Your Final Destiny

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            This morning, I am going to close our series on Living like You were Dying. I pray that these messages have made you ponder whether or not you belong to Christ. I hope they have encouraged you to strive to do better in the days that you do have remaining on earth. Folks, we are not guaranteed tomorrow; yet many of us live as if we are going to be around forever. Only God knows how many days we will live. Psalm 139:16 says, “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none.”

            This series was written to get you to think about how you live your life before God. This includes believers and unbelievers because we will all have to stand before God and give an account of our lives to Him. So if you are here as an unbeliever, I pray the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the light of God’s Word, open your ears to hear God’s Word, and open your heart to receive God’s Word. If you are here as a believer, I pray that God will help you put into practice what is preached.

            The final sermon I am going to preach is entitled Your Final Destiny. Yet, before we look at our passage, I believe God prompted my spirit to consider if I had only one sermon to preach what would it be? So I began to pray and think about that question. I considered preaching a message on the love of God because Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. I considered preaching a message on the grace of God because amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I considered preaching a message on the holiness of God because Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty.

            But I have not chosen any of those subjects. Instead, I sensed the Spirit leading me to preach about heaven and hell. Today, there is not much emphasis placed on either of those subjects. In fact, most contemporary preaching places an emphasis on how to live for the here and now, especially the prosperity gospel that is being proclaimed. There is nothing wrong with preaching on the here and now because God saved us to transform us from who we once were to what He wants us to become. Yet, many people do not think enough about the next life, but we should because we are going to spend eternity in one of two places.

            Folks, I cannot stress enough that there are only two places to go when we die. The reason that is true is because there are only two kinds of people in the world: believers and unbelievers. And the reason there are only two kinds of people in the world is because there are only two plans for salvation: Divine Accomplishment or Human Achievement. Christianity is the only religion in the world that unequivocally states that salvation is by Divine accomplishment which when accepted makes one a believer and therefore results in heaven. All other religions in the world state that salvation is by human achievement which makes one an unbeliever and therefore results in hell.

            So take you Bibles and turn with me to the gospel of Matthew and the 25th chapter and verse 46. Jesus is preaching a Sermon on the Mount of Olives known as the Olivet Discourse about the coming and close of the age. Beginning in verse 31 till the end of the chapter, Jesus deals with the topic of the final judgment. He closes the subject by saying, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

            Now why would I choose a subject such as this for my final sermon? Why not choose a sermon more popular or palatable to the tastes of people? I chose this topic because I believe heaven and hell are real places and not just figments of someone’s imagination. As I read Scripture, men such as David, Daniel, Paul and John spoke about these places as being true. I believe they are real because Jesus mentioned them several different times in the gospels. And He is true and therefore cannot tell a lie.

            I chose this topic because of my love for sinners. Those that love the most are those that warn us about certain things. I can remember my parents giving instructions such as not touching the stove or running into the street without looking both ways. How much more should we warn people about the upcoming judgment which will impact them for eternity? Paul said, “Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5:11). Jesus wished to gather the Jewish people like a hen gathering her chicks under the wings of her protection.

Another reason I chose this topic is because the tendency to deny hell has penetrated evangelicalism? One survey of evangelical seminary students revealed that: Nearly half—46 percent—felt preaching about hell to unbelievers is in “poor taste.” Worse yet, three out of every ten self-professed “born again” people surveyed believe “good” people will go to heaven when they die—even if they’ve never trusted Christ. One in every ten evangelicals say they believe the concept of sin is outmoded.

Matthew 25:46 says that there are two different groups of people going to two different places. First, there is the resurrection to eternal punishment and then the resurrection to eternal life. Let us examine the resurrection to eternal punishment.


            This is not the first time in Scripture that we are warned about hell and heaven in the Bible. The prophet Daniel tells us in Daniel 12:2, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

            Jesus said, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29).

            Paul before Felix at Caesarea said along with the Pharisees that were bringing up false charges against him, “there will be a resurrection of both the just and unjust.

            John, the beloved apostle, wrote in the last book of the Bible the most complete detail of the final resurrection of the wicked in Revelation 20:11-15. I want to read these verses now, but I will come back to them to draw some facts about the resurrection to eternal punishment.



