Summary: Message focuses on the Great White Throne Judgement of unbelievers, emphasizing the seriousness of passing into eternity without Christ. Unbelievers should be alerted to these realities, and believers should be equipped and motivated to share the gospel.
Last week we talked about what the Gospel is and the importance of that message. Today I want to take as our subject, the Urgency of the Gospel. I want to use a passage in Revelation 20 to impress this upon our minds.
Come with me to the last great event of human history. This is the end of the world. This is final judgement day. We do not have all the details about this; but God has let us know how the world will end. He has revealed in His word the way the current order of things will conclude. He has shown us how the eternal kingdom will begin. And most importantly, He has told us how our decisions now will affect our eternal state. It seems to me that is pretty important stuff. I hope you make an A in that class you’re taking; but how important is that in relationship to your condition for all of eternity. I hope the home team wins the game; but either way you’ll be ok. I hope you get that promotion or that better job; but I’m even more interested in where you will be 10 billion years from now. Nothing should take priority over that!
So we go to our text Rev 20:11-15. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”i
This morning we will examine the nature of this event, the necessity of this judgement, and then we will apply all that to the urgency of the gospel.
I. Nature of this Event
A. Overwhelming in its Majesty.
John describes the scene, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.” The Judge of All the earth has taken His seat in the court room of Heaven. John sees Him there on His throne—a white throne, symbolic of radiance, glory, and most importantly purity. It is a day like no other day. The glory of the King overshadows all else. His gaze penetrates and intimidates even the heavens. All things are naked and bare before Him. No place to hide, no place to flee, no one escapes the accountability of the day.
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it….” Who sits on this throne? Who possesses such indescribable authority and majesty? Who is worthy to execute this judgement upon these multitudes?
John 5 gives a clear answer to that question. “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him (vs 22-23).” Verse 26-30 “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
The Father has given Him authority to execute judgment over all mankind, because He is the Son of Man. He who sits on this throne is both God and man. He is both Son of God and Son of Man. Do you know Jesus in this light?
Is this the one who slept in a stinky manger as a babe because there is no room for Him in the inn? Is this He who tenderly sits little children on His lap and teaches His followers lessons on humility? Is this the one who stooped down to wash the disciples feet, even the feet of Judas? Is this He who stood silent as Pilot’s soldiers slapped his face and spat on Him? Do you see how far down He came to bring you and me salvation? Do you see the contrast to who He is in all His glory, and the depths He stooped to lift us up. This is your King. He laid it all down to be a sacrifice for. But in our text John sees Him seated—now Pilot stands before his Judge. Now Herod gives account to Him. Now He has taken up His rightful place as Judge of All.