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Judgment

 

God’s Judgment

In the choir of life, it’s easy to fake the words-but someday each of us will have to sing solo before God. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

God’s Judgment

In the days of the pioneers, when men saw that a prairie fire was coming, what would they do? Since not even the fastest of horses could outrun it, the pioneers took a match and burned the grass in a designated area around them. Then they would take their stand in the burned area and be safe from the threatening prairie fire. As the roar of the lames approached, they would not be afraid. Even as the ocean of fire surged around them there was no fear, because fire had already passed over the place where they stood.

When the judgment of God comes to sweep men and women into hell for eternity, there is one spot that is safe. Nearly two thousand years ago the wrath of God was poured on Calvary. There the Son of God took the wrath that should have fallen on us. Now, if we take our stand by the cross, we are safe for time and eternity. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

God’s Judgment

Sometimes the cup of iniquity is full and the people are ripe for judgment. In such a case it may happen as it did in the flourishing and extraordinarily beautiful city of Messina, Italy. In the early morning of December 28, 1908, an earthquake stuck, and 84,000 human beings died. Only a few hours before that devastating earthquake, which laid Messina and the surrounding districts in ruins, the unspeakably wicked and irreligious condition of some of the inhabitants was expressed in a series of violent resolutions that were passed against all objections.

The journal Il Telefono, printed in Messina, actually published in its Christmas issue an abominable parody, daring the Almighty to make himself known by sending an earthquake! And in three days the earthquake came!— Cited by John Lawrence

 

JUDGMENT

The idea of hell and judgment are nowhere to be found [in Betty Eadie's bestseller, Embraced By The Light, on the N.Y. Times bestseller list for more than 40 weeks, including 5 weeks as #1]. In November 1973 Eadie allegedly died after undergoing a hysterectomy, and returned five hours later with the secrets of heaven revealed by Jesus]. Eadie says that Jesus "never wanted to do or say anything that would offend me" while she visited heaven. Indeed, Jesus seems to be relegated to the role of a happy tour guide in heaven, not the Savior of the world who died on the cross.

Richard Abanes, in Christianity Today, March 7, 1994, p. 53.


President Clinton named Kristine Gebbie, a lesbian, as the new AIDS czar. Four months later she spelled out her perceptions on traditional morality. She said, [The United States] needs to view human sexuality as an essentially important and pleasurable thing. [Until it does so], we will continue to be a repressed, Victorian society that misrepresents information, denies homosexual sexuality, particularly in teens, and leaves people abandoned with no place to go. I can help just a little bit in my job, standing on the White House lawn talking about sex with no lightning bolts falling on my head."

Associated Press, October 29, 1993.


One of the first gospel illustrations that ever made a real impression upon my young heart was a simple story which I heard a preacher tell when I was less than nine years old.

It was of pioneers who were making their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them. One man only seemed to have understanding as to what could be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. Then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved back upon it.

As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, "Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?" The leader replied, "My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been!"

What a picture of the believer, who is safe in Christ!

"On Him Almighty vengeance fell,
Which would have sunk a world to hell.
He bore it for a chosen race,
And thus becomes our Hiding Place."

The fires of God's judgment burned themselves out on Him, and all who are in Christ are safe forever, for they are now standing where the fire has been.

H.A. Ironside, Illustrations of Bible Truth, Moody Press, 1945, pp. 34-35.


Just before the death of actor W.C. Fields, a friend visited Fields' hospital room and was surprised to find him thumbing through a Bible. Asked what he was doing with a Bible, Fields replied, "I'm looking for loopholes."

Source Unknown.


