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Posts Tagged ‘perishing’

LOVE REACHES OUT #1AMreaches out

In this life, how do you see yourself? As a pilgrim? As a foreigner journeying through to a better and eternal future? a Or does this world so fill your vista that you hardly think of eternity? Listen to this amazing verse: Eccles 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Ultimately what matters is people. Everything else is temporary. 2 Cor 4:18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting. All your stuff that you worked so hard for, all the possessions, the house, the cars, the clothes etc. will all vanish in a puff of smoke one day; and all you have left is you and your loved ones.

What will you be doing in a million years from now? Seriously! If you say, “I’ll be in heaven.”, then how glad are you about that? You could be in the other place. Eternity is such a long time!! It’s all a bit hard for the human mind to comprehend; right?

What we have been learning in the messages preached all year is that God loves you so much and His magnificent loving kindness has come and rescued you, redeemed you and set you free. It’s a natural step to see that God loves each and every person on the planet and some know that and some don’t know that yet. John 3:16  For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.(AMP)

All around us are precious people who are perishing. In Australia, we are an especially heathen bunch. Although 61% write on the census that their religion is Christian, only 13% attend any kind of church monthly or more often and of those we can only guess the percentage that is born again. Some estimates of the Born Again population are as low as 5%. Perhaps attending church is a poor measure of whether a person is born again. We should rather choose the measure that one of the greatest preachers in history used: “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!” ― Charles H. Spurgeon. What’s our percentage now?

As you look around at your loved ones, work mates, neighbours, do you consider their eternal destiny? Does it drive you to prayer and cause you to consider how to share the answer to life with them? If not, then let’s look at the scriptures and see the convincing reality of what lies before us in heaven and hell.

Hell is real

Luke 6:19-31

19 There was a certain rich man who [habitually] clothed himself in purple and fine linen and [m]revelled and feasted and made merry in splendour every day.

20 And at his gate there [n]was [carelessly] dropped down and left a certain [o]utterly destitute man named Lazarus, [reduced to begging alms and] covered with [[p]ulcerated] sores.

21 He [eagerly] desired to be satisfied with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover, the dogs even came and licked his sores.

22 And it occurred that the man [reduced to] begging died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.

23 And in Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received [what is due you in] comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish.

26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who want to pass from this [place] to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us.

27 And [the man] said, Then, father, I beseech you to send him to my father’s house—

28 For I have five brothers—so that he may give [solemn] testimony and warn them, lest they too come into this place of torment.

29 But Abraham said, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear and listen to them.

30 But he answered, No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent ([q]change their minds for the better and heartily amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins).

31 He said to him, If they do not hear and listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded and convinced and believe [even] if someone should rise from the dead.

Rev 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.(NIV)

Matt 13:49-50 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (NIV)

Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no respite (no pause, no intermission, no rest, no peace) day or night—these who pay homage to the beast and to his image and whoever receives the stamp of his name upon him.

All these verses clearly show that eternity without salvation is horrifying and inconceivably worse due to the fact that it goes on for ever and ever without respite.

General William Booth founder of the Salvation Army church movement was quoted as saying as he trained his preachers and Christian workers. “If I could, I would dangle you over hell for 5 minutes to see the cries of the damned.”   People without a Knowledge of God and even some Christians find this truth so shocking that they fall into wrong believing saying that God could not be as cruel as to send people there forever, or that God will give people a second chance. Some have believed in a purgatory, where people work off their sins and eventually make it to heaven; but all these ideas are false.

Listen again to William Booth – “Not called!” did you say? “Not heard the call,” I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not come there. Then look Christ in the face — whose mercy you have professed to obey — and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.”

When you hear these pleading words, do you think that’s how they spoke in an era long ago, or do you think that’s outdated language and form that doesn’t work today; or is it just that we have fallen so far from biblical truth in our generation that we fall for soft wishy washy beliefs about God that are not supported by scripture?

Heaven

Heaven on the other hand is awesomely wonderful. Imagine infinite joy! Life with a capital L.

Rev 21:4-5 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Rev 22:3-4 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

John 14: 2-3 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Matt  25:20-21 And he who had received the five talents came and brought him five more, saying, Master, you entrusted to me five talents; see, here I have gained five talents more.

21 His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the [c]blessedness) which your master enjoys.

Convinced that people without Christ are going there?

One error I find many Christians fall into is that somehow good people will get into heaven. They believe that most people around them are going to make it somehow because God is loving and merciful. This view is dangerous especially to those around them who are not born again yet. Let me ask you a very simple question. If there was any way at all that a person could make it to heaven on their own, did Jesus need to come and die on the cross?

Jesus Himself stated very clearly: John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.(AMP)

Jesus was moved by the plight of broken people. His heart for lost people will become our heart too if we walk with Him. Look at His reaction in the gospels Matt 9:35-38 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease and every weakness and infirmity. 36 When He saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.

What should be our reaction? Perhaps some may be so deeply concerned that they become a certified bible carrying, tract giving, bible bashing preacher to everyone around them, and it isn’t very fruitful. That’s overboard and that’s not love in action. The sad thing is that many Christians are the opposite, there’s almost no evidence of witness in their lives, it’s like they want to enjoy the benefits of salvation and not care that all manner of people around them are perishing.

So how are we to live?

  • Recognise the truth that faith in Christ alone saves a person from eternity in hell.
  • Decide to pray for those people in your world who do not know Jesus yet, that God will have mercy on them and show them the truth.
  • Love people, serve them and share your heart with them at every opportunity.
  • Trust that the Holy Spirit will lead you to people and will give you the words to say.
  • Share your testimony and the God stories that give evidence of God at work among us.
  • Invite as many people as you can to join you church or UC group or a family picnic or a night at the movies or the church trivia night etc. etc.

This month we are focusing on the “How To” of sharing your faith. We will be equipping you with practical help to know how to share your faith, what to say to people who are far from God and how to begin a great conversation about your testimony and how God loves the person you’re speaking to. In all our Urban Connect groups we will be helping you to learn skills about sharing your testimony, and what the gospel message is that we need to share with people.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Do you think Spurgeon’s measure of whether a person is born again or not is a fair one? (Whether you care that others are lost)

2. How do you see non Christians?

3. What about people of other faiths, are they lost too? (Acts 4:12)

4. If Jesus really is the only way to heaven, why do so many other faiths exist?

5. If Jesus really is the only way to heaven how should we live?

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