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The Great Judgment Day

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 11:9, Hebrews 9:27, Luke 12:2-3
Date: 04/09/2016 
One day we will all stand before God and give an account of everything we have done in our lives. If you have accepted Christ you do not need to be afraid because He will stand in our place in the judgment.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Morning. Today's message is something I have thought about sharing with you, quite literally, for years. And it is dealing with the subject of the great Judgment Day. Now, sometimes it's referred to as the day of God, or the day of the Lord, the day of reckoning. There’s a number of terms that are used to express this great Judgment Day. There is, sometimes it's called the great white throne judgment. Because of the reference we just heard read from our scripture verse there in Revelation. When everyone will be gathered before God and there will be this great judgment. Now some people have thought that this idea of a great Judgment Day is a theory that really is not founded in truth. But the Bible is very clear that it is true and it is something that's going to happen. Whether we believe it or not, it will happen. I remember a number of years ago, when I was a teenager; I was going, living on a boat. Some of you have heard this story.

I was on a boat that was a school. And one of our stops was there on the western shore of Italy by Mount Vesuvius. And we went to explore the ruins of Pompeii. And I'll tell you, it really is a disturbing thing. And it leaves an indelible impression on your mind. Because you see it this once sprawling city that was virtually the Las Vegas of the Roman Empire. It was beautiful for the day. It was lush, lots of water and vegetation and food. Quite a resort town. 20,000 people lived there. It was at the base of the smoldering volcano, Vesuvius. And in 79 AD, in April, without warning, it just exploded. And most of the people did not have time to escape to the ocean. And it was covered ash. And it was left pretty much that way until about 200 years ago. Some archaeologists stumbled upon some of the ruins and began to explore. And they noticed these cavities as they were digging around. And one of them postulated those cavities are there because there was some biological creature that is decomposed and has left this chamber. And they started to pour plaster of paris in these cavities. And as they would sweep it away, they found, indeed, it was the forms of men and beasts that had been instantly buried under this seething ash. And they perished there. And you can see the people's forms like plaster of Paris mannequins in all these grotesque, contorted positions, where they were when they died and it's like they were captured in time. Some gladiators were still chained to their posts, prisoners in their prison. They could not escape.

One man was caught in the act of robbing. When he saw that people were fleeing, they began to plunder their neighbors’ resources, hoping they could. And he was caught with the gold he was hoping to steal. But it evidently didn't do him any good. And some people were caught in the brothels that they had. It was morning when the ash fell. And you just think about all of the world seeing how they spent their last hours, really a sobering thought. Well, you know, the world is going to have its last day someday. And there will be a Judgment Day. One of the members of a church I used to pastor, when he sang special music he sang this one song very well. He always sang this one song, but he sang it fairly well. And it made an impression on me. And I think he was trying to preach a sermonette whenever he shared it. It's a song called The Great Judgment Morning. Some of you have heard this before. I'm just going to read a few words and verses from this song. “I dreamed that the great judgment morning had dawned and the trumpet had blown. I dreamed that the nations had gathered to judgment before the white throne. From the throne came a bright shining angel and stood by the land and the sea. And he swore with his hand raised to heaven that time was no longer to be. And oh what a weeping and wailing as the lost were told of their fate. They cried for the rocks and the mountains. They prayed, but their prayer was too late. The moral man came to the judgment, but his self-righteous rags would not do. The men who had crucified Jesus had passed off as moral men, too. The soul that had put off salvation, “Not tonight. I'll get saved by and by. Now no time to think of religion.” At last he had found time to die. And oh what a weeping and wailing as the lost were told of their fate. They cried for the rocks and the mountains. They prayed, but their prayer was too late.” How many of you remember that song? You've heard it. I bet you haven't heard it lately. Am I right? Because it is considered heavy and somber and negative for Christians to talk about judgment. Am I right? Isn't that kind of the thinking that just sort of pervades Christianity?

My problem is, in your problem is, it's in the Bible. And it's something God wants us to think about. It's something that we are going to face. It is a certainty that all of us are going to deal with this great Judgment Day some day. We don't know exactly when. Matter of fact, it could appear to come sooner for some of you than others. It troubles me when from time to time I hear of somebody who is at a certain service where I spoke that dies. And I have had many occasions where I have been sobered by the thought that I preached the last sermon they heard. Now that's not something I'm proud of. That terrifies me. Because you wonder, “Did I give it straight? Did they understand? Did I make an altar call? I didn't know it was going to be the last sermon they were going to hear.” And you wonder, were you faithful, pastor, to prepare them for eternity? Did they have enough evidence on which to make that eternal decision? If you had gone one more verse with the appeal, would that have turned the tide? And these things trouble me. And rightly so. You know the Bible tells us; those of us who are reckless enough to presume to preach and teach will face sorer judgment. It's a privilege. It's a responsibility. So I want to be faithful. I don't want your blood on my hands. There is a Judgment Day coming, and it is a certainty. Hebrews 9:27, “so it is appointed unto men once to die.” Would we all agree that's fairly certain? That's even more certain than taxes. “But after that the judgment.” Every single man, woman, and child above the age of accountability, hearing my voice, will be involved in this judgment. No one can escape. We have all been summoned. We have all been subpoenaed. You must appear. It is a certainty. Ecclesiastes 11:9, and you may want your pencil out. I hope you have your Bibles handy. “Rejoice oh young man in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes.

