Christians Who Go To Hell
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The following is a sermon transcript that was preached by Timothy Williams. Read by a professional reader.
The text is located at www.luke1425.org because Jesus said sit down and count the cost before following Him.
Today we will look at where Jesus Christ said that there will be Christians who go to hell. There will be Christians that make it all the way in past the Gates. They come before the throne and sit down at the banquet with Jesus Christ and the other saints. They will be prepared to eat. And, it says that Jesus Christ will to come among that group and find some individuals that have made it all the way into heaven, only to be cast out back into hell. We will talk about Christians who go to hell.
Revelation 19:9- Then the angel said to me, “Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb! And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
We are all being invited to sit down and sup and to eat with Jesus at the wedding banquet. And, this is what we are preparing ourselves for. This is what we are to make ourselves ready for. So, we are going to see how we can do that and whether or not we are prepared to enter into sit down and to eat. Let’s begin this parable by looking at what Jesus Christ has to say. Jesus Christ is going to talk about several groups of people. The first group He discusses are those who have already been invited, but refuse to come. They already know the Will of God. They already know what the Father’s business is a little bit. They already understand a little bit of what it is to say that they worship God.
Matthew 22:1- Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.
And, this is what we are invited to and this is what we are going to participate in.
Matthew 22:3- He sent his servants…
And I want you to note servants because we are going to look at that in detail here in a little bit.
Matthew 22:3- He sent his servants to those who had been invited…
These are groups of individuals who had already heard the invitation, who had already been told about it, who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. They are too good to come to the banquet. They already know about the righteousness of God. They already understand the holiness of God. They are a people who pray. They know the invitation. They have heard the invitation, but for one reason or another, they refuse to come to the banquet. John tells us who these people are. They are the slaves of God. They are in the household of God, but they are slaves within the household and they have no permanent place. That is, there are many people that God uses right now to work His glory and to work His good, who are members of the church, who serve in some of the highest capacities that can be filled in a church, that are merely slaves doing the will of what the Father is telling them to do. If you had a servant in your home and the servant came to you and said, “I want you to go do this over here,” they have heard you tell them what to do, and they can say, “I know what it is I’m supposed to do.” So, these are individuals who hear God’s voice, but they have no permanent place within the household.
John 8:31- To the Jews who had believed him…
And, so these are believers. These are people who belong to the kingdom. These are people that have heard the invitation, but they have not a permanent place because they are merely doing the will of the Father, not from a heart that is pure and holy, but because they have been told to do so or they reap some benefit―because a servant in a household reaps a benefit of the house, but it doesn’t really have the heart of the master in mind. To the Jews who have believed him, Jesus said―and here is the key:
If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciple. If you really are walking in what I walk and living as I live, then you really do belong to me. Again, they are hearing him, and they are in the household, but they are slaves.
John 8:32- Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
It is only as we seek to obey, as we walk it out, as we let the Holy Spirit lead us, that we are set free. We can talk about it all day long. There are lots of individuals like that. We can debate issue after issue, examine it and examine it, but we never get to a place where most people say, “I need to be obedient to this.” In fact, a lot of times, when I am discussing with individuals and we come to, say something that needs to be obeyed in their life, they want to discuss this over here. And, you have to say, “Don’t worry about this over here, take what you do know, what you do understand and ask, ‘Do I live that?’” Better to take one scripture that you do understand and begin to apply it and forgive the rest until you get the one down.
John 8:33- They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants…”
In other words, we are Christians. We belong to the Lord. We are descendants of the man of faith. We tie ourselves with Him. And, so they protest and they say that I really do belong to Jesus Christ. When somebody begins to be confronted with the things that Jesus Christ demands of them and you begin to say you really have to live it, what do they come back with? “But, I am a Christian. I do have this heritage here. I have done this here.” And, they begin to protest that they really do belong to the faith… “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves to anyone.” They deny the sin that is in their life that God wants to deal with. Now, how can you say that we shall be set free? Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth. Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” This is what we are talking looking to in Matthew 22.
John 8:35- Now, a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.
We are going to see here in a moment that right now we are friends of God, if we are fortunate, who are waiting to be adopted as sons. And, those who sit down at the banquet seat, those who are in there suffering with preparing for the wedding feast―those are to be sons and that is who inherit the kingdom. Now, a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever, and so our goal is to become sons of God. So, if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. (I know you have that Jesus Christ to sing. I know you have done those things. He doesn’t deny that! Yet, you are ready to kill me. And, today’s climb and the spiritual climb, when you begin to talk about things to obey in Jesus Christ, what immediately comes back is they want to put that to death. They don’t want to hear that. They want to kill that message and stop it immediately because why? They are slaves within the household. They do the Master’s bidding, but only for what they can get out of it―for the benefit of it.
