Summary: The Apostle Peter reassures us: There will be a final judgment. Also we look at the reality of hell, and why people refuse to believe in it - SIN, they want to justify their sin. See sermon for details......
A little note about the sermon title: I had a little boy say outloud "Hell In A Handbasket". His mom said sternly: "Where did you hear such a thing?" "I was just reading the sermon title mommy". Maybe I should have gone with my alternate title: H. E. double toothpicks.
An old sourdough [that’s what we call old Alaskans who have toughed it out – for you all outside Alaska] was on his deathbed and he knew his time was near. So he called over his faithful wife, “Erma…come along side will ya…I got to get your help before I go.” Erma leaned closely over the old sourdough. “Erma, will go to the fireplace an, an pull out the third stone fro the top…an reach in there, way back…” Erma did as she was told and there she found a mason jar stuffed with cash. “Bring ‘er over here Erma and I’ll tell ya what yer gonna do with it. See, I’m taking it to heaven with me. So here’s what I want you to do: take this old mason jar and put it up in the rafters and when my time comes, I’ll grab it on my way up.” Old Erma fulfilled her husbands last request and place the mason jar on a ledge up in the rafters. Well, the old sourdough was right and his time came quickly. The funeral went very well and Erma was able to see many long lost friends. After three days she realized that she thought to herself, “I wonder what happened to the old mason jar.” So she went up to the rafters and there sat the old mason jar just as she had left it. She looked inside and all the cash was still there. “Oh my”, she said out loud, “I new I shoulda place the jar in the basement”.
As we look at our Scripture today…this is great stuff. There is so much here that is pertinent for our lives today. I have loved going through 1 & 2 Peter, haven’t you – the Apostle Peter is right on the money about how life works, isn’t he?
What Peter is dealing with in this chapter is folks who only believe in beautiful things.
They do not believe in a last judgment.
They do not believe in demonic beings.
They certainly don’t believe in hell.
Today, these people might, have a “random acts of kindness bumper sticker” on their car; believe that evil is a social concept, and education can overcome any evil; might tell you that a positive attitude is everything; might tell you that, if you love Jesus, all you problems will go away; might tell you that if there is a hell the only people in Hell are, Hitler, Stalin, and their ex husband or ex wife; and they might tell you that since God is love, we are all bound for heaven…
A Sunday School teacher was testing the children in her Sunday school class one morning, to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven.
"If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?"
"NO!" the children answered.
"If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?"
Again, the answer was, "NO!"
She was just getting going….
"Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?"
Again, they all answered, "NO!"
She was just bursting with pride for them.
Well, I continued, "then how can I get into Heaven?"
A five-year-old boy shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD."
Researchers who ask people about heaven and hell
get the same conclusion over and over - a majority of people believe in heaven. Hardly anyone believes in hell.
Why is that? I think there are four primary reasons:
1. People do not understand righteousness.
2. People do not see that we live in a spiritual world.
3. People can’t imagine that they personally could go to hell.
And the most common reason
4. They inadvertently are justifying sin in their life.
They are living in a clouded spiritual reality.
Peter tells us today what reality is. As always, it would be great if you keep you bible open, we are going to refer to it a lot.
Right up front there in the first verse Peter stops us cold."There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you." Not that there may be, or that it is conceivably possible, but that there are – Peter uses the future tense to indicate both now and in the future. We should expect false teacher to arise.