While you're doing this remember,” Solomon says, “for all these things, you'll be brought into judgment.” Whatever you do you'll be judged for. That is not only true of the young men; it's true of the old men, and the maidens and the women. There is a Judgment Day coming and we will give an account to God. Some wait until it's too late before they think of this sobering truth. Some of us are acquainted with the famous comic, W. C. Fields. At least some of us who are older. Some of the kids probably have no idea who I'm talking about. A very talented entertainer. The later part of his life he pretty well gave himself over to prodigal living. In his final illness he was in the hospital and a friend came to visit. And he saw him thumbing through a Bible. They were shocked to see him doing that because he was anything but religious. And they said, “Bill, what's with the Bible?” And he said with his famous drawl, “I'm looking for loopholes.” Trying to find some way out. Well, there are no loopholes. You can't pay off the judge. You can't pay someone to go in your place. You might be thinking, “Well Doug, I thought that Christians don't have to be there, that we’re exempt.” Is that with the Bible teaches? You know, I have actually caught myself saying that. No, we're all going to be there. I'll get to that in a minute. First, let's establish who is the judge. You already know this. The Bible says, Psalms 50:6, “And the heavens will declare His righteousness, for God is judge Himself.” The Lord says, “You can be content. Vengeance is mine. I will repay you.” God is the supreme Judge. Now this message about judgment is good news, too. How many of you have thought before, “I am so thankful that there is a judgment day coming when the wicked will get their due reward.” That is something to be thankful for. I'm not saying you're to rejoice that someone’s going to suffer. But it seems like in this world sometimes that the wicked escape. Just in the news in the last few weeks. It breaks my heart. You hear about these monsters that abuse little children. And then strangle them or worse yet just put them in a bag and bury them alive.

A father stabs his daughter and her friend to death. Monsters. And then we'll put them in a prison, feed them three square meals a day with air conditioning the rest of their lives. The man who killed Polly Klaas smirked at the father after he was sentenced, and said something I won't even repeat. And when you hear stories like that, you think, “I'm glad there's a Judgment Day coming.” And so it's good news that there's going to be a day of vindication. Have you ever been wrong before? And it seems like in this life, nobody's listening. And Jesus tells the parable of that faithful widow who went to the unrighteous judge, Luke 18. Said, “Deliver me from my adversary. I'm being unjustly treated.” And the judge didn't listen, but she kept coming. And finally he said, “I've got to take care of this widow, because her persistence is wearing me out.” And Jesus said, “Look what the unrighteous judge says. How much more will God avenge, the supreme Judge, His elect that cry unto Him day and night.” So God is the judge. Now God is God the Father, Son and Spirit. Which of the three in the Godhead is the judgment given to? John 5:22, Jesus said, “The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” How much judgment? “The Father commits all judgment to the Son.” And that's good news that Jesus is our judge because the Lord has done everything He could to prepare us to survive that judgment. And again, Acts 24:25, when Felix was listening to Paul preach. Felix the ruler trembled because Paul talked about “righteousness, temperance and judgment to come, and he trembled.” But he didn't want to deal with it. He said, “Go your way for right now, and I'll listen to you at a more convenient time.” We’re not going to read the whole thing right now, but if you look in your Bibles. In Matthew 25:31 Jesus compares the great white thrown judgment to a day when a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And Christ says, “All flesh will be gathered before the Son of man.” Who is the judge? Who is the judge? Jesus is the supreme Judge. God the Son. Now God the Father is obviously there. And we'll talk about passage in Daniel in just a moment.

Now, if there is no accuser in the judgment the case is dropped. Who is the accuser? Revelation 10:12 says, “For the accuser of our brethren,” and it identifies him as Satan in the previous verse, “who accuse them before our God, day and night, has been cast down.” You can also read in Zechariah 3:1-2, “And then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.” And he was pointing at Joshua's filthy garments and saying, “You can't save him. Look how dirty his clothes are.” And it's a symbol for the sins of God's people. “And God took away his dirty robes from Joshua and gave him clean robes, and He rebuked the devil.” It's like when the devil came at the resurrection of Moses. The Bible says, Michael goes to resurrect Moses in the book of Jude. And the devil says, “You can't have him. He lost his temper. He killed an Egyptian. He became proud.” And Michael rebuked him, he said, “yes, but he repented of that.” So the devil stands there as the accuser. When God said, “Have you considered my servant Job? Isn't the devil there accusing Job?” “Well, the only reason he serves you is because you protect him. He is blessed on every side, so he has no temptations. You protected him.” So the devil is always standing as the accuser of the brethren. And you know, really, that's his best job description because he's the one who tempted us to sin. He knows what our offenses are, right? The devil is such a hypocrite, he'll tell you to sin, and then run to God and tell God, what you did.

