Messages

The Final Judgment

Date:4/10/22

Series: Revelation

Passage: Revelation 20:7-15

Speaker: Jeff Thompson

At the end of the Millennium, the universe ceases to exist and unbelievers are gathered together in the heavenly realms for the Great White Throne Judgment… 


Transcription (automatically-generated):

Well, with everything going on in the world, the rumor just won't die. There are still those who are claiming that the book of Revelation is hard to understand. But daftness say we for you see the word itself. Revelation means that something has been revealed. And the first verse of this incredible book tells us exactly who it is that's being revealed. It's the revelation of Jesus Christ. And God wanted us to read this book so much that he promised anyone who would take the time to read and respond to it a special blessing. And we find that blessing in Revelation chapter in verses three. Let's claim it together. It says, Blessed is he or she who reads. And those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it for the time is near, but God knew they would still be those who would say, It's just too hard to understand. So to make it easy to understand, he also included a simple and easy to follow outline. And we find that in Revelation chapter, in verses 19, Jesus tells John, Write the things which you have seen. That was the resurrected and glorified Jesus in chapter one.

Then Jesus tells John to write the things which are that refers to the Church age which began around 32 ad on Pentecost in Acts chapter two continues up to the present day and is prophesied in Revelation chapters two and three in chronological order. And then Thirdly, Zeus said, John, I want you to write the things which will take place after this, after the Church age comes to an end. Now, when does that happen? The Church age comes to an end in chapter four, verse one, and Jesus says, John, I want you to write about those events. And John says in chapter four, verse is, after these things, I looked and behold a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard speaking with me, that was the voice of Jesus in chapter one was like a trumpet saying, Come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this. And up John goes, serving as a picture of the Church who will be raptured to be with the Lord. And Jesus takes all of chapters four and five to make sure we don't miss the fact that the Church is with Him in heaven before he begins pouring out his wrath on the Earth in chapter six.

And Revelation 616 reveals that those on the Earth will understand that this is the wrath of God being poured out upon them because they will refer to it as the wrath of the Lamb who's the Lamb. In Scripture, it's Jesus. So chapter one gives us the focus of this amazing book, Jesus Christ. Chapters two and three take us through the Church age up to the present day. The Church goes up in chapter four, verse one, we see her safe and secure with the Lord in heaven for chapters four and five before wrath comes down on the Earth in chapter six. That wrath continues for seven years in a time period referred to as the Tribulation. It's chapter six through 19 in the Book of Revelation that are taken up with God's judgment of the Earth before Jesus returns to the Earth in the event known as the Second Coming. Jesus will then rule and reign on the Earth for a thousand years, known as the Millennial Kingdom, a golden age when the Earth will be restored to an Eden like state and everything wrong with the world will be undone. And though you may not understand all the details just yet, I can tell you this.

If you love Jesus, then the story of your life is going to end with the words and they lived happily ever after. We are going to pick things up today in verses seven of Revelation chapter 20. In our previous study, we looked at some of the wonderful details of the Millennial Kingdom in Scripture. Now we move to some significant events that occur at the end of those glorious thousand years. Some of today's study will be difficult to hear. It will be heavy, and it should be. My only goal is to preach the truth because the truth does not change based on whether we want to hear it. What happens to us after we die is not affected in any way by what we think should happen to us after we die. In today's study, we'll hear from Jesus, the one who will actually judge everybody in eternity, and so we would be wise to listen to what he wants us to know. Let's read verses seven together. Now, when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison, his prison, and the abyss, and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the Earth.

