We should never interpret the silence of God as the indifference of God.
If we haven’t learned to be worshipers, it doesn’t really matter how well we do anything else.
Think of how powerless death actually is! Rather than rid us of our health, it introduces us to "riches eternal." In exchange for poor health, death gives us a right to the Tree of Life that is for "the healing of the nations" (Revelation 22:2). Death might temporarily take our friends from us, but only to introduce us to that land in which there are no good-byes.
Sadly, the influence has been in the wrong direction, as we see evidence that our culture has begun to permeate our churches. The church is seduced by the social agenda of wealth and pleasure, and has condoned sinful compromises. There is moral decay within the church, with highly publicized scandals involving ministers, and divorce statistics which are not much better than those outside the church. Think of all that we and our churches would have to repent of if a spirit of holiness began to captivate us. How can America be influenced by an inconsistent and hypocritical church?
I don’t see how anyone could survive in the ministry if he felt it was just his own choice. Some ministers scarcely have two good days back to back. They are sustained by the knowledge that God has placed them where they are. Ministers without such a conviction often lack courage and carry their resignation letter in their coat pocket. At the slightest hint of difficulty, they’re gone.
If the strength of the church should be determined by its impact on its surrounding culture, we desperately need an injection of spiritual life. The present powerlessness of the church may be a sign that God has withdrawn His blessing that we might seek Him.
Despite its foundational Christian heritage, America is rapidly degenerating into a godless society. The church in America, although highly visible and active, appears powerless to redirect the rushing secular currents. Mired in a moral and spiritual crisis, America’s only hope is a national revival, like God has graciously bestowed in the past.
If we haven’t learned to be worshippers it doesn’t really matter how well we do anything else. Worship changes us or it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change. Worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience.
Those who give much without sacrifice are reckoned as having given little.
Jonathan Edwards said that the reason we find hell so offensive is because of our insensitivity to sin.
Most of us find comfort in being told that we are going to go on living; [the apostle] Paul was comforted when he was told that he would soon be dying [see Philippians 1:21]! He kept referring to death as that which was “far better.” The fact that we don’t view death with optimism just might be because we think of death as taking us from our home rather than bringing is to our home! Unlike Paul, we have become so attached to our tent that we just don’t want to move.
Hell exists because unbelievers are eternally guilty. The powerful lesson to be learned is that no human being’s suffering can ever be a payment for sin. If our suffering could erase even the most insignificant sin, then those in hell would eventually be freed after their debt was paid. But all human goodness and suffering from the beginning of time, if added together, could not cancel so much as a single sin. Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone. “Rock of Ages”
Those who choose suicide (for whatever reason) should remember that death is not the end, but a doorway into an eternal existence. Sad to say, some who find the pain of dying intolerable will awaken in a realm that is even more terrible than earth could ever be. We should welcome death from the hand of God, but not force the hand that brings it.
What if, from God’s viewpoint, the greatness of sin is determined by the greatness of the One against whom it is committed? Then the guilt of sin is infinite because it is a violation of the character of an infinite Being. What if, in the nature of God, it is deemed that such infinite sins deserve an infinite penalty, a penalty which no one can ever repay?
Those who end their own lives die as failures; their last act was murder.
There is a difference between tears of hope and tears of hopelessness.
If we want to prepare for our final destination, we should begin to worship God here on earth. Our arrival in heaven will only be a continuation of what we have already begun. Praise is the language of heaven and the language of the faithful on earth.
The statistics on death are impressive – so far it is one out of one!
Universalism has never been widely accepted by those who take the Scriptures seriously. Obviously if this teaching were true, there would be no pressing reason to fulfill the Great Commission or to urge unbelievers to accept Christ in this life.
[It] will [not] be possible to transfer from one region to another. No matter how endless the ages, no matter how heartfelt the cries, no matter how intense the suffering, your travel plans are limited to your present abode. Those who find themselves in the lower gloomy regions shall never enter the gates that lead to endless light and ecstasy. They will discover that the beautiful words spoken in their eulogy bear no resemblance to the reality that now confronts them. If only their friends could see them now!
