Summary: We’re continuing in our series entitled “AfterLife”… where we’ve looked at the reality of life after death… of eternity with God.
The Day of Reckoning
Brad Bailey – May 18, 2014
We’re continuing in our series entitled “AfterLife”… where we’ve looked at the reality of life after death… of eternity with God. Over the past two weeks we heard what God reveals about a climatic renewal or restoration in which a new heaven and earth emerge…and merge.
Even as physicists begin to recognize that there must be another dimension that operates outside of time and space as we know it….the Scriptures have always been revealing a dimension where time and space as we know it exist…an eternal realm… from which an eternal God reigns.
Today… we must consider the significance of where we stand in relationship to eternity.
There’s a cemetery in Indiana with a tombstone (over 100 years old) which bears the following epitaph:
“Pause stranger, when you pass me by, As you now are, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be, So prepare for death and follow me.”
An unknown passerby read those words and underneath scratched this reply:
“To follow you I’m not content,
Until I know which way you went.”
This passerby had great wisdom… for in our culture today we tend to give little real thought to heaven and even less thought to hell...to facing an eternal judgment.
This morning I want to let the light of God’s Word fall on this sensitive subject.
The subject of eternal judgment and hell comes with a lot of barriers in our minds and hearts…that we may need to transcend.
• There are barriers that come from the way we have created cartoonish images of hell.
• There are barriers that arise because of the way it has been misused.
• There are barriers with reconciling how God could both love a world…and also bear wrath and judgment.
• There are barriers because we love people…people we just don’t know how to awaken to their need to turn to God.
While the scope or sensitivity of such issues is beyond our short time to fully engage…I believe whatever light we can gain is vital.
[PRAY – We come as those with perceptions that are limited. As Jesus prayed, we pray that we would have eyes to see and ears to hear.]
The central issue we’re engaging…is that of SEPARATION.
What is the ultimate destiny of that which is now separated from God?
That is what the Scriptures speak of… beginning with some general images in the Old Testament writings…. to very pointed warnings by Jesus…to the apostles …and to the vision of Revelation.
In the Book of Revelation, we are given a vision of the final judgment that comes at the end of “this age”… the culmination of history as we know it.
Revelation 20:11-15 (NIV)
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
In five verses John discloses the end of cosmic time and thus the end of this world’s history. God’s plan has been fulfilled and everything that had to be taken care of has been completed.
God now calls everyone into his courtroom, …all those who ever lived are brought before God… it is a scene in which it says even the former earth and sky (heavens) cannot remain…for they too are about to be given a re-created eternal state.
The throne is described as great…a term John used several times in Revelation to describe something that is larger than life…something of dimension beyond earthly proportion. And it is white…which does not refer to a color but to its purity…and perfection.
Every life will be judged… books… reflecting a judgment of actions and possibly rewards…and the Book of Life which reflects the position towards God one has chosen… reliance.. or defiance.
The division between the saints and the ungodly is irrevocable and final. The ones whose names are recorded in the book of life are forever with the Lord, but those who have rejected him are forever cut off. 
It is a day of reckoning that culminates with a ‘lake of fire.’ This is part of what is often spoken of as “hell.”