Life and DEATH

Life & Death  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:46
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Born once, die twice; Born twice, die once. We must compel neighbors to avoid the second death!



Last week we talked about the truth that the Resurrection of Jesus provides US forgiveness and freedom in this life (as well as promise into the afterlife). This week we continue the discussion of life and death. Most people postpone discussions about these matters because we believe we have much time until then.
I’m convinced that life and death, Heaven and Hell are discussions we need to have now, rather than then. The stereotypical “Hellfire preacher” would normally be described as one who plays on fear to persuade people to choose Christ over their current sinful lifestyle.
This preacher’s message is put to music in the song “Highway to Heaven – Heaven to Gain, Hell to Shun
There’s a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun; The way is still straight, there’s a race to be run. You can live as you please, but you must pay the cost; And the highway to Heaven still goes by the cross.
As I look at the crowd that is hearing this in person and notice the metrix of who usually views online, There are certainly those who need to hear that message to underscore the urgency of their decision to choose a “Highway”, to repent and believe in the Gospel of grace. But the greater audience is not those who need to be reminded of Hell for their own benefit, but for those of us who need to be reminded of the reality of a place called the Lake of Fire so that WE will become more passionate for our neighbors who are headed there.
It is not coincidental that God laid a message of life and death on my heart the same time we have a representative from one of our mission partners. The reality of a place called the Lake of Fire awakens our compassion for those who are headed there, whether near or far. Last year you frequently heard me say “Everyone, Everywhere, Starting Here.” The last 4 months you have read and heard me say “We are Ambassadors, praying for and with our neighbors”
When Jesus was asked “Who is my neighbor?” He replied with a story that basically says, “All of Humanity is your neighbor”. I do not think of our sponsorship of C.A.M. as us supporting their mission. I think of them at those who facilitate OUR mission. They creatively transport our resources into the hands of believers around the world who are sharing the Gospel with their own people (whom we could never reach due to culture and language) because they are on a highway toward a Christless eternity.
Our mission to both our neighbors and the peoples of the world is not driven by any arrogance or sense of pity on our part. It begins in our hearts and is expressed compassionately and passionately. We take no glee in the destiny of the lost. D.L. Moody, founder of the college I attended, often said,
“No one should ever preach on the topic of hell without a tear in his eye.”
‌I pray that NOTHING I say this morning IN ANY WAY comes across as if I take any pleasure of the judgment/suffering of those who are far from God!
It is Christian malpractice to stick our heads in the sand and live as if Hell is not real. The reality of that destination for people that we love and live with ought to stir our heart and motivate our witness. Compassion for others needs to drive our effort to compel others to call upon the name of the Lord! Our mission in this world is to Glorify God by Rescuing the Perishing
One of the favorite verses of people who do not believe the Bible is Matthew 7:1. ‌The sentiment is that “as long as I don’t “judge” you and you don’t “judge” me then we should both be able to do whatever we please. But even if I don’t judge you (with either biblical discernment or hypocritical posturing), my friend EVERYONE WILL BE JUDGED!
Transition: The same resurrection that we celebrated 7 day ago, not only nails our record of deeds to the cross, and not only proclaim us free from our past...

The Resurrection Establishes a Judge (Acts 17:31)

Acts 17:31 ESV:2016
31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
You don’t need to please me, and I don’t need to please you, but you will give an account.
The Bible speaks of 2 judgments that are yet to come.
a. The Judgment Seat of Christ happens at the 2ndComing and determines who will come to rule and reign with Christ during the Millennium. It is like the scholarship or awards assembly that many of our Seniors are anticipating in less than a month.
b. The Great White Throne judgment is the one we are focusing today. This judgment has 2 parts. The first part is described in MT 25:32-33 as separating the sheep and goats. First those who come to know Christ during the Millennium (sheep) are separated from those alive and dead who are not “in Christ” (goats). Part 2 of this judgment is when the goats are held accountable.
c. Same Judge holding “court” in 2 sessions.


In a rushed release, hoping it would get lost in the news cycle, a report was recently released by our government. One of the reporters asked, “Who will lose their job over this report?” The spokesperson then literally said, “The purpose of the document that we're putting out today is to sort of collate the chief reviews and findings of the agencies that did after action reviews. The purpose of it is not accountability. The purpose of it is to study lessons learned."
The Judgment of Acts 17:31 is not just a review of the findings, it will be to require an accounting


· The truth of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead establishes that I won’t judge you, you won’t judge me, but Jesus will judge us both!
Transition: Every child has said (out loud or to himself) at one time or another “You’re not the boss of me!” Revelation 20 introduces all of us to the one who IS boss of me.

The Judgment Throne is Majestic (Revelation 20:11-12a)

The Occupant of the Throne

We’ve seen increasing opposition to authority. the sit down demonstrations of the 60’s are becoming street riots. ‌One of my earliest jobs was at Worlds of Fun as a 15 year old in the shops and games. I just read that a mob of teenagers started a fight and that a police officer was struck in the face! spurring a Chaperone policy for those under 15. ‌Malls have instituted curfews because of blatant disregard for authority. ‌Teachers are being assaulted by students.
On this Day of Judgment there will be no arguing with the judge!

