THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 3-19-06
LESSON TITLE: "HELP MY UNBELIEF: I BELIEVE IN HEAVEN OR HELL"
Joshua once challenged the people of Israel and commanded them to, "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve!" So how about you, have you chosen to serve your God and to put Him first in all things?
Welcome to our program and let me thank you all for joining us this day for this time of Worship to our God. It is my prayer that we are all doing our best, today and every day, to accomplish everything according to God's precious will and His eternal purpose. Won't you do your part this morning so that God may truly be praised and so that all we offer toward His throne will be done in spirit and in truth.
With these thoughts in mind, will you bow with me before His almighty throne in prayer.
Now it's time to join in our first song of the morning. Our first hymn of the day reminds us that Jesus will forgive and accepts the penitent sinner who has turned to Him and obeyed. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Just as I am."
(SONG # 1)
We all have choices in this life don't we? In fact, many of the decisions we make are major and even life altering. In Joshua 24:15 we find that Joshua challenged the people of Israel to make a choice as to whether they would serve God or not. The whole of verse 15 says, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." In this text Joshua was dealing with a people who had been blessed by God time and time again. And still we find that they were worshiping idols and even considering it as evil or worthless to serve the true and living God. How sad this event was in the life of Joshua, yet what an encouragement it was for him to take a stand with God and to make the people choose between right and wrong.
Brethren and friends, we are faced with the same challenge today as God's children. We may not have set literal idols in our homes or places of worship, but there are many things which we have chosen to put before God and thus have allowed these to become as god's. And now, faced with the same type of problems, we are commanded to make a choice. Will we choose God and a faithful service to Him or will we choose the world!
I believe this challenge is clearly seen in I John 2:15-17, there we read, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." Will we choose eternal life with God based on the fact that we have put Him first and accomplished His Will? Or will we choose the world and the lust of it, therefore being condemned to passing away and experiencing eternal punishment. What will your answer be? Well, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
As far as our speaker of the day, we are happy to again have brother Ted Clarke with us. As you may remember, brother Clarke is the minister for the Marshfield Church of Christ and he is also a full time instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank brother Ted for being with us this day and we look forward to him guiding our thoughts on God's Word.
Our topic of study this day, will be a continuation of our discussion entitled, "Help My Unbelief." Our specific lesson of the morning proclaims, "I Believe In Heaven Or Hell." So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Clarke will lead us in this study of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ted Clarke
Good morning and welcome to The Living Word Bible Program. I am happy to be with you this morning for our study about our belief and things that the Bible teaches, important things that the Bible teaches.
It used to be that you could ask nearly anyone who believed in God and the Bible if they believed in a Heaven and in a Hell and you would receive an affirmative answer. But throughout the centuries and very recent decades, the number of people that have believed in Heaven and Hell has dropped considerably. There was a poll taken by the Northwestern School of Education that released the results of a questionnaire that had been sent to 500 ministers of various religious groups and let me give you just a few of the statistics that they garnered from those questionnaires. On the question, "Is there a Hell?" - 69% denied that there is a Hell. Now these are ministers or supposed ministers of the gospel. 31% affirmed that there was. In regards to Heaven, 41% denied that there was a Heaven. 59% affirmed that there was. In think it is interesting that many more were willing to deny the existence of Hell than the existence of Heaven. It has been said and probably rightly so that all of us want to go to Heaven but many of us do not want to do what we need to do in order to arrive there.
In the teaching of God's Word regarding Heaven and Hell, I want us to kind of reverse the title that was given and for us to look first at the subject of Hell, and then we'll close our lesson this morning in discussion of Heaven itself.
Jesus was a frequent speaker about the subject of Hell. A lot of people don't like to believe in Hell and they believe that God or Christ would be just too loving and too kind to send anybody to Hell, but that was a frequent topic on Jesus' lips. For example, in Matthew chapter 10 and verse 28, Jesus said, "Do not fear them that can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell." Jesus points out that Hell is a fate that no one certainly should desire.
A little later over in the book of Matthew, in Matthew chapter 25, Jesus on two occasions at least in two parables that He spoke there, spoke of eternal destruction or everlasting punishment. In the parable of talents, after Jesus had rewarded the two who were faithful in living their lives and serving Him, He said unto the fourth or the third servant that is, "Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Now that's a terrible plight for us to consider, a matter of outer darkness, a place where there is not the least bit of light and the pain is such of course that there is a gnashing of teeth that Jesus describes here. At the end of this parable, in verse 46, Jesus said, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Christ here points out that there are two destinies that await us. One, either everlasting punishment, or the other, eternal life. Certainly most of us would choose, or anyone in their rational mind, would choose eternal life.
Over in the book of Mark chapter 9 Jesus gave a further description of what Hell is life and it is not a pretty picture at all. In Mark chapter 9 verses 42-28, Jesus talked about our need to do whatever we can do in order to inherit eternal life for the alternative destiny of entering into Hell would be one that would certainly most to be avoided. In the latter part of this passage, Jesus said, "If your eye makes you to sin, pluck it out for it is better that you enter the kingdom of God with one eye than having two eyes to be cast into Hellfire where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched."
