GOD SAYS THAT IT IS "GREAT"
Scripture Texts: Genesis 6:5; Ephesians 2:4; Hebrews 2:3; Matthew 13:45,46; Luke 16:26; Job 36:18; Revelation 20:11
Each of the seven Scriptures noted above have something in common. Yes, in each text we read of something which God calls "great". Now when God says that something is "great", we can be sure that it is something whose uniqueness surpasses our mere finite comprehension. Afterall, God is the Creator of all things, the Heavens and the earth, and all that dwell therein. And He is the One Who upholds all things by the word of His power. So friend, when God declares something to be "great", then our utmost attention should be directed to that which He is referring, because it surely must be "GREAT".
In our first Scripture, Genesis 6:5, we read of the conditions in the world just prior to the great flood of Noah's day. We read, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was GREAT in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." And friend, just as in Noah's day, there is also great wickedness throughout our world today. Aside from the widespread wickedness of lying, stealing, alcoholism, drug addiction, fornication, adultery, murder, homosexuality, spousal and sibling abuse; we now have the worldwide, devil-inspired great wickedness of terrorism. Yes, the daily newspapers, radio broadcasts, and T-V news programs are filled with the gross sin and iniquity which abounds on every hand. And sad to say, hundreds of so-called "clergy" in the United States have been, or are being defrocked, and some have already been prosecuted for their sexual acts of great wickedness, especially with children.
Friend, this scene of time and sense is soon going to feel the wrath of a sin-hating God and Creator. And one of the saddest facts to acknowledge, in these days of great wickedness, is the apparent failure of God's people to strengthen the moral fiber of which this country was founded, and for which we've been noted in the past. Today, carnality amongst professing Christians is the rule, rather than the exception. Yes, there is an obvious trend toward great carnality, complacency, and compromise amongst God's redeemed people. And it is all pointing forward to the second coming of God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Over in Matthew 24:37, He warned, "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be." (In Scripture, the Son of God is referred to as the "Son of Man" 80 times; 72 times by the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.)
As God looks down from Heaven these days, it must bring a stench to His nostrils. Yes, there is great wickedness in the world today, and things aren't going to get any better, soon. In fact, if it was not for the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit of God, things would be a lot worse, even now. Friend, during this one day of grace, over 4,500 babies will be murdered in their mother's wombs. Today, children are having babies. Parents are being murdered by their children, and vice versa. School students are no longer safe in their classrooms. AIDS is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. Some people in the highest political and financial positions, are also the objects for justifiable allegations of gross immorality, and corporate corruption. Demented and radical members of some of the world's largest religious sects, under the guise of their Devil-inspired doctrines, are terrorizing and murdering innocent civilians, whose religious beliefs diver from theirs. Friend, this is not only great wickedness, but it is also the GREATEST OF WICKEDNESS!
David, the Psalmist, had much to say about the great wickedness found in the hearts and lives of God's highest creature, man. In Psalms 58:3, he says, "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." Yes, and we've seen this proven many times. We've seen a dry and well-fed baby crying in it's crib,or high chair, as though in some desperate need; but as soon as the baby is picked up, the crying stops. It just wanted some love and attention, and naturally so. We're told in Jeremiah 17:9 that "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." In Psalms 7:11 we read that "God is angry with the wicked everyday." Again in Psalms 9:17, "The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God."
Friend, if you're unsaved and reading this message, I want you to know that you may be part of the great wickedness which is so evident in the world today. You have no regard for the salvation being offered to you in the person of God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. You may believe that your so-called "good works" and "religious activities" will merit your entrance into God's Heaven. Yes, you're depending upon what you can do, rather than having faith in what the Lord Jesus Christ has already done for you at Calvary's cross. And possibly, there are homosexuals reading this who are content to live, and to be so involved in acts of such GREAT and ABOMINABLE WICKEDNESS, that it makes the days of Noah, as well as Sodom and Gomorrah, look like a Sunday School picnic.
In summation, we're told in Isaiah 55:6,7, "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."
Now that leads us to our second Scripture, Ephesians 2:4, where we're reminded, "But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His GREAT LOVE wherewith He loved us." In the preceding three verses, we are told of our spiritual condition in God's sight, if we've never been saved, or born again. We are described as being spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins" ... "children of disobedience" ... "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind" ... and "children of wrath". Not a very pretty picture, is it?
Yet, with all of our GREAT WICKEDNESS, being so eloquently defined, we're told that we are the recipients of God's GREAT LOVE. Friend, I've spent most of my adult secular life in academia. I've been both a professor and administrator in several well known institutions of higher learning. I've written several books, one of which, for many years, was the world's largest selling book on a particular engineering subject, and after 43 years it is still being published by the McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. I've also been listed in "Who's Who in Engineering", and I'm presently in my 50th. year of radio ministry, BUT, IF I LIVE TO BE 100 YEARS OLD, I'LL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY GOD WOULD SHOW SUCH GREAT LOVE TO A SINNER LIKE MINOR HAWK ! Friend, as I've often said, seriously, if Hell was never made for the Devil and his angels, it should have been made for Minor Hawk.
