ImageWhen the Lord Jesus Christ sent the Twelve disciples on their first missionary journey, he told unto them: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul.  Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell." (Matt. 10:28)  In other places Jesus talks about the eternity of hell.

A popular concept in teaching is that no matter what the discussion is, the people involved in the debate should have an irenic spirit.  They should be able separate themselves from the subject and with great politeness and accuracy discuss peacefully the most disagreeable subject.

This position was diametrically opposed in practice by the evangelists of the 19th century.  They pleaded in their argumentation that their listening audience should make a decision for God because their decision had not only earthly consequences, but divine consequences.  One of the evangelists in this category was Dwight L. Moody.  The reason for his position was that in the night before the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, he preached a sermon and decided not to give an invitation to those present to come forward and receive Christ.  The fire started that night on Sunday, October 8, and lasted until Tuesday, October 10.  They found over 125 bodies and the estimation was that at least 300 people lost their lives. From that moment onward, every sermon that he preached had an altar call – a time for the people to make a decision for God.

If you do not pass your geography test, it will affect your GPA, but it will not have eternal consequences.  If your investments are not going well, you may not enjoy the retirement that you planned, but even a retirement will come to an end.  What you believe about the Holy Scriptures and what you believe about Jesus Christ has eternal consequences.  Thus, while these articles these years have been irenic, what you do with them has eternal consequences.

Recently I read about D. T. Niles, an evangelist working in India.  He wanted to present the gospel to Mahatma Gandhi.  Some of his Hindu neighbors asked him: "Do you consider yourself a better person than Mahatma Gandhi?"  The missionary replied: "Not at all. I recognize the goodness and the impact that Mahatma Gandhi has had on the world."  "If Gandhi is better that you, why do you still want to have an audience with him?" they asked.  The missionary replied:  "For the simple reason, to ask him as I asked thousands of other people: ‘What have you done about what God has done for you in Jesus Christ?'"  The answer to this question has eternal consequences.


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The Bible tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23).  There is no other way.  What you do with Jesus has consequences not only for your life here on earth, but also for all eternity.

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George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...