Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE TRAGIC ALTERNATIVE TO ETERNAL BLISS”

Revelation 21.8

 

Today is known in Christian circles as Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday Christians around the world celebrate the triumphal entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, five days before His crucifixion and one week before His bodily resurrection from the dead. For many Christians, Palm Sunday often referred to as “Passion Sunday,” marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.[1] The truly remarkable feature of Palm Sunday was our Lord Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem on a never before ridden donkey colt in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy found in Zechariah 9.9. This was witnessed by throngs of very excited religious pilgrims who were already filled with anticipation following the Lord’s miracle of restoring the sight of blind Bartimaeus and his friend in Jericho two days earlier, Mark 10.46-52. Palm Sunday because of John 12.13:

 

They “Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

 

You can well imagine the conversations of those pilgrims who had witnessed the healing of Bartimaeus and his friend during their day-long trek to Jerusalem, and then when they repeated the details of the event to those others who filled the city for the coming high holy days of the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Firstfruits.[2] The entire city was without a doubt filled with chatter about the Savior’s miracles, the same city in whose suburb of Bethany Lazarus had been raised from the dead.

To better appreciate the unfolding of the events, let me highlight each of the days leading up to Easter Sunday. Today is Palm Sunday, commemorating our Lord’s triumphal entry. Two days ago He healed blind Bartimaeus and his friend in Jericho before walking to Jerusalem with a group of religious pilgrims heading in the same direction. Yesterday was the Sabbath, likely spent in Bethany with His friends Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Today Jerusalem was all a buzz with the Master’s triumphal entry. Tomorrow, Monday, the barren fig tree is cursed, the Temple is cleansed for the second time, and some Greeks desire to speak to Him. Tuesday it is noticed that the cursed fig tree has already withered. The entire day is filled with controversy in the Temple courtyard as the chief priests openly challenge the Lord’s authority to teach and work miracles. He responds with parables. Then the Pharisees, Herodians, Sadducees, and finally a lawyer take their turn, going after Him in tag team fashion, only to be silenced in turn by Him to the delight of the multitudes. Tuesday evening is a time of profound instruction about end time events. Wednesday is a silent day, unmentioned in the Gospel accounts. Thursday is devoted to preparing for Passover, celebrating Passover in the Upper Room, washing the disciples’ feet, warning the twelve of His betrayal, instituting the communion of the Lord’s Supper, and taking the remaining eleven to Gethsemane where He will pray while they sleep, and where He will be betrayed by Judas Iscariot and taken into custody. Early Friday morning a series of illegal and unjust trials and severe torture will take place before our Lord is crucified before darkness prevails for three hours, and then our Lord gives up the ghost and is buried before sundown. Saturday is a day of gloom for the disciples of Christ, but Easter is when He rises from the dead. His tomb is shown to be empty. The angel announces His resurrection. It is witnessed by several women and then by several apostles. And gloom quickly turns to celebration, the appearance of defeat being replaced by obvious and profound victory. A new era has begun.

That is what we will celebrate next Sunday. Today I want to focus your attention on something else entirely. Easter is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, of the dawning of a new day, and of His successful preparation of a new destiny for those who are saved from their sins by the blood of the crucified One. Today, however, it is needful for us to focus not on the grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus toward those who are transformed by the Gospel, but to focus on those in our midst who will feel the full weight of God’s righteousness and justice in eternity because they did not avail themselves of God’s alternative to their just desserts for sin and sins. Please turn to Revelation chapter 21 at this time. When you have found Revelation chapter 21, I invite you to stand for the reading of God’s Word:

 

1      And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2      And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3      And I heard a great voice out of 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.

4      And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5      And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6      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.

7      He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

8      But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

 

This book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, so named because it begins with the words “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” or the revealing of Jesus Christ, is singularly about Him, Who He is and what He accomplishes. That understood, the eight verses we have just read reveal to us the two eternities brought about by the Lord Jesus Christ, and the consequences that are forever felt by those who respond to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and by those who do not respond to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In short, Jesus Christ is coming again. He will establish His millennial kingdom here on earth and sit on the throne of His father David for a thousand years. After the final Satanic rebellion is put down the eternal state is ushered in with the Great White Throne judgment, at which time sin and sinners will be eternally segregated from that which is holy and those who have been cleansed in the blood of Christ. Never again will sin and sinners affect in any way that and those that are Christ’s. The passage we just read so informs us. There will be a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem:

 

1      And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2      And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

 

As well, a new era will be ushered in:

 

3      And I heard a great voice out of 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.

4      And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5      And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6      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.