1 John 2:18-19- Dear children, this is the last hour and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
We are preparing to fellowship in heaven, aren’t we? And, that preparation begins here. If individuals do not want to walk in the light, if they don’t want to get on with obedience within the context of fellowship with one another, they will not want to fellowship up there. We are going to see here in a moment that the way we become sons is to begin to fellowship now so that we are dressed and ready when the time comes to sit down to eat. Think about it. When you get ready to go somewhere fancy to eat, you usually turn to somebody and say, “Okay, do I look alright? Is my tie straight? Does this look good together?” And so, what we are going to discover is, that as we walk in the light with one another, what we are turning to say to one another is, “Am I dressed appropriately? Do you see some stains? Do these colors go together? Is there something that I need to change―that needs to be different?” This is how we prepare ourselves to sit down and to eat. He goes on to say:
Matthew 22:4-5- Then he sent some more servants and said, “Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.” But they paid no attention and went off―one to his field, another to his business.
They just don’t care. They don’t want to discuss it. You notice that the first group wanted to get into a lot of discussion and the second group doesn’t really even want to deal with it. They don’t want to debate. They don’t want to wrestle. They don’t want to even discuss it. They have no concern or comment or whatever it is. They don’t even want to deal with getting ready. They’ve got other things to do that are more important. It takes a lot of time to sit down and say, “Am I obedient?” It takes a lot of effort to fellowship, and these individuals don’t care anything about that.
Matthew 22:6- The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.
So, this group just flat out persecutes the message and hates it. And so, we have the group that claims to be religious, and loves to debate all day long, but never gets on to obedience. They think they are fine. They think they are okay. They are Abraham’s descendants. There is nothing more that they need to do. So, you have that whole group there. Then, you have this group over here that doesn’t really want to discuss it. They don’t even want to talk about. They are busy doing their own thing and it might be a religious thing, but they are just too busy to even discuss it with you. They’re okay. Then you have those who just persecute those who preach the Gospel.
Matthew 22: 7-10- The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.” So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
God is desperately hunger for fellowship, and this is what He is preparing us for―that we might fellowship with Him and fellowship with everyone and fellowship with all that He has created. So, what God is saying is, ‘Are you dressed and ready?’ We do that in the world. There are certain restaurants you cannot go in unless you dressed appropriately. How much more, when God is preparing for people to come into the kingdom of heaven to live forever and to fellowship with Him, He just wants to know, “Are you dressed and ready? Do you find it important enough to get ready?” But, God is starving for this kind of fellowship with us and so the reason that we walk in the light and the reason that we prepare ourselves is that we might fellowship. Let’s look at how hungry God is for fellowship and what He is striving to work and to do. Let’s look at His heart and what He desires.
Luke 14:23- Then the master told his servants, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”
Make them come in! That is how hungry He is. Some of you, I know, feel like you have been made to be saved, that you have been made to get yourself ready. God is so hungry for fellowship. He just takes some people. He says, “My house will be full. I want to fellowship,” and He goes out with great zeal and He just grabs hold of certain individuals and begins to work so powerfully in life because He wants everybody there who needs to be there and He is starving for this kind of fellowship with one another. ‘Make My house full and make it ready.’ So, we are to be a people getting ourselves ready for this fellowship with the Living God. Fellowship with one another.
Now we get down to Christians who wind up going to hell. These are the next class that come all the in. They make it. They are sitting down. They think they have arrived. They think they will be with Jesus Christ forever. They think they slipped in. They think that all their religious games and all the excuses they had, they think all the deeds that they did―the little bit that they did―are going to allow them to sit down with Jesus Christ. They think they have succeeded in whatever it is they scheme to do.
Matthew 22:11- But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.
They made it all the way in to heaven, and Jesus came along for that final inspection and asked, “How did you get in here?” How many people think that they will get in with their excuses for not changing or their justifications that they want to hold on to? What about the little bit of deeds they did but they ignore the fact that they did not surrender all? God, in His wisdom, will allow them to achieve a little of their scheming and get all the way in, only to discover that they are not ready to sit down. Look at how Jesus addresses this man. He didn’t call him an enemy. He was not part of those who persecuted him. He was not part of the self-righteous who claim they are Abraham’s descendants. He was not part of those who just didn’t care to think about it. Look at what He said:
Matthew 22:12- Friend…
They knew everyone on an intimate level. There was communication. There was fellowship. It had started right here. They had a very close tie. Those other groups didn’t even hear His voice, weren’t really even obedient to it. Even the slaves were just doing the bidding, just doing the job.