The first thing you need to know is that if you belong to Jesus, you will not be deceived by Satan at the end of the Millennium. In fact, no man or woman who belongs to Jesus will ever be deceived or rebel against him again. We will be in resurrected bodies free from sin, and so we will have a spirit and a body that loves Jesus. We will also have knowledge and experience with the devastating consequences of sin, so nobody will be able to convince us that sin is somehow better. If you're wondering who exactly Satan will deceive, remember that there will be many born during the Millennium. All they will know is life on a redeemed Earth under the good and righteous reign of Jesus. Yet even under those ideal conditions, some will live begrudgingly. Under his reign, Satan will be bound and unable to tempt them. But something in their free will nature will still entice them with the desire to be their own God. The most obvious parallel is the emergence of Lucifer's pride and covetousness when all he had ever known was the glory, beauty and goodness of heaven. And so, sadly, there will be those who will live in the greatest age the world will ever see submitted to Christ's reign only because there will be no other choice.

For this reason, at the end of the Millennium, Jesus will give them a choice. You and I have already made our choice. If we belong to Jesus, we've already chosen to be chosen. We've already selected to be elected, so we have nothing to worry about. If you're wondering why the Lord would choose to do this, I believe there are three main reasons. Firstly, God doesn't want anyone in His Kingdom who doesn't want to be there. Love cannot exist apart from free will. God desires a relationship of love with his people. Therefore, our love must be based on the mutual choice of God to love us and us to love Him. God doesn't want to take anybody into eternity with him who doesn't want to go. The second reason I believe the Lord does this at the end of the Millennium is to destroy the argument of those who claim if it weren't for my parents, if it weren't for my flawed upbringing and the corrupt environment that I was raised in, I wouldn't have any issues. I would be perfectly good. Those who claim their sins are merely the result of being set up to fail won't have a leg to stand on.

After being raised in the abundant goodness of the millennial Kingdom, it will be clear that our sin is what went wrong with humanity and the Earth. The third reason I believe the Lord will release Satan for this short time at the end of the Millennium is that it will prove that there is truly nothing that satisfies and fulfills except knowing Jesus and being known by Him. Those who say I'd have peace and joy and fulfillment if I had a billion dollars, or I'd have peace and joy and fulfillment, if I just had blank, or if I just didn't have blank, or if all my problems went away. Everyone who says such things will be proven wrong because in the Millennium people will grow up in paradise. Satan bound everything provided for them. No hardship, no sickness. They'll play badminton with bears and leapfrog with Lions and they still won't be happy. The futility and emptiness of life without Jesus will be revealed when all the Earth's problems are healed. People have everything and yet some still aren't happy. Why? Because joy is not found in everything being perfect. It's not found in having a perfect body, perfect stuff, a perfect climate, or even a perfect world.

We were made to know God. We were made in such a way that nothing can fill the space in our souls that was made for Him. And yet, even under his reign in the millennial Kingdom, there will be those who will refuse to submit beyond what is required. They will not have a relationship with Jesus, and so fulfillment and joy will elude them even in the Millennium. So get this Church. It's your first fill in. Make a note of it. We will be satisfied in the Millennium the same way we're satisfied now in Christ. The only way that you'll be satisfied in the Millennium is the same way you'll be satisfied right now in Christ. Yes, it will be easier for us to be satisfied in Christ in the Millennium, because we'll be in resurrected, righteous bodies. But we do not have to wait for the Millennium to experience God's satisfaction, peace and joy. Those things are available through Jesus right now. He will fulfill us then, and he can fulfill us now. Here's what I know with certainty right now. The Holy Spirit is working on the heart of every person who loves Zeus, and one of the lessons he's trying to teach us is that our contentment and joy do not have to be connected in any way to our circumstances.

David wrote this in Psalm 144, verses 15. Happy are the people whose bank balance is full. Happy are the people whose relationships are all perfect. Happy are the people who never have to deal with any sickness or difficulty. No, none of those things. David said, happy are the people whose God is the Lord. God's plan is not that we would be miserable in this life and say, at least I'll be happy in the Millennium. God's plan is that we would find our joy in him now. He wants the Millennium to be gravy for you and me. Our hope is not the Millennium. Our hope is Zeus, and he's available to us right now. We can say, It is well with my soul right now for the same reason we'll be able to say it in the Millennium because God is with us. It's not a perfect world that satisfies. It's Jesus that satisfies. Incredibly, there will be those in the Millennium who will honor Jesus only to the degree that is legally required. They will not worship him as Lord. They will give into the part of themselves that desires to be their own God, just as Lucifer did.

