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"The Great White Throne Judgement"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2011 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'Good evening to you all again, it's good to be with you, I believe in the will of the Lord tonight, to preach the Gospel. Let us pray before we come to God's word. Father, we do believe that You lead us, we believe that You are the Sovereign God, we believe that Your providence guides Your people, and we believe that we have a message from the Lord this evening. We believe that it is not coincidence that people are gathered here at this moment who need to hear it - but, Lord, we know that more is necessary than that if unregenerate, lost souls are to find Jesus Christ. Lord, we are so aware of our inadequacy. Lord, we can do our best, but that is never good enough - it doesn't even begin. Lord, we need the power of God, we need the unction to function in the power of the Holy Spirit. We need the One who was sent, and has been promised to convince, convict, reprove of sin, of righteousness, and judgement to come - the One who would witness to Jesus, Your Holy Child Jesus, in whom is all Your delight, Father, we cry from the depths of our souls tonight that You would be pleased to honour Him and draw souls to Him for His glory, Lord. Help me, Lord, I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

I want you to turn please to the book of Revelation chapter 20, Revelation chapter 20. What we are about to read is an account of 'The Great White Throne Judgement' - some people know it as 'The Judgement Day', 'The Great Day of Accounting'. So let's read it, and as we read it, understand that what we have in the book of Revelation is a revelation from Jesus Christ about Jesus Christ given to the church, not just for the benefit of the church, but that the church might know how things are all going to pan out as far as human history is concerned. Now there are many things that intrigue us and tantalise us about the book of Revelation, and many things are very worthy of our consideration, but if you're not converted and you're in the meeting tonight - well, all of it is pretty irrelevant to you to a large extent, but let me tell you that this portion that we're about to read is of great, great relevance, and of eternal personal significance to you. There's a lot of people here tonight, and it's great to see, but I'm not talking to the person beside you, or behind you, or in front of you - if you're unconverted in the meeting, this message is for you. So listen up.

What we are about to read is an account of 'The Great White Throne Judgement' - some people know it as 'The Judgement Day'...

Verse 11, John says: "And I saw a Great White Throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire".

On July 8th, 1741, an American preacher by the name of Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon entitled 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God'. Now I could stop right now, and maybe I've already imparted some knowledge to you - that God is an angry God. Now, He is a God of love, He is a God of mercy, He is a God of grace, He's a God of forgiveness - we've been singing all about that already, and I've preached on that in the last couple of weeks - but He is an angry God. If you've got a problem with that, you've got the problem - and your problem probably is how you perceive anger. Because we are sinful in our fallen human nature, usually when we experience personal anger ourselves, or we get on the rough end of someone else's anger, it's usually sinfully motivated - but that's never the case with God, because God is holy. So His anger, whenever He is angry, His anger is always justified, His anger is always pure, His anger is always holy. This great preacher preached about sinners in the hands of an angry God. Now, my eyesight is not the greatest, but his was even worse, and history tells us that his eyesight was so bad that he would take his manuscript that he was preaching from, and he would have it right up at his face like this - so people, as he was preaching, couldn't see any expression on his face. There was no psychological string-pulling regarding this preacher. He wasn't working the crowd like the TV evangelists that we often see. This man just preached how God was a holy God, and He must judge sin - and those who were unrepentant sinners in the gathering were under the wrath of God. Do you know what happened? People began to be terrified. They gripped the back of the pews in front of them, some fell to the ground and started to weep, some held onto the pillars of our church fearing that the ground would open and swallow them into hell, some ran up the aisle toward the preacher and cried up to the pulpit: 'Have mercy! Have mercy! Have mercy!'.

There is no fear of God before people's eyes in our world, in our nation at least. People have lost the fear of God...

