Sunday, April 30, 2023

What is really True in the World? Hell, Faith, and Heaven

If I go to my bank account and say, "well, I don't know what's true" that's not going to work. There will be an amount listed. It's either correct or it isn't.

That's how it is with history. That's how it is with science. That's how it is with archaeology. That's how it is with anything, there is objective truth. There's an absolute reality. But then when we get to religion, we say, "well, no one knows the truth for sure." Nonsense. There is a right answer. There are wrong answers. Its just as objective as history or anything else. 

Sometimes we just don't like that reality. But I think if we can face it and say, okay, it is true, I'll admit it, then we can begin to walk that path. Soon we may yet find ourselves saying, "Hey, this isn't that hard. I can do this in the power of God. And I can be okay." 

But a lot of people are in rebellion in our world, they would rather fight it. Instead, for me, it became much better to say, "You know what, I get it. It's true. Jesus Christ is really real. I'm gonna try to live that out." And it turns out, life works much better that way.

Today, though, the Lord gave me a three-fold message that he wants me to share. First of all, we're going to talk about hell, then we're going to talk about Jesus Christ and the gospel, then we're going to talk about heaven. Okay? Hell, Heaven. In the middle, we'll talk about Christ. And all those things are aspects of what we find in the Bible, the Word of God. Everyone likes heaven. Some people like Jesus, some people don't. And no one wants to hear about hell, but it's all in there. 

All of us are made in the image of God. That means you have intrinsic value. Every human being on the planet, in fact, is made in the image of God. That means that every human life matters. That's why the Bible says "do not kill." That's why we have laws in our country that say, you may not murder someone else. Because every human life has value. We are made in God's image, the Bible says. What that means exactly, we don't know, it's a mystery. But it is a beautiful mystery. 

I don't know if you've noticed this: Nothing in this life fully fills our desires. There's something inside of us that longs for more. And the goal then, is that we would find that extra something in God himself. Because nothing in this life fully satisfies. You can drink as much as you want. You can eat as much as you want. You can have the perfect romance. But at the end of the day, none of it quite satisfies. There's always something missing, that can only be filled by an infinite God. 

We have a seed you might say, of the infinite within us, we have this longing within us that can't be touched by anything in this world. When I see a beautiful sunset, or a sunrise or the stars in the sky, that's great. But I want more, I want to be able to jump into it and be part of it somehow. 

Something's missing. Does that make sense? So we have this infinite value, right? But there's a problem. We know Adam and Eve were the first humans. They sinned against God. And then the human race became fallen. That's why we all struggle. That's why we battle temptations in this life. That's why we struggle to want to do the right thing. It's like something inside us wants to do the right, but we can't quite get there. It's just out of reach. And then we do bad things, and it feels good. After, it feels bad. We feel guilty. And here's the thing, God has to deal with the sin problem. He has to. If we look deep down, most of us would admit, "I want him to deal with it." I want God to get rid of sin. I want God to get rid of murder, and human trafficking, and death, and evil and wars. 

So our part is this: We have to leave sin behind ourselves. By turning to Jesus Christ, we can leave sin behind. And then we can be part of the new thing God is doing. However, if we cling to the sin, say, no, I'm gonna live in sin. I like sin, I'm gonna do it. God, in fact, has no qualms about sending me to a place of horrors, a place of nightmares, a place of conscious eternal torment called Hell.

There is also time limit to say, "I'm done with the sin problem." And if the clock runs out on our lives, and we never turned away from our sins, God will say, all right, I got a place for people who want to cling to their sins. It's called Hell. That's one of my least favorite things to talk about. But it's in there. I'm not going to sugarcoat it for the sake of anyone on planet earth. Because God is a God of love, but he's also a God of justice. And the fact is, every single person alive loves justice, just as much as they love, love. Sometimes we want justice even more than love. We want things to be right, more than we want love. Right? Am I wrong? All of us want justice. We long for it every day. But then we get mad when God says I'm gonna deal with it.

Death is not the end. And if you were to end up in hell, that is a place that you cannot die. It will continue permanently. We would be permanent residents, all of us are eternal beings, we will live forever. Those in hell will live forever. This is the hard part to discuss. Stick with me. Okay. So I want to warn you about this because it's real. Not because I like it. But because it's real. As real as anything else in life, there is a heaven there is a hell. Both are real.

What a terrible fate for someone who rejects Christ their whole lives, and goes to that place. Because God said in His Word, "It is not my will for anyone to go there" (2 Peter 3:9). I have made a way for every single person on planet Earth to be saved through Jesus Christ. It is not my will for a single person on this planet to go there. It is your choice if you want to go there. 