It's called entrapment. And that's his specialty. Who will be judged? Is it just the wicked? You know, in 1993 the Times Mirror did a poll among the people in America. And it was discovered that more than four out of every five Americans agree that we will “all be called to God’s judgment to answer for our sins.” In spite of that, a lot of people still live for the devil. How many will be judged? Romans 14:10, “So then, every one of us,” and who is Paul talking to? Who did he write Romans to? The lost or to the church? To the church in Rome. “Every one of us shall give an account of himself unto God.” It's a final exam that you cannot CLEP, you cannot escape, you cannot postpone. And again, Revelation 12:10. I’m Sorry, II Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all,” how many? “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one might receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, good or bad.” There is a judgment day and everybody here, everybody listening, watching on TV, we’re all going to be involved in that judgment. I'll talk about that more in a few verses here. Daniel Webster said, “My greatest thought,” any of you know who Daniel Webster was? Do you remember that part of history? This brilliant mind. Daniel Webster said, “My greatest thought is my accountability to God.” We are accountable to God. You know why evolution is such a popular teaching? Because you're not accountable to anybody. We just happened by accident. The truth that there is a God and that God has a will and that He is keeping tabs is a very disturbing thought to the sinful heart. And so we have developed another worldview that we've just come about by accident. And clever men have bent over backwards to try to erase God from the equation. But the Bible is very clear and I even believe that the scientific evidence is very clear, that we are created, and we will answer to the Creator. What is judged?

What is it that's judged in this great judgment day? Ecclesiastes 12, the wisest man who ever lived, he took a detour from the path faith. And at the end of his life he wrote this book. It was reflecting that he had discovered the vanity of life, in pursuing the pleasures of life. And in summary of everything that Solomon learns. This wise man says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” We are to live to bring glory to God. And the only way that you can do that is by obeying Him. “For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Every work is brought in to judgment with every secret thing. Again, Matthew 12:36, Jesus said, what is brought into judgment? “I say to you that every idle word that men speak, they'll give an account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words, you'll be justified and by your words, you'll be condemned.” You know, that has always been one of the most troubling scriptures to me because I talk a lot. And there's a scripture that says, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.” The loose translation of that would be, “The more you talk the more likely you are to say something inappropriate.” And sometimes it's accidental. Sometimes it's deliberate. And for those of us who talk about others. We may not do things, but we talk about what everyone else does, called gossip. I think maybe Jesus had that in mind when He said, “every idle word.” We spend a lot of time chatting about what others are doing with no redeemable value to the chatter. It's almost to make ourselves feel better by talking about the weaknesses and the flaws and the gossip of others. Jesus says we'll give an account for that. “Every idle word.” Does that trouble you? It troubles me good. It's healthy. The Holy Spirit, one of His jobs is conviction.

That could mean the Holy Spirit’s among us right now, troubling our hearts. That's good. Don't you want the Holy Spirit here? And especially in this day and age where there is so much recording equipment. People forget that the answer machine is still going. I have had people call me and leave messages and they forget to turn their phone off and they set their phone down and then I hear things that they're still saying, or they didn't know, they didn't hang up the phone and the recording machine. Have you ever had this experience before? I know I'm not the only one. It's happened to me several times. And you hear things you know you weren't supposed to hear. “He's probably home. He's just got it on caller ID because he doesn't want to talk to me.” Or something like that. I think you've heard me tell the story. One time I got involved in some marriage counseling where some infidelity was in the marriage and the way it was discovered, the husband called the wife while on a business trip. Called to explain he had to work late. And she had that third tuition that women have that his voice didn't sound right. And she just lingered on the phone when he said goodbye, and he forgot to hang the receiver up all the way. He was hotel room and the hotel phone didn't hang up right. And she listened and he was in the room with another woman. That's how she found out, being recorded. And now sometimes you can, you hear the stories of these thieves that think they were very clever. And they don't know that everything they just did was videotaped. And these police cars have got the video cameras on the front. And so people are telling the judge, “I was not inebriated. I don't know why he was treating me this way. I hadn't had a drink.” And the judge says, “Well, it just so happened the car had a camera rolling when you walked the line.” And the guy’s going like this. And it's on the tape. “You're going to tell me you weren’t inebriated?” And this just I think gives us a little insight into the truth that not only does God see everything we do, but it's all recorded. Every idle word.

Oh, we need the blood of Jesus, don’t we? Luke 12:3, “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known. For whatever you have spoken in the darkness shall be heard in the light. And that which you have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Have you ever been talking about somebody, maybe saying something salacious that you shouldn't be saying, and they walk in the room? Or, you see the person you're talking to start making faces like ixnay. And you look behind you, and there they are? They now are equipping more and more cars with this satellite equipment. One popular brand name is this OnStar. And thieves are stealing cars and they wonder how there are so quickly found because they planned their escape at night, and they parked with the lights off. And all of a sudden the police pull up, cars around them and jump out with their guns drawn, and everything. “How'd they find me?” Well there's a satellite that told them where you were every minute. There is nothing that is hidden that shall not be revealed. Luke 2:35, not only what we did and what we said, but one of the prophecies about Christ says that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. “Even that which is thought, every pious or sinful thought, every secret prayer.” Not only the bad, it's the good. “Every secret curse, every unknown deed of charity, every hidden deed of selfishness, and though we have forgotten them for years, we shall see them all again and will acknowledge them as our own.” Now, what is the standard in this judgment?

