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Judgment is Coming

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
October 19, 2020 11:50 am

Judgment is Coming

The Verdict / John Munro

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October 19, 2020 11:50 am

Dr. John H. Munro October 18, 2020 Matthew 11:20-24

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The Bible says it's appointed unto men to die once and after this the judgment. Do you believe that? Do you believe that there is a coming judgment? Do you believe that one day you will stand before God? You say, is there really a future judgment?

Yes, there is. The vast majority of people, even unbelievers, believe in heaven and everyone wants to go to heaven, but surely there can't be a hell. Hell is rejected by many because they say it is incompatible with a God of love and a God of compassion. How could a loving God consign anyone to hell? Yes, unimaginable.

It's a moral outrage. It's an intolerable concept. Some say that hell cannot exist. And if there is a hell, God is not going to send anyone there. Remember John Lennon with his hit, Imagine There's No Heaven.

It's easy if you try. No hell beneath us, above us, only sky. Well, you can imagine all you like, you can deny all you like, but hell will not go away. Hell, in fact, is part of our language, isn't it? People talk of hell and earth.

People in anger say, I don't commend it, say go to hell. Hell is a reality. Hell is the final place of the unbelieving.

Yes, there is a heaven and there is a hell. And I have to say as your pastor, and I want you to understand this, if you die without Jesus Christ, if you reject the message that Matthew is presenting that Jesus is King, that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is Savior, if you reject that or if you delay in responding it and you die without Christ, you will live forever and your destiny is hell. I've called this message, Judgment is Coming.

Let's open our Bibles to Matthew, chapter 11. If you're visiting, we welcome you. Do text us, email us and give us details of your coming. Also, if you've got prayer requests, let us have them.

Also, if you're on live stream, you can do that. We want to connect with you and minister to you and pray for you. Now, here are the words of Jesus, stern words, words of warning, but words coming from God Himself. Matthew 11, verse 20, that He began to denounce the cities where most of His mighty works had been done because they did not repent. Woe to you Chorazin, woe to you Bethsaida, for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable in the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you. Do you think of more solemn words?

They sort of jar us, don't they? We've been enjoying the teaching about Jesus' healing, Sermon on the Mount, wonderful teaching, convicting although it is, but this now jars us. But here it is in the recorded Word of God, and we're going to learn that Jesus taught the reality of eternal punishment. You may not believe it, you may reject it, you may imagine it like John Lennon, it doesn't exist, but you cannot escape the reality of eternal punishment.

Now think of the context that we have here. We have back in verse 16, Jesus says, to what shall I compare this generation? They didn't accept John's teaching, they didn't accept Christ's teaching. And here they were, these favorite cities, Chorazin, Bethsaida, which was the hometown of Peter and James, and John and Andrew, Capernaum, which is described earlier by Matthew, as his own city, where many of his mighty works had been done, they did not repent, they did not believe the Gospel.

Which isn't it? Do you know that familiarity with the person of Jesus, familiarity with the message of Jesus, will not render you immune from coming judgment? Rather, as we've read, you can be familiar with the message, you can see the presence of God among you, you can see God at work, and yet if you do not repent, greater will be the judgment on you than those who never saw the mighty works.

And so we read that these cities, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, will receive the judgment of God, verse 20, because they did not repent. Oh, they know Jesus, they hear him, but there is no personal response, no personal repentance, no personal belief in Jesus Christ. They see his mighty works. Three times in the passage we read, we hear this word, mighty works, his miracles. They see the power of God in their midst.

Little girl is raised from the dead. They see it, and yet they do not repent. We don't read that they were leading a protest against Jesus. We don't read so much that these cities were actively opposed to Jesus. No, I think they just went about their business. Capernaum, right on the sea, they were fishermen.

They went about their business trading in the great trade route that went through Capernaum. I can see them attending the synagogue, listening to the rabbi, listening to Jesus and saying, oh, that was pretty good teaching today. I'm not too sure about such and such. They go about their business, they see Jesus, they hear Jesus, they see the mighty works, but they do not repent. Verse 21, Jesus refers to Tyre and Sidon. In the Old Testament, they were Israel's enemies. They were opposed to God, and God's judgment came on them. And Jesus is saying, listen, if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon that were done in you, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes.

