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Farewell to Hope, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
June 14, 2022 12:00 am

Farewell to Hope, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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June 14, 2022 12:00 am

Revelation 20:14-15 might be the most tragic passage in all of Scripture--the Apostle John gives us a graphic look at that place called hell.

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We do believe that people must have the gospel of Christ. The gospel of conscience and creation is enough to condemn them.

It is not enough to save them. They must hear of the one in whom they must believe. There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.

Consider, as C.S. Lewis said, that everybody you come in contact with, the people you work with, the people you live with, people you live around, everybody in here is an immortal, immortal. Just like heaven is real and is the eternal home for believers, hell is also real. Yesterday we began a lesson called, Farewell to Hope. There wasn't time to complete it. Today we're going to do a little bit of review and then Stephen's going to bring you the conclusion to the lesson. Revelation 20 verses 14 and 15 might be the most tragic passage in all of scripture. We need to understand clearly what it teaches.

This is wisdom for the heart and here's our teacher, Stephen Davey. In the fourth and final division of our exposition of this paragraph, John now shows us the terrible delivery of an unpardonable sentence. God the Son opens one more book. Notice the middle part of verse 12. And books were opened and another book was opened which is the book of life. Look down at verse 15, and if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

So the only book that we're given the title to is this last book, the book of life. This is the register of the citizens of heaven. This is not a book of church affiliation. This isn't a book of church membership.

Nobody steps forward and says, hey, wait a second. I'm a Baptist and I've been baptized. I'm a Catholic and I've been catechized.

I'm a Methodist and I've been mesmerized or whatever. Nobody's going to step forward and say that because Jesus did not say, believe on the church and thou shall be saved. Nobody's going to step forward and say, well, you know, I didn't want to be one of those Hebrews.

I wanted to get my life right. I wanted to be the man before I placed my faith. God did not say believe on yourself and thou shall be saved. He said, believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shall be saved. And to that Philippian jailer whose household also believed and heard all that night baptized, their names entered then into the book of life. Now, John's audience would have immediately understood this concept because in his day, every king, every ruler had a role book of living citizens under his control, his dominion.

If your name wasn't in his role book, you weren't part of his kingdom, which was another way of saying he wasn't your king. The apostle Paul refers to this idea when he calls us citizens of heaven. As he writes to the Ephesians and he says, you are no longer foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints of God's household. Ephesians chapter two, verse 19. He wrote to the Philippians with the same idea when he told them for our citizenship is in heaven from which we eagerly wait for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians chapter three, verse 20, which actually means then that we're foreigners down here. In whatever land or country God has for us privileged us to live in, this great country, we are eternally joined to another country. Our citizenship here is temporary.

It's not going to last. We've got a green card, so to speak, that allows us to work within the borders of this country, but our citizenship is somewhere else. We've got a passport. As citizens, I have a passport that one day I will not renew down here, which is a good thing because I am liking my passport picture less and less. Every renewal, there's more glare. They just don't do the lighting right anymore.

No, it's that old guy. That's the problem. We're going to set our passports aside. Those were temporary.

We're here for a moment, a blip. In the scheme of eternity, our citizenship is permanent in heaven, having had our name written in the book of life. So John writes, God the Son is opening this book.

He is allowing the court, then the implication would be just as he's allowed the evidence of the other books to be at the disposal of those standing before him, that one standing before him has access to it. Maybe Jesus Christ shows them, not so much whose names are here, but the fact that their name is not. And to them, Christ will deliver them what they would admit is just and right. It is this eternal sentence of banishment from the king and his kingdom. Verse 15 says, again, look there, if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, note he was thrown into the lake of fire. Now, that is so clear.

That is so undeniably horrifying that people immediately shift into high gear. We've got to find a way to maneuver around this paragraph, especially the last phrase, because we kind of like the Bible. And we'd like to think we sort of like God.

