Sunday, October 31, 2010
Week Seven – “Living Like Heaven” II Peter 3:11-14
A pastor visited an older man. The pastor urged the man, “Friend, at you’re your age you should be thinking about the hereafter.” He replied, “Oh, Pastor, I do all the time. No matter where I am – in the living room or upstairs, or in the kitchen or downstairs in the basement – I ask myself, “what am I hereafter?”
The hereafter DOES matter! It matters forever but the hereafter ALSO matters in the “here and now”!
Have you heard that expression, “He is so heavenly minded he is of no earthly good!” IS THAT POSSIBLE?
If I have been successful in presenting this series I should begin to see some positive changes in your attitudes and actions as a result of your new focus on eternity.
C.S. Lewis said, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one.”
Pastor Joe Stowell, of Moody Church in Chicago, wrote, “When we begin to believe in the reality of the other side, we start behaving differently on this side.”
I understand how easy it is to get distracted and weighed down with the demands of every day life and I know how the squeaky wheel is the one that usually gets the grease………
Neither does the Great Apostle, Peter. So, he gives some very wise and godly advice on how godly people should live. Let’s have that vital discussion this morning!
I. Living Earnestly, V. 11b
After six weeks of studying eternity, how many of you would agree eternity is important? How many would say it is important to know where you will go?
If the “ever after” is important, what does that mean for our “here and now?”
Let me ask you this, if you received a letter or an email from a credible source telling you that at noon tomorrow they would come to your address with a high tech nuke weapon and vaporize everything on your property, would that impact what you did today?
Essentially, that is what Peter is asking, “How they should behave knowing that their stuff is all going to be destroyed.”
Listen to his advice:
“Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be…..”
Good question, “Right?”
What manner of person OUGHT you to be = INDEBTED TO BE
This implies an indebtedness – “If you want Heaven you are indebted or obligated to holy and Godly living”
So, let’s take a closer look at the manner in which we should be living:
The great Bible-teacher and pastor, John McArthur writes, “Holy conduct refers to action, godliness refers to attitude. Holy conduct refers to that which rules my behavior, and godliness refers to that which rules my heart. And so Peter is saying what kind of person ought you to be in heart and in behavior, in motive and in action, in attitude and in duty.”
HOLY = PURE = Uncontaminated By The World
I John 3:3 says, “And everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
It just makes sense doesn’t it? If you are serious about spending your “ever after” in a holy place you should be allowing God to create in you holy attitudes, motives and behavior?
GODLINESS = “WORSHIP” and does not simply refer to what one does for an hour on Sunday morning but what one does every day in all his ways to add value to eternity. LIVING LIFE = WORSHIP YOU LIVE TO WORSHIP!
HOW DO I DO THIS? HOW DO I LIVE A HOLY LIFE – A PURE LIFE?
HOW DO I LIVE EACH DAY AS AN ACT OF WORSHIP?
And this is what Paul meant in Romans 12:1-2………
People who are living for Heaven and focused on eternity live holy and godly lives! SANCTIFIED LIVES. They live earnestly for God!
II. Living Expectantly, Vv. 12-14a
Here in these verses Peter uses the phrase “looking for” three times. This is significant as it describes the attitude and the urgency Christians should have as they live with an eternal perspective. If you are looking and preparing for an eternity with God in Heaven, shouldn’t you “look forward” to that?”
The verb that is used in the original language translated “Looking for” or “Looking forward” - is phrased in such way that is refers to a person’s habit or lifestyle. This is to be a constant characteristic of godly people.
V. 12 – “Looking “ for the coming of the Lord”
V. 13 – “Looking” for the new heaven and new earth”
V. 14 – “Looking” forward to these things”
(LOOKING FORWARD TO VACATION) (LOOKING FORWARD TO HOLIDAYS)
We look forward to what we love! We look forward to what we are invested in. Our expectations shape our attitudes, actions, hopes and values!
III. Living With Excellence, V. 14b
So, how should we be as a result of living earnestly and expectantly? How do we know we are prepared?
Good Questions, Eh? Peter gives three good answers: Pay Attention!
