…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment
There is coming a day. A great and terrible day. A great day of reward and a terrible day of punishment. The same day.
What happens to you on that day is your choice this day.
Your choice this day and the days that follow will determine the words you hear on that day.
Your choice today will result in this
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world [Matthew 25:34]
Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’… And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. [Matthew 25:41,46]
There are 2 groups of people. Those who submit to God and follow Jesus, are the ones Jesus will put on his right that day. Everyone else falls into the second group. On that day, Jesus will separate the people physically into these 2 groups.
…every decision comes with a price tag.
But after this the judgment.
Judgment does not mean damnation. Judgment does not mean destruction. Judgment simply means the judge will make a decision. If you have ever had a favorable court settlement, you have experienced the sweet side of judgment.
By the way, the judge is not angry. But He is righteous, and His judgment is sound. His judgment is accurate. His judgment is flawless. And His judgment is final. And His court is truly supreme, and therefore, there will be no appeal granted that day.
But here is the good news. You may approach the bench this day! You may cast yourself onto the mercy of His court this day. This righteous and just judge is merciful beyond comprehension. Your case can be settled right here and right now!
Before you approach the bench and before you engage the judge, however, you need to understand the charges against you. Until you are cleared, God sees you as a rebel. How is that?
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts. [Proverbs 21:2]
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [Romans 3:23]
How have you sinned? Mostly by living a life of willfully ignoring God and not putting Him first. By not thanking Him for all that you have. By pretending He doesn’t even exist. By rejecting His Son, Jesus.
Lying, stealing, cheating, killing, and lusting after men and women, are all forbidden, but Jesus let us know that the real sins were the hating and desiring that preceded these acts. The real sins are born out of selfishness and Godlessness.
Most people don’t need to be convinced that they are sinners or selfish or rebellious to some degree. Their consciences are working fine. What they (and perhaps you) need to understand is that we will all have to give an account for the things we have done and said.
For the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23]
Regardless of your position on capital punishment, you and I are doomed to a death sentence. Like it or not, we were born into this system, and try as we might, we cannot acquit ourselves. This guilt has us in a state of condemnation. That is, we are marked for destruction. This is not a future determination to be made, but this is our current position until we are reconciled with God.
If you will agree with me that you are a sinner both by nature and by experience, we can now go into the courtroom. If you insist on maintaining your innocence, you will have to go it alone.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. [1 John 1:8-10]
As with any earthly courtroom, your best course of action is to have someone else plead your case for you. Someone who is experienced in all matters of the law. You need a defense lawyer. An advocate. Someone who understands your predicament. Someone who has successfully defended cases like yours. Someone who comes highly recommended.
Let me remind you of what is at stake. Your eternal destiny. Heaven or hell. Forever.
Hell was not made for men, and men were not made for hell…BUT…
A good defense lawyer will save his client during the verdict and sentencing phases of the trial. Keeping you from the eternal ravages of hell: this is the biblical concept of salvation. To be saved, means to be restored to proper standing with God. It comes from the Greek word sozo, which literally means to be made whole in every way.
There is only one defense lawyer in the universe who is capable of saving you and me, and everyone else.
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, [1 Timothy 2:5]
There is no other name…by which men must be saved.
let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole…Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved [Acts 4:12]
That name belongs to Jesus.
Not Buddha. Not Mohammed. Not Confucius. Not the Pope. Not the Dalai Lama. Not Krishna. Not Joseph Smith. Not any other. Not you, and certainly not me.
He is the one and only Savior for all mankind. To deny Jesus is to deny the Father who sent Him.
But that is too narrow, some will say. Don’t worry about what others say. Concern yourself with what Jesus says:
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. [Matthew 7:13]
He said of Himself
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [John 3:16-18]
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life
And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [John 6:40]
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. [Mark 16:16]
There is condemnation in the world, but Jesus did not bring it. He brought the remedy: salvation through Himself.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” [John 14:6]
See, you can’t even begin to approach the bench. You can’t get a hearing with the judge on your own, trying to represent yourself. Now what is utterly amazing about this advocate of ours, is that we didn’t have to go to the yellow pages to find representation. He was already looking for us!
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. [Romans 5:7-10]
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us
Furthermore, (and it is critical that you understand this), you and I have earned death by our sins against God. Jesus paid the price for our punishment by His death. Not only is your Counselor giving you the best representation, He is able to do this because He already served your sentence for you!
I want you to notice something. Salvation is God’s job, and it is God’s gift to you:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 6:23]
You cannot earn this gift; you can only receive it.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. [Ephesians 2:8,9]
Faith here means to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, to believe that you cannot earn salvation by your own works (efforts, good deeds, your own merits, etc.) but that by believing in Him you will receive salvation.
Most lawyers will have you sign some sort of agreement when you do business with them. God uses covenants instead of contracts. God will not require a signature, but will regard your spoken words as good as, if not better, than your handwritten name on a page.
Do you desire Jesus to be your representative before God? Here is how to engage His “services”:
if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.” [Romans 10:9-13]
confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus
The name of the Lord is JESUS. In fact, the very name of Jesus means Yahweh saves or God saves.
The way you indicate that you believe these things is to speak them.
- Say: God, I believe Jesus is Your Son
- Say: God, I believe Jesus died for my sins
- Say: God, I believe You raised Jesus from the dead
- Say: God, I believe Jesus spoke truly saying He is the only way to You
- Say: God forgive me for living without You.
- Say: God I have sinned against You.
- Confess your sins to Him. Out loud. “Lord, forgive me for…”
- Renounce any dealings you have had with evil.
- Renounce and forsake all other gods
This is what it means to confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus:
- Say: Jesus is Lord of all.
- Say: Jesus is my Lord. (That means He is your master. He is your boss. Learn what it means, and make every effort to obey Him)
- Say: Thank you for saving me.
- Say: Thank you for dying for me. Help me to live for You.
Ask: Lord, baptize me with your Holy Spirit! Fill me with your Spirit!
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! [Luke 11:13]
Now believe that you have eternal life, because God, who holds all things together by the power of His word, has declared it so:
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. [1 John 5:10-13]
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life
If you don’t own one, purchase a bible. I like the New King James for its readability and because it is pretty true to the King James, but using modern English. Start reading the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. Concentrate on what Jesus says to do, and do it. If you want a great (and free!) computer bible try this one http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Begin and end every day praying to God. Develop a relationship. Have a dialog with Him throughout the day. Tell Him how much you love Him. Invite Him into every aspect of your life.
Find a church that declares God’s word to be every bit as true today as it was back then, because it is. Find one that preaches and teaches about the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Find one that proclaims God is still in the miracle business, because He is. Find one that teaches and believes all the magnificent promises of God.
Find one that believes Mark 16:17-18, because not all do.
And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. [Mark 16:17,18]