Hell is described as after the fashion of a place outside of Jerusalem called Gehenna (in the Valley of Hinnom). This was a garbage dump where all sorts of refuse was discarded and fires were set. Dead bodies of animals and people who did not have anyone to bury them were cast out there onto those fires and their bodies were consumed. But Jesus says that "Hellfire is a place where the worm does not die." That is the maggots that would eat the rotting flesh in the valley of Hinnom would not be characteristic of Hell because Hell would be a place where the worms did not die, but they would eat and gnaw eternally. The same with the fire. The fires in the valley of Hinnom may have gone out for lack of fuel, but Jesus said that the fires of Hell will not go out. They will not be quenched, and that is the everlasting punishment that is a fearful thing for us to consider.
Over in the book of 2 Thessalonians chapter 1, the apostle Paul said that, "When Jesus returns from Heaven with His angels in flaming fire, He will render vengeance on those that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His mouth."
There are other passages on this same subject but we haven't the time to discuss those this morning. Surely, these are sufficient for all of us to contemplate and remember that Hell is certainly not a place where we would want to be, where we're banished from the everlasting presence of God, where we will be suffering eternal punishment and the worm does not die, the fire is not quenched. We are in outer darkness and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Now that is the fate reserved for those that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, there is likewise a promise of Heaven. Heaven is the reward for those that know God and obey the gospel and live faithfully until the Lord comes. Jesus, very early in His ministry, also taught about the rewards of Heaven. In chapter 5 in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, verses 10-12, Jesus told us that "Great is the reward in Heaven for those that are persecuted for His namesake, for those who are hated, and dealt with spitefully by those that do not believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ and the church which our Lord established." There is a great reward awaiting us in Heaven.
Then over in chapter 7, Jesus pointed out... He says in verse 21, "Not everyone that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he that does the Will of My Father who is in Heaven." He goes on there to further point out that there were things to be suffered by those who claim to be religious but did not do God's Will. It makes a difference, friends, what we believe and practice and our eternal destiny will be determined by our faithfulness to God and His divine Word.
In this same Matthew chapter 25 that talks about Hell, it also talks about the wonders and beauties of Heaven. For those who did the Will of the Lord, he says in verse 34, "The King will say to those on His right hand, Come you blessed of My Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." These are those he speaks of in verse 46 who will go away into eternal life. Imagine that. Living and never dying.
Again, over in the book of John in John chapter 14 and verse 1, Jesus promises His disciples that while He was going away, He would come again and receive them unto where He was, there they would be also. What a blessed promise that is.
And then the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 4 beginning at verse 16, the apostle Paul says that "While we're in this fleshly body, we suffer many things," but he said, "this affliction is but for a moment while we look for a more exceeding and eternal way to glory, looking upon the things which are not seen for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal," and he says, (chapter 5) "for we know that if our earthly house, this tent is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens, for in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our habitation from Heaven." And then down in verses 7 and 8, he says, "For we walk by faith and not by sight and we are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."
This same passage that we read earlier from 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 and verse 6 says, "It is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those that trouble you and to give you who are troubled rest." Rest. That's what Heaven is all about.
Over in Revelation chapter 14 and verse 13, Jesus said, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth, yes, says the Spirit that they may rest from their labors for their works do follow them."
And then that great promise in Revelation 21 where John says, "And I heard a loud voice from Heaven saying, 'Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be with them and be their God and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying. There shall be no more pain for the former things have passed away.'"
How great is the promise of Heaven? We hope that you're destined for Heaven and that's what you want to be your eternal destiny. If you have never come to believe as Jesus Christ as God's only begotten Son, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, if you've never repented of your sins and turned to God for forgiveness by confessing the name of Christ and being baptized into Christ, then you need to do that today or Heaven will not be your home. If you have been a faithful Christian in the past, but you have fallen away into the ways of the world again, you need to repent and come back to God with repentance in your heart and a confession of those sins and God will abundantly pardon. It's our desire, as we know that it must be yours, for us to one day gather around the throne of God in Heaven where we will worship Him day and night according to Revelation chapter 7 and verse 15 and we will continue that throughout the ages. We don't know exactly the type of service that we'll be rendering to God in Heaven. God has not chosen to reveal that to us, but we know from the scriptures that whatever type of service it is, it will be that which brings joy and happiness and peace and it will just be something that we will enjoy not for 70 years, not for 80 or 90, but for 100 years.
We encourage you join us for worship today. If you're in Springfield, we meet at the Kansas Expressway congregation. We meet in Marshfield at 610 South Marshall at 9:30 for Bible Study and 10:30 for worship. If you can meet us there, we would be glad to have you as a part of our group worshipping God on this Lord's day.
We thank you for your attention and pray God's blessings upon you.
(SONG # 3 - "Paradise Valley!")
As always it was great to have you join us this morning. I hope our time together has been uplifting and profitable to all. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
But for now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
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Thanks be to God that we have the promise of eternal life in Heaven with Him some day. Thus, may we live each day as to achieve this wonderful goal and to be found pleasing in His sight.