Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Resolved 2008: Session #1

Rick Holland

And just as it is appointed for a man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who ware eagerly waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:27-28

The resolutions of Jonathan Edwards were based primarily on death, dying, heaven, hell.

As 19 years olds (the age Edwards was when he wrote his resolutions), do we have commitments and convictions that we will not compromise no matter what we do?

Our theme is heaven and hell and it is impossible to talk about these realities without talking about death because death is the doorway to heaven and hell.

We must think about death as Edwards did because if we are ready to die, then we know how to live. But we, in the Western world, are very insulated from thinking of death. We are insulated from it when it comes to the food that we eat, our friends and family dying.

This wasn’t true for the people in the book of Hebrews. The readers of this book were Jewish Christians who were exposed to death constantly through the animal sacrifice system. Hebrews is a bloody book about sacrifices in which Jesus Christ is set forth as the ultimate sacrifice that is superior to all that came before Him.

The 3 most important facts of life

1) Death is unavoidable (v.27)

It has been appointed for us to die. Someone has arranged for us to die. We have all brought this appointment upon ourselves (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Death is the right and the righteous judgment of God on the sin of every man. Every man is born with a death sentence. We are dying from the moment we come into this world. We are dying right now and are closer to our death at this moment than this morning when we woke up. Are we, like Edwards, aware of this fact and living light in light of the reality that we will one day die?

There is a fundamental relationship between the life and death of every person and the life and death of Jesus Christ.

Why had death made death the sentence for our sin and not something lesser? This leads us to understand how serious sin is. It is so serious to God that He demands our death for it. Yet it is so serious God to resolve this problem that He killed His own Son to pay our death penalty.

2) Judgment is certain (v. 27)

Psalm 50:6, Ecclesiastes 3:17, 8:11-13, 12:14

Judgment is certain because God is the judge. Everyone has an appointment at the day of their death to meet with God. And at that judgment we will have to account for what we’ve done with the sacrifice of His Son.

God is so serious about sin that He would put us to death. But He is more serious than that in that this death is an eternal one in hell.

And apart from His Son, this hell is our eternal destination. Hell is right now filled with people who are suffering and who would love to plead with us this very moment to believe on Christ and receive the salvation that is in Him in order that we might be spared from what they are experiencing.

There are no second chances. It is appointed for a man to die once and then comes judgment.

3) Salvation is possible (v.28)

This is the gospel. Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. Jesus is the final, real, ultimate sacrifice. It’s not amazing that judge would judge us by death and hell. What’s remarkable is God would take that punishment and replace it with the righteousness of Christ because Christ himself received our punishment on the cross. Jesus was absolutely alienated so that we ourselves wouldn’t have to be alienated ourselves.

We were born with a stiff arm in God’s face clawing at His eyes that we might have our own way and yet He still makes salvation possible for us.

Jesus is coming again with a robe dipped in blood to make war on all except those who don’t believe, those who eagerly await Him. Why don’t we more eagerly await Him? Because we love this life too much.

Resolution #55: Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I shall wish to do if I had already seen the happiness of heaven and the torments of hell.

Matthew 13:44 – Is Christ so precious to us that we will give up all that we have in order to receive all that He is for us?

Download the audio here.

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