We see warning signs all around. There are traffic signs that say STOP, YIELD, DO NOT ENTER, WRONG WAY, ONE WAY and CONSTRUCTION AHEAD to name a few. Some household products have poison warning labels on them. We are told to watch for the warning signs for a heart attack, stroke or Alzheimer’s.
Sometimes we are warned not to do something and we ignore the warnings. We go ahead and do what we want to do, even though we’ve been told not to do it. When you find yourself in this spot where you’ve been warned and you do it anyway, you can’t claim that you didn’t know. You have been warned and you ignored the warning.
Tonight I want to talk to you about Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I want to tell you about the greatest change in my 51 years of living. The greatest change in my life happened when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ seven years ago. I was born again and I’ll never be the same. Up until that point, I had lived my life selfishly for myself.
I’m warning you tonight that you shouldn’t do what I did. I claimed that I was a Christian while at the same time I was out living my life for myself and the devil. You can’t be a Christian and still live selfishly for yourself. I pretty much did what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. I used to drink too much, cuss too much, watch raunchy TV shows, played video games for hours and hours, watched vulgar and filthy movies and I looked at pictures of naked women on the internet. I was verbally abusive to my wife and kids. I lived for the almighty dollar. I used to idolize money and prestige. I used to collect rock albums and I had over 1,600 of them at one time. I lived for myself.
I put myself in place of God. I thought I was a successful businessman, but I wasn’t living a fulfilled life. Even with everything that I had, I was never satisfied. I always wanted more. There was never enough money; never enough albums and never enough video games. I always wanted more, kept buying and getting more and still I was never satisfied. My life was empty. Those looking in from the outside probably thought that I had it all. But I was just a mean, selfish person.
But thank God one day I complained to my brother and he told me that I needed to read the Bible every day. Now I thought that I was already saved because I’d said the sinner’s prayer when I was 11 years old, but I wasn’t saved. I was as lost as I could be. There had never been a change in my life. I had never been born again. I was still the same selfish person that I’d been since birth. I still had the same sin nature that I was born with and I loved my sins. I thought that I had it made. I foolishly thought that I had my get out of Hell-free card and yet I was still in control of my life at the same time. I foolishly and wrongly thought that I had the best of both worlds.
Through reading God’s Holy Word, He convicted me that I was lost. The Lord convinced me that I would go straight to Hell when I died, if I continued living my life like I was. God mainly convicted me through Matthew 7:21-23. I was reading straight through the Bible and there were other verses after these in Matthew that also got my attention, God graciously converted me with Romans 8:1. When I read that verse, I realized immediately that I had lived my whole life living for the flesh – for the pleasures of the flesh instead of following Jesus’ lead by walking after the Holy Spirit. Through conviction from the Holy Spirit, I cried out for God to save me and He did! Thanks be to God, Hallelujah! Our God is an awesome God!
Now when God convicted me with Matthew 7:21-23, in verse 21, Jesus says that not everyone will enter into the kingdom of heaven. In fact He says that only those who do the will of God the Father shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Now this verse really bothered me. Even though I thought that I was a Christian, I realized immediately that I hadn’t lived my life for God. I knew right away that I had lived my life for myself and God convicted me that I was one of those people that were not going to make it heaven!
Then in verse 23 Jesus says “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Again, I recognized that I had been a worker of iniquity up to that point in my life. I was a sinner. I was an unrepentant sinner. I had never been born again. I was the same old person. I was still living for myself and I was still spiritually dead in my trespasses and sins. I was lost, loving my sins and I was barreling down the broad road to destruction. But I hadn’t been worried about where the trip would end, because I had asked Jesus into my heart when I was 11 years old. I now understand that a person can ask Jesus into their heart a 1,000 times, but if they never repent, they are still lost, they remain spiritually dead and they are still headed straight for Hell, just like I was for 33 years.