Matthew 22:12- “Friend,” he asked, “How did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The man was speechless.
Finally, all of the excuses must come to an end. All of the defenses and all of the reasons that kept them from washing their clothes clean had come to an end. There was nothing left to say. And, it came crashing down. In John, Chapter 15, I want you to see that Jesus Christ called the disciplesthe apostlesfriends. They were Christians. They were people that heard the voice of the Lord, who fellowshipped on a daily basis, but were not washing their clothes.
John 15:15- I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.
A servant does a job. You understand? He understands enough to do one particular job, but he doesn’t have a full understanding of the scope of what the master is up to. They are individuals that are basically like that. You give them a certain job to do, and they understand to do that job, but they don’t understand the scheme. They don’t have the heart of the master in mind. They just have the job in mind, and they are proud when they get the job completed. He said:
John 15:15- Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
And, so there is fellowship there. When you call somebody a friend that means you have communicated to him or her what the Will of God is. You have communicated the heart of God. You have shown to that individual the very essence and heart of who God is. They have participated in the Divine Nature. They have shared in that. They have been around it. And, how many people there are that pride themselves on being friends of God, who can tell you they are friends of God, but then when you look at their clothing, when you begin to look really deep and examine, you begin to see something is missing. You may not be able to put your finger on it and, you have to admit, they are friends of God, though they are friends that are going to hell.
John 15:16- You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit―fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
It is as we move into obedience to what He wants us to do on a daily basis―as we go on to completion for what He gives us to do. I’ve watched so many Christians who will hear from God to do something, but they never carry on to completion. They might get 90% of it done, but they leave that one final 10% undone. Like Saul, they are not after the heart of God. They are friends of God who just don’t quite finish the work. Here Jesus Christ calls a group of individuals who come to be healed friends.
Luke 5:19- When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd right in front of Jesus.
Now look at how Jesus addresses this man―or all of them really:
John 5:20- When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, you sins are forgiven.”
Friends have their sins forgiven. Friends have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. They hear Him say, literally, “Your sins are forgiven.” We are talking about Christians here who make it all the way in, who heard that their sins were forgiven, but they were not found worthy to sit down and become sons of God, that being forgiven did not lead to a life of obedience. It did not lead to completed deeds. It did not lead to a life of holiness. We are going to see that Jesus Christ refers to Judas as a friend, because why? Judas had understood―he had seen―he had experienced the love of God, though the effects certainly were not of one holiness. This friendship was so close that Judas, even in his sin, felt the freedom to kiss Jesus Christ. That is how close of friends they were.
Matthew 26:49- Going at once to Jesus…
No delay, no hesitation. We’re friends!
Matthew 26:49- Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Friend…”
Friend! He doesn’t call him an enemy. He doesn’t call him an unbeliever. There are friends of God in the church today who are nothing more, that will wind up being Judas’.
Matthew 26:50- Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
Are we friends becoming sons or becoming Judas’ is the question. Are we going to make it all the way in and go through all of the things that we go through and all the things that we hear from God? Are we going to fellowship with Him only to find in the end that we didn’t receive the grace of God in the way that really purified us?
It is desperately important that we see that we can intimately fellowship with Him, we can receive His blessings, make it all the way in, sit down together with all of the saints and glory, only to hear Jesus Christ or God say, “How in the world did you get in here?”
John 21:3-5- “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the store, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.
But, He calls them friends. He appears to them, speaking on the most intimate of terms. And, so, when Jesus Christ comes before you, as He will in our life, scripture says He will bring times of refreshing in your life. And He comes to you and He says, “Friend!” What will that produce in your life? A life that has changed and radically different or the same individual that we have known all of your life? By the time Jesus Christ is through with any of us, we should be able to look back and to say, “I am not the same person in any degree or fashion.” Jesus Christ didn’t come to change the character of Tim, He came to crucify the character of Tim and mold me into what I do not know that I will be. It is hidden in Jesus Christ.
Matthew 22:11- But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.
What causes him to be kicked out is that he doesn’t have the proper clothing. That is the only thing missing. He might have heard Jesus Christ say, “Your sins are forgiven.” He might have had Jesus Christ say, “Put your net on this side of the boat.” They might have had intimate fellowship, but what is he wearing is the question.
