We spent the final three days of our Israel journey in the city of Jerusalem which means “City of Peace”, and as we consider the tremendous turmoil and fighting that has taken place in this area I really have to consider what it means to have peace. True peace can only occur when we are in right relationship with God, not peace in the terms that so many think (Matthew 10:34-39). There will be peace someday, but that will only occur once Jesus returns.
Jerusalem sits atop a mountain, and in the Old Testament it is said to be the place where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:2), we know this to be accurate as we look at 2 Chronicles 3:1 and we see Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah. This really gives context to our reading when Jesus tells His disciples they are going “up” to Jerusalem when they are actually north of Jerusalem in the region of Judea after having come out of Galilee (Matthew 19:1). In our modern vernacular we generally refer to up and down by the direction of north or south.
Matthew 20:17-19 Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify, And the third day He will rise again.”
Jerusalem is an incredibly busy and thriving city. It is a mix of Jewish, Muslim, Christian and pagan all living together in a hodge podge of interesting interaction. You would never know this by the news accounts. As we traveled from one section to another the contrast is stark. It’s pretty easy to identify the Muslim neighborhoods. To put it plainly they are trashy. They do not believe or care about keeping their neighborhoods clean. There is trash everywhere you look. I’m not saying this to be critical, even though the Jewish neighborhoods might be cleaner; they are both worshipping a false god, but to our minds we somehow want to equate external cleanliness with internal cleanliness. We know the Lord didn’t see it that way.
Matthew 23:25-26 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”
There is so much to say about Jerusalem and all of the false worship that occurs in this city, and as the Jewish people rejected Christ as the Messiah they became idolaters.
Jesus’ words are so incredibly true and clear, when He said the road was narrow and that very few will find life, He meant it (Matthew 7:13-14) It’s overwhelming to me to see so many have missed the Savior and have invented a religion that attempts to gain favor with God by their own hands.
I was humbled to be able to pray where Jesus prayed as He knew what was before Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then to stand on the stones where the Roman guards cast lots for His clothing and see the road He would have bled. That precious blood that has washed away my sin is almost too much for me to consider. As Pastor’s Tim, Mike and Voddie prayed in that location there was not a dry eye as we considered the horrible price He paid to redeem His people. Then as we had an opportunity to see Golgotha and the spot He was crucified and the Garden Tomb where He laid, what else can I possibly say? His plan is perfect and we must submit to this God, the One True God. Satan can distract us so easily with shiny things and with religious systems that are really close to the truth, but are not the complete truth.
It was an amazing experience to see the Bible come to life and to see the incredible accuracy which the writers of the Scriptures have written. These were not simplistic and less sophisticated people, as so many want you to believe, but inspired men of God that wrote as the Holy Spirit inspired them (2 Peter 1:19-21).
I walk away from Israel with a desire to share the news of the One that came to earth and humbled Himself to His Father’s plan. I must share the Good News, because it’s “news” and it’s “good”. I must tell people that their sin separates them from a Holy God and that separation produces death, but God has provided a way for those that will place their trust in Him.
That is the Gospel. And that is what I learned in Israel.
As we continued our trek around Israel we hit some incredible locations such as Masada which was a mountain top fortress built by Herod the Great, and more notably was occupied by a group of Jewish rebels that held the fort against the Romans after the first revolt and ended in a mass suicide of 967 people.
We also toured the Qumran which was an ancient settlement of the Essenes, a Jewish sect that copied the Dead Sea Scrolls and hid them in the caves surrounding where they lived. They were what I would consider almost an ancient Puritan group. They lived communally, rejecting any sort of personal wealth, and focused on living pious lives. They not only copied the scriptures, they also wrote commentaries and expositions of the scriptures and a complete copy of the book of Isaiah was found which perfectly matches the Isaiah that we read today.
It was quite encouraging to climb the hills where David hid from Saul with 300 of his men. We saw the accuracy of God’s word as it says that David convinced his men not to kill Saul. I thought how could David carry on this conversation in a cave with 300 men and Saul not hear him? The cave is located with a fresh water spring that had a powerfully running stream down through it which would have concealed their voices.