So that can't be what he means. There's got to be something more manageable, something a little more comforting, something less severe, something less eternal. In fact, if you notice just before verse 15, the last part of verse 14, John writes, this is the second death, the lake of fire. And that phrase has given rise to one of the more popular maneuverings around the truth of Scripture.

And I'll give you two of them very quickly. The first is annihilationism. Tough word. But it is a view that the souls of the unredeemed are not eternally damned. They are eventually annihilated, exterminated, terminated in the fires of hell, depending on how bad they were, depending on how bad they acted. Really bad people live a lot longer in hell before poof, people who are really good just never heard the gospel of Christ, just a second or two and gone.

Well, John called it. I just showed you the second death. That must mean to cease existing.

Well, let me give you an answer. The Bible actually speaks of two different kinds of death, physical and spiritual death. In fact, the word death here, Thanatos refers to the separation of the material, what you see, and the immaterial, that which I really am that you can't see. If I were to die before I finish this sermon, there will be a separation between my body and my soul. In other words, death is not when the soul ceases to exist.

In fact, that separation is temporary. Even for the unbeliever, their bodies will be physically resurrected, joined with their soul, which has been in Hades, the place of torment, awaiting the final judgment. Luke 16, we've already spent time studying that. The body will be resurrected. God will reconstruct it, immortalize it, suit it to be able to take the effects of hell forever, reuniting with the soul, and here they stand at the judgment. Death does not mean cessation.

It means separation. So when John says this is the second death, what he means is this separation is between that soul in that immortalized body from God. Clark Penick of McMaster University in Toronto happens to be one of the chief proponents of annihilationism.

You never want to read his stuff, trust me, but his favorite text that I ought to let you in on because he uses it, even though I believe he knowingly misinterprets it, is Matthew 10-28. In that text, Jesus warned, do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul, but rather fear him, God, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Now, that sounds like annihilationism, doesn't it?

To the English reader, it might. The problem is the word destroy in the Greek language available to all beginning Greek students is the word apulomai, which does not mean to annihilate but to deliver up. In fact, the Lord used this verb several times in his preaching, and every time he used the word it never meant to pass out of existence.

It meant to deliver over to misery. So fear the one who is able to deliver both the body and the soul to misery. That's what Jesus is saying. The annihilationist says there's no way, there's no way anybody's going to live forever in hell.

They're going to be extinguished. Listen, there will be both physical and soulish suffering, mental suffering. There will be the agonies of guilt and greed and lust and pain and thirst and hatred and loneliness and anger and despair and fear.

And I stopped with my list. Is it really forever? Jesus Christ again in one of his sermons said that the lost will go into eternal fire, Matthew 25.

Then he added this phrase recorded in verse 46, and these will go away into, note this, eternal punishment but the righteous into eternal life. That original word translated eternal, ionion, let me give you a literal translation of that. It is eternal, okay? That's what it actually means.

Imagine that. It means everlasting. It means never ending. And listen then, the same word ionion Jesus Christ used to speak of the eternality of hell is the same word he used to speak of the eternality of heaven. You can't draw a line in the middle of that verse and say, I don't believe that hell is forever but I believe heaven's forever. You don't get that out of the Bible. You don't get that from the preaching of Jesus. You don't get that from the truth of scripture. You get that from your own preconceptions and presuppositions. I've never met anybody anyway who said I believe heaven is temporary.

Have you? I've never met anybody who said, you know, I'm going to go to heaven one day but it's only going to last a little while and I'm going to go to hell. But I have met people who believe they're going to go to hell but in a little while they're going to go to heaven. My friend, you never will see the end of forever. And for the believer, that happens to be good news because our heaven is eternal which means that after a few trillion years, God isn't going to say, you know, I'm kind of tired of you. I think heaven will be better without you. No. Once you're there, it's forever.

Forever. But the converse side and the tragedy is that once you're in hell, God isn't going to say, you know what, I actually do like you and I think heaven would be better with you and why don't you come on up here. The other maneuvering around this uncomfortable truth concerning hell is not only annihilationism but universalism.