What a statement. And to emphasize the point, verse 24, here is Jesus. I tell you, it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you. We know about Sodom and Gomorrah. Even if you don't know your Bibles very well, you know the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Several people indulging in their sexual immorality and their perversity. We have the word sodomy in our own language, in our own vernacular today to describe the particular perversity of Sodom and Gomorrah, and God's judgment came on them. But it will be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment than for you, Capernaum.

What an incredible statement. See the judgment on those who are close to Christ, who hear the message, who are full of pride. You're exalted to heaven, you think, but you're going to be cast down to Hades. Your judgment, Capernaum, will be more severe than the judgment on Sodom. With greater privilege comes greater responsibility, and comes greater judgment if you do not repent.

For those who do not repent, there will be degrees of punishment, obviously. You ask, as I've asked this week, as I've looked at this passage, why did Chorazin, why did Bethsaida, why did Capernaum not repent? I mean, Jesus was right there. He's the master teacher there. There's nothing wrong with His teaching. And they saw it for themselves.

These are not large cities. They heard about it. Three times over, Jesus says about His mighty works, His spectacular miracles. I mean, blind people receive their lame walk, and in fact, He raises someone from the dead, and still they do not repent.

Why was that? Could you answer that question? I can't explain it. I can't explain why people who were so near to Jesus, who were so privileged, we'd have been right there, wouldn't we? Could you imagine sitting down and listening to the teaching of Jesus?

Can you imagine when Jesus comes to your synagogue in Chorazin, we would have rushed, we'd have longed, we'd been in the front seat, as it were, to listen. But, they do not repent. I can't explain it.

There's something else that I can't explain. I can't explain why some people who come to Calvary Church do not repent. I can't explain why some of you, you've been brought up in a Christian home. Your fathers and your mothers have taught you the Gospel, and you have not yet responded. I can't explain why some of you have come Sunday after Sunday and sit in these pews and sing the hymns, and in a sense seem to enjoy coming here and perhaps even have friends and spend your time and fellowship, perhaps even go to a life group, perhaps you zoom into a life group and you're still not right with God.

I can't explain it, but I know it's true. Some of you sitting here this morning have not yet got right with God. You have not repented. You've not humbled yourself. You're too busy.

You're too lazy. You procrastinate. You make up some excuse for not believing, but you see God at work, and the Spirit of God may even have convicted you. I'm reminded what Jesus says to Nicodemus, that the work of the Spirit is like the wind.

You don't know where it comes and where it's going. Why is it that some people repent and some people refuse to repent? I can't understand that. I can't explain it to you, but the Bible warns us, even the book of Hebrews chapter 10 verse 31, that it's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. That one day, whether you've lived in Capernaum, whether you've lived in Charlotte, whether you've sat in the pews of Calvary Church, I think of all of the thousands of people that come on this campus over a year, coming onto our sports field, coming through our development center, coming in a Christmas concert, a Christmas outreach at Christmas time, and the services that we have week after week after week, and still they're not right with God.

Can you explain that? What I do know is this, that Jesus says for such people, there is coming judgment. Jesus clearly taught the existence of hell, a place of eternal judgment. I realize there are many preachers who don't preach about hell. I heard of a very popular preacher today, a communicator today, who openly says he doesn't preach about hell, doesn't preach about the book of Revelation, who wants to hear about the wrath of God.

Let me give you some tips for your marriage. Let me give you some help to get through life as if Jesus is there as a kind of psychologist or a psychiatrist to help you get through life more comfortably. One day, every single one of us will stand before God. And some people are in the kingdom of God, and some people are outside of the kingdom of God. We're in Matthew 11, turn over a couple of pages in your Bible to Matthew chapter 13.

We'll look at this passage more carefully, later Lord willing. But here again is the teaching of Jesus. Now I stress, this is the teaching of Jesus. It's not some strange view of Calvary Church. It's not that God gave me a special vision to communicate this to you. No, this is taught by the Lord Jesus.

This is orthodox, historic Christianity. This message has gone out, down through 2,000 years and comes to us afresh today. Revelation 13 verse 40, just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The end is coming.

Don't think that world history will continue as it's going forever and ever. It will come to an end. The Son of Man will send His angels, they'll gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all lawbreakers and throw them into the fiery firmness.

In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Verse 43, then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Jesus is saying, listen, take action.

Do you hear this? There's a kingdom of God and there's a kingdom of darkness. There's the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and there's the kingdom of Satan. Verse 47, again the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into the containers but threw away the bad, so it will be at the end of the age.

