INTRO: Felix was a man living in sin. So, when the apostle Paul was called before him to speak of "the faith in Christ", the apostle chose three points for his sermon: "righteousness, temperance and judgment to come". I have a strong suspicion this was not what Felix had expected. History records that Felix was an unrighteous, intemperate man. The preacher did not preach a socially acceptable, politically correct sermon. He preach to a man in sin of the ultimate reality ... there is a "judgment to come"! According to the text, Felix had more than one opportunity to hear of the faith in Christ ... and, apparently, his only response was to tremble at the word he heard. But he did nothing to change his life. Dear friends, it really does matter what you believe about the judgment.
I. THERE IS MUCH I DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THE JUDGMENT TO COME
A. There are questions I simply cannot answer
B. I cannot answer because God has not revealed some of those things
C. But the Bible does tell us some very important things about the judgment
II. SOME THINGS I CAN KNOW ABOUT THE JUDGMENT DAY?
A. First, the day of judgment is a fact - there is a great judgment day coming
1. any idea that there will be final judgment finds no support in scripture
2. Mt 10:15 - "...It shall be more tolerable...in the day of judgment..."
3. 2 Pet 3:7 - "...reserved unto fire against the day of judgment..."
4. 1 Jno 4:17 - "...that we may have boldness in the day of judgment..."
5. now, one can reject scriptural testimony ... but it is beyond me how anyone who believes the Bible is God's word can reject this specific fact
B. The judgment will be universal in scope
1. Mt 25:31,32 - "...before him shall be gathered all nations..."
2. Rom 14:10 - "...we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ"
3. 2 Cor 5:10 - "for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ"
4. Jude 1:14,15 - an understanding of the judgment of God goes to almost the dawn of time!
5. no one will be exempted from the judgment - people from all ages of time and from every circumstance will be there
C. There will be a standard by which all will be judged
1. Rom 2:2 - it will be "according to truth"
2. Rom 2:5 - it will be according to righteousness (Ps 96:13)
3. Rom 2:12 - it will be according to the law to which one is subject (Gentiles did sin, but not according the stipulations of the law of Moses ... Jews sinned according to the stipulations of the law of Moses ... people since the death of Christ sin according to the stipulations of the law of Christ)
4. Jno 12:48 - this is the pertinent fact for you and me and our age
5. 2 Thes 1:7-9 - we need to be concerned about the gospel standard
D. How one lives in this life will determine the outcome of the judgment
1. Mt 16:27 - this was the teaching of Jesus
2. 2 Cor 5:10 - this puts the standard and my life's relationship to it in focus
3. yes, we get to choose how we will live - but what about consequences?
4. there is no logic in believing one can live his life ignoring the revealed law of God and receive "good marks" in the judgment
5. recall Eccl 12:13,14 - after writing of the perplexities of life, this is the "bottom line" advice from a man of vast experience!
III. I CAN PREPARE FOR THE GREAT DAY OF JUDGMENT
A. Preparation can make so many things about life happy & successful
1. preparation for occupation, for marriage, for births, for retirement
2. it is fairly evident, however, that many, many people do not prepare
3. they just let life "happen to them" - and they are always in confusion, always in turmoil, always in crisis mode
4. we can and must prepare for this final "appointment" we will all keep
B. 2 Cor 5:9-11a - "...we labor, that...we may be accepted of him"
1. this should (must!) be our life's objective ... to be approved of God
2. we prepare by being baptized into Christ - Gal 3:26,27
3. we prepare by living for and to Christ -2 Cor 5:14,15
4. and I remind you of2 Tim 4:6-8
CLOSE:Heb 9:27 - So, the question the old hymn asks is really very relevant: "Are you ready for that day to come?"
Cecil A. Hutson
12 March 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)