The Few… Piper/Washer/Ravenhill/Conway/Leiter

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Difficulty


It Must Have Been Difficult

Have you ever stopped to think about how Paul must have felt as he was in prison and facing possible execution. Those on whom he should have been able to depend on for help and support had forsaken him.

2 Timothy 1:15-16 KJV
This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. [16] The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

2 Timothy 4:16-18 KJV
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. [17] Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

[18] And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
But Paul knew that God was with him, stood by him, strengthened him and would preserve him unto his heavenly kingdom.

With that assurance he could face whatever he encountered.

After so many years of work and toil, caring for the lost and the saved, it must have been hard for him to come to the closing days of his service and seem to have to stand alone. He prayed for those who had neglected him and did not want God to hold it to their charge.

Can you find a more noble spirit than that manifested by Paul?
Nonetheless, his heart must have ached in disappointment and sadness to feel all had forsaken him and none stood with him in his final days.

WHAT CAN MONEY BUY ?

1) Money will buy amusement but not joy.

2) Money can buy luxuries but not culture.

3) Money can buy medicine but not health.

4) Money can buy a house but not a home.

5) Money will buy finery but not beauty.

6) Money can buy food but not an appetite.

7) Money can buy books and education but not brains.

8) Money can buy a bed but not sleep.

9) Money can buy a crucifix but not a Saviour.

10) Money can buy a Church pew but not Heaven.

What money can’t buy, Jesus Christ can give you freely without charge.

Revelation 21:6 KJV
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:17 KJV
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour ?

If not you can get a new lease on life right now this instant.

Confess to God that you have sinned against Him and that you want to repent and turn from your sins to receive Jesus as Lord of your life. Through that step of believing faith you can start life afresh with your sins forgiven and a new life in Christ Jesus.

1 John 1:9 KJV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Proverbs 3:1-9 KJV
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: [2] For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. [3] Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: [4] So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. [5] Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. [6] In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. [7] Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord , and depart from evil. [8] It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. [9] Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Romans 6:11-13 KJV
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Annihilation or Eternal Punishment?

Annihilation or Eternal Punishment?

Annihilationism is the view that lost people in hell will be exterminated after they have paid the penalty for their sins. Its proponents offer six main arguments.

First is an argument based on the Bible’s use of fire imagery to describe hell. We are told that fire consumes what is thrown into it, and so it will be for the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20; 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8)—it will burn up the wicked so that they no longer exist.

Second is an argument based on texts that speak of the lost perishing or being destroyed. Examples include unbelievers perishing (John 3:16) and suffering “the punishment of eternal destruction” (2 Thess. 1:8).

Third is an argument based on the meaning of the word eternal. In hell passages, it is claimed, eternal means only pertaining to “the age to come” and not “everlasting.”

Fourth is an argument based on a distinction between time and eternity. Annihilationists ask: how is it just of God to punish sinners for eternity when their crimes were committed in time?

Fifth is an emotional argument that God Himself and His saints would never enjoy heaven if they knew some human beings (let alone loved ones and friends) were perpetually in hell.

Sixth is an argument that an eternal hell would tarnish God’s victory over evil. Scripture declares that God will be victorious in the end; He will “be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28). We are told that this idea seems hard to reconcile with human beings suffering endlessly in hell.

I will answer each of these arguments in turn. First is the argument from hellfire. Many passages use this language without interpreting it. It is possible, therefore, to read various views into such passages, including annihilationism. However, we do not want to read our ideas into the Bible, but to get our ideas from the Bible. And when we do, we find that some passages preclude an annihilationist understanding of hellfire. These include Jesus’s description of hell in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus as a “place of torment” (Luke 16:28) involving “anguish in this flame” (v. 24).

When the last book of the Bible describes the flames of hell, it does not speak of consumption but says the lost “will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night” (Rev. 14:10–11).

Second is the argument from passages that speak of destruction or perishing. Once again, when Scripture merely uses these words without interpreting them, many views may be read into them. But once again, we want to read out of Scripture its meaning. And some passages are impossible to reconcile with annihilationism. Paul describes the fate of the lost as suffering “the punishment of eternal destruction” (2 Thess. 1:8). Also telling is the fate of the Beast in Revelation. “Destruction” is prophesied for him in 17:8, 11. The Beast (along with the False Prophet) is cast into “the lake of fire that burns with sulfur” (19:20). Scripture is unambiguous when it describes the fate of the devil, Beast, and False Prophet in the lake of fire: “They will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (20:10). So, the Beast’s “destruction” is everlasting torment in the lake of fire.

Third is the argument from the word eternal. In hell passages, it is claimed, eternal means only pertaining to “the age to come” and not “everlasting.” It is true that in the New Testament, eternal means “agelong,” with the context defining the age. And in texts treating eternal destinies, eternal does refer to the age to come. But the age to come lasts as long as the life of the eternal God Himself. Because He is eternal—He “lives forever and ever” (Rev. 4:9, 10; 10:6; 15:7)—so is the age to come. Jesus plainly sets this forth in His message on the sheep and goats: “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46; (italics added). The punishment of the lost in hell is coextensive to the bliss of the righteous in heaven—both are everlasting.

Fourth is the argument that it is unjust of God to punish sinners eternally for temporal sins. It strikes me as presumptuous for human beings to tell God what is just and unjust. We would do better to determine from His Holy Word what He deems just and unjust.