Matthew 22:12- “Friend,” he asked, “How did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The man was speechless.
The talk finally ceases! You know, there is one thing about the character of a man who is not going to make it in―he talks incessantly. He wants to debate and to reason and to discuss and qualify and quantify and tear it apart―and what does this say here? He just doesn’t back up and say, “I need to be obedient to this,” and “This is being worked in my life.” These deeds are being done. The Word of God is being manifested. Instead, many churches talk and discuss things to keep from being obedient. What a grand glory it will be among the people when that kind of talk stops! I don’t know about you, but I get weary of all the debate. Let’s get on with some work.
Matthew 22:13- Then the king told the attendants, “Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
You know, it is one thing to go to hell. That sounds miserable enough. But, it is quite another thing to have your hands and feet tied to be thrown to hell. I don’t even know what that means! But, why does He demand that his hands be tied and his feet be tied? What is the purpose? Because, in this world, he didn’t use his hands unto purity. He didn’t pour those out into the work and the labor of God. There were not the deeds that were completed in Jesus Christ. There was the talk. There was the whining. There were the excuses. But, there wasn’t labor. So, tie those hands! They were of no use to him here. You no longer are going to use those hands or feet to get back in here, that’s for sure. Your feet didn’t go anywhere or do anything that was unto absolute purity in Jesus Christ. Tie him up and throw him into hell. Put him in the darkness where he belongs. A man is completely helpless in hell.
Matthew 22:14- For many are invited, but few are chosen.
Are we going to be found worthy to sit down and to eat with Jesus Christ is the question. Well, let’s find out how we can do that.
Revelation 19:6- Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.”
Think about the agony that these kinds of friends are in. He makes it all the way in, doesn’t he? He gets to taste almost the holiness of God and a real fullness, doesn’t he? I mean, the pagans, the unbelievers, and the persecutors―they are judged. They don’t ever get in to have it and get kicked out. They get to see it from a distance. There is a big chasm between the two. They want to be there―I mean, hell is hell! But, how much more is hell to a man who makes it all the way in. He sat down! He thinks he has arrived. He can see the glory. He is sitting down in that glory. Then, He comes along and he is kicked out and thrown into hell! How much more hell becomes hell because you know what you are missing now. And so, he hears the multitude. Let us hear the multitudes now so that we will be willing to make ourselves ready, so that we will do all that is necessary that God calls us to do unto completion. It is “like the roar of rushing water, like the loud peals of thunder shouting “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.” Let us get the vision in our heart, and then we will repent of everything that God shows us to do because He is asking us, He is inviting us to participate in this kind of holiness―something so pure, something so holy, something so alive, and we are holding on to something that is so much more important than this. What could be so much more holy or shining than this? This is why a man who turns his back on this is worthy of hell.
Revelation 19:7- Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory!
Those are the most understated worlds in scripture. We will be so enthralled, we will be beyond ourselves!
Revelation 19:7- For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
We are to make ourselves ready, to have proper clothing. And, here it is, verse 8:
Revelation 19:8- Fine linen…
Fine deeds! You know, it is said that Jesus Christ did everything well. Let that be said of us, that we did everything that Jesus Christ called us to do well. Everything. Fine linen. Something holy and of value. Not just works done, not just these things conquered over here, but so fine that it reeks and smells of holiness.
Revelation 19:8- Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.
“Here is the clothing,” Jesus Christ says.
Revelation 19:8- (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
It stands for what you do or don’t do.
Revelation 19:9- Then the angel said to me, “Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
It comes down now to acts of obedience, acts of faith, acts of actually following Jesus Christ. It comes down to what we do or don’t do, that which He bids us to do. We must pass from becoming friends to becoming sons. I know the current theology is basically you ask Jesus in your heart and it is a done deal and you are automatically a son and that’s it and it’s over with. Such people are not even going to begin to make it in because we are not sons yet. I still have to die. I still have to be redeemed. I still get sick. My body is still falling apart.
