He says, Don't be deceived. Neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor effeminate nor homosexuals nor thieves nor the covetous nor drunkards nor revilers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God, but such were some of you. In other words, there were some in that assembly who could look at that list and say that particular one was my passion in life. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I love that. But such were some of you. Only sinners will inherit eternal life in heaven.
Now, there's a pretty obvious reason for that. There's no other category of people. We're all sinners. But Revelation 21 has a list of the kind of people who won't be in heaven. What does that list mean?
And what if we identify ourselves with something on that list? Well, don't go away because Stephen Davey is going to explain this passage in today's lesson. This is Wisdom for the Heart. And this is part two of a message he began yesterday called The Fountain of Youth. Earlier in John's gospel, he referred to the gospel as being like water that Jesus would offer that is living, that brings about perpetual life. And this book of Revelation, by the way, even though it is describing the events of the eternal state, still offers this invitation. Here he is describing heaven. And he says, oh, by the way, you'll want this. You'll want this water. If you're thirsty, come and drink. In fact, he repeats the invitation just across the page. Look at chapter 22 and verse 17.
We'll look more carefully at a later time. But you notice there, the Spirit and the Bride, that's us, say, come. I love that word, come. And let the one who hears say, come. And let the one who is thirsty, come. Let the one who wishes to take the water of life without cost, the very same invitation given, the same phraseology used. The fountain of life, ladies and gentlemen, is for free.
The fountain of perpetual youth and eternal life has been paid for in full. That's why John says, you can come and drink and you can come and drink freely. John adds the word freely at the end of this invitation. The verb is used by John to mean just what it says in your English translation, without cost, without payment due, freely. You could transliterate the Greek word to say gratis.
I love that word. You can have this. You can drink gratis. It's free. I mean, David Copperfield paid 50 million dollars for his beautiful island estate and supposedly his fountain of youth.
And by the way, we're still waiting for the scientists now four years later to confirm whether or not it really is true those bugs really weren't nearly dead. But his estate is closed to the public, just in case you thought you'd get a rowboat, go out there and sneak a little sip, see if you feel better. No, it's closed.
You know what this is saying? You can have a sip of the real thing. It's your inheritance. You are allowed eternal access to the estate of God.
The invitation to drink is open to the public. If you've heard and the Spirit of God has opened your ears and the invitation has been received to come drink, then you discover this fountain of youth is yours and you can do more than sip. We have no idea, only the slightest of ideas of our inheritance.
I'm convinced we're all going to be caught with our mouths open as we see the glory of God and the city of gold and the new heavens and new earth and the river of the water of life cascading from the throne of God sourced from him representing eternal life flowing, cascading down the levels of the eternal city and out into the new earth. This is all your inheritance and mine by faith in Christ. I pulled from my files an article. I tucked it away there when I started preaching through the book of Revelation, figuring I'd get to it eventually. It's a news article entitled From Cave to Castle.
Listen to this. Flat broke and homeless, the Pilate brothers literally lived in a cave. In fact, you can go online. Several news agencies have picked up this story. You can see the cave they lived in, pictures of them, young men. They lived in a cave near Budapest in Hungary for years. It's strange from their family, no contact with extended family. They only left their damp home to earn what money they could by selling scrap metal and candy. The article said theirs was an absolutely hopeless and desperate situation, but then everything changed. This was December 2009. One day, out of the blue, social workers tracked them down and informed the two brothers that they had just inherited most of their late maternal grandmother's estate valued at $6.6 billion. Isn't that great?
You're thinking, who's my maternal grandmother? Just like that, the article ended. These destitute brothers could call a castle their home when all they had ever known was a cave. What did they do to pull this off? I mean, what did they have to offer? What right did they have?
None of that. They were just related to the benefactor. So you might ask, well, how do we have the right to our internal inheritance?
How do we get in on this? Well, John refers now to this gracious union. Look at verse 7.
God says, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Powerful language. And if you were with us in our last study, you notice the metaphor has been dropped now. It has been the bride and groom, the beautiful bride, you remember?
And her groom. And now it's changed. He's actually speaking in the terminology of an adoption contract. Now the Greeks, in order to understand this phraseology, typically divided their inheritance evenly among their living sons. The Romans adopted the practice somewhat where the father could actually change his mind as late in life as he wanted to determine what child, if any of them, got any of his inheritance. This was their way of keeping their grown children polite, keeping the grandkids coming over.
If you didn't, you could be disinherited. Now in John's day, there was this practice of adoption that could actually give the legal right of inheritance to the father's estate, to a male citizen who was not biologically related to the father. He could choose at any time to take a grown man and say, because of someone he's come to love or appreciate, I will adopt you. They would go through an adoption process. The contract would be signed and that man would become his heir. He would be called his son.
In fact, after this process was completed, I learned in the research I did a little bit more on the laws of adoption in this culture that once that adoption contract was signed, it would be unlawful for the adoptive father to ever disinherit his adopted son. It was actually, in a way, stronger than biology. It lasted for life. It could never be disanalled. Maybe that's why the metaphor shifts. A marriage contract could end. It could be disanalled, but not this. See, the Bible employs the best of both worlds, the Grecian and Roman customs of adoption, to describe the inheritance of the believer.
