We all – Christian and non-Christian – have one of two events in our future: we’re either going to die and face judgment as Hebrews 9:27 says, or we’re going to be alive at the second coming of Jesus and then face judgment as 2 Corinthians 5 tells us. That’s it – one or the other. There are no other options. None. If your system says Christians will not be judged, your system is wrong. Scripture never exempts Christians from the judgment. Never. The Holy Spirit includes Christians in the judgment of 2 Corinthians 5, verse 10, and the Spirit tells Christians like me who teach that we will be judged in James 3:1. The judgment of Revelation 20, verses 11 through 15, is for everyone – believer and unbeliever, Jew and Gentile. Judgment is coming for everyone. You might know what I’m going to say now: “Are you ready?”
That can become almost a cliché. Are you ready? We are recording this video in the midst of the pandemic of 2020 and 2021. A few days ago, one of our church members died. Whether he died from the pandemic is immaterial. People die every day. You know people who die. People don’t always die having lived their threescore and ten. This video is not about the pandemic. It’s about Hebrews 9:27: die once then face judgment. Die. Think about all the people who have died since that was written. We keep hearing that certain people are irreplaceable. You know what? Our cemeteries are full of irreplaceable people. Every single one of them will face judgment. I will face judgment. You will face judgment. The days are short. Your days are numbered and so are mine. Every day the calendar flips over you’re one day closer to the basis for your judgment. Look at your watch. Look at it. Every second puts you closer. Closer. Closer. Closer to that day when the Lord Jesus will judge the world in righteousness. Righteousness. The standards of God’s own character.
How are you going to stand in that divine court on that Day? It’s you. Not you and your Mom, not you and your husband. You. When? Today? Tomorrow? Next week? Die once. We are all going to stand before a perfect Judge who will judge us all perfectly and that judge has one standard: perfection. Total, absolute perfection. You say, “Well, I’m not perfect, but I’m not that bad!” Perfection. Anything else is imperfection and imperfection says you are guilty. One small sin for one millisecond makes you guilty. “But I didn’t mean to do that!” It doesn’t matter. Whatever you did which is wrong, or what we know as sin, judges you to be guilty. Perfect, divine, holy justice slams the gavel down and says, “Guilty!” This justice also says there’s no parole. No probation. No posting bond. No paying a fine and walking away free. The justice of Almighty God says, “You die.” You say, “I already died! How can I die twice?” The second death is an eternity in the lake of fire. The punishment of the second death on the Last Day in that divine court is not one where you cease to exist, but where you pass on to another realm… a realm where all the kindness and goodness and gentleness and patience of God is absent…a place where only the perfect, holy, divine wrath and fury of Almighty God is unleashed upon the guilty….” How can a loving God do that to anyone?” you ask. You’re asking the wrong question. Your question should be this: “How can a holy, just God let the guilty go free?”
Can this holy God let the guilty go free? Yes. How, and still be just? He can do it because the punishment for sin has been paid by a substitute. His Son, Jesus Christ. The punishment for rebellion against Almighty God is going to be paid – it’s either going to be paid by you as you pay that penalty in Hell for all eternity, or you can rely on the payment made by a substitute – Jesus Christ – the one who will judge on the Last Day. The Judge is the one who paid the penalty… but only for those who believe in Him and have repented, turning from their sin and turning to Jesus Christ in faith.
You get to be my age – I’m 63 – and you look back and you say, “Where did all those years go?” When you’re younger you might well be sitting there thinking things are taking so long….”I’ve been in school forever”….”Why is it taking so long for me to find a spouse?….”I’ve been stuck in this dead-end job forever”…. but if the Lord is kind and gets you to my age, you’ll go, “WOW! Everything is going so fast!” But take a moment. Think about the people you know who didn’t get to age 63. Maybe they didn’t get to age 23. Or 33. Or 13. I keep seeing all these rappers and hip-hop artists and YouTubers and influencers dying at 16, 18, 20, 24, 26….dying, then facing the pending judgment of Hebrews 9:27. What do you do? How can you stand before the judge on that last Day without Christ having paid for your sins, having obeyed the law perfectly on your behalf? You will only stand there in terror as judgment is pronounced because there are no appeals in this court on the last day. No motions for deferral. No mistrials. Once and done. You die once then face judgment.
Scripture says God is kind to the rebels. He’s kind in giving them time to repent, in Romans 2:4. People say, “How come God doesn’t make Himself known? I need proof!” You have proof. The sun came up today. You have proof. The stars are in the heavens. You have proof. God is waving His metaphoric arms, yelling at you by sending pandemics, by sending hurricanes, by sending tsunamis, tornadoes, sickness, unemployment, civil unrest… God is SHOUTING at you in all this: “Repent! The days are short!” When your friends die, God is screaming at you, “Wake up!” How do you respond? “Ah…I’ve got more time.” “Ahhh, You Christians are all a bunch of liars!” Woe to you if you think that and woe to you if you think that as you take your last breath. I want you to think about this: why are people so afraid to die? We’ve seen it manifest in the pandemic. People are terrified of dying. Why? They won’t admit it, but here’s why. They know there’s something after they take their last breath. They know because God has planted eternity in the human heart. Every single person knows – whether they’ll admit it or not – that they have something in store after they die and the reason they’re afraid to die is that they know that the lake of fire awaits them even if they don’t acknowledge the existence of the lake of fire. They KNOW. They KNOW that, deep down inside. And I know this: they don’t have to have the lake of fire in their eternity – they can have eternal fellowship with the living God, seeing Him face to face…but only if they – even more so – YOU – repent…turn from your sin…turn to Christ in faith and trust Him to save you from the wrath to come. Turn to the beauty of Jesus Christ…beauty which manifested itself in love, love which paid the penalty for sin and paid for Hell on that cross… but only if you turn to Him in faith today.
How many more days do you have? I don’t know and neither do you. The fact you have this one day – today – shows how merciful and kind God is to you. Christian, you who watch this video now KNOW that, and you thank God for it. You – you who don’t believe…do not, I implore you…do not assume you have tomorrow. Don’t presume you’ve got time to figure this out. What you have is a problem, and your problem is God, because God is holy and just…and your solution to the problem of God is also God…who provided His Son to this world as a way to be reconciled to this, holy, holy, holy God. Your days are short. Die once, then face judgment. If you stand in the court of God on that judgment day and think you can stand by yourself based on your own merit, you are so, so wrong. You need to be standing there clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ, His perfect obedience of the law, having His blood on your behalf as the payment for your sin. Satan may be accusing you…” You’re not worthy”… and the devil is absolutely right – you’re not worthy…but Jesus Christ IS worthy and you can plead His worthiness on the Last Day in that divine court if you receive Him as Lord and Savior by faith. Don’t… please don’t think you’re beyond hope in this…you might be sitting there thinking, “You don’t know what I’ve done to myself and to other people.” You’re right. I don’t know. I’ve been volunteering in prisons for 24 years and I know what people can do to other people, trust me…But Jesus Christ is a mighty Savior…whoever comes to Him will be given life, eternal life…you’ll receive rest for your soul…when He says “whoever believes,” and whoever comes” He’s not lying. Come to Him…now…come to Him… in faith…that’s all you can do…come..in faith… tasting the goodness of God by faith in His Son. Amen.