I read this past week of a couple (let's call them Carl and Clara) whose twenty-five year marriage was a good one. Not the most idyllic, but good. They now had three grown children who loved them dearly. They were also blessed with sufficient financial security to allow them room to dream about a lakeside retirement home. They began looking. A widower we'll call Ben was selling his place. They liked it a lot and returned home to talk and plan. Months passed. Last fall, right out of the blue, Clara told Carl she wanted a divorce. He went numb. After all these years, why? And how could she deceive him...how could she have been nursing such a scheme while they were looking at a retirement home? She said she hadn't been. Actually, this was a recent decision now that she had found another man. Who? Clara admitted it was Ben, the owner of the lake house, whom she inadvertently ran into several weeks after they had discussed the sale. They'd begun seeing each other. Since they were now "in love," there was no turning back. Not even the kids, who hated the idea, could dissuade their mother. On the day she was to leave, Carl walked through the kitchen toward the garage. Realizing she would be gone when he returned, he hesitated, "Well, hon, I guess this is the last time--" His voice dissolved as he broke into sobs. She felt uneasy, hurriedly got her things together, and drove north to join Ben. Less than two weeks after she moved in with Ben, her new lover, he was seized with a heart attack. He lingered a few hours...and then died.

Charles Swindoll, The Quest For Character, Multnomah, p. 42.


Lengthy Illustrations

The following incident is vouched for by a Church of England clergyman who knew all the circumstances.

A young woman, who had been brought up in a Christian home and who had often had very serious convictions in regard to the importance of coming to Christ, chose instead to take the way of the world. Much against the wishes of her godly mother, she insisted on keeping company with a wild, hilarious crowd, who lived only for the passing moment and tried to forget the things of eternity. Again and again she was pleaded with to turn to Christ, but she persistently refused to heed the admonitions addressed to her.

Finally, she was taken with a very serious illness. All that medical science could do for her was done in order to bring about her recovery, but it soon became evident that the case was hopeless and death was staring her in the face. Still she was hard and obdurate when urged to turn to God in repentance and take the lost sinner's place and trust the lost sinner's Saviour.

One night she awoke suddenly out of a sound sleep, a frightened look in her eyes, and asked excitedly, "Mother, what is Ezekiel 7:8,9?"

Her mother said, "What do you mean, my dear?"

She replied that she had had a most vivid dream. She thought there was a Presence in the room, who very solemnly said to her, "Read Ezekiel 7:8,9." Not recalling the verses in question, the mother reached for a Bible. As she opened it, her heart sank as she saw the words, but she read them aloud to the dying girl:

"Now I will shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations. And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth."

The poor sufferer, with a look of horror on her face, sank back on the pillow, utterly exhausted, and in a few moments she was in eternity. Once more it had been demonstrated that grace rejected brings judgment at last.

H.A. Ironside, Illustrations of Bible Truth, Moody Press, 1945, pp. 31-32.


In the 18th century, Archibald Boyle was the leading member of an association of wild and wicked men known as "The Hell Club" in Glasgow, Scotland. After one night of carousing at the Club's notorious annual meeting, Boyle dreamed he was riding home on his black horse. In the darkness, someone seized the reins, shouting, "You must go with me!" As Boyle desperately tried to force the reins from the hands of the unknown guide, the horse reared. Boyle fell down, down, down with increasing speed. "Where are you taking me?" The cold voice replied, "To hell!" The echoes of the groans and yells of frantic revelry assaulted their ears. At the entrance to hell, Boyle saw the inmates chasing the same pleasures they had pursued in life. There was a lady he'd known playing her favorite vulgar game. Boyle relaxed, thinking hell must be a pleasurable place after all. When he asked her to rest a moment and show him through the pleasures of hell, she shrieked. "There is no rest in hell!" She unclasped the vest of her robe and displayed a coil of living snakes writhing about her midsection. Others revealed different forms of pain in their hearts. "Take me from this place!" Boyle demanded. "By the living God whose name I have so often outraged, I beg you, let me go!" His guide replied, "Go then--but in a year and a day we meet to part no more." At this, Boyle awoke, feeling that these last words were as letters of fire burned into his heart.

Despite a resolution never to attend the Hell Club again, he soon was drawn back. He found no comfort there. He grew haggard and gray under the weight of his conscience and fear of the future. He dreaded attending the Club's annual meeting, but his companions forced him to attend. Every nerve of his body writhed in agony at the first sentence of the president's opening address: "Gentlemen, this is leap year; therefore it is a year and a day since our last annual meeting." After the meeting, he mounted his house to ride home. Next morning, his horse was found grazing quietly by the roadside. A few yards away lay the corpse of Archibald Boyle. The strange guide had claimed him at the appointed time.