Let me read back again and listen now with fresh hearing. In love, he predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself. What did we do to pull that off? No, it's according to the kind intention of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us and the beloved. In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished on us. Ephesians 1 5-8.
The apostle Peter wrote it this way, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy, caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Note this, to obtain an inheritance. What kind is it? It's imperishable.
It's undefiled. It'll never fade away, and it is even now reserved in heaven for you. See, because we're adopted, we get an equal inheritance of the Father's estate. Isn't that great to know? We all get an equal inheritance. This is all ours. Every believer, justified by faith in Christ, all of this is for every believer. So we have this grand finale, guaranteed by our glorious sovereign who delivers the news of this great inheritance. And what did we do to deserve it? Oh no, it's on the basis of a gracious union with one who calls himself our God and we, his sons. That'd be great to put a period there.
And you would leave thinking, he let us go early today. It's just marvelous. But there's not a period. And let me very briefly take you to a little conjunction that changes everything for an awful lot of people. If you look at verse 8, it begins with that little conjunction, but.
Right? But all that I talked about is true for those who've come to faith in Christ, but for the cowardly, the unbelieving, the abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death, that is the second separation, which lasts forever. So verses 1 to 7 talk about all the grand and glorious inheritances of those believers. And then you get to that little word, but, and everything changes. You notice how that conjunction works that way in the way we talk.
You've probably heard the word used that way. It might have gone something like this. We really appreciate your resume and all your experience, but. Everything looked good on the x-ray, but. We've been dating now for about six months and have had a great time, but.
For the most part, the surgery was successful, but. I've been looking over your retirement portfolio and you've had some positive things happening, but everything before that conjunction is now forgotten. I know I promised to love you till death do us part, but. You know, none of those compare to this eternal distinction, grievous distinction, heaven or hell, condensed, captured in a conjunction, but the following will not get all the glories of what I've just described.
Who are they? Well, he goes on. Let's look again at just quickly at each word, the cowardly. This refers to those who may have claimed to know Christ. It may be you. You're here today.
Polished up, you look good. You have a Bible and maybe a few verses tucked away in your memory, but you know when you leave here, it's a different world out there and you're a different person. The last thing you'd ever do is stand up for Christ or live for Christ. You don't want the claims of Christ governing your life because you'd lose the approval of man. You're afraid of that. That's the real you. This is a sham.
That's what he means when he uses the word cowardly. I can personally remember struggling with that as a 16 and 17-year-old teenager before I gave my life to Christ, which I now look back on as my genuine conversion because I know that the change and the difference that was made because of it, I remember laying on my bed thinking, if I gave my life to Christ, I know what that means. What would happen to all my friends? I mean, how would my life change?
What would change in my life? And when I had a sneaking suspicion, me and a missionary kid, everything would change. That's the idea here. This is the coward who refuses to accept Christ because he doesn't want the effects of what that would mean. John mentions unbelievers. The difference between the two is the unbeliever really doesn't care if you know he doesn't believe in Christ. He's open with it.
More than likely, he's not here today. He mentions further in this list the abominable. Finally you can render that the polluted. This word refers to people who have become literally saturated with the abominations they practice through life. The sin becomes who they are.
The murderer. It's a word that refers to those who with premeditation take the life of another, which would now include the abortionist. John refers to the immoral next in his list. The word comes from pornos. It gives us our word pornography. It's actually a categorical word that is used in differing texts to reflect those who engage in sexual promiscuity or sexual activity outside of the bonds of one man, one woman, one husband, one wife. But it's also used in the New Testament to refer to those who not only practice sexual immorality but those who promote it, those who encourage it, those who affirm it.
So this would not only include the adulterer or the homosexual, the rapist, the pedophile, but the movie producer who illustrates adultery with glee, who illustrates fornication as well as the politician and every citizen who defends sexual immorality outside of marriage. He says, you're not getting in. He goes on the list, those who practice sorcery. This is from the Greek word pharmakeia. It gives us our word pharmaceutical. It's a word referring to drugs.
It was used in the first century. In fact, it's used even in the 21st century around the world in different places to induce pseudo-religious ecstasy or experiences, fantasies, occult experiences. It referred to not only the illicit use of drugs but drugs used in the worship of false idols, the incantations involved in the practices.
Ephesus was so filled with this practice, this use of pharmakeia. In fact, after the apostle Paul preached the gospel in Ephesus, those who repented brought out into the streets their books of magic and their incantations and their drugs and all of it and they literally burned it, Acts chapter 19. John refers next to idolaters. That is those who've placed someone or something ahead of God in their affections.
Those who are more interested in something else rather than God and to the exclusion of God primarily. Finally, John finishes the list with liars and that's pretty self-explanatory, those who don't tell the truth. You're probably out there thinking, Steven has just condemned an awful lot of people to hell.
