13 March 2008

"Blessed Be"--God the Father (part 2)

Yesterday we looked at God the Father as our Father. We saw how He provides for us, He leads us and guides us. And when we need it, He disciplines us. But He doesn’t take joy in disciplining us. He does it so that He can guide us back to paths of holiness, so that we can share in the righteousness of Christ. Today, we’re going to look at God the Father as our Judge. Not just our judge, but the Judge of every single person who has ever been born, or ever will be born. Here’s a statistic for you: Out of every 10 people that are born—here and around the world—out of those 10 people, 10 of them are going to die. And everyone—everyone, everyone—will stand before God and be judged. There are some people that think they’ll come out OK. “Oh, I think I’m good. I'll be OK.” This is not a midterm exam. This is not an English final. This is the final judgment of God, and it will be done! And He judges perfectly. And you need to be perfect when you stand before Him or you will spend all eternity in Hell. We like to say “an eternity” but there is only one “eternity.”

First, let’s look at His ETERNALITY. He is the Eternal Judge. Psalm 90:2Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. A human judge is only in office for a certain amount of years. And when they make a ruling, there are usually judges in a higher court that can overturn that ruling. Until you get to the Supreme Court, then it’s final. Unless years later it can be shown that the first Supreme Court ruling was incorrect, and overturned. We can always find a judge that will be sympathetic to our situation. Whenever liberals in this country want to limit when and where someone can pray or read their Bible, they will usually file a lawsuit in California, because the federal courts out there usually side with the atheists and the gay rights people and the abortionists.

And being human, it’s possible that these judges may look at a similar case at another time and make a completely different ruling. But God’s reign and rule as Almighty Judge is eternal. It started in eternity past, and will go all through eternity future.
Job 36:26Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.
Lamentations 5:19Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation.
Not only is His rule eternal, but His judgment is eternal as well.
Psalm 9:7But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
Jude 1:6And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.
2nd Thessalonians 1:7-9…the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power…
Now, this last verse, the Jehovah's Witnesses like to say this means you will be destroyed forever. No. This means that your destruction will last forever. It will be continuous, perpetual, never ending. Some people think, “Well, when I die, I'll stand there and I'll make my case. I'll show God how good a person I was. He’ll probably just send me to Purgatory for a few hundred years, I'll do my time, I'll be alright.” Friend, I hope you don’t think that. Because when God pronounces His final judgment upon your soul, and that gavel comes crashing down, your eternal fate is sealed, and there ain't nothing you—or anybody else—can do about it. His judgment is eternal!

Next, let’s look at God the Father’s IMPARTIALITY as Judge. How many times do we hear about a murderer or a rapist or a child molester being let off because of some technicality? The police handled the evidence in some way that it got tainted. The defendant had a really good lawyer or a ton of money. Those are the ones that really get you. You see all these celebrities getting busted for DUI and for drugs. Now if it were you or me, we’d be wasting away at Brushy Mountain for the next thousand years. But you look at people like Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton or some superstar football or baseball player. What do they get? They get a month in rehab; they're out in a week. And then parents take their kid to see their movie the next week.

Do you know God cannot be bribed? In Luke 16 Jesus tells the story—some people say it’s a parable, that it’s just an illustration of a truth. We don’t have time to go into the reasons this should be read as something that actually happened. In verses 19-31, Jesus tells of two men—one in torment in Hades, where the unrighteous go after they die, and one in a place called “Abraham’s Bosom,” a place Jesus and the apostle Paul refer to as “Paradise.” And in this story we see the beauty of God’s judgment. Now you may be thinking, “Beauty? One guy is in eternal torment, how can you say that’s beauty?” People that say you can't have beauty if you don’t know what ugly is are absolutely, totally wrong. You cannot have pure beauty unless every single little speck of evil and ugliness is eliminated. 1Chronicles 16:29Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. We’re going to see in a little while why the holiness of the LORD is so beautiful.

This story Jesus tells us not only shows the beauty of God’s holiness, but also the beauty of His impartiality. You can't buy your way into Heaven. Donald Trump is gonna be standing before the throne of God with this mountain of money and cars and mansions and wealth—and with a snap of His fingers God is gonna destroy it all. And if by that time, Donald Trump does not know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, Donald Trump is going to be destroyed as well. He’s gonna burn it all up like chaff. You know what chaff is? If you ever eat popcorn, and you know that little husk around the kernel? The one that always gets stuck in your teeth, and you spend the whole movie trying to suck it out? That is chaff. And in the days when Jesus walked the earth, when they harvested the wheat, they would toss it up in the air, and the kernels of wheat would fall to the ground and the chaff would be blown off by the wind. Then they would gather up all the chaff and make this big fore and before the chaff even hit the flame it would just disintegrate—just from the heat. That’s what is going to happen to everything that anybody tries to bring into the kingdom of Heaven. ‘Cause you can't buy your way in. Because God is a perfectly impartial Judge.