The Audience before the Throne

1. dead - all believers who died during Millennium and ALL dead believers.
2. Great and Small- social standing does not matter
o Things that get the attention of humanity make no difference in determining this audience
I read recently that Donna Kelce’s shirt and picture has been put in the NFL Hall of Fame. It is remarkable that she is the first parent to have 2 sons playing each other in the biggest game of the season, but I’m not sure that is “Fame”. And I KNOW it makes no difference in the judment of Rev. 20. I read that Travis Kelce’s suit from hosting Saturday Night Live is in the Chiefs Hall of Honor. I KNOW that suit has nothing to do with football and football has nothing to do with the subjects of Rev. 20.
o Both famous and obscure will be required to attend!
3. Sea, death & Hades – manner of death (what happened to one’s corpse) does not matter
o The Jewish people took great care of the bones of their departed, as evidenced in the stories of the deaths of the patriarchs.

The Greeks and Romans felt it important that a person be buried and were horrified at the thought of drowning or being buried at sea

o Cremation or burial at sea were both seen as barriers to the final resurrection, but I’m confident that if God can reconstitute flesh and organs on a skeleton in a tomb, He can reconstitute ashes or the results of a watery grave.
o Soldiers, Sailors, First Responders, Preachers, Missionaries, victims of crimes and accidents who are outside of Christ will all be there.
Transition: The purpose of these verses is not to develop a theology of death or to set your end of life arrangements, the purpose is to be inclusive of who must appear before the Judge.

The Books will be Opened (Revelation 20:12c)


1. You will not be judged based upon what I, or anybody else, thinks. You will be held accountable for what you have done.
2. You will not give an account for my deeds, and my deeds are not the standard for your judgment. You won’t get a “pass” just because I may be guilty of the same or worse sins.


1. The word book can be confusing if we are reading our post 1500 concept of books that we have since the development of the printing press.
2. God wrote on tablets of stone on Sinai. Archeologists find pottery, leather, stone and wood inscribed with ancient letters. Codices were later developed that would bind sheets of papyrus into volumes as we think of a book. When I was in college I was introduced to microfilm and microfiche. But the root is the idea of documents, or records.
3. Today we sign documents, we may digitally initial a PDF, we may transmit a fax or email. And we may read on a book made of dead trees or a tablet made of silicon and glass.
4. Some think the records means reading from a book. And it very well could be that. Some think it will be some sort of video record on a big screen for all to see.


· I don’t know the form of the disclosure. But whatever it is, each who is not in Christ will have his or her deeds on public display and will be forced to give an account.
Transition: The disclosure will be public, but the...

The Penalty is Devastating, but Deserved (Revelation 20:13-14)

Death (all who had come to the end of physical life) and Hades (the realm of all dead, that which holds the corpse prisoner) are added to the Lake of Fire.
This Lake of Fire is described earlier in Rev 20:10 as the place in which the enemies of God are punished. A place of fire and sulfur where Satan, the beast, and the false prophet are tormented day and night forever and ever.


I’m sure tears will be shed and excuses will be offered but the best excuse is still inadequate.
Remember how God described humanity before the flood in which Noah’s family was spared?
Genesis 6:5 ESV:2016
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
3. 5500 years later Jeremiah recorded
Jeremiah 17:9 ESV:2016
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
4. 500 years after Jeremiah, Jesus said,
Luke 16:15 ESV:2016
15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
5. And Paul wrote to the Romans after Jesus ascended back to Heaven
Romans 3:23 ESV:2016
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Transition: I can’t change the condition of human hearts. I love the times the Bible says “but”

Pardon is found in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:12b, Rev 20:15)


· God keeps a record of Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord in repentance and faith! This record is recorded in indelible, permanent ink!


I’ve got bad news and I’ve got GREAT news. Last week I spoke of the “sin virus” that infects EVERY human being. Brad, Me, Ashley, and you. The bad news is humanity has a virus that is 100% lethal, but God offers an antidote that is 100% effective. We have begun to sing a song in the last year that tells of both the bad and the good news: · My sins they are many, His mercy is more!.


Ephesians 2:4 ESV:2016
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
Romans 5:8 ESV:2016
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Psalm 86:15 ESV:2016
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
These are not my words, they are the words that God has chosen to include in His love letter to man.
Heaven is real, The Lake of Fire is real!
Your entrance into one of these 2 destinations is not measured against my opinions. Your entrance is not determined by scales of good and bad. Being here this morning doesn’t earn you a tally mark on one side of the ledger.
Apart from calling on the name of the Lord and being found in His Book of Life, me, you, your neighbors, and the people on the other side of our globe WILL be cast into the Lake of Fire.
Transition: This message is the Gospel of Grace to all who believe and it it the message we proclaim to all whom we love.text


C.T. Studd, a student missionary from the late 1800’s said, “Some want to live within the sound Of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop, Within a yard of hell.”
I adore our outreach and discipleship of children and teens with hopes that they develop a lifetime of deepening discipleship. But there are others who are not so young and they are even closer to the last off ramp on the highway to Hell.
The decisions made in this life carry consequences. There is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun.
It is Christian malpractice to stick our heads in the sand and live as if Hell is not real. The reality of that destination for people that we love and live with ought to stir our heart and motivate our witness. Compassion for others needs to drive our effort to compel others to call upon the name of the Lord! Our mission in this world (near and far) is to Glorify God by Rescuing the Perishing
Closing Song #299...............................”Rescue the Perishing
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