people love the Christmas little baby that you can take out a Christmas and then tucked away for the rest of the year and pulling like a book off the shelf and and be there again next year that this little baby. The Redeemer has become the judge you so where is this throne. You'll notice that the text says that everything fled away from his presence, and there was found no place for them. Now we have to back off and remember the rest of the series that we've had this far.
Remember the last time I spoke to you about the millennial kingdom how Jesus rules and then at the end of that kingdom, he delivers it to the father. The Bible says and that transitions into the eternal kingdom and it's during this period of time of transition that the Scripture is fulfilled, but the world and all of its works shall be burned up. Scholars differ as to whether or not God is going to annihilate the present universe entirely and create a new one out of nothing, or whether or not the earth is going to be re-created.
But one thing is sure it's can be burned with fire, and during this transition. When people are standing before the great throne. There will be nothing to see except the throne. No galaxy is insight and they are all standing there with a fear if you think that people fear judgment today when they are being tried. Multiply that by about 100 because they have a good inkling as to what it is that is in store for them. So there is the judge sitting before the throne and then we have the defendant's not sure that I should call them that because this is in exactly the same kind of trial that you find on earth but it says I saw the dead is small and great, standing before God, where did they come from.
Later on in the text. You'll notice it says that the sea gave up the dead which were in it, then death and Hades gave up their dead, you know it. There there there because God summons them from the entire world from the beginning of time. All unbelievers are summoned to this judgment was set in ancient times that if you died in the sea. If you were ground and of course, probably the sharks would eat you or if you were cremated and her ashes were sprinkled on the sea, not even the gods could ever retrieve you or an afterlife was sort of an insurance that once you died.
That way you are secure from any final judgment.
God takes those who are in the sea and calls them for these dead come from tombs long ago forgotten. They come from earthquakes where bodies have been destroyed and turned into dust. God calls them forth from coffins that were lying to beautifully with satin as well as those who have died in her Brenda's conditions because of hunger and because of poverty.
They were all called for.
One writer said to God knows every speck of human dust in every strand of DNA and he calls it forth from deserts, caves, jungle sees tombs, ghettos and palaces and they are all there. There bodies had been resurrected.
Judgment day has come in and what does it say Hades delivered up the dead which were in them well. For that we need a little bit of review. Again, don't wait. Remember in the first message in this series I preached how that when the rapture comes Christians go up because today when a believer dies their body is put into the grave and yet their souls are in heaven and so what happens is they are raised from the dead and they are joined with their souls. The people in heaven today are in some sense incomplete separate topic, but they are some in some sense incomplete and they are joined together to become fully the human beings.
They were here on earth with of course some radical changes in their bodies and their souls the same thing happens here Hades we learn from the New Testament used several times is the place where unbelievers go today has absolutely nothing to do with purgatory.
That's also a separate subject, but it is there Jesus talked about Hades you member which is a translation of the Old Testament word. She'll and there they are today, and so because their souls are there those souls also have to be going out to their bodies. So the same people who lived on earth had indestructible bodies, and here they are now standing before God, fully cognizant of who they were, in whatever generation they lived in they are there, standing before God to because judgment day has come. It's a day to day now you'll notice it says that a small and great, stood before God. John undoubtedly wants us to understand that this means that people of different rank the king over here is standing with those who died of poverty and sickness. Kepler is standing there and next to him are some people who spent their lives in an good work in helping the poor and raising funds for the less fortunate. They're all standing together. There is diversity in rank. There is diversity and works as we shall see.
Undoubtedly, there's also diversity in religion.
It is chilling to think that some people who are listening to this message today. Someday may bind themselves in this judgment. If they don't take advantage of what God has prepared for them. As will become clear. A little later on in this message and so there will be Protestants there. There will be Catholics there. There will be Buddhists and Muslims and all the different religions of the world disable what is it that unites them. What unites them is that they do not have the one thing that God requires for entrance into heaven. So there they are lacking.
The one thing they desperately need. And so they're all united standing before the throne will now it's time for the evaluation. It is time for the records to be examined so we open our Scriptures and we see here that the books were opened. We don't know exactly how many books we know that there were at least two because there is this one books that contains all their works and then there's the book of life that we shall comment on in a moment so they are standing there and the books are opened and suddenly they realize that God has been keeping meticulous records regarding their record. It is an individual judgment, as indeed it must be every one singular is judged according to his works. Obviously if it's to be adjusted. Judgment, it has to be a singular judgment, person by person. We don't know how long it takes God to do this, of course, because is taking place in another realm time may be different, as we understand it today, but every one of them has their moment before God and the books are open and their works are examined and that is just not there works. The Bible says that their words will be examined. Jesus said by your words you will be exonerated or condemned. So all of their words. Every word Jesus said every word man speak, they will give account for the day of judgment.
Can you imagine those who really swear a lot and say based things. I mean it's it's all there, and there's not a single thing that's overlooked. It's there in the book, but more than that.
It says in the book of Romans that there's another way that the book can be viewed and that is that God is going to judge the secrets of man, oh my. Now we get to motive the people are going to see their secrets. You know those secrets that lie hidden and all of the lies that have been told to cover up those secrets.
