Punishment For The Unrighteous
A motorist was picked up unconscious after a crash, and was being carried to a nearby [gas] station. Upon opening his eyes, he began to kick and struggle frantically… Afterwards he explained that the first thing he saw was a "Shell" sign, and somebody was standing in front of the "S"!
Hell is a topic that some preachers today tend to avoid, almost at all cost…
By way of example; When asked why he doesn’t speak about Hell, Joel Olsteen said “[People] already feel guilty enough… So I want them to come to Lakewood or our meetings and be lifted up, to say, ‘You know what? I may not be perfect, but I’m moving forward. I’m doing better.’ And I think that motivates them to do better.”
Folks, I am not here this morning to pound this pulpit and rain down fire and brimstone, but I am here to share with you the Word of God… And when you go through God’s Word expositorily (verse by verse), such as we are, then there is going to come a time when you talk about some of the harder subjects.
But even though these are hard subjects to talk about and some are even harder to understand, they are all part of God’s Word and are here for a reason… That being said, we will not skip over these verses, we will not sugar coat the Gospel of Christ and for those of us that have put or faith and trust in Christ, this should increase our gratitude toward Him as we stand Ready and Waiting for His Return… and if you have not put your faith in Christ, I hope that this serves as motivation for you to do so today!
For those of you that were absent last week, or those that were here and have short term memory… We looked at how Jesus gives “Rest to the Weary”. He gives us rest in troubling times, and we will have ultimate rest when He returns to earth to deal with evil and sin.
We looked at the events leading up to His physical Return to earth…
And His Return, when Christ is revealed and stands on the Mount of Olives
When Christ is revealed, Judgement will be served.
Let’s look at our passage… 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 (Read)
God’s Judgment Is...
God’s Judgment Is...
There are few facts about the Judgement of God that I want you to see this morning.
First of all…
God’s Judgement is…
v.6 “since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you”
Warren Wiersbe said “It is a righteous thing for God to judge sin and condemn sinners. A holy God cannot leave sin un-judged.”
A common phrase that people like to say is “a loving God would never condemn people to hell”… or they turn it into a question… “How can a loving God condemn people to Hell?”… Today many embrace what is called "a kinder theology, which places emphasis on God’s nature to love while disregarding His many other attributes such as holiness, justice, truth, grace, and omnipotence" and they treat hell as a pagan fable.
Yes, God is Love and “He is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance.” and that is why there is one verse in the Bible that sums up the whole Gospel…
“For God so loved the world, that He… could care less about your lifestyle here on earth and you are guaranteed a spot in heaven no matter what...”… Is that what Scripture teaches??? (NO!)… I don’t think the sound recording picked up your answer… is that what Scripture teaches?? (NO!) Absolutely not!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Yes, God is love and because of His love for us, His love for a condemned world, He sent His Son to take our punishment.
John 3:18 “18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
God does not condemn us, we are condemned the moment we are conceived…
Romans 5:12 “12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—”
Everyone since the fall of Adam is hell-bound because we have chosen not to submit ourselves to the Lordship of the One who created us.
When God punishes sin, He is acting in accordance with His Righteous and Holy attributes.
When Christ returns, the Judgement that is poured out will be…
2. An Act of Vengeance
2. An Act of Vengeance
vv.7b-8 “… when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The word vengeance must not be confused with revenge. In this divine exercise of judgment there is no element of vindictiveness, nothing by way of taking revenge. The purpose of vengeance is to satisfy God’s holy law; the purpose of revenge would be to pacify a personal grudge.
Contrary to what some believe, God does not hold a grudge against lost sinners. If He did, then why would He send His Son to die for them, and plead with them to return to Him.
What does the verse say are the reasons for this act of vengeance? It doesn’t say “because they did bad things”… there are two reasons given in this verse…
2.1 They do not know God
2.1 They do not know God
2.2 They do not Obey the Gospel
2.2 They do not Obey the Gospel
Y’all… Salvation isn’t about doing more good things than bad things. It is about knowing God and It’s about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
That is why our mission here at Pierson Bible Church is “to increasingly know Jesus Christ and to continually make Him known.”