Now, that was then, 1741, things are a lot different now, for there is no fear of God before people's eyes in our world, in our nation at least. People have lost the fear of God. If they believe in God, He's a sort of teddy bear God, a cuddly Santa Claus figure who would never do you any harm - and that is manifest in how He is spoken of, how He is treated, how society in general deals with our God. All you have to think of is the humanist's bus ad campaign in London not so long ago, when many of the buses in Westminster City were emblazoned with the slogan: 'There's probably no God. Now, stop worrying and enjoy your life!'. Ulster is no better. I found out yesterday, maybe this is old news to you, but there are ads now in Belfast City centre on billboards and on buses relating to children - from the humanist organisation as well - and there are children, pictures of them playing with building blocks, and the slogan is: 'Please don't label me, let me grow up and choose myself'. Basically our society wants to obliterate God, they want to get rid of Him, they want to pretend He's not there - and certainly, if they have to tolerate those who believe in His existence, they certainly don't want a God to whom they are answerable to, they want a God that is P.C. and will accept everybody no matter what their lifestyle is or what they have ever done. Now, that is not the God of the Bible, and people in our society need to realise that this is not the true and the living God who is real. There needs to be a wake-up call!

We see it in this portion of Scripture, it's a court scene if you like - and the One sitting on the Great White Throne is the Judge, obviously, but please note the difference between this court scene and our court scenes here on Earth. You will note very quickly that there is no defence, there is no one arguing in the defence of the accused - that is, the sinner before this angry Judge. There is no plea of innocence on the part of the guilty, there is no bargaining by the legal team of the accused. You will note there is no leniency on the part of the Judge. This is very different. Now, my friend, you need to waken up tonight if you're not saved. I could stand up here tonight, and as one man has very well put it: imagine being on a plane, and the plane starts to lose all her engines, and the air hostesses come down the aisle and say to you: 'Now, under your seat there's a little parachute, and you should put it on because you'll feel a lot better for it, and you'll have a nice warm fuzzy feeling in your heart if you put on this parachute. It will help your health, it'll help your psychology, it'll calm your nerves' - and they go on down the list, when in reality what they need to do is say that the plane is going down, and there is a parachute under your seat that will save your life, and if you want to be saved you need to put it on! What will you do? You'll put it on!

Friend, you need to waken up that there is a Judgement Day coming...

Friend, you need to waken up that there is a Judgement Day coming. This is not psychological scare tactics I'm using, this is the truth and the reality of God's word. Not only is it the reality of God's word, but it is plain common sense - there has to be a day of accounting! The place of judgement is very graphically depicted for us in verse 11, a Great White Throne. Now before we look at it, let me say this: John says categorically 'I saw', he saw it! So there ought not to be any argument. You say: 'Well, why should I take his word for it?'. Well, you should take the Bible's word for it, and I alluded to this a couple of weeks ago I think, that the Bible is a self-authenticating book - that simply means that the Bible proves itself to be true. That might sound ridiculous, but it's not: if you read the Bible, you will find out that is the case. There have been 300, at least 300 prophecies about the Lord Jesus Christ alone before He was ever born, about His birth, about His life, about His death, about His resurrection - and there are eight times more prophecies in the Old Testament alone about His second coming, when He comes to judge the world. So you better believe it's true!

Not only do you have the stamp of Scripture to tell you that this is fact, it is reasonable to believe that there will be a day of judgement. If you're caught speeding going back home, if you're going up the M1 or wherever you are and you break the speed limit, and you get caught by the cops, you will expect, even if you get off - and very few, I think, do - you will expect to have the book thrown at you, won't you? You know the score, don't you? You expect justice, and not only that, you have in your heart an innate sense of outrage when justice is not done in the courts of our land, isn't that correct? When guilty people go free, you are outraged - and rightly so - but do you know where that comes from? God. But what you allow the PSNI to have, and what you allow yourself to have concerning miscarriages of justice in our land, you will not allow God to have - the holy, just God of heaven who has clearly given us His law and told us: 'If you break it, you're in trouble!'. You're not going to let Him be just?

