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Scripture Texts: Job 36:18; John 7:43; Acts 17:30,31; Luke 10:20

In each of the four scriptures mentioned above, we have a reference to the common verbal expression, "BECAUSE". Yes, "BECAUSE" is a word which all of us have used many times when confronted with the request or requirement to give a reason for something. And that is just what we have in the aforementioned scriptures.

In the first scripture, Job 36:18, we read, "BECAUSE there is WRATH, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee." Friend, as many of you probably know, I've been a radio minister since March 4, 1956, and one of the most frequent criticisms I've had during that time, has been by those who feel that I speak too often about the WRATH of God. These same people don't mind listening to preaching about the LOVE of God, or even about some unrelated, and yet timely or socially-secular topics such as terrorism, politics, or the educational, economical and environmental conditions in the country, and throughout the world.

But friend, these same people just don't like to hear or think about the WRATH of God. Why? BECAUSE they have been spiritually-blinded by the enemy of their soul, the Devil. In II Corinthians 4;3,4, the Apostle Paul writes, "But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world(meaning the Devil) hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

Well friend, I must confess that I do speak quite often about the WRATH of God, but in doing so, I always remind the listeners that the WRATH of God is only forthcoming when the sinner rejects the LOVE of God. In other words, God is not a God of WRATH, unless His creature, mankind, rebels and rejects His great heart of LOVE which was manifested in the sacrificial death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, at Calvary's cross. Proof of this divine fact is found in the best known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, "For God SO LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him SHOULD NOT PERISH, but have EVERLASTING LIFE." Another verse bringing before us both the LOVE and WRATH of God is found in that same chapter 3 of John, and verse 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."

Friend, I believe that you'll agree with me when I say that the WRATH of God was vividly expressed in the great flood of Noah's day. Now some of you might believe that it was the LOVE of God which drew the eight people, Noah and his family, into the Ark of Safety, but let's see what the word of God has to say. In Hebrews 11:7, we read, "By FAITH Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, was moved with FEAR, and prepared an Ark for the saving of his family." But friend, the sinful, rebellious, and depraved heart of mankind cannot respond to the LOVE of God, apart from the Holy Spirit revealing, through God's word, that to reject God's LOVE, is to invite God's WRATH.

Yes, it was the FEAR of God which caused Noah to build the Ark of Safety. In Genesis chapter 19, it was the FEAR of God which caused Lot to leave the sinfully homosexual city of Sodom, before it was destroyed by fire from Heaven. In Exodus chapter 12, it was the FEAR of God that caused the Israelites to kill the passover lamb in order to escape their Egyptian bondage. In Luke chapter 18, it was the FEAR of God which caused the highly-religious Publican to cry out for divine mercy. In Acts chapter 9 , it was the FEAR of God which led to the conversion of Saul of Tarsus; and also the conversion of the Philippian jailor, in Acts chapter 16. Yes, and it was the reverential FEAR of God, back on June 2, 1952, which caused a religiously-lost college professor named Minor Hawk, to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my own and personal Saviour.

Furthermore, I honestly believe that before a sinner can be truly saved, or "born again", they must realize that they are spiritually lost, and perishing in their sins. Were it not for having a reverential FEAR of God's WRATH, a sinner would never accept God's LOVE, expressed in the sacrificial and substitutionary death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen sinner friend, when the Holy Spirit of God, through God's word, reveals to you your spiritually lost, helpless and hopeless condition in God's sight; and when you realize that you're on the broad road going down to the place that Jesus Christ called Hell, then, and only then, will you accept God's LOVE. Then you'll be in a hurry to get saved, and furthermore, you won't be worried about what others might think, say or do, either.

Too many unsaved people worry about what others will think, say or do if they get saved. Listen friend, the worst they can do to you is kill you, but I don't know of anyone who was killed BECAUSE they accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, do you? In Luke 12:4,5, the Lord Jesus Christ declared "And 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. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall FEAR: FEAR Him who after He hath killed hast power to cast into Hell; yea, I say unto you, FEAR Him." In Proverbs 9:10, we read that "the FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of WISDOM." Again in Ecclesiastes 8:12, we have the promise, "it shall be well with them that FEAR God, which FEAR before Him." As I say, it is unfortunate that many people FEAR their fellowman, but according to Romans 3:18, "There is NO  FEAR  OF  GOD before their eyes." Listen my friend, in Proverbs 29:25, we're told, "The FEAR of man bringeth a snare: (it's a trap) but whoso putteth his TRUST in the Lord shall be safe."

The final portion of our text reminds us that God can "take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee." Yes, God has our life in His hands, and He could stop our heart from beating at any time He desires. And unsaved sinner friend, if He does, all the wealth in the world couldn't give you another minute of life, or a "second chance" for salvation. No, and don't let anyone ever tell you that there is a place called "purgatory" from which your lost soul could be prayed for, or paid for, then ushered into Heaven. Such a diabolical doctrine is completely foreign to the word of God. Friend, one second after we die, our soul is either in Heaven or Hell ! If we're saved, we immediately go to be with the Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven. If we're not saved, through faith in God's Son alone, then we immediately drop into Hell, and the ultimate Lake of Fire, to suffer the eternal WRATH of God. Which shall it be for you, HEAVEN or HELL ? And remember, destiny is determined by decision !

