#38 Judgment Day III
Have you ever had someone pull a rug out from under your feet? Have you ever walked on slippery ice and suddenly went down without warning? Well, consider this passage from (Ps 73:18-19) Asaph, speaking of God here says “Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. 19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors.”
You see, it’s God who trips the wicked up in their wicked deeds. They go about their daily lives thinking that everything is rosy and fine; that nothing bad can ever happen to them. And then God jerks the rug out from under their feet. This is what Jesus was trying to get across to us in (Mt 7:27) when He spoke of the man who built his house on sand, whose life was based on the song, “I Did It My Way!” He said that “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
Paul speaks of the suddenness of calamity in (1Th 5:3) “About the time everybody’s walking around complacently, congratulating each other—”We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!”(while they are saying “Peace and Safety)—suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.
The world does it’s best to suppress the truth that God created all things and He holds the lives of every living creature in His hands. He upholds all things by the word of His power. In Him all things live and move and have their being. All things were created for His glory. This flies in the face of humanistic, worldly minded people who want nothing to do with God. They prove their vehement hatred of God in their strenuous attempts to block every possible mention of Him in the public square!
But they must understand that He who spoke the world into existence will speak it out of existence on the last day. (Heb 4:13) is a warning to all who would stake their lives on their belief that there is no God. No amount of planning will hold back the hand of God. The writer says…And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. And the Psalmist says that the one who says, “There is no God” is a fool. They are senseless.
They are like someone walking across a bridge with rotting boards. Each step draws them closer to their doom but they proudly say, “Why this bridge is as solid as the day it was built.” And they will continue to boast until the bottom drops out and then it will be too late! While they are saying, “Peace and safety, sudden destruction will come upon them and there will be no escape!
They will be like the man who decided to spend his day ridiculing an outdoor Church service. He climbed up onto a nearby water tower and screamed out blasphemies against God and His people. Then suddenly his foot slipped (their foot shall slide in due time) and he fell to his death. The last thing anyone heard from his mouth was ‘JESUS SAVE ME!’
He wasn’t prepared to die! He wasn’t prepared for that day of accounting that is drawing closer every day. That day will be a day when everything you and I have ever known, when everything mankind has ever trusted in, will be swept out of existence! Peter describes it as a day when the elements will melt with fervent heat.
Understand that this is not the gradual heating up of all things folks! This is not global warming! THIS IS SUDDEN DESTRUCTION! (2Pe 3:10 M) tells us “But when the Day of God’s Judgment does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief. The sky will collapse with a thunderous bang, everything disintegrating in a huge conflagration, earth and all its works exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment.
Judgment day is coming! And there will be two kinds of people who will see it. There will be those who love the Lord’s appearing, who pray for it, long for it and who earnestly wait for it like those who were dressed and ready on the night God visited Egypt. They were ready to go!
Then there will be those who don’t believe in that Jesus stuff at all! These people are the ones who say, “I don’ need no religious crutch! There is no reality except what we make ourselves!” These people have no sense. Peter says they are like brute beasts. And like beasts their moral standard is the survival of the fittest.
They are in this life to get all they can! Oh, they may even be outwardly moral but understand their morality is a ruse designed to achieve their selfish ends! They may be nice to you but realize that they want something from you and are using whatever means necessary to get what they want! They are demonstrating that they are sinners by their sinful actions.
An apple tree demonstrates that it is an apple tree by producing apples! Jesus used this analogy in (Lu 6:43-45) when He said “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. 45 “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
It’s like John said in his epistle. If you belong to the Lord, His Holy Spirit is living inside of you guiding you into paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake! You practice righteousness because you love Jesus and want to please Him. You fight against the evil desires that are still present in your heart because you don’t want to grieve the One you love!
On the other hand, if you practice evil then you prove who your master is. And so whatever you practice outwardly reveals the inner-workings of your heart! Paul tells us that we were once servants of the devil and were held captive to do his will. Our desire was to please him and we did so by gratifying the lusts of our flesh in whatever form they took. We practiced sin.
This is the place we find the lost men and women of the world. They may not admit that they worship the devil but in reality that is the case. They prove their love for the devil in that they love evil, are supremely selfish and hate God! This is the practice of their lives.
They prove their hatred of God by their actions. When someone calls them to repentance, when someone comes along and points out their evil deeds and the danger they are in before a Holy God, they laugh at you; they make fun of you, they get angry with you, and; here it comes, they say, “who are you to judge me?”
But it is not we who are judging! The word of God is a sharp two edged sword! It is like a hammer breaking a rock! When we wield the sword of the spirit which is the word of God, we are using heavy artillery. The power behind that Word is the One who spoke the universe into existence. And His word is a blazing light that exposes the wickedness of men!
In (2Co 10:4) Paul says “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds…Think of this he next time you have a chance to plant the seeds of the Truth of the Gospel.
God’s word is alive and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword. It will accomplish the purpose for which He sent it! It will either bring life or death. (2Co 2:16) to the one the gospel is an aroma from death to death, to the other it is an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? The sinner will either respond to the Truth by repenting or he will harden his heart against God and perish in His sins! In either case God is the deciding factor. In (Deut 32:35-39 NIV) He says “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near (at hand, on its way, closing in. One of the literal translations is ‘in the neighborhood.’ The Day of Judgment is just around the corner and their doom rushes upon them.” Things are moving speedily along.