My friend, it is so reasonable to believe that this is fact - and John says: 'I saw this Great', it's a 'Great' Throne, speaking of the Majesty of this Throne, speaking of the size of this Throne, speaking of the One who sits, the Judge, His importance, the extent of His power and the extent of His judgement and His ability to judge righteous and perfect judgement. It is a White Throne, speaking of its purity, speaking of the fact that this is a God who is holy, a God who has said: 'You shall have no other gods before Me'. What have you put before the Living God, the God who says: 'You shall not make graven images'. Maybe you worship literal graven images of some Saint, or the Virgin Mary, or maybe you worship your Mercedes, or your big detached house, or your four holidays a year, or your bank account, or your fitness regime, or your football team, or your favourite pop idol - I don't know what it is. This God says: 'You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain', and yet you use His name in a blasphemous way, or you take His name and say 'Och, I go to church, I'm sort of Christian', and you're not. You covet, you lust, you desire, you kill. 'Oh, I have never killed', well, you hate people in your mind, you lust after others, that's adultery - we could go on about how you've broken God's law. This is a Throne you will stand before, if you're not a Christian, and it is pure white, holy. I imagine, and it's only my imagination, that the very emanations of pure holiness that come from this white Throne will pierce your soul like a dagger because of the awful holiness of God!

The very emanations of pure holiness that come from this white Throne will pierce your soul like a dagger because of the awful holiness of God!

Who sits on this Throne? You might immediately think 'God the Father', there is an element, perhaps, in that, but the Lord Jesus said when He was on the Earth: 'The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgement to the Son'. Jesus is sitting on this Throne. Now I know this isn't the stained-glass version that we get, it's not gentle Jesus, meek and mild that you read about in the kid's storybooks, but it's the Son of God as the Bible portrays Him. Don't misunderstand me: He is gentle Jesus, meek and mild, because He came into this world to be our Saviour, and He came into this world not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He said, and it is said of Him, that a bruised read shall He not break - that means somebody who's about to crumble, He's not the one to come along and break them down, He wants to heal them. A smoking flax He will not quench, that means if the flame of your existence is about to go out, Jesus isn't the type of person to lick His fingers and put out every ember of life in your heart. He wants to fan you to flame, He wants to give you a reason for living - but that is not the whole story! That same description of Jesus goes like this: 'A bruised read shall He not break, a smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgement with victory'. The first half of that description is fulfilled in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus coming to the world as Saviour - but, my friend, you've got to waken up! He's coming again, and He's coming as Judge!

Some of you might remember - it was a number of years ago, quite a few - I think it was in El Al jet that was travelling to Israel, and it was hijacked by terrorists in one of the states of Africa. The Israeli security forces had a dilemma on their hands, and they devised a plan and decided that what they would do was - the equivalent of our SAS - they would storm the aircraft and shout in Hebrew for the people to get down, because the Jews know Hebrew obviously and they would get down and only the terrorists, who were Arabic speaking, would still be on their feet. The plan was a good one, except they didn't account for shock - you know how when you're shocked you freeze. They stormed the plane, and they shouted 'Get down!' in Hebrew, and everyone but a number of Jewish people, Israeli people, got down on the floor - those number that didn't were shocked and just froze, and they were killed along with the terrorists. But this is what that story teaches us: the ones who had come to be their saviour actually became their executioner. Why? Because, for one reason or another, they had not obeyed the command.

My friend, Jesus has given you ample opportunity. Some of you have been raised in Christian homes, some of you are married to Christian people, some of you have Christian children or Christian environments, or are churchgoing and 'religious' - and you have not obeyed the call and command of the Gospel to repent and believe. When the Lord Jesus comes, the One who would have been your Saviour will be your Judge! You will have no excuse.

You'll not be standing in a crowd, you'll not be standing with your community, you'll not be standing with your drinking mates or your rugby team or football team pals. You'll be standing on your own!