If Stephen saw our Lord before he died (Acts 7:56), and if Paul died and was caught up into paradise (2 Cor. 12:4), it is just possible that other believers might also have such a vision. Reports of seeing Christ or relatives long dead might have some validity. We should not expect such experiences, but they could happen. The problem, of course, is that we cannot accept without scrutiny what people claim to have seen behind the curtain. Near-death experiences may or may not reflect the true conditions of life beyond death. They must be carefully evaluated to see whether they conform to the biblical picture of the hereafter. Also, the prior beliefs of those who report what they have seen and heard are essential in evaluating what was experienced.
You become stronger only when you become weaker. When you surrender your will to God, you discover the resources to do what God requires.
[In hell] perpetually burning lusts never subside, and the tortured conscience aches but is never sedated. There will be increased desire with decreased satisfaction. In Proverbs, we read of the insatiable desires of both the nether world and a man’s lusts: “Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, nor are the eyes of a man ever satisfied” (Proverbs 27:20).
As for the widely reported experiences of seeing light, we should remember that since God is light, it is understandable that Satan duplicates light of his own. We cannot emphasize too strongly that he wishes to disguise himself as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). And of course, many unsuspecting souls simply assume that this “being” who radiates light is kind and benevolent; in an age of “feel good” religion they can’t imagine that it is anyone else but Christ. Although positive near-death experiences are widely reported, I must point out that other research indicates that many have dark and foreboding experiences. In The Edge of Death, by Philip J. Swihart, and Beyond Death’s Door, by Maurice Rawlings, there are accounts of those who tell terrifying stories of the life beyond. Some have seen a lake of fire or abysmal darkness, along with tormented persons – all of whom are awaiting judgment. These reports, the authors contend, are more accurate because they were gained through interviews almost immediately following near-death and resuscitation. These dark experiences, the writers say, are often lost to the memory after a short period of time.
What a contrast outside the city of Jerusalem that day! On the one hand, redemption is being purchased for those God would redeem; on the other hand, the soldiers mark time by playing their tired games, waiting for the ordeal to be over. Those who love Jesus are in grieving despair; those who hate Him are in a mood of spiteful rejoicing. Heaven hovers over the cross, waiting for the payment of our sin to be made. But hell is there, too, with its cruelty, indifference and darkness.
Committees are necessary. Even more important is vision and the ability to move the congregation toward the goals of the church. But when push comes to shove, it’s the ministry of the Word that gives us our greatest impact. A church can usually put up with weak administration if it has effective preaching. But there’s nothing quite as pathetic as people coming to church and returning home without any spiritual food.
We will do much better if we trust someone who was actually dead, not someone who was just near death. Christ, as we shall see, is the only One who is qualified to tell us what we can expect on the other side. He was dead – so dead that His body became cold and was put in a tomb. Three days later He was raised from the dead with a glorified body. Here is someone whose opinion can be trusted. To John this risen Christ said, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades “ (Revelation 1:17-18). Reliable information does not come to us by trying to peer behind the partially open curtain. God alone knows what really lies on the other side of the veil. And that is why we can do no better than study what the Bible has to say about the Great Beyond.
Only at the cross do we see the love of God without ambiguity. Here is God’s farthest reach, His most ambitious rescue effort. God personally came to our side of the chasm, willing to suffer for us and with us. At the cross His love burst upon the world with unmistakable clarity. Here at least we have found solid reasons to believe that there was a genuine connection between God and man.
Let me encourage you to take those “if onlys” and draw a circle around them. Then label the circle, “The providence of God.” The Christian believes that God is greater than our “if onlys.” His providential hand encompasses the whole of our lives, not just the good days but the “bad” days too. We have the word accident in our vocabulary; He does not.
We are… saplings here, but we shall be transported into our heavenly soil to grow in God’s light. Here our abilities are in blossom; there they shall burst forth with fruits of greater beauty. Our death is but the passing from one degree of loving service to another; the difference is like that of the unborn child and the one who has entered into the experiences of a new life. Our love for God will continue, but awakened with new purity and purposefulness.
When a person who is inhabited by evil spirits dies, these demons need to relocate. Often they choose to stay in the place where the death took place (this seems particularly true in the case of violent deaths, such as murder or suicide). They will take the name and characteristics of the deceased person and make occasionally appearances under these pretenses. Such entities (as they are frequently called today) are evil spirits who often pose as “friendly ghosts.”
