Many of you will remember during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games the word “Eternity” appeared on the side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge lit up by a dazzling display of fireworks. Many years ago a man called Arthur Stace made this word famous. Arthur Stace was a converted Alcoholic who had come to know the Lord Jesus. Everywhere he went he wrote the word “Eternity” in chalk on the pavements and sidewalks of Sydney. He wanted to alert people to the reality of eternity and to the final destiny of everyone to spend it in heaven or hell.
“Life after Death?
Since ancient times people of every race and religion have believed in some form of afterlife and even today people are becoming increasingly fascinated with this concept through movies, novels, books, magazines, the internet and television. Man has always been captivated by the supernatural and what lies beyond this life. The Bible teaches that physical death is not the end of life but a gateway into an eternal dimension where time as we know it on earth does not exist. The Bible says; “God has set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Originally God created us to live forever. Most people don’t really think seriously about eternity because they are too busy and pre-occupied with the pleasures and pursuits in this life. However, the Bible says; “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement” (Hebrews 9:27). This is an appointment none of us can avoid!
“She’ll be right mate!”
The Lord Jesus spoke about a certain rich businessman who thought to expand his business and sit back to enjoy his life for many years to come. This man said to himself; “I have plenty of things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God” (Luke 12:19-21). Multitudes have this same attitude today but the reality is they have no guarantee about the next day. We need to be preparing for eternity now.
Are you prepared for eternity? If you died right now would you go straight to heaven or straight to hell? The Bible tells you certain facts you need to know if you want to go to heaven. The Bible says; “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12). The Bible also says; “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). If you think good works or morality will get you to heaven you are sadly mistaken. There needs to be an inward spiritual change which the Bible calls the New Birth without which no one will perceive or enter into God’s eternal kingdom where joy unspeakable and full of God’s glory and presence awaits all who go there. (John 3:3) Only God can make you a brand new spiritual creation deep down on the inside that will guarantee entrance into Heaven. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
God created you to have a personal relationship with Him.
However because of our sin and rebellion against His Divinely appointed law we have cut ourselves off from knowing Him. He is a stranger to you if you have never known your creator. The Bible says that God is angry with the wicked everyday even though He loves His creation. We have violated His commandments and fall short of the standard of life He requires from us to allow us to enter heaven. Who has ever kept all of the 10 commandments apart from the Lord Jesus when he walked this earth? No one has of course!
“The wages of sin is death.”
By birth and by nature we are great sinners and rebels in His sight and are “by nature children of wrath.” We do not love God naturally; neither can we submit to His laws. We may be very religious and zealous for doing good deeds but they of themselves will never make us acceptable for heaven. The Bible says; “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8). When King David was reflecting on his own inward disposition and propensity to sin he said; “Surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). The Bible also tells us; “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Death is an eternal separation from God in the lake of fire. The Bible calls this; “the second death!” Annihilation is not an option! It is nowhere taught in the Bible.
The Lake of Fire is a real place of conscious, eternal torment.
Don’t let anyone tell you that hell and the lake of fire is a fairy tale or a myth. As a well known evangelist has said; “Hell is the Devil’s best kept secret.”If your name is not registered in God’s book of life then when you stand before Him on the day of judgement you will be weighed in the balances of His justice and found wanting. This is an appointment every sinner and rebel will keep. The only exception will be those who have taken God’s way of Salvation. John the apostle saw the last great and final judgement of unrepentant sinners and law breakers. It is found in the book of Revelation which John himself wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
This is what John saw in eternity. “And I saw the dead, great and small standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it and death and hell gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and hell were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).
The unbelieving wicked are not annihilated. The Apostle John also wrote; “Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).
Now God in His love and mercy has provided a “fire escape.” He not only wants to save you from the clutches of this present evil age and its overlord Satan, but from the lake of fire and bring you into God’s eternal kingdom.
The only hope of Heaven for all of eternity is only found in the Lord Jesus the Messiah and in no one else.
The Lord Jesus Himself said; “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). He also said; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18). The apostle Peter tells us that “Salvation is found in one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
The Bible also says about Him; “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him” (Isaiah 53:5-6). God dealt with Him as a sinner even though the Lord Jesus was without any sin, that He might deal with us as His sons and daughters who by birth and by nature are great rebels and sinners.
“You can be sure of heaven!”
Right at this moment you can be sure of heaven for time and for eternity. The Lord Jesus the Messiah has paid the full price for your sin and rebellion. He died in our place, the perfect one for the imperfect ones to bring us to God. His shed blood satisfied God’s Divine wrath against all of our sin and rebellion. On the third day the Lord Jesus was raised to life again never more to die and now sits at the right hand of God His Father in Heaven to intercede for you. The Bible says; “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). On the basis of what the Lord Jesus did for you at the cross God can and will forgive all of your sins and cleanse you from them completely. He can give you a brand new start in life and a life that will bring you to heaven when you die.
“What must I do to be saved?”
You must first repent; this involves a willingness to turn away from your unbelief in Jesus as Saviour and Lord and to turn away from all and every sin and to turn to God for mercy and forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah the prophet put it this way; “Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7) It means you are willing to turn from living a life that hates and rejects the Lord Jesus to living a life that loves the Lord Jesus and accepts Him as your personal saviour and your Lord.
You must commit your life to the Lord Jesus by faith alone; Jesus loves you beyond anything you can imagine and has paid a terrible price to reconcile you with your creator. If hell was not real then Jesus would never have had to suffer like He did. He is the only “fire escape” from the eternal flames. He loves you and wants to only do the very best thing with your life. Will you repent and receive Him as your personal Saviour and Lord. No one else can make that decision for you.
You must be willing to be baptised and receive the Holy Spirit; Will you let Him save you now and receive the Holy Spirit? His promise is sure; “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The word “receive” means to reach out by faith and take hold of the Holy Spirit who has been poured out, asking Him to come into your life. God is always pleased with faith and responds to it and rewards it (Hebrews 11: 6). Public baptism by immersion declares to the world you have died to your old way of living and risen to a new way of living. (Romans 6:4)
Eternity is a very long time! The Lord Jesus Himself also said; “I have come that they may have life; and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). As it is also written; “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus the Messiah our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God’s abundance does not exist in the things a person possess but in successfully doing God’s will and in this will be a deep peace and satisfaction that is beyond anything you can ask of think. (Luke 12:15) (Ephesians 3:20) (Romans 12:1-2)
The Bible also says; “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame… For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-11, 13). Today if you hear God’s voice do not harden your heart because tomorrow may be too late! As we walk through this life the final frontier all of us must face is eternity.