Thursday, July 17, 2008

God's Three Deadlines

The original video sermon this is from is by J. Harold Smith and it is called “God’s Three deadlines. You can download the video here.

It’s currently the 4th item on the list.

To view it, you will need the RealPlayer.

God’s Three Deadlines
Paraphrased and condensed from J. Harold Smith

The other day I was blessed to hear a sermon that is reported to have the most conversions to Christ than any other sermon in the modern age… even more than any sermon by Billy Graham. As I watched and listened, I became overwhelmed with getting this message out. There is no way my words can fully convey the message in the video linked above, so I do strongly encourage you to spend the time and let God reach you through the message.

The following are, the bible verses referenced, some of my notes, and my opinions and interpretations.

The deadlines:
1. The Unpardonable Sin (Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit)
2. Sinning away your day of grace
3. The sin unto death

An unsaved sinner can only cross the first two deadlines and the third deadline can only be crossed by a saved Christian.

1. Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and [Jesus] healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, "Can this be the Son of David?" But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons." Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. - Matthew 12:22-32

And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. - James 3:6

Therefore, an unsaved person’s tongue, which is controlled by hell, can cause a sin that WILL NEVER BE FORGIVEN.

Basically, in context, these two verses mean that to deny the involvement and power of the Holy Spirit and to give that credit to the devil is unforgivable for all time and you will be damned to hell forever. It won’t be forgiven by the ONLY one who can forgive everything.

Speaking against the power of the Holy Spirit is an unpardonable sin. This includes speaking against those who are filled with the Holy Spirit or who do things in God’s name. And don’t worry, if someone is usurping God’s name to promote himself or to do evil, God will provide justice. Read Numbers 16 for the full account of the rebellion against God’s chosen man, Moses, and what God did to those who spoke out against His chosen one.

And Moses said, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the LORD.” - Numbers 16:28-30

And if you read the entire chapter, you will find out that Moses was exactly right and God did put to death those who blasphemed the Holy Spirit. In fact, in the bible and even in the modern world, whenever this unpardonable sin has been committed, the offender has never lived beyond 24 hours of committing it.

2. Sinning away your day of grace

HE WHO, being often reproved, hardens his neck shall suddenly be destroyed--and that without remedy. - Proverbs 29:1

In other words, when presented with the good news of Jesus Christ, if you deny it and do not receive God’s grace through Jesus Christ, you will end up in hell when you die. There are those who say that God will hold true to the unsaved and continue to provide them with chances and eventually provide salvation. But Proverbs 29:1 refutes that, as does Romans 2:5-8.

Every refusal and avoidance of God adds fuel to the fire. The day is coming when it's going to blaze hot and high, God's fiery and righteous judgment. Make no mistake: In the end you get what's coming to you—Real Life for those who work on God's side, but to those who insist on getting their own way and take the path of least resistance, Fire! – Romans 2:5-8

So many people think it is simply a matter of living how they want to live and then waiting to make that decision when they get older. You may want to wait for God, but what if God won’t wait for you. It will be too late and once condemned to hell, that is it!

You may not get the chance to repent and receive Christ’s gift in your own time. God may just lose patience with you and end your life. Perhaps you don’t think He would do such a thing. Wrong! Read Genesis 38:7 to see how God killed a man who was wicked. Read Acts 5:1-10 to see how He killed a husband and wife because they told a lie. He lost patience with them. Most people think that God’s patience is eternal. It evidently is not. The Bible says that it is through the fear of the Lord that men depart from sin (Proverbs 16:6). If they don’t fear God, they will be complacent about their eternal salvation.

Look at examples from the bible regarding those who refused Christ.