1 Samuel 24:1-5 Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. (There are still wild goats roaming around there). So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.
How incredible to see God’s word so convincingly come to life and affirm its incredible accuracy. For the Believer this trip was just a great confirmation of what we already know, God’s Word is truth. For the non-believer they will continue to suppress the truth in unrighteousness and ultimately bow before the King.
What I’ve most powerfully seen is the responsibility of the Believer to share the “Good News” because this world is dying in its sins and trespasses. Let’s be compassionate and tell them they need Jesus.
I had the best of intentions to post each day on our trip to the Holy Land, but REALLY bad internet connections, and super busy days seemed to win out. Since it was such a valuable experience I’ve decided to go back and post a few quick articles to summarize the trip. I might blend a couple together but I want to share the experience and encourage those who may consider a trip someday to definitely do so.
Each day has held a theme and today’s theme was true or false worship. There are many people that are very sincere in their worship; the problem is they are sincerely wrong. What is the difference between something that is true and something false?
God has given His people very specific guidelines for true worship. Believers must worship in Spirit and in Truth, so it is imperative that worship is done according to God’s plan not our own, no matter how that “feels”.
God has provided His word, the Bible, as the guide for how we are to worship.
If your church gathering is more concerned about pleasing people than it is about preaching with authority the word of God you may want to dig deeper into what is true worship.
When Jesus took his disciples up to Caesarea Philippi to reveal Himself to them, He took them to the center of pagan worship, the place pagan’s believed a cave was the entrance to the gates of hell. Jesus shows His disciples He is the source of true worship.
Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
Matthew 16:15-16 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
In ancient times and in modern times, those that depart from God’s commands for worship are either punished or chastened, having worship done correctly is a matter of life and death and Jesus took them to this region to show them the difference.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and spent the majority of His ministry based out of Capernaum. This is hard to visually understand, because we’ve all heard these names but don’t really understand the relationship and what it would have been like to travel in those days. We just hop in a car and go.
As we took a boat ride today on the Sea of Galilee it came much more into focus for me. Capernaum was home base for Jesus and His disciples, and was a busy town of approximately 2000 people at the time of Christ.
It was here that Jesus performed many of His miracles and changed the course of world history.
Matthew 4:13-17 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and upon those who sat in the regioin and shadow of death light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Isaiah had prophesied this was the place the Lord would dwell and as we walked this area I was struck by what it must have been like in those days. These were not major metropolitan areas as we know today, just rural fishing villages, but yet all who lived there had busy lives interacting with each other, and Capernaum was a place of commerce and darkness as the scripture tells us.
Can you imagine how the arrival of the Christ turned their world upside down? Especially those He called to be His disciples. Ordinary, common fishermen would learn from Him and then go into the world to spread Christianity across the planet.
How amazing! What kind of a plan was this? Just like Paul would have never considered how God would use him, neither could those fishermen imagine they would become fisher’s of men.
Acts 26:1-3 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself; “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.”
Can you imagine this scene? Paul had been brought to Caesarea in chains; this coastal town on the Mediterranean where he has been given the opportunity to give testimony to thousands as they come to watch and listen.
Who could have ever guessed how God would use Paul’s suffering and imprisonment for His ultimate purposes. Paul would have never come up with this plan, but he knows God’s purposes are much bigger than his own personal comfort.
Today, will you let your momentary affliction affect what might be God’s plan, or will you embrace it as Paul did for the furtherance of the gospel?
Acts 25:23 So the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and had entered the auditorium with the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at Festus’ command Paul was brought in.
Today we stood where Paul stood and proclaimed the good news. The same place where God poured out judgment on Herod as he was proclaimed a “god” by the people (Acts 12:22). What a thrill, to see how God works in all circumstances to accomplish His desired goal.
In the past 24 hours I’ve been reminded, how little I control in my life. Although I sometimes think I have control, I realized what a mirage that is for me. I’ve faced the reality I have no control over the weather, I have no control over where I’m going to go when I go through an airport, and I certainly realize I can’t control a car service to pickup us up on our schedule.