You getting the point? The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery firmness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Chapter 25, Matthew 25. Matthew chapter 25, verse 29, for to everyone who has will more be given and you will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away and cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness.

In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Verse 41, then he will say to those on the left, notice the separation, the saved from the unsaved, the righteous from the unrighteous, then he will say to those on his left, apart from me you cursed into the, what is it, eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Verse 46, and these will go away into eternal punishment but the righteous into eternal life. This is the teaching of Jesus.

We've seen this before, haven't we? The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus clearly said there are two gates, there are two paths, there are two eternal destinies. There is a narrow path that leads to life eternal. There is a wide path that leads to destruction.

Therefore, enter by the narrow path. That's the Gospel. Repent and believe in the Gospel. If you repent and trust Christ, you'll have eternal life. If you refuse to do so, you will perish.

The wrath of God will remain on you. And again to Jesus as it's found in John chapter 3. John 3 verse 36, whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.

That's the promise of the Gospel. If you today believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you'll have eternal life. How can He give you eternal life? He's sinless, He died for our sins, He's buried, He rose again, He's alive forevermore, He has eternal life. And if you cry out to Him, turning from your sin and receive Him into your life as your Savior, you're given as a gift eternal life and you will never perish. Whoever believes in the Son has present tense eternal life and will never lose that eternal life. Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. These cities did not obey.

They refused to repent. They were quite comfortable in their existence. Comfortable living, going to the synagogue. Friends, Capernaum must have been a wonderful place to live. There, picturesque on the Sea of Galilee, what a great place.

Crazing in Bethsaida not too far away. They did not obey, they will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on them. John 5 verse 24, truly, truly I say to you. Remember the old King James, some of you, verily, verily?

Sounds better, doesn't it? Listen, verily, verily. It means listen up, this is true. I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. You're under the wrath of God because of your sin. The wages of sin is death. If you continue as you're doing, you will die and you will face God and you will go into judgment.

Here is the promise. If you believe in Christ, you have eternal life. You will not come into judgment, but you've passed from death to life, from darkness to light, from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of indescribable light. How is it that Jesus can say this? He's God.

How does he accomplish this? He dies on the cross for your sins. The wages of sin is death.

Unless my sin is dealt with, I will enter into eternal death. Jesus Christ comes to seek and to save the lost. We're lost because of our sin.

It drags us down. It will damn us to hell. Christ comes and says, now, if you come to me, if you believe in me, I'll give you eternal life because I've conquered death. I dealt with sin on the cross. The wrath and the judgment of God which I deserve because of my sin falls on my Savior. And we sang about this, that we receive his righteousness, that when I stand before God in the future, I stand not in my own righteousness.

I don't have any. I'm a sinful man, but I'm clothed with the righteousness of my Lord Jesus Christ. He has saved me.

He's cleansed me. We sang about the power of the blood of Christ that cleanses me. And so that when the believer stands before God, he stands in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, that his righteousness is imputed to me, is credited to my account. If you refuse that, you stand before God, you'll receive the eternal judgment of God. We who are followers of Christ have passed from death into life. Trust Christ. But says someone, well I'm still not persuaded John, the love of God is inconsistent with the eternal punishment of the wicked.

No. The love of God is not inconsistent with the eternal punishment of the wicked. This is the argument of the skeptic. You've heard it.

It's a fairly simple argument. God is loving, isn't he? Yes. God is merciful, isn't he?

Yes, absolutely. He's full of mercy. And therefore, a loving, merciful God could not condemn anyone to hell. That's inconsistent with my view of God. My God is loving. Your God might be an angry God, but my God is a loving God.

He's very accepting, and he understands that none of us are perfect. What does the Scripture say? Is God loving?

Of course. For God so loved the world. The Gospel demonstrates the love of God that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. It was when you're an enemy of God that Christ came. There's nothing in you to commend God's love. You're sinful.

You're in rebellion against God. Of course God loves you. And it is that love that comes and is shown to us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Is he compassionate? Yes, he's compassionate. He reaches down to us.

He takes the little children in his arms. That woman with the issue of blood for 12 years, she touches his garment and he's saved. He's God. His compassion is immeasurable. His love extends.

It's infinite in this extent. So the Bible says, John says in 1 John 4, God is love. Of course he's love. But God is perfectly balanced in his attributes. All of his attributes are infinite in their perfection and they're perfectly balanced and reveal the very glory of God. And God is loving.

God is merciful. But he's also a God who is holy. A God who is just. A God who is righteous. You've got a very distorted God.