Romans 8:23- Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
I am not a son yet. But, I groan and I ache and I eagerly look forward to being adopted as a son! The reason that I strive for righteousness, the reason we should cry out for righteousness, the reason why we should say, “Today I will be more obedient than I was yesterday,” is because we can’t wait to be adopted as sons. A man who thinks he already has, who thinks he has attained it, isn’t going to strive for it. He is going to play at it. But, a man who sees heaven out there, who sees fellowship with Jesus Christ, who values that above everything else will purify himself and will do the work unto completion. Look at what it says:
Romans 8:23- … groan inwardly…
A man who wants to be adopted is groaning! He wants to be made right. He wants to be made holy. He wants his flesh put to death. He wants to overcome today. He is sick and tired of self and sin! Forget the talk. Forget the debate. He just wants to overcome. We wait eagerly for our adoption to sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:24- For in this hope we were saved.
Now, why am I saved in that hope? Why is it that because I hope that I will become a son, then I am saved? That is what we believe, to receive the fullness of sonship, but hope that he will get that, knows the value of it, and will do all that he can do to have it. That hope causes me to participate in God’s salvation. It motivates me. It drives me forward. It causes me to surrender, to lay down every defensive spirit in me.
Romans 8:24- For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all.
Now, how can they be saved who have already got this put together is my question. If they are already sons, if they have already achieved this, then they have no hope. “But hope that is seen is no hope at all.” Who hopes for what he already has is what Paul says. If you are already put together, why strive?
Romans 8:25- But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
It is by perseverance that we inherit the kingdom of God. We wait for it patiently. We persevere day in and day out. We get our clothes cleaned up. We do all that is necessary to be dressed and ready.
The question we need to ask ourselves is: What would have happened if Jesus Christ would have done everything He was supposed to do except die on the cross? Suppose He had denied Himself in every way that God called Him to as He walked for those three and a half years? Suppose He had healed everybody that God had willed for Him to heal? Suppose Jesus had done everything that He was supposed to do, but then when it got to the cross, He said, “No.” A lot of us are like that in our walk in Jesus Christ. We will do everything up and to a point, but we never go on to death to self. The final blow that seals it, that says, “I have become changed” and “I am totally different,” that this is put to death. There are certain things in my life, though I always keep an eye on them, that are put to death and I don’t want them alive again. There has to be that part of us that overcomes and says, “This will die. This will go on to completion.” There are certain works that God has given me to do, that I know that I must complete all the way, and I will not leave one thing undone. That is why when you present the Gospel to someone you go on until the job is completely done. You leave no sin left unturned or exposed. You bring it to its full completion. What we are going to see here in a moment is the charge that your deeds are not complete.
Revelation 3:1- To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
They have lots of activity and a reputation of being “spiritual” and friends of God.
Revelation 3:2- Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.
You do some deeds and go through some actions, but it is not unto completion in God’s sight. Be dressed and ready! Wear fine linen and clothes and be prepared to sit down and eat. “Your deeds are not complete” is what He said! In other words, you get in and you’ve got this large stain down here on your clothing. You can’t get in. You can’t remain. We are in the process of washing our clothing, gaining the deeds, getting ourselves purified. “…I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.” That is the measurementnot whether I tell you that that was a completed deed or if you tell yourself. Certainly, don’t be that foolish.
Revelation 3:3- Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent.
We are talking about action here. We’re not talking about debate. We’re not talking about reason. We are talking about looking at a life. We are talking about where Jesus Christ says a man who comes after Him must give up everything and then look at our life and say, “Have I given up everything?” Not, “Well, what does it mean to give up everything? What is this going to mean over here, and how does this apply, and what was the context?” Did you do it or not is the question. This is a question we pose to one another. It is a question we pose to anybody who says they want to belong, and that is just one commandment!
Revelation 3:3- But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
The only other time Jesus uses this kind of terminology is to the pagan worlds, when He says, “You won’t know when I’m coming.” Friends of God who are equal to pagans and really worse!
Revelation 3:4-Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes.
Again, we are back to this attire, aren’t we? You know, in James, it says, pure religion is to keep one’s self from being polluted by the world. What stains do we have on our clothes that need to be cleansed? Are we only looking at the white garment that we have and avoiding all of the other stains all around us? Can everybody else get it and we don’t want hear it from them? Is God trying to search and show us, “You’ve got this stain over here we have to deal with,” and we don’t know that the stain will keep us out? We are talking fine linen! Holy linen! Completed deeds! “They will walk with me.” You see, to most people, that doesn’t mean much. And, this is the whole test! It is just a question of do we value the wedding banquet more than everything else in the world, including our own lives? “They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.” Hey, you can debate all day long about salvation by words. I’m just telling you what it says. It is about time we started making ourselves worthy. He who overcomes, he who doesn’t wrestle all the time, he who doesn’t wrestle and get convicted on it, he who says “I have this sin in my life and I overcame it!” You know, looking back on it in terms of victory! He who was given a job to day in Jesus Christ and says, “I completed that job!” Read sometime the end of the Book of Nehemiah, when he is finished building the temple, working on that. He is writing his letter to God basically and says, “Remember me for this, Lord. Remember that one time I jumped down off the wall and pulled the hair out of men’s beards because they were doing some sinful things. Remember me for my actions. Remember me for what I did.” Is God going to have garments ready for us because He remembers what we have done? He who overcomes will be like them and will be dressed in white.
