Summary: THE SEVERITY OF HELL SHOULD INFLUENCE OUR BEHAVIOR!
ETERNITY MATTERS IV: THE SEVERITY OF IT: HELL
MATTHEW 5: 13 – 30
FEBRUARY 2, 2003
INTRODUCTION: Story: Dr. Ian Paisley, the fiery Irish cleric and politician was reputed to have been preaching one Sunday on the End Times - and in particular on the Day of Judgment.
As he reached the climax of his address he said that on the Day of Judgment "there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth".
At which point an old woman put up her hand and said "Dr. Paisley, I have no teeth"
Paisley replied, "Madam, teeth will be provided."
Contributed by: Martin Dale
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for today speaks of action with purpose. We are called to be verbs in a world of nouns. Jesus was a man of action. He calls us to be no less. We have been consumed in the past with legalism, actually the fear of action. If we did nothing, we could do no wrong. We have been caught up in the don’ts, but Jesus also calls us to the world of dos. But why does Jesus call us to action? What is it that is so important that Jesus speaks to us in the imperative? Our text speaks of Eternity Matters. Jesus states that Matters of Eternity must be considered. Just as Dr. Paisley assured this elderly woman of teeth in eternity, Jesus assures us that eternity is broken up in to two locations, Heaven and Hell! And to this He adds, Hell must be avoided at all cost! So HE teaches us that…
THESIS SENTENCE: THE SEVERITY OF HELL SHOULD INFLUENCE OUR BEHAVIOR!
There’s little difference in ethical behavior between the churched and the unchurched. There’s as much pilferage and dishonesty among the churched as the unchurched. And I’m afraid that applies pretty much across the board: Religion, per se, is not really life changing. People cite it as important, for instance, in overcoming depression--but it doesn’t have primacy in determining behavior.
George H. Gallup, "Vital Signs," Leadership, Fall 1987, p. 17.
I. THE SEVERITY OF HELL SHOULD PROPELL US INTO POSITIVE BEHAVIORS VV. 13 -- 20
1. We have heard since the beginning of our Christian life that we were to be salt and light, but have you ever gotten a real grasp on this truth. Often we over looked what appears to be common knowledge or at least easy to discern information assuming we understand it and others do as well.
2. One of the first truths of these statements is they are imperatives, Jesus states this is “WHO YOU ARE.” You don’t have a choice in the matter, if you have asked Jesus to be your Savior, YOU ARE SALT AND LIGHT.
3. The next important truth here is the “YOU” is plural. Jesus is here referring to the whole church, to those that have received Him as Savior as ONE GROUP. 4. Unity is overly stated here. Jesus speaks to us as a unit, as a troupe of enlisted soldiers. We belong together and we are labeled as HIS own!
A. POSITIVE BEHAVIOR IS A RED HOT CHILI PEPPER
1. Now to the truth of Red Hot Chili peppers.
2. Salt in this context is that of flavoring.
ILLUSTRATION: The other night on the discovery channel, or the Animal Planet channel, they were discussing a monkey that washes its food in the sea. And not only does it wash its food, it actually over washes it. One of the thoughts is that it is not really washing its food, but seasoning it.
3. You see Jesus is not here referring to status, but to function. He is not saying you are a cured ham, though some of us are, He is stating that we are to add zest to life. We are called to be MENTOS!
4. For our context concerning Heaven and Hell, this would refer to those that are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good.
5. And the command is for the WHOLE EARTH, “You are the Salt of the Earth.” 6. “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
7. The call is to positive behavior, based on the severity of Hell. It means that we must add flavor to the Life of the world. This sounds like the ABUNDANT LIFE THAT OUR CHARISMATIC BROTHERS SEEM TO BE SO SUCCESSFUL AT SHARING. IT MAKES A REAL DIFFERENCE IN HOW YOU LIVE!
B. POSITIVE BEHAVIOR CAUSES OTHERS TO WEAR SUNGLASS (AT NIGHT) 1. Jesus tells us in John 8: 12 “I am the light of the world.”
2. Paul declared that he had glimpsed “The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (II Corinthians 4: 6).”