In our second text, John 7:43, we read of another BECAUSE, "and there was a DIVISION among the people BECAUSE of Him." Yes my friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, has brought much DIVISION amongst mankind. Perhaps some of you reading this message are living in homes that are SPIRITUALLY  DIVIDED. Why? BECAUSE of the Lord Jesus Christ. A wife may be saved, and the husband unsaved; or perhaps the parents are saved, and the responsible children are yet unsaved. This is a sad condition, but it exists BECAUSE of Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. And we Christians, who have unsaved loved ones with apparently little, or no concern for their soul's eternal welfare, should be spending much time in supplicating the throne of God on their behalf. True, we can't save them, but if we really love them, we can at least pray for them

I can recall that shortly after I was saved, I sought to tell my loved ones, especially my relatives and fellow college professors, about the Lord Jesus Christ, but they didn't want to hear about their need for salvation, and how that need was met in the sacrificial death of God's Son. Friend, " there was a DIVISION among the people BECAUSE of Him." I wanted to talk about my new-found Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, but my acquaintances had no time for eternal verities. And I know many saved people today whose hearts are burdened, and near the breaking point. Why? BECAUSE of those who are near and dear to them, who are still rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Yes, there is a DIVISION BECAUSE of Him; and sad to say, that DIVISION will exist throughout all eternity, if the unsaved loved ones die in the spiritual condition of never having been "born again".

The Lord Jesus Christ, in Luke chapter 16, tells us of two men who died. One died and opened his eyes in the place of torment called Hell. The other died and he was carried by the angels into the place of eternal rest and comfort, or Heaven. Friend, there was an eternal DIVISION  BECAUSE of the Lord Jesus Christ. The rich man had all the pleasures of this world, but he wasn't saved, so he dropped into a place of no comfort, not even a drop of water, and from which there is no escape, HELL. The other man, named Lazarus, was very poor and sickly, but he was saved when he died, and he "was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom." Yes, and he has eternal life, something that the rich man couldn't buy, even if he wanted to.

Friend, as you read this Gospel message today, are you absolutely SURE that you are really saved? Are you? I've met so many very religiously sincere people during my travels, and I'm amazed at how many have not really been saved. And their lives could put many true Christians to shame. They are regular church attendees; they are highly moral and disdain evil; they are cultured and civic-minded; they are loving, kind, and wonderful neighbors; BUT, they have never been saved, or "born again", by the Holy Spirit and word of God. Yes, they may even have an intellectual knowledge of salvation, but they have never been convicted of their true spiritual condition in God's sight. Friend, there can be no conversion without conviction ! A person can't possibly be saved, until they realize that they are spiritually lost. And that's when, if they are wise, they will accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

I should also add that salvation is not simply giving a mental assent to given historical facts, either. Friend, I was preaching the Gospel long before I got saved. Yes, I had an intellectual knowledge of the fact that God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on Calvary's cross for sinners, BUT, I had never experienced the deep, heartfelt conviction of MY OWN lost and ruined condition before a Holy God. And had I died before June 2, 1952, I would be down in Hell today, with the rich man of Luke 16. Why? BECAUSE I had never really been saved before then.

How about you, my friend? Can you honestly look back to a time in your life's experience when, after having been convicted of your lost spiritual condition before God, you trusted in the blood of His Son to cleanse you from all sin? Have you? Well if not, then I don't hesitate to tell you, in love for your soul, that you are only a heartbeat from being in Hell. Friend, when a person is really saved, they'll never forget the TIME  WHEN,  PLACE  WHERE, and MANNER  HOW they were saved, or "born again", into God's family. Sure, you may forget the exact date when you professed faith in Christ, but you'll never forget the experience. Why? BECAUSE you are making the most important DECISION in your entire existence; a DECISION which will determine whether you go to Heaven or Hell for all eternity. Furthermore, if you can't remember certain pertinent facts relative to WHERE, WHEN, and HOW you were supposedly saved, or "born again", then it is quite obvious that your so-called conversion wasn't worth remembering.

Now in our third scripture text, Acts 17:30,31, we have another very important "BECAUSE". We're told that God "now commandeth all men everywhere to REPENT: BECAUSE He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man Whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead." Here we read that God wants the unsaved sinner to REPENT. Why? BECAUSE He has appointed the day of judgment for the world, which shall be based on the individual's response to the crucifixion, and the assured subsequent resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, from the dead.

Friend, God has offered eternal salvation, through faith in the blood of His Son, to those who are yet unsaved. Furthermore, He has warned the sinner to REPENT, or to suffer the consequences, and that means the Great White Throne of Judgment, and the subsequent ultimate Lake of Fire. But remember my friend, that this terrible day of judgment is only awaiting those who refuse to accept the LOVE of God, which was manifested in the sacrificial death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the Sinless Substitute Who died for our sins on the cross at Calvary. We're told in Isaiah 53:5, that "He was wounded for OUR transgressions, He was bruised for OUR iniquities: the chastisement of OUR peace was upon Him; and with His stripes WE are healed."