Look at what this says. Verse 11 says: 'From His face' - from His face - 'the whole earth and heaven fled away'. Do you know, if you had a giant ice cream scoop - it would have to be a giant one - and you hollowed out the sun, our sun, you would be able to fit into it 1,300,000 Earths - that's how big the sun is. There is a planet mentioned in the book of Job in the Bible, and listen to this, you've heard about the sun - well, you could fit 25,000 suns into the planet mentioned by Job. There are 120,000 stars in a constellation, and there are as many constellations as there are stars, in fact there are more than we could ever imagine. I want you to picture this, just picture it in your mind's eye: the whole universe is fleeing, fleeing from this One's face, the face of Jesus. Come with me further: everything of matter and existence is fleeing from His face, but you.

Look at what it says. Verse 12: 'I saw the dead, small and great, stand' - nothing else is standing there, the sun, the moon and the stars all have fled, all of creation has departed at His face - but there the dead, small and great, stand before God. They're not fleeing away! Now this is not speaking of Christians, because they are 'the dead in Christ', it's just speaking about the dead - people who have died in their sins and have no hope, and whether they are small or great, everybody who is not saved is standing there! Now, who will be there? There will be billions who will stand, and I believe in my heart of hearts that they will stand individually. You'll not be standing in a crowd, you'll not be standing with your community, you'll not be standing with your drinking mates or your rugby team or football team pals. You'll be standing on your own! Yet billions will come, and I don't know how He's going to do it, but He's going to do it!

What kind of people will be there? Lot's wife will be there. Do you know who Lot's wife was? Well, Lot was a righteous man who lived in Sodom. Things got so bad in Sodom, particularly because of homosexuality, sodomy as the Bible calls it, that God gave Lot and his family an escape ticket, and the angels came and delivered them from the city of Sodom, and got them out, and God told them on their way out: 'Make sure you don't turn around and look back after it, because if you do you'll be turned into a pillar of salt'. Lot's wife loved Sodom, and God took her out of Sodom, but Sodom was still in her heart, and she turned around and she was turned into a pillar of salt. Now you listen carefully to what I'm saying: there was only two people that Jesus told us to remember. He told us to remember Himself in the Breaking of Bread and Drinking of the Cup, 'This do in remembrance of me' - and the other was 'Remember Lot's wife'. That's how important she is: she loved the world, do you love the world? My friend, if you love the world, you will be standing there, you will be standing there. Professing Christian: if you love the world, you need to really search your heart to make sure you're not standing there on that day, because 1 John says that if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you. I'm not saying you're not saved, I can't say that, but my friend: you've got to make sure you're saved.

Professing Christian: if you love the world, you need to really search your heart to make sure you're not standing there on that day...

Lot's wife will be there. Herod will be there, I'm talking about Herod Antipas in Matthew chapter 14. He was married to Herodias, and she had been married to her uncle. Herod Antipas decided to talk her into leaving her uncle, who was his brother - I know, it's worse than some of the soaps on the television - he compounded her incest, he violated the word of God, and all because, to put it very bluntly, he loved sex. Now I have to be careful what I say tonight, but I'll say this much - and the kids are hearing about it at school, so don't be terrified, they probably know more than you think they know. If you're allowing them to watch certain things on television, you can be absolutely sure about it, so don't get all high and mighty with me. Our world worships it, it's the god of this world - no doubt about it. We're living in a Baal and Ashteroth age, and if you know your Bible you'll know what that means. The porn industry on the Internet alone is worth $13.3 billion, and some of you are financing it. It might be staggering to you that among those who admit they are addicted to this great problem, 28% of them are women, 47% of families say that this is a problem in their home with a husband or a wife, or with their children. Herod will be standing there because he loved sex, and so will you - because you love not the perfect thing created by God in holiness, He's the holy God who made it, He invented it, but because you have perverted it and you live for nothing else, and you don't want God in your life, you will stand before God and answer for what you've done.