You've got a God like an indulgent grandfather who loves his kids. We had one of our, with our granddaughter stay with us overnight and it's difficult to say no to her. I admit it, probably Goodney finds it easier to say no to her, but I was brought up with boys so it's very difficult for me to say no to a little girl. But there's times when I have to say, Kara, no, no, no. That's wrong.

We don't do this. Yes, do I love my granddaughter? Absolutely. My heart is full of love for her. I give my very life for her. But there are things still, in spite of my love, and really because of my love, I want to be righteous. I want to be holy. What kind of God do you have? Do you think God is unjust? Do you think that you're more loving than God? Do you think with your finite being and opinions that you're able to pass judgment on God? Do you really think you're more loving than God? Do you really think that you're more just than God?

I talked about Sodom and Gomorrah. Before the judgment of God fell on Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham, this man of faith, is pleading with God. And during that dialogue between God and Abraham, we read in Genesis 18, verse 25, this rhetorical question, shall not the judge of all the earth do right? Do you think that when you stand before God, you're going to get a perfect judgment? Of course, God is infinite in His holiness. God is infinite in His righteousness. Infinite in His love, and our great eternal God never gets the verdict or the sentence wrong.

In the final judgment for you and for everyone else, God will execute perfect judgment. We've been listening to what was going on regarding the choice of a Supreme Court judge, and I thought how well this woman did. Not only is she very bright, her composure.

I thought really for a woman who professes Christ, I thought what a testimony. And I thought, I said to someone in my office, if I ever had a case before that kind of judge, I would know I would get justice. She seemed that kind of judge, didn't she? But I'm sure Judge Barrett sometimes has had the wrong verdict. I'm sure sometimes she erred on the law sometimes.

I'm sure that sometimes all of the evidence wasn't presented before her, and so she didn't have the full knowledge of the law or of the facts in front of her. That's never going to happen with God. God is infinite in His wisdom. Infinite in His knowledge.

He knows every single thing about you. And I want to say that no one will be in heaven who should have been in hell. And no one will be in hell who should be in heaven. Human judges are sometimes biased, they're sometimes lazy, they're sometimes sheer incompetent, they're sometimes very slow, they're sometimes very vindictive, sometimes biased. Some of you have experienced the unfair justice of our so-called justice system.

But this justice system is perfect. God has all the evidence and He acts with perfect justice, righteousness, love and compassion. And those in hell deserve their eternal destiny. We want to judge God by our own finite and imperfect ideas and standards.

And one of the huge problems we have, a problem which even impacts the church, is that we don't understand the seriousness of sin. If you had this conversation with someone as I have, someone's done something wrong and it's really quite inexcusable. They can't justify what they've done, but then they say, no, but none of us are perfect, are we? No, that's true. None of us are perfect. But you say, that's not really the point. You're taking the focus on yourself, you're throwing, taking the focus on your wrongdoing and saying, well, it really isn't that bad because I may have done this, but you did that and Johnny did this.

Have you noticed that? Of course that goes right back to the Garden of Eden, doesn't it? Finger pointing. The woman you gave me. Everything was fine in the garden, God, until you brought this woman.

She's the cause of the woman that gave me. Well, it was the serpent that said this. And they hide. They try and hide from God.

That's what we've been doing ever since, haven't we? People talk of cover-ups. People talk today, well, what is really the evidence? People lie. They lie, they cover up their sin, and then when they're caught, they point to someone else. Yes, but it really was this.

If you knew the home I came from. And we trivialize sin. Sin is not trivial with God.

Do you realize that your sin is an act of rebellion and wickedness against God? That you have deliberately trespassed. You've deliberately gone over the line.

God has said, don't do this, and you have stepped over it. Isn't that right? Anyone here claim to be perfect? Of course not. That would be utterly deluded. If I said I was perfect, my wife would stand up and say, in the interest of honesty, I've got to say this.

The people I work with would say, wait a minute, John. You're not perfect. And they don't know my heart.

They don't know all I've done. But the people who know us, we are far from perfect. That's why the Bible says we all fall short of the glory of God. And their sin is serious. Not just because it hurts other people. Your sin does hurt other people. Your sin hurts yourself. But the biggest problem with sin is that it's against God.

It's against the holy God. And the Bible says, all we like sheep have gone astray. We've turned everyone to his own way. Notice, our own way. I did it my way.