“SPOTLESS” - This refers to our morality – (See I John 1:7-9)
“BLAMELESS” - This refers to our motives
”Let your hearts therefore be blameless and wholly true to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as today.” I Kings 8:62
”Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” Psalm 19:13
"May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” I Thessalonians 3:13
“FOUND IN PEACE” – YOUR MENTALITY
The ultimate evidence that you are living EARNESTLY and EXPECTANTLY and with EXCELLENCE is that you are in peace about your “Ever After”. Everything you own or hold dear could be dissolved tomorrow and you would be at peace!
If you want to secure your “HAPPILY EVER AFTER” - LIVE LIKE HEAVEN!
EARNESTLY – IN HOLINESS – LIVING A LIFE OF WORSHIP.
EXPECTANTLY – Are interested and invested in eternity?
WITH EXCELLENCE – How are you morally? How are your motives?
Imagine you are at this great party. You are having the time of your life! All the “beautiful people” are there. The food is fantastic and the music is rocking and you hope the evening never ends.
But, you are interrupted by your brother, who finds you in the crowd. He informs you that you need to go home right now – there is an emergency. You are upset that he has bothered you and you don’t really want to go. But you politely dismiss yourself and leave.
Still annoyed, he takes you to your house. When you walk in all the lights come on and a room full of people yell, “Surprise!” You look all around and there are all your family and loved ones. They have thrown a party in your honor and you are the guest!
You feel loved! You feel honored! You realize that this is the ultimate party because you are with the people you love the most! The party your left can’t compare to this one!
That is how life is for the one who is prepared for Heaven!
You are enjoying and abundant life and when that gets interrupted your go to and eternal life!
EVERYONE HAS AN “EVER AFTER”
YOUR “EVER AFTER “ IS DETERMINED BY YOUR “HERE AND NOW”
SHOULD I BE MORE FOCUSED ON HEAVEN?
AM I LIVING IN HOLINESS?
DOES MY LIFE REFLECT GODLY WORSHIP?
YOU CAN’T LIVE LIKE HELL AND EXPECT TO GO TO HEAVEN!
ONLY HEAVENLY LIVING WILL GET YOU TO HEAVEN!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The morality - "spotless"
Those who want to spend a happy ever after in Heaven make sure they are living spotless lives. Spotless means that there are no unconfessed sins in their lives. They understand the truth of John's statement in I John 1:7 - "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
That is essentially the question Peter asks of these saints. In essence the question he poses is, "How can ou think you are going to Heaven if are living like hell?"
Logically, how can you believe you are destined for a holy place when you are living an unholy life? If getting to Heaven involves a personal relationship with a Holy God, how can you expect to maintain that relationship if you are living an unholy life? Why would you want to spend eternity in a holy place when you aren't comfortable living a godly life?
To get to the destination you desire you must get on the right road and move in the right direction. The road to Heaven is the road to a holy and godly life. A life like that can only be lived in the power of the Holy Spirit in fellowship with the Holy God.
Is that the road you are on? Is that the direction you are headed?
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Membership has its privileges and its responsibilities!
Monday, October 25, 2010
Guys always remember the first car they owned.
My first car was a 1956 Mercury Monterey. It was ten years old when I got it and had plenty of rust spots, but it ran great! Of course, I only paid $100 for it.
I loved that car. I worked an after school job to support it and fix it up. Little did I realize how much support a ten-year old high-mileage eight-cylinder car would require, but I was soon to find out.
Over the time I owned that one hundred dollar car I spent hundreds of dollars and way to much attention and time on it. It always needed something!
Honestly compels me to confess that there were several times when I had to decide whether to pay my tithe or spend money on my Mercury. I am ashamed to admit I made the wrong decision a couple of times.
Each time I honored my car above the Lord, it developed a problem that would cost me extra money. I always paid for my improper priorities. That first vehicle was not only transportation it became a teaching tool.
One rainy night I agreed to do a favor for my co-worker and run him home after work. Even though it was a bit out of my way, he was my friend and I had a car. Because it was a little out of my way I decided to take a short cut not thinking that the short-cut would require me to travel under a railroad viaduct.
I underestimated the amount of rain that had fallen overestimated my driving skills. Remember those public service ads where they caution you against driving into standing water? I didn’t. And as soon as I hit the water I knew I had made a bad decision. When the water lifted my car off the payment and it began to float momentarily, I rued my decision. As my Mercury settled back down to the pavement and the water started streaming in under all four doors, my heart sank – as much as my car had.