Judas will stand there. He will be standing there not just because he betrayed Christ, but because he did it for love of money. He was a thief, he had his hand in the bag. He was the treasurer among the disciples, and yet he was pilfering and lining his own pockets with what came in. In the end, what did he do? He sold Jesus Christ for the price of a slave, 30 measly pieces of silver! People don't like you preaching on this one, but the fact of the matter is: Jesus - listen carefully - Jesus spoke more about money than He spoke about prayer, than He spoke about faith, wait for it, than He spoke about heaven, and more than He spoke about hell - in fact, more than He spoke about heaven and hell combined, He spoke about money. Do you know what He spoke about? He didn't speak about 'name it and claim it', no, He spoke about how it will take you to hell. Love of money will take you to hell. You can't serve two masters, you can't serve God and money. He told a story about a rich man who went to hell, and a poor man who went to heaven. The rich man didn't go to hell because he was rich, and the poor man didn't go to heaven because he was poor - but the rich man went to hell because he loved his riches more than God, and lived for them and not for God. My friend, you've got to waken up to this fact: that you will be standing there if you worship things as an idol. You worship your job, and even if you worship your family before God, my friend, you are judged!

You're willing to stand in this queue one day before this Great White Throne because you worry about the opinions of your mates...

Judas will be there, Herod will be there, Lot's wife will be there, Pilate will be there. Pilate will be there because he loved men more than he loved God - I mean, he loved the opinion and applauds of men. He was a man-pleaser. We read in John 19, when the Lord Jesus was brought before him, Pilate had the power, he said, to crucify Christ. Of course Jesus told him: 'You would only have power if it was given by God', but we read in that passage that: 'From thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If you let this man go, you are not Caesar's friend: whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar'. So, in order to be Caesar's friend, what did Pilate do? He allowed the Lord Jesus Christ to be put to death! John Wesley said, as he went through university, before he was saved, that he would only have friends who would help heavenward - and you're allowing some of your friends to take you to hell. You're willingly allowing it to happen, all because you're afraid to tell them that you would become a Christian, and you're afraid to stand up for Jesus who bled and died and suffered your shame on the cross. That's what you're afraid of, and you're willing to go to hell for it. You're willing to stand in this queue one day before this Great White Throne because you worry about the opinions of your mates, your colleagues, your family, rather than what God thinks of you.

There's another man, and you may not have heard of him, his name is Gallio. We read about him in Acts 18, and he was a deputy governor in the city of Corinth where Paul the apostle was preaching the Gospel. Paul was causing trouble by preaching the Gospel, and this case came to the attention of Gallio. The Jews wanted to fight about it and bicker about it, and have a theological argument, and it says of Gallio that he really couldn't care less. That's exactly what it says, it reads: 'Gallio cared for none of these things' - is that you tonight? You can take it or leave it! 'You have your religion if you want, preacher, but it's not for me! You might be genetically predisposed to that type of thing, but that's not me!'. You're apathetic, like most of the Western world you don't care about your soul! You could have private health insurance, and if you get a wart on your nose you go to pieces - but your eternal soul is going to hell, and you couldn't care less.

People like that will be standing there. I could give you more, we haven't much time, but look at chapter 21 verse 8: 'The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death'. Fearful! That means people who fear their friends more than God, and that stops them getting saved. That means people who fear getting cancer, and fear getting heart disease, and fear getting a stroke more than they fear going to hell. Jesus said: 'Don't fear anyone', or anything for that matter, 'that can destroy your body, but fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell'. The fearful and unbelieving - maybe you're not fearful, but you're sitting there saying: 'That's all pie in the sky, fantasy, nonsense, you've been brainwashed!'. The unbelieving will be there, you might be squeaky-clean, Sir, and many of these humanistic atheist or agnostic people are - they're very moral, very charitable in a man-sense - but the unbelieving will be there, and all these other people that you might expect to be there - but, my friend, you make sure this evening that you're not there.