As we flew across the Atlantic yesterday and I had time to think about how massive this planet is, and yet it is not even a pin drop in comparison to the magnitude of God’s awesome power and control. As much as I sometimes enjoy the charade I play with my mind, it’s really not my call.
James 4:13-14 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
This is fresh for me today as I consider I’m very small. Yet God is very big and for those of us that have an intimate relationship with Him, through Jesus Christ, we matter to Him. He desires that we enjoy the good gifts He provides and sometimes those gifts come through the realization, we are just little bitty creatures that have no control.
He has provided us an opportunity to visit the land He chose to walk as the God/Man. Of the entire place on this earth, this is the place where our Lord chose to be born, to live, to minister, to suffer, to die and to rise again. What an awesome reality. How humbling that is.
So today, when you think you have control or you feel out of control; consider that if you are in Christ, no matter what the outcome it’s all in God’s plan.
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
I hope to keep you updated as best I can with short little posts and pictures from this beautiful country of Israel. Please feel free to follow me on Facebook for photos and posts.
God’s Word is full of glorious and awful truths… Why do I say awful? I say that because often Scripture presents things that we just don’t like to hear. There are times when I read things I really don’t like and yet what am I to do with those that I don’t care for? Often I see people wanting to explain them away as meaning something else or, like I do sometimes, skim over and not deal with the reality of them.
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
There is so much awful truth in these three verses that if I really sit down and put my mind around what it means it’s devastating. Devastating because it’s a pride crusher, awful because it means what it says and I then I have to consider how pathetic I really am in telling people this awful truth. I must come to grips with the people in my life I love that are dead in their sins and trespasses.
Can we just read this plainly without a deep exegetical analysis of this text and know what it really means. “Yes”, I say and that is what is so scary about the Bible. It’s why people reject the truth, because they know what it means, but they don’t want to accept it so they would rather continue their hell-bound race than submit to God’s Word.
Paul tells us in very plain and simple language that ALL of mankind is dead. This is a spiritual deadness that resulted from the fall in the garden, not an immediate physical death, but the kind of death that causes us to be blinded to our present condition. Every one of us lives in two realities, one is that we are alive walking around, but we will die. Secondly, every one of us is dead spiritually, unless God causes us to live.
“Well, what does Paul ‘really’ mean by dead?”
nek-ros’ From an apparently primary word νέκυς nekus (a corpse); dead (literally or figuratively; also as noun): – dead.
Dead means “dead”, without life, not breathing, not walking around doing anything, buried, under the ground, being eaten by worms, DEAD. Spiritually dead, of course, not some sort of a zombie state, but that is a decent analogy of the unbeliever’s condition, they are walking around dead and don’t realize it.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–
There it is again, death spread to all mankind because of Adam’s sin. It’s an inherited trait, a true disease that afflicts all mankind. This is the doctrine of Total Depravity. Perhaps better described as Total Inability, man is incapable of doing good. Of course sinful, dead man will respond with “Are you saying nobody ever does anything good?”
Mark 10:18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
Total Depravity does not mean mankind is incapable of any morally good actions, but they don’t have the ability to please God through their actions. It’s quite straightforward. Not only are we dead, we are also deceitful and desperately wicked and we will fool ourselves into thinking highly of ourselves.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
Let’s go back to the beginning for a moment because I know people will decry the ability for man to freely choose. Adam was created by God and was given everything that he needed to live and enjoy God. He was placed in a perfectly climate controlled environment. He was given a beautiful wife, and purpose by tending the garden, naming the animals. Not only was he able to walk and talk with God, he even had the opportunity to eat of the tree of eternal life. Yet Adam “freely chose” to disobey the one simple command God had given him.
He only had ONE rule.
We all have by nature selfish desires. God gave mankind the ability to choose and he chose by nature to disobey God, and because of this death spread to all mankind. Therefore, we are incapable of restoring a right relationship, or cannot earn favor with God through our actions. The very best we have is nothing but a filthy garment, an unclean thing says Isaiah. (Isaiah 64:6). This word filth is a discarded menstrual rag, have you ever thought of your best works in that manner?
