Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What is the line that divides heaven from hell?

…What is the Line that Divides Heaven from Hell?…

John 3:8 (NKJV)  gThe wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [1]

Upon us today is a question that I dare say many might not be able to answer.  We call ourselves believers. We come to a building, a church, a synagogue or a temple – really doesn’t matter what you call it – and we sing, we praise, we lift up our hands.  We let tears run down our cheeks and we pray and we cry out – and yet, for all we do – to what end or to what avail is it?  We watch as our homes, our children, and our nation seem to sink deeper into a morass of trouble and evil.  A day is coming beloved, a Day of Great Judgment where untold multitudes will be standing naked before the Great White Throne of the Almighty God, Yahveh Elohim, and many will see and hear the pronouncement of righteous judgment:

“…Be gone from Me you workers of Iniquity, for I know you not…”

There will be others present on that Day, though their numbers will be few compared to the multitudes that hear judgment, that will hear the words that they long waited to hear:

“Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into thy rest…”

It is but a sad truth that many who hear the first pronouncement might consist of some familiar faces, ones that we have seen before…  Some might be those who’ve we heard teach, some might even be those who preach, some will be those who have sat week after week at a house of worship.  Along with these will surely be those who rejected the mercies of the Son of Glory, of those who openly mocked the Holy Will of God, and those who loved the things of this world more than the One who made it all, and yet… It cannot escape our understanding that it will consist of those who profess a love of this Awesome God and His Son.  They will realize with horror on that day that they missed the warning of 1 Cor. 2:14:
1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV)
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [2]

We have to remember that the things of God are only discerned by the spiritual man, not the carnal.

                In that great and terrible day of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth they will come to understand too late that their knowledge of the divine was limited to their experiential knowledge, that of the head and not the heart.  On that day will they finally see that they set for too long on the dividing line, straddling the fence that separates a true child of the Living God from one of the damned, that they never passed over the line of being simply convinced that there is a God, to the place where they became one committed for Him. 

What is the line that divides Heaven from hell?  What or when is the moment one passes from death to life?

Let it be known, these are the only two choices we have – life or death.

Let it be known, in the physical world we are either dead or alive – room temperature of 98.6 degrees F.

As in the natural, so it is in the spiritual.  We are either alive or dead; dead in our trespasses and sins or alive in the shed blood of Yeshua, Jesus our Messiah.  We are either saints or sinners, not a combination of the two… A saint who commits sin may not be a saint at all – though a saint who stumbles and then repents?  That is a whole other sermon.

We are either a child of God or a child of the devil; the difference is black and white, and no shade of gray can be found there in it at all.

So again I ask:  What is the dividing line that separates us from Heaven or hell?

Quite simply, it is the new birth.

Allow me please to ask the next question that we all must ask:
“Have I been born again, that is to say, born from above?”

Let me warn you: if you have not and you die in this present state, at the Throne of Holy and Terrible Judgment you will wish you had never been born at all.

By word and by deed, by preaching and teaching with tears and pleadings God’s servants go forth and proclaim to all the Gospel of Salvation.  Even this though does one no good at all if the Holy Father who sent these servants out does not bless the seed they so diligently try to plant with the water of His Spirit.  And what is