By what standard will we be judged? John 12:48, “He who rejects me,” Jesus said, “does not receive my words, has that which judges him. The words that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” What is it that will judge us? The word of God. And it gets even more precise than that. James 2:12, “So speak ye and so do as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” And if you read the previous verses, he identifies the Ten Commandments as that law of liberty. Some people think the Ten Commandments is a law of bondage, but the Bible calls it a law of liberty. Because, like on the streets here, those who keep the laws of the land are free. Those who break them are in jail. Those who sin are under the bondage of sin. Those who are saved from their sins are at liberty because of Christ. So it's called the law of liberty. But we will be judged by that. I remember hearing about a teacher in school. And he went to the board and he wrote down 50 questions, very clearly on the board. And he turned around to the class, and he said, “These are the questions that will appear on your final examination. Half of these questions that I'm writing will appear. You need to study all of them. Half of them will appear on the final examination. All you've got to do is find the answers to these questions and you'll pass.” And they thought it was too good to be true. It's great. The questions are given. The answers are available in the textbook. We can write down these questions, find all the answers, get 100%. I've got a confession to make. Some of you already know.

I did not complete high school, but I did get my high school diploma. Legally. Sort of. They actually publish a book, it's perfectly legal, the same people that give you the California GED have a book. And in that book are all the possible questions that might appear on your test. I got the book, and I've got a good memory. And I went through the questions. I'd read them. I'd try and guess what the question was and if I couldn't find it I'd go to the back, it was multiple-choice, and then I'd find the right answer. And I'd remember it. And I went through these 700 questions and I passed, barely, but I passed. I also did go to classes. And I thought, “This is great! They’re going to give you the questions and the answers. There's really no excuse.” Do you know how I got my written flight exam passed? They actually, the FAA publishes a book. And they said, “Your written exam will have,” I forget what the percentage is. It's like, “You'll have 80 questions out of this group of 300 questions.” The questions are there and the answers are there. And they figure that if you can take the time to work the math and find out what the right answers are, you're learning either way. They give you the questions. And so I got my pilot's license. Makes it easy when you say, “What will the questions be on the test?” How many of you think that should make it a little easier?

Would you like me to tell you what the questions will be on your test? Called the Ten Commandments. And I can even make it simpler than that. Did you love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength? And did you love your neighbor as yourself? Did you do unto your neighbor as you would have him do unto you? Did you ask, “Am I seeking after God's kingdom in these thoughts and choices?” It's not like you don't know what the questions are. It's why it says, “You will be without excuse, oh man, who says, but I didn't know.” Oh yes you do. It's written in your heart. That's what Paul says in Romans 1. So God has told us what the questions are going to be. It's not like the American laws. You know, most citizens in any given country don't even know the laws of their city, county, and state. I read somewhere that there are 2 million laws in the United States. If a man could learn them at the rate of two a day, he'd be qualified to act as a law-abiding citizen in about 6000 years. But God was able to summarize in 300 words, approximately, Ten Commandments, what His perfect, comprehensive will is for man. We know what God wants us to do.

From what records will our lives be drawn? Daniel 7:10, tells us in vision, he said, “I saw the judgment was set and the books,” the what? “The books were opened.” Again, Revelation 20, we heard this in our scripture reading, verse 12 and 13, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened.” Now, you know, not only does it tell us that there are books, and it tells us there's a book of life we'll get to in a minute, it also talks about a book of remembrance. Malachi 3:16, “Then they that feared the Lord spoke often to one another and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and thought upon His name.” Now, what kind of books does God use? Are they books like these, where they've got the, you know, the paper and the spine and the ink? I don't think so. I think the Lord often uses terms that we can relate to. Back in Bible times, when it wanted to talk about God's armies delivering His people, they called them chariots and horses of fire. Do you really think that the Lord gallops around in these old or Romanesque chariots in heaven with ponies? Is that how God has to get around? Or was that a term that they could relate to back then? They understood what that meant. As a matter of fact for a good part of the history of the world, chariots and horses were applicable. It's only in our generation that doesn't make sense. In the same way, when God talks about books, I don't think that the Lord's got a big old Alexandrian library filled with scrolls.

Neither do I think that He has a big old library like the library of congress that has a billion pounds of books. But God has some method of recording everything. Now I've got some theories about this. I mean in our day and age we've got hard drives, right, that store all this information. And we can sort of understand that. I see somebody pointing to his head. Let me tell you a story about that. Do you know that you're stealing my sermon? But I appreciate the second witness. There is a neurologist who met at a convention of brain surgeons. And he said that through their studies they've become convinced that the human mind is so incredible that virtually everything that you have ever taken in through your senses over the course of your life, whether through your site, your touch, your ears, your smell, is recorded like a tape that is constantly recording. It's constantly recording. But the problem is, most of us don't know where the tape is, right? I saw a program this week that was on the Discover Channel that was on a gentleman. And his name is Kim Peak. Some of you heard about a movie and a book called Rain Man. Is that right? And it was based upon this very real individual. The story has absolutely no bearing on this man's life. But there really is a man who is sort of borderline autistic. He is an enigma to psychologists and psychiatrists.

Kim Peak has a photographic memory. He's a Savant. He has read 7600 books. Well here, I've got some information here I'll just share about him. His mental knowledge of the library includes world and American history. He can tell you about any ruler anywhere in the world, when they were born, when they died, how long they lived. You just ask him. It's all right there. Because he's read it. All the presidents, how long they reigned, when they were born, when they died. And what's more is, he will tell you what day of the week they died on. And if you tell him the date of their birth, he can always tell you what day of the week it was when they were born. If you tell him when you were born, he will tell you what day of the week it will be when you turn 65 and you can retire. That's a very important thing for him. For some reason. He's still alive today. He lives in Salt Lake City. He's got all the facts on personal sports. All their trivia, baseball, basketball, football, Kentucky Derby winners. He can tell you all about the space program, and the engines, how much thrust they put out, and how far they went, and when they went and when they came back, and who was on the flight and what their middle names were. He reads a book, 8 seconds a page, two pages at a time, one eye on one page, one eye on the other, going like this. It's a mystery.

