30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM

Clarksville church of Christ

April 16, 2000

Speaker: Richie Thetford

"Are You Ready for the Judgment Day?"

Good morning and welcome to another presentation of "What Is Truth?" I'm Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ, thanking each and every one you for taking the time to listen this morning as we examine a very important truth of God's word. I have no way of really knowing how many may be listening to these 30 minutes of God's word presented each Sunday morning at this time here on WAVG radio, but it is my hope and prayer that those of you that are listening today will honestly examine your heart to ensure that you are in fact doing only those things religiously that are pleasing to God. As we discuss the lesson of the hour entitled"Are You Ready for the Judgment Day?" this morning, I want to encourage you to have your Bible readily available so that you can examine the scriptures to make sure that what I am presenting is in fact God's will for you and not my will. It is my hope that each one of you this morning will have the kind of heart that the Bereans did back in the first century. It was said of them that "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). Also the apostle John warns us that we should "....not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). Of all the things that could be labeled upon a man, I certainly don't want to be labeled as a false prophet or teacher. I want you to be able to see for yourself that what I am saying concerning those things that we need to do religiously is found in the Bible. Anything that we are taught by any man should be able to be backed up by book, chapter, and verse in our Bible. If I or anyone cannot do that, then they deserve the label "false teacher." Friends, please have your Bible ready and let's study together another truth of God. Today, we will be looking at the fact that there will be a judgment day and the Bible tells us that we all should be prepared for that day. No man knows when the end of time will be, therefore, we should be ready for that great moment always.

Jesus stated, "The word that I speak, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). This brings us to the lesson for the morning. There is an appointed day wherein God will judge the world. The inspired apostle Paul states, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31). Hebrews 9:27, states, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." Paul also records, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10). These verses clearly teach that all will be there. YOU shall be there. I shall be there. It matters not whether we shall be ready for that day or not. We shall all be there.

God's justice demands a judgment. The good are not always rewarded here. They often suffer. The wicked often escape; many seem to prosper. The Judgment will equalize all injustice which we see around us today. Make no mistake about it my listening audience. There is one thing that is stressed over and over in the Bible and that is the fact that we shall all stand before Jehovah God and be judged. I believe, based upon what the Bible teaches, that there are going to be a number of things about the Judgment that will surprise many people.

First, the masses will be surprised to find it a reality. The infidel, the agnostic, those who deny the reality of hell shall be surprised that it is real. Jesus taught the great lesson of the judgment scene in Matthew 25, when He stated that "all nations" will be there and they shall be separated, as the shepherd separates the goats from the sheep. I believe it would do us good to take a moment here and read those verses concerning what Jesus tells us about the judgment day to come. Please have your Bible ready and turn to Matthew, chapter 25. We will read verses 31-46."When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 'I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Friends, did you hear that last verse? He states that the wicked shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into eternal life. There are many who claim to be religious who do not believe in the reality of Hell. In fact, there seems to be many who believe in Christ that act as if they do not believe in the reality of eternal Hell. But, you will notice however long eternal life shall be is the same duration of eternal punishment.

Second, the time of the judgment will be a surprise to many. There have been many who have attempted to set the time of the end. We have heard many in our own lifetime who predicted Y2K as the end. Charles G. Long, Pasadena, California, in his book, "Remnant of the Church," said, September 29, 1945 or the fall of 1946 would be the end of time. Evidently, he was mistaken. Mr. Hal Lindsey said all would end in 1985. William Miller said it would be in 1843. Some of our religious neighbors said 1918, then 1928, then 1980, etc. How many guesses should one get before they are identified as a false teacher? No, none who have lived, nor any who shall live, are able to know the time of the Judgment. Jesus very clearly stated that no one knows when the time shall be. Read Matthew 24:35 for His statement.

Third, the purpose of the coming Judgment will be a surprise to many. When the judgment scene unveils, it will not be a day of inquiry, nor a trial to determine guilt or innocence. Man will not be there to plead his case before Jehovah God. We shall not be there to be purged from some sin. All shall be there to be judged, to have sentence passed. When a prisoner stands before a judge to receive sentencing, the time of debate is over. The time of arguments are over. Now it is time to pass sentence upon the guilty. And so shall it be in the judgment day. The unbeliever, the disobedient, the wicked, shall hear the Lord say, "Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity." There will be no second chance after death to change our mind, or to correct our choices. Another point that should be made clear is: That day will not be a day to restore anything to fleshly Israel. Fleshly Israel of old has already received all of the promises and blessings which Jehovah made to them in the long ago. But, that is another complete study which we will study at a later date.

