GREAT ATTENTION PAID TO EVIL MEN DYING
James E. Farley
During the first eight months of 2009, a great
many famous, worldly and evil people have passed from this life
to their eternal reward. These were people who were not
Christians. They were people who enjoyed the great rewards of
this carnal and evil world. Many of them were in the field of
entertainment and politics, and they espoused and promoted very
evil lifestyles and philosophies. However, to hear most of the
worldly pundits and news analysts speak, you would believe that
all of these are now in heaven enjoying eternal rest and bliss.
The Bible tells a different story!
One who recently died spent several decades
in the U.S. Senate where he championed an extreme liberal agenda.
He was very much pro-abortion (pro-death). One of the guests on a
news program pointed out some of the many positions this senator
held and really emphasized this mans position concerning
killing unborn babies. The anchor interrupted quickly and stated,
Well, if you were an angel, it would indeed be an
interesting discussion to hear between him and St. Peter.
Then stated, But he was a devout Roman Catholic, so we
really should not judge in this matter. His point was that
we should not judge in matters of a persons faith -- a
position shared with most religious people these days.
Here is the real problem in our society. This
senator advocated for and labored hard to
promote abortion on demand for decades. He was a
supporter of the late-term partial birth abortion. The
anchor of this news program, a devote Roman Catholic himself, did
not want to judge one of his brothers in that faith. He is
anti-abortion, but seemed to imply that this senator was going to
be ushered into glory in spite of his evil doctrines concerning
abortion. If people would go back to the Bible and allow God to
guide their hearts and minds through the Word, they would not
make such ridiculous arguments. This senator died supporting and
promoting something that God hates; the shedding of innocent
blood (Prov. 6:16-19).
God has already pronounced judgment
concerning these matters. We can read about it in the verbally
inspired Word of God. This mans stand on abortion, not to
mention his false religion of Catholicism, is what causes him to
be lost eternally. He made certain decisions and choices in his
life, and will now have to embrace the destiny brought about by
what he chose to champion. He will stand in the Judgment one day
and his works, in the Senate and elsewhere, will be compared with
what is written in the Word of God (John 12:48; 2 Cor. 5:10-11;
Rev. 20:11-15). This will be a righteous judgment, for it is
based upon Gods revealed righteousness (Acts 17:30-31; Rom.
We can make a righteous judgment about those
who are outside of Christ and who espouse evil positions that are
contrary to the teaching of God. We are to make righteous
judgments ourselves (John 7:24). We are commanded to try the
spirits whether they are of God (1 John 4:1). If one
advocates a teaching and practice contrary to what Gods Word
teaches, we can judge according to what God said on the subject.
We can know this person does not have God (2 John 9-11). We can
indeed know the truth (John 8:31-32). We can
understand Gods Will for mankind (Eph. 5:17; Compare Psalm
The story is told about a young preacher,
fresh out of school, coming to an old, established congregation
of the church. As he preached on Sunday morning, he stated,
I wont tell anyone theyre going to hell. I
dont think thats my job. Just as he said that, an
older preacher stood up in the back of the building and said,
Young man, point them out to me and Ill tell them, for
if they are heading toward hell they sure enough need to know
about it. We have failed many people because we are afraid
of offending them. If they are lost and going to hell, TELL THEM
before it is eternally too late! Political Correctness has no
place among those who profess the name of Jesus.
We have great opportunity when an evil person
dies (whether famous or not). We must take the opportunity to
tell others not to follow in their steps! Their steps lead to a
place prepared for the devil and his angels.
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Table of Contents
CAN A CHILD OF GOD BE LOST? #3
Garland M. Robinson
The danger and possibility of being eternally lost after you
become a Christian is clearly seen in verses that make salvation
conditional by using the word IF. For example,
1 John 2:24, Let that therefore
abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. IF
that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you,
ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
This is addressed to Christians. We are to be guided by
the Word of God. We are to study to show ourselves approved unto
God (2 Tim. 2:15). We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). First John 2:24
says, IF that which ye have heard from the beginning shall
REMAIN in you, ye also SHALL CONTINUE in the Son and in the
Father. But, what IF we DONT REMAIN in the truth? This
verse implies we will NOT continue in the Son and in the Father.