Guess what, they are all exposed, and God looks at at the end of the person looks at it. Nobody debates what God sees, because you will know intuitively it is meticulously accurate. The person you know who did good works and they even paid money because they they wanted to help the poor. Ineffective.
Their motives will be exposed in the motives were actually much more selfish than they appeared.
It is just that in doing good. They felt good about themselves and they could tell other people about the good that they did.
What appears to us to be good may have some very base motives, but it's all there.
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 pagans somewhere and God is going to say to them while I'm sending you to hell because you didn't believe on Jesus, 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 is going to be what they did with what they knew intuitively because of conscience.
They knew that lying was wrong and yet they live 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 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, and it will be for those cities that rejected me when I was here on earth.
Why, because of so much more light is factored in MRD Hahn, who is a Bible teacher of another era said that for the headhunter who never heard of Jesus, his hell will be appear as heaven in comparison with the person who listened to the gospel and hardened his heart against it and did not leave 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 be better than 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 morality.
He wants to be the most immoral man that you could possibly 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 to enter, glamorize, so he begins publishing pornographic magazines that are sold by the millions every month and throughout all the world and 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, so he gets pleasure from knowing that his own lifestyle which is been so immoral has now been passed off onto so many incur much more severe judge. Teachers so 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 until all of the judgment is going to be meticulously needed out in accordance with what they did what they talked about and who they were so much van for the records and their examination. Next, we find that the sentence is pronounced and then they are brought forth and this is the second death of 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 heavenly the book of life is the book of the redeemed you. Member chapter 13 when we mentioned it and I commented on it. It is the book of those have been purchased by Christ and belong to him and them so far as we know, nobody in this judgment is found in that those whose names are found in that book they had a separate judgment that they are in heaven with Jesus. If you been following this series of messages you will know that and so I can imagine that there are people who are good arguments able to 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 of 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 is a pastor, Luther, this is overkill what you mean the lake of fire. Okay, so they sinned against God.
Okay, so they were evil but winds such as strict judgment. Let's think about that for a little bit. One of the greatness of a sin was dependent on the person against whom it was committed. Let's just assume that you know when we are boys growing up on the farm. Someone has given this illustration, which I'm using when we're boys out on the farm. We just throw snowballs at one another. No big deal. But you know to throw a snowball at a post man. The mailman you might be in a little bit of trouble your throat at a policeman you might be even in more trouble you throw it at the president and your arrest. You said yourself, wait a moment throwing a snowball used to do them all the time when we were growing up in Iowa.
What's what's wrong with throwing snowballs at the present wait a moment. The higher you go up in the latter, 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 the holy 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 is another thing. You are an eternal being, whoever you are today listening by whatever means, let me tell you, you will live somewhere internally and remember this that those who find themselves in this judgment are eternally guilty, eternally guilty while you sell as they fire of hell literal. I don't know because on the one hand, it says the fire in the other hand, it's his 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 and and so they are thrown alive into the lake of fire, the regrets are eternal. Imagine with a heightened memory and 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 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 so Pastor Lutzer you said that the problem with these people as 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 it 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 died physically but they will be raised and and here's the good news. The good news is this that these people took advantage as I hope you have been, as I have, they took advantage of settling out of court because Jesus said that if you believe on 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 boring 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 civil why Jesus why Jesus and then the wheels out there was a Savior whom are you going to go to Buddha Buddha didn't claim that he was a Savior in light Mohammed himself said that he wasn't sure of his final destiny he can help you.
Sorry buddy can Krishna can help you. Baha'u'llah surely County city had enlightenment but note no answer to the problem of sin.
You see, because Jesus was God. He is the only one qualified to give you the righteous is that God will accept to get you to give us 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 cuts as well. If you trust my son like that. I will welcome you into heaven as if you are my son going to be welcomed and received. That's why Stephen when he was being stoned.
He looked into the heavens and he saw Jesus on the right hand.
Jesus was in effect saying Stephen be faithful because when you die on the pier for you and 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 friend of mine said that he saw a bumper sticker actually very blasphemous bumper sticker I might say it said he died in 33 A.D. Get over it.
Imagine that we say yeah he died in 38 A.D. he was raised three days later he's coming again were going to worship him and we will never get over it. Okay you trusted Christ is a reason why 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 apart.
Listen there going to be people in heaven who committed sin is 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 the him it's all about him, but yet to receive this provision, so that excuse. Have you brought to this meeting. So what mental barrier what hardness of heart stands in the way of you responding to Jay's. In a moment. Our soloist is going to come and he's gonna sing a song that we ought to sing more often rescue the perishing. It's a song for all of us after we sung that were going to, or rather, 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 the hospital just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me and that valve bids me come to the O Lamb of God, I come 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 no 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 listen 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 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 the lead overcome their resistance and grant them salvation in Jesus for the seven is my own and I Todd Thomas wrapping up today's Moody Church.
I work in which Dr. Erwin. Luther spoke about when he judges unbelievers.
The ninth and a 10 part series on when he shall come for those who believe a bright future awaits next time our series concludes with what it will be like when he invites us to reign in his kingdom. This entire series can be yours on CD is our thank you for your gift of any amount to support The Moody Church. Our just call us at 1-800-215-5001 when you call. Mention the series. The King is coming.
Call 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin lutes are in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church