What separates Kim from you is his brain stores the same way your brain stores, but there's something miswired evidently in his brain because he's a little bit socially behind. And he can access that information at any time. He can, you start a song that he's heard before, he'll finish it. Well, I think that, you know when people are dying or they're faced with death, they'll often say, “I saw my whole life pass before me.” Any of you heard that before? That doesn't always happen because some people don't always have a warning. And I believe in the judgment, that great white throne judgment, God's going to play the tape for everybody. He's going to connect the wires and He's going to press the play button and we will see the whole course of our lives, except it will happen fast. It will not take 70 years to watch the tape. And we'll see the highlights. And I also think that God is going to give a three dimensional aspect, where you’ll not only see where you were and what you were doing, we will be able to interact. During this time of judgment, our understanding will be enhanced. We will see angels behind the scenes. That were encouraging us to follow Jesus.

We will see other people who were praying for us. And then maybe we'll be converted and we'll see when it happened. We’ll be able to trace the events. Or we'll see that pivotal point where when our lives were wavering between eternity and we decided to postpone, and to postpone again, and to postpone again until the voice grew weaker and weaker. And all of it will become clear that we were lovers of men and lovers of pleasure and the world more than lovers of God. That's why ultimately, every lip will say that God is right, Jesus Christ is Lord. And whatever the verdicts are, for the saved and for the lost, will declare that they are righteous. Turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Matthew. I told you I was going to go here a little later. While we're talking about the criteria of the judgment, I want to give you a perspective we often forget. Verse 31, Matthew 25, keep in mind, this parable comes right on the heels of all of Jesus discussion on the second coming; this great judgment after the second coming. “When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory: all nations will be gathered before Him;” [End side one]

“one from another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats.” Now the temperament of sheep and goats are very different. It's interesting; sheep and goats will eat pretty much the same thing. Goats will eat almost anything, she are a little more particular. The goats are the lost. They'll not only eat the grass, they'll also eat the poison ivy. And that's one of the things I think identifies the difference between the sheep and goats in God's economy. Some people read a little bit of the Bible, but they also eat everything else. That's what makes them goats. Did you get what I was saying there? It's your spiritual diet that makes the difference. Goats are also a little more stubborn than sheep. They want to do their own thing and go their own way. I heard one preacher remind us that the difference between sheep and goats is not only is it the male goats that butt, the female goats butt with their horns.

A sheep ram will butt, but not the females. But all goats butt. And they say, “I would follow the Lord now, but…” “I'd like to start a diet now, but…” “I know I'm talking about this person, but…” “I'm sharing it with you so that you can pray for them.” And they've always got a but for everything. “When they separate the sheep from the goats the king will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and you gave me food: I was thirsty, you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: I was naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.” Now stop real quick. Not only should the godly, the Christians care about the practical needs. We should feed the hungry with food and the thirsty with water. And the stranger, we should bring them in. The naked with clothes. Those who are sick should be visited and those in prison. But there is a spiritual analogy to every one of these words, that Jesus tells us what they mean. I was hungry and thirsting for righteousness; you gave me the bread of life.

I was thirsting for the living water; you gave me drink. I was separated from God, I was a stranger, alien, and you introduced me, you made atonement to Christ. I was naked without the robe of righteousness and you clothed me with Christ's righteousness. I was sick with sin. Isaiah calls it a sickness. I was imprisoned by the devil and you set the captive free. There's a spiritual analogy. We should also be taking care of the spiritual needs of the lost, right? It's both. And then He turns to the lost, and He says, “Depart from me, you wicked, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry,” I'm in verse 42, “you gave me no food: thirsty, you gave me no drink: stranger, you did not take me in: naked, you did not clothe me: sick, and in prison, you did not visit me.” They say, “Lord, of course we would have done this for you. When did we see you in these conditions and neglect you?” I'm paraphrasing. “And He'll answer and say to them, "In as much as you did not do it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you did not do it unto me.” Now, this is the thought that should really be an ah-ha experience for you. Unlike what most people assume, they assume in the judgment that God is going to list the sins of commission. “You stole, you broke the Sabbath, you killed, you lied, you did these things wrong.” It's the sins that are committed. Those are called sins of commission; you commit a sin. In this judgment it's only the sins of omission. It's not what they did wrong, it's what they did not do right. Know what that tells me? When we think about the role of works in the judgment, it's not so much what you did wrong that determines your heart is wrong. It's what you didn't do right. Your heart was not with God and with your brother. You see what God is saying here? It shows where your heart really was. So it's not just the sins of commission, it's the sins of omission. If our hearts are right you may not lie and steal.

