ďTHE LAST TIME JESUS WEPTĒ
1. Unlike you and me so much of the time, the Lord Jesus Christ was completely and astonishingly honest. Being without sin, He was no dissembler or deceiver. Men frequently misunderstood Him, but that was because He was unlike anyone they had ever met before; truthful.
2. So, when He lived among men and was thereby saddened and grieved by our sinfulness, it showed on His face because He made no attempt to conceal it. In John 8.57 His enemies said, ďThou art not yet fifty years old.Ē Thus, His countenance caused men to overestimate His physical age by almost 20 years.
3. As well, on those three occasions that the Lord Jesus Christ wept He was revealing His true feelings of heartache and pain. This morning I want to use the weeping of the Lord Jesus Christ in the garden of Gethsemane, that place of solitude where His passion began, as a point of reference in your thinking.
4. There are three considerations I would like you to focus your attention on, this morning, just three days before Easter Sunday. Three things you wonít want to think about, but which you must think about, if you want to be converted.
1A. First, CONSIDER YOUR MISERY AS AN UNCONVERTED SINNER
You may not feel that yours is a miserable condition, but a miserable condition is defined by what is real, by what is true, not by how you feel about your condition. The fact is, you are sinful, you are selfish, you are self-centered, and you are spiritually dead. My prayer is that today you have the ears to really hear. You have offended God, you have ignored God, you have rebelled against God, you have not loved God.
1B. Because of that God is angry with you.
1C. Hundreds of times in Godís Word we read of His hot anger, His fierce anger, His anger being kindled, God being provoked to anger by peopleís sins.
2C. Understand, sinner, that God is angry with you. There is coming a day when you will feel His hot displeasure, because He ďwill execute vengeance in anger and fury uponĒ you, ďsuch asĒ you ďhave not heard,Ē Micah 5.15.
3C. Will you be one of those against whom His anger will tear perpetually, and He will keep His wrath forever, Amos 1.11? If you die in your sins the answer to that question is ďYes.Ē
4C. The anger of God is fearful to all but the most foolish. Itís ďa fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,Ē Hebrews 10.31. But in addition to Godís anger, there is that which God does because He is angry with you.
2B. Because of your sinfulness, because of His anger toward you, Hell is prepared for you.
1C. Though itís common to refer to Hell as the place where lost souls go forever, and I have said such myself, to be very accurate, Hell is that place where lost souls go for only a while.
2C. But itís a horrible place in itself, to be avoided. In Luke 16 we read of a man who died and went to Hell. He was a man who was confident in himself and selfish, determined to have his own way and to give no thought to Godís will for his life. And for a time things went well, or so he thought. But then he died, as all men die, as you will someday die.
3C. ďAnd in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments.Ē What a shock. What a surprise. To be lounging on your bed one moment and in Hell the next moment. Or to have sharp pain in your chest and then find yourself in Hell. Or to be riding a bike or driving a car and then, suddenly, finding yourself in eternity, and in Hell.
4C. What will it be like? You will be surprised. You will be terribly thirsty, but without relief. You will be tormented by flames, and you will cry out. You will be without mercy or comfort, and you will feel lonely. You will be afflicted by your conscience, but without remedy. You will see others enjoying the pleasures of heaven while you suffer, and you will envy them.
5C. It will be terrible. But it will also be temporary. It wonít feel temporary. It will feel like forever. But it wonít be forever. If you die before Jesus comes again Hell will last at minimum 1007 years for you, 7 years of the Tribulation, followed by 1000 years of Christís millennial kingdom rule. Then it will end . . . because something far worse will begin.
3B. Because of your sins God is angry with you. Because of Godís anger you will go to Hell when you die. And after some time in Hell, more than 1007 years, because of Godís anger there will be a judgment for you to face.
1C. In our court system a criminal gets arrested and thrown in jail. But heís in jail only so long as it takes for him to come to trial, so his guilt or innocence can be established and his sentence can be pronounced if he is found guilty.
2C. With God itís a bit different. You were born guilty. You were born in sin. You told your first lies moments after you were born. And youíve continued your sinful ways since you were born. So, there is no need for a trial to determine your guilt or innocence. You are guilty.
3C. Should you die without Christ as your Savior you will go to Hell. As terrible a place as Hell is, think of Hell as something like jail. A place of horrible torment and punishment, Hell is still a place that is temporary until the time of judgment.
4C. When judgment day comes there will be no need to determine your guilt or innocence, the fact that you died without Christ means that your guilt remains. And whatís needed now is judgment, judgment at the hand of an angry God.
