Evangelist Eric Burton’s sermon from Shiloh's Lord’s Day Service on July 14, 2019
End time judgement
As the end of time draws closer, the entire universe is getting darker, which is a sure sign that God’s judgment is drawing nearer. Yet, those who have the Word of God will shine brightly and be lifted up high and be used by the sovereign hands of God. However, for those who disobey the truth, there will be tribulation (Rom 2:6-9). In our main scripture text today, the Bible clearly warns us that in the end time everyone is judged according to their deeds, and those whose names are not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire which is the second death (Rev 20:14-15).
Physical and eternal death
If there is a second death, then there is a first death. The first death is “physical death” that all human beings will experience, both the believers and non-believers (Heb 9:27). The first death or “physical death” is a result of “spiritual death.” Adam experienced a “spiritual death” when he ate from the tree of knowledge of good evil that God commanded him not to eat from (Gen 2:16-17). He then experienced “physical death” as a result of “spiritual death” at the age of 930 years of age (Gen 5:5). Those who fell asleep believing in Jesus will resurrect and go up to heaven. But if we are able to receive the last trumpet, which is the Word of God while alive, we can transfigure (1 Cor 15:51-52). The second death is “eternal death,” which is a result of being disconnected from God. Those who are disconnected from God will fall into hell, the lake of fire; for the hell is called the second death. This death is a result of sin and expression of God’s wrath. In other words, those who have fallen into spiritual death that do not repent will die and fall into hell; this is the eternal death or the second death that we see in Rev 20:14. These are those whose names were not written in the book of life (Rev 21:8).
The Bible says that both the godly and ungodly will be resurrected in the end-time; and those who died believing in God will be resurrected to life, and those who died without believing to a resurrection of judgment – and hell, the eternal death and second death (John 5:28-29). In the end-time, the Bible clearly says that this present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, and kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men (2 Pet 3; 7). Therefore, the question today is what kind of people we should be in order that our names are written in the Book of Life?
People whom God knows
The first characteristics of those whose names will be written in the Book of Life are the people whom God knows (1 Cor 8:3). If we love God, then we are known by God. This is what the Bible declares (2 Tim 2:19). The people whom God know and recognize are His sheep and they hear His voice and follow Him and have a relationship with Him (John 10:14, 27). Today, if you had to stand before God, would He know and recognize you? Today, let us take refuge in our Father God (Nah 1:7). Those whom God knows have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:13-14). However, those whom God does not know will be cast out from the presence of the Lord (Matt 7:23).
People who put their hope in God
The second characteristic of the names of those written in the Book of Life are people who put all their trust and hope in God (Psa 146:3-5). Those whose hope is in God certainly do not trust in mortal man. Mortal human beings are not eternal beings because our breath of life is in our nostrils and we are not esteemed (Isa 2:22). The life of mortal man is like a shadow and we wither away like grass (Ps 102:3, 11). Therefore, hope in man is useless and in vain for there is no “salvation” in mortal man. When God takes away the breath of mortal man, he returns to dust and all of his thoughts perish (Psa 104:29). Today and beyond, we must trust only in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and put all of our hope in the almighty God eternal only (Ps 118:8-9).
People who live in Holy conduct and godliness, without any deceit
Those who live holy before God without deceit will have their names written in the Book of Life (2 Pet 3:11-12). Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam prophesied and saw in the future the returning Lord coming with many thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment on the ungodly and those who spoke against God (Jude 1:14-16). Therefore, we must refrain from ungodly lies so that we will not take part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Rev 21:8; 22:15). We must listen solely to God’s Word and obey and lay aside falsehood and ungodly deeds of darkness (Rom 13:12) and illumine our spirit and soul brightly with the light of God’s Word as the five prudent virgins had prepared the oil and lit up their lamps (Matt 25:1-13).
Conclusion: Right now we are living in a time in the history of salvation where we need to truly have the heart of the Lord in finding one lost sheep and make every effort to lead one more person to the path of salvation so that their names will be written in the Book of Life (Matt 18:14). God said; “At evening time there will be light” (Zech 14:7). This means as the world gets darker and darker; God will shine the powerful light of the Word and Redemptive History. And the day when the Lord returns as the lamp Himself (Rev 21:23), the darkness will disappear completely and only the glory of God will fill the world that He has created.