This is also something that is being directed to the church. A lot of self-righteous people go to church. They say, “I'm not in jail, I must be good. Don't get any speeding tickets, you know. Never been audited by the IRS. I must be good.” And then the Lord says, “Well, that may be. Maybe you've had the same wife all your life. And maybe you haven't murdered and done any of these things. But you also haven't been to the hospital to see anybody. You also haven't gone to the prison to help anybody.” You see what I'm saying? It's not just what's done wrong. It's the good that is neglected. “And He'll say to these, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.” Another important point, friends. Is there a third option? They don't have something called gleep, half goat and half sheep. You're either a goat or you're a sheep. You can't say, “Well, I'm a gleep.” No, there's no in between. There is no third option. It's either, “Depart from me, cursed, into the fire with the devil and his angels,” or, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” There's only two options in this judgment. And everybody's involved. Now this great white throne judgment. I should probably pause here and elaborate a little bit. Judgment’s a word that encompasses many things biblically. Some people say we're not supposed to judge. “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” That's not really what the Bible says. The Bible also says, “When you judge, judge a righteous judgment.” Paul says, “What, don't you have any judgment that you can't judge in the smallest of matters?” Christians are indeed commanded to judge. Leadership in the church, they're commanded to make judgments. You make judgments every day. It means don't condemn your brother, that you be not condemned. That’s the way the word is used there. But how often we say, you know, if you go to a brother who's living in sin and you say, “Brother, sister, you know, you need to get back together with your spouse.

You need to stop going to the bar.” Whatever the problem is. And they say, “Don't judge me. You're judging me. The Bible says you're going to be judged.” That's a misapplication of that verse. You are to judge like that. You are your brother's keeper. We are to care. And the devil's got the church so scared that we should go after those among us who are straying, because will be accused of being judgmental, and we'll be judged. It's a lie. It's a misapplication of that truth. Don't condemn anybody. And be sure, if you're going to pick a speck out of someone else's eye, you don't have a log in your own. Paul says, when you’re judging your brother, are you doing the same things you're judging them about? And then Jesus said, “First take the log of your eye, then get the splinter out of your brother’s.” You notice what He goes on to say? “First get the log out of your eye, then help your brother.” So there's nothing wrong with evaluating the spiritual condition of those around us. Indeed, we are supposed to do that. Misapplication. There are also three phases of the judgment in which we will all be involved. There's a judgment that takes place before Jesus comes that is sometimes referred to as the pre-Advent judgment. That judgment begins with those who have professed to have accepted Christ. Bible tells us, “Judgment begins at the house of God.” And if you read in Ezekiel 9, it says in that judgment vision that Ezekiel has, it says, “Begin at my sanctuary with the ancient men.” You remember when Mary Magdalene was in the temple, and they were going to stone her, and Jesus began to write the sins of her accusers. Judgment began in the house of God, and they went out one by one. And so judgment begins during the pre-Advent judgment.

Let me just ask you. If the Bible says, use your clear, simple logic here. If the Bible says, “Behold, He comes and His reward is with Him to give to every man according to their works.” Does the Bible say that? Then some aspect of judgment takes place before he comes because they are being rewarded according to their works when he comes. Is that right? Are we all together still? So some kind of works, some kind of judgment transpires before he comes. That's the judgment that we read about there in Daniel seven, where the Son of Man comes before the Ancient of days and the books are opened and the judgment is set. This investigative judgment. The Day of Atonement judgment. We’re living in that time right now. That's kind of a sobering thought. Have you noticed in some of these big cases? All of history remembers the OJ Simpson case, when everyone was waiting. A thousand news agencies from all around the world, with their satellites, outside the courtroom, while the jury was deliberating. What's going to happen? There was an intensity, an interest. Christians ought to have that kind of interest now about this judgment that's going on now. We're living in the sight of a holy God. Christ is interceding on our behalf. Names are coming before Him. And when that judgments complete probation closes. Then you've got a judgment that takes place during the 1000 years.

We're going to get to heaven, I hope it's all of us, and have a lot of questions. And we'll be saying, “Lord, what is this person doing here? I never thought I'd see WC Fields here.” And He'll say, “Well, he put faith in me while he was looking for loopholes.” Who knows, right? And God will then take you to the record books and you'll get to look at the judgments of God. Because some of what we're doing is looking at the judgments of God during that time. Or we'll see somebody missing that we thought would have a very prominent place in heaven and we'll say, “Lord, I don't see them anywhere.” And he'll say, “Well, I'm sorry tell you, here's the record book.” And they'll play the tape for you. Whatever this three-dimensional tape mechanism that God uses. And it will see that they had everyone else fooled, but not God. And the Bible talks about, Paul says, “What, don't you know that you will judge angels?” We're going to even affirm that God is going to have to cast the angels into the lake of fire at the end of the 1000 years. That's the second phase of the judgment, the millennial time. The great white throne judgment takes place; that's when the sheep are separated from the goats. It's after the New Jerusalem descends, Christ's feet touch the Mount of Olives. It forms a great valley, and then He speaks and all the wicked have ever lived, Gog and Magog the Bible calls them, God's enemies from all ages come forth. The number is like the sand of the sea. They cover the earth like a cloud. You can also read this not only in Revelation 20, but in Ezekiel 37, 38.