Revelation 3:5- He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
When you blot something out, you remove it from where it once was. Today’s terminology would be “white-out.” Their names were in the book! They were friends of God. But, if they don’t become sons, their name will be removed from the book of life―Christians who go to hell.
James 2:23- And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.”
It is a grand thing to be called God’s friend. It is a real privilege now. It doesn’t say Abraham was God’s son yet, does it? Abraham was getting himself ready. Abraham was getting dressed for the banquet. Abraham was getting himself ready to be married to Jesus Christ.
James 2:24-26- You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Now, not just any set of deeds. There are religions everywhere that have deeds and things to do. Each of us has ideas of what we consider ourselves to be good and noble in. We are talking about following the Living God, of hearing Jesus Christ tell us to do something and then, by His grace and by His Spirit, completing that deed, of being where we are supposed to be, doing what we need to do, surrendering everything in that moment in time. So, don’t even come up to me and say, “I do all these things over here.” You know, you’re Abraham’s descendant. Big deal! It is the wedding garment that is the final thing. A man receives grace. He has faith. He hears from the Father what it is that he is supposed to be and do, and then he acts on it. And, those are the garments. If Jesus Christ had done everything but go to the cross, He would have completely failed in everything. If I receive the mercy of God, if I hear Jesus Christ say to me, “Your sins are forgiven,” and if I hear Jesus Christ say, “You need to overcome this sin,” and I overcome that sin here and I hear Jesus Christ say, “I have this work for you and do this work here,” but then I don’t go on to completion in those things, I don’t get the wedding garment that allows me to get in. It is not salvation by works. It is allowing the grace of God to move me and to work that salvation in my life. It is cooperating with the power of God. All we are talking about here is love for God.
John 15:9- As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
You know, if there is no danger of leaving that love, then why tell us to remain? He should have said, “Just rejoice. You will always be there.”
John 15:9-10- Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.
“If you remain in my commands,” if you obey, you will stay within that love. Now, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
John 15:11-I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
We are talking about something joyful here. This is not supposed to be, “Ah, man, I’ve to clean up my life in order to be saved! What a drag!” Or, “I can’t go do this thing over here that I like to do,” and “I can’t stay home and do nothing over here.” “I don’t know if I want to really do this or not.” We’re talking about something joyful, and for those who love God, this is the seeming thing to do. This is the joyful thing to do! For those who love their own life, this is the most painful thing you can do.
1 John 5:1- Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…
Now, everybody in their simple little fashion likes to claim onto that, you know, let’s move on with that and let’s get into some maturity here and let’s find out what is really taking place here. What does it really mean to believe in Jesus Christ?
1 John 5:1 …and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
Now we are talking about love, aren’t we?
1 John 5:2- This is how we know that we love the children of God:
Now, how do I know that I love the children of God? Is it because I put my arms around them and tell them I love them? If I had a dollar for every time I heard that I’d be a very rich man indeed! This is how we know whether somebody loves us in Jesus Christ.
1 John 5:2-…by loving God and carrying out his commands.
If you want to know whether somebody loves you in Jesus Christ, just look at his or her life of obedience or disobedience. If they disobedient the Living God, they don’t love you. I don’t care how much they serve you or put their arms around you or greet you with a kiss, they don’t love you if they’re not carrying out God’s commands because God’s commands are a sign that they love God and He gives His love in them and they love you. “By loving God and carrying out his commands.”
1 John 5:3- This is love for God: to obey his commands. And, his commands are not burdensome…
Most of us act like they are most of the time, but this is supposed to be good news. It is supposed to be a festival! “Hey, I get to give this up over here” and “I get to deny myself over here.” That’s good news! Even when my flesh does like it, it is good news. “And, his commands are not burdensome…” If this message is narrow or hard, if it is a burden, then you are not going to make it in. You need to wrestle until it becomes a joy.