We're kind of rebellious, aren't we? Particularly in America. We're kind of rebels all the way back to the American Revolution. We're just rebellious. So we don't want to hear it. 

But I I'll tell you this. It's amazing. The hysteria that happened during COVID-19. Don't you think? People were so afraid! So scared! And I was scared to. But some people were beyond scared. They were hysterical, for a virus that had a 99.7% survival rate. 

What about the pandemic of sin on the human heart? We're not as hysterical about that. We kind of leave space for that one, don't we? Yeah. When we hear about another murder, when we hear about another domestic violence situation, we think, well, that's just part of life. No, that's wrong! That's not justice. Again, I want justice, for that woman who's being abused by her husband. I want justice suddenly. Justice. Do you see why God loves justice too? Because it's right. 

But hysteria, hysteria won't solve anything. Brothers and sisters, faith is the answer. I've learned in my life, faith, faith in God. Faith in Jesus Christ is the answer. If I hold firmly to God, I don't have to be afraid. Faith is greater than fear. Keep that in your mind. Faith is greater than fear.

What helps me stay on track is the love of God. Also, for me as a man, the fear of God also helps me. When I think about a sin, and I think well, I could probably get away with it. No one's looking right now. I remind myself, God's watching. God sees, he loves me, he's also going to hold me accountable. So I tremble a little bit, and I think, Okay, I'm going to stay on the right path here. And it's good. I counsel as many people as I can to tremble a little bit before God, it's going to help you in your life. 

Honestly, I know we don't like that, oh, "fear bad." Fear of God is a good thing. Fear of anything or anyone else is wrong. The fear of God has helped me in my life. 

Honestly, Chelsey my girlfriend will attest to that. She's known all these guys who claim to be Christians, but the way they looked at her, there was something else going on there. And she was surprised when she met me. Well, he really does want to do right, he really does fear God. And that kind of keeps him stable, where he looks at me with reverence. He looks at me with reverence, not as a piece of meat, right? Yeah. Imagine that, ladies, a man who looks at you as more than a piece of meat, but as a woman of honor? That would be a novel thing. 

That's what the fear of God has helped me with. Praise the Lord. So as a Christian, fear God. And if there's any sin in your life, repent of it. Say to yourself, "I'm not going to let that have any place in my life." Get rid of lying, stealing, cheating, mistreating family members, and unforgiveness. We have to forgive those who have hurt us. Repent quickly. Because one day, you will stand before God. I don't want any sin on your record in that moment. You want to be pure in Christ, and he's washed away our sins, which is the amazing thing. So it's not like we we can never reach that point. He's washed away our sins. But we want to continue in purity after our sins our forgiven, continue and complete the journey successfully, in purity and righteousness (Philippians 2:12, 1 Peter 1:16).

If we struggle again, sometimes Christians will slip into sin, we just need to step back out real quick and say, No, I'm not doing that in the name of Jesus. Please forgive me, Lord, and I keep going. And I'm good then, regarded as pure in Christ sight and ready for heaven once again, at any moment. Praise the Lord. 

Jesus Christ is the chain breaker. I'll tell you that being an alcoholic for years, I was so hooked. I couldn't not drink even for a day or two. He's a chain breaker. When I turned to Christ for that, bam, those chains broke. So fast, I get excited. I'm 10 years sober as of November 1 of 2022, and it's just so good to be free. See, I don't know if you've ever seen an alcoholic, but it's brutal. They're stuck in it. And if you really corner them and ask, why do you do this, he or she might say, I don't even know why. I don't know why I'm doing this. Jesus will break any chain in your life. Especially if it seems like he can't. I've learned that. Anything in your life: Smoking, drinking, lying, stealing some little thing, even swearing? Anything.

Unfortunately, it seems like most people are going to hell, at least in these last days. And if you see what our society is like out there, it's not been good. But it remains open to anyone currently alive who is willing to turn to God in repentance.

Then we have the offer of salvation. How does it work? How can we get saved? What does that look like? How does that work? Many of us have heard it. It is by grace, through faith. So we come to God and say, "Look at me, I conquered everything?" No, no. 

We come to God and we say, "I followed the 10 commandments the best I could." If that's your plan, it's not gonna end well for you. 

We come to God and we say, "I've received Jesus Christ as my savior." By grace, through faith. He paid off my sin debt.  That is the way. He is the way (John 14:6). 

That is the first step in coming to God, oddly enough, to surrender and say, I can't do it. The first step is total surrender! That's the paradox of Christianity. Instead of saying, I'm going to try harder to follow the 10 commandments, instead your first step needs to be, "Lord, I can't do it. I've sinned against you." 

