Part 3 of 4
You can download the entire message here: http://www.seriousfaith.com/Sinners.pdf
So the truth is, regardless of our opinion of it, is that every person is held by the hand of God over the fires of hell. We deserve to be dropped into the pit, and our sin has already secured our just and rightful place in the fire.
God is very angry over our sin, and rightfully so. His anger is just as great towards us as it is towards those who are already suffering in hell. We have done nothing to diminish God’s anger, neither is God obligated in any way to keep us from being dropped into hell at this very moment. (again, I speak of those outside of Christ)
The Devil wants each of them. Hell is open wide. The flames burn fiercely.
The sinner craves their sinfulness and has no interest in God. They could fall into hell at any moment and have no promise of one more second of delay. They have no place of safety they can run to; nothing to hold on to that will keep them from falling.
All that keeps them from hell this very moment is the will, mercy and pleasure of God; the same God who has no obligation or promise to protect them for one more second; the same God who is very, very angry over sin.
So how does this truth apply to us?
How should we respond?
We don’t hear a lot of straightforward talk about hell today. It’s not considered polite or “friendly”. My word, folks! Of course it’s not friendly! You’re talking about confronting someone with the awful reality of eternal condemnation that could start any second!
By discussing this terrible subject, it might certainly wake up the unrepentant sinners who hear about hell; for what we have said to this point is true for every person outside of Jesus Christ.
The place of misery, full of fire and torment and the raging wrath of God is waiting below each and every person who has not yet responded to Christ’s Gospel. Hell is the horrible pit of fire, burning, waiting to devour you. You have nothing to keep you safe from it; there is nothing but thin air between you and hell. Only the power and wish of a merciful God keeps you from going there right this moment.
You probably aren’t even aware of this; you know you aren’t in hell, but you don’t realize that only the hand of God keeps you from it. Instead you focus on the state of your physical existence, your health, your possessions and everything you do to take care of yourself.
But these things are nothing! If God moves His hand, they will no more keep you one second from hell than thin air can keep you from falling!
Your wickedness weighs you down so that you are headed even more surely downward towards hell; if God decides to let go, you would plunge with great speed into the bottomless pit… then what would your worldly possessions mean? Your health and riches cannot slow down or stop your fall any more than a spider web could stop a falling boulder.
If it was not for the mercy and will of God, you would not be on this earth one second longer. You are a part of the sinful curse that causes the creation to groan in death; for the whole world is in bondage to sin. The sun does not shine on you and give you light so that you may sin against its Creator; it only does so because of the curse of sin. The Earth does not willingly produce food so you can grow strong and pursue your wickedness; it does so because of the curse of sin. Air was not created to fill your lungs so you could curse God.
God’s creation was created for good, all things in it were made to help man serve and worship God. The creation and its creatures groan because they are now forced to help wicked men profane the name of God by their wickedness.
The world would spew out the wicked if it were not for God’s hand keeping it from happening. The black clouds of God’s anger hang directly overhead of the wicked; the storm of wrath is raging and were it not for God’s restraint, it would consume every sinner in an instant.
The sovereign pleasure of God, for a while, holds back the storm; otherwise it would rush upon us with destruction like a hurricane or tornado on a pile of hay.
The anger of God over sin is alike a great body of water that is held back by a dam; the water keeps rising and rising until it finds some way to escape. The longer the source of water is held back, the more intense and quickly it will travel when finally let loose.
It is often true, that punishment is delayed for a sinner’s wickedness; God’s judgment is withheld for a time; but your guilt and punishment are building up constantly and becoming more and more intense. Only the mercy of God keeps your punishment from coming immediately and swiftly.
If God should simply move His hand, the floods of His fierce wrath would wash us away with inconceivable fury; they would rush on you with all the power of God. If you were one million times stronger than you are now or even if you were the strongest being who has ever existed on earth or in heaven, you still could not withstand God’s rage for even one second.
The bow of God’s anger is flexed, and an arrow of fury is drawn back, pointed straight for your heart. Only God keeps the arrow from its flight. Even though He is angry over your sin, and He is under no obligation to restrain the arrow, it is only His mercy and restraint that keeps the arrow from plunging into your heart.
Make no mistake, every person who has not been given a new heart by Christ; every person who is not indwelled with the Holy Spirit of God; every person who is not born again into a new creature of Christ, saved sin; every person who has not experienced the life and light of God are right now at this very moment in the hands of an angry God.
No matter how many things you have changed in your life, no matter how religious you have been, no matter if you have played “church” all your life, it doesn’t matter. If you have not believed and obeyed Jesus Christ you are only one moment from being swallowed up into eternal hell.
It really doesn’t matter whether you are convinced of this truth now; you will be. Every single person who has ever died in their sins knows the truth about hell. The truth came upon them suddenly and with complete finality. One moment they were denying that hell existed, and the next moment they were regretting it. While the words “peace and safety” were coming from their lips, the very things they were placing their hope and trust in disappeared into empty shadows.
