Today, we are, indeed, living in perilous times, just as Jesus said we would. And as we look back upon history, we can justifiably say that these are UNIQUELY perilous times, unlike anything the world has seen, perhaps since the days of Noah. It seems the whole world has been deceived on a massive scale. But that’s not entirely true. Those who have the Holy Spirit of God within them can clearly discern the truth from the lies, and though we may be few in number, the Remnant that God has preserved is still the salt in this wicked world as well as the light that exposes the unfruitful works of darkness.
While most of those around us are on the broad road that leads to destruction, under strong delusion, choosing to believe lies rather than truth and therefore UNABLE to discern spiritual matters, those who follow Christ seem like fools to them. Trouble-makers. Many even call us “hateful bigots.” Jesus’ words from Matthew 10 remind us that we will be hated by all for His name’s sake. But those who endure to the end will be saved.
Today the trials, tribulations, persecution, pestilence, wars, lawlessness and all manner of evil are all around us. We find ourselves up against the god of this world and his demons, and they’re deeply embedded in every area of life: marriage, family, church, government, news media, education, healthcare, entertainment, everything. Evil is in the very atmosphere because it’s infiltrated the hearts of every man, woman and child on earth. And without the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit that lives within all those who are God’s children, there’s literally no limit to the wickedness that the heart of every human being could conceive.
So yes, we may very well be speeding quickly, now, toward the Glorious Appearing of Jesus, returning as He promised, as a conquering King and righteous Judge to render to all the punishments or the rewards each has earned. So, yes, we may be living in the last of the Last Days before Christ’s return.
But consider this: 65 million people die every year in the world. That’s 178,000 every day, 7,425 every hour and 120 every minute. In the time it takes for you to receive my message today, nearly 2,000 people will have died. For them, TODAY IS the “last day.” Hebrews 9:27 reminds us, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and then, the judgment.”
Those who scoff at God also scoff at the idea of life after death. For them, life on this earth is the only “heaven” they will ever know. But for God’s children, life on this earth is the only “hell” THEY will ever know. And whether you believe it or not, life does not end. Our souls will all live somewhere, forever. It’s at this point that I have real GOOD news — or real BAD news — for you. It all depends on where you stand — or what you choose to do with this information.
When you pass from life in this world, those who have salvation through the blood of Christ on the cross, those who made Jesus their Savior AND their LORD, will be welcomed to the throne room of the Most High God. They will see Jesus face-to-face. Our Lord comforted His disciples — and all His children — in John, chapter 14, when He said, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
And in verse 6, Jesus stated, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” It is ONLY through Jesus that we can be assured of everlasting life in God’s Kingdom. Though our earthly lives will come to an end and our earthly bodies return to dust, our true lives will continue on, and those who belong to Christ will be received by Him when He returns for us.
You see, there WILL BE a “last day” for all of us, and after that, the judgment. Those covered in the redemptive blood of Jesus will spend eternity with Him in His Kingdom. And we won’t be just floating around on clouds, playing harps and polishing our halos. God’s Kingdom is a real place, where we will have real, renewed bodies, and real, meaningful work to do. Evil will be eradicated and sin will not be allowed to enter His Kingdom. All of our questions will be answered, by God Himself, and there will be no more sickness, no more tears, pain or death. We will be HOME with our Creator and we’ll experience joy, reverence and worship in a place so breath-takingly beautiful, none of us can imagine it.
On the other hand, those without Christ as their Savior, will be forever, hopelessly lost. They’ll still live for eternity, but their dwelling place will be hell — a place of darkness, gnashing of teeth, eternal, unquenchable fire, and worst of all, eternal separation from God. It will be a place of never-ending sorrow, grief, regret, loneliness and torment. “Shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might,” says 2 Thessalonians 1:9.
I tell you these things not to scare you, but if you ARE scared, you should be. I tell you these things to warn you of what your future — your ETERNAL future — holds, apart from God. You know, most people — even those who don’t claim to be Christians — believe they will go the “heaven” when they die. It’s interesting that even those with no time for God still hope for the best — and believe they’ll receive the best — in eternity, regardless of what they choose to do in this life.
