Summary: This message is a very basic and very real explanation of salvation.
INTRO: In 1981, a Minnesota radio station reported a story about a stolen car in California. Police were staging an intense search for the vehicle and the driver, even to the point of placing announcements on local radio stations to contact the thief. On the front seat of the stolen car sat a box of crackers that, unknown to the thief, were laced with poison. The car owner had intended to use the crackers as rat bait. Now the police and the owner of the VW Bug were more interested in apprehending the thief to save his life than to recover the car. So often when we run from God, we feel it is to escape his punishment. But what we are actually doing is eluding his rescue.
TRANSITION: Those that live in the world see their lifestyle of running a way from God, but the real reason God is chasing is to save them. Personally, I am glad that he saved me and that day of my life will remain the single greatest day of my entire existence.
WILL YOU LET GOD RESCUE YOU?
LEADERS: As of press time, I am not sure if I will or will not share my testimony here, but I would like you to share your testimony of how Christ called you to him. More than likely I will go over these next points in order to be exactly clear 100%.
1. YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
A. I know this is shocking, and I don’t mean to scare anyone whatsoever. Just because today you are one day closer to your death than you ever have in your life does not mean that you should be frightened by that fact.
B. One of the oddest stories about death I have ever heard is the story of Aeschylus. According to legend, Aeschylus was an Athenian veteran of the Battle of the Marathon and at the Battle of the Salamis who helped the Greeks fend of the Persians. He was a leader of the great Greek navy. He was a great orator and was giving a speech. While speaking, an eagle dropped a turtle on his bald head thinking it was a rock and killed him instantly.
I mean I know it’s cliché to say, “hey you could die in a car accident on the way home here,” but to have a little more ease with the issue I guess I’ll say that “you could die from a falling turtle on the way home from here” in order to soften the blow.
C. BIBLE VERSE: Psalm 139:16
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
This verse tells us that as clear as we have a birth date, we also have a death date. Our days our numbered and our end is as clearly predestined by God as our beginning.
2. YOU ARE GOING TO FACE JUDGEMENT
Which one will you face?
What Tom, there are two judgments…that is crazy! Because I have been told my entire life that we stand before God and he either sees me and my sin or he sees someone who is as white as snow. What in the world are you talking about?
Okay, let’s back track and look at a bible verse here.
BIBLE VERSE: Hebrews 9:27
And, as it is appointed onto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
Yes, we are going to be judged. But it won’t exactly be standing in a court room, our guilt or innocence will already be determined upon our death.
For the unbeliever:
They will be told “away from me for I never knew you (Matthew 7:23).” Then years later after being in hell for a long time, they face the Great White Throne Judgment as described below.
A. THE BEMA SEAT JUDGEMENT
The Bema Seat Judgment (otherwise known as the Judgment Seat of Christ) is referred to in 2 Corinthians 5:10. Though I don’t want to speculate incorrectly or go into too much detail and risk being Biblically wrong…the Bema Seat Judgment is the 2nd judgment of the believer. This takes place after admission into heaven. In basic terms, it is God’s evaluation for how you lived your life AFTER you received heaven as your eternal reward. The scriptures don’t imply this to be scary, but, if a person accepts Christ at age 18 and spends 50 years of their life on earth never witnessing and never attending fellowships, well I can imagine this judgment could be uncomfortable.
B. THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
The Great White Throne Judgment is the 2nd judgment of the non-believer who is already in hell. Revelation 20:11-15 explains that this is the judgment that sends a person’s soul from hell (which is already a horribly awful place) into the Lake of Fire (which is evidently much worse). Satan himself will be thrown into this as the scriptures clearly state.