1 John 1:7, But IF we walk
in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with
another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from
How is it, by what means, can we expect the blood of
Jesus to cleanse us from all our sins? It is by walking, living,
in the light of Gods Word. But, it is only IF we live every
day in the Lords Will that His blood will wash our sins away
(cf. Rev. 1:5; Acts 22:16). What if we dont walk in the
light? It is implied that His blood will NOT take our sins away.
When a Christian is faithful to the Lord, he enjoys continual
forgiveness of sins and when he is not faithful to the Lord, he
no longer receives forgiveness of sins.
John 8:31, Then said Jesus to those
Jews which believed on him, IF ye continue in my word,
THEN are ye my disciples indeed.
What constitutes Christians being counted as being
faithful disciples of Jesus and thereby being saved? It is IF
they continue in His Word. But what if they do not continue in
His Word? The point is (by implication) they are not counted as
faithful disciples of the Lord. By failing to continue in
Gods Word, one will be lost.
Galatians 6:9, And let us not be
weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, IF
we faint not.
Who is it that will be saved? Those who continue in
well doing. Well doing, of course, is
following all the precepts and commandments of Gods Law. But
this verse makes the reaping (receiving) of Gods blessings
contingent upon not fainting, not giving up. One must be faithful
all the days of his/her life. We will receive Gods reward
only IF we continue faithful. But, what will happen IF one
doesnt remain faithful? He/she obviously wont receive
the Lords reward.
2 Peter 1:5-11, And beside this,
giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue
knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance
patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly
kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For IF
these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall
neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and
cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from
his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to
make your calling and election sure: for IF ye do these
things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be
ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
These verses tell us to add these eight attributes to
our Christian life. It is said that IF we do so, we will not be
barren or unfruitful and IF we do these things we shall
never fall. Verses eight and ten make it clear, by using
the word IF, that being saved depends upon us adding these things
to our life. We will not fall IF we incorporate them into our
life. But, what if we dont add them? The conclusion is, we
Hebrews 3:14, For we are made
partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our
confidence stedfast unto the end.
To be a partaker of Christ is another way of saying
that we stand in His favor. If we wish to be saved, then we will
stand with Him. We will be a part of Him by keeping His Way, His
Word. But how is such a relationship kept and maintained? It is
IF we hold stedfast to the end of our lives. But, what if we
dont hold fast? The obvious point is that we will not be
partakers with Him in His eternal glory in heaven above.
Hebrews 10:38, Now the just shall
live by faith: but IF any man draw back, my soul shall
have no pleasure in him.
Christians live by faith. We have confidence in Him. We
keep and obey His Word from which we will be judged (cf. John
12:48). This passage implies that IF one continues to live for
the Master, he will be saved. However, it is plainly stated that
IF one stops living for Him and goes back into the world, there
is no salvation. The Lord has no pleasure in such a person. Will
Jesus save those in whom He has no pleasure?
Romans 8:13, For IF ye live
after the flesh, ye shall die: but IF ye through the
Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
We have the approval of God when we put to death our
lusts and passions. We must stop living for ourselves; and
instead, live for Him. Salvation is made conditional by the word
IF in this verse. IF we mortify (put to death) the deeds of the
body, we shall live. But the question is, what IF we dont
put to death the deeds of the body? The clear and obvious point
is, we will not live with Him in eternity.
Romans 11:22, Behold therefore the
goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but
toward thee, goodness, IF thou continue in his goodness:
otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
This verse shows us the consequences of not living as
weve been told. We are to live in His goodness; that is, His
Law, His Word. But, receiving Gods goodness is conditioned
upon our living in His goodness. Otherwise, we will be cut
off. If a Christian cant be lost eternally, then I
guess cut off doesnt mean cut off. If
that is so, that makes God a liar. Practically every page of the
Bible is going to have to be re-written if a Christian cant
ever be lost.
Part 3 of 4
Table of Contents
A CALL TO ARMS
Paul (through inspiration) confronted many
problems in the church at Corinth. One specific area among their
problems was what was taking place in worship. There were those
present who had the gift of tongues. This gift given directly by
God meant that those who had this gift could speak in a foreign
language in which they had never been trained (Acts 2:4,6). One
received this gift by the laying on of the apostles hands
(Acts 8:18). The Spirit of God would, therefore, give different
gifts to faithful ones in Christ by the laying on of the
apostles hands (1 Cor. 12:8-10). It was the Spirit who
decided which person got which gift (v.11).
Some in Corinth, having the gift of tongues,
wanted to excel in worship by the use of that particular gift.