5C. Revelation 20.11-13 is the most detailed description of the judgment found in the Bible:
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
6C. Notice three things about this judgment: First, it is not a judgment to determine guilt or innocence. Only the guilty face this judgment. Only those who die unconverted. Everyone who dies unconverted. Second, no one gets away. No one escapes. No one. Third, you will be judged by the severity of your sinful deeds. For some it will be worse. For others it will be far worse.
7C. You angered God. Dying without Christ, He sent you to Hell. After being in Hell for more than 1007 years, He brought you before the great white throne for judgment. And at each step, what is happening to you is fueled by Godís anger, by His rage, by His determination to make you pay for sinning against Him.
4B. But thatís not the end of it. Actually, itís really only the beginning of your sorrows. For you see, after your judgment comes the real punishment, the lake of fire.
1C. You see, itís the lake of fire that will be your eternal home. Itís the lake of fire that will never end. Itís the lake of fire that Hell was only a taste of. Itís the lake of fire thatís really the place where Godís anger and fury and wrath are fully poured out on His enemies, on you.
2C. And itís the lake of fire that you will be sent to after the judgment. Revelation 20.14-15: ď14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.Ē
3C. The lake of fire is the furnace of Godís wrath. The lake of fire is the burning sulfur and brimstone that sears your nostrils. The lake of fire is the place of outer darkness. The lake of fire is the bottomless pit of perpetual falling. The lake of fire is the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. The lake of fire is the place of utter loneliness and isolation. The lake of fire is the place of no mother and no father, no brother and no sister. The lake of fire is the place of no comfort, and only writhing pain and punishment.
5B. This, then, is the aroma of your misery as an unconverted sinner. This is what happens to unconverted sinners because of Godís anger toward them. And only the mad and the blind are not terrified by this.
1C. The demons, those fallen angels for whom the lake of fire was originally created, are very properly terrified by the thought of going there.
2C. When Jesus came to cast the demons out of a man, in Matthew 8.29, they were terrified by the thought that perhaps the punishment of the lake of fire had already come upon them, and ďthey cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?Ē
3C. As well, James 2.19 shows how the demons always feel about their future punishment, which will be your future punishment. In that verse we are told that they ďtremble.Ē They tremble at Godís anger. They tremble at the thought of Godís wrath. They tremble when their mind lights for a moment on their certain eternity in the lake of fire.
4C. Do you tremble at the thought of Godís anger? Do you pause at the thought of going to Hell, of standing before the great white throne and being judged, and ending up in the lake of fire? Do you consider and ponder why all these things will happen to you if you die unconverted, because you have sinned against God?
2A. Next, CONSIDER THE HEART OF GOD TOWARD HIS SON IN HIS PASSION
I mentioned before the passion of Jesus. His suffering and the agony He endured, not just at the hands of wicked and cruel men, but also what He suffered by being our sin bearer and suffering Godís wrath on the cross. If God is rightly and justly angry with you for sinning against Him, have you ever stopped to imagine how much more intense is Godís anger toward you for the suffering His beloved Son endured?
1B. Consider His passion
1C. There are times when Christís passion refers only to His sufferings on the cross. Others include the Lord Jesus Christís sufferings in the garden of Gethsemane when they speak of His passion. And so I speak of His passion here.
2C. This was that time, after He instituted the Lordís Supper, and until they came and arrested Him when He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, who identified Him to the soldiers by a kiss. It was a time of prayer to His Father, when He separated Himself from His disciples.
3C. By the way. These are the only recorded occasions in the Word of God of Jesus actually addressing God in prayer, saying, ďO my Father.Ē
4C. Is your heart so cold, today, so very unfeeling, that you cannot consider how God felt toward His beloved Son at that time? Though they had unbroken communion throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity, my heart tells me that their communion during this season of prayer was perhaps more intense and intimate than at any other time before.
2B. Amidst His passion, consider His tears
1C. Hebrews 5.7: ďWho in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.Ē I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit chose the writer to the Hebrews to reveal these details of our Saviorís last prayers to His Father, and not any disciple who happened to be there at the time . . . asleep.
2C. O, the agony of heart and soul the Lord Jesus must have felt. And how the Fatherís heart ached as His Son prepared to take upon Himself my sins. My attention in this verse focuses on the phrase ďwith strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death.Ē
3C. This was not Jesus crying loudly and shedding tears at the thought of dying on the cross, as terrible as He knew that would be. He is weeping and shedding tears at the thought of bearing our sins and being separated from His Father, suffering the wrath of God that my sins deserve, and pleading for deliverance from the death of separation from God. The Son is in this verse described as pleading with the Father for a restoration of communion and intimacy following His punishment for my sins. He does not seek here to escape the cross.