Now in verses 36 and 37 I see a distinction being made just like there was a distinction made between the wicked Egyptians who are representative of the world and the children of Israel who represent God’s people. In verse 36 we see that The LORD will judge his people and have compassion on his servants when he sees their strength is gone and no-one is left, slave or free.
He will have mercy on His faithful remnant who follow Him, who love Him, trust in Him and wait patiently for His return. He is merciful to His children “For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.” (Ps 103:14) That is the difference between the true child of God and the man of the world! The Christian knows that he is helpless to do anything to save himself. And he has fallen upon the mercy of God to deliver him from the wrath to come. And God says that all who call upon Him will be saved.
The shameless sinner is no such animal. He boasts in his wickedness and places his trust in his belief that there is no God, therefore there is no judgment! But he is in for a big, a terrifying surprise because Jesus said that when He returns everyone will see Him and all the denial in the world won’t be able to fix their situation! It will be too late!
They will be called before the Throne of God and 37 He will say: to the wicked; to those who have no time for religion, who can’t be bothered with the state of their souls, who have made gods out of themselves or their possessions Now where are their gods, the rock they took refuge in, 38 the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offerings? “Remember that The sky will collapse with a thunderous bang, everything disintegrating in a huge conflagration, earth and all its works exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment. (2Pe 3:10)
Everything that sinful man has trusted in will be thrown down, wiped out; destroyed. And then God will say “Where’s all that stuff that you trusted in now! You put all your marbles into one bag and there was a hole in the bottom. You’ve lost all of your marbles. Everything you trusted in has been blown away. It’s all gone! Mockingly He says, “Let them (all of your former supports) rise up to help you! Let them give you shelter!”
And then He lowers the boom on them and says, I have shown you how worthless your idols are, how helpless! They can’t help you at all because they are made out of dust and ashes and garbage.
You trusted in garbage and it can’t help you at all. The Day of Judgment has come and I, the real God am about to deal with you. 39 “See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no-one can deliver out of my hand.”
Jesus describes that day in (Mt 25:31-46). He says, “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. Who is the Judge? JESUS! This is what is called the great white throne judgment also known as the bema seat. 32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
In (Rev 20:11-15) we see this same scene. John writes, “And I saw a great white throne, (the throne of His glory) and him that sat on it, (the Son of Man) from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (The sky will collapse with a thunderous bang, everything disintegrating in a huge conflagration, earth and all its works exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment.)
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; (Rev 20:13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them…This is the day of Judgment. No one is exempt. (32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.) and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
The books will be opened and 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, (those whose names are written in the book of life) ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: In Paul said, “For consider what He has done—before the foundation of the world (before He had created anything, before anything existed) He chose us to be in Christ, His children, holy and blameless in his sight.”
And in (Eph 2:10 NLT) Paul says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. And what are these things, these good works as the KJV calls them? Listen to Jesus! 35 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
What is Jesus speaking of here? He is speaking of fruit, evidence; outward evidence of an inward change of heart and life! The child of God no longer is supremely selfish! He is no longer motivated solely by what he can get, how much and how fast. Instead he sees himself as a steward of Gods gracious provision. He realizes that all he possesses comes from the hand of God. Consider the parable of the talents. The master gave each servant a number of talents and then left.
Now each servant had received and each servant did something with his talent (s). The first two used them wisely and gained more while the last just hid what he had received. The sheep in our parable used their talents; that which God had given them for the good of others. And they were, it seems, almost surprised when Jesus commends them for their deeds.
We read 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
Notice two things about their reaction.
1. They saw nothing unusual or out of the ordinary about what they had done. In (Lu 17:10) Jesus spells out the proper attitude we are to have. We are not to think we are scoring points with the Almighty. We are to remember that whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, all to be done for the glory of God. We are not to seek the approval of men like the Pharisees!
Instead Jesus says…“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” We see this heart attitude in the response of the sheep!
2. They didn’t remember ever having seen Jesus! In a musical version of this parable, the reaction of the sheep was, “Lord, a lot of people came to my door but I’d never forget that face.” And the Lord’s response is heard in verse 40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ The righteous understood well that they had often, in the name and for the love of Christ, ministered to his brethren, the poor and suffering saints, but they had never understood that their Lord accepted this as a personal service to himself.
And it is these who will be called to enter into His rest. They have lived for Jesus, loved in Jesus name and sought to bring glory and honor to Him by what they said and did. They did it, not for gain, or to win crowns, but simply because they loved Jesus! But there are two groups before the Throne are there not!
We now turn our attention to the goats. David say that they wicked will not stand in the assembly of the righteous. We have seen that as the nations were drawn up before the Lord He immediately separated His sheep from the wicked goats. They were not allowed to stand in the assembly of the righteous.
Nor will they be allowed to follow the righteous into heaven to assemble with them there. 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ I was hungry and you gave me no meat…I put it in your power to do good, and you would not. A variety of occasions offered themselves to you, but you neglected them all, so that my blessings in your hands, not being improved, according to my order, became a curse to you.
