August 18, 2008
Just sharing a short devotional thought from Hoekstra. Being reminded about the ultimate reality of eternal life is very needy in our material western lives.
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Mat_13:49-50)
Here are some more “unpopular” promises from Jesus. This series of promises intensifies the warning He gave in our previous meditation concerning the consequences of sin. “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (Joh_8:24). Our present verses reveal by promise the absolute certainty of, and dreadful extent of, sin’s consequences. In a world that wants to ignore eternity and deny accountability, these are unpopular promises.
All who die in the guilt of sin will definitely be judged some day. It is an absolute certainty. A day of accountability is coming. “So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just.” Those who die before this day will also face judgment. “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb_9:27). The place of final judgment for the unsaved will be the great white throne. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it… And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God… And the dead (the unredeemed dead) were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books… And they were judged, each one according to his works… And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:11-15).
This absolutely certain judgment also has a dreadful extent. It is eternal. Sin is a spiritual crime against God. The true and living God is eternal. He is the great “I AM” (Exo_3:14 and Joh_8:58). Therefore, the consequences of sin are also eternal. Thus, all unbelievers will be “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone… And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev_20:10). The ultimate torment of hell will be separation from God’s presence for eternity. “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2Th_1:9).
The absolute certainty of, and the dreadful extent of, the consequences of sin make earlier promises we have examined all the more critical. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord… And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (Rom_6:23 and Joh_10:28).
October 13, 2007
Talked to a guy today, he told me that his dad had died of pneumococcal infection in his early 40s. His dad had faith when he passed away but the son didn’t. I talked to a woman earlier in the week whom I had bought my family car from a few months ago. She informed me that her healthy 56 year old husband had died from complications in a routine operation just two weeks ago. I was reassured to hear that this woman’s husband had recently professed faith and started attending church. Death has been in my radar through these and many other experiences in recent days and months. Death is real. Death is certain. Timing is the only variable. You are going to die. I am going to die. When?
As I was pondering this fact I wanted to remind myself of the only comfort that really matters when you die. It’s the answer to this question: where will I spend eternity?Hell and Heaven are both equally impossible to really comprehend. Eternal joy and peace or eternal pain and torment. These are ultimate realities but often a long way from our daily experience. We often get a mingled taste of pleasant and unpleasant experiences and occasionally (in our middle class – western society) make forays into the extreme highs and extreme lows. Jesus was very certain about these realities. Read the rest of this entry »
August 13, 2007
I think our new team may have freaked out a few people this Sunday. We took some very new evangelists along and we had two cameras between five people. A question that was asked of prospective people to evangelise, by us was ” Do you mind if we video us talking to you?” Everyone I heard asked that question said “Yes, we do mind” and didn’t want to speak at all. There was perhaps a percieved threat, invasion of privacy, offence at an overly forward manner or at least a rejection of the request because of it being too weird. No offence to the team – you never know until you go – but I think we need to rethink the “front up” style, reality TV type situation that the average park dweller in Launceston is obviously adverse to and stick to the basics of making a connection with people at where they are at and simply sharing the gospel. I talked to Daniel afterwards about this and suggested that maybe a way of showing questioning techniques, preparing for obstructions, objections and rebuttals and counter arguments to the gospel message is to set up our own contrived encounters where we purposefully present the viewer with a range of scenarios and possible thought out Christian responses. This itself could be a powerful evangelistic tool.
Anyway as I walked the park with Isaac we had two quite positive encounters and opportunities to share the truth of God’s Word with some strangers to God’s grace.
At first we approached a large group of young skaters having a rest on the bench. I introduced myself and said I wanted to talk to them about God and what they imagined would happen when they died. All of the skaters rushed off to skate again except for Ryan (whom I had spoken to a week or two earlier) and a guy named Todd. Todd was open to questions and offered ideas about what might happen after death and a vague belief that there was a God. Read the rest of this entry »