Paul reminds them of Gods desire that worship not be turned
into something of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). God regulated through
Paul the idea that when the saints came together, it was not
about men but rather about God who gave those gifts to men (Eph.
4:8). The public assembly of the church was to have worship
conducted that was decent and in order (1 Cor. 14:40).
Paul used the example of the trumpet. When,
under the Old Testament period a man played a certain sound on
the trumpet, that meant that people needed to get their weapons
for it was time for war. Paul showed the brethren in Corinth that
if the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, how would
people prepare for battle (1 Cor. 14:8).
The call to arms or battle should be heard
throughout spiritual Israel today, which is the church of Christ
(Rom. 2:28,29). We are to learn from those in the Old Testament
period in order to be better prepared for the spiritual warfare
in which we are engaged as Christians today (Rom. 15:4). A case
in point is found in the book of Zephaniah.
Zephaniah was a prophet used by God to
encourage good king Josiah in leading Judah back to its roots and
faithfulness toward God. In the second chapter of the book, the
prophet pronounces woes against such places as Moab, Ammon and
Ethiopia. He begins chapter three by addressing those in
Jerusalem. Remember, the nation of Judah had been spiraling
downward under the leadership of Manasseh (Josiahs
grandfather) and Amon (Josiahs father). The prophet
Zephaniah encourages Judah to face her sins. What were they? They
had not obeyed the voice of the Lord, refused instruction, did
not trust God and would not draw near to God (Zeph. 3:2). The
prophet appeals to the people to consider the justice of God. The
Lord, due to the reformation brought by Josiah, was in the midst
of His people (v.5). God had already given up on Israel (the
northern kingdom) but He was still present with Judah. They were
beginning to amend their ways in much the same way that those of
Nineveh had done under the preaching of Jonah.
Zephaniah 3:5 is a challenge to the people to
face a simple fact: God will not do iniquity. Other prophets
called upon the people to find a time or place where God had done
iniquity. No man has ever been able to make such a case against
God. Many rant and rave but lack the evidence to show where God
has ever done wrong.
God would bring His judgment to light every
morning (v.5). Great prophets like Zephaniah and Jeremiah were
making known the will of God to Judah. God wanted His will to be
presented to a disobedient nation of His children. The prophet
states that God faileth not. One could rest in the
promises of God because they had personal history plus the
commands of God from Moses on Mount Sinai to rely upon. God could
bless or condemn based on how His people treated His Word in
written form from Moses or in spoken form by His prophets.
The close of verse 5 touches on a serious
problem both then and now. The unjust knows no shame. Going back
a short time in history, Isaiah tried to show Judah when they
were under good king Hezekiah, that God would no longer accept
their worship if they continued in their present course (Isa.
1:12-17). Those who had not been stirred by men like Isaiah, were
not ashamed of the sins of their hearts.
The call to arms begins with the willingness
of Gods people to respond to His will (Isa. 1:19). Worship
is a most serious matter. It is to honor, revere, adore, exalt
and praise God. We do not have an option to do what pleases us.
God is the object of worship, not we ourselves. Worship must be
from the heart, but must also be governed by the Truth, Gods
Word (John 4:24). Brethren everywhere must stand up and sound the
call to get back to the Bible and do things Gods way.
Thats the only way we can be right in Gods sight.
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Indianapolis, IN 46203
Table of Contents
SYMBOLISM OF FREE MASONRY
Glendon W. Cantrell, Sr.
Symbols or Icons, is there a difference? A
symbol is a thing that represents or stands for something
else. It is a material object representing some abstract
object.1 An Icon is a devotional painting
or statue of Christ or another holy figure. They are regarded
with particular admiration or as a representative
symbol.2 They both symbolize a comparison of one thing
with another. The pictures and statues of Catholicism, Russian
Orthodox, Byzantine, and other Eastern churches have represented
their spiritual counterpart for centuries. Do we need such
things? Have these symbols taken the place of the true meaning of
their counter part? Has the meaning itself been lost? When
looking at a statue of Christ, is it the Saviour which is adored
or is it the splinter of the wood or the rust of the nail that is
adored? Are they crutches supporting a weakened faith in God and
His dear Son, Jesus the Christ? Do we really need such things to
be a true faithful servant of God? Are they authorized in the
The true or faithful believer has no need for
such symbols or icons. We have all we need for the foundation for
our faith and that is Gods Holy and Inspired Word (2 Tim.