7      He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

 

This will be the culmination of the mercy of God in Christ, the grace of God in Christ, and the love of God in Christ, toward those who in the span of their natural lifetimes turned from their sins and trusted Jesus Christ for salvation and forgiveness full and free. Notice that verse 7 contains a promise, a wonderful promise. The overcomer (which is the believer in Jesus Christ) shall inherit all things. Jesus Christ promises to be his God and promises that he shall be His son.

However, that is only part of the story. God is not only merciful, gracious, and loving. He is also holy, righteous, and just. Because He is holy, He cannot abide the presence of sin. Because He is righteous, He must visit judgment upon all rebellion, all wickedness, and all sinfulness that remains unrepented of and, therefore, unforgiven. Because God is just, He will visit upon the wicked the full measure of their due in the form of unending and eternal vengeance. Beloved, we cannot pretend. To handle God’s Word honestly, we must address the eternal destiny of those who stubbornly, willfully, wickedly, and selfishly reject and refuse their only hope of salvation, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and our soon coming King. Revelation 21.8 is our text:

 

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

 

This is the second promise, beginning with the word “but.” It is a word of contrast. It shows us the promise of verse 8 is altogether different than the promise of verse 7. The former was a promise of blessing. The later is a promise of damnation. The question we need to ask in this message is Who? To whom is this second promise made? Who shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone? Who will suffer the conscious and constant torment of the damned throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity? Who will experience the second death? The question is answered by the Lord Jesus Christ’s iteration of eight types of individuals whose destination is damnation. Ponder, with me, John’s inspired record of the Savior’s description of those who are not overcomers, of those who are not saved, of those who will suffer fire and brimstone forever:

 

First, THEY ARE THOSE IDENTIFIED AS FEARFUL

 

This is the person who would not forsake the world and its cares to submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ. He was afraid of the consequences of being a Christian, afraid of the ridicule and the scorn, and maybe even afraid of the persecution he might receive for the cause of Christ. How pathetic is such a fellow who concerns himself with the imagined disapproval of an unsaved father or a wicked friend, when nightly news reports are filled with accounts of women and children who are beheaded for their profession of Jesus Christ by demon-possessed jihadis.

How different is the child of God from one who is called “fearful” by the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Christian thinks about being fearful of confessing Christ and witnessing to others he is encouraged by the truth of Romans 10.11:

 

“For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

 

Then there is Second Timothy 1.7-8:

 

7      For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

8      Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”

 

Are Christians afraid at times, and shy? Of course. We all are. However, the Christian gains the victory over fear. More so as he grows, matures, and understands that next to his Master’s approval, nothing else matters. The unsaved, not having the Spirit of God, are captivated by fear. They are fearful. They fear men but do not fear God, being fools.

 

Next, THEY ARE THOSE IDENTIFIED AS UNBELIEVING

 

This is the Greek word meaning faithless, without faith, and, therefore, unbelieving. How many people, when witnessed to, will say to you, “I just can’t buy that stuff?” However, as has been so often pointed out, the Christ-rejecter should not use the word “can’t” but the word “won’t.” People only remain in unbelief because as sinners it is their natural inclination to do so. Christians, moved by the Spirit of God and trusting in Christ by faith, are those who believe. Since it is through faith that people are saved, through faith that people are forgiven their sins, and through faith that people are justified, the person who is unbelieving is clearly and, without doubt, condemned to suffer God’s wrath for all eternity.

 

Third, THEY ARE THOSE IDENTIFIED AS ABOMINABLE

 

This word comes from a Greek word that means “absolutely disgusting, detestable, and abominable.”[3] As used here, our Lord describes someone who has practiced the most disgusting and putrid of sins. He also describes the attitude of God toward a man who has died yet in his sins. No longer long-suffering, God now looks upon the one who has used up his natural life, and has wasted the many spiritual opportunities provided for him by God, by rejecting the love of God in Christ, as “absolutely disgusting.”

 

Fourth, THEY ARE THOSE IDENTIFIED AS MURDERERS & WHOREMONGERS

 

Little additional comment is needed here about those who take human life or who are sexually promiscuous, except to note that from the Gospel of John, and from First John, we know that such sins committed in one’s thoughts are just as serious to God as are the physical acts associated with them. Why? Because unless one’s thoughts are cleansed they will become one’s actions. Do you remember that God’s judgment of Noah’s world fell on them because their imaginations were continually evil? Folks, God sent the Flood because of men’s thought lives!