Most people believe they’ll go to heaven (if there IS such a place) because they believe they’re “good” people. But God’s Word tells us, “there is none that doeth good, no not one.” Romans 3:23 is very clear: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Friends, we are all sinners. As descendants of Adam and Eve, we’ve all been born that way, from the time our first parents chose the serpent rather than God. And God, as a righteous and good Judge cannot allow any sin into His Kingdom, which is holy and pure. Therefore, we have all earned hell and damnation. Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And there we have the solution — and the choice. Sin was conceived the moment Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and follow the serpent, and as a result, all humanity was sentenced to death and hell. God declared that there would forever be “enmity” between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. In other words, an epic battle between Satan and his demons and mankind. I believe that battle is reaching a crescendo right now, and many others see it happening now, too. Satan hates us, because we were created in God’s image, and because God loves His children. God has also given us freewill — the ability to choose to worship Him... or not.
But you should know and understand that we are not all automatically God’s children. Many false teachers will say otherwise, but a wise and careful student of Scripture will understand that until we go to Jesus in humble repentance and faith, we remain enemies of God. Scripture tells us the wrath of God ABIDES on us, that we are God’s enemies, and “of our father, the devil.” Again, no one can go to the Father, our Creator — GOD — except through Jesus.
There are many today who don’t worship the Most High God, but instead they worship “the universe” or “the earth” or something else. They believe they’re all about “peace and love” and have all kinds of mystical ideas about how “everything is one” — and they truly believe they’re full of goodness and light. The Bible speaks of that too, in Romans 1. Look it up. God’s Word tells us they’ve been deceived, they’re without excuse, and not only are they NOT full of goodness and light, but God has actually given them over to depraved minds. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find their lives very often reflect carnality, lust, hedonism and depravity... worldly enticements that subtly draw their attention away from that which is most important — knowing the One, true God — and HIM knowing you.
But even in our sin, God showed His great love for us by sending His Son, Jesus, to earth to save us from our enemy, the serpent. Romans 5:8, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, Christ did. He did that in order to make God’s saving grace available to us... He did that in order to make it possible for us to escape the wrath of God and BECOME one of God’s own children; no longer His enemy.
But salvation in Christ requires something of US. It requires repentance. Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” The continual message of John the Baptist was all about repentance. Jesus taught constantly on the need for repentance and the entire New Testament emphasizes the need for repentance in order to receive salvation. Acts 3:19 instructs us, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.”
Let me make this easy for anyone to understand. As human beings, we are born sinful into a sin-filled world. There’s an ongoing battle between Satan and his demons, and human beings, made in God’s image. As children, we don’t need to learn how to sin; it comes naturally to us. We’re born that way. And Satan uses every opportunity to exploit our every personal weakness to lure us deeper and deeper into sin and depravity, ever further away from God, our Creator, Who loves us and is not willing that ANY of us should have to perish in hell.
Unfortunately, many choose the path of least resistance. It’s not easy to be a Christ-follower. It’s a narrow gate that leads to life and Jesus said “FEW” will ever find it. But still, for the few, Christ came to earth as a perfect, holy sacrifice for US. He was crucified, died and was buried. Satan thought he’d won the battle. But Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death and hell and the grave. He’s at the right hand of God Himself right now.
In His death on the cross, Jesus took the punishment WE DESERVE upon Himself. He paid the penalty that our perfect, Holy God requires to remove the stain of sin from our souls so that we can be forgiven and be assured of eternal life in the perfect, Holy Kingdom of God when our “last day” on earth arrives. We can all receive that forgiveness. How? First, we must understand that we NEED a Savior because we’ve broken God’s laws and He cannot, as a righteous Judge overlook evil, so we’re all headed for hell. We can’t save ourselves and we are NOT “good people.” Without Jesus, we have no hope. Once we understand why we need a Savior, we must understand Who Jesus is, what He did and how His perfect sacrifice on the cross made it possible for us to come directly to God.
Then, with broken and contrite hearts, we must repent — turn from our self-centered ways and seek God. We need no longer fear approaching God because if we seek Him in humble repentance — and faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, claiming Jesus as our Savior and living as a Christ-follower, making Him our LORD as well, we can now be welcomed into the loving arms of God Himself. But it is only through JESUS that this could ever be possible. Praise our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ for such great love. Indeed there is no greater love.
When you do these things, you’ll also receive a most magnificent gift: the Holy Spirit of God Himself will come to dwell inside you, to be your Counselor and Friend, guiding you through the trials, tribulations and perilous times we live in on this earth, so you can endure ‘til the end when you hear the words “Well done, thy good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of thy Lord.” That, my friends, is how you “get right” with God, and if I were you, I’d do it right now.
Audio CDs and text versions of this message are available when you call me at Wisconsin Christian News, (715) 486-8066. Or email Rob@WisconsinChristianNews.com. Ask for message number 356.
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