Those that are saved are in the city. Those that are lost are outside the city. The lost angels are on the outside and Satan, Christ, and the good angels are on the inside. Everybody here, we're all going to meet that day. That's when the Bible says every knee will bow; we will all stand before the judgment seat. Even the righteous during that time, it's going to be an awesome thing. We know that we're in the city because of the sacrifice of Christ. And everyone's life will pass before them. And praise the Lord for those that are redeemed; we'll see that the blood of Christ covered our sins. Now I want to get back to some of the particulars that are involved in these different aspects of the judgment. Let me talk to you a minute about the book of life. We read there in Revelation where it said that everyone was judged of those things that were written in the books. And whether or not their name were, was in the book of life. Revelation 21:27, “And there shall in no wise enter into it,” speaking of city of the God, “there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defiles, neither whatsoever works an abomination, or makes a lie,” no liars there, “but those that are written in the Lamb's book of life.” Only those that are written in the Lamb's book of life. How many? Only those that are in the Lamb's book of life. How many of you want to have your name written in the Lamb's book of life? It's essential. You've got to know that your name is written there. Philippians 4:3, Paul said, “I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the Gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” Did Paul seem to think that he had assurance that some of his friends were written in the book of life?

Can we have our names written there now? Paul indicated that he had friends whose names are in the book of life. Not, I hope they will be some day. It's not during the judgment the Lord writes them in. You get your name there now by coming to Christ and accepting His sacrifice and having your sins under the blood. The same way that angel of judgment went by during the Passover because they were under the blood, we can have our sins under the blood of the name and then our names are entered into the Lamb's book of life. Right? Right? You need to know how to do this, friends. I want your names there. Moses, what he was interceding for God's people, he said, “Yet Lord, now if you will forgive their sin, but if not I pray blot me out of the book you have written.” That's the book of life.

Did Moses know his name was written in God’s book? How could he say to the Lord, “Lord, look, if you're not going to save them, take my name out of your book,” unless his name was already there? Now that raises another very interesting point you must consider. Names can be entered in God's book of life, the Lamb’s book of life, now. That's good news. You can get on His manifest, that cruise, now. But names can be blotted out, too. Not only did Moses say, “Take my name out.” Revelation 3:5, Jesus said, “he who overcomes will be clothed in white garments. And I will not blot his name out of the book of life.” The only reason Jesus would have said it that way is because those who don't overcome I will blot out. It just cannot be understood any other way. And if that's not enough for you, Psalms 69:28, speaking of the wicked, David prayed, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living.” That's the book of life as well. “And not be written with the righteous.”

Whose names are written in the book of life? The righteous. So, names can be added, names can be taken out. But something else I want you to consider. Is the great white throne judgment so God can figure out who's saved and who's lost? Or does He already know everything? How many agree that God already knows? Now, don't misunderstand. Because God already knows who will be saved and lost doesn't mean he's making it happen. You have a choice. God has made a provision for you to respond. And when you respond, you become the elect. People get confused about this predestination business. God has predetermined it that He would have all men to be saved. But some respond and some don't. And He already knows who will and who won't, but you have a choice. Just because God has advance knowledge doesn't mean that you have no choice. It'll be by virtue of your choosing. Otherwise why would the Lord say, “Whosoever will”? You have a will. “Choose you this day who you will serve.” You can choose to accept Him and have your name written, and come just as you are. This is where it tells us and Daniel 7:13, “When the Son of man comes before the Ancient of days,” this is that great judgment that it depicts, “and 10,000 times 10,000 are gathered around Him.” So there are angels that are watching this pre-Advent judgment. And they are evaluating because here you got sinners.

Do angels see what we do? Yeah, we're about to be reintroduced among these holy beings and God is demonstrating that not only have we been justified, we have been sanctified. Our lives have been changed and we can be saved and be in that kingdom. There's a lot more on this subject, and I think I'm going to have time. Who is our judge? Who is our defense attorney? Who’s our sacrifice? That's good news. He's paid to bail us out. Right now you're on bail. There's still a court date. But everybody here, you've been bailed out by the blood of Jesus, right? He's bought us time. Even those who are lost or living by the virtue of the blood of Christ. What I'm saying is, the penalty for sin is death and the only reason that the wicked are still alive is because Christ bought them some time.

If you get in trouble while you're out on bail, you're really in trouble, right? You know what I'm talking about? And so we should be living as those who are faithful for the price he's paid for our freedom. And if we fall He is right now interceding before the father for you and me. “My little children, these things I write to you that you do not sin, and if any man sin we have an advocate,” that word advocate is a defense attorney, “with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.” When is He interceding for us? Now. Hebrews 7:25, “wherefore, He is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him.” We come to God by Him. “Seeing He ever lives to make intercession.” Is He living to make intercession for us right now? He ever lives to make intercession. That means that He will intercede for you. Right now your sins can be washed away and your name is entered in the book of life if you come and claim His sacrifice.

If you don't, why not? “How shall we escape so great a salvation if we neglect it?” What will our answer be? Hebrews 9:24, “For Christ has not entered into the holy place made with hands, which are figures of the true, but He has entered into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Jesus is before the father leading in our behalf, right now. That's good news, friends. Our safety from this time of judgment we're living in and the great white throne judgment that is coming is to place ourselves under the blood of Christ. Have our names written in the Book of Life and then through sanctification, walk with Him so that we can know that we'll be over comers. Would Christ ask you to be an over comer if it wasn't possible? How much can you do through Jesus? You can do all things unless you believe the lie of the Devil or you believe your past failures. Don't make your decision based on your past failures. All things are possible with God. I heard an interesting story. Back in the days when the settlers were crossing the Great Plains in their covered wagons. They moved slowly with the oxen and all their provisions and many were walking back then.