Why? Because I knowingly resisted the offer of God's GREAT LOVE, in the sacrifice of His Son, till I was 30 years old. It was then that I was brought under conviction by the Holy Spirit and word of God, while a patient in the Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Yes, on June 2, 1952, God had to put me on my back, and facing serious surgery, before I would realize that I was a religiously-lost and rebel sinner in His sight, and that His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, expressed His GREAT LOVE for me, by dying for my sins on Calvary's cross.
Again, I must confess that I don't understand such GREAT LOVE, but God didn't say that I had to understand it, but He did want me to believe it with all of my heart, and I DO. Sure, I was like many people today who have a head knowledge of God's salvation, but they are missing Heaven by about 18 inches. We must believe it, not only in our head, but also in our HEART! In Romans 10:9,10, we read, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine HEART that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the HEART man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
I believe that the best definition of God's GREAT LOVE is found in I John 4:9,10, "In this was manifested the LOVE of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is LOVE, not that we loved God, but that He LOVED US, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." And many of us, I'm sure, are quite familiar with the best-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16. Listen to what the Lord Jesus Christ declares in this lovely verse, "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." The truth in this verse led my father to GOD'S GREAT LOVE, and I sure thank God for that!
Friend, you're either going to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your own and personal Saviour, and have eternal life, or you're going to reject Him, and thus suffer the wrath of a Holy God. In the last verse of that same John chapter 3, everyone in the world today is mentioned, "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." How about it, friend; in which part of that verse are you mentioned ?
In our third Scripture, Hebrews 2:3, the question is asked, "How shall we escape if we neglect so GREAT SALVATION?" Well friend, there is absolutely no escape, if you continue to neglect so GREAT SALVATION. God's GREAT SALVATION was made possible only through the shedding of blood, by His dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, at Calvary's cross. Yes, there's only one way for us to have eternal life, and that one way is to place our utmost faith in the value and virtue of the blood of Jesus Christ, which He willing shed at the place called Calvary. In I John 1:7, we read that "the BLOOD of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." Again we read these wonderful words of assurance in Romans 5:8,9, "But God commendeth His LOVE toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His BLOOD, WE SHALL BE SAVED FROM WRATH THROUGH HIM."
Friend, in order to accept God's GREAT SALVATION, we must, first of all, denounce our own ability to achieve favor in God's sight. It means that we must humble ourselves in the presence of God-given truth. Yes, we must acknowledge that we can't do a thing to either merit or inherit the GREAT SALVATION which God has provided in the sacrificial death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. No, we can't work our way into favor with God. In Titus 3:5, we read, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." Again in Ephesians 2:8,9, we're told, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST." Friend, looking at it logically, aside from Scripturally, if we could do anything to merit salvation, then why did the Lord Jesus Christ die that cursed and agonizing death of crucifixion? No, the word of God is quite clear in Romans 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his FAITH is counted for righteousness."
Friend, one of the many reasons why God calls His salvation "GREAT", is simply because of the GREAT PRICE that was paid for our soul's redemption. In I Timothy 3:16 we read, "And without controversy GREAT is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." Yes, the God of Heaven, veiled His heavenly glory in human flesh, and went all the way to Calvary's cross to suffer, bleed, and die for poor, lost, sinners like you and me. And the GREAT PRICE required to satisfy the claims of a Holy God against sin, was the precious BLOOD of the Lord Jesus Christ. Friend, in II Corinthians 5:19 we're told that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." And in Romans 5:1 we read, "Therefore being justified by FAITH, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Remember what our text says, "How shall we escape if we neglect SO GREAT SALVATION?" Friend, there is NO ESCAPE if you continue to NEGLECT or REJECT SO GREAT SALVATION." No, it's either TURN OR BURN!
Looking briefly at our fourth text, Matthew 13:45,46, we hear the Lord telling us the Parable of the Pearl of GREAT PRICE. "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a Merchant Man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when He had found one pearl of GREAT PRICE, went and sold all that He had, and bought it." Friend, the "Merchant Man" was the Lord Jesus Christ, and the "PEARL of GREAT PRICE" is the true church, composed of all who are saved through faith in Him. And it was at Calvary's cross that "He sold all that He had, and bought it." Yes, He paid the GREAT PRICE, His own life's blood, in order to purchase our soul's GREAT SALVATION.
Now we know that pearls are formed by the painful suffering and irritation that takes place inside of the oyster shell, and so it is that the "pearl of great price", the true church, was formed by the pain and suffering of the "Merchant Man", the Lord Jesus Christ, at Calvary's cross. Yes, it was there that He paid a debt He didn't owe, for those who owed a debt they couldn't pay. But at what a tremendous, GREAT PRICE; His own life's blood. The Apostle Paul, reminded the Christians in I Corinthians 6:20, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Friend, I don't belong to me anymore; I'm a child of God through faith in the "Merchant Man", the Lord Jesus Christ, Who bought me at Calvary's cross.