            Jesus is seen as a shepherd separating his flock. In a Palestinian flock, the goats were hard to distinguish from the sheep unlike the white variety of sheep that you see in Europe. So here Jesus is distinguishing between believer and unbeliever. Sometimes it is difficult for us to distinguish those who are genuine Christians and those who are not genuine. This is not the only time that Scripture describes this separation in a way that we can understand it.

            Jesus tells a parable of the weeds, in which a man went out and sowed seed in his field, but while asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds in that same field. The seed and weeds were hard to distinguish, but at harvest they were easy for everyone to notice. In the same way, Jesus sows good seed, who are Christians in the world, but Satan comes along and plants a counterfeit which in some ways can resemble a Christian but are not true believers. Jesus will send his angels to separate the wheat from the chaff.

            Also, Jesus tells a parable of the net, which compares the kingdom of heaven to a net which gathers fish of every kind. Then the fisherman separates the good fish from the bad fish. So will Jesus at the end of the age separate the evil from the righteous?

            These parables teach that the godly and wicked dwell in the same cities, same churches, and same families. They are not always easily distinguishable, but God knows those that belong to Him and those who do not belong to Him. Sitting on His glorious throne, He distinguishes between every person. Some have masqueraded as Christians but no longer before Christ as the Judge. Some preached, others taught, some did great deeds of service but never knew Jesus Christ and were never known by Him. They will discover His wrath in judgment. Some have persecuted those bearing witness to the gospel of Christ; others have joined their folly in speaking against the truth of Scripture. They will meet the Eternal Judge who will separate them forever from the redeemed.



            These that are described as goats in this context will be sentenced to an everlasting hell. If you will go back with me to the book of Revelation 20 and let us look at this judgment known as the Great White Throne Judgment. In verse 11, we see heaven and earth flee away and find no place which means there will be an undoing of what Christ at one time spoke into existence. God will create a new heaven and a new earth.

            At this judgment all unbelievers will stand before the Great Judge of the universe. This will be a fellowship of the terrible from the unknowns of the world to those who are considered great such as Alexander and Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin. They will be judged by books that record their deeds, words, and thoughts. These three things will be measured by God’s perfect and holy standard. Why? Because God’s justice demands payment for every person’s sins, which Christ paid for in every believer?

            Each person will be individually evaluated and receive just punishment that is consistent with that evaluation. In other words, Scripture teaches that all will be miserable in hell, but not equally miserable. Jesus said that certain cities, which heard the truth and witnessed miracles but did not believe will see that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment (Mark 10:14-15; Matt. 11:21-24). The scribes of Jesus day will receive greater condemnation because of their hypocritical nature (Mark 12:38-40). Jesus, in the parable of the faithful steward, describes the slave who knew the master’s will and did not do it will receive more lashes than the one who did not know the master’s will (Luke 12:47-48).

            Finally, these will go to their place of assignment given to them by the Judge Jesus Christ. They will be thrown into the lake of fire which was prepared for Satan and his cohorts (Matt. 25:41). Hell is described in some very horrific ways in Scripture. It is a place of total darkness, a place where the worm never dies, a place of banishment from God’s kingdom and a place of unending sorrow where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

            These are words that describe the reality for the lost, but even so they will not be able to capture all of the horror that will be there. So people would like to do away with this doctrine by describing death as annihilation or soul sleep or whatever, but here those who die without Christ will be there eternally in constant pain, sorrow, and torment.

            Yet, I am here this morning to say that there is good news to this terrible reality. There is a rescuer, a deliverer, and savior from this awful fate. I am here to tell you that his name is Jesus. He is eternal life for those who believe. So let us look at the resurrection to eternal life.


            If the wicked are the ones raised to enter eternal punishment, then who are those who are raised to eternal life. In our verse they are described as righteous. Now what does that mean? Does that mean they are righteous based on their own merit? Remember, I stated earlier that there are two plans of salvation: Divine accomplishment and human achievement. We know that human achievement cannot get us into heaven because even our righteous deeds are considered as filthy rags in God’s sight. There are none who are righteous or seek after God. All are dead in their trespasses and sins.