3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3; Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
I have a copy of the movie The
Passion Of Christ by Mel Gibson. My personal opinion
is that if you overlook all that is NOT revealed in the Bible,
this movie portrays the closet account we know of concerning the
suffering and crucifixion of our Lord that modern man may view.
Do I need this movie or something like it in order for me to
believe in the Biblical account of the passion of Christ?
Absolutely not! I have Gods own personally inspired word as
the foundation for my faith (Rom. 10:17). I have no need for
symbols, icons, or anything else. I can believe and trust in
Gods Word without doubting that such took place. This, dear
reader, is my understanding of true faith. In fact, such is a
violation of Scripture. Exodus 20:3-5 says, Thou shalt
have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any
graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor
serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the
iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and
fourth generation of them that hate me.
To the Mason, a symbol is the visible
representation of some dogmas of a deep religious character. They
convey to them a moral sentiment and are designed to illustrate
the philosophy of Speculative Masonry. To study the symbolism of
Masonry is the only way to investigate its
philosophy.3 Freemasonry itself is science of
morality, developed and inculcated by the ancient method of
symbolism.4 Their system of symbolism is the very
life-blood and soul of the institution of Freemasonry. If one
withdraws from freemasonry its symbolism, you take from the body
its soul, leaving behind nothing but a lifeless mass of effete
matter, fitting only for a rapid decay.5
The system of symbolism of speculative
Masonry depends upon the types and figures derived from the
temple of Solomon and referred to as Temple Symbolism of
Freemasonry. In fact, Speculative Masonry dates its origin
from the building of King Solomons temple by Jewish and
Tyrian artisans.6 Thus, I shall, for the space of this
article dwell on those symbols directly associated by those in
Speculative Masonry symbolized the labors of
their predecessors whom they claim to be the original
constructors of Solomons Temple. The labors of those who
built Solomons Temple built a physical temple.
Speculative Masonry engages in the construction of a
spiritual temple in our hearts, pure and spotless, fit for the
dwelling-place of HIM Who is the author of purity where God
is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth, and whence every evil
thought and unruly passion is to be banished, as the sinner and
the Gentile were excluded from the sanctuary of the Jewish
temple.7 The principle stated in this quote is
very familiar to the faithful Christian. These very things are
taught to us in Gods Word (Titus 2:11-12; John 4:23-24; 2
Cor. 10:3-5). The main difference in this matter is the fact that
Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven (John 14:6), not Masonry.
This spiritualizing of the temple of Solomon
is the most prominent and most pervading of all the symbolic
instructions of Freemasonry. It is the link that binds the
operative and speculative divisions of the institution. If one
takes from Freemasonry its dependence upon the temple and leave
out its ritual all reference to the temple, and to the legends
connected with it and the system itself is destroyed.8
The trestle-board is one of the
basic elementary symbols connected with the temple. The trestle
board was the tracing board or book of plans of the architect.
The architectural plans or blueprints of the construction of the
temple was laid upon the trestle-board. Like a construction
worker today uses his blueprints to construct his house, the
architect building the temple used his trestle-board to construct
the temple. This serves as a symbol of the mason building his
spiritual temple in obedience to the rules, designs, precepts and
commands of the grand Architect of the universe. The
trestle-board becomes the symbol of the natural and moral law.
Like other symbols it is universal in its application.
The rough ashlar is the stone in
its unpolished state while still in the quarry. It has to be
polished and sized to fit into the temple structure. To the mason
this stone is a symbol of the natural state of man. This has
reverence to the ignorant, uncultivated, as the Roman historian
expresses it, groveling to the earth, like the beast of the
field, and subject to every sordid appetite.9
I am reminded that man was created in the
image and likeness of God Himself and that he was created
very good (Gen. 1:26-27,31). Thus, our natural state is
to be like unto God. We allowed Satan to corrupt this natural
state through his deception (Gen. 3:1-6).
The perfect ashlar is a stone
properly fitted for its rightful position in the temple. This
stone is a symbol of human perfection. To the mason, this in
itself, is only a comparative term. It has reference to the mode
in which one is prepared for the concord and union of men in
The rough ashlar, the perfect ashlar, and the
trestle-board, because of their importance to the mason, have
been named jewels.
In our next study we will continue to look at
the symbols of Masonry.