Friend, there is no good reason for you having to stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment. Why? BECAUSE God's Son paid the price for your soul's redemption at Calvary's cross. He paid a debt He didn't owe, for those who owed a debt they couldn't pay! Yes, He bare OUR sins in His own body on the cross. And friend, all you have to do in order to escape that terrible judgment scene, is to look by faith to Calvary, and to acknowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was God expressed in human form, was dying for YOUR sins. And let's not forget what we read in II Peter 3:9, that God "is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to REPENTANCE." Furthermore, today you may be too proud to look by faith to Calvary to see God's Son dying for you, but I want you to know that you're going to see Him someday, when you stand in judgment at the Great White Throne, of which we read in Revelation chapter 20. In John 5:22 the Lord Jesus Christ declares, "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed ALL JUDGMENT unto the SON." JUST  THINK  ABOUT  THAT !

Let's take a brief look at our fourth scripture text, Luke 10:20. There we hear the Lord Jesus Christ declare, "rejoice, BECAUSE your names are WRITTEN in Heaven." There are many people today, and they are rejoicing because their names are WRITTEN on some church roll, but unfortunately, their names have never been WRITTEN in Heaven. In Revelation 20:15, we read of the Great White Throne Judgment, and the fact is declared, "And whosoever was not found WRITTEN in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire." Friend, when was the last time your preacher, priest, or other religious leader, read that scripture to you? Well, if you have never heard that scripture for a long time, if ever, then the likelihood is, that it is BECAUSE your religious leader didn't have the courage to tell you the truth. Why? BECAUSE it might upset you ! Why? BECAUSE you might not come back to their church, or other place of so-called "worship". Why? BECAUSE your financial support would diminish, or perhaps disappear altogether.

Friend, I believe that we're all aware of the fact that since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many people in the United States have turned to their "religious heritage" for comfort. Many started to attend church more often, and probably changed their financial support from a glistening coin to a well-groomed dollar bill. They realized, if only for a short period of time, that their life could be ended in a moment of time BECAUSE of some diabolical act of terrorism. Many of these people, again only for a short period of time, began to think of where they would be if they did die, under such unprovoked and unexpected conditions.

And there may be someone reading this message today, and you honestly believe that your baptism, or some other religious ritual, would take you into God's Heaven. Friend, neither religious rituals, nor culture, sincerity, education, morality, or trying to keep the ten commandments and "golden rule", could take you into God's Heaven. No, and so-called "good works" won't get you into Heaven either. If these, and other such prerequisites, could gain you a place in Heaven, then answer this question–Why did God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, die that cursed and agonizing death on Calvary's cross ? No, my friend, you must have your name WRITTEN in the "Lamb's Book of Life". And this can only take place when you, as a lost, guilty sinner, REPENT of your sin and place your TRUST in the precious BLOOD of the Lord Jesus Christ, ALONE! Furthermore, you can forget about other so-called founders of religions such as Buddha, Confucius, or Muhammad. Why? BECAUSE the Lord Jesus Christ, God's ONLY SON, is the ONLY  POSSIBLE  SAVIOUR  FOR  MANKIND. The Apostle Peter declares in Acts 4:12, that "NEITHER  IS  THERE  SALVATION  IN  ANY  OTHER:  FOR  THERE  IS  NONE  OTHER  NAME  UNDER  HEAVEN  GIVEN  AMONG  MEN, WHEREBY  WE  MUST  BE  SAVED."

Friend, if the Holy Spirit of God is speaking to you today, please don't cast Him aside. If you're not sure that your name is WRITTEN in Heaven, then make sure right now. Why? BECAUSE tomorrow may be too late. In Proverbs 27:1, we're warned, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Yes, there are countless souls languishing down in Hell today, who had expected to get saved "SOMEDAY". We read in II Corinthians 6:2, "Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW  IS  THE  DAY  OF  SALVATION."

Furthermore, I honestly believe that every indication in the world today points to the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, and this great event will terminate the day of God's grace to you, who are spiritually responsible today. Why? BECAUSE your opportunity to be saved will have ceased to exist. And you will be as sure of being in Hell forever, as though you were already there. In Hebrews 4:7, we are exhorted, "TODAY if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." Again we're warned in Proverbs 29:1, "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."

Well friend, today you've read this Gospel message which has been given to you in love for your never-dying soul. Now you must make your decision either FOR or AGAINST the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? BECAUSE neutral, you cannot be. So why not humble yourself before God right now; admit that you are a sinner who cannot save yourself, then simply trust in the finished work of God's Son at Calvary's cross. And friend, if you'll do that right now, the word of God which cannot lie, says that you'll be saved for time, and thank God, you'll be saved for all eternity. And remember, my friend, this is for eternity. YES,  THIS  IS  FOR  ETERNITY !

Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk