Judgement For The Unrepenting Heart
You can't hide your sin. Judgement for sin is sure. Sin must be punished, but if you accept the gift of salvation and ask Christ for forgiveness you will be saved from that eternal judgement.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Well I always wait for you to answer, of course I do. This is your good friend, Bob Cook. And I’m glad, as I know you are, that we can be in the world but not of it. You don’t have to be tarred with the world’s brush. Just because you’re going through a dirty world doesn’t mean that God can’t keep you clean. “You who are kept,” says Peter, “by the power of God, through faith and to salvation, ready to be revealed at the last day.”
God is going to keep you clean on the journey, so that when the time comes to see His blessed face, you and I will be ready. And I’m glad for that. Trust everything’s all right at your house, and I’m grateful for the privilege, believe me, for visiting with you, whatever you’re doing –waking up, just waking up some of you, preparing breakfast, or packing a lunch, or driving to work or school; or some of you listen at the tag end of the day and you’re just about to drop off to sleep. People write me and say, “Brother Cook, I fell asleep during your broadcast. Please forgive me,” and this and that… Well I write back to them and say, “Don’t worry, I’ve spoken in many people’s sleep.” (Laughs) Dr. Ironside used to say, “If you feel sleepy while I’m preaching, take a little nap. You’ll feel better when you wake up.”
Anyway, here we are, you and I, in 1 Peter 4. Now he said, “The time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God. And if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing, as unto our faithful Creator.”
You and I had been walking around in that 17th verse: “Judgment at the house of God.” Start with the obvious – what you know about. Continue with obedience, as lead by the spirit. Judgment doesn’t mean salvation because you’re not going to come into judgment according to 1 John 5:24, and Romans 8:1. And it involves self-judgment. “If we would judge ourselves,” says Paul in 1 Corinthians 11, “we should not be judged.” And it also involves God’s discipline of His children. All of those different concepts you and I talked about there for a while.
Now he said, “If it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel?” Well the first thing is, sin finds us out. Be sure your sin will find you out. Jesus said, “Watch out for hypocrisy,” He said to His disciples as recorded I think in Luke 12, isn’t it? He said, “Whatever you whispered in the air and closets will be shouted from the housetops.” You can’t keep a secret, there’s no markup in hypocrisy – trying to appear to be something that you are not. Sin does find you out. The way of transgressors is hard. The Bible says, “Be sure your sin will find you out.”
And so it has a way of coming to light soon or late – that’s part of it. And then of course, there’s the matter of God speaking through natural circumstances. Joel mentioned the fact that the crops failed, and the seed was rotten in the ground, and the barns were broken down, the corn was withered. God was trying to speak to His people in those ancient times when Israel would wander from God and get off into idolatry. The Lord would allow foreign invaders to come in and, and conquer them and, and, and subject them to servitude for some years.
And then they would pray and cry out to God, and the Lord would send them a deliverer. A story that was repeated so often that somehow you think the truth of it would sink in. But it kept on. We are a straying, wandering race, aren’t we? Prone to wander – “Lord, I feel it prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, Oh take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.” That’s what the hymn writer said, and you and I certainly can echo that sentiment oftentimes.
So God speaks in natural circumstances and judgments. Someone has gone so far as to suggest that the recent earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area; God was trying to talk to us in that and in the terrible damages worked by Hurricane Hugo of the other side of the continent. Well, whatever your opinion may be about the reason for these natural disasters coming so close on the heels of one another, I think it was, is without question that given enough pressure of circumstances, the human being does tend to pray.
And that may very well be then the reason why God allows us – some of us – to get into circumstances that are, that are tough and rough for us. No, I’m not saying that, that it is absolutely true that the earthquake and the hurricane were God’s judgments. Maybe they were. I only know that when these things happen, people tend to think about God and prayer far more than they would if everything was coming up roses. And so that’s part of it. Judgment begins, and those that obey not the Gospel are subject to that.
And then of course there’s the final judgment when John the apostle said, “I saw the dead, small and great stand before God; and the books were opened. And another… the, the dead were judged out of the things that were written in the book. And another book was open, which is the Book of Life. And whosoever was not found written in Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. That great final judgment. What a fearful time that will be! Aren’t you glad that you and I believer, are not going to have to stand there at that point. We’ll be spectators for sure, but we won’t be in that judgment.
Well, he said, “What shall the end be?” The end friend, is ultimate judgment and separation from God. I was telling one of my friends on the phone just today about something that happened a good many years ago – would have been back I suppose in the, in the late 1940’s probably – in a Pennsylvania town where I was holding evangelistic meetings. They asked me to go visit a man who was bed-fast with arthritis. He was all crippled up with arthritis, but he was a steadfast unbeliever. He refused to receive Christ as Savior.
