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The Serpent's Destiny: An Eternity Of Regret Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2022 1:00 am

The Serpent's Destiny: An Eternity Of Regret Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 21, 2022 1:00 am

No one who stands against God will ultimately win. God’s plan for the devil involves unlimited torment in a lake of fire that will never go out. In this message, we’ll identify five characteristics of hell, prepared for the devil and his angels. Let’s take a sobering look at the ultimate punishment for rebellion against a holy God.  

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. For all the crimes Satan has perpetrated, a simple death sentence is just not enough. No, God's plan for the devil involves unlimited torment in a lake of fire that will never go out. Today, a sobering look at the ultimate punishment for rebellion against a holy God. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Today we conclude a series on God's devil. Pastor Lutzer, how should knowing about the lake of fire motivate us as Christians? Dave, I'm going to answer your question in a moment, but I want to remind our listeners that today is President's Day. What that means is we should not only pray for the president that God has given us, but we should also seek God on behalf of this country. And this actually relates to the question that you just asked me. If we really believe that unbelievers are going to be in hell, the most loving thing we can do for them is to share the gospel. And this is so critical that we understand this.

We're talking about serious matters whenever we talk about eternity. I've written a book entitled God's Devil. I wrote the book to show the sovereignty of God over all things, including Satan. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us go to the pulpit of Moody Church and once again listen to God's word and the assurance of his promises. I want to remind you today that as we have been stressing in this series, if it is true that the devil is God's devil and he is, then it is also true that hell is God's hell. He is the one who prepared it and created it. And I want you to know that because God is sovereign, there is no such thing as thinking that there is a chamber in the universe over which he has abandoned his sovereignty. God still rules, I shall say it. God still rules even in hell because in hell, which is a place of justice as we shall see in a moment, who is it that makes sure that the justice is properly meted out into whose hands does that fall but the hands of God. God rules in the heavens above and if there is any ruler in hell today, it is God.

He even rules in the hell below. Now I know that that's a difficult concept for us to grasp because you may say well hell is not God's will. Depends how you understand the word will. It is not as revealed will because it says that he is not willing that any should perish. But as far as God's eternal will, the Bible says that he works all things after the counsel of his own will. Even hell must be seen as a part of the total picture over which God still has his providential hand and guidance. Let us remember that it is God who triumphs and hell, the lake of the fire, was created by him for the devil and his angels. Secondly, hell is a place of torment.

It's a place of torment. That seems obvious but I think that we have imbibed much of the mythology of the Middle Ages in our understanding of Satan. There are still some people who teach that in hell Satan is going to be the one who is going to be tormenting people. You know the old idea that the devil has a pitchfork.

That's kind of a holdover from medieval mythology and the pitchfork is kind of like a billy club that he uses to keep all of the demons in line and then the demons come along and they torture the people. Well I want you to know that that is not biblical. The Bible says nothing about that. It tells an entirely different story. A couple of summers ago I decided to read Dante's Inferno and I found out that there is much in it that is interesting. Some of it might also be true but there's some also that is based on speculation.

Here's what's happening. Notice what it says, where the beast and the false prophet are also and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. It says nothing at all about Satan being the tormentor. He shall be the tormented. Now remember that since judgment is dependent upon one's knowledge and opportunity, I believe that Satan's demise, his torture in hell is going to be more severe than any other being that will be tortured in hell and that he will be in no position whatever to torture anyone else because he himself is going to be the one who is going to be tormented. In everlasting shame and contempt and final eternal humiliation, Satan is the one who is going to be tormented and he will not be the tormentor.

Let us bear that in mind. If Milton was right that the reason that Satan rebelled was that he thought to himself I would rather be a king in hell than to be a servant in heaven, maybe Milton is right that Satan was thinking that. Satan was very, very wrong.

Let me say it with authority. There are no kings in hell, none whatever. Only God rules in the heavens above, no kings in hell. Hell is a place of torment.

Number three, hell has other occupants. You'll notice it says in verse 10, and the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are also. They were there a thousand years earlier. If we had taken time to read the last part of the 19th chapter, we'd discover that it is after Christ returns, after Christ settles the battle of Armageddon and establishes his kingdom, it is then that the beast and the false prophet are thrown into hell. And Satan is bound a thousand years and then gets thrown into hell later. So the beast and the false prophet are there.

If we read the last part of Revelation 20, beginning at verse 11, we find out that the unbelievers of all the ages arrive there too. And I saw a great white throne and him that sat on it, before whose face the earth and the heavens fled away, and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them, and they were judged, every man, according to his works. And then the scripture says that death and Hades were then thrown into the lake of fire.