Deuteronomy 10:17For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.
Job 37:24Men do therefore fear him: he shows no partiality to any that are wise of heart.
Galatians 3:28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Ever hear about these churches that tell you that you can't come in unless you're wearing a suit and tie? Do you know they are committing sin every time they tell someone that? I say this from the bottom of my heart and with the word of God as my Witness. James 2:2-10For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

He is ETERNAL. He is IMPARTIAL. He is RIGHTEOUS. We who know God look up to Him, we worship Him, we even fear Him. But fearing Him is a good thing. Without that fear, we would not be able to worship Him. We fear Him because we KNOW what He is capable of. But we also know that He has saved us by His grace. And I want to park right here on this subject of “grace” for a few minutes. It is because of the righteousness of God that we experience the grace of God. Apart from that grace—that favor that He gave us when we did not deserve it—we would have nothing to look forward to except spending eternity in Hell.

Listen to Titus 2:11-14For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people… What is the grace of God? Grace has a lot to do with why the entire human race is not condemned to eternity in Hell. Because that’s what we deserve. The righteousness of God demands payment for our rebellion against Him. Guess what? We could never, ever, pay back that debt. Matthew 18:23-27--"Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt." Wanna know how long it would take to pay back 10,000 talents? A talent was a unit of currency, and 10,000 back then would be worth about 3 BILLION DOLLARS today. How long you reckon it would take to pay that back? That’s what we owed to God. That’s the debt that Jesus paid.

Here is the righteousness of God, and the grace of God: If I rob a bank, the laws of the city, county, and state—and even some federal laws—require that I go to prison for a mandatory minimum amount of time. I may spend the rest of my life behind bars. And even if I am paroled, I will always be remembered by the city, county, state, federal governments as the guy that robbed that bank. That will always be on my record. No matter what I do, no matter how good a prisoner I was, there is nothing I can do to erase that bank robbery from my record. I cannot go back and undo what has been done. Likewise, when we sin—and we sin because that’s what we are. And every time we sin, there is nothing we can do to wipe that sin off of our record. God will never just ignore it. He can't. If He did, He wouldn’t be holy. And that’s a word we will look at shortly.

God knows every single thing you and I have ever done in our lives. So when we commit that one sin, we exclude ourselves from being able to dwell in His presence in His kingdom. He can't ignore it, and He won’t ignore it. And if you only stand before Him with that little white lie you told your teacher when you were 6 years old, that’s enough to cut you off from His presence forever. There is nothing—nothing—we can do to have God ignore our sins. And that is where grace comes in. If it were not for the grace of God, we would all stand before Him with our sins. He is a righteous Judge, and He demands payment for our wrongs.

Psalm 97:2Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the foundation of his throne. His rule and reign as Almighty Judge of all creation is based, founded upon, His righteousness.
Acts 17:30-31Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
2nd Timothy 4:8Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

God is ETERNAL, He is IMPARTIAL, He is RIGHTEOUS and He is PATIENT. If you were on trial for murder, would you want a judge to be pushing your lawyer to wrap it up real quick? Would you not want that judge to be patient and to allow the case to unfold and to hear the matter with utmost diligence? See, that’s the kind of Judge God the Father is. He is so patient, even with the wicked. Now, He doesn’t need us to tell Him that this world is evil and corrupt and full of people who blaspheme His name. He knows that. And He knows the judgment that is going to come upon the wicked. We wonder why he doesn’t just zap ‘em all and get it over with. He doesn’t want to. Methodists call it “prevenient grace.” He gives the wicked plenty of time to repent. Listen to Ezekiel 18:23“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” saith the Lord GOD, “And not that he should return from his ways, and live?” We are born sinners. So if we die a sinner, and God we do not allow God to do a miraculous work in changing you from a raging sinner to a devoted child of God, what kind of glory does that give Him?
Psalm 145:8The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.
And if we are going to claim to be His children, we should exhibit the same patience. He let Job go on for 37 chapters, then after Job and all his “friends” questioned everything, God answered out of the whirlwind and asked, “Where were you?”
Proverbs 18:13He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him.
James 1:19-20So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Finally we see that He is HOLY. The word ‘holy’—what does it mean? “Holy” means “set apart.” Another word that means the same thing is “sanctified.” We get the word “sanctuary.” It means that God is so far different than man that there is no way we could ever know Him unless He revealed Himself to us. Our government has sent out little satellites into space, some of them have gone out of our solar system. Billions of miles away. They have not even come close to the place where God resides. Telescopes have seen stars and galaxies trillions of billions of miles away. Still not close. Because the throne of God is so far above this puny little universe we live in there is no way any human being could ever approach it unless he was taken there by God Himself.

I mentioned earlier that if we rob a bank, we will always be remembered for it. But if we know Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, listen to what God’s word says about us.
Psalm 103:12For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 32:1Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
2nd Corinthians 5:21For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
He had to. There was no other way that He could forgive our sins and still be holy—different, separated, set apart, sanctified, unlike any other being in all of creation. Because He is holy.

Many people say—with good intentions—they say, “Oh, I would just love to get a glimpse of heaven!” No you don’t. Not in this body, anyway. Because if God did take us there, we would be so disgusted with ourselves we would never be able to look in the mirror ever again. Isaiah—one of the greatest prophets of God. The man who wrote more about Jesus Christ than almost anybody else in the Old Testament. Isaiah 6:1-5In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

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