And as the men of Jerusalem cried out during Jesus first coming, so too will some cry out at the end of the Millennium. We will not have this man to reign over us. Write this down. God will give the man and woman of Earth a choice at the end of the Millennium. God will give the Amen and women of Earth a choice at the end of the Millennium. There will be ethnic Jews and believers who survive the tribulation who will enter the Millennium in their earthly bodies for those thousand years. People will generally live for at least centuries, and they'll have kids. And if you have 1000 years of good health where you're aging, slowly, and pregnancy and childbirth aren't even uncomfortable. You're going to have a lot of kids and they will. And from those multitudes will arise a group who will sadly side with Satan at the end of the Millennium when he is released. The text then tells us that Satan will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the Earth GOG and may GOG to gather them together to battle whose number is as the sand of the sea.

Now, before any of you Bible nerds get too excited at the mention of GOG and Magog, let me just say that I do not think this is a reference to the war described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. When you read in Ezekiel 39 about the after effects of that war, it just doesn't align with the text here in Revelation 20 because the Earth and in verses we know it won't exist after the Millennium comes to an end, and we'll talk more about that later. This verses seems to be simply telling us that the number of people who will side with Satan will be significant as the sand of the sea and will include people from practically every nation on the Earth, the nations which are in the four corners of the Earth. Verse Nine they went up on the breadth of the Earth and surrounded the camp of the Saints in the beloved city. The beloved city is of course, Jerusalem Zion. Satan's plan is to attack Jerusalem because it will be where Jesus is reigning over the Earth from the throne of David. And you might be thinking, haven't we seen this movie before at Armageddon?

Yes, we have. But maybe there'll be a more epic battle this time around. Let's keep reading. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. Never mind. Just like that, it's over. Verses Ten The devil who deceived them was cast into the Lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false Prophet are. Satan's purpose in God's plan has been fulfilled, and so he's cast into the Lake of fire forever to join his compadre's Antichrist and the false Prophet who have already been in there for 1000 years. Remember that they were cast in the Lake of fire at the second Coming. Then it says, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. They're not destroyed, they're tormented forever. Now we reach the great White Throne judgment, and it's no exaggeration to call this the most tragic and coveting passage in all of scripture. For in it those who hate and reject Jesus are brought face to face with him for their first and final audience with the God of the universe. Verse Eleven Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it, from whose face the Earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them.

God doesn't leave anything unfinished, having given us 10 years to observe and experience the paradise of Earth. Under his governance. Jesus will say, Point made, time for the next order of business, and with that, the Earth and the entire universe will cease to exist. Two Peter 310 I put it on your outlines tells us about this moment, but the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with fervent heat. Both the Earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. The creative process that birthed the universe will be reversed. The universe will be uncreated in the same manner it was created by the Word of God. So write this down. At the end of the Millennium, the universe is destroyed, the universe is destroyed, and it seems that our location now leaves the Earth and moves to the heavenly realms where the one who judges perfectly and righteously has assembled a cosmic courtroom. Jesus is seated on a white throne which speaks of his sinless perfection. Verse twelve says, And I saw the dead underline the dead, small and great, standing before God.

Note the reference here to the dead. These are not believers. They are those who died rejecting God and have been in Hades awaiting this, their final judgment. As I mentioned last week, the glorious news for you and I is that we've already been judged because Jesus was judged in our place for our sins on the cross. We're so thankful for that. Also, last week we talked about the first resurrection and learned that it refers to a large class of people that includes everyone who belongs to Jesus and is therefore destined to receive a resurrected body fit for the ages to come. The first Resurrection is completed at the second Coming, and in verse is we read this blessed and Holy is he who has part in the first resurrection over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him 1000 years. We need to talk about why it's called the First Resurrection. That phrase is used because obviously there must be a second resurrection, and indeed, that is exactly what we see taking place here at the end of the Millennium. In John chapter five, it's on your outlines.