Have you? I broken all the 10 commandments. I mean, maybe not all of them, but most of them. I can't do it. Jesus, I need you to be my savior, to come live within me to make me different. Maybe you've never heard it explained like that. Maybe you always thought I need to try harder to be good. That's not it. That is not the gospel. The gospel is Jesus on the cross dying and saying "it is finished" (John 19:30). 

The gospel is Jesus saying, I've paid your sin debt, if you'll believe in me, you'll be born again into a new family of God, then your sins will be washed away. That's the whole purpose. It's a free gift. You just have to receive it. And then he helps you to turn away from any past lifestyles that were a problem. So you can live differently, a free gift of salvation to you. 

All you've got to do is receive it and how stupid you would feel on judgement day if you didn't receive it. Take it, it's for you. I know some of us have thought, "well, that's for church people." No, it's for average, everyday people. It's for weirdos. It's for awkward people. It's for people that can't quite get it. It's for people who struggle. It's for people who have anxiety. It's for people who are just kind of different. That's who Jesus came to, frankly. He skipped past the religious people and he came to us awkward people. Me, I'm a little awkward. A little different. A little anxious. A little bit prone to stutter. He came for us. The weirdos. That's what I like to say at my church. Jesus goes right past the proud and arrogant and comes to us average everyday people who are humble enough to listen. Jesus came for the worker swinging a hammer, for the homemaker, having kids taking care of the laundry, Jesus says, I came for you.

One man asked Jesus a question. He said, "What is the work that God wants us to do?" You know how Jesus answered him? He said, the work of God is for you to believe in Him who God sent. That's Jesus himself. The work of God is to believe in he whom He sent, the Father sent Jesus Christ the son. We must believe in Jesus. And then it is paid in full, your sin debt. All your past sins paid in full, dirty slate wiped clean, ready for Paradise, perfect in his eyes. 

At last, the genesis of evil, the beginning point of every evil in the world, sin in the human heart, dealt with by Jesus. But we must receive it through Him.  Then our past sins are washed away. 

But what about sins we commit in the future? If we sin in the future, we must ask God's forgiveness once again through Christ, repent again, and then that future sin is wiped off your record as well. That's why the Lord's Prayer includes the phrase "forgive us our sins" because in the future we may also need forgiveness. Our feet may get dirty in this sinful world, but thankfully, Jesus washes our feet, just as he washed the feet of His disciples. But again, we must seek him and allow him to do so. Just as Peter first refused, but then changed his mind and allowed to Christ to do so. 

That's dealing with the sin problem, getting rid of the sin, and getting them ready for a new world. Which brings us to part three, Paradise. 

Now we talk about heaven. W
hat is heaven? Heaven, is that where we float on clouds? We play harps? No. That is how it's portrayed on paintings and in the media.  

But what does the Bible say? If you skip to the back of your Bible to Revelation 22, you can see what heaven is actually going to be like, and it's it's a city called the New Jerusalem. And what Jerusalem means is "City of God." So the new city of God and really what you're what you're seeing there is you're going all the way the beginning of the Bible and seeing Eden, Adam and Eve in Eden. They're expelled because of their sin, all the way to the book of Revelation Chapter 22. Eden remade, a paradise remade. It's called the New Jerusalem it's a city where God dwells with his people. A city of God. It's described in incredible ways, powerful ways. 

It says this in Revelation 22:1-2, "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."

Okay, so you have the throne of God. You've got the river of the water of life flowing from the throne of God down the center street of the city. On each side of the river stood the Tree of Life, bearing 12 crops of fruit yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nation. 

Check this out. This is pretty cool. Here's how it's described. You've got the throne of God. You've got a river pouring out of the throne of God, probably an infinite River, pouring out of the throne of God down the center street of the city. And this river leads to the Tree of Life, this giant tree that's in this city that we're gonna live in one day. The tree of life that we're then able to eat from freely. That's just the center of the city we're talking about. 

There's so much more. There's so much more there. And it's in Revelation, look at it. People are afraid to look at the book of Revelation, "Oh, that's prophecy. I can't look at that." 

Yeah, you can. It's right there. Look at it. It talks about 12 gates, 12 foundations of the city with all these pearls and beautiful rubies and chrysolite and burl and Topaz and turquoise, Jacinth, Amethyst, and of course, golden streets. Glorious golden streets, our feet will touch them one day.  

That is what is for people who believe in Jesus Christ, who have turned away from sin. I'm done with sin! I'm gonna live in Christ and righteousness. 