They didn't all ride in the wagons. They carried their provisions in the wagon. And as they were out in the middle of these Great Plains they saw a terrifying sight. On the horizon as far as they could see in any direction, north to south, coming from the west was smoke. And as they stared, then they saw little flashes of fire. It was a prairie fire that was roaring towards them. And they realized they were all doomed. The wagon train leader was a skilled leader. He knew they did not have time to get back to the river they had crossed the previous day before the fire overtook them. Sometimes you to get across a river and find some refuge. They moved too slowly. But he knew what to do. He went behind the wagon train, and because there was a breeze blowing from the west to the east, he lit the fire behind them. And as it burned back a few hundred yards, some of the tenders in the grass began to go out right where they were. Then he said, “Start moving back where the fire has burned.” And quickly the wagon train, they went over the area where the fire was burned and the ground was still hot. It wasn't comfortable, but they could bear it. And pretty soon the prairie fire came roaring towards them. And just surrounded them. And a little girl began to scream and say, “How can we know that we won't be burned?” And the leader of the wagon train said, “The fire cannot burn here.

It's already been burnt. The only place for us to be safe is to go where the fire’s already burned.” The wrath of God and the judgment of God fell on Christ. And the only way for us to escape the judgment is to be in Christ when God comes. Only those that are found in Christ when He comes. Those that are under the blood when that angel of judgment comes through the land of Egypt, they’re the only ones who will be spared. You can have that now. You can have your name written in the book of life. It would be a terrifying thing to live day after day knowing that judgment is coming. And every day that we put off repenting and coming to Christ for forgiveness is one less day to repent in and it is one more day to repent of. It's compounding interest of judgment, if we fail to take God up on His offer. What a terrifying thought. To say what Felix said, “Come later, at a more convenient time and I'll listen to you.” Friends, I say, come now. Amen? Find yourselves under the blood of the Lamb now. Is that your desire? Have your name written in the book of life now. It's written in red. If that's your prayer, and you want to join me in that commitment, let's make a covenant with Jesus. Let’s renew our commitment and ask Him to cover our sins. Turn to, what is it, 412? And we're going to sing Cover With His Life.

[Music/singing]

This is one of those hymns that has beautiful words. And I hope you're paying attention to the words. Verse two reads, “Deep are the wounds transgression has made. Red are the stains my soul is afraid. Oh, to be covered Jesus, with thee. Safe from the law that now judgeth me.” Isn't that beautiful? Cover With His Life. What's our only hope? It's to be covered with Christ. To be under the blood of the Lamb. Well, I read verse two. Before we seeing verse three I want to give you a chance to respond. Have you ever had moments of terror? Where you tremble when you think about standing before God. I worry for you if you don't. Even the apostles had those moments. Do you know that your name is written in the book of life? Moses knew it. Paul knew it. He said, “I know who I believed in.” You can know. You come, just like you are and you're justified, and then you abide in Christ, and you're sanctified. Would you like to have that experience today, friends? And you don't have to fear the judgment. Because when the fire comes you're standing where it's already burnt. Amen? You need special prayer? Come as we sing verse three. We'll pray together. You can make that decision now. From the balcony, come down, we'll pray with you.

[music/singing]

Some of you might be thinking like me. I've given my life to the Lord, and I've asked Him to write my name in that book. And to take in ink of blood, write next to my sins, “forgiven under the blood.” Then I go and I give the Lord more cause to chronicle things that I need repentance of. It's important to keep short accounts with God. You know, right now before you leave this service today, you can still know that everything’s under the blood. If you would like to join Pastor Doug and say, “Lord, I've said some things, I've done some things, thought some things, and I want to have that cleansing renewed. I want to be refreshed under grace.” Is that your desire? Is that your prayer? To renew that covenant and to live a life that brings glory to God. Let's close by singing the last verse of this beautiful hymn.

[music/singing]

Just before we pray I'd like to remind you, if there are some who are accepting Christ the first time today, and you'd like to have one of our pastors, I see a pastor or two here, or one of our elders pray with you, then please stay behind. They’ll be happy to pray with you and share ways that you might affirm and deepen your relationship with Jesus. Might need a couple more elders to come forward that haven’t. Also, please don't forget to continue to pray about the church relocation program. If you've not made your covenant yet, we have cards at the Information booth in the back. Let’s pray together.

Father in heaven, Lord we’re coming before you right now and we're asking you to forgive our sins because of the blood of Jesus. And even beyond this moment, we would like to have a deep and thorough repentance, and to spend time with you, turning from our sin, confessing our sin, and claiming that grace that cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Lord, we would pray that we can go from this place knowing that our names are written in the book of life, justified by the blood, and then sanctified by your power to live a life that is hidden with God in Christ. Help us to be Christians, not only in word, but in deed, Lord, remembering that we live in the sight of a holy God. The cameras are rolling, not only in our minds, but in the records of heaven. And I pray that we will do it not only because we are trembling, but because we love you and we love our fellow man. Fill us with that love, Lord. And I pray that we can hear you say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord. We ask this in the name of our judge, our advocate, and our sacrifice, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Is It Easier to Be Saved or Lost? (PB) by Joe Crews

Is It Easier to Be Saved or Lost? (PB) by Joe Crews
God's Promises




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