You might wonder why I have combined murderers and whoremongers under one heading, treating them almost as if they were the same sin. The fact is that those who commit the one kind of sin very frequently commit the other kind of sin. Have you noticed as much as I have that sexual promiscuity seeks to avoid the natural consequence of sex between men and women by routinely arranging for the murder of unborn children conceived by those who are sexually promiscuous? Therefore, it is no wonder that so many who are with so many are at the same time responsible for the deaths of so many.

 

Fifth, THEY ARE THOSE IDENTIFIED AS SORCERERS

 

This one may surprise some of you. The word sorcerer comes from a Greek word from which we get the words “pharmaceutical” and “pharmacy.” It is part of a family of words related to potions and those who make potions.[4]

Because I have a serious issue with anything related to narcotics and drugs, even the inappropriate use of prescription medication, I think I will read Lehman Strauss’ comments on this word “sorcerers”:

 

Witchcraft, spiritism, magic, and demon worship were the stock in trade of the ancient world. The Christians in the early Church were confronted with this evil constantly. It thrived in cities like Ephesus (Acts 19:19-24). Under the Mosaic law such practices were punishable by death (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). In our modern twentieth century the number of adherents to spiritism in its various forms is increasing rapidly. But the lake of fire is the divinely appointed doom for all who traffic in this evil. Idolatry and witchcraft are listed among “the works of the flesh,” and of all persons who practice such it is written that “they shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:20-21).[5]

 

I am convinced my own comment about the use of drugs and narcotics, even when prescribed by a physician, is in order at this time. This great sin of sorcery involves the misuse of drugs and medications, even legally prescribed drugs and medications, as a substitute for the work of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God indwells and produces in one’s personality the characteristics of joy and peace.[6] However, wicked men have substituted for the ministry of the Holy Spirit a chemically induced artificial sense of well-being by the use of psychotropic, psychodynamic, and mood altering drugs, narcotics, marijuana, and other cheap substitutes for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Unhappy? Take a pill or swallow some medication. Feeling depressed? It cannot in any way be related to sin or guilt produced by sin. You need a pill. And so the joy-producing and peace of mind and heart-producing ministry of the Holy Spirit is ignored. This does not in any way rule out the legitimate use for real medical purposes of prescription or over the counter drugs. Just recognize that no medicine should be used to address what is really a spiritual issue. Xanax, for example, is commonly used for the treatment of panic disorder, and anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or social anxiety disorder (SAD).[7] But I ask you, for what reason does the Christian submit to an unsaved physician’s recommendation that she use Xanax or some other anti-anxiety drug when her real need is the peace of mind and heart that the Spirit of God provides?[8]

 

Sixth, THEY ARE THOSE IDENTIFIED AS IDOLATERS

 

This applies to anyone who does not have Christ sitting on the throne of his life. The idol can be a consecrated wafer. It can be money. It can be a statue. It can be booze. It can be a career. It can be fun or leisure. It can be financial security. It can be a spouse. It can even be a child.

Idolaters violate the second command of God as a way of life because they forget or choose to ignore the words of the Lord Jesus Christ,

 

“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”[9]

 

Idolaters provoke the LORD to jealousy because He and He alone rightfully deserves to be the single most important consideration in any human being’s life. Whenever the LORD God Almighty is not first and foremost in a person’s life, the highest of priorities for worship and service, then God is thereby sinned against by the idolater who provokes Him to jealousy.

 

Finally, THEY ARE THOSE IDENTIFIED AS LIARS

 

I have had a great deal of experience with liars in my life since dishonesty was always a prominent feature of both sides of my family growing up. I had one uncle who was a complete sociopath of a liar, and so stupidly obvious that my dad’s entire family would always know when his brother was lying. He had a tell, as so many liars do. My uncle’s tell was to speak through his fingers. Whenever he did that, without fail, he was lying.