Another surprise will be the standard to be used in Judging. This will truly be a great surprise to many. Many shall be surprised to learn that the standard of judgment will not be Human creeds, articles of faith, disciplines, manuals, or Catechisms. The standard of judgment will not be the religion of our parents; it will not be our own lofty human wisdom; nor our own goodness or morality. It will not be our honesty, nor our sincerity, nor our feelings. We shall all be judged by the Word of God. We noted earlier John 12:48, where Jesus said the word which I speak shall judge you. Paul states, "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ" (Romans 2:16). In Romans 1:16, we read, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." We will all be judged strictly by the Bible, the word of God. That is why it is so vitally important that we study so as to know what we must do in order to be saved on that judgment day. We are going to be held responsible for what we did in our life here on earth. For this very reason, how careful we must be as to how we treat His Word. Are you ready to be judged by that Word? Are you obedient to it? Have you allowed it to be your guide? Do you do all that it says, nothing more, and nothing less. You see, we must speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent. For by that word we shall all be judged. Jesus stated in Matthew 7:21: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." What a surprise that will be to many.

Another surprise at the Judgment will be the basis for judgment. At the judgment both the alien sinner (that is the one who has never made any attempt to do God's will) and the slothful church member will be surprised to find that judgment will be based upon one's obedience to God's word. It will be based upon our deeds, our works, our life that we lived. We read earlier from 2 Corinthians 5:10, but let us notice it again, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." Does it make any difference what we do? Most assuredly it does. One cannot live like the devil and expect the Lord to usher them into Heaven. Jesus says that even our words shall be important. "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:36-37).

Sometimes we hear religious people say, "It makes no difference how a person lives, if one is the child of God, they shall be saved." Such is the voice of Satan. This is not to say that we can by our own inventions and our own meritorious works gain Heaven, that the Lord will owe us salvation. It is to say that my life must be lived in complete obedience to His every command. Jesus said, "I must work the works of Him who sent Me" (John 9:4). Can we do any less? Are you ready to meet the Lord? Are you doing His commandments? Is your life motivated with the desire to find out what the will of the Lord is and then to do it with all your might? Yes, we shall all be judged by the life we have lived while here in the flesh.

Where judgment begins will be a surprise to many. Please turn now in your Bible to 1 Peter 4:17-18, "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" Many members of the church will be surprised to find that judgment will begin with the church. So states the apostle Peter. Thus, how careful each child of God must be to continue to "walk in the light" each day that we live and to keep our calling and election sure. Again, I ask the question for all to ponder: Are you ready? Are you prepared? What would you say to Christ if you were called this very day to stand before Him? You see, God's children shall be judged as to our faithfulness and our obedience. Paul states, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11-12). Must the Christian live "soberly, righteously and godly in the present world?" Yes, now, and at all times. Does this mean that we become sinlessly perfect? No, as long as we live in the flesh we are susceptible to sin. But by repentance and prayer, we can live each day in a right relationship with our God. One cannot flagrantly disobey God and expect to be accepted by Him. If one does not listen to Jehovah speak, why should Jehovah listen to him or her.

Many shall be surprised at the Judgment when they are turned away. I am reminded of the words of our Lord in Matthew 7, beginning with verse 21 reading through verse 23, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" You see, it is not enough to do something, unless that something is in harmony with God's will. Those to whom the Lord spoke were laboring outside the law or revealed truth of heaven.

Others will be surprised that the day of Judgment will be so final. It will be for eternity. There will be no escape, no passing from one realm to the other. Jesus made that very clear in the lesson of the rich man and Lazarus. I want to encourage you to read Luke 16:19-31 for the account of the death and conversation of the rich man and Lazarus. As we stated earlier in this lesson, there will be no second chance after death to make your life right. So, how careful we must be NOW, TODAY, each day that we live. Death is final, the judgment is final, and our eternal resting place is final.

As my time is escaping, allow me to ask of you some questions. Do you think you can be saved without obeying the gospel of Christ Jesus? If so, you shall be surprised at the judgment day. The apostle Paul says "and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). My friend, that is not what I think about the matter, that is what the inspired writer says. God says vengeance to all those who do not obey the gospel. Question: Do you think you can be saved without being baptized? How surprised you shall be to find out that the Lord says, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). Saul was to told, "Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins" (Acts 22:16).

To those who are members of God's family, I ask, Do you think you can be saved without worshiping your God on a regular basis? Do you think you can be saved without being faithful to our Lord. All of these thoughts are to encourage each one to be faithful in the discharge of our duties to serve our King because the judgment day is coming and we must be ready. Are you ready?

This is Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ thanking each of you for listening to this morning's broadcast and invite you to listen again next Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M. for another presentation of "What Is Truth?"