These are the two great isms that give people false hope. Annihilationism, short definition, says no one will live in hell forever. Universalism says everyone will live in heaven forever. No matter which way you come, all roads lead to God, right?

As long as you're sincere, as long as you're sincere and if you've never heard about Christ, it's okay because worship Buddha with everything you've got. And by the way, what that should do for us as a church is shut down missions because we're going to ruin it. We're going to go over somewhere and tell somebody about Jesus Christ and then they'll reject him and that'll mess it up for them.

It's better to let them be sincere because God will attribute that to their record and they're going to get in heaven. That's what universalism does and so the church that believes in universalism does not do what? Evangelize. Share the truth of the gospel. What we're told here, the truth, the truth is as we've studied that Jesus Christ in his own words said, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. Then he teaches us the truth of this place of punishment which is forever.

It is judgment that will end all other forms of judgment. In fact, John writes here that in verse 14 that death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. Death and Hades, these are temporary places of waiting.

They're poured into as it were hell. Sheol in the Old Testament which is often translated hell, improperly I might add, no one is in hell yet. Their souls are in Hades, those who do not believe, awaiting the final judgment and that judgment will come and John depicts it as the pouring out of this temporary punishment into the place of eternal punishment which is correctly understood as hell, this lake of fire. Death and Hades are emptied out. In other words, he's saying there is no temporary place of torment anymore.

The permanent place of torment has now received all things unredeemed. It is a place of fire that never burns away, Matthew 5. A place of tormenting thirst, guilt and regret, Luke 16. A furnace of fire, Matthew 13. And then John says it's a place where they have no rest day or night, Revelation 14 and 11. And Jude 1 says it's a place of total darkness. And you say, Stephen, these are figures of speech.

Come on, a furnace of fire. You're trying to scare us into church. You want us to behave. That's why God said this kind of stuff. These are figures of speech.

Well, here's a brief English lesson for you. A figure of speech is not a license to modify the thought it expresses. A figure of speech is recognized to be nothing more than a feeble attempt to declare in language that which is beyond the power of words to describe.

There's no way to describe it. This place that will last forever, Spurgeon, the London pastor of the 1800s, preached and he said, written over the doorpost of hell and echoing down the corridors of hell is this terrible word forever. Dante wrote in his classic work, The Inferno, things I don't agree, but some I do. He wrote one thing above the lobby of hell just before you entered through the doors was a sign that read, I am the way to the city of woe. I am the way to a forsaken people. I am the way into eternal sorrow. Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

How true. Ladies and gentlemen, hell is both a death sentence and a life sentence. Hell is eternal separation from God.

Hell is eternal torment in an immortal body and a never dying soul. In hell there is no parole. There is no appeal to a higher court.

There is no early release. There is no second chance. There is no escape.

This is the end of hope. While you are alive, if you've been with us, I have encouraged you already and I will say it again. While you are alive, settle out of court, right?

Settle out of court. Don't refuse the offer of the judge who will now be your savior. To reject him means you will stand before him one day as your judge. And you will with these say farewell to mercy and love and hope and beauty and joy and satisfaction and laughter. This is farewell to the voice of God and the invitation of grace. And oh, what a weeping and wailing as the lost are told of their fate. They cry as they beg him for mercy.

They pray but their prayer is too late. Now the exposition of this paragraph I believe will produce a number of effects, one of which I'll give you five of them quickly and then we'll wrap it up is apathy. This is for you perhaps one more time to hear about hell. Yeah, you preachers, that's your deal. You've heard the truth one more time but you'll walk away unrepentant, uncaring, and unredeemed.

Maybe the effect for you is argumentativeness. You know, who does God really think he is? And I really don't believe the Bible.

I was getting close. In fact, I showed up today and then you ruined it telling me that he said this and that he was actually serious about it and this was in fact his word. And so I'm just gonna take it up with God one day.

You know, as I've researched this subject, I came across the writings of several. One man said, if God sends people to hell, I'd rather worship another God. He doesn't realize it but he already does himself. Another person said, if God judges people and sends them to hell, I will go to hell and defy him.