I remember a liar who lived here in the neighborhood near the church years ago. He attended Monrovia High School and was very nice, except for the lying, of course. I specifically remember two of the many lies he told, lies told when the truth would have been an advantage to him: One day he walked by the front of the church wearing shorts and tennis shoes, but I noticed that one of his knees was wrapped in an ace bandage. It was hot outside, so we stood in the shade of a tree for a while and chatted. When I asked him about the bandage, he told me that he had rather severely sprained his knee. Our conversation took a turn, and we talked about something else for a while, and then he eventually squatted down into a catcher’s type of squat. His tale of a wrenched knee was obviously a lie because no one with a sprained knee will squat like that, or bounce as he did several times. Did he think I would be too stupid not to notice? On another occasion, this smiling dupe told me that he was on Monrovia High School’s diving team and that he had been offered a scholarship to attend Harvard University to be on their diving team. Harvard? Really? He did not graduate from high school, was never on Monrovia’s diving team, and obviously had no idea what academic requirements must be met to qualify for an athletic scholarship at Harvard. What an insult his lies were to me.

A recent example of a liar was a likable young fellow who is having a difficult time in school who lied to me in front of some other people. Chatting with a small group a month or so back, this guy introduces into the conversation for no reason at all that he had taken Calculus in high school. “Really?” I asked. “Then you must have also taken Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Trigonometry.” “Yeah,” he said. “Those were easy.” When I mentioned that I was under the impression he was having difficulty graduating, he said, “My problem is English, not Math.” Really? Of course, the problem with liars like my uncle is that they are often themselves so ignorant that they do not realize it when other people they are lying to know very well they are lying. I would suggest that you not lie about your proficiency in Mathematics to a college graduate with a science or engineering degree. That is just stupid. Neither should you brag about your fraudulent business acumen to someone who is experienced in business. Or flout your pretended knowledge of the Bible to someone who studies the Bible.

Of course, the issue of being a liar reaches far beyond stupid fibs told to bask in pretended glory. It extends to being completely unable to deal truthfully with anything that is really and truly important. It is a very serious problem with sin. Consider, for example, what the Bible tells us about a liar. First John 2.22 shows us who is a liar:

 

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

 

It is possible for a believer to tell a lie, but the fact that they tell the truth about Christ makes it impossible for a real Christian to be what you might refer to as a categorical liar. Categorical liars, people whose lifestyles are punctuated by lie after lie after lie, even if the only lie is the lie that denies Who Jesus Christ really is, is are guilty of a soul-damning sin. The tragic reality about most liars is that they will insult you to your face by lying when you know they are lying, then they will become angry with you for exposing their lie, as though you are the guilty one for not going along with their bald-faced lie. The greatest tragedy for the liar, however, is that his unwillingness to trust Christ leaves him a Christ-denier, someone who denies both God the Father and God the Son, making him antichrist. That is the most serious lie anyone can ever be guilty of committing.

 

Perhaps you are fearful. When you consider the claims of Christ and the benefits that are yours if you are His (eternal life, the forgiveness of sins, an inheritance in heaven, etc.), your thoughts run to what others might think or do, how you might explain yourself to those who may disapprove, or how you would handle those who object to you becoming a Christian or object to you attending this Church, or any other consideration of another unsaved person. Reflect for a moment on the folly of giving a rip what any unsaved person thinks about your spiritual welfare as opposed to God’s good will for your life. If you are unsaved, you are unbelieving. You are without faith in Christ. Because of that sin, you will forever suffer the torment of the damned in the lake of fire while believers in Jesus Christ are enjoying eternal bliss without the slightest thought of your misery. You may, in addition to being an unbeliever, also be some combination of other descriptions characteristic of your pattern of sinful practices. Abominable (which is just nasty), murderer (which includes abortion), whoremonger (which is sexual promiscuity), sorcerer (including prescription drugs used illicitly), idolater, or a liar (which is anyone who denies Christ).

Next Sunday our Church will celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the celebration of an event that guarantees your eternal destruction unless you turn to Christ while there is yet time. For, you see, if Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead and conquer death (and He did), there is no doubt that He will lay waste to His enemies. And so long as you refuse the Gospel and reject Christ you are His enemy. It will not go well for you, either in this life or the next life.

Please consider the claims of Jesus Christ, humble yourself before God, and seek the Lord while He may be found.

__________

[1] http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatispalmsunda.htm 3/18/2016

[2] Exodus 12.1-20; Leviticus 23.9-14

[3] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), pages 859-860.

[4] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), pages 1049-1050.

[5] Lehman Strauss, The Book Of The Revelation, (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1963), pages 357-358.

[6] Galatians 5.22-23

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alprazolam 3/19/2016

[8] John 14.27; Galatians 5.22-23; Colossians 3.5; Philippians 4.6-9

[9] Luke 16.13

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org