1 Oxford Dictionary, Oxford Press, On-line.
3 Mackeys Symbolism of Free Masonry, The
Power Co., Chicago, Preface, p.5
4 Ibid. p.71
5 Ibid. p.72
6 Ibid. p.85
7 Ibid. p.86
8 Ibid. p.88
9 Ibid. p.89
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Table of Contents
NOT ALL CHANGE IS BAD!
That churches of Christ are undergoing change can
hardly be denied. In our day, the church in many places is
experiencing change that is not good. Change-agents are
working to change the Lords church into a denomination among
many. There were enemies of the cross of Christ in Pauls day
and the situation is no less critical today (cf. Phil. 3:17-19).
However, the word change is not necessarily
bad. There are some changes that are sorely needed. Sometimes it
becomes necessary that changes be made so we might better serve
our Lord. Every sinner must change if he is to be saved. It
should be pointed out that not every congregation is in need of
changes to which reference is made, but many need to amend their
ways or eternal ruin will be their destiny. Lets consider
some things wherein change would be highly commendable.
A change in attitude towards the
authority of the Scriptures and how the Scriptures authorize is
sorely needed. In every case of departure from Gods
will in doing things His way, Israel of old rejected Gods
word. The church, spiritual Israel (Gal. 6:16), in many places is
making the same mistake. A misguided attitude towards the
authority of the Scriptures usually develops gradually. I have
never known of a congregation, known for its soundness in
the faith, to suddenly announce its intention to begin an
unscriptural practice. But with a gradual change in our attitude
towards the Scriptures, especially in that which is authorized,
an apostasy begins to occur.
A change in understanding what is
acceptable worship is sorely needed. Over the past several
decades there has been a shift from Scriptural to unscriptural
worship. The entertainment craze has infiltrated the church. An
overemphasis on emotionalism, riding upon the undercurrent of
entertainment, makes acceptable worship impossible. The fruit
(evidence) of such worship is seen in the use of choirs,
quartets, solos, the placing of microphones in strategic
locations in the auditorium so certain talented singers
voices are highlighted are some of the ways our worship is being
Since singing is a part of acceptable worship
(Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), we need to pay better attention to the
lyrics of our songs. Do the lyrics teach that which is
unscriptural? The fact that we have sung these songs for years,
does not justify the practice. In our singing we are
teaching and admonishing one another (Col. 3:16). There
is no difference between singing a false doctrine and preaching a
false doctrine. It is my judgment that more often than not, we
sing our songs because we love the melody and the four-part
harmony. Brethren, this is hardly the criteria we should use to
determine what we will or will not sing. When I was a little boy
I often heard the preacher say, Be careful what you sing,
lest you sing a lie. I now understand what the preacher
meant. We need to be more vigilant in our singing, lest we too
sing a lie.
A change in our attitude towards
preaching is certainly needed. Many a Gospel preacher can
testify to this needed change. In many congregations the concern
is more for the feelings of others, than one of upholding the
hands of the faithful preacher of the Gospel. No preacher in his
right mind wants to offend people just for the sake of offending.
However, we should realize that, by its very nature, truth
is offensive. When the preacher tells sinners there is but one
church and the Lord adds only the saved to His church, often the
membership will begin to get uncomfortable. Why? In far too many
cases, were not sure such really is the case. Brethren, the
Gospel is a militant message, and faithful Gospel preachers are
militant in their presentation of it. We have too many weak
hirelings in our pulpits who are more concerned about appeasing
the membership than they are of their eternal destiny. Too many
of our preachers are little more than specialists in public
relations, and elders who condone such are no better off.
What, then, is the answer to our situation? A
return to respect for the authority of the Scriptures is basic to
all of the aforementioned changes. Most all changes are somewhat
painful, but if we make changes in the right direction, God will
be glorified and pleased with all of us. Think about it.
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Table of Contents
THE REALITY OF HELL
The concept of some kind of universal judgment is
common to every major religion. The Bible teaches God will judge
every person according to how they lived. Jesus Christ warned his
followers that the majority of mankind will choose the easy road
of sin. He described this path as the broad way that leads to
destruction. Only a small number will make the right choice of
following the narrow way that leads to eternal life (Matt.
Most people do not like to think about what
may await them beyond the grave. As a result, it becomes
fashionable either to deny the reality of hell or redefine it in
less upsetting terms. Years ago a well known British philosopher,
Bertrand Russell, wrote an essay entitled, Why I Am Not A
Christian. One of the reasons he cited was that Jesus taught
eternal punishment for the wicked.