Works have never saved anyone. You can do all the good deeds that you have ever thought about doing, and you will never be saved as a result of your good works, but works will be the basis of judgment. Those who did well with what they knew will be better off than those who acted wickedly on the basis of what they knew, because God's judgment is going to be very meticulous. These people will receive God's justice. They will not receive God's mercy, but God will be just. Those who never heard of Jesus Christ will be judged on the basis of what they did with what they knew, the light of nature and the light of conscience, and their judgment will be just in accordance with that. And so the text of scripture tells us that there will be a judgment, but notice it says, verse 14, and death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, and if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Many occupants, many occupants in hell. Number four, it is eternal.

I don't know how John could have said this any more clearly. Tormented day and night, forever and ever. Every time I preach about this on the radio, I get letters and pamphlets and books from people who tell me that the fire consumes people in hell, and they are annihilated.

Oh, you folks out there, bless you. I guess you can write to me, you can send me more material, but my suspicion is that I've already received it, and there's a part of me that wishes that you were right. But what do we do with the text, both here and in the 14th chapter of Revelation that says, tormented day and night, forever and ever. It could not be said any more clearly that we're talking about eternal, conscious punishment. I agree that I wish it were different, but the Bible is clear on this point. Now, of course, we don't make up the rules. If it were up to us, we would treat things differently. We would have run the universe.

It's like somebody said. He said, God, you know, if I had your power just for 24 hours, what great changes I would make in the universe. But then he added, but if I also had your wisdom, I would leave things as they are. God is the one who knows and runs his universe. Hell is eternal. Now, also, lastly, hell is just. Hell is just. Oh, I know that some people say that the punishment does not fit the crime. I've had people tell me that if the God that you are preaching there at the Moody Church, as if, you know, we make up gods every week, we preach one god one week and one god another week, you know, if that's your god, I don't want to have a thing to do with him.

That's a possibility. That's one response. The other response to say is if this is the kind of god that he is, where can I receive forgiveness? To whom shall I run that I might not end here? And that's a much better response because the Bible says in the book of Hebrews, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Hell is just because, remember, first of all, that people are judged in accordance with what they did on the basis of what they knew. Jesus said in Luke 12 48, he who knew his Lord's will and did it not shall be beaten with many stripes. He who didn't know his Lord's will will be beaten with few. It's going to be delicate. It's going to be commensurate with the evil and with the knowledge.

It's going to be just. And we will sing just and true in thy ways, thou king of saints. Another thing that we have to remember is that those who do not know Christ as savior are eternally guilty. They are eternally guilty. And no matter how long they suffer, they never somehow pay for their sins because there can be no payment through human suffering or the suffering of a fallen angel. Sir Francis Newport, who ridiculed Christianity all of his life, nevertheless said on his deathbed, oh, that I was to lie a thousand years upon the fire that is never quenched to purchase the favor of God and to be united with him again.

But it is a fruitless wish. Millions and millions of years would bring me no nearer to the end of my torments than one poor hour. Oh, eternity, eternity, forever and ever, oh, the insufferable pains of hell. And with that, he slipped into eternity, eternally guilty. And then what if it is true, as Jonathan Edwards suggested, that the greatness of a sin is determined by the greatness of the being against whom it is committed?

Therefore, every small sin becomes a major infraction because it was done against a major being, God. And so the curtain closes on the serpent of paradise. He who wished to rule the world now is confined to the parameters of the lake of fire. He who did not want to be a willing servant of God in heaven now finds himself to be an unwilling prisoner in that lake of fire. And he who wished to rule others finally discovers that he cannot rule himself but is himself the victim of the legitimate and just torments of God.

And there he is. The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are also and will be tormented day and night forever and ever. And if he were wise, he's powerful but he's not wise, if he were wise he'd give up on God right now, he would lay down every weapon, he would have no more rebellion because his torments would be just a little bit less. But he is driven by this belief that if he can just take on God one more time or try the impossible that somehow he'll derive from it some kind of satisfaction for which he must pay eternally into the ages of the ages as the Greek text says. And so the curtain closes and as that curtain closes it is a reminder that no creature, no creature, whoever takes on God and stands against him will win. You can shake your fist into God's face, you can take your puny will and you can pit it against the will of God and I want you to know today that God will win in absolute triumph.

Now until that day we do fight the devil. And it's said in Revelation chapter 12, the passage that we looked at earlier, and they overcame him by the blood of the lamb because when Jesus Christ died on the cross his death was a sacrifice for sinners. God laid upon him the iniquity of us all.

He is now our shelter from the coming storm and from the coming judgment and those who believe in him and that sacrifice receive as a free gift the cleansing and the protection of Christ. Remember during the time of Moses how that when the angel of death came through the land he made a distinction between those who had blood on the door and those who didn't. Some of the people who had blood on the door probably were filled with anxiety, they were filled with doubts, some of them had all kinds of problems in their life, they perhaps had among them those who were handicapped. It mattered not, it mattered not, what mattered was the blood. When I see the blood I will pass over you. And I want you to notice that the blood of Christ is not only for our objective guilt but also the subjective guilt.