My point in sharing this painfully embarrassing story is the lesson I learned. It is the truth that Peter shares in this Scripture portion. Those material things which steal much of our time and money and affection never lasts. All those things wear out, rust out, break down, get damaged, wrecked or stolen and our investments are lost. Even if they manage to last we will some day trade them or sell them or die and leave them behind.
Peter wisely admonishes us to value things that last forever and the only things that last forever are people and relationships. Since you and I are eternal, we should live like it and put a priority on preparing for eternity.
If you think you can wait until you get to Heaven to live heavenly, you are in for a rude awakening. If you are planning to live forever – act like it. Love God supremely and live in love toward His commands and His people. Your journey to Heaven begins today.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The late comedian George Goebel once said, “Sometimes I feel like the world is a tuxedo and I am a pair of brown shoes.”
C. S. Lewis made a similar statement with a little more definition, “If nothing in this world satisfies me, perhaps it is because I was made for another world.”
We have some very gracious hosts in our fellowship who welcome you to their home and will treat you with such grace that you feel like part of the family, but as gracious as they are their home is not your home. After a relaxing and enjoyable evening you return to your home. Despite their hospitality gifts, your home still feels more like home to you than theirs does.
There are a couple of good reasons why we don’t fit real well in this world:
1) Paradise Lost
2) Kingdom Lost
The Bible refers to this longing for a spiritual home. Here are a few examples:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[; trust also in me. 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.” John 14:1-2
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.” Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-14, 16
This world is not our home! We do not fit here! God has designed and destined us for a “happy ever after” place! Revelation 21 and 22 gives us a great view of Heaven, our “happy ever after” place. Today we get to peak into our future home.
I. The Dimensions of the City, Vv. 15-17
To gain an appreciation for just how marvelous Heaven will be we need to understand the nature and dimension of the city that will be its capital. The New Jerusalem is the crown jewel of the new creation of God. The New Jerusalem is not all of Heaven but it is the capital city of Heaven.
“The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using.” Rev. 21:15-17
You may not be a big city person, but you’d better make an exception for Heaven because it is ONE BIG CITY! Even bigger than Texas!
Why do you think this is revealed to John? Why do we need to know how big the Holy City will be?
Could it be God wants us all to know that there is plenty of room for us in Heaven and for everyone who will trust in Jesus! And remember, this is just the New Jerusalem. Heaven is even bigger than this!
So, how big is it? It is pretty mind-boggling! Check this out!
The city is cubic in its shape – 12,000 stadia x 12,000 stadia x 12,000 stadia! A stadia = a furlong = 660 ft. Do the math on that and it figures out to 1,500 miles long by 1,500 miles wide by 1,500 miles high. So, this city would cover 2,250,000 square miles.
If this city were placed in the United States it would stretch from Canada to Mexico and from New York City to Oklahoma City and as high as a 800,000 story building!
Again, that is not all of the Heaven that is just the Holy City!
I have got to believe that in an area that big – there would have to be a golf course!
Not only is the Holy City huge, but it is unbelievably beautiful! Once you walk into it you would not only be overwhelmed by its size but also amazed by its sheer beauty!
II. The Description of the City
a. The Pearly Gates, vv. 12-13, 21
This city is accessed through gates of pearl! And not just one gate but 12 of them! And not just pearls but 240 feet high pearls!
For one, pearls are beautiful!
Secondly, pearls are the product of irritation, pain, and discomfort. Could it be that every time we enter that city through those gates of pearl we will be reminded of the suffering and pain it took to get there? Both His suffering and ours.
b. The foundation of precious stones, Vv. 19-20
c. The streets of gold, v. 21b
d. The Lamb is the Light, v.23
e. The river of life and the tree of life, 22:1-2
This is a pretty impressive place, wouldn’t you say? How can you not be impressed with a place where the pavement is pure gold!
III. The Distinctions of the City, Vv. 4, 8, 27
Heaven is certainly distinguished by the amazing wonders that will be revealed in Heaven. The splendor of what He has prepared for us will be daze and amaze! When people talk about Heaven or write about Heaven these are the things they concentrate on! And rightly so! Never has there been anything like this before!
But equally impressive are the things that WON’T be in Heaven! The Apostle John. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit focuses on three significant things that won’t be in Heaven and those three things make it a distinctive place.
a. Sadness Is Absent, V. 4
How many of you have had a really good day recently? I am talking about a really care-free joyous day?