1 John 5:4- …for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
They are not a burden! They are a grand joy! Let’s find out how we can make ourselves ready. Psalm 119:63 says, “I’m a friend to all who hear you and to all who follow your precepts.” The way to make ourselves ready is to begin to fellowship now. John says “Don’t wait until you are sitting down up and turn to somebody and say, ‘Am I dressed right?’ ‘Does this look okay?’ ‘Does this go together?’” Now is the time to begin that process. We are in the process of making ourselves ready. Our deeds and our actions that show our faith are going on to completion.
1 John 1:5- This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
This is not just any message. This comes directly from God. This is what He is telling us. This is what He is warning. This is what He is encouraging. This is the good news. This is the commandment that He has given us.
1 John 1:5- God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
Now, you see, when you see down up there in that light, every single thing will be exposed at that point―all of your thoughts, all of your actions, all your repentance, all your unrepentance, everything about your whole life―what you did and didn’t do―will finally be fully in the light. Right now you can lie to yourself. You can lie to other people. Other people can’t see it all. But, at that point in time, everything becomes clear, and what will be dressed in will be the question.
1 John 1:6-7- If you claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…
So, who do you enjoy being around would be the first question. You know, you walk into a dark room and you flip on the light, the cockroaches go running right away. They hate the light. Many people just take off when you begin to find a little bit of life. Who do you enjoy fellowshipping with? Who do you want to be around? Do you want to be around people who have the light of the Lord? It doesn’t say just any light. Verse 7: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light…” It has to be His light that searches our life! It has to be the light of Him within a body and a congregation. You know, we could all decide, “Well, okay, we’re going to walk in the light with one another. Let’s make a rule that says we will walk in the light, and we’re going to seek to do that.” I know churches that do that. It is deadly! Everybody just basically nosing into everybody else’s business, trying to deal with each other’s sins. Total destruction! We are talking about a light that, when you go into a room, the light is there. You participate in the light. You don’t have to force it. I can’t walk into my office and say, “Okay, let there be light” and the light come on. I can’t bring it on by law. I’ve got to turn on the light. I’ve got to participate in the light. So, in the same way, we have to ask God to begin to work that light among us. It is His light that searches and His light that does the work, and you have to choose whether you want to be in that light or not. You can be seen to come into this light and have a few excuses over here and a few reasons over here and kind of be defensive and hide from it a little bit and hide in the corner and stick around. That may last a little while. I’ve seen people try. We are talking about the light of the Living God. Even if you succeed, and you might succeed, you will not succeed when you sit down to eat―when it really counts. It says we have fellowship with one another, and look! This is where the blood of Jesus Christ does the cleansing! This is where it does its work. You know, the current teaching is just to go tell God, between yourself and you, your sins, confess it and it will go away. You’ve heard it a million times! “I repented of it! I told God! But, I’m not going to tell you. I’m not going to walk in the light. I didn’t go back to the person that I actually sinned or anybody I affected. I just told God.” It says:
1 John 1:7- …we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
It is that blood that makes our clothing clean, that gets rid of the stain. And so, you basically just―we call it “the hot seat” I guess around here―but, you basically just kind of have to stand there and let the light do its work. Let me tell you again, it is not me being nosy and prodding in your life, or other people, it just happens. You are just having a good time and then, all of a sudden, all this sin starts gushing out and you wonder, “How did I get here?” It is not like we say, “Well, okay, on Wednesday night it is Walk-In-The-Light Night, and so let’s bring somebody in. We are going to start trying to find sin in their life.” It doesn’t happen that way. You are just having a good time, just fellowshipping, you make a comment, and then, zing! You wind up becoming defensive, you have excuses, and you’re back all the way in the corner, and you go “How did I get here? I just said, ‘Pass the salt’ at the table!” Because the light does the work and it does the cleansing, and no man is forcing it and we’re not trying to make it happen. It just happens because He is doing the work. That is where the blood does its work! That is where we can see where we need to change. Again, we do it when we go to fancy restaurants. My wife will turn around and say, “Does this look good?” And I always say something like, “Yeah, whatever” even when I don’t look. But, we do it when we go out into the world. How much more should we begin to do with one another, be eager for it, and not be surprised when it takes place? It is just that men don’t choose to walk in the light. But, this is a choice you have to make, to be purified from all sins if you choose to do so. So, it depends on who you fellowship with. Most people just pretty well enjoy themselves by themselves doing the religious thing. They are never going to make it in.
This is just a reminder of what we are being called to and a reminder of how petty it is, what you are holding on to.
Revelation 21:6- He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.”