Paul Lee Tan.


Commentary and Devotional

It was F.B. Meyer, I believe, who once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. We also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.

Stephen Brown, Christianity Today, April 5, 1993, p. 17.


Statistics and Research

More than four out of every five Americans agree that "we all will be called before God at judgment day to answer for our sins," says a poll conducted for the Times Mirror company.

National and International Religion Report, quoted in Signs of the Times, August, 1993, p. 6.

JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

My greatest thought is my accountability to God.

Daniel Webster.


The Judgment seat "is meant for us professing Christians, real and imperfect Christians; and it tells us that there are degrees in that future blessedness proportioned to present faithfulness."

Alexander Maclaren, 1826-1910.


It is Christians only who are in view here. All that we have hidden shall be revealed. The things we have done in the body will come back to us, whether good or bad. Every pious thought, and every thought of sin; every secret prayer, and every secret curse; every unknown deed of charity, and every hidden deed of selfishness; we will see them all again, and though we have not remembered them for years, and perhaps have forgotten them altogether, we shall have to acknowledge that they are our own. Is not that a solemn thing to stand at the end of life?

James Denney, 1856-1917.


Commentary and Devotional

Bema (judgment seat) in secular usage had four meanings:

1. One's stride, or manner of walking (which reveals character).
2. A platform for a public official (cf. Acts 25:6, 10, 17).
3. A "rewards platform" in sporting contests. Because of this meaning, some claim, the "bema" is only a place for rewards--not judgment. But in secular legal contexts it also denotes
4. the place where litigants stood for trial. Paul repeatedly stressed this meaning; Acts 25:10, Romans 14:12.

Walk Thru The Bible.

JUDGING

It was F.B. Meyer, I believe, who once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. We also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.

Stephen Brown, Christianity Today, April 5, 1993, p. 17.


In his little book Illustrations of Bible Truth, H.A. Ironside pointed out the folly of judging others. He related an incident in the life of a man called Bishop Potter. "He was sailing for Europe on one of the great transatlantic ocean liners. When he went on board, he found that another passenger was to share the cabin with him. After going to see the accommodations, he came up to the purser's desk and inquired if he could leave his gold watch and other valuables in the ship's safe. He explained that ordinarily he never availed himself of that privilege, but he had been to his cabin and had met the man who was to occupy the other berth. Judging from his appearance, he was afraid that he might not be a very trustworthy person. The purser accepted the responsibility for the valuables and remarked, 'It's all right, bishop, I'll be very glad to take care of them for you. The other man has been up here and left his for the same reason!'"

Our Daily Bread.


We sometimes criticize others unfairly. We don't know all their circumstances, nor their motives. Only God, who is aware of all the facts, is able to judge people righteously. John Wesley told of a man he had little respect for because he considered him to be miserly and covetous. One day when this person contributed only a small gift to a worthy charity, Wesley openly criticized him.

After the incident, the man went to Wesley privately and told him he had been living on parsnips and water for several weeks. He explained that before his conversion, he had run up many bills. Now, by skimping on everything and buying nothing for himself he was paying off his creditors one by one. "Christ has made me an honest man," he said, "and so with all these debts to pay, I can give only a few offerings above my tithe. I must settle up with my worldly neighbors and show them what the grace of God can do in the heart of a man who was once dishonest." Wesley then apologized to the man and asked his forgiveness.

Daily Bread, July 20, 1992.


In 1884 a young man died, and after the funeral his grieving parents decided to establish a memorial to him. With that in mind they met with Charles Eliot, president of Harvard University. Eliot received the unpretentious couple into his office and asked what he could do. After they expressed their desire to fund a memorial, Eliot impatiently said, "Perhaps you have in mind a scholarship."