Jesus explained it this way, saying, Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he is granted the Son to have life in Himself and has given him authority to execute judgment. Also, because he is the Son of man. Do not Marvel at this, for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth those who have done good to the resurrection of life. That's the first resurrection and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation. That's the second resurrection. The first resurrection spoken of in verse, is of Revelation 20 is a resurrection to eternal life. The second resurrection takes place at the Great White Throne Judgment and is a resurrection to eternal death. The term resurrection refers to receiving a new body that is fit for the ages to come, a body that will last for eternity.

When Jesus was resurrected, he received a new eternal body. Paul spoke of the first resurrection in one Corinthians 15 and wrote, Now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam, all die. Even so, in Christ, all shall be made alive, but each one in his order. Christ the first fruits afterward. Those who are Christ's at his coming at the second coming. When the Bible speaks of resurrection, it is not referring to simply being conscious. Nobody in the Bible is referred to as being resurrected while in a disembodied state. In Scripture, resurrection always includes a physical body. And remember that in Revelation six nine, John saw the disembodied souls of tribulation martyrs under the altar in heaven. But it was only at the first resurrection in Revelation 20, verses four that John says, Those same tribulation martyrs lived, they came to life. What did John mean? He meant that at that time in Revelation 20, verses four, they received their new physical bodies. Now where am I going with this?

I'm going somewhere heavy. Here's the bottom line. The first resurrection sees new eternal bodies given to all who belong to Jesus because our current bodies could not endure the weight of glory that awaits us in eternity. The second resurrection sees eternal bodies given to all who reject Jesus because their current bodies could not endure the torment that awaits them in eternity. Those who belong to Jesus will be equipped to enjoy an eternity of pleasure. Those who reject Jesus will be equipped to endure an eternity of torment. Or to say it another way, those who reject Jesus will be equipped to endure an eternity apart from Him. Jesus said this plainly when he told his disciples in Matthew 1028, do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Write this down. The first resurrection gives believers new bodies for eternity with God. The second resurrection gives unbelievers new bodies for eternity apart from God, eternity apart from God. That's the truth and I would not be loving you if I misled you in any way regarding what the future holds for those who love Jesus and for those who reject Him, the issue at hand is submitting your life to God or spitting in his face and choosing to be your own God.

These scriptures are in the Bible because God does not want any of us to be confused about the gravity of our decision, and it is our decision. God's heart for us is made clear in the Bible over and over again. Two Peter 39 says The Lord is not willing that any should perish. He doesn't want anyone to perish, but that all should come to repentance. God wants everyone to repent and be saved and spend eternity ending the glories of his presence in eternity. But it's our decision. God will not force us to love Him. If he did, it would not be love and he will not force us to spend eternity with Him. We must choose for ourselves. Those who advocate for a posttribulation Rapture face a logical problem because it seems flat out silly to suggest that the Church will be raptured at the end of the tribulation, only to immediately turn around and return to the Earth with Jesus. Those who advocate for annihilationism, the belief that there is no eternal torment for unbelievers, only an absolute end to their existence, face a similar logical problem because it doesn't make sense that God would give unbelievers a new body at the second resurrection only to immediately execute them.

It doesn't make any sense. Continuing in verses twelve we read and books were opened and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and death in Hades delivered up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one according to his works. Books are opened and some of these books seem to contain a record of everything each person has done, neglected to do, spoken, and thought over the course of their lifetime. Solomon prophesied that God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. Also among the books will be the Scriptures. In John 1248, Jesus said, he who rejects me and does not receive my words has that which judges Him. The word that I have spoken will judge Him in the last day. Another book that sits open is the Book of Life. This book contains the names of everyone who is a citizen of heaven. If you belong to Jesus, then your name is in there.