Every day in Heaven will be like that! Every second, every minute, every hour and every day will be better than your most perfect day on earth!
Kleenex will have no place in Heaven! God will wipe away all tears AND every reason and every cause of sadness. The only tears possible in Heaven might be tears of joy!
Heaven is a perfect place – a holy place!
This is quite a list of undesirables! I find it interesting that those types of people mentioned at the end of this verse you would expect to be banned from Heaven, but notice the “cowardly” and the “unbelieving” – interesting….
c. Self-Righteousness Is Absent, V. 27
No one in Heaven will be able to say, “I deserve to be here!”
No one in Heaven will be able to claim, “I earned my way here!”
As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For it is by grace you are saved…..”
Heaven will be eternally magnificent based on what is there! And more importantly – WHO is there!
But Heaven will also be incredible because of who ISN’T there!
This world is not your home! Your home is being prepared for you!
You are being prepared for your home!
· What needs to be done in your heart?
· If you find yourself being to comfortable in this world you may not fit in the next.
What are you doing to prepare others for their eternal home?
HEAVEN IS TOO GOOD TO MISS!
This morning we have been reminded why!
I want to close with one more amazing truth about Heaven:
“3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He 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."
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Week Five – “Body Beautiful” I Corinthians 15:35-52
Everyone has an “ever after”. Some will have a “happy ever after” and some will not.
The “happy ever after” place is Heaven. We have talked about that.
Last we talked about the “horrible ever after” place called hell.
Now that we know where our spirits will go, what happens to our bodies after we die? Will we float around on clouds forever?
I. THE NEW BODY IS REAL, V. 36-38
Why do you think the Great Apostle addresses this issue?
Then, like now, there were many false theories and bad ideas about what would happen following death – both to the spirit, but in particular – to our bodies.
Surveys say 30% of Americans believe in reincarnation……..
Even more troubling is 20% of professed evangelical Christians say they also believe in reincarnation.
Death Is Necessary For Resurrection – V. 36
The New Springs From The Old, Vv. 37-38
(Note His Illustration Of The Seed)
“We see that the blueprint for our glorified bodies are in the bodies we now possess. While orthodoxy (Christian doctrine) does not dictate that every cell of our present bodies will be restored in the resurrection, it does require continuity between our earthly bodies and our heavenly bodies. Just as there is continuity between our earthly bodies and the bodies we had at birth – even though all those cells and sub atomic particles have been replaced and renewed – so too there will be continuity from death to resurrection, despite the fact that not every particle in our bodies will be restored. In fact without continuity, there is no point in even using the word ‘resurrection’”. – (Hank Hangraaf – “Resurrection”)
Joni Eareckson Tada, is a beautiful lady, inside and out. She was paralyzed in a diving accident while still a teen and has spent the last 40 years as a paraplegic. She wrote about her trials in her book “Heaven Your Real Home”. “Somewhere in my broken paralyzed body is the seed of what I shall become. The paralysis that makes what I am to become all the more grand when you contrast the atrophied, useless legs against the splendorous resurrected legs. I am convinced that if there are mirrors in heaven (and why not?), the image I will see will be unmistakably ‘Joni’ although a much better, brighter Joni!”
THE NEW BODY IS REAL! Not only is it real but…..
II. THE NEW BODY IS RECOGNIZABLE
A question many have is this, “Will we know our loved ones and will they know us in heaven?”
Let me ask you this – “Do you think we will know more in heaven than we know now or will we know less?”
Of course! Not only will we be able to recognize everyone we love – we will love everyone we see it heaven!
Famous Missionary, Amy Carmichael wrote, “Shall we know each other in heaven? Shall we love and remember? I don’t think one need wonder about this or doubt for one single moment! For if we just think, we know! Would you be yourself if you did not remember? Your memories are an important part of you! We are told we shall be like our Lord Jesus and does He not know and love and remember? He would not be Himself if He did not! And we should not be ourselves if we did not!”
I find three examples of resurrected bodies in the Bible. Of course, there was Jesus, who appeared to thousands for 40 days following His resurrection. You will recall that he could be seen and recognized and touched and that he ate with them. His new body bore a new and improved version of His earthly body!
