Preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist
Tabernacle in Los Angeles, CA, on January 5, 2002.
"THE FOLLY OF
1. We live on a planet of more than 6
billion people. It may soon reach the point that there will be more
people presently alive on earth than the sum total of people who have
ever previously lived.
2. And what happens to most people who are
alive? What has happened to most people who have already lived and died?
3. They lived out their lives, they died,
and they went to Hell. Think about that for a moment. Most people who
have ever lived have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And since
faith comes by hearing the Word of God, those vast multitudes who have
lived and who have died are in Hell right now.
4. Most people who are now gone never heard
the Gospel. Having never heard the Gospel they had no opportunity to be
saved. Having no opportunity to be saved, they died without Christ and
went to Hell.
5. But what about those who are alive and
who will soon be born? They, too in all likelihood, will live out their
lives without hearing the Gospel and will die and go to Hell.
6. "But preacher, with modern
technology wonít more people hear the Gospel?" With modern
technology more people will hear Jan and Paul Crouch. With modern
technology more people will hear Robert Schuller and Bishop Jakes. Yes,
with modern technology more people will hear the twisted perversion of
the heretics and the doctrines of demons they spew forth.
7. But even if some do hear the Gospel,
what does that change? You see, most people do not hear the Gospel. They
do not ever hear the Gospel. And they live and die and go to Hell. But
even those who hear the Gospel, for the most part, do not get converted.
8. Look at the number of people who over
the years have heard the Gospel at this Church and where I pastor. Did
they not hear the Gospel? Yes, they did hear the Gospel. And is not the
Gospel the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth? Yes.
But they still refused to believe. They still denied the truth. They
still shunned the Savior.
9. Look, the fact of the matter is this:
The vast majority of people will live out their lives and die and go to
Hell. The likelihood is that you will live out your life and die and go
to Hell. Thatís because almost everyone lives out his life and dies
and goes to Hell.
10. Why do you think Jesus said, in Matthew
7.14, that "narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and
few there be that find it"? Why do you think Jesus was asked, in
Luke 13.23, "Lord, are there few that be saved?" That
questioner was right on the money, because the vast majority of those
who have lived, who are alive today, and who shall someday live on this
planet, will live out their lives and will die and will then go to Hell.
11. Based on those undeniable facts of
life, based upon those concrete realities, on what basis do you or
anyone else have for concluding that "things are looking up"?
What type of logic concludes that "things will get better"?
What have you seen in history, what have you observed in the world we
live in today, that would give you any rational basis for optimism?
12. I am here tonight to talk to you about
becoming a Christian. And one of the characteristics of real
Christianity, Bible Christianity, is its grasp of reality. So, letís
deal with reality tonight, shall we? And let us consider the unalterable
facts that lead any rational person, any thinking person, any logical
person, to see the folly of optimism. Yes, folly. I think you are
foolish if you are lost and you are optimistic about your future.
13. The basis for my sermon is Ephesians
2.12. Turn to page 1251 in your Scofield Reference Bible and letís
stand for the reading of Godís Word: "That at that time ye were
without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and
strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God
in the world."
14. In this verse the apostle Paul reminds
the Ephesian Christians what it was like for them before they had come
to Jesus, before their sins were forgiven. And what had been true of
those lost Gentiles is true of you, this evening. You have absolutely no
basis for optimism.
1A. First, LETíS CONSIDER OPTIMISM
1B. Websterís Dictionary Defines
Optimism In Four Ways:
1C. "1. a disposition or
tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions
and to expect the most favorable outcome." Bad news for an
unsaved guy who believes the Bible. If God really does triumph over
the Devil then you are going to Hell.
2C. "2. the belief that
good ultimately predominates over evil in the world." Again,
very bad news for an unsaved guy who believes the Bible. Again, bad
news for the unsaved guy, who will end up in the lake of fire if
this definition is valid.
3C. "3. the belief that
goodness pervades reality." Do you really believe that there is
goodness everywhere. Then why does every animal die, usually a most
violent and painful death? Why do mothers murder their unborn and
even their newborn children? Why do people lie, cheat, and steal if
goodness pervades reality, if goodness is everywhere?
4C. Finally, Webster defines
"optimism" as " 4. the doctrine that the
existing world is the best of all possible worlds." If you
believe this to be true then you were asleep on September 11th. You
may have been on vacation at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing.
And perhaps youíve never heard of an insane religious madman named
Osama bin Laden.
5C. In short, my unsaved friend, from
your perspective "optimism" is delusional, quite out of
touch with reality, and profoundly illogical. If you are confident
that something good is going to happen to you then you may very well
2B. Because The Scriptural
Concept Of Hope Shows You To Be Quite Wrong
1C. In our text we find the word
"hope" used by Paul. Let me define that word for you as
Paul uses it. "Hope" is the confident expectation of
future blessing based on the promises of God.