Jesus leaves no doubt. He will say to the saved, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). He will say to the lost, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (v. 41). We have already seen John define that fire as eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire for the devil (Rev. 20:10). A few verses later, we read that unsaved human beings share the same fate (vv. 14–15). Evidently, God thinks it just to punish human beings who rebel against Him and His holiness with everlasting hell. Is it really our place to call this unjust?

I will treat the fifth and sixth arguments together. The fifth is the emotional argument that God and His saints would never enjoy heaven if they knew loved ones and friends were forever in hell. The sixth is the argument that an eternal hell would tarnish God’s victory over evil. It is noteworthy that universalists use these same two arguments to insist that God will finally save every human being. God and His people would not enjoy the bliss of heaven if even one soul remained in hell, they argue. In the end, everyone will be saved. And God would suffer defeat if any creatures made in His image were to perish forever.

I regard these arguments for annihilationism and universalism—from emotion and from God’s victory—as rewriting the biblical story, something we have no right to do. I say this because the Bible’s final three chapters present the eternal state of affairs. The resurrected saints will be blessed with God’s eternal presence on the new earth (Rev. 21:1–4). And, interestingly for our present discussion, each of Scripture’s final three chapters presents the fate of the unsaved:

And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (20:10)

Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown in to the lake of fire. (vv. 14–15)

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (21:8)

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (22:14–15)

The Bible’s story does not end by saying, “And the unrighteous were destroyed and exist no more.” Neither does it say, “And in the end all persons will be gathered into the love of God and be saved.” Rather, when God brings His story to a close, His people rejoice in endless bliss with Him on the new earth. But the wicked will endure never-ending torment in the lake of fire and be shut out of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which is the joyous dwelling place of God and His people forever.

We have no right to rewrite the biblical story. Rather, we must leave it to God to define what is just and unjust and what is commensurate with His being “all in all.” He does not leave us in doubt about hell because He loves sinners and wants them to believe the gospel in this life.

How kind and merciful of Him to include this invitation at the end of His story: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Rev. 22:17). All who trust Jesus in His death and resurrection to rescue them from hell will have a part in the Tree of Life and the Holy City of God. All who do so with all the saints can say now and will say forever:

Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just. (19:1–2)

ABSOLUTE AND WITHOUT CONTROVERSY

BY AND THROUGH THE RESURRECTION

Jesus Christ returns to His Father.

Jesus will establish His Kingdom.

Jesus has completed His work on earth given to Him by His Father.

Jesus Father is God not Joseph. The Trinity. Three into one God.

FATHER…SON…HOLY SPIRIT.

Acts 1:9-11 KJV
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. [10] And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; [11] Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Mark 16:19 KJV
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Luke 24:46-53 KJV
And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: [47] And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [48] And ye are witnesses of these things. [49] And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. [50] And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. [51] And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. [52] And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: [53] And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

Acts 1:2-5 KJV
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: [3] To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: [4] And, being assembled together with them , commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he , ye have heard of me. [5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Ephesians 4:7-15 KJV
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. [8] Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. [9] (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? [10] He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) [11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

1 Timothy 3:16 KJV
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Hebrews 9:24 KJV
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

1 Peter 3:22 KJV
Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Revelation 12:5 KJV
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

A Day In Thy Courts

Psalm 84:10-12 KJV

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. 

[11] For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. 

[12] O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

THE WAY OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE END OF THE WICKED, EVIL, AND UNGODLY.

DO YOU CARE OR ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE EVIL, WICKED, AND LOST PEOPLE ALL AROUND YOU WHO ARE ON THEIR WAY TO HELL, AND DON’T EVEN KNOW IT ?

Psalm 1:1-6 KJV

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 

[2] But his delight is in the law of the Lord ; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 

[3] And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 

[4] The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 

[5] Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 

[6] For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The Heritage of the Righteous and the Calamity of the Wicked 
Psalm 37:1-40 NKJV

Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. 

[2] For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. 

[3] Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 

[4] Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 

[5] Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. 

[6] He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. 

[7] Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 

[8] Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret-it only causes harm. 

[9] For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth. 

[10] For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. 

[11] But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 

[12] The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth. 

[13] The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming. 

[14] The wicked have drawn the sword And have bent their bow, To cast down the poor and needy, To slay those who are of upright conduct. 

[15] Their sword shall enter their own heart, And their bows shall be broken. 

[16] A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. 

[17] For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous. 

[18] The LORD knows the days of the upright, And their inheritance shall be forever. 

[19] They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. 

[20] But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the LORD, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away. 

[21] The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives. 

[22] For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, But those cursed by Him shall be cut off. 

[23] The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. 

[24] Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand. 

[25] I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. 

[26] He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed. 

[27] Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore. 

[28] For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. 

[29] The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever. 

[30] The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice. 

[31] The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide. 

[32] The wicked watches the righteous, And seeks to slay him. 

[33] The LORD will not leave him in his hand, Nor condemn him when he is judged. 

[34] Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. 

[35] I have seen the wicked in great power, And spreading himself like a native green tree. 

[36] Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found. 

[37] Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; For the future of that man is peace. 

[38] But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The future of the wicked shall be cut off. 

[39] But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. 

[40] And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.