My name is in there. But the names of all who reject Jesus are not. And because they declined Jesus offer of Salvation, Jesus is offered to be judged in their place. They will now stand before God and have their life judged according to his standards. One of the most foolish spiritual beliefs that we often embrace sounds something like this. I'm just going to do my best to live my life as a good person. Then whatever is on the other side, I'll be ready. That is so foolish because it makes a massive assumption.

It assumes that whatever is on the other side shares our definition of what is good.

What in the world would make any of us think that whatever definition of good we come up with, God will share it? We generally come by our definition of good by figuring out a standard we can live up to and want to live up to. If we change our mind and want to do something we previously considered to be less than good, we simply revise our definition of good to align with our current desires.

And we do this because we seem to believe that all we must do to pass whatever test follows death is be able to point out a handful of people who are worse than us.

By our definition, I'm not as bad as Hitler. I'm not as bad as that jerk that I work with. We don't consider the possibility that perhaps one of the things that makes God God is that he's not exactly like us. The Bible teaches that God is perfect without sin or flaw, and he intends to judge us according to his standards, not ours. God spoke this through the Prophet Isaiah. My thoughts are not your thoughts nor your ways. My ways, says the Lord, for as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. The bottom line is this. Nobody can live up to God's standards. That's why we need Jesus, and it's why the Great White Throne judgment won't be a trial. It'll be a sentencing. Scripture also implies that under the umbrella of the term, works will also be included the amount of revelation each person received. The greater the revelation, the greater the evil of rejecting God, and the worse the eternal torment will be. In Luke Ten, Jesus sends out 70 of his disciples and pairs to preach the gospel. And in his instructions he says this, but whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, the very dust of your city which clings to us, we wipe off against you.

Nevertheless, know this, that the Kingdom of God has come near to you. But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. The idea is that because these cities received greater revelation than Sodom did and then rejected that revelation, their eternal punishment would be worse. Zeus continues and addresses cities that had apparently already rejected him. He says, Woe to you, Corazon. Woe to you beside. For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done entire and ending, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and Ashes. But it will be more tolerable for tire and ending at the judgment than for you. Because Jesus did greater works in Korrazen and Beth Saeda, thereby giving greater revelation, their citizens would be judged by a higher standard than Tyre and Satan. Two chapters later in Luke Twelve, Jesus shares this observation as part of his explanation of a parable. That servant who knew his master's will and did not prepare himself or do according to his will shall be beaten with many stripes, but he who did not know yet committed things deserving of stripes shall be beaten with few.

For everyone to whom much is given from him, much will be required, and to whom much has been committed of him they will ask the more. And you could make the case that at a certain point in his Ministry, Jesus switched to teaching publicly only in parables, so that those who chose to reject Him would not be able to understand what he was saying and thereby not be accountable for ejecting even greater revelation. It was an act of mercy on the part of Jesus. Make a note of this on your outline. Every nonbeliever will be judged according to their works, which includes the amount of revelation they received. Every nonbeliever will be judged according to their works, which includes the amount of revelation they received. I mentioned Annihilationism earlier, and I want to address another version of it because some believe that the varying degrees of punishment in the Lake of Fire will be accomplished through the method of time. In other words, the more wicked a person is, the longer they will have to spend in the Lake of Fire before they cease to exist. The problem with this is the parable that Jesus tells in Luke 16 of The Rich Man and Lazarus.

In that parable, Jesus teaches that Hades is a place of torment for those who have rejected God. Hades is where unbelievers will wait before being judged at the Great White Throne judgment. Jesus also teaches that time in Hades runs parallel to time on the Earth. That means that right now there are people in Hades in torment who have been there for thousands of years. When Hades is emptied for the Great White Throne judgment, there will be people who were in there for only days, having died just days before the end of the Millennium. My point is this. Even though Hades is a place of torment, God is not concerned about the fact that people are spending different lengths of time there before the Great White Throne judgment. That doesn't make sense. If God intends to use time for differing levels of punishment in the Lake of Fire, why would God consider time a justice issue in the Lake of Fire but not in Hades? It only makes sense for God to disregard the issue of time in Hades. If the nature of the unbelievers ultimate punishment is indeed eternal. If anyone judged, objects and says, I'm not perfect, but I certainly don't deserve to go to the Lake of fire.