Has anyone ever seen a dead man get up out of the grave? Lift themselves up by their boot straps, so to speak… I live near a cemetery and we walk through it often, it’s serene and peaceful, there is very little activity taking place. I’ve never seen a grave disturbed from below, never heard of the dead rising and coming back to life, except when reading my Bible. This is all of mankind’s spiritual condition before a Holy God.
There is good news for those that understand this condition…
Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus
What an amazing and glorious truth. What an awful truth for those that don’t recognize their condition. If you’ve never understood you are spiritually dead, I pray you will meditate on these words, repent of your sin and beg God to be merciful. He will not cast out those who come to Him broken and in need of Him.
I began blogging in August of 2012, and I’m not even sure why, but I had been reading other Christian blogs and things would run through my mind that I desired to share. I thought “you know, I think I could do that also”. I expect a lot of people get started this way, and so I began a blog. Since then I’ve thought about sharing God’s testimony in my life often, but to actually post this is a real struggle for me.
I’m 48 years old, I’ve been married for nearly 23 years, I have four children, all girls, fourteen, twelve, two and four months. You will notice the age spread and this is where God’s story really begins in my life. I’m a follower of Reformed Baptist teaching, we are members of a Reformed, Family-Integrated Church and I’m a lover of Puritan teachings. We believe in God’s Sovereignty in children, but that has not always been the case.
My wife and I were both saved in July of 2009. I grew up in a Pentecostal church (Assembly of God), and like every good AG kid, I was saved because my parents were. I was a relatively moral kid, until I finished my senior year of high school wrestling. I was one of the top kids in the state that year (1984) and I would never allow myself to get in much trouble. I was a nice kid.
After wrestling season I began to get drunk and then all hell broke loose. I moved to Albuquerque NM to attend college. I lived a life that is well described in 1 Peter 4:3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. And any other sort of malaise you could imagine.
This is the life I led and I’m very saddened to consider the people I hurt and disappointed, but when it’s all about you it just doesn’t matter, this is where sin leads. I was far from the “nice kid” people thought I was and I was an exceptionally good liar and deceiver. It’s a very painful exercise for me to even write these words, because I’m disgusted by who I was.
In 1991 Jen and I married, it seemed like it was the next step in life, but I really had no idea how to be a husband or even a man for that matter. She’s still my wife and by God’s grace we love each other more every day. It was about three years ago I confessed some repressed sins to my wife and it was an incredible God honoring decision (James 5:16). It wasn’t easy, but God has used that to show me my pride and bring me to a continued place of repentance and mourning over my depravity.
In 1999 our beautiful Grace Marie was born and I said to myself, “I think you should raise your daughter in the church”. My wife had been begging me to attend church and I wasn’t buying it. I hated it. I couldn’t stand the old music, I hated the speaking in tongues at AG and it just wasn’t for me. She became the member of a local old guard denomination, a very liberal one with a professing and practicing homosexual minister of music. After we had Grace “baptized” the pastor called us in and said, your wife and daughter are members here why not you? We walked out the door and I said to Jen, “I’ll go to church but not that one…” So we began our church search. We tried lots of them, and finally settled on a “seeker” church. Loved the music, loved the pastor. He had great skits, funny stories and an all around good time. Then he was booted, so we now knew what we wanted and we found a United Methodist church with a similar deal. Great youth ministry, cool youth pastor and gifted Senior Pastor. Great music, great skits and they immediately saw my amazing talents and invited me into leadership. Cough, cough…. Was I qualified by the Bible’s standards, of course not but I had some understanding of practical worldly things so it was logical and pragmatic.
Fast forward a few years and the youth pastor had a vision to plant a church in the inner city and my glorious wife was more than happy to lead me to that church as we were going to save the inner city and win them to Christ. Meanwhile, the whole thing blew up and the original launch pastor never ended up being the pastor due to some indiscretions in his life. I still love and care for him but God had other plans. The church bumped around for a while and then….
