“THE SECOND DEATH”
Delivered at a special service held on January 27, 2004.
1. Turn in your Bible to the book of the Revelation, chapter 21, verses 7-8. When you find that passage stand and read along silently while I read the verses aloud: “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.”
2. First John 5.4 reads, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” So we know that verse 7 refers to a Christian, someone who has faith in Christ, who through his faith in Christ is an overcomer. God comforts me as a Christian with the assurance that He will be my God and I shall be His child.
3. But verse 8 refers to you who are lost. In this verse are your terrible sins, sins that you would rather cling to than abandon for Jesus Christ, sins that you would rather obtain pleasure from for a short season than experience an eternity of joy and bliss with God.
4. Read verse 8 with me once again: “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.”
5. There are two parts to this verse, what you would rather do than come to Jesus, and what you are going to get instead of Jesus.
1A. WHAT DO YOU PREFER TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD?
Which of these wicked preferences are your personal preferences?
1B. First, you prefer being fearful.
1C. Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”
2C. But you do not fear God. Neither do you fear sinning. Instead, you are afraid of dying, and you are afraid of Hell, and you are afraid of the lake of fire, and you are afraid of not being accepted by your unsaved friends, and you are afraid other kids will think you are not cool. For some of you, it’s fear of the unknown, even though you know that if you don’t get saved you’ll go to Hell.
2B. Or, you prefer being unbelieving.
1C. You will not believe in Jesus to the saving of your eternal and undying soul. You will not come to Jesus. No, you are content to believe in God.
2C. Never mind that the devils also believe in God and tremble, James 2.19. You don’t even have the spiritual sense that demons have. At least demons are smart enough to tremble at the thought of standing before God someday. But not you.
3C. As well, consider that the most famous verse in the Bible is John 3.16, with the most wonderful and compelling message: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
4C. But you reject the love of God, you repudiate the gift of His only begotten Son, and you refuse to come to Him for the saving of your soul. Therefore, you must perish. You can only perish. And those of us here this evening who are Christians will stand with the Lord Jesus Christ in His condemnation of you at the judgment of the great day.
3B. Perhaps you prefer being abominable.
1C. An abominable person is someone who practices detestable sins, despicable sins, vile sins, repugnant sins. Understand, all sins are detestable and despicable to God, but this refers to sins that make even other sinners disgusted. Yet you prefer this type of sinning to the Savior.
2C. Some of you would say, “But I don’t commit those kinds of sins.” Not yet you don’t. Not yet you don’t. But since you are a slave to sin, in bondage to sin, sold under sin, what will keep you from being dragged farther and farther into the slop trough of sin as you get older?
3C. The point is, you prefer the filth of sin to the holiness of God, the wretchedness of vile deeds to the purity of the Lamb of God. Do not think Jesus will not remember, at the judgment of the great day, that you preferred nastiness to Him, that you counted His precious blood as unworthy of your consideration, and that you chose the gratification of an ungodly lust to the joy of sins forgiven.
4B. Or you prefer murder.
1C. “Oh, but I’ve never killed anyone.” But you hate, do you not? “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” And will not the sins that you will get into someday, if you don’t get converted, likely involve at least the temptation to murder of the unborn?
2C. And let us not forget about the fact that your sins nailed Jesus Christ to the cross of Calvary. Isaiah 53.3 declares, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.” Thus, you are guilty of the murder, because of your own sins, of the Son of God.
3C. Do not think you will be able to exonerate yourself from any of these sins, just because no one has caught you in the act. You will be guilty of all manner of sins before your life is done, in addition to the sins that you have already committed that crucified the Son of God.
5B. You may prefer whoremongering.
1C. We live in a society of sexual sinning and all manner of deviancy and foul behavior, associated with Internet pornography, associated with immodest clothing. Do you think you will pass through this life unaffected by the wild and animalistic behavior of the reprobates if you continue to reject Jesus Christ? I know you won’t.
2C. Have you seen the Carl’s Jr. commercials on television? Face it, people. Hugh Hefner has won the culture war. The Playboy philosophy is in the ascendancy. People now think of themselves as no better than wild beasts of the field, who fornicate and adulterate without the slightest hesitation. And this evil and society destroying tendency is only getting worse.
3C. Thus, what sins you are not presently guilty of, my unsaved friend, you will almost certainly be guilty of in the not too distant future. Oh, yes. The Bible urges us to “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” But since you pay no attention to the Biblical admonitions to come to Christ, you surely will pay no attention when it comes to staying away from sex sins.
4C. Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty. And you will pay, you will pay, you will pay for your sins. And these sex sins are especially terrible because people who commit sex sins are making decisions about their own bodies, which they have no right to make. Your body belongs to God, and He alone has the right to decide how your body is to be used.
6B. Perhaps you will prefer sorcery, if you do not already prefer sorcery.
1C. Sorcery has to do with idolatry and magic. But the word translated “sorcery” is also related to drugs, which seem always to be involved in magic and various forms of idolatry.
2C. This is the drug culture and related kinds of behavior. Among portions of our culture the drugs of choice are Heroin and different opiates. But among other portions of our culture there are different cocktails and assortments of drugs that are used. I am convinced that this sin includes the irresponsible use of prescription drugs.
3C. Here is the bottom line: The rising and falling of your moods is a spiritual matter. Getting happy and being depressed are spiritual issues. And when you pop something in your mouth to alter your mood, do deal with emotional issues that are best handled by prayer, by Bible study, and by learning how to handle life’s problems in a way that is pleasing and honoring to God, then you are guilty of this sin of sorcery.
4C. Therefore, anything you swallow or drink or somehow ingest that affects the way you feel, lifting you out of a depression or using medication instead of addressing a spiritual problem, is this sin of sorcery.
7B. I think a number of you prefer idolatry.
1C. Perhaps you bow down to a statue instead of bowing before God. Perhaps you idolize money or power or prestige. I have known parents who were guilty of the sin of idolatry for placing more importance on their kids than on God.
2C. With some of you kids it’s sports or friends or personal achievements which rate higher to them than God. With others it’s career. And the list goes on.
3C. But how different are you from Moses’ brother, Aaron, if you place anything higher on your list of priorities than God? We ridicule Aaron, for making the golden calf, and then telling the people, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”
4C. And I have heard people laugh when Aaron tried to explain his actions to Moses: “And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.”
5C. But how are you any better, who worships a child God gave you more than the God Who gave you the child? But you’d rather worship the creature more than the Creator.
8B. Finally, most of you prefer lies.
1C. Not only do you tell lies, you believe lies. You believe in evolution, one of the devil’s great lies. And you will never be converted so long as you believe that lie. You call God a liar by denying that what He says is true (“he that believeth not God hath made him a liar”), and you call Jesus a liar by denying that He is the truth.
2C. You side with your spiritual father, the devil, the father of lies and stand against, by your rejection of Jesus Christ, the God of truth.
2A. IS IT ANY WONDER, THEREFORE, WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO GET AS PUNISHMENT FOR WHAT YOU HAVE PREFERRED?
1B. You are included in that company that “shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
2B. This place you will spend eternity is also called the outer darkness, the bottomless pit, the place where the fire is not quenched and the worm dieth not.
3B. Where, then, will you go? The lake of fire. Why will you go there? You will go there because you preferred your sins to Jesus Christ. And who will send you to the lake of fire? God and His Son, Jesus Christ. And Who will punish you forever in the lake of fire? The Lord Jesus Christ will punish you.
Now do you understand why we seek your conversion? It is not a vast conspiracy to deny you innocent fun. It is a God-ordained effort to rescue you from your sins that will bring upon you eternal torment. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”