That's good. I did it my way. No, it's wrong. You should do it God's way. You should be on God's path. And we sin against a God who's infinitely holy, therefore sin against God deserves an infinite punishment.

And the severity of the punishment is in accordance with the person against whom the offense is committed. It's one thing if I offend you more than one, but I've offended God. And my sin is sin. The wages of sin is death. Think also of this, that before anyone is confined to hell, God has revealed and showed His mercy and His patience and His grace to that individual. That's Paul's wonderful argument in Romans chapter 2. As Paul is brilliantly setting up the case that all of us have sinned, all of us are under the judgment of God, and then he's going to present the magnificence of being justified by faith through trusting in Christ. But notice what he says in Romans 2 verse 4, do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. Repentance.

Is that what you're doing? Think of God's grace to you. Think of God's patience with you. Think of the way that God has blessed you. Today you got up on this magnificent day here in North Carolina, not a cloud in the sky, a little cool for some of you.

What a wonderful day. You get up and you look at the sky, you look at the fall colors and the very universe declares the glory of God. God is speaking to you.

God is revealing Himself to you. Think of the way that God has provided for you over the years, that God has protected you over the years. Think of His grace to you. Think of how patient God has been with you. We're sometimes not patient with one another when we're offended, but think of you have repeatedly gone against God, and God's judgment has not yet come on you.

God has been patient with you. But Paul's argument is that that kindness of God, that grace of God in your life should lead you not to be proud, but to humble yourself, to be repentant and not to take God for granted. That realize that this God is a God that you must get right with you. If you choose not to, those who choose their own way will be reaffirmed in their decision for all of eternity.

C.S. Lewis puts it this way, there are only two kinds of people in the end. Those who say to God, thy will be done. That's the Christian, isn't it? We repent. Your will be done. And those to whom God says in the end, your will be done. You refuse God. You go your own way.

God says, all right, go your own way. Continue in the darkness, but now you're in the darkness forever. Those in hell will experience eternal punishment. I can hardly get my mind around that, but it's true.

Eternal punishment. Do you understand this? You see, in hell there's no exit. I don't know about you, but when I find myself in a tight corner, difficult situation, I think, how can I get out of this? But in hell, there's no exit. So I stand here, I see all these doors, and I've got over them, exit, exit, exit, a way out. In hell, there's no way out.

There's no exit. The punishment is eternal. The verdict of God, the Creator, is final and is irrevocable.

There's no appeal. You can't appeal against God. He's the highest authority. There's no Supreme Court over God.

He is the Supreme Court of all Supreme Courts. And John in Revelation 20, the final verses, paints the scene of the unbelievers coming before the great white throne and God is there. And John writes, and if anyone's name was not written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. You say, I'm not sure if I believe that.

That doesn't alter it. You may not believe in God. You may not believe in hell. You may not believe in Jesus Christ. It does not affect the reality that if you do not repent, if your name is not written in the book of life, you will be thrown into the lake of fire. No second chance. We read that the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels.

No. God didn't prepare hell for you, for me. He prepared it for the devil and his angels. And those who don't repent, those who were part of Chorazin and Capernaum and Bethesda, they see the mighty works of God but for some inexplicable reason, they do not repent. They will not find their names written in the book of life and so will be thrown into the lake of fire.

What's the lake of fire? It's the eternal destiny of the unsaved. It's the final place. It's hell. You've heard of hell. It's the unquenchable fire. It's the outer darkness. It's the eternal punishment. It's the bottomless pit. It's the second death. It's eternal destruction.

It's the blackness of darkness forever. Scriptures use different figures, different metaphors, different figures of speech to explain the utter horror and the finality of eternity outside of the kingdom of God apart from Jesus Christ. Do you understand what Matthew is saying in his Gospel?

That here comes into time and space God Himself, the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, the perfect man, and He comes and He's given this matchless name of Jesus for He'll save His people from their sins. If you're not saved from your sins, you go to hell. But the Savior comes on a rescue mission to save us and people say, well, you know, you don't want to frighten people into heaven. I'm not frightening anyone. I'm just giving the Scriptures.

I trust there is some fear, a healthy fear, a fear not to fall into the hands of the living God. Hell is a place of torment, a place of isolation, a place of darkness, a place from which there is no escape. Is it eternal? Yes, it's eternal. Hell is eternal as sin is eternal in its consequences.