That is what we are being called to. Yet, men hold on to money. They hold on to a wife, a husband, a car, a little bit of pleasure time, a little bit of relaxing time, a little bit of coming and going. How petty we are. It is no wonder that God is going to shake His head and say, “You are worthy of hell. You traded all of this for what?”
Revelation 21:7- He who overcomes will inherit all this…
“Inherit.” Be adopted as a son. All of this. But you’ve got to overcome. You’ve got to have completed deeds. You have to know that this is what God has called you to do so then complete it in the spirit. It has to be finished.
Revelation 21:7- …and I will be his God and he will be my son.
If that doesn’t excite you, if that doesn’t motivate you, humble yourself, then you are not worthy to go in. And, I don’t want to sit down next to you. This is the grandest thing any man can be called to, for God could have said, “I will be your God” and that would have been enough. Why would I trade for all the vane things of this world? And, my stupid excuses for my sins? Or, whatever it is that I hold on to. The first people in hell are these:
Revelation 21:8- But the cowardly…
They beat the homosexuals into hell! The vilest person you can think of, the cowardly go first―because you know this is a life of faith here. This is real faith. This is scary stuff. When you start talking about walking in the light―because everybody uses the cult word―the fear just goes out all over the place. Even in your own flesh you go, “I don’t know if I want this! This is scary stuff.” And, it is scary stuff. And, the cowardly are the very first people into hell because there is no excuse. He is the Living God. If you, in your own heart, will seek God with all your heart, He will not give you a stone if you ask for a fish. But, the fear becomes an excuse. “I am afraid to have all things in common. I’m afraid to love like that. I’m afraid to participate in that because of all these things that have happened here in the past or all that could happen in the future.” Fine, whine and complain! I’m going to live it today. If it isn’t happening, or being done in a mistaken way, then do it right, but don’t complain. That is just an excuse for not wanting to be obedient. But, “the cowardly, the unbelieving,” not trusting God that He can work it. That He can protect your life. Yes, it is true. I could be the worst cult leader on the face of the earth, but your trust is not to be in me, but in Him who can protect you and guide you from anything that is of harm, even yourself. That is really who you should fear anyway! The “unbelieving and the vile…” Do we even know what that definition is? Everybody wants to quantify what sin is. You know, what is sexual immorality? Okay, let’s break it down out here. What is vile? I know a lot of people that are just vile! They just reject everything. They don’t really want to discuss anything with a true heart. They are just contemptuous toward everything that you look at. They are just vile individuals concerning the Word of God, and they are going to go to hell. We don’t ever turn to them and say, “You’re vile” It is a pretty broad definition of who gets in! The murderers… oh, of course they’re going to get in. “The sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars.” We don’t have time to break all these down. The man who won’t walk in the light, he is automatically a liar.
Revelation 21:8-9- ―their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
Are we making ourselves ready for that?
Revelation 21:10- And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
Do you see the vision? Is it in your heart? Let me show you the bride! Let me show you who inherits this! Contrast that with the people who live this over here.
Revelation 21:11-It shone with the glory of God…
If this doesn’t make you eagerly groan and be burdened to be adopted, nothing else will. No logic about, “Oh, this is sin over here because of this” and we lay it all out and tear it apart. If this is not enough to motivate you to cry out for the Living God and to want to participate in that, nothing else will.
Revelation 21:11- It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
Holy and pure and in the light and clean. Sitting down with brothers and sisters who have made themselves clean and ready, whom you can fellowship with, that you know are not going to take advantage of you, not going to lie to you, not going to give you a half-truth, who are honest in their motives are pure in everything they do because they have made themselves worthy. They have the proper attire to get in. Will Jesus Christ come to us―that is the big question―and say, “Friend, how did you get in here?” Let us pray not.
Let’s go ahead and pray.
Father, come begin to work Your light and Your fellowship and your power. Father, all of these words are empty and powerless and in vane if You don’t come and make them alive. Keep us, Father, from that self-effort that would seek to apply this in some fashion or manner in order to make ourselves feel like we are living it. We ask, O Lord, that You make Yourself real among us, that You call us “Friend,” Father, but that You work within our hearts this vision of what You’re calling us to, that we might give ourselves fully to you in every way―Father, that we might be dressed and ready, able to just sit down together at peace with one another to eat and to be married to Jesus. Amen.
The following was a sermon transcript that was preached by Timothy Williams.
The text is located at www.luke1425.org because Jesus said sit down and count the cost before following Him.