God holds you from falling into hell much the same way someone would hold a spider or creepy insect over a fire. This same God hates your sin and is terribly angry at your wickedness. His wrath burns to be satisfied, to cast the sinner into the flames, worthy of nothing but death because the eyes of God are too holy to look upon sin.
Our sin is ten thousands time more awful to God than the worst rottenness in the world is to us. We offend God infinitely more than any other human has ever offended us no matter terrible or destructive their offense may be. And yet, if you do not belong to Christ, it is the hand of this very same offended God that keeps you from going to hell this very moment.
There is no other reason than God that a lost sinner is not this very moment entering the flames of hell; or that they woke up this moment here and not in torment. There is no other reason than God that death has not come at some point on this day to take the sinner to hell. There is no other reason than the good will of God why any lost person reading this very sentence does not die instantly and be lost forever.
Listen to me! Think about the terrible danger you are in if you have not obeyed the words of Jesus Christ. You are one moment from being in the flames of hell, the bottomless pit, the fire of God’s wrath which has been inflamed as much by your sin as the sin of those who are already in hell.
You are held from hell by slender thread with the flames rising up all around. At any moment the fire could burn the thread in two and drop you. How can you go on uninterested in God? No one else can save you, certainly not you yourself. Nothing about you, nothing you have ever done, nothing you possess can save you. Nothing about YOU can keep you from going to hell right this moment. Consider these things:
1. Whose anger are we talking about? The Infinite God’s, that’s who! If we were simply speaking of a man, even someone powerful like a president, then it would be comparatively easy to ignore. The wrath of a king or dictator who has the power of life and death in their hands no doubt is a scary thing.
Proverbs 20:2 The wrath of a king is like the roaring of a lion; Whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life. (NKJV)
The person who enrages a tyrannical dictator is probably going to suffer, maybe even be tortured cruelly. But the very worst that any earthly power can inflict on man even with all the resources of wickedness at their disposal is nothing more than an insignificant speck of nothing compared to the power of the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
In reality, there is comparatively little harm men can inflict on each other, even at its very worst and most furious. All the power of all men on the whole earth is like a grasshopper compared to God; we are like nothing, no, less than nothing!
The wrath of God is infinitely greater that all the power of man, as is His majesty and power:
Luke 12:4-5 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (NKJV)
It is the intensity of God’s wrath that the lost sinner is exposed to. Consider some of these descriptions of God’s fury (emphasis mine):
Isaiah 59:18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies; The coastlands He will fully repay. (NKJV)
Isaiah 66:15 For behold, the Lord will come with fire And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. (NKJV)
Revelation Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (NKJV)
These are some pretty scary images! The “wrath of God” is fearsome enough but notice it says the “fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” The fury of God, the burning anger of Jehovah… how awful and frightening that must be!
Who can imagine what that really means? No matter how terrible we can imagine it, it must be exponentially worse. It’s not just “wrath” but “fierceness and wrath”! Think of how bad it would be to feel the fierceness and wrath of some terrible human dictator who unleashed all of his anger and torment on some poor victim…
How much more terrible must it be then for those who feel the fierceness and wrath of God? What will become of the pitiful soul who is the target of the fury of God? Who could endure it? Whose heart will not melt?
Can you imagine the depth of misery that will be experienced by any poor creature who is object of God’s anger? If you have not repented of your sins and obeyed Jesus Christ, think about this:
God will turn His anger and fury on you without pity, without mercy, without relenting.
When God looks down on you in all your suffering and sees that it is infinitely too much for you to bear, that your suffering is immense compared to your ability to endure it, that your soul is crushed and broken in infinite gloom and despair… He will have NO compassion on you. None.
God will not stop nor lessen His execution of anger, torment and wrath upon you in the slightest amount. There will be no breaks, no relief, no mercy. In no way at all will God let up pouring out His vengeance on the soul who has denied Him.
God will have no regard or care for you except for one thing: you will not suffer beyond what strict holy justice requires. Nothing will be withheld no matter how unbearable it will be.
Ezekiel Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.” (NKJV)
Right now, this moment, God has pity on you. Today, God has mercy on you and offering you a chance to escape the coming storm. You can cry out to God this second and He will hear you and show you love and mercy.
But once the day of mercy has passed, it will not matter how much you beg and plead, or cry and repent, or scream and suffer… it will be too late. You will be completely lost and God will not take you back. He will not be concerned with your welfare at that point.
God will have no other purpose or use for you than to see that you suffer. You shall exist for all eternity with no other reason than to be tormented and punished. You will be a container for God’s wrath, good for no other use. God will be so deaf to your cries, and so far from showing you any mercy that it is said He will only “laugh and make fun” you (Prov. 1.25-26)
How terrible are these words! This is not the God that we hear about today. This wrath and fury are foreign to us today. And not by accident. How much more would sinful men stop and listen if they believed the truth about hell and eternity!
End Part 3 of 4
You can download the entire message here: http://www.seriousfaith.com/Sinners.pdf