They had buried their talent in the ground…they had not used the blessings that God had bestowed upon them, they did not make use of the means of grace, would not believe so as to be saved. Their testimony was one of rejection and willful blindness/suppression of the truth.
Though creation beckoned its hand, though they heard the gospel preached or read gospel literature, they snorted with disgust at the truth and would not come to Jesus so as to be saved! But these would try to claim ignorance even though the scriptures say they are without excuse! 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ We never heard, we didn’t see, we didn’t believe that You existed. In fact we preached vehemently that this is not really happening! So how can You hold us responsible?
But He will listen to none of this babbling. He pushes their claim of ignorance aside for even then they are lying. Even before the Bema Seat they are willfully sinning, proving who and what they are by their actions. And the Judge passes sentence. 45 “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ (Rev 20:13b)…“and they were judged every man according to their works.
46 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, (Rev 20:14) “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Notice Revelation chapter (21:8) and see who is included in this list.
“But for the cowardly Those who, for fear of losing life or their property, either refused to receive the Christian religion, though convinced of its truth and importance; or, having received it, (stony ground, thorns) in times of persecution fell away, not being willing to risk their lives.
and unbelieving those who resist against full evidence.
and abominable Those who are polluted with unnatural lust.
and murderers Those who take away the life of man for any cause but the murder of another, and those who hate a brother in their heart.
and immoral persons Adulterers, fornicators, whores, prostitutes, and rakes of every description.
and sorcerers (the Greek word is pharmakeia from which we get our English word Pharmacy.) Sorcerers are those who use or administer drugs and so we are looking at people who use drugs in their practice witchcraft who use spirit guides and call upon the devil for assistance.
and idolaters Those who offer any kind of worship or religious reverence to any thing but God. All image worshippers are idolaters in every sense of the word.
and all liars, Every one who speaks contrary to the truth when he knows the truth, and even he who speaks the truth with the intention to deceive; to persuade a person that a thing is different from what it really is, by telling only a part of the truth, or suppressing some circumstance which would have led the hearer to a different end to the true conclusion. All these shall have their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
There is always a distinction between the people of God and the servants of the devil. Israel had light in their dwellings while Egypt was dark. While the pillar of fire gave light to the Israelites in the wilderness, it was a wall of darkness to the Egyptians. And while Israel passed through the Red Sea on dry ground the Egyptians were drowned.
So while the children of the world, the servants of the devil are cast into outer darkness we see the distinction “but the righteous will be admitted into eternal life.”
I close with the words of J.C. Ryle: “The last judgment will be a judgment that will bring confusion on all unconverted people. They will hear those dreadful words, “Depart, you cursed, into everlasting fire.” They will be disowned by the great Head of the Church before the assembled world. They will find that as they would sow to the flesh, so of the flesh they must reap corruption. They would not hear Christ, when He said “Come unto me, and I will give you rest,” and now they must hear Him say, “Depart, into everlasting fire.” They would not carry his cross, and so they can have no place in his kingdom.
The last judgment will be a judgment that will strikingly bring out the characters both of the lost and saved. They on the right hand, who are Christ’s sheep, will still be “clothed with humility.” They will marvel to hear any work of theirs brought forward and commended. They on the left hand, who are not Christ’s, will still be blind and self-righteous. They will not be sensible of any neglect of Christ. “Lord,” they say, “when did we see you—and not come to you?” Let this thought sink down into our hearts. Our characters on earth will prove an everlasting possession in the world to come. With the same heart that men die, with that heart they will rise again.
Let us mark, in the last place, what will be the FINAL RESULTS of the judgment day. We are told this in words that ought never to be forgotten, the wicked “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” The state of things after the judgment is changeless and without end. The misery of the lost, and the blessedness of the saved are both alike forever. Let no man deceive us on this point. It is clearly revealed in Scripture. The eternity of God, and heaven, and hell, all stand on the same foundation. As surely as God is eternal, so surely is heaven an endless day without night, and hell an endless night.
Who shall describe THE BLESSEDNESS OF ETERNAL LIFE? It passes the power of man to conceive. It can only be measured by contrast and comparison. An eternal rest, after warfare and conflict—the eternal company of saints, after buffeting with an evil world—an eternally glorious and painless body, after struggling with weakness and infirmity—an eternal sight of Jesus face to face, after only hearing and believing—all this is blessedness indeed. And yet the half of it remains untold.
Who shall describe THE MISERY OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT? It is something utterly indescribable and inconceivable. The eternal pain of body—the eternal sting of an accusing conscience—(Their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched) the eternal society of none but the wicked, the devil and his angels—the eternal remembrance of opportunities neglected and Christ despised—the eternal prospect of a weary, hopeless future—all this is misery indeed.
It is enough to make our ears tingle, and our blood run cold. And yet this picture is nothing, compared to the reality. Let us close these verses with serious self-inquiry. Let us ask ourselves on which side of Christ we are likely to be at the last day. And our loved ones! Shall we be on the right hand, or shall we be on the left? Happy is he who never rests until he can give a satisfactory answer to this question.