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Questions for the Judgment

Friday night, December 29, 2006, at about 10:00 PM, EST, Saddam Hussein, the Butcher of Baghdad, was led to the gallows. Accused and convicted of murdering hundreds of Kurds in 1991, he was sentenced to death by hanging. Dressed in a long, sleek dress coat, he remained ever defiant. He refused the hood that is typically placed over the head of a hanging victim. Moments later, his dead corpse hung from the end of a rope, an execution carried out by the democratically elected Iraqi government. It is said that the only people who pitied his fate were those who never knew the depths of his savage brutality.

The propriety of the trial and hanging are not at issue here. What is important, is that it represents the day of reckoning for every person who has ever lived. The concept of a day of judgment, a point in time when a person is called into question about his or her life, is set forth in the scriptures in a dramatic way. It is the only answer to the idea of justice.

There are wrongs that happened that need to be made right.  There are right things done that need to be rewarded.  There are crimes committed that need to be punished.  There are facts about situations that need to be revealed.  A particular day of judgment is a date on the calendar for every soul who has ever lived.

Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

1 John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

One of the truly amazing things about human nature is that we tend to deny the reality of those things we cannot see or that we do not believe is a present reality. We procrastinate, we equivocate, we take lightly those events that hold the potential for something negative. Someone has said the there is nothing quite as productive as a deadline.

There is a judgment coming.

You cannot delay it. You cannot avoid it. You cannot stop it. Being a no-show is not an option. There are no make-up exams. Results are immediate and final.

Our modern culture has not prepared this generation well for God’s judgment. With outcome based learning, adjusted grading scales and extended preparation times, we believe anything can be manipulated to our advantage.

But, the Bible says, As a tree falls, so shall it lie. Once the midnight hour is sounded, nothing can change.

Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

If this is the case, if this day is so final, then we should be given as much information as to the nature of the examination as possible. And that, indeed, is exactly what has been provided us in the word of God.

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The closest thing to knowing what the judgment is all about is to carefully read the Bible you now hold in your hand. If you don’t own a Bible, you can either buy one or I’ll provide one for you for free. If you don’t know how to read English, we’ll get a Bible for you in your language. If you don’t know how to read at all, we’ll get a Bible for you on CD. If you don’t have a CD player, we’ll see that you get one and teach you how to use it. You must be prepared now for the great day of judgment that is coming.

Here are the questions that you will be asked in some form or fashion on that day. How do I know that these questions will be asked? Because they come directly out of the text.

Question #1: Do you have a personal, viable relationship with God? Is your claim to Christianity based on your love for Christ, or do you claim to be a Christian for ulterior reasons?

You can have a personal relationship with God. Throughout the New Testament, we read about the new birth experience, about salvation, about living for God. (John 3:3-5; Acts 2:38, Acts 4:12)

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

“Lord, Lord” means you think Jesus is a great man.  “Lord, Lord” means you are not an atheist.  “Lord, Lord” means that you have some feeling, some sentiment, some identification with him.  There is a difference between love for Jesus, and love for power…prestige…praise.  Somewhere, deep in your heart, there must be a love for truth.

2 Thess 2:7-12 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.  8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:  9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

You need to know the answer to this question now. Are you saved according to the scriptures?

Question #2: If you have committed any sin, have you fully repented and made your heart right with God?

Matt 11:20-22  Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:  21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.

The judgment doesn’t demand that you never did anything wrong.  Clearly, the Bible says that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

It is time now to confess, stop and forsake your sins. God is looking for a humble attitude. He wants you to understand his offer of remission for your sins at Calvary.

Question #3: Have you held the Spirit of God in such contempt that you have blasphemed against the Holy Ghost?

This is the most frightening question in this life or the next. It’s one of those scriptural truths that we know relatively little about, but we make sure we don’t even get close to doing.

Matt 12:31-32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

The Holy Ghost experience is no laughing matter. Revere it, respect it, love it.  The operation of the Holy Ghost in your life must not be quenched or ignored.

Question #4: The words you speak.

Matt 12:35-37 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Question #5: Worldly gain.

Matt 16:24-27 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

2006 ends at midnight tonight.  Anything that needed to be done in 2006 cannot be pushed off until 2007.  The end of the year is a time for evaluation.  You need to evaluate your spiritual life for a lot of reasons.  It is also a time to determine how you fare when measured against the demands of the Word of God.  What do you lack? What needs to be changed? What amends need to be made?  Until the trumpet sounds, you have time to do something about your situation.

2 Cor 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Rev 22:16-17  I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.  17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

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