"We were thinking of something more substantial than that...perhaps a building," the woman replied. In a patronizing tone, Eliot brushed aside the idea as being too expensive and the couple departed. The next year, Eliot learned that this plain pair had gone elsewhere and established a $26 million memorial named Leland Stanford Junior University, better known today as Stanford!

Today in the Word, June 11, 1992.


Dodie Gadient, a schoolteacher for thirteen years, decided to travel across America and see the sights she had taught about. Traveling alone in a truck with camper in tow, she launched out. One afternoon rounding a curve on I-5 near Sacramento in rush-hour traffic, a water pump blew on her truck. She was tired, exasperated, scared, and alone. In spite of the traffic jam she caused, no one seemed interested in helping.

"Leaning up against the trailer, she prayed, 'Please God, send me an angel . . . preferably one with mechanical experience.' Within four minutes, a huge Harley drove up, ridden by an enormous man sporting long, black hair, a beard and tattooed arms. With an incredible air of confidence, he jumped off and, without even glancing at Dodie, went to work on the truck. Within another few minutes, he flagged down a larger truck, attached a tow chain to the frame of the disabled Chevy, and whisked the whole 56-foot rig off the freeway onto a side street, where he calmly continued to work on the water pump.

The intimidated schoolteacher was too dumbfounded to talk. Especially when she read the paralyzing words on the back of his leather jacket: 'Hell's Angels -- California'. As he finished the task, she finally got up the courage to say, "Thanks so much," and carry on a brief conversation. Noticing her surprise at the whole ordeal, he looked her straight in the eye and mumbled, "Don't judge a book by its cover. You may not know who you're talking to." With that, he smiled, closed the hood of the truck, and straddled his Harley. With a wave, he was gone as fast as he had appeared.

From the newsletter OUR AMERICA.


Given half a chance, people often crawl out of the boxes into which we've relegated them.

Larry D. Wright.


At a pastor's conference in Spokane, Chuck Swindoll told of being at a California Christian camp. The first day there a man approached him and said how greatly he had looked forward to hearing Dr. Swindoll speak and his delight at now finally being able to realize that desire. That evening Swindoll noticed the man sitting near the front. But only a few minutes into the message the man was sound asleep. Swindoll thought to himself that perhaps he was tired after a long day's drive and couldn't help himself. But the same thing happened the next few nights, and Dr. Swindoll found his exasperation with the man growing. On the last night the man's wife came up and apologized for her husband's inattention to the messages. She then explained that he had recently been diagnosed as having terminal cancer and the medication he was taking to ease the pain made him extremely sleepy. But it had been one of his life-long ambitions to hear Dr. Swindoll speak before he died, and now he had fulfilled that goal.

Source Unknown.


Commentary and Devotional

At a recent gathering of seminary professors, one teacher reported that at his school the most damaging charge one student can lodge against another is that the person is being "judgmental." He found this pattern very upsetting. "You can't get a good argument going in class anymore," he said. "As soon as somebody takes a stand on any important issue, someone else says that the person is being judgmental. And that's it. End of discussion. Everyone is intimidated!" Many of the other professors nodded knowingly. There seemed to be a consensus that the fear of being judgmental has taken on epidemic proportions.

Is the call for civility just another way of spreading this epidemic? If so, then I'm against civility. But I really don't think that this is what being civil is all about. Christian civility does not commit us to a relativistic perspective. Being civil doesn't mean that we cannot criticize what goes on around us. Civility doesn't require us to approve of what other people believe and do. It is one thing to insist that other people have the right to express their basic convictions; it is another thing to say that they are right in doing so. Civility requires us to live by the first of these principles. But it does not commit us to the second formula. To say that all beliefs and values deserve to be treated as if they were on a par is to endorse relativism -- a perspective that is incompatible with Christian faith and practice. Christian civility does not mean refusing to make judgments about what is good and true. For one thing, it really isn't possible to be completely nonjudgmental. Even telling someone else that she is being judgmental is a rather judgmental thing to do!

Richard J. Mouw, Uncommon Decency, pp. 20-21.