And that leads us to the fifth text, Luke 16:26. In Luke chapter 16, we read of the rich man who died unsaved, and opened up his eyes in the torments of Hell. He pleaded with Abraham, who was in the place of comfort with Lazarus, to send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his parched tongue. But Abraham reminded the tormented soul that Lazarus couldn't relieve the man's suffering for the solemn reason given in verse 26, "between us and you there is a GREAT GULF fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence."
Lazarus was a saved man, now in eternal comfort; but the former rich man was in eternal pain.. He could no longer enjoy the temporal blessings, such as those he had on earth. No longer could he "eat, drink, and be merry." No longer could he be dressed in "fine linen and fare sumptuously every day." No, and no longer could he bask in the sunshine of God's marvelous grace. He had passed out of time into eternity, and it was impossible to receive any relief from his excruciating pain and thirst, why? Because "there is a GREAT GULF fixed." There was no way to pass from one eternal destiny to the other!
While on earth, the rich man had enjoyed "the pleasures of sin for a season", but now he is down in Hell suffering the torments of the doomed and damned. And friend, the sad part about his plight was that his punishment was irrevocable. He had made a choice that had determined his soul's eternal destiny. He had played the fool, and now it was too late to be saved. He was lost, and lost forever. Yes, the rich man on earth became the beggar in eternity, and Lazarus, the poor beggar on earth, became the rich man in eternity.
Sinner friend, I don't enjoy speaking about Hell and the eternal wrath of God; but what would you think of me if I allowed you to drop into Hell, without at least warning you to flee from the wrath to come? No, my friend, it gives me no pleasure to speak about eternal torment, and the place of eternal separation from God; but on the other hand, I must, in love for your soul, remind you that there really is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun. So if you continue to neglect, or reject God's GREAT SALVATION being offered to you today, then you are inviting the terrible wrath of a sin-hating God. And the decision is entirely up to you; no one else can make it for you. In Deuteronomy 30:19 God warns, "I call Heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
Now that leads us to our next Scripture, Job 36:18, where we read, "Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a GREAT RANSOM cannot deliver thee." Here again, we are reminded of God's wrath, and how that once it falls upon the unsaved sinner, then even a GREAT RANSOM cannot deliver them from this wrath. I should also add that, at the present time, there are almost 800 million people in the world who believe that, even though they do die, and go to an un-Scriptural place called "purgatory", their living relatives and friends, up on earth, can pray or pay them out of "purgatory", and then they'll enter the bliss and joy of God's Heaven. Again I remind you that God says that even "a GREAT RANSOM cannot deliver thee."
Friend, the diabolical doctrine concerning a place called "purgatory", is not substantiated by the word of God. In fact, this terrible delusion regarding such a place called "purgatory", never even came into existence until almost 1250 years after the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, sinful mankind is governed by such a deceitful heart, that he is willing to exercise wishful thinking, instead of reading and believing the Bible, the word of God. Friend, the GREAT RANSOM for our sinful soul, has already been paid for by the blood of God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! And if you don't trust in His sin-cleansing blood in this life, then there will be no ransom GREAT enough to deliver you from torment in eternity. In Luke 5:24, the Lord says that He "hath power ON EARTH to forgive sins", not after you die and go to an un-Scriptural "purgatory". Furthermore, history has never revealed that anyone in a mythical "purgatory" was ever prayed for, or paid for, ENOUGH to be transferred from grief to glory. Friend, when you and I leave this scene of time and sense, called LIFE, we immediately go to either HEAVEN or HELL, and that for all ETERNITY!
In closing, we have our final text, Revelation 20:11,15, which tells us,"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. ... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire." Yes, it is at the GREAT WHITE THRONE where every unsaved sinner will stand and be judged, then consigned to an eternity in the Lake of Fire. In Hebrews 9:27, we read that "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Friend, death is not the end of it all. No, it is just the beginning of an eternity of unspeakable joy and peace for the "saved", but it will also bring unimaginable pain and suffering for the "unsaved". And to you who are too proud to humble yourself before God, and accept His GREAT SALVATION in the person of His Son's sacrifice at Calvary; don't you realize, my unsaved friend, that if you die as you are right now, you'll stand at the GREAT WHITE THRONE; and guess Who your Judge will be? Yes, it will be the Lord Jesus Christ! In John 5:22, we hear the Lord Jesus Christ declare, "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed ALL JUDGMENT UNTO THE SON."
Friend, if you are still unsaved, why not accept the Lord Jesus Christ, God's only Son, as your personal Saviour right now? Yes, all you have to do to receive God's GREAT SALVATION, is for you to acknowledge that you are a sinner, who can neither merit nor inherit eternity in Heaven. Admit that your so-called "good works", or "religious activities", can have no part in your soul's redemption. Then look by FAITH to Calvary's cross, and see God's Sinless, Sacrificial, Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, dying there for you. Yes, He was the Just One dying for you and I, the unjust, so that He might bring us back to a new and proper relationship with our Creator, God.
Please friend, I plead with you today, in love for your soul, and in view of eternity, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your own and personal Saviour. And if you do, the word of God, which cannot lie, gives you the assurance that you'll be saved, not only for time, but 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