Along comes Pastor Mike Reid.
We began to hear preaching from the Bible. He preached expositionally, verse by verse and went through doctrine “gasp”. What is doctrine? I was completely and willfully ignorant to anything about God. But I missed the music, and I missed the “other guy’s” wonderful, life applicable lessons. He was so smooth…
Pastor Mike on the other hand was loud, and abrasive, and in your face. He wielded the sword of God like it was a hundred pound hammer, carving and slicing me open and making me face my sins. Jen and I would walk out of the place saying what was that all about? We hated it. We wondered if we should stay, but we couldn’t leave. Something was holding us there, and I just couldn’t get my mind around this predestination stuff, but when I went to talk to the Pastor, and every verse I threw at him that was “free will” oriented he shot down like he was pulling off a simple hip-shot and laughing at the clay pigeons as they fell. Not literally, he never laughed, and he was patient and kind, but he explained to me the doctrines of grace that I could understand. He showed me what it means (biblically) to believe. Not just head knowledge. I was still not saved.
Summer of 2009 we take a marriage class. The Exemplary Husband – Stuart Scott, and The Excellent Wife – Martha Peace. I thought “Hey, our marriage could definitely stand to be better.” So the first week we went to the class and my wife came home that night, (we went together but meet in separate rooms, guys with guys, gals with gals) and when we came home that night I didn’t know who she was.
She started asking me questions like “what I wanted for dinner”, and “what can I help you with? “
“Who are you, and what happened to my wife?”
We both saw in that study that the ‘god’ we were serving was not the God of Scripture. I was saved sitting on my back porch, reading Scripture passages and having to write out what this says about God.
I couldn’t believe it. “How did I miss this”, I said to myself. God did that? That’s not my god?”
Correct, that was not my god, and in the opening of the Scripture I came face to face with the Sovereign Creator of the World. He crushed my spirit, and broke my pride slowly over the next 6 months, but my heart was regenerated sitting right there on my porch. My heart of stone had instantaneously turned to a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). I was born again (John 3:7) and became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I had several times after that when I faced my pride like a ton of bricks and broke down sobbing in a hotel room, as I faced my nastiness. I was mourning over my sin as Jesus says in Matthew 5 and as James says weep, mourn, let your laughter be turned to gloom (James 4:8-10). This is how salvation occurs, understanding our wretched condition, with no hope outside of Christ. Turning to Him, with nothing of ourselves to offer, and begging and pleading for mercy.
I’ve come a long way since then, and I’ve struggled with many things, mostly understanding what the church is for (Ephesians 4:11-12) and how to willingly place myself under the authority of the church (Hebrews 13:17). I am a wicked, nasty, vile and depraved piece of human debris, and the only hope I have, is in the blood and atoning work of Jesus Christ.
He saw me long before I was made, and chose to love me for no reason other than His good pleasure (Ephesians 1:4-6). Now that I’m saved I realize my value to Christ is to live an obedient life of a humble slave, doing the will of my Lord out of humility and obedience to His word.
This is my calling… I desire to live a holy life and that life, will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).
I love to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost and call sinners to repentance (Acts 2:38). I desire to start street preaching someday soon, and have a desire to be a leader in my church (1 Timothy 3:1), an elder, if the leadership thinks I have teaching ability and can rule my home well and not traveling 40 weekends per year. Outside of that I will raise my children in the fear and admonition of the Lord to the best of my ability (Ephesians 6:4).
May the Lord use these words for His glory that He may be exalted above all things.
Words are cheap. It is by costly, self-denying Christian practice that we show the reality of our faith. —Jonathan Edwards
This morning I was on my way home from Starbucks and heard a man on the radio discussing Jesus standing at the door of our hearts and He wanted us to let Him in. To this man’s credit, it was being used as a poor method of evangelism, and it was said, “Did you notice there is no handle on the outside of the door, the handle is on the inside and you must open it up.”
Friends that is NOT biblically accurate, nor is it good evangelism!