No, I haven't. John did. All I'm doing is telling you what the words mean.
The Spirit of God speaking through John said, these do not inherit the glory of everything we've just described. But what you need to understand is that what this list includes is all of us. The list isn't given to say these are the really bad things. If you do those things, you're not getting in. So we'll create two lists of sins.
You're really in big, big trouble and these, it's okay, but just don't do it again. Think of it. This is a list that encompasses us all. Placing someone or something before God in our affections. The hidden desires of covetousness, the hidden lusts of adultery and murder by hatred in our hearts that Jesus clarified, cowardice, unbelief, lying.
Anybody in here, I've checked with the other services, anybody in here never told a lie, raise your hand and tell your first one. See, the point of this passage isn't to imply that all the good people get to go to heaven and all the bad people in this list get to go to hell forever. The point is that everybody is guilty and everyone is going to hell.
There is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3, 10. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3, 23.
Everybody's in trouble. But you also need to notice, if you look back at the text, you need to notice that this list does not say that anyone who has ever committed any of these sins will be excluded from heaven. It doesn't say that. If it did, how many of us would be excluded from heaven? All of us. What he's referring to here are those who choose their sin over the Savior.
And here's just a random list of them that encompasses us all. Those who say, I really want to keep that sin, I really want to keep that lifestyle, I really want to pursue that kingdom, I'm really after me, myself and I. In fact, these are the people who effectively say I don't want the kingdom of heaven if this is what I got to give up. If I got to give this stuff up, I don't want heaven. Like Mark Twain in his proud unbelief who actually said one time, I will take heaven for its climate but hell for its company.
No, my friend, you're not going to enjoy either one. But it's those who say I'd rather have all of this than Christ who then forfeit the inheritance of all that we've just seen. But for those who've been adopted, for those who've heard the word come and they've come and they've said yes, I am thirsty for the water of life through Christ, these are the ones who've left the family of death. They've become united to the family of life. These are they who've left the father of lies and now belong to the God of truth.
They are sons and he is their God. Paul wrote to the Corinthians these wonderful words, do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? And then he gives one of those lists.
Again, only his is a little longer to make sure that everybody makes sure they are included. He says, don't be deceived. Neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor effeminate nor homosexuals nor thieves nor the covetous nor drunkards nor revilers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God but such were some of you. In other words, there were some in that assembly who could look at that list and say that particular one was my passion in life. And I love that, that little conjunction again, there it is again, he's gonna repeat it several times, let me read it to you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I love that, but such were some of you.
Frankly, this is all of us. One author retold an incident shared with him by a friend named Joy who taught a Bible class. In a rough neighborhood, she would come in and teach a class of girls and she had in her class a rather sad, timid, fearful girl named Barbara. Barbara's home life was horrible. It had made her afraid. It had shut her down.
No telling what she had to endure. She never spoke, never once. Joy told her friend, the author, while the other girls talked, she sat.
While the other girls sang, she looked down in silence. While the others laughed, she remained unmoved. She was always in class and she was always listening, but she never spoke until the day Joy gave a lesson to her class on the subject of heaven. She talked about the beauty of heaven, things in heaven, the glory of God, tearless eyes, lives that never sorrow or experience pain again. Barbara was fascinated. In fact, she never looked away from Joy as the lesson was taught. She listened with hunger and thirst and then she raised her hand. This is Joy.
Joy was stunned because Barbara had never once spoken nor asked a question. Yes, Barbara? Barbara asked, is heaven for girls like me? Oh yes, it's made for girls like you. Heaven has been created for people who have made a mess of their lives, drinking from the muddy water that our world and our flesh says, try that, that'll probably satiate your thirst.
And maybe you're old enough to know it doesn't. Heaven is made for sinners who find themselves in a list like that and rather than bristle with pride, rather than say, who do you think you are? Say, that's me, that's me, who come and ask to have a drink of this life giving water and who discover in a text like this that they are adopted now sons and daughters who stand to inherit the new heavens and the new earth and the eternal city of God. We inherit it.
We all now live in a cave compared to the palace that we will inherit. See this is the grand finale guaranteed by our glorious sovereign who will deliver us this great inheritance on the basis of the gracious union that has placed us into the family of God as sons and daughters forever. Isn't that an encouraging truth for today? I'm glad you are able to be with us for this message.
Stephen examined a passage that has confused and troubled many people. If you want to share this message with a friend or loved one or if you just want to listen to it again, we have it available on our website and on our smartphone app. You'll find us online at wisdomonline.org.
There's a link to listen to today's broadcast so head over there. Another resource we offer is a magazine that we publish. Each edition deals with a different topic as Stephen helps you better understand what the Bible says and how it applies directly to your life. The magazine also has a daily devotional guide and of course there's information about our ministry and any special offers we might have. You can sign up for it on our website. As soon as you get to wisdomonline.org you'll see the link. Stephen continues through this series on heaven next time so join us for that here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-24 00:31:56 / 2023-02-24 00:40:59 / 9