Americans are also rejecting the Biblical
concept of hell. Nine years ago the cover of U.S. News &
World Report carried a drawing depicting hell as a place of
flames. However, the title proclaimed Hell: A New Vision Of
The Netherworld. For the Bible believer, there is something
terribly wrong with the picture. Instead of being the domain of
the damned writhing in torment, it shows the lost as
though they were at a beach party. Smiles abound. The
wicked are relaxing on lounge chairs while a demon
serves drinks to the scantily clad.
Our enlightened age sees no need for archaic
notions like a lake that burns with fire and brimstone designed
to torment day and night forever (Rev. 14:11; 21:8). Many
American churches of the twentieth century largely ignored the
Biblical teaching of hell as a real place where unforgiven
sinners will receive the penalty for their deeds. Though the
majority of Americans polled claim to believe in hell, almost no
one thinks he will go there. Some people I have known admitted
their lives were far from righteous but the idea of going to hell
did not bother them. Some jokingly said they did not want to go
to heaven because all their friends were going to hell! This
attitude reveals a tragic ignorance about punishment in hell.
Perhaps we should not be too surprised by this carefree spirit in
a society where blatant criminal offenses are excused or barely
People who believe the Bible must accept the
reality of hell. Jesus spoke plainly and often about hell but
scoffers tell us his words do not mean what they say. Instead,
they say Jesus was only speaking figuratively. Others would have
us accept the view that hell is merely being separated from God.
It is just a state of mind, not a real place, they say. Still
others try to convince us that, yes, hell is real and, yes, there
are flames there, but the suffering is only temporary. They argue
that sinners could not possibly suffer eternally since they are
in flames. After only a brief period of punishment, they are
consumed by the fire. This is the false doctrine of annihilation.
Some reason that since God is love, he could never punish anyone
eternally. One theologian even went so far as to say
that inflicting everlasting torment sounds more like Satans
nature than Gods! Ignorance or rejection of the Scriptures
is never a good thing (Hosea 4:6; 2 Thess. 2:10).
So, what does the Bible say about this vital
subject? Here are some basic facts gleaned from various passages.
First, hell is real. It exists and is not some mythical
place created by man to scare others into submission. The Bible
speaks of it in a literal sense. It is just as real as heaven is
real (Mark 9:47). In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus spoke about some who
would go away into everlasting punishment while others would be
rewarded by entering into eternal life. Clearly, we are to
understand that if heaven is real and eternal, then hell also is
real and eternal (everlasting).
Sometimes, people get confused because hell
will not be a physical place. They wrongly conclude that if it is
not physical, it cannot be real. However, lets apply the
same thinking to heaven. Will heaven be a physical place? Of
course not! If in doubt, read 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. Does that
make heaven any less real? No. At the end of this age, physical
things (including the earth and the present heavens) will be done
away (2 Peter 3:10-12). From that time forward, we shall exist in
our eternal and spiritual forms in a spiritual place called
Second, hell is a place of continual
torment and agony. The book of Revelation describes it as a
lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15). Jesus warned his
followers to fear God since He is able to destroy both
soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28). Once again,
people sometimes get confused on this point. Some wonder how the
torment can go on for ever and ever if they have been destroyed.
Remember that the body which shall be destroyed will not have a
physical form. Like the saints who ascended to heaven, those
souls that are cast into the lake of fire will have had their
bodies changed in the twinkling of an eye (John 5:28-29; cf. 1
The destruction will not be done in a
physical sense. In 2 Peter 3:7 the Bible speaks of the perdition
of ungodly men on the day of judgment. Perdition literally means
complete and irreparable loss or ruin. Souls in hell will indeed
suffer eternal loss since they will be cut off from every good
thing (2 Thess. 1:9). For what is a man profited, if he
shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall
a man give in exchange for his soul (Matt. 16:26)?
This loss of the soul includes punishment for the evil done in
this life. Paul said every soul shall be repaid for the things
done in the body [i.e., the earthly life] (2 Cor. 5:10). When
Jesus comes again with his mighty angels, He will begin this
repayment (2 Thess. 1:6-9).
Third, hell will be inhabited by wicked
and horrible inhabitants of all the ages. Who will be there?
Jesus said hell was prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt.