On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James and John saw Moses and Elijah and they recognized them – even though they had never seen them before!
THE NEW BODY IS RECOGNIZABLE! Not only is it recognizable but….
III. THE NEW BODY IS RADICALLY DIFFERENT. V. 35
The New Body Will Be Indestructible – V. 42
Unlike our earthly bodies which age and wear out and are plagued by diseases – our new bodies will be perfect and stay that way forever!
The New Body Will Be Glorious, V. 43a
The word “glory” = “brilliance” – Philippians 3:21 says, “who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
The New Body Will Be Powerful, V. 43b
Jesus was able to walk through doors and into locks rooms………
The New Body Will Be Spiritual, V. 44a
Fitted for an eternal spiritual Kingdom – not ghosts or spirits………
THE NEW BODY WILL BE RADICALLY DIFFERENT! Not only that but.
IV. THE NEW BODY IS REVEIVED AT CHRIST’S RETURN, V. 51-52
Finally, Paul addresses the question, “Who will be resurrected and when?”
Those saints who have died will arise first and receive their beautiful eternal bodies.
The believers who still remain and are alive at the coming of Christ will then be supernaturally transformed as they rise to meet Him in the air.
The Apostle speaks to that in another passage:
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” I Thessalonians 4:16-17
WHAT IF YOU COULD HAVE THAT BEAUTIFUL BODY WITH NO DIETS OR WORKOUTS?
WHAT IF YOU WOULD SPEND AS MUCH TIME AND EFFORT AND ENERGY DEVELOPING YOUR SPIRIT AS YOU DO TRYING TO DEVELOP YOUR BODY?
YOU KNOW THAT BODY YOU ARE DYING TO HAVE. IF YOUR SPIRIT IS RIGHT WHEN YOU DIE YOU WILL HAVE THE BEAUTIFUL BODY ONE DAY – RESURRECTION DAY!
It Will Be Real – It Will Be Recognizable – It Will Be Radically Different – AND – It Will Be Received At Christ’s Return!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
He gave doctors a thumbs-up on Tuesday... an amazing feat considering that Jack had been in a coma for five days after suffering what doctors determined was a heart attack.
His lacrosse team at Keller Middle School is cheering on Jack's recovery at a Wednesday practice.
Their regular uniform color is blue, but this time, all the kids the team wore red.
"This is for Jack," said coach Dan Perry. "It's showing their heart."
Jack collapsed at home last Thursday while talking with his mother.
"I was like really, really sad, because me and Jack were like really good friends... then it just sort of happened," said teammate Connor O'Brien.
Fortunately, Jack's mom knew CPR and she was able to get his heart going again.
"I think she saved his life, and I think everybody's in agreement about that," said lacrosse club president Tracey Perry.
The boy was flown by helicopter ambulance to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. He had been there — unconscious — since Thursday's heart attack.
"He was in a coma, and they started weaning him off some of the sedatives, and he started waking up," Perry said. "It's been baby steps form there, but all positive."
That news of Jack's recovery has his teammates smiling again, and signing a giant "get well" card.
"Coach Shane and I have been down to the hospital a couple of times each, and it's positive," Perry told Jack's teammates.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Week Four – “Hot And Bothered” Luke 16:22-31
One way we seem to deal with topics we find uncomfortable is to jokes about them or draw cartoons. Joking about your eternal destiny is not what I mean when I talk about living “Happily Ever After”.
I. Hell Is A Place Of Misery, Vv. 23-24
“And being in torment in hell……”
Jesus specifically mentioned the word “hell” fifteen times and He wasn’t joking when He talked about it. It appears in the Bible many more times than that. Here are a few examples of references to hell’s torment and torture:
everlasting fire – Matthew 18:8, 25:41 - everlasting punishment - Matthew 25:46everlasting chains - Jude 1:6 - everlasting destruction - 2Thessalonians 1:9eternal damnation - Mark 3:29 - eternal judgment - Hebrews 6:2 - eternal fire - Jude 1:7 - unquenchable fire - Matthew 3:12 - the fire that never shall be quenched - Mark 9:43, 44, 45, 46, 48 - fire unquenchable - Luke 3:17 - shame and everlasting contempt - Daniel 12:2 - mist of darkness is reserved for ever - 2 Peter 2:17 - the blackness of darkness for ever - Jude 1:13
weeping (Matthew 8:12), wailing (Matthew 13:42), gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50), darkness (Matthew 25:30), flames (Luke 16:24), burning (Isaiah 33:14), torments (Luke 16:23), everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46)! Jesus says in Matthew 25:41, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into EVERLASTING FIRE, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Listen to how Bill Hybels described what Hell might feel like: (BAD DREAMS)
“The bottomless pit…conjures up dreamlike feelings of falling away -- falling, falling, falling. You’ve all had dreams like that; where when you woke your heart was beating because you were falling. Picture in your mind hanging over a precipice --- and God is hanging onto you --- and you’re hanging onto him.