A rich, young ruler even asked Jesus what he had to do to be saved. When Jesus told him, the man refused to accept it and is in hell:
Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Paul witnessed to Agrippa and the king turned away from the gift of salvation and is in hell:
“The king is familiar with these things. So I can speak openly to him. I am certain he knows everything that has been going on. After all, it was not done in secret. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” Then Agrippa spoke to Paul. "Are you trying to talk me into becoming a Christian?" he said. "Do you think you can do that in such a short time?" Paul replied, "I don't care if it takes a short time or a long time. I pray to God for you and all who are listening to me today. I pray that you may become like me.” - Acts 26:26-29

Another great example of this is the parable of the rich fool:
Then Jesus told them a story. He said, “A certain rich man's land produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What should I do? I don't have any place to store my crops.'” “Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my storerooms and build bigger ones. I will store all my grain and my other things in them. I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things stored away for many years. Take life easy. Eat, drink and have a good time."' "But God said to him, 'You foolish man! This very night I will take your life away from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' "That is how it will be for anyone who stores things away for himself but is not rich in God's eyes."

Those who say they will repent in their own time lack the fear of God. Their understanding of His nature is erroneous. If they caught a glimpse of His holiness, His righteousness, and His consuming justice, they wouldn’t trifle with His mercy. Such arrogance needs to be confronted with the thunders of Mount Sinai.

If you die in your sins without receiving the gift of grace through Christ, you will go to hell. So if someone comes along and tells you about what Jesus did for you and you ignore or refuse it, God will remove you from His prayer list. So don’t squander it.

3. The sin unto death

Only a saved believer can commit this sin.

If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. - 1 John 5:16

John MacArthur explains it best:
“John illustrates praying according to God’s will with the specific example of the “sin leading to death.” Such a sin could be any premeditated and unconfessed sin that causes the Lord to determine to end a believer’s life. It is not one particular sin like homosexuality or lying, but whatever sin is the final one in the tolerance of God. Failure to repent of and forsake sin may eventually lead to physical death as a judgment of God. No intercessory prayer will be effective for those who have committed such deliberate high-handed sin, i.e., God’s discipline with physical death is inevitable in such cases as He seeks to preserve the purity of His church. The contrast to the phrase “there is sin leading to death” with “there is sin not leading to death” signifies that the writer distinguishes between sins that may lead to physical death and those that do not. That is not to identify a certain kind of mortal or non-mortal sin, but to say not all sins are so judged by God.”

In essence, if a saved believer breaks the commandment about lying, then another believer can pray for the first Christian and Jesus will intercede. However, if a Christian has a sin that he or she has not confessed to God, then no amount of praying from another Christian will matter or help. It will not get anyone unsaved but the offender will enter heaven with shame of not having reward to glorify God with. Furthermore, God says He will kill (from the physical life) the Christian for having this sin.

“I brought hunger to every city and famine to every town. But still you would not return to me,” says the LORD.
“I kept the rain from falling when your crops needed it the most. I sent rain on one town but withheld it from another. Rain fell on one field, while another field withered away. People staggered from town to town looking for water, but there was never enough. But still you would not return to me,” says the LORD.
“I struck your farms and vineyards with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured all your fig and olive trees. But still you would not return to me,” says the LORD.
“I sent plagues on you like the plagues I sent on Egypt long ago. I killed your young men in war and led all your horses away. The stench of death filled the air! But still you would not return to me,” says the LORD.
“I destroyed some of your cities, as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Those of you who survived were like charred sticks pulled from a fire. But still you would not return to me,” says the LORD.
“Therefore, I will bring upon you all the disasters I have announced. Prepare to meet your God in judgment, you people of Israel!” - Amos 4:6-12

God has made every attempt to stir you up to meet Him. But when you try to hide what’s in your heart, which God knows anyway, you are basically telling Him that you can handle something and don’t need Him. Therefore, God will physically take you from this world so that He can deal with you and your shame in His house and in His way.

In conclusion, if you are unsaved, turn away from your lying, hate, lust, etc. and put your focus and trust in Jesus as the only one who can make you clean before God. Ask Him for forgiveness and truly appreciate what He did by dying on the cross for your sins… to pay the price so you wouldn’t have to. Don’t turn away from this opportunity right now to know for sure that you will have eternal life.

If you are saved, get on your knees right now and confess any sin that you may be holding back. God already knows about it anyway. You don’t have to tell any person. This is between you and God only and He can and will forgive what you confess to Him. But do it now!

I pray that God alone will be glorified through anything these words convey and that He will reach the lost and they will come into His fold.

1 comment:

Douglas V. Gibbs said...

truly a message of joy, and for those that do not know the Lord to ponder.