It was our sins that put Jesus on the cross. Should we ever love sin, we would love the very evil that caused nails to be driven through our Savior’s hands and feet. Just as we would abhor the knife that was used to murder a child, so we should abhor the sin that caused Jesus to die.
We must worship in truth. Worship is not just an emotional exercise but a response of the heart built on truth about God. "The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth" (Psm. 145:18). Worship that is not based on God’s Word is but an emotional encounter with oneself.
Worship is not an external activity precipitated by the right environment. To worship in spirit is to draw near to God with an undivided heart. We must come in full agreement without hiding anything or disregarding His will.
Death is not the end of the road; it is only a bend in the road. The road winds only through those paths through which Christ Himself has gone. This Travel Agent does not expect us to discover the trail for ourselves. Often we say that Christ will meet us on the other side. That is true, of course, but misleading. Let us never forget that He walks with us on this side of the curtain and then guides us through the opening. We will meet Him there, because we have met Him here.
God’s call is an inner conviction given by the Holy Spirit and confirmed by the Word of God and the body of Christ.
Someone has said that the marks of a strong church are wet eyes, bent knees, and a broken heart. We’ll never be powerful until we let God be God and jealously guard His honor.
Death is the Chariot our heavenly Father sends to bring us to Himself.
The more light that is given, the harder the human heart must become to reject it.
Significantly, of the twelve times the word gehenna [hell] is used in the New Testament, eleven times it came from the mouth of our Lord. Indeed, He spoke more about hell than about heaven.
Why is death such a blessing? Paul said, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). The fact is that you and I can’t go to heaven just as we are today. No matter how alert and primed, no matter how neatly we have showered and dressed, we are not fit for heaven. You can’t have a decaying body in a permanent home.
Everything will be summed up in Christ [Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:20]. That means that all things will be brought under Christ’s direct authority. Christ has accomplished everything necessary to fulfill God’s plan of salvation. The order of nature shall be restored, and justice will prevail throughout the whole universe… Restoration does not negate the doctrine of hell but instead necessitates it.
The day of our death is the day of our glorification. Death is the grand entrance, the door that swings into eternity. Eventually it will open in God’s time and in God’s way to let another child come home where he or she belongs.
God must either inflict punishment or assume it. And He chose the latter course.
Our death is just as meticulously planned as the death of Christ. There is no combination of evil men, disease, or accident that can kill us as long as God still has work for us to do. To those who walk with faith in God’s providence, they die according to God’s timetable… The immediate cause of death might be any number of things, but the ultimate cause is God. Yes, wicked men nailed Christ to the cross, yet we read, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10).
[Jesus] had to compress an eternity of hell into three hours. As best we can, we must grasp that this was infinite suffering for the infinite Son of God. There was no way to transfer sin without transferring its penalty. To put it plainly, He was receiving what was due us. The wrath of the Father burned toward the Son once the reckoning was made. Indescribable sin was in contact with infinite holiness and infinite justice.
Grief expected, but it is different from the grief of the world. There is a difference between tears of hope and tears of hopelessness.
If children are saved (and I believe they shall be), it can only be because God credits their sin to Christ; and because they are too young to believe, the requirement of personal faith is waived. We do not know at what age they are held personally accountable. It is impossible to suggest an age, since that may vary, depending on the child’s capacity and mental development.
Within evangelicalism is a distressing drift toward accepting a Christianity that does not demand a life-changing walk with God. Many evangelicals (today) do not realize that the church has always been an island of righteousness in a sea of paganism, but as a result they turned the world upside-down.
Neither the devil nor his angels will torment people in hell. Satan and his demons will be among the tormented; they will not be tormentors (Revelation 20:10).
Annihilationism simply will not wash. Christ says that the lost will go into “eternal fire,” which has been prepared for the devil and his angels. And then He adds, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). Since the same word eternal describes both the destiny of the righteous and the wicked, it seems clear that Christ taught that both groups will exist forever, albeit in different places. The same eternal fire that Satan and his hosts experience will be the lot of unbelievers… The wicked will experience shame and contempt for as long as the righteous experience bliss.