“And you decide you don’t need him anymore. So you let go. But the moment you let go you know you made a mistake. You’re falling, and every moment you fall further and further away from the only source of help and truth and love --- and you realize you made a mistake and you can’t get back up --- and you fall further and faster and further and faster into spiritual oblivion --- and you know you’re going the wrong direction --- and you’d give anything to go back, but you can’t. And you fall, and you fall, and you fall, and you fall …
“How long? Forever. And all the while you’re falling you’re saying, ‘I’m further now; I’m further. I’m further from the only source of hope, truth, and love.’
“In hell there is never the bliss of annihilation. You’d give anything for annihilation, but it’s unavailable --- only the conscious continuation of emotional anguish, physical anguish, relational anguish, and spiritual anguish … forever.”
Dr. Maurice Rawlings is a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga, and his colleagues are constantly treating emergency patients, many of whom have had near-death experiences. A study of these cases by Dr. Rawlings was reported in Omni magazine. It is no longer unusual to hear about people who have almost died who speak of seeing a bright light, lush green meadows, rows of smiling relatives and experiencing a deep sense of peace. However, Dr. Rawlings gives additional information from his patients by interviewing them immediately following resuscitation while they are very much in touch with their experience.
Dr. Rawlings says that nearly fifty percent of the 300 people that he has interviewed have reported lakes of fire, devil-like figures and other sights reflecting the darkness of hell. Rawlings says that these people later change their story because they don’t want to admit where they’ve been, not even to their families. "Just listening to these patients has changed my whole life," claims Dr. Rawlings. "There is a life after death, and if I don’t know where I’m going, it’s not safe to die." Dr. Rawlings, a devout atheist, "considered all religion ’hocus-pocus’ and death nothing more than a painless extinction."
But something happened in the late ‘70’s that brought a dramatic change in the life of Dr. Rawlings! He was resuscitating a man, terrified and screaming. "Each time he regained heartbeat and respiration, the patient screamed, ’I am in hell!’ He was terrified and pleaded with me to help him. I was scared to death...Then I noticed a genuinely alarmed look on his face. He had a terrified look, worse than the expression seen in death! This patient had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror! His pupils were dilated, and he was perspiring and trembling--he looked as if his hair was ’on end.’ Then still another strange thing happened. He said, ’Don’t you understand? I am in hell...Don’t let me go back to hell!’...the man was serious, and it finally occurred to me that he was indeed in trouble. He was in a panic like I had never seen before."
Dr. Rawlings said no one who could have heard his screams and saw the look of terror on his face could doubt for a single minute that he was actually in a place called hell. He could be a disbeliever no more.
Having to face the reality of hell jolted him into seriously facing his own unbelief and began a spiritual search that led him to become a Christian.
Our Bible teaches us that Hell is a place of darkness. So you say, "Well, if Hell is a place of flame in the center of the earth, how can there be darkness?" Scientists have also figured that one out for us. As flame gets hotter, you have yellow flame, orange flame, then blue flame. Then beyond blue flame there is a green flame, and if gets much hotter than that, the flame becomes entirely clear and gives no color at all. So there is no light in Hell, because the flames are so hot they have no color and have no light. They are simply clear.
HELL IS A PLACE OF MISERY.
II. Hell Is A Place of Memory, V. 25
"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.”
REGRETS – Ever grieved over a lost opportunity? Imagine grieving forever…..
Ever made a bad decision and suffered the consequences of it? Imagine that forever.
REMORSE – Wishing you could undo what you’ve done and untangle your life.