It is unending anguish. Listen to Jude, little book of Jude, only one chapter, second last book in the New Testament. Jude writes in verse 7, he says, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

There's the example from Scripture. You've all heard about Sodom and Gomorrah. God's judgment came on them because of their immorality, because of their unnatural desire, the Scripture says, and it's an example of God's judgment. It's a warning to us that the wrath of God is coming and we must flee to Jesus Christ. He's the only Savior.

He's the only place of eternal security. Verse 13 of Jude, wild waves of the sea casting up the foam of their own shame, wandering stars from whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. Think of that, the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. I was brought up in the King James version that translates it. It talks here in Jude 13 about the blackness of darkness forever.

That's hell. The blackness of darkness forever. Who wants the dark? Children are afraid of the dark. If you've got a pain in your stomach, it's much worse at night than during the day. Who wants to say in the dark, it's always wonderful when the sun comes up, doesn't every day. No sun in hell.

It's the blackness of darkness forever. If you ever visit the Holy Land or the unholy land of Scotland, just to the west of the capital Edinburgh, there's this castle. It's called Black Ness Castle. It sits on the first and fourth some of you have been to Scotland. And it's from I think about the 12th, 13th century. Not sure exactly.

Very, very old, right? Many castles in Scotland, that's one of them. And it's called Black Ness. And it was used down through the centuries as a prison, a very dark prison in a dark dungeon. And the story is that believer was in prison in the castle of Black Ness. And he knew his Bible.

And he knew the King James. And he wrote on the wall, better to be in the darkness of Black Ness, capital B, better to be in the darkness of Black Ness, parenthesis, castle, for a few years than to be in the blackness of darkness forever. He didn't enjoy being in a dark prison for a few years. Far better to be a prisoner in Black Ness for a short time than to be in the blackness of darkness forever. So as long as a righteous God exists, all of eternity, the wicked must be separated from Him in hell.

What am I saying today? Eternal judgment is coming on those who reject Christ. And there will be degrees of punishment. The punishment will be more tolerable for some than others.

The greater the privilege, the greater the judgment. You are privileged today to hear the Gospel. You're privileged to hear that you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And today I plead with you, all of you, I plead with you to enter the narrow gate. I plead with you to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I can't imagine how tragic that someone sitting here today at Calvary Church, that someone on live stream could hear the message, could hear the warning and continue to live as they live and so end up in hell.

Wouldn't that be utterly tragic? And so as your pastor, I've got to challenge all of you. You may be sitting in this pew for the first time. You may have come here for 30 years. You may on live stream have heard the Gospel many times.

Perhaps you're hearing it for the first time in some far away country, far away from our perspective. Do you hear me? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you'll be saved. If you don't believe, the wrath of God will abide on you forever. Now before I close, I need to say four things about heaven. I thought we can't end with hell can we because I'm not going there.

I praise God that my name is written in the book of life. Four things about heaven. First, heaven is the very presence of God.

Revelation 21. People at funerals and other times ask me, John, what's heaven like? Well, I've never been there. I know I'm going. It's my final stop.

It's where I'm going to be. And the Bible doesn't say a lot about it. But it says many things and here's four. First, it's the presence of God. Verse 3, well verse 1, I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away and the sea was no more and I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, listen to this, behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will be with them as their God. Heaven is the very presence of God. God is going to dwell with us. You say, well God is with us.

No, that's true. I can't see God. It's a different dimension, different for us to understand. But God is going to dwell with us. As Jesus was about to leave his disciples, he said to them in John chapter 14 as they were very, very troubled, he said, now I don't want you to worry. I don't want you to be troubled. I'm going to my Father's house.

And in my Father's house there are many mansions, if it weren't the case I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may be also. Where's Jesus? He's in heaven. He's going to come for us. Where's he going to take us? He's going to take us to heaven and so shall we ever be with the Lord, Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4. God will dwell with his people. This is his house.

Heaven is God's house and we're going to be there forever. You know, I love, love you. I'm looking out just to think I've got any reservations and that, not really. I can say I love you. And I live in a very nice house that my wife keeps very nice and I'm grateful for that. And as much as I love you, I'm not going to ask you to stay in my house forever. I really couldn't take some of you living with me forever. I mean, let's face it, right? You say I wouldn't want to live in your house Monroe, OK.

But for someone to live in your house you've really got to like them, don't you? God says I'm going to be your God and you're going to live in my house forever. The very presence of God. Secondly, heaven is the removal of all evil, verse 4. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more. Neither shall there be mourning or crying or pain anymore for the former things have passed away. All of the effects of the fall are gone. Tears, sin, fear, pain, anxiety, disease and death itself are all gone.

