Eternity: Heaven or hell? Eld. Ishmael Edjekumhene Sunday, February 10, 2019

Gospel Sunday at PIWC, AtomicJesus can appear any moment from now
God wants to take our minds back to something we don’t usually think about: eternity. That Jesus might appear even this morning may not have crossed our minds as we came to church this morning. We have got to a stage where it is not in our usual scheme of thinking that Jesus could come in our generation but he is coming and the Lord wants me to tell you that it could be very soon.

Eternity is infinite, endless, and timeless
Eternity is defined as something that is infinite and endless. In fact, it is also defined as a state in which time has no application. In our context, in theology, eternity is endless life after death. We believe there is life after death and the Bible teaches us there is life after death and that that life after death is continuous—there is no end to eternity. This life after death is something that will continue forever and ever.

Our lives on earth will come to an end; after that, it is either heaven or hell
As human beings on this earth, we will end this phase of life. (Hebrews 9.27)
When we die and our time on this earth passes away, there are only two places where each and every one will end up. You will either spend eternity in heaven or hell. Whichever location you end up you will be there forever. Whether you end up in heaven or hell, you will be there forever. There will be no opportunity to come back and no opportunity to cross over when the end comes.

Eternity is certain
If there is no hereafter then of all men we are the most pitiable. (1 Corinthians 15.19) Eternity is certain and there is a place we are going to be. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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. 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. (John 14.1-3 KJV) So, after death, we will end up in a place where we will spend the rest of our lives. It is either with God in perpetuity or in eternal anguish.

God has always had eternity in mind
When God created man he wanted that eternal relationship with him. God never intended death if you read the creation story. He told them they were only going to die if they ate the fruit. When Adam sinned and fell, God reminded man that he was created from dust. However, even in Genesis 5 we see that the youngest person in the list lived 777 years. When God got fed up with man in Genesis 6.3 he limited his lifespan to 120 years. So, death was not part of the equation. Death entered the world through sin. So, when Jesus came and wanted to restore us to our old position he talked about eternal life. Because of the love God had for the world, he gave us his only begotten son. The provision he made for mankind was everlasting life.

The two places you will spend eternity will be determined by the decisions you make in life while you are alive. Whether you go to heaven or hell will be determined by the decision you make on earth while you are alive. Jesus has died on the cross and has paid the price in full. If anyone believes, that person will have everlasting life. Anyone who does not believe will perish.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” (John 11.25 NLT) The choice to go to heaven and benefit from this great gift of eternal life depends on you. John 3.17 it says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (KJV)

The choice between life and death has been set before you
Wherever you are, Jesus has set before you life and death. We are all going to die and we will appear before the judgment seat of Christ. In Acts 17.30-31 Paul says, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (NIV)

This hell we are talking about is a place you don’t want anybody to go. If you consider what will go on in hell, nobody will tell you to get up and preach the gospel.

Some say the passage in Luke 16 was a parable but there is no parable in which Jesus mentioned people’s names so I believe Jesus wanted to give us a sneak peek into what happens in the afterlife. The rich man became so desperate that he became foolish. He said he was so thirsty that he wanted Abraham to dip his finger in water to cool his tongue. Does this make sense?

In Revelation 20 we are told about the lake of fire where people were in constant torment—a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Hell was never meant for human beings created in the image of God it was meant for the demons who rebelled against God. If you believe in Jesus you won’t perish; but if you don’t you will perish.

Life is not all about eating and drinking
Life is not all about eating and drinking but making every effort to please your maker so that when the time comes you will have a good report before him. He loves you so much that even if you were the only person on earth Jesus would have come to die. You have a choice to make as to where to spend eternity. The rich man said, “If this is how it is, then send Lazarus to go back to my family to warn them because I know they are like me and will also end up here.”

Life does not start and end here. The man who ended up in hell tells us it is not a place to joke with. Can you imagine spending forever with the devil? You don’t want to be there so you need to repent and give your life to Jesus. He has made a way for you if only you will believe. John 3.19 says, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”

Jesus gives a double package to those who come to him
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10.29-30 NIV)

When you die, there is no opportunity to change your mind
Maybe one of the reasons I cannot be a pastor is that I cannot say, “Rest in peace” to everyone I bury. When you die it is finished. There is no purgatory. You have only one opportunity while you are alive. When you die that opportunity is gone. In hell there is the opportunity to regret. By the way, the man did not go to hell because he was rich—the Bible did not say that.

This morning if only you will wise up and say that you want to start a new life with Jesus, he will come in. He is more interested in your salvation than you are. Tomorrow might not be there for you. If there is a choice to make, you have to make it today because tomorrow might not be there for you.

Jesus can show up anytime soon so don’t procrastinate. Those of us who think we are going to heaven, let us know that we have a part to play to end up there. Do you remember the one who came to Jesus and said he cast out demons and healed the sick in his name? Jesus rejected him nonetheless for his evil deeds.

Nothing impure shall enter the kingdom of God. You are a child of God; everybody knows you are a member of PIWC, Atomic but your lifestyle will not take you to heaven.

In Revelation 2, Jesus told John serious mysteries. Revelation 3.20, which says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me,” was written to a church—the church in Laodicea, which was described as being neither hot nor cold. To the church in Sardis, Jesus said they had a reputation of being alive but they were dead. The Lord who sees the heart knows who you are.

Judgment will begin from the house of God. A taxi driver told me he used to go to church until the pastor said judgment would begin in the house of God. His reasoning was that if God were to start from the church then by the time he got to those outside, his anger would have subsided.

We are supposed to be the light of the world. We are supposed to shine as stars in this depraved world.

Sin should not be master over your life. Many Christians are making the work of God difficult. By their actions, they cause unbelievers to blaspheme the name of God but we should let our lights shine.

Main references
John 3.14-17, 1 John 5.6-12, Luke 16.19-31

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