You're apathetic, like most of the Western world you don't care about your soul!

I want you to see something else, not just the place of judgement and the people being judged, but the penalty of judgement. We read here in verse 12 that the Book of Life was opened, and the other books were opened, and the dead were judged by their works - their works. Jesus said in Mark 4: 'There is nothing hidden which shall not be manifested, neither was anything kept secret but that it should come abroad'. He said in Matthew 12: 'Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account of it on the day of judgement'. In Matthew 10 He said: 'There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed'. Wake-up time! That secret thing, that habit, that skeleton in the cupboard that you always fear is going to be discovered, or jump out upon you - there is a day coming when everything, every hidden, secret thing will be disclosed before the Judge who is holy! I'll tell you: you know the things that torture you - but wait till I tell you, do you see the things you've forgotten? You'll have to face those too.

Did you ever have the experience, maybe on black ice something, when your life flashed before your eyes? Have you ever had that experience? Dr Wilder Penfield was the director of the Montreal Neurological Institute, and he wrote a report. In it he said: 'Your brain contains a permanent record of your past that is like a single continuous strip of movie film, complete with soundtrack. This film library records your whole waking life, from childhood on. You can live again those scenes from your past, one at a time, when a surgeon applies a gentle electrical current to a certain point of the temporal cortex of your brain'. The report goes on to say that: '...as you relive the scene from your past, you feel exactly the same emotions you did during the original experience'. That's what a man in a white coat with a few electric currents can do, what do you think God can do?

The Bible speaks about hell as being a fiery place, a dark place - but, you know, I feel in my heart of hearts that one of the greatest aspects of the torments of hell will be the memories, and the guilt, and the condemnation. Imagine living over again and again the anguish of sin, but in the light of the holiness of God now - you're not getting away with it, but you're in the very presence of God!

I feel in my heart of hearts that one of the greatest aspects of the torments of hell will be the memories, and the guilt, and the condemnation...

The penalty of this judgement is hell, verse 13, death and the grave, Hades, were delivered up and cast, verse 14, into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Let me explain this for you. When you die you go to a place which is essentially hell, the Bible calls it 'Hades' - when you're not saved, that's where you go, it's a place of torment. But after this great judgement there is a place called the lake of fire, and the sea will even give forth the particles of the human body of men who have drowned in disasters through the years, the ground will give up the ashes and whatever is left of those who have perished, and their bones have been crushed by nature and Mother Earth, and all men will stand again - body, soul and spirit - before this Great White Throne. The Bible says that those whose names are not found in the Book of Life, those who are not born-again, those who are not saved, those who are not trusting in Christ alone for their salvation and the cross of Jesus, they will be cast - body, soul and spirit - into the lake of fire, which is the second death. You've already died a death, but you will suffer the second death in a body that will be prepared for eternal fire. My friend, I'm not getting a kick out of this, this is the truth of God's word and you need to waken up to it!

You'll not hear too many sermons on the second death these days. The word for 'lake of fire' is a place called 'Gehenna'. It was a place where King Manasseh sacrificed little Jewish children to a false god called Molech. During the New Testament Jesus spoke of it many, many times. Out of the 12 uses of this word in the New Testament, 11 of them are used by Jesus Christ. It was a rubbish tip in Jesus' day just outside the city of Jerusalem, and because it was a rubbish tip there was always a fire, they were always burning the rubbish. They would dump the bodies of criminals who had been executed there, so there was also decomposition - and that's what Jesus meant when he said: 'There the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched'.