Those feelings of failure that overwhelm us, those sins that we secretly commit that drag us down. We can be cleansed from unrighteousness because the blood of the lamb. They overcame him by the blood of the lamb, by the word of their testimony and they did not love their life unto death.

I want to leave you today with a different scene, an entirely different one. It is the scene of those who overcame the beast. John gives this description. He said, I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire and then that had gotten the victory over the beast and over his image and over his mark. Stand on the sea of glass having the harps of God and they sing the song of Moses the servant of the Lord and the song of the lamb saying great and marvelous are thy works Lord God Almighty just and true are thy ways thou king of saints. Who shall not fear thee O Lord and glorify thy name for thou only art holy and all nations shall worship before thee for thy judgments are made manifest. And I saw a pure river of water of life clear as crystal proceeding from the throne and from the lamb and in the midst of the street of it and on either side of the river was there the tree of life which bear twelve fruits and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations and there shall no longer be any curse for the throne of God and of the lamb shall be in it and his servants shall serve him and they shall reign with him forever and ever and they shall sing Hallelujah the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. My friend I don't know about you but I am so encouraged whenever I quote those verses of scripture to recognize the ultimate triumph of God over all things. By the way I think that there is reason to believe that the Hallelujah chorus will be sung in heaven. After all if we sing the song of Moses why might we not sing a song the Hallelujah chorus which is based entirely on passages of scripture. I've written a book entitled God's Devil and as perhaps you've already heard me say the reason I wrote it is to show the sovereignty of God over our enemy and to give us hope to give us faith for a gift of any amount it can be yours and by the way thank you so much for those of you who support this ministry I hope that you can pick up a pencil somewhere because I'm going to be giving you some contact info.

Because of you running to win is heard in 20 different countries in three different languages and we continue to expand. Here is what you do go to rtwoffer.com that's rtwoffer of course rtwoffer is all one word rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 you can pick up the phone right now and you can call 1-888-218-9337 ask for the book God's Devil. It's time now for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Dr. Lutzer there's no doubt that the liberal agenda has its sights trained on the public school system.

Alicia listens to Running to Win in Austin Texas and has this concern. In the past I've heard many solid Christian teachers encourage Christian families to send their children to public schools. I think the idea was that our children can go into the public schools and be salt and light that we should not live in a bubble and avoid the public sector but rather stay in public schools to keep Christ there. But today's public schools are not the same ones we had in the 70s and 80s when I was a child. I worry that instead of being salt and light to their classmates my children could face being indoctrinated and I might lose them spiritually. Though many Christian leaders used to encourage public schools do you think they would do so now given the way things are going in America? My children are three and a half and two. I don't want to over shelter them and risk souring them on God but I also don't want to send them off to be indoctrinated by Satan every day.

My sister thank you so much for your question and I think that you yourself know how I'm going to answer it. I totally agree that the public school system in America is changing and unfortunately it is not for the better. And the idea that some parents have that we can send our children to school and then they will be salt and light Christ will be there.

You're right that was fine many generations ago but we cannot expect children to stand against the kind of assaults that are taking place in many of our schools in America today. We're not only talking about things such as evolution and homosexuality we're talking about sexual expression we're talking about sexual teaching sometimes even teaching young ones about homosexuality. Just heard recently on the news that one of our states in our blessed union is going to be teaching homosexuality in the first grade and ways in which people have sex in the fifth grade. I plead with you parents do not allow the public school system to indoctrinate and to sexualize your child. Many people are understanding the importance of homeschooling and that of course is growing in light of the decline of the schools but for many of you it's not possible to be the parents of homeschool children. You might want to think about faith-based schools and thank God there are still many good ones and that might be a better option.

Others of you perhaps have to work with the public school but what I would say is if you do be sure that you know what your child is being taught, attend the meetings, become friends with teachers because your most precious possession on this earth are those children and you need to protect them especially during the tender ages but even beyond you need to protect them from the assaults that are taking place. May God give you wisdom as you decide what you should do with your children who are gifts of God. Thank you Alicia and thank you Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on ask pastor Lutzer or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614. After Israel's long disobedience, God had Babylon cart them off into captivity. They became a minority in a pagan land just as Christians are fast becoming a minority in America. The parallels are crucial to understand. Next time on Running to Win we begin a series on The Church in Babylon, Unleashing the Power of a Spirit-Filled Witness. We'll hear words of warning but also words of hope on how to handle life that's no longer in our control. Don't miss a single program in this compelling series. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-02 15:32:44 / 2023-06-02 15:41:22 / 9

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