25:41). However, when man chooses sin and refuses to repent, he
has consigned himself to the devils abode. Some have the
mistaken notion that Satan will have charge of hell and that he
will be the one to inflict torment on the lost. According to the
book of Revelation, this is false (Rev. 20:10). God will cast the
devil into the lake of fire and will torment him. All who deserve
to be punished will be there including sinners of all time (Rom.
2:8-9). Sadly, this will also include unfaithful members of the
Lords church (2 Peter 2:20-22).
Fourth, hell is a place of absolute
justice minus any mercy (Matt. 18:34-35; cf. Heb. 10:28-29).
There will be no second chances to escape the wrath of God once a
soul is in this awful place (Luke 16:26). Everyone needs to be
warned of the horrors of this terrible place in hopes that they
will choose to avoid that destiny. Unfortunately, the majority of
mankind is on the broad path that leads straight to hell (Matt.
God has good reasons for having a place
called hell. If hell were not real, sinners would go unpunished.
Who would want to go to heaven that was populated with the
wicked? Though most will go to hell, they want to believe
otherwise. Some exclaim, My life is hell. This is not
true since life will be over one day, then comes judgment (Heb.
9:27). Paul wrote, 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. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade
men... (2 Cor. 5:10-11a).
24735 Huron River Dr.
Rockwood, MI 48173
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ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES & BENEVOLENCE
From an administrative view, the function of an
eldership looms before us in benevolence perhaps more
than any other area. True, the deacons should shine the brightest
here (cf. Acts 6:1-4; 1 Tim. 3:8-13). But the leadership, vision,
and wisdom must be generated and radiated through the eldership.
The importance elders attach to it, the funds set aside for it,
and to give the congregation a clear path to it comes from a
Benevolence is interlaced and interwoven with
the preaching of the Gospel (cf. Gal. 2:10). It is a cause and
affect relationship. To be able to administer the spirit of
benevolence with the evangelistical thrust is wisdom personified.
To be overzealous in preaching the Gospel and passionless in
benevolence or to be overenthusiastic in benevolence and
indifferent in preaching is to be unbalanced. Elders must be good
listeners paying attention to the voices crying in the slums and
streets (cf. Matt. 3:3; 15:33; Mark 8:4; James 1:27). Jesus ate
with publicans and sinners (Matt. 9:10-13). Have we learned what
verse 13 means? We must first know how to do before we
Although the elders and deacons may spearhead
the benevolent program, each member must participate as they have
opportunity. The parable of the Good Samaritan should overwhelm
us (Luke 10:25-37). Helping people in need stands out in the
ministries of Jesus and the apostles (Matt. 8:16; 20:28; Luke
9:11; Acts 4:9; 5:16; 10:38; 11:28-30; Gal. 6:10; Col. 1:10).
When we lose our desire to help people, we are shorn of our power
and God is against us (Psalm 41:1-3; Prov. 14:31; 21:13; 1 John
3:17). Does the love of God dwell in us to the extent that we
help the poor?
Generally, we may think of benevolent work as
physical, which is, food, clothing and shelter. But we must see
the dichotomy of both physical and spiritual help, realizing
these two work together. Gospel meetings have lost their
zip in proportion to Gospel preaching. Bland and
generic preaching has desensitized many members of the church. We
do not have a shortage of preachers as much as we have a shortage
of congregations who desire to hear the Gospel preached. Failure
to grasp the insight of going the extra mile in
benevolence will eliminate the purpose for which Christ came into
the world (cf. Matt. 5:16; Luke 19:10; John 10:32; 1 Tim. 6:18;
James 4:17; 1 Peter 2:12; 3 John 11). Forgiveness of sins and
eternal life are wrapped up in the Gospel (Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Cor.
2:7). Thus, our twenty minute sermonettes have lulled many
congregations into full sleep with fun and games.
Compassionate Christians will see those in
physical need and give them those things which are needful to the
body (cf. Mark 8:2; John 6:26; James 2:15-16). Concerned
Christians will take the Gospel to every creature, poor and rich
alike, to heal them spiritually (Matt. 13:15; 28:19-20; Acts
11:28-30). Especially, elders and deacons must see the difference
between freeloaders (John 6:26) and
freedom-seekers (John 8:32). Our failure to discern and
make the proper application of this has caused a reaction of
play it safe and help no one. Jesus and the apostles
worked this to perfection and did not convert the entire world.
Likewise, we will not convert all, but we must try, because the
Lord will judge us for our efforts not our perfection (Rev.
22 Sugar Creek
No. Little Rock, AR 72116
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