I received a letter from a man who was not only my pastor, but my mentor as a young Christian. He is now up in years and this is one of the things he wrote, “It will be 4 years ths January 5th since my wife left for Heaven. I still miss her more than anyone can ever know. Widowhood is a lonely experience. It makes me think a lot about Heaven. It also reminds me to tell everyone to surrender their heart to Jesus so that they will miss Hell and spend eternity in Heaven. I suppose that my fear of Hell is greater now than any time in my life. As America sinks deeper into sin, I look for Jesus to return any day.” Notice what he is saying. He is not saying that he fears Hell because he may end up there. He fears Hell because of the lost souls around him. He feels the urgency to warn others because America has over stepped its boundaries as it plunges deeper and deeper into sin. Observe carefully the following portion of Scripture:
And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority (boundaries) God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. (Jude 1:6, 7 NLT)
Jesus taught of a literal Heaven and Hell in Luke 16 and Matthew 25:46. He also warned us that few would make Heaven their eternal home:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14 NKJV)
I take Scripture very seriously because it is God’s Word. God’s Word warns everyone that only a small percentage of those around us will make Heaven their home. That includes people in our own church. This is not a judgmental statement. This is a biblical fact. For anyone who does not want to believe this, are you willing to jeopardize where you will spend eternity with your decision? Furthermore, are you willing to jeopardize where your family, friends and neighbors will spend eternity?
The Lord divinely intervened in the Old Testament by destroying Sodom and Gomorrah as a warning. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit struck down Ananias and Sapphira as a warning. People wonder why the Lord doesn’t intervene today to stop atrocities like abortion and gay marriage. I believe the answer is very simple. In His graciousness, the Lord has already set up the boundaries and warnings. The day is very soon to come when He will pronounce judgment and unleash His wrath. No one will be able to say they were not warned.
I believe that those who will be most surprised will be those I call ‘Christians in-name only’. They may have said the Sinner’s Prayer at one time in their life, but strayed off of the difficult way that leads to life. They have taken the way of the ‘easy gospel’. What they believe is the ‘hard gospel’ is politically incorrect. They shun any of the warnings. They want Jesus as their savior, but not as sole ruler of 100% of their life. They despise any boundaries for their life. Because of His righteousness, this leaves Jesus with no choice when the time comes but to say, “Depart from Me for I never knew you.” (see Matthew 7:22-23)
This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. (Romans 13:11-14 NLT)
Time is short. The earth is groaning for the Lord’s return. Is your wick trimmed and your lamp full of oil? Are you keeping yourself pure from the evil of this world and are you allowing your life to be filled with the Holy Spirit? (see Matthew 25:1-13)
I will leave you with this Scriptural reminder:
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. (Jude 1:22, 23 NLT)