Those whose names were not found written in the Book of Life were cast there. Well, I wish I could just stand before you tonight and say: 'Well, ha ha ha, it's all not true, and we don't have to believe this stuff any more' - like many a man of the cloth, so-called, is saying from the pulpit. But I can't do that. I have a false idea of justice, that's why it sort of grates on me a little bit, because I don't have the heart of God, I don't see sin the way He sees it - neither do you, my friend. But you need to concentrate on this fact: the very fact that the Lord has allowed you to live to this moment, and you have breath in your lungs, and you have a pulse pulsating through your veins, is more than any of us deserve - but wait a minute, wait a minute! The fact that God sent His Son, this holy, just God of heaven - He can't just sweep it under the carpet, He can't just erase your sin and say: 'Och, it doesn't matter, I'm a God of love, I'm a God of grace, and I'll just forget all about it'. He can't do it! That would be unjust! That would be duplicitous - we could do that, but He can't do it! So what did He do? He sent a perfect Man, who was His own Son, that means He was eternal God - so a perfect Man could die an acceptable sacrifice, and it could be of eternal value because He's God's Son and He dies bearing your hell!

I have a false idea of justice, that's why it sort of grates on me a little bit, because I don't have the heart of God, I don't see sin the way He sees it...

Oh, I wish I could describe it, but I can't. All I can say is that the Bible says that hell is outer darkness, and from the sixth hour until the ninth hour as Jesus was on the cross there was an unearthly darkness upon the whole land. The cry from hell of that rich man I spoke of was 'I thirst', and Jesus cried that His tongue cleaved to the roof of His mouth for thirst. The Bible says that hell is a place of torment where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth - and the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross experienced not just physical, but spiritual tortures that are inexplicable and indescribable. Hell is described as a place of separation, and on the cross the Lord Jesus Christ cried out: 'My God, my God, why have You forsaken me', as He was bearing the penalty of our sins. There is fire in hell, I don't know what type of fire it is, but there is fire - and the Bible says that on the cross what was going on inside - yes, He was lacerated, yes, He was pierced, yes, His hands had nails driven through them, yes, He had a crown of thorns that punctured His brow - but in His heart, it says that His soul was being made an offering for sin, the very fire of God's wrath was being poured into His soul. Why? Because the God, who is a just God and a holy God, is a God who loves you. He loves you enough to give His Son for you. I wouldn't give my son for you. I like you and all, but I wouldn't give my son for you.

Calvin Coolidge, before he was the President of the United States, was a presiding officer of the US Senate. One day a blazing row broke out among the senators, and one senator told another senator to go to hell. So the two of them were brought into the office, and they had it out with one another. Calvin Coolidge was sitting there as the presiding officer, and he had a book on his desk and he started flicking through it while they were at one another's throats. He then stopped them and said: 'Sirs', they didn't realise the book he was flicking through was the Bible, he said, 'Sirs, I've been reading through the rulebook, and it says you don't have to go there'. It says you don't have to go there. My friend, be under no illusion: you're going there. Not because I say it, not because I want it, what God desires is that all men repent and be saved - so there is a sense in which God does not want you there, but God, in justice,, if you're not willing to accept what His Son did, can I say it graciously to you? I would say it about myself: if you reject His Son, you deserve it. I deserve it. But listen: you don't have to go there.

Let's all bow our heads: Father, I'm sorry that I just can't make this as real to people as it was to John when he saw it - but, Lord, I know Your Spirit can. I pray that where I've fallen so short, that the Spirit of God may take the word of God and do something mighty in someone's heart just now. Lord, we're asking for - and we don't say it as an end in itself - that the pangs of hell would get hold of someone tonight, not as an end in itself, but that they might flee to Christ for refuge and for life, not just eternal after they die, but eternal now while they live - true life! Oh God, here our cry! Is there not a cause in the age in which we live, where there is no fear of God before men's eyes, is there not a cause that there might be a witness, even in this meeting tonight, that the Holy God of Heaven who judges sin still is willing and able to save even the deepest rebel. Oh God, move in tonight, to the glory of Jesus we pray. Amen.

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins,
Preach The Word.
July 2011
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at Lurgan Baptist Church in Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "The Great White Throne Judgement" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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