How wonderful. Never again to stand around an open grave of a loved one. Never to mourn. Never again to hear the doctors saying, there's something wrong with you. Never to wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety, with worry. Never again to weep with sadness or pain. It's all gone and it's gone forever. It's the removal of all evil.

It's difficult for us to take that in, isn't it? Third, heaven reveals the glory and the beauty of God. Verse 10 of Revelation 20, He carried me away in the Spirit to a great high mountain, showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper clear as crystal. Think of the glory and the beauty of the new Jerusalem.

Think of the glory and beauty of God. Don't you think how wonderful our world looked today? Our world is beautiful, isn't it?

And it's a fallen world. I don't know how many sunsets I've watched during my life, but I'm always fascinated by them as you are. Different colours, sometimes absolutely magnificent, other times less spectacular. But think of even of that, the beauty of a sunset, and God made the sun. And God is more beautiful than a sunset. You think of the glory and the beauty of God Himself. You and I have been, as we've travelled, we've looked at different scenes and we've been overcome by the majesty and the beauty of God, whether it's the ocean or the mountains or a sunset or holding a little baby in our arms and we think, what a magnificent God is this. Can you imagine the glorious beauty of the new heavens and the new earth?

Can you think of that? Heaven is where the glory of God shines in brilliant and blazing fullness forever. The writer is struggling with these jewels to try and explain, but heaven reveals the glory and the beauty of God. Finally, in heaven we shall see His face. Revelation 22 verse 3, no longer will there be anything accursed for the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it. His servants will worship Him. They will see His face and His name will be on their foreheads and night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun for the Lord God will be their light and they will reign forever and ever.

No sun, no lamps in heaven. The Lamb is the light and shines with the amazing, incredible light of God forever, but in heaven we shall see His face. Peter says of Jesus, whom having not seen me, love, you've never seen Jesus, have you?

I haven't. I read about Him. We deal with His moral qualities, but in heaven we shall see His face. We shall see and know God. Now we look through a glass dimly, as it were. We catch glimpses, we study the Scriptures and we try to understand it, but John says then we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

We shall see His face. What amazing grace is this? Do you understand what God does when He saves you? All your sin's gone. Eternal life, all of His grace, amazing grace, but think of it as grace upon grace upon grace. Not only does He forgive you, not only does He give you eternal life, He brings you into His family that you are a son, you're a daughter of God. And more than that, that when we die or when Christ comes, we shall be forever with God. We shall be in His house, in the Father's house. My heavenly Father has a house prepared for all those who love Him, and we will see His beauty, the glory of God manifested in all amazing ways, and this new universe that God will create. The new Jerusalem and the new heavens and the new earth for us to explore, as it were, as the people of God, but most of all will be with God. Yes, we'll be with our loved ones, but we will be with God. What grace that He takes us to heaven itself, and we will see His face.

What's your response? You're ready to meet God? Do you want to participate in this glorious future that we have, to have your name written in the book of life?

Don't trust in yourself. Make sure that you have truly come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I plead with you today, here again, the Gospel, that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, not to say, should not perish, but have everlasting life. Open your heart to Christ. Call upon Him, and He will save you. Thomas Watson, the great English Puritan, brilliantly writes, he says, eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset.

Isn't that brilliant? An eternal day. Light never goes out. Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset. Eternity to the wicked is a night that has no sunrise.

The blackness of darkness forever. One day, Jesus said to His disciples, rejoice that your names are written in heaven. We're going to sing a hymn about rejoicing, and I trust it will be true, that when we all get to heaven, it will be a day of rejoicing, a day of giving great glory to God, and that not one of us here, not one of us listening in live stream, will refuse to come to Christ. Father, I pray for every single person listening here. You know their hearts, I don't know. I don't know why some of them have not yet trusted Christ. You know, may your spirit work in their hearts. Open their eyes to see the depravity of their own hearts.

Open their eyes to see the loveliness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who still says, come unto me, and I will give you rest. We pray, Father, that all here may come to saving faith in Christ, and we anticipate that great day. What a day of rejoicing that will be when we all get to heaven. We thank you for your grace. We thank you for the incredible future that we have. All of your grace, we give you thanks in our Savior's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-03 15:06:30 / 2024-02-03 15:24:51 / 18

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