Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

The Misery of the Lost

Written by Rev. G.R. Procee
Last time we considered the glory that awaits God's children. Their joy will be glorious and wonderful. It will be the greatest joy to have the words of Christ addressed to them: ÒCome, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the worldÓ (Mt.25: 34). They will enter the joy of their Lord. They will have beautiful and undefiled bodies and never again will they have any defiling thoughts. They will leave all sin and corruption behind. With radiant joy they will see others being taken up into the light with God. They will enter the most beautiful place. There they will realize that all the struggles and hardships of life are not to be compared to the great and exceeding glory laid up for them.

They will have a perfect view of God and they will see Him Who loved them from eternity. The joy on His face will be reflected upon their faces. Forever, in perfect love, they will have communion with their Saviour. Great joy will be within them and around them. All will be joy. The blessedness and sweet happiness that they will receive will be greater than has ever entered into the heart of any man. With great joy and gladness they will enter the New Jerusalem to serve the Lord forever.

But what will this moment mean for the wicked and unconverted? At His return the Lord Jesus will also speak to them. He will say: ÒDepart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angelsÓ (Mt. 25: 41).

The Great Division
Imagine what it will be when the Lord Jesus returns. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will make a division between His people and the wicked. Try to imagine how this will be. Christ Himself will pronounce the verdict upon the wicked. The Lord Jesus will say: ÒDepart from Me.Ó From whom must the wicked depart? From Christ. They will leave all happiness and depart from the saints. They will withdraw from all light.

This will be even worse for those who were under the Gospel but remained unconverted. They heard the call to faith and repentance, but they rejected this invitation. Either they thought themselves good enough, assumed they were saved, or they loved their sins too much. For whatever reason, they remained outside Christ. During their life they heard speak of heaven and the happiness of the saints, but they didn't pay attention. Neither did they believe, but when they stand before the throne, they will hear and believe.

All Earthly Comforts Fade Away
Their riches will have flown away like an eagle. The pleasures they had in life are now withered flowers. The bright clouds of earthly pleasures are blown away. As they depart, they realize the reason, for they neglected grace in order to enjoy their own foolish, sinful desires. Now they realize that they have chosen to be slaves to Satan instead of children of God. They have hurt and persecuted God's children, and even hated them. Now they cry out: ÒWhat fools we have been, how wicked we were to be deluded by the world and bewitched by the devil. How foolish we were to trample on GodÕs jewels and drink the poison of sin.

Everlasting Regret
When they depart, they will also remember that they could have entered in. They could have received everlasting happiness. It was offered to them. If they had fled to Christ, they would not have been cast out. But they refused to come and now they must depart from Him forever.

When they are cast out, they will remember that this happiness was offered to them. Christ was preached to them; the light of the Gospel shone on them. They will remember that they were often called to repentance. They will recall how long and how often the Lord knocked on the door of their hearts; sometimes by a judgment, an accident or a deliverance, or by the preaching of His Word. But they declined to hear until all of a sudden, with a great crash, their life was cut off by death and they realize it is too late to turn to God. They have slept during the harvest and loitered and sinned away their time.

Great Remorse
Some who depart will realize that they missed out on this happiness by a hair. They were nearly persuaded to enter and were very close to the kingdom of heaven. They had a view of the narrow gate, but now they realize that they have forever fallen short. Others will remember what they professed to believe. They had some gladness when they went to God's house, but when struggles came they forsook their profession and turned away from Christ.

There will also be those who will look at their darling sins, with which they didn't want to part. But now, with them, they will descend into hell. They will remember that they heard many sermons but they didn't listen. Now it is forever too late. Now they want to hear sermons again, but it is too late.

The Anguish of the Damned
What will the misery of the wicked in hell be like? What tongue can express this anguish? They will be tormented in the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. God has prepared that fire and He executes His judgment. How fearful it will be to fall into His hands! The punishment consists of a lake of fire and brimstone. There is anguish of soul and body.

The tortures of the damned will be greater than anything here on earth. It will be worse than any torture we know and will be far beyond the sharpest pain that can now be inflicted upon man. The Lord Jesus says: ÒAnd I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear himÓ (Lk.12: 4,5).

Entering Hell
What will it be when the wicked are summoned to depart into hell? They will stand with their backs to Christ and their faces towards the bottomless pit. They have come to the mouth of this pit and the gates of hell are opened to them. The horrible sinkhole of the sulphurous fire into which they are to be thrown is before them. They see others tumbling in and they follow them. They are covered with flames and are in torment. Behind them the gates of hell are closed. Great stones are placed against the door; they can never escape. All hope is gone. How they shriek and roar! They will wish that they had been an animal, a cat or a dog, for an animal will never enter this punishment. But it is too late. They will recall the time on earth when they could still have turned to God, when they were too busy with matters of life and did not care for their everlasting well being.

Hell encompasses body and soul. How great the grief, the fears, the terrors, the utter despair which the soul will have when the wrath of God is poured out! The wicked will not only be in hell, they will have hell within themselves--a never-dying worm in their conscience that will gnaw and tear them. A raging storm will rend their spirits. There will be no light and no comfort. This punishment is eternal. A condemned person can never say that it is finished.

Redemption is in Christ Alone
There was only One, Who could say that it is finished. He overcame all these miseries. He endured the anguish and agonies of hell so that sinners can be saved through Him. He still invites sinners to come to Him and flee to Him in their weakness and inability. You will find deliverance with Him. For He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked would turn to Him and find life. He calls you and invites you.

Do you let Him wait? Do you postpone conversion? Are you not serious about your soul? Are you still focused on the enjoyments of the world? Let us turn to Him. We are still in the time of grace. The glories of heaven are so beautiful and the terrors of hell are so awful. Let us not despise the day of our visitation.

We Need a Living Faith
There will also be many in hell who went to church, who heard the voice of Christ, but rejected Him. They heard sermons. Some even preached sermons to others. But the Lord never knew them. We need a personal and living faith. How we need to be broken down before God and how we need to be changed and renewed by the Spirit of the most High God! Let us seek Him; let us seek His renewing work; let us be truly converted.

Lay aside every hindrance. Take up your cross and follow Him. He will undertake for you. He will support and strengthen you now in life and in the life hereafter He will receive you. But rejecting the Lord or merely paying some lip service to Him will not save you. Simply adhering to some religious customs will not save. We must be born again and renewed after the Image of Christ. This is God's work. He is able and He is willing to perform His work in your life. Seek the Lord and His grace. Be reconciled to God and saved from that just and terrible punishment for sin. ÒKnowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade menÓ (2 Cor.5: 11).

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