The Lord will simply say, Open the books and everything will be laid bare. Every good deed that was done with an ulterior and selfish motive, every moment of envy, every time evil was wished upon another person, every lustful and covetous thought, every moment of sinful stubbornness, every unnecessary conflict due to pride, every single sin. And if that happens, I believe God won't get anywhere close to the end of that person's chapter before they cry out, Stop it's true, I'm guilty. When the books are opened, nobody will be able to argue their innocence and remember that ultimately people go to the Lake of fire for one reason. They reject Jesus. They spit in the face of their Maker and reject Him. The matter of guilt was determined long ago. As Jesus Himself said in John 318, he who believes in him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Verse 14. Then death and Hades were cast into the Lake of fire. This is the death of death. Satan, his Kingdom, and death itself will be cast into the Lake of fire.

God is going to create a new heaven and a new Earth, and we'll see that in the next chapter. As part of that process, sin must be dealt with definitively, and the Great White Throne judgment is necessary as part of the final judgment of sin and death. Verse 14 goes on and says, this is the second death. We talked about this last week. Those who are born once will die twice. Those who are born twice will die once. Verse 15 and anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of fire. Sobering stuff, to say the least. When it's all said and done, Satan and death itself are cast into the Lake of fire, and Jesus leads His Saints into overwhelming, eternal victory. I want to read you a little more of what Peter wrote, including what we read earlier. This is on your outline as well. We read this earlier, but the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. Both the Earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in Holy conduct and Godliness looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new Earth in which righteousness dwells. Every single one of us needs to regularly ask ourselves the question Peter poses. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in Holy conduct and Godliness? Jesus has told us how this universe will end. He has told us that this is not our home. In light of that, how should we live? What does living wisely look like? I've said it a lot in this verse is I'll say it again, don't waste your life. Don't waste your life. Don't spend your life on things that are destined to dissolve. Spend your life on Jesus. Live for him radically, not recreationally, and do not get caught up in the cares of this world. Last week, like many of you, I read through the first 26 chapters of Deuteronomy for Home Group.

Moses is ending Israel of their history, what God has done for them, and he's reminding them of the things they most need to remember in the future. I was struck by how often Moses says things like Remember and do not forget. I looked it up and Moses says, remember 14 times over the first 26 chapters of Deuteronomy. One of the warnings Moses gives Israel is to watch out for spiritual complacency when the struggles are over, when the battles are done, when life starts getting good, that's when we're especially vulnerable. In Deuteronomy chapter eight, Moses says this to Israel, beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His Commandments, his judgments and his statutes, which I command you today, lest when you have eaten and are full and have built beautiful houses and dwelling them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, when your heart is lifted up and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage, who led you through that great and terrible wilderness in which were fiery serpents and Scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water, who brought water for you out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with Manna which your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and that he might test you to do you good in the end.

Then you say in your heart My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth, and you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth. If you're a Christian who's been around the Church for a while, then you've seen this type of thing play out. Unfortunately, people get something they've longed for. They reach a life stage or a goal they've been investing in for ages, and they just tune out. They shift into cruise control. In their walk with Jesus, they become complacent and lose spiritual hunger and zeal. I've seen it happen when people get into a romantic relationship that they've been longing for. I've seen it happen when people start having kids. I've seen it happen when a person's career or business finally starts really taking off. I've seen it happen when people reach retirement. We get distracted, we get complacent, and God just slips down the priority list. And if we allow ourselves to fall into that type of spiritual malaise, we can end up wasting years of our lives living for things that are meaningless. We can waste entire seasons of our lives.