You may say “sweet! I know God… I know that He is real… So I am all set to get into heaven, right?… ” … Not necessarily… Satan knows God, actually, he knows Him better than any of us. But there is a problem… He doesn’t just know God, he wants to be God and he plans to take down as many people as he can before his time runs out… Satan will never obey the Gospel.
We cannot truly know God ourselves until we are part of His family… Until we repent of our sins and ask His forgiveness. It is only through the Gospel of Christ that we can escape the vengeance of God…
There is one more thing that I want to say about this particular act of vengeance… it is…
2.3 Carried Out Swiftly
2.3 Carried Out Swiftly
As I stated last week, when we come back with Christ, we do not have to worry about doing any of the fighting. Just Him being revealed, in all of His glory, and speaking a Word from His mouth will cripple the enemy in less than a heartbeat.
If you think back to a couple of weeks ago, when Dave filled in for me. He talked about who Christ is. When He first came to earth, He came as a sacrificial Lamb. But when He Returns to earth this time… it will be as the Lion of Judah, and He is returning to carry out the Judgement of God.
One of the attributes of God is the fact that He is Immutable. That means He does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the same God of Pierson Bible Church…
Sodom and Gomorrah cities that were eating and drinking one day, the next day… utterly destroyed… Some of the Israelite families that rose up against Moses and accused him and God for bringing them out of Egypt just to let them die in the wilderness… God told Moses what their fate would be and that same day the earth opened up from underneath their family tents and they were gone…
When the children of Israel participated in sinful acts, punishable by death, as stated in the law that God gave to Moses… the punishment was carried out swiftly!
“But Pastor, that was the Old Testament… that was the age of the Law and we are currently in the age of Grace”… Yes, that is true, but remember… The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… The God that led Israel out of Egypt… is the same God of the early Church and He is the same God of Pierson Bible Church…
Look at Acts 5… In Acts Chapter 5 we find the account of Ananias and Sapphire. When the early Christian church started in Jerusalem, the believers were so close they sold their excess land or possessions and donated the money so no one would go hungry… Remember, following Christ resulted in people losing their jobs, and being shunned by non-christian family and friends...
This sharing of resources was not a formal requirement of the church, but those who participated were looked upon favorably. Their generosity was a sign of their authenticity. Barnabas was one such generous person in the early church.
Ananias and his wife Sapphira also sold a piece of property, but they kept back part of the proceeds for themselves and gave the rest to the church… Which there is nothing wrong with doing that… however, they lied about the amount they recieved and tried to make it seem as if they had given 100% of the sale price to the Church.
The Apostle Peter, through a revelation from the Holy Spirit, questioned their honesty… (Read Acts 5:1-11)
The sudden deaths of Ananias and Sapphira are among the scariest events in the Bible, a terrifying reminder that God will not be mocked. While their penalties seem extreme to us today, God judged them guilty of sins so serious that they threatened the very existence of the early church.
There was no death row… there was no life in prison… it was a punishment that was carried out swiftly…
Getting back to our passage in 2 Thessalonians…
God’s Judgement is....
v.9 “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”
Seems how we are discussing the Lord’s Return and Him carrying out vengeance on at the end of the Great Tribulation… Turn to Revelation 14… Some of Y’all just got excited!… (Read Rev. 14:9-11)…
Does that sound like a temporary punishment?… (NO)… Does that sound like total annihilation, where they are punished for a short time and then they are just destroyed and gone forever?… (NO)…
v.11 says “the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night… ”
Some of you may recognize the name “Robert Jeffress”. He is a Baptist Pastor down in Dallas Texas and he did a study on the “Words of Christ” and this is what he found…
“Of the 1,850 verses in the New Testament that record Jesus’ words, 13 percent of them deal with the subject of eternal judgment and hell. In fact, Jesus spoke more frequently about hell than He did about heaven.”
In Matthew 25:41 Jesus states that the flames of everlasting punishment were “prepared for the devil and his angels”… When God looks at Satan and his angels, all He sees is sin. Sin that must be judged… sin that must be punished.