That's brilliant. What utter foolishness and utter tragic blindness. And so if you feel in your spirit, this is making me mad at God, I'm just spelling it out for you, that road leads nowhere. I'm praying and have been that the effect of our study the spirit of God will bring some to acceptance.

As we began this hour I read the Philippian jailer who came to that point where he'd seen enough and he'd heard enough. Whatever Paul and Silas were singing, it was packed with the theology like the songs that we sang and he said with trembling, what must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus. Believe. Place your faith in him alone. Believe on the Lord Jesus. Acknowledge that he alone is sovereign. That he, God incarnate, is the Messiah. Accept him.

You can do that right now. Accept him. For the believer, this study should lead us and for the sake of alliteration I'll keep those A's going to animation. Let's get busy. Let's stay busy.

We've got work to do. We do believe that people must have the gospel of Christ. The gospel of conscience and creation is enough to condemn them, it is not enough to save them. They must hear of the one in whom they must believe. There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved in this name.

Consider, as C.S. Lewis said, that everybody you come in contact with, the people you work with, the people you live with, people you live around, everybody in here is an immortal, immortal. They will never cease to exist. Let's deliver to them the news of the gospel. Finally, may this study provoke in our hearts appreciation and awe. Our names are written in the book of life because of the grace of God which opened our hearts and our eyes and our minds to believe. In Luke's gospel the disciples were sent out on a mission, a preaching tour, and they did some amazing things. Christ gave them power to reflect the power of their master, the Lord himself, reflecting ultimately their relationship with the God of the universe. So these validating signs followed them and they were able to heal and even exorcise demons which really excited the disciples beyond words because when they came back, Luke recorded that they got around the Lord and they said effectively, you won't believe what happened. I mean, let me tell you, we got to tell you all that happened, what we saw, what we did, even the spirits were subject to us.

Isn't that great? And Jesus Christ says to them, and I'm sure he's smiling, but he says, don't rejoice that the spirits are subject to you. Rejoice that your names are written in heaven. You see, the Lord had the perspective of eternity and he said, listen, if you want to be excited about a lot of things, go ahead and be excited about it. But what you really ought to be excited about is that your names are written in heaven, in this book of life. So we, with all who believe, can say with the joy in our hearts, blessed assurance, Jesus is what?

Is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine, heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his spirit, washed in his blood. That was Stephen Davey and a message he called farewell to hope. It's the third and final message in his teaching series entitled is hell for real.

This is a hard series. It contains difficult truth, but it is truth. And it's something that all people need to know about. We've taken this series and made it available as a set of CDs. It might be that there's someone in your life that you'd like to share it with, or it might be that you simply want a copy of this biblical resource so that you can refer to it often. If so, we want to help you get a copy. Give us a call today at 866 48 Bible.

That's 866 48 Bible. And we're going to give you information on how you can own this series is hell for real on CDs. And of course, as with all of Stephen's teaching, these lessons are posted on our website. You can visit wisdom online.org to listen to this series again. You can download the audio file, or you can download Stephen's written manuscript. Either way, we want to equip you with these biblical resources and make them available to you.

However, it's most convenient. Once again, you'll find us online at wisdom online.org. While you're at that site, I hope you'll take some time and look around the complete archive of Stephen's teaching ministry is posted there. Stephen has been teaching God's word for over 35 years.

So there's hundreds and hundreds of messages available to you. All of them will help you understand and apply God's word. In addition to equipping you with these daily Bible messages, we also have a magazine that we publish monthly. We send heart to heart magazine to all of our wisdom partners.

But we'd be happy to send you the next three issues. If you'd like to see it for yourself, you can sign up for it on our website, or you can call us today. Our number is 866-48-BIBLE. That's 866-482-4253. Call today. When we return next time, Stephen's going to be in the book of James. He has a series for you from James chapter two entitled The Law of Love. Join us for that here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-05 14:04:39 / 2023-04-05 14:13:40 / 9

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