            Therefore, God had to do something on our behalf because we are sinners by nature and by choice. God solved our problem by sending His sinless and only Son to die in our place. He becomes sin so that we can become righteous. So how does this work? Well, the Spirit of God convicts us of sin by reminding us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The Holy Spirit convicts us of the judgment to come by reminding us that the wages of sin is death. And the Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness by reminding us that those confess Jesus as lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

            So the righteous are those who have be declared righteous by God through the finished work of Christ. They are the ones who have been transformed from the inside out. They are ones who bear fruit in keeping with repentance. In other words, their words, thoughts and deeds reflect a change in life that is observable to a lost and dying world. Now, this does not mean they are perfect, but they are striving to be holy as God is holy and perfect as God is perfect.

            Just as the unbelievers stood before Christ at the great White Throne Judgment, believers will stand before Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This judgment will not be one of judgment on sin because that has been taken care of by Christ and his shed blood. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

            Yet, this judgment will determine their eternal reward based on their words, thoughts and deeds. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 gives us a glimpse of what this judgment will look like. So turn to 1 Corinthians 3 and let us look at this passage. The Bible states several crowns that will be given to those on judgment day: the crown of righteous for those who loved Christ appearing (2 Tim. 4:8); the crown of life for remaining steadfast under trials (James 1:12); and for elders/pastors they will receive an unfading crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4).

            The destiny of believers is quite different from those who are unbelievers. The Bible says that believers will see no corruption (Ps. 16:10), experience the fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore in God’s presence, they will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of the Father (Matt. 13:43), will never thirst again (John 4:14), and will live forever (John 11:25-26). Heaven is described as a place where death will be no more, no more mourning, crying, pain or the former things which were not allowed in God’s presence.


In one of his sermons, E. V. Hill tells of a time when he preached in Michigan with Dr. Jack Hyles, the former pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana. Hyles' church averaged 20,000 in Sunday school back then. "[E. V.] asked, "Jack, let me in on why you're so caught up in soul winning. You're on the verge of fanatic. What's behind all that?"

He said, "One night, I was awakened by this piercing scream from my sister. I ran upstairs to her bedroom, and there she was sweating and in hysterics. I shook her, and I couldn't get her attention, so I had to slap her. I said, 'What's wrong? You had a dream?' She said, 'No, no dream.' I said, 'You had a nightmare?' She said, 'No it was real.' I said, 'What happened?' She said, 'Jack, I just got back from hell. After a few miles of the glitter and lights and all of that which deceives mankind, there was nothing but desolation. It was a bummed-out situation. It's nothing but desolation and hopelessness. You walk towards the gates of hell knowing that you will never again be free. I got to the gates of hell and the keeper said, "Hold it." I stood outside hell, and I saw people whose faces were twisted and tongues were thick, eyes bulging and hands split, dropping blood. I said, "Sir, please let some air in." And he said, "No air in hell." Then I said, "Kind sir, let them have a drink of water." And he said, "No water in hell." Then I said, "If that's true, let 'em die." And he said, "No death in hell." She said, "My God, how long will they suffer?" And he said, "Forever and ever! Hell has no exit and there is no death."

"She said, 'Just as I turned to leave, he said, "Go back and tell the story." And just as I turned I saw Daddy.'" And I said, "Yep, our Daddy is in hell, because he never got around to doing the most important thing. He schooled us, he fed us, but he never got around to saying yes to Jesus Christ." Jack concluded by saying, "I win souls every day so that nobody else's daddy has to go to hell."

So I preach this message, this morning, not to get you to squirm in your seat, even though some of you out there might be doing so. I preach this sermon not scare you, but just the reality of heaven and hell may do so. I preach this sermon to awaken you to the truth of God’s Word and to do the duty that God has called me to by blowing a clear and distinct trumpet about the truth on these two topics. May God use this message to bring you to Christ? May God use this sermon to stir us from complacency in our walk with the Lord?

If you are here this morning without Christ, I beg you to turn to him now in repentance and faith. I persuade you to look to him and him alone for your salvation. If you are here this morning as a believer may we be reminded of what we have been saved from and saved to. And may we tell others that Jesus loves them and desires to save them. But may we tell them the whole truth and not just part of the truth.

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