That's just the beginning brothers and sisters! That's just the start of the story for us. This is the beginning. Our life on Earth is 70 or 80 years, 90 or 100 years, maybe if we're lucky. So then what? What about eternity? What about 10,000 years, 50,000 years, or a million years? This is just the beginning of the journey. It's just the beginning until Revelation 22 happen, then we'll finally get to the city. 

Also please be aware of this: It's not going to be boring. People say oh, what are we gonna do in heaven? It sounds boring. Believe me, there's going to be adventures beyond what you could imagine in this place. 

Now you're probably wondering, but how do you know it's really real? Here's how I know. I was a drug addict and an alcoholic near death in the hospital. I tried to get clean on my own, didn't work. I slipped back every time. But then I called out to the name of Jesus Christ. That's how I know that the Bible is true. Because he changed my life. He's with me right now. And he's with you right now. And we're gonna see him one day face to face. 

All of this is so very important. This is life and death. It's so important that you really believe that these things are true. Don't believe that it's just some old story. It is a present true reality. Now. That's what I know. That's what I know. And I'm tired of preachers teaching it like it's an old story. It's actual, it's present. It's real. It's real, really real. Not fake. Not a pipe dream, but a current reality. 

I did not think that was so when I was 16. I said, "there's no God. I don't believe the Bible, it's just an old tradition. I believe in science." 

Well, guess what? I tried to live the philosophy that nothing matters, and we're all evolved from nothing exploding into particles that became the universe. But I had to realize that it's not logical. It's not. And it's not livable, frankly. Because if I'm just evolved amino acids then nothing matters. I mean, philosophically, if you think about it, if there is no God, then nothing matters. But I tried to live that way and ended up on drugs. Then I quickly became addicted. 

Frankly, when you look at our social structure, the reason America works, is because our founders put God first and said, If God is true, then every human life matters. But if we're just evolved, then frankly, they would have said, "nothing matters." And is that livable for society? It isn't. A society full of people who think nothing matters is going to be a society on fire. That's why we see our society crumbling right now. That's why our society is spinning off into chaos. Because many young people and adults today believe that they're just evolved and nothing matters, so do whatever feels good. A society of people doing whatever feels good is a broken, desolate, shallow society bent on self-destruction and self-mutilation. So why not molest a kid? Why not assault someone? Why not steal? Why not be corrupt? Why not perjure yourself on the stand? If nothing matters, then anything goes. 

If I'm just evolved stardust, there is no God. There's also no consequence to my actions. So why not do whatever I want? Do you get it? Do you see how this goes to the very base of our society and who we are as people? Jesus Christ is real. Only with Christ at the center, God at the center, is society really functional at all. 'In God We Trust' is more than a slogan, it's a philosophy of society that practically works.

Are you ready to get back in line with the order of the universe through Christ? Let your rebellion end today. It doesn't work. It leads nowhere. It's not even logically consistent. It's a dead end. 

Give your life to Christ today, I dare you. Give your life to God right now. Pray right now. Maybe it's your first time ever. Maybe you just want to reaffirm your commitment. But I just want to offer you this open door right now. 

Pray this to Commit to Christ your Life: Lord God Almighty. Father, we admit, you're at the basis of everything. Your real God, you're really real. You are really real Father. And we first of all say we can't do it. We've tried to be good and we can't we've sinned. Lord Jesus, please forgive us our sins. Forgive us for where we've lied. Forgive us for where we've manipulated people to get what we wanted. Forgive us for times when we stole, or didn't pay our taxes. Forgive us when we hurt someone, when we acted like we were better than someone. Forgive us God for unforgiveness. God forgive us for people that we've refused to forgive. We forgive them now. Most of all, God, we admit we've sinned and we ask you Lord Jesus, that your precious blood would cover all of our sins, that we will be made new. We give you our hearts Lord Jesus, and we receive your righteousness as a gift. We receive it by faith. We don't try to work for it, but we receive it by faith, by grace, through faith. We receive the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ's perfect sacrifice. God, we receive the Spirit. Grant us the Holy Spirit now, to lead us in our lives always. In Jesus name, Amen.

Christians Pray this to self-examine: Father God in Heaven, if any Christian is struggling with a sin, God, please bring it forward in their minds. Father reveal it to them so they can repent quickly. Convict their heart toward sorrow and repentance. May they may be ready for judgment day. If there's any unforgiveness in their heart, Father, bring it to mind so they may quickly forgive, so they would learn to forgive so they can be ready on judgment day as well. Thank you, Father, we love you and praise you. In Jesus name. Amen.