With Me or Without Me

By Pastor Bob Rasmussen

What is hell like? The Bible is clear as we will see in the following text. Hell is dark – the opposite of the light.

Matt 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

There will be gnashing of teeth.

Matt 13:47-50 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

There will be weeping.

Matt 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

There will be wailing

Matt 13:40-43 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

There will be fire and torments

Luke 16:19-23 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

And the finality of hell

2 Thessalonians 7-9 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

Well hell, sounds like hell!

I have struggled with the concept of hell or even talking about it

Bryan Chapell said it like this:

The questions we always struggle with is Hell fair? That’s a harder question. I think one way theologians have dealt with that is, it’s fair in this regard: people get what they deserve. They don’t want to be with God, and so God at some point says, fine, you’ll be without me. Now, pride keeps you not wanting God around and there’s a sense in which hell, if it’s not just described by the images, but by theological understanding, total conscious, eternal separation from the blessings of God and there’s a sense in which hell is people getting exactly what they want, (they say) “I didn’t want God.”

My struggle has always been “but God is LOVE!” – and He is.

We have an opportunity to save others from certain destruction, an endless torment of pain

The worst part is they will not be able to see Jesus – ever – eternally separated

There is good news, and that is what we are to share.

Romans 1:16-17 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

But there is more good news that we can share through our testimonies and that is that we do not have to wait for heaven to be in fellowship with Jesus.

We are all born into a sinful world with the stain of Adam on our lives. But God, in his Grace and Mercy, made a way for us:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Cultural Research Center in AZ had these poll results

One in three Americans (33 percent) say they consider themselves to be a Christian and affirm the statement that “when you die you will go to heaven only because you have confessed your sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior.”

54 percent of U.S. adults believe they will get to heaven after they die and only 2 percent believe they are going to hell. Fifteen percent say they don’t know what will happen after they die, 13 percent say there is no life after death, 8 percent believe in reincarnation, and another 8 percent believe “they will go to a place of purification prior to entering heaven.”

To me this is shocking, but there are those in my life who no longer really believe or wish to follow Jesus.

The descriptions of hell in the bible are horrible. But what about Heaven?

John 14 1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Revelation 7 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

I have a thing with movies, I can watch a movie and remember a lot of things. Especially if I have seen it more than once. Recently, someone wanted to remember the name of the ship in a movie called The Matrix – Nebuchadnezzar – asked if it was because I linked it to King Neb – but sadly nope – I’m not a biblical scholar – I just remembered.

That brings me to the title of this sermon ‘With Me or Without Me”

I have gone through a depression after my Dad died.  I am not perfect – I forgot to use God’s Word.

Psalm 143:9-11 9 Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.11 Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

With Jesus, there was freedom and without Jesus there was loneliness and desperation!

We do not have to go through healing by ourselves, whether it be our healing or a loved one’s healing.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

With Jesus there was hope and comfort and without fear and worry!

How about in times of need?

Hebrews 4:14-16 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

With Jesus confidence and optimism and without Jesus there was fear!

I’m going to put my confidence in Jesus! Not in myself.

What about fear?  

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

He will go before and help you

Deuteronomy 31:8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

With Jesus there was expectation that He would be there in the process and without Jesus there was constant worrying!

What about weakness or being vulnerable with things we cannot control. Diana, my wife, had a heart attack. I couldn’t fix it or control it. It just happened.

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

With Jesus, there was hope, there was possibility, and praise the Lord – Victory! Without Jesus I was just a mess.

God promises us peace in this life.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

With Jesus, we can have peace no matter what the world is throwing at us, without Jesus we can just get lost in the noise of it all – He is our anchor!

What if we are in bondage to our old lifestyle?

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Remember our friend Tom, the biker? With Jesus he was a man of God, touching lives and bringing many people into the Kingdom of God, but without Jesus Tom would have been just an angry, depressed biker

The body of Christ is not this building, amen. The body of Christ is us and we have a responsibility to share the gospel so that folks have an opportunity to spend an eternity with the only one who can save them. His Presence is so sweet – I cannot imagine an eternity without Him.

And as the church, as the body, sometimes we need to remember that not all of us are in the same frame of mind, that we are all not perfect, that we are all trying.

Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.27 And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

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