PHBC August 29, 1999

Series: First Peter, Ser. #77

WHERE SHALL THE UNGODLY AND SINNER APPEAR?


TEXT: 1 Peter 4:17-18 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

INTRO: On the past two Sunday mornings I have dealt with the theme of judgment beginning at the house of God. In each of the two verses above, there is a second matter that calls for consideration also. Two questions are asked to which I call your attention. In verse 17 Peter asks, "if it [judgment] first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? The second question is found in verse 18 and is, And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

Need I point out that these are very serious and sober questions? Since Christians are sometimes severely judged for their sins, how severe will the judgment and end be of those who do not obey the gospel of God? If the righteous are scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?

I. A NECESSARY DEFINITION OF TERMS

A. What is meant by not obeying the gospel of God?

1. The gospel, in its simplest declaration is set forth in Paulís epistle to the Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

2. This message includes something about sin and therefore when delivered needs to include its command to repent.

a. In his preaching Paul testified of repentance toward God. Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

b. He declared that all men are commanded to repent. Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.

c. We can scripturally say that the command to repent is to be included in our preaching of the gospel.

d. We then understand that obeying the gospel is obeying the command to repent toward God.

3. The nature of the gospel calls for men to believe it.

a. The gospel also calls for faith. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

b. The declaration of the gospel is a command for men to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 16:30-31 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

c. God has clearly commanded that men believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

d. Jesus commanded men to repent and believe as he preached the gospel. Mark 1:14-15 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

4. I should also point out that it is obvious from Scripture that baptism is not a part of the gospel command. 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

a. I was once told that this verse did not mean that baptism is not a part of the gospel for there is an ellipsis in the verse and that Paul actually said, "Christ sent me not to baptize only, but also to preach the gospel.

b. Even if there is an ellipsis in the verse and it should read as the person said, it still separates baptism from the gospel.

(1) The gospel is something that can be preached and can be believed in the heart. Acts 8:36-37 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

(2) It is with the heart that one believeth unto righteousness and receives a salvation that he can then confess. Romans 10:10-11 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

(3) Baptism is a physical, outward testimony that one has already believed unto righteousness in his heart.

(4) Baptism is not obedience to the gospel; it is obedience following the believing to the saving of the soul.

5. When Peter referred to those who had not obeyed the gospel, he was referring to those who had not repented toward God and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

6. When Peter referred to those who had not obeyed the gospel he was speaking of those who had not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

B. Who are the ungodly and the sinner of whom Peter speaks?

1. The context clearly indicates that this refers to the ungodly who do not obey the gospel and repent toward God and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

2. The context also indicates that it is those who stand in contrast to those who are saved. 1 Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

3. Therefore we can safely and scripturally declare that the ungodly and sinner in this passage are those who never believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and are therefore still in their sins. John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

II. WHERE THE UNGODLY AND SINNER WILL APPEAR AND WHAT THEIR END WILL BE

A. They will appear at the judgment at the great white throne of Christ. Revelation 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

1. This is a judgment of the dead who were not raised in the first resurrection. Revelation 20:4-6 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

a. The saved will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ after the first resurrection. 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

b. The ungodly will not stand in this judgment for this would put them among the congregation of the righteous. Psalm 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

2. This judgment at which the ungodly and sinner will appear is a judgment of those who are spiritually dead. Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

a. The sea will give up the spiritually dead that are in it for this judgment. Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it.

b. Death and hell will deliver up the spiritually dead whom they hold to be judged at this judgment. Revelation 20:13 And death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

B. The end of those who obey not the gospel.

1. All the spiritually dead will be judged and then cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. Revelation 20:14-15 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

2. There will be no negotiating for a lighter sentence but all those judge here will be cast forever from the presence of Jesus Christ. Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

3. Those who have not obeyed the gospel and repented and believed will destroyed in an eternal destruction forever from the presence of God. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

a. Please note that Christ will take vengeance on them in flaming fire.

b. They will be punished with everlasting destruction.

c. They will be forever banished from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

4. The end of those who do not obey the gospel will be the place of everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

5. The end of those who have not obeyed the gospel will be hell. Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

6. Awful torments await those who obey not the gospel. Romans 2:8-9 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.

7. The end of all those who obey not the gospel will be an eternal lake of fire and brimstone from which there is no reprieve. Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

a. This is the second death from which no man will ever be delivered.

b. In the light of our text concerning those that will be cast into this awful and eternal torment note that the fearful and unbelieving are at the top of the list but the unbaptized are not mentioned.

(1) If a person could live and commit no other sin than not believing on Christ he would still be cast into this awful place of Godís everlasting vengeance and torment.

(2) Some would like it better if this verse said, Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, [AND THE UNBAPTIZED AND THE NON-MEMBERS OF A SPECIFIC CHURCH], and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

CONC: In conclusion let me point out to you that if you have never obeyed the gospel in repenting toward God and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will not be delivered from this awful torment by being religious. Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

And, wealth will not deliver you. Luke 16:22-23 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abrahamís bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

There is but one way of deliverance and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe on him and you can never come into this awful condemnation. John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

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