Nate Saint was the pilot of the plane that flew Jim Elliot and three others into the remote Ecuadorian jungle where they hoped to reach an isolated tribe with the gospel. All five were immediately murdered by that tribe, and if you don't know what happened after that, you should go and read the story because it's amazing. There are two quotes from Nate Saint that I think are worth reflecting on. He said, People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives, and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted. He also said, when life's flight is over and we unload our cargo at the other end, the fellow who got rid of unnecessary weight will have the most valuable cargo to present to the Lord. Don't waste your life. If you become great at anything, let it be loving Jesus. If you become great at anything, let it be loving Jesus. There is no more profitable pursuit. The one who will fill you with joy and peace in the Millennium offers his joy and peace to you now.

Jesus will be our source then, and he is our source now. Even a perfect world won't satisfy many in the Millennium because nothing satisfies apart from knowing Jesus. If you're all holding on to the hope that something changing in your life will magically make everything better, you're in for disappointment. That thing may make your life easier. It may make your life more enjoyable, but it won't fill you. It won't bring you true peace. It won't satisfy. Only Jesus can do that, and he's available to you today. If you've been chasing fulfillment anywhere other than in Zeus, would you take some time to repent as we pray and tell the Lord, I'm so sorry for placing my hope in something other than you. Forgive me, God. What I really need is you. More and more of you. Please give me you. The new heavens and new Earth are going to come up in next week's study, so don't miss that. We're going to be talking about the time when God makes all things new in a truer way than we could ever dare to even hope for. Is your name written in the book of life?

Do you know for sure? I don't want to make anybody doubt unnecessarily, but you need to be sure. In eternity, everyone will be given what they truly desire. The sick man who declines the help of a doctor is choosing sickness. So too, the man who declines the invitation to step into the light is choosing darkness. The man who says, I don't want God is choosing an eternity without him. Jesus, on the other hand, said, I am choosing you, even though it will cost me my life. Jesus died for you so that if you want to know Him, you can. If you want to be part of his family, you can. If you want to know love, peace and joy, you can. But it's your choice, because genuine love always involves a choice. Everybody will get what they want in eternity. The only catch is that you must make your choice now. This is the only chance you'll get, and you have all the information you need to make the right choice right now. And for those of us who belong to Jesus, my goodness, the lost need Him. They are perishing and destined for destruction unless they repent and turn to Jesus.

That's the reality. Pray for the loss that God has put in your life. Don't lose heart. Keep praying for them faithfully. Ask the Holy Spirit for opportunities to share Jesus with them. Ask the Holy Spirit to make a way. And if you've grown cold or callous to the fate of those who don't know Jesus, ask Him to give you his heart for them. Once again, ask Him to stir your spirit with his love for them. Let's pray. Jesus, thank you so much, as always, for the truth of your word. And thank you for telling us the truth, even when it is difficult, even when it is dark, even when it is sobering. Father, I pray for anyone listening to this or watching this who does not know you. Would you overwhelm them with your presence and cause them to turn to you right now in the name of Jesus, that they might find you and find life and be brought into your family? May they experience your presence right now in this moment? And Father, for those of us who already belong to you, would you give us the Father's heart for the lost? For those people who maybe we've prayed many prayers for, but it just seems like nothing ever changes or happens.

Lord, just stir our hearts once more. Give us the faith and the energy to continue praying steadfastly for them. Lord, grip us again with the urgency and importance of the issue of Salvation. Give us your heart for the lost. And Lord, if there's any way we can be used to lead any of them to you, please use us. Lord. We want to be available to you every moment of every day to be used for your purposes. And Jesus, if we've been looking for life or fulfillment or satisfaction or peace or hope, or joy somewhere other than you, Lord we just confess that that search is futile apart from you we need you, Jesus give us you, Lord give us more of you help us not to waste our lives. Not even a day, not even an hour, not even a minute. Help us to be great at loving you. Help us to be greater at loving you than anything else we accomplish in life. You're the only thing that matters for all eternity. So empower us and fill us up with your spirit to live for you and to live profitably we love you, Jesus we bless you can't wait to be with you it's in your name we pray.

Amen.

back to list