Not only memories but cravings and addictions…… if he longed for water that much, imagine how much he would need a drink of alcohol or a drug fix……
HELL IS A PLACE OF MEMORIES
III. Hell Is A Place of Mourning, Vv. 27-31
These verses confirm what we already know – relationships are what make life meaningful and worthwhile. Of all the horrors of hell – and they are considerable – the worst torture will result from relationships that have been interrupted forever.
Jeff Strite, a pastor in Indiana, tells this story about his Dad.
My Dad was what was known as "a rounder." He was a man’s man. He was a hard worker, hard fighter, and a hard player of baseball and basketball. He was attractive to women and he loved to go out and dance.
Now, it’s not that dad was a stranger to church (when he first met mom, he kissed her behind the furnace in a church basement). He wasn’t unfriendly to church, it’s just that God held little interest for him. He didn’t need God to run his life.After he married mom, they settled down as married couples did. Mom, a deeply religious woman, never failed to go to church, but Dad always had work to do. And - well, church wasn’t all that important anyway. But after awhile, mom’s church going got to bother him. He accepted the idea that he might go to hell, but the idea of being there without the woman he loved troubled him.Dad finally decided to force mom to avoid church. He asked her if she would feel comfortable in heaven if he were in hell.
Now, Mom was the quiet type of Christian who didn’t try to force her faith down dad’s throat, but now she had the opportunity to address his need. He waited to see how she would respond?She thought for a couple of moments and then asked him: "Lowell, would you really feel comfortable if I were in hell with you?" The simplicity of her response led Dad to change his way of thinking and he turned his life over to Jesus. Why? Because hell wasn’t a comfortable concept to him especially when it came to someone he loved.
LET’S FACE IT – ONE OF THE REASONS WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEAVEN IS TO BE WITH GOD AND WITH JESUS BUT ALSO TO BE WITH FAMILY & OTHERS WE LOVE. THE THOUGHT OF SPENDING ETERNITY SEPARATED FROM THOSE WE LOVE IS UNBEARABLE TO US! BUT THAT IS WHAT HELL IS!
REJECTION – Denied access to Heaven and separated from God forever and separated from ones you love. No one likes the feeling of being left out…..
RIDICULE – Imagine Satan in your face mocking you and laughing at your foolishness. If he accuses you and tries to condemn you now – how do you think he will be then?
HELL IS A PLACE OF MOURNING!
Gene and Paulette Cranick, of South Fulton, Tennessee, lost their home after officers were ordered by bosses not to extinguish it.
Fire fighters only arrived when the flames spread to the property of a neighbor, who had paid the fee. However, they continued to refuse to help the Cranicks.
Later the same day, the couple's 44-year-old son was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, after allegedly punching the local fire chief.
Jeff Vowell, the city manager of South Fulton, said: "It's a regrettable situation any time something like this happens." Mr Vowell explained that there was no county-wide fire service and it was too expensive for the city's officers to serve surrounding rural areas like the Cranicks' as well.
Rural residents can gain access to the service by paying the annual fee. But "if they choose not to," Mr Vowell said, "we can't make them".
Mr Cranick said: "I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong." His wife said the couple had offered to pay the fire fighters whatever was necessary for them to extinguish the flames, but the officers refused.
However they do not blame the officers themselves, she said. "They're doing what they are told to do. It's not their fault." The Mayor of South Fulton, David Crocker, told local reporters: "We're very sorry their house burned."
However he too stood by the subscription policy, arguing that offering a pay-as-you-go service would mean upfront costs could not be met.
About three hours after the fire began, Mr. Cranick's son Timothy allegedly arrived at the South Fulton fire station demanding to see Mr. Wilds the fire chief.
It is alleged that when Mr. Wilds came forward and asked if he could help, Mr Cranick punched him. "He just cold-cocked him," Mr. Crocker reported.
Weird story isn’t it? You could say that it isn’t right and it isn’t fair, but it was the rule and it was understood and they ignored the rule. So, if they knew the rule and they ignored the rule and then the rule was enforced, whose fault was it that their house burned down?
In the same way, people say, “A loving God wouldn’t send people to Hell…….”
1) Anyone who goes to hell does so against the will of God…..
2) Anyone who goes to hell does so against the grace of God…..
HOW SHOULD I RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE?
1) LIVE WITH ASSURANCE 2) LIVE WITH URGENCY