Here’s the Good News, you too can be saved. You can be born again. You can be forgiven for your sins. You can be cleansed. Your guilt can be taken away (Romans 4:7-8). You can truly be forgiven for all of your sins, if you quit living your life selfishly for yourself. If you turn away from your sins and put your faith in Jesus. If you repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:14-15). Stop trusting in yourself and start trusting in Jesus. He suffered and died on the cross to take away your sins (Hebrews 9:28). He rose victorious from the grave, defeating sin, death, Hell and Satan (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). God is offering you everlasting life tonight, if you will repent and put your trust in Jesus.
Repentance means a change of mind. Adrian Rogers said “Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of life.” When you repent, it starts with a change of mind. You take yourself off the throne of your life and you bow your knee to Jesus Christ our Lord. You receive salvation and it is only offered through Jesus (Philippians 3:9). When you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, then He is on the throne of your life, not you. Be saved tonight. Repent and put your faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21).
If you don’t surrender your life to Jesus and you die in your sins as an unrepentant sinner; in your state of rebellion against God, then you will split Hell wide open when you die (Revelation 14:10-11). The flames of Hell are eagerly waiting for you to join them, the very second that you take your last breath on this earth. Don’t die and go to Hell. It’s an awful, dreadful place. It’s a place where people are there right now screaming in unbelievable agony, pain and suffering. They are being tormented day and night. People in Hell are weeping and gnashing their teeth. They are begging for just a drop of water for some relief. But no amount of begging, no amount of screaming and no amount of gnashing of teeth will change anything.
Their fate is sealed. You either die as a child of God’s or you die as a child of Satan. You either die as a born again believer or you are still spiritually dead and you have Hell waiting for you. You will inherit eternal life and spend eternity with God and Jesus or you perish in Hell where you will suffer from the separation of God’s love forever.
Even if you are not a follower of Jesus tonight, you have experienced God’s love your whole life. You have experienced His mercy your whole life. You have known the love of God, even if you didn’t know it. That’s because you have been breathing God’s air this whole time. You have been eating the food that God has provided your whole life and you have been alive to this point, because God has kept you alive (Job 12:10). You have no idea how thick real darkness and evil are since you have always received God’s love – so far. But if you die in your sins, you will no longer feel any mercy or love like you’ve known so far. No, you will feel loneliness like you’ve never felt. In addition to pain like you never knew existed.
Yes, I’m talking about Hell a lot tonight because it is real. It is a real place and you are really headed there, if Jesus Christ is not your Lord and Savior. I’m talking about this because this is the reality of your situation. You are in grave danger tonight. You are one breath closer to death. You are one breath closer to Hell and you have been warned!
Heed the warning tonight. Get right with God. Confess your sins to Him. Cry out to God to have mercy on your very soul. Admit that you are a sinner and cry out for God to save you through the sacrifice that Jesus made on your behalf. But you must receive salvation. God does not force it on you. You must bow your knee and confess with your tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord. Then truly surrender your life to Him. Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Him. Do this on a daily basis and be free from your burden of sin. Be free from the fear of God’s wrath. Be free from the fear of Hell, because Hell can’t touch you once you are sealed by God. (No, this sealing does not give you a license to sin. When you are truly saved, you want to live your life for God).
But do not be deceived like I was for so many years. You can’t claim Jesus Christ as your Savior and continue living for the pleasures of the flesh at the same time. When you are saved, you are a new creature in Christ. You are changed. The Holy Spirit now lives inside you. God cleans you up. No, we are not perfect, but you are changed. You now desire to please God. You want to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
I’m begging you to come to Jesus tonight. I’m exhorting you with all that is in me to get right with God tonight. I’m pleading with you to turn from your sins and turn to Jesus. Please be saved tonight. If you don’t and you end up dying in your sins, you will have no excuse on Judgment Day. You won’t be able to plead ignorance on that great and terrible day of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:11). YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! If you don’t heed the warning, there will be no one to blame but yourself and you will have all of eternity to think about and regret your decision to reject such a great salvation. This salvation is of the Lord and it is only offered through Jesus Christ. Repent and believe the Gospel. If you don’t; know that YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
(This message was lifted up in downtown Springfield, MO on February 27, 2015)