When God looks at you, if He doesn’t see Jesus in you, then all he will see is your sin. Sin that needs to be judged, sin that needs to be punished.
There are those who believe and teach that the only reason people go to hell is because of an explicit rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Gospel is shared with someone, they choose to reject it… and that is the only reason someone goes to hell...
If that were true, then me preaching the gospel would be the worse thing that I could do, us sending missionaries out to the non-believing world creating a situation where unbelievers might consign themselves to hell by rejecting our message who would otherwise not be condemned, would be the absolute cruelest thing that we could do…
But Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that He "came to seek and to save that which was lost" In other words, He came to a world that was already under the condemnation of God.
God’s Judgement of the sin of this condemned world will last forever. Those who fall into this judgement are forever separated “from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”
Forever cut off from the visible display of God’s splendor and majesty. There will be no relief from hell’s horrors; nothing of God’s glorious presence to bring any shred of beauty, pleasure, joy, or peace. The lost will share hell with the devil and his angels; it will be a place, as Jesus describes, of “Eternal torment, a fiery furnace, full of weeping and gnashing of teeth”
It is estimated that, globally, 2 people die every second. Throw in a military conflict and that number drastically increases… but on the average, just in the last hour… 11am - 12pm there will be about 7,000 people that enter into the presence of God.
According to an article published on “Learn Religions .com” Nearly one-third or 31.2% of the world's population is considered to be Christian. The term Christian encompasses a broad range of denominations, with Roman Catholicism comprising the largest group. Protestants, Evangelicals, Orthodox, Anglicans, and many other sub-denominations are included in the count.
Within that 30% I am sure that there are some who claim to be a christian that actually are not… But I will be generous and say that 20% of the worlds population are born again, Christ following, bound for Heaven Christians. I truly believe that number is substantially less than that, but we will go with 20% anyway.
That means that within the last hour God has said “Depart from Me…” 5600 times and “welcome home… ” only 1400 times.
Folks, if you don’t take anything else away from today’s message… know this...
God’s Judgement is…
v.10-12 “when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Folks, we are to be living in such a way that says “I am ready and waiting” for Christ to call me home… And the way that we get ready, the way that we avoid God’s judgement in the future, is by receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
Romans 10:9-10 says “9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Having eternal life is not as simple as just making a decision and believing some facts. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and that He is risen and living.
There must be an acknowledgment of your sin and a repentance of or a turning away, from sin, to Christ. There must be an acknowledgement of and willingness to submit to Christ’s authority as Lord regardless of what He asks of you.
Years ago there was a man in prison on death row. The man was scheduled for execution for his crimes when the governor of the state decided to extend clemency and commute the sentence allowing the man to live out his days. When the offer of clemency arrived at the prison the staff was stunned when the condemned man rejected the offer. Try as they may, the staff could not convince the man to accept the offer of clemency. The condemned man believed he deserved to be executed and stood firm. The amazed officials took the offer to the courts in hopes that the judge would enforce the offer over the convict’s objections. Again, to their surprise the judge ruled that an offer of clemency was a gift that must be accepted. Ultimately the man was executed in accordance with his wishes and as a result of his choice to reject the governor's offer of mercy and grace.
God offers you everlasting life in Heaven. But you have to accept His offer!… His offer of mercy and grace, through His Son Jesus Christ.
I am more than happy to talk to anyone after the service that may have more questions on how they can become of Child of God. Also, if someone invited you to be here today, a friend or family member, I am sure that they would love to talk with you or point you in the right direction as well...
For those of us that have made that decision… The knowledge that there is a future judgment to come, should motivate us to warn those who are still in their sins, that the only way to escape the coming judgment is by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who has taken the judgment of sinners upon Himself so that we can live righteous lives in this present, evil age.
I found this quote by a fella named John Hanna and as we close, I will share it with you… He said this…
No one who is ever in hell will be able to say to God, "You put me here,"… and no one who is in heaven will ever be able to say,… "I put myself here.” (Read it again)
“God is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance”
End of Jude for Benediction