2C. In other words, "hope" is
not wishful thinking. Neither is "hope" the same as
desire. We all desire future blessings. We all want good things to
happen to us.
3C. The question is, do you have any
reasonable expectation of future blessing? Do you have any rational
basis upon which to presume that things will be better for you in
the future than they are for you today? In short, does the Bible
give you any reason to be optimistic?
4C. According to Godís Word,
Ephesians 2.12, you have "no hope." Donít think that
means that nothing good will ever happen to you. What it means is
that you have no right to presume anything good will
happen to you, no right to expect anything good will
happen to you, no right to make plans on the
assumption that anything good will happen to you.
5C. In short, you have no guarantees
whatsoever. Thatís hardly a realistic basis for optimism. On top
of that factor in 1.4 billion increasingly radicalized Muslims, and
the dramatic decline in population in the west, and our hopelessly
decadent and self-indulgent society. A bleak future.
2A. Now, LETíS CONSIDER
Iíve defined what
"hope" is in Godís Word, the confident expectation of
future blessing, based upon the promises of God. Now letís examine
our text as it applies to you. Remember, what was true
of the Ephesians Paul wrote to is true of you right now.
Therefore, you are:
1B. Apart From Jesus "That
at that time ye were without Christ"
1C. They were separated from Christ,
you are separated from Christ. They were without a Savior, you are
without a Savior. They had no Friend that sticketh close than a
brother, you have no Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. The
Angel of the Lord was not encamped round about them, the Angel of
the Lord is not encamped round about you.
2C. My friend, in a hostile world that
is full of spiritual danger and is unpredictable in the extreme, you
are all alone. "But Iíve got friends." They canít help
you. They are no consolation. They are in the same terrible fix you
are in. Even your Christian friends are no consolation to you,
because they know better than you that they cannot help you. The One
you need you do not have! You are apart from Jesus.
2B. You Are Also Alien From
Israel "being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel"
1C. You have no part and play no role
in that elect congregation descended from Abraham, the friend of
God, that we call Israel. The things God said He would do for
Abrahamís descendants for Abrahamís sake He will not do for you,
since you are a Gentile and are not descended from Abraham. You are
not a Jew.
2C. So, what does that make you? It
makes you just one more of a vast multitude of Gentiles over whom
hangs the condemnation of God. You are another in a long line of
sinners who are far off from God, full of self-congratulations and
self-indulgence, and ripe for Godís judgment.
3C. You might as well be a Moabite or
an Ammonite or a Canaanite. And youíre the same as a Roman, about
whom Paul writes in Romans 1,
18 For the
wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath
shewed it unto them.
20 For the
invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly
seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal
power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
themselves to be wise, they became fools,
28 And even
as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God
gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not
filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness,
covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of
evil things, disobedient to parents,
understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection,
knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are
worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them
that do them.
4C. O, you should be filled with
boundless optimism, I say with sarcasm. And you actually fool
yourself into believing you have a bright future? With this hanging
over your head? Absurd.
3B. Third, You Are Absent Any
Promises "strangers from the covenants of promise"
1C. Your parents are the generation who
see themselves as entitled. They feel that they are owed something,
that others are somehow obligated to do for them.
2C. But they learned that from their
parents, who never said "No" to them. And they passed that
selfish and self-centered entitlement attitude down to you.
3C. But you want to know something? God
doesnít owe you anything. He owes you absolutely nothing. Nothing!
Nothing! Nothing! He made promises to the Jewish people, but Heís
made no promises to you. He owes you nothing.
4C. Perhaps your mommy and your daddy
have treated you special as you were growing up, convincing you
somehow that you were in some way entitled, that others owed you
something. But understand this: God owes you nothing. He owes you no
future and He owes you no present. You should be thankful He gives
you the sunshine and the rain and air to breathe.
4B. Finally, You Are An Atheist
In The World "without God in the world"
1C. You say, "But I believe in
God." What good does it do you? Paul says you are an atheist.
The word "without God" here is the word "aqeoi."
We get our word "atheist" from this word.
2C. You see, youíre no better off
believing in God than an atheist who doesnít believe in God. What
good does it do you to believe in God and not be saved? It does you
no good at all.
3C. "But I really do believe in
God." So what? The devils believe in God, but theyíll still
end up in the lake of fire, which is where most people end up, even
those who believe in God.
4C. Believing in God helps no one, and
it probably only makes God angrier than He already is. After all, if
you believe in God whatís your excuse for not being reconciled to
Him? If you believe in God whatís your excuse for rejecting His
So you see, you have no reason to
be optimistic about anything. Your future is anything but bright, unless
you get saved. The only guarantee you have is the guarantee of dying and
going to Hell, unless you get saved.