His members of his household were, were Christians, they were believers and they were so burdened for this man who stubbornly refused to receive Christ as Savior. They said, “Would you please go see him and talk with him.” So I went to talk with him. And we sat there for a moment, and engaged in small talk – “How are you feeling?” this and that, you know… And then I said, “You know friend, I’ve come to talk with you about your soul.” I said, “I’m sure you’ve heard the Gospel many times. But I want… I feel I must tell you that if you refuse to, to receive Christ as Savior, it isn’t that you’ll be lost some time, you’re already lost. And you’ll find that you’re, you’re heading for the judgment of God and, and you’ll be separated from God for all eternity. The most important thing in the world is for you to get right with God through faith in Jesus. Why don’t you open your heart to Him now.”
Something like that I said to him, very direct. But in love, I trust. Well he didn’t say a word to me; he just looked at me. And finally I left after having bid goodbye to the rest of the members of the family. And they told me that after I went out the door, he said to his wife, “Don’t ever let that man inside this house again!” Well you would think, “Boy, that, that certainly was failed visit, wasn’t it?”
You know what happened? Sam Wolgemuth told me later on that someone came, called on the man; and he was ready to receive Christ as Savior, and opened his heart to the Lord, and died as a Christian. Now I don’t know what the connection may have been between my visit and his salvation – maybe none at all. I only know that, that it’s a very serious matter, it’s a very serious matter to turn your back on the Lord Jesus Christ. Because you’re heading, my dear friend, you’re heading for ultimate judgment, and destruction, and eternal separation from God.
Of course I don’t know how to describe either heaven or hell, because I’ve never been to either place. And our finite men, minds can’t begin to understand or to describe what exists in that wonderful world beyond the finite, beyond space and time. You’ll be alive somewhere a million years from now, my friend. I don’t know how to describe it. I only know that the Bible says you’ll be separated from God for all eternity, without God and without hope. “The blackness of darkness forever,” is what the Bible calls it. It’s a bad, bad scene.
And the way to avoid that my friend – don’t argue with me about it, argument isn’t going to get you anywhere – you turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and put it up to Him. Say, “Lord Jesus, if you’re real, save me now. Make me a child of God. Forgive my sins.” If you don’t believe there’s anything to what I’m saying to you, put God to the test. I’ve known people who said, “God, if there is a God, I want to repent of my sins and be a Christian.” And they met the Lord in that moment. God will prove Himself. He said, “Call unto me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
Here’s the essence of the Gospel message: Their sin is a fact; all have sinned andcome short of the glory of God. Sin carries a penalty – “The wages of sin is death.” That penalty has to be paid – it’s appointed unto men who wants to die; but after this the judgment. Christ already paid the penalty for you. “God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Salvation is a free gift. By grace are you saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works, least any man should boast.”
But in order to have a gift, you have to receive it. And the gift turns out to be a wonderful, lovely person – the Lord Jesus Christ. And so you read in John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God; even to them that believe on His name.” And so by faith today, you open your heart to the Lord Jesus and become a Christian. Now I don’t know why I’m saying this because many of you who hear me this moment are precious believers, and you know the Lord, and you love Him with all your heart.
But there’s somebody listening that needs that message. And you’ve been refusing Christ. And today God is warning you that there’s coming a day of judgment, and that you will stand there, unsaved. And your last chance to repent will have past. Oh I beg of you, receive Christ as your Savior and Lord – even today. Now he goes on to say in verse 19, “Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
I want to linger on this verse a little. We won’t finish our study of the verse before time runs out today, but let’s just begin anyway. Now there’s the fact – “Let them that suffer, let them that suffer…” – there’s the, the basis for the fact ‘according to the will of God’. There is the reaction to the fact, ‘commit the keeping of their souls to Him’. There is the lifestyle that demonstrates that commitment, he says, “in well-doing.” And there is the absolute, beautiful trust that goes beyond all circumstances – said, “commit their, the keeping to their souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
God didn’t bring you this far to drop you now, beloved. He has an interest in you far greater than you think; and nor that you could measure. And so, He’s a faithful Creator. Now that’s the outline of that verse. And we’ll talk about it a little bit as time goes on. I want you to know that you are part of God’s eternal plan. And that makes you ‘somebody’. And that makes life significant. And even the smallest details of your life are meaningful to God, and thus to you.
Jesus our Lord, we worship and adore Thee. Help us to serve Thee today in the will of God. I pray in that precious name, even Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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