The path to salvation is to understand you are DEAD in your sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1); you are without hope and headed toward hell. The wide road of modern day evangelism has a poor effeminate Jesus sitting around with His head in His hands, just gently hoping you will make a decision for Him.
Today we are going to look at what awaits those that do not turn from their sin, fall to their face and beg for mercy and repentance. This may seem cruel or harsh to some, but this is biblical and repeating a prayer and incantation of a method is not only inaccurate, it is damning.
Some may read this today and mock the idea of hell and just as in the days of the Puritans preaching on hell was unpopular. It’s unpopular, because man loves the darkness and he desires to live in blissful ignorance, rather than face the reality of his eternal soul. Let’s look at some teaching about hell from the Puritans. All quotations come from A Puritan Theology (2012 – Beeke & Jones)
Is There a Hell?
[John] Bunyan call attention to Luke 16:23, “And in hell [the rich man] lift up his eyes, being in torments.” From this phrase he concludes that “there is a hell for souls to be tormented in when this life is ended…after he was dead and buried.”
He denies that Christ uses the word figuratively to represent the grave or some concept of torment “in this life.” He then warns those who make a “mock” of preachers who tell them of hell that they will “find such an hell after this life is ended, that thou wilt not get out of again for ever and ever.” 
This is not something to be mocked, as so many do. We all must consider this reality if there is hope for salvation, and Believers must continue to live in holiness, to make their call and election sure (1 Peter 1:10).
Why Must There Be a Hell?
First, “because of the filthy nature of sin,” as sin against an infinite God, necessitating proportionate punishment in the world to come. Second, because Christ did not satisfy the justice of God for the wicked, who must therefore bear the wrath of God themselves in hell. Third, the terrors of conscience that afflict the wicked in their dying days “demonstrate that there is a time of torments to be endured.”
When you consider the price the Lord Jesus Christ paid on the cross, that He endured the wrath of God and drank it down fully, you must realize there is a cost to sin. No matter what you think of your sin, or how small you believe your sin might be, God views it as vile and nasty, and His justice demands payment. The “good news” is only for those that understand this statement. The question today is “do I understand?”
What is Hell?
This place in which “the bodies and souls of wicked men are tormented” can be described by the following characteristics from Scripture: unquenchable fire, never extinguished (Luke 3:17); a furnace of fire (Matt, 13:42), recalling Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace (Dan. 3:21-22), where only the godly were not affected; a lake of fire (Rev. 19:20), with an abundance of torments as the plentiful waters of a lake; eternal fire (Jude 7), with everlasting torment; outer darkness (Matt. 22:13), where we are “deprived of the light of God’s countenance”; the blackness of forever (Jude 13), as a place of terror that ought to cause men to tremble now; chains of darkness (2 Peter 2:4), referring to its binding nature and the impossibility of escape; the damnation of hell (Matt. 23:33), from which none will escape; this place of torment (Luke 16:28), a “dreadful expression” for what takes place there; the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10), as the wrath of God expressed there; prison (1 Peter 3:19), referring to the way the pre-incarnate Christ, through the ministry of Noah, preached to men who are now imprisoned in hell; Tophet (Isa 30:33), referring to the fire of the god Molech, into which children were cast as sacrifices and from which shrieking and howling were heard; the bottomless pit (Rev. 9:1), “out of which you shall never come”, the second death (Rev 2:11); destruction (Matt. 7:13); everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46); and corruption (Gal. 6:8), as the reaped for “sowing to the flesh.”
I have literally been squirming in my seat as I quote this writing and consider the Scripture that has been referenced. This doctrine is forever and “Hell has No Exits” (Leonard Ravenhill). If you are a non-believer please consider this today. Hell is not a place where you will play cards with your friends. Hell is devoid of “anything” you can ever take pleasure in.
The torment will never end. It will go on forever and ever and ever… Does that scare you, because it should? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).
I beg with you today if you are a Believer to consider who in your family or your friends doesn’t understand this? You might be their only hope. Tell them today about this terrifying doctrine. Urge them to repent and be reconciled to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
Part 3 we will discuss “Is God is Just in Damning Men Eternally?”