3B. Consider His anticipation
1C. Jesus is the holy One of Israel. Yet He anticipates taking upon Himself the filth and moral defilement of sin. You and I can imagine rottenness and stench, but it doesnít begin to compare with what the sinless Son of God was about to do . . . for me.
2C. So, His strong crying is a cry of anticipation. Anticipating something horrible. Anticipating something vile. Anticipating something incomprehensibly foreign to Him and contrary to His nature. And His tears are His very human, though sinless human, pleadings to His Father to restore the relationship that will be breached by His punishment for otherís sins.
4B. Also, consider His Fatherís heart.
1C. Again, may I take liberty to urge upon you this consideration of God the Fatherís heart? From the throne room in glory, He looks upon His beloved Son, whose love He has always cherished, Who has always done those things which please Him. And now He sees and hears His Son pleading, with tears from a broken heart, as He moves ever closer to that time when He will take upon Himself sinnerís sins.
2C. Your mothers and fathers who have seen your suffering may be able to imagine better than you can. But maybe you have stood by and watched someone suffer, knowing that it was not possible to intervene, knowing that it was not possible to alleviate the suffering, knowing that the suffering had to run its course.
3C. But with God the Father there is the certain knowledge that the suffering of His beloved Son must come at His hand. He must strike the hammer blows of punishment. He must pour out wrath in its full fury. As Abraham and Isaac pictured the offering of Jesus Christ for sin by the Father, we see here that there is no one to stop Abrahamís thrust, for God must offer His Own Son for sins. O, the heart of the Father as He looks upon His praying Son in the garden.
3A. Finally, CONSIDER YOUR MISERY AFTER THE PASSION OF JESUS
When, at the beginning of this sermon, we considered your misery, when we considered Godís anger toward you, I was careful to direct you to consider Godís anger toward you only because of your sins against Him. In other words, we did not consider at all the Lord Jesus Christís passion, what Jesus endured when He took my sins upon Himself and died on the cross. We did not stop at all to think of His Own suffering because God poured out His wrath upon Him. I would now like you to add to your misery because of Godís anger a consideration of how God feels toward you because of His Son.
1B. Consider the enormity of your crimes, only now include your crimes against the Lord Jesus Christ.
1C. Your sins against God is one consideration. Your sins against the Lord Jesus Christ are another consideration. What unimaginable suffering Jesus endured. What agony He faced. He became the worst of offenders because He took upon Himself my sins, as well as yours, and yours, and yours.
2C. And His punishment at the hand of His Father was a punishment greater than you will endure in Hell and in the lake of fire forever. How so? The Lord Jesus Christís punishment satisfied Godís righteous demands, while an eternity in the lake of fire will not satisfy Godís righteous demands.
3C. Do you believe that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, John 3.16? Then understand what you now do by refusing Jesus Christ. Add to Godís anger for sinning against Him the indignation and rage that must be directed toward a sinner who would make Jesus suffer and bleed and die . . . needlessly. For if you die without being converted you will only have succeeded in sinning so much the more against Jesus Christ the righteous.
2B. Imagine the enormity of Godís anger now.
1C. He remembers with perfect memory His Sonís strong crying. He remembers with perfect memory His Sonís tears that were shed. He remembers with perfect memory that the Lord Jesus Christ did what He did so that you might be saved from your sins . . . the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.
2C. And you expect Him, Who writes all sins and offenses down in His books, to ignore these sins come judgment day? You expect Him to punish you for sinning against Him, while ignoring the sins you have committed against His Son, by turning up your nose at His suffering, by turning your back on His sacrifice, by treading under foot His precious blood?
3B. I promise you that it will only intensify your torment.
1C. God will by no means clear the guilty, Exodus 34.7. ďThe soul that sinneth, it shall die,Ē Ezekiel 18.20. ďIt is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,Ē Hebrew 10.31. ďOur God is a consuming fire,Ē Hebrews 12.29.
2C. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was a wonderful thing . . . for those who get converted. But the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was a terrible thing for those who do not get converted. So much opportunity, so much love, so much goodness on display. Such power to save and forgive and cleanse. But neglected by those who reject Christ.
3C. What fate awaits you for sinning against God? What fate awaits you for rejecting His precious Son? Itís a fate that is dictated by Godís justice and righteous and holiness. But itís a fate that is driven by Godís anger. Anger for your sins against Him. Greater anger for your sins against His beloved Son.
1. What misery is yours as an unconverted sinner. What joy unspeakable and full of glory will be yours if you are converted to Jesus Christ.
2. Consider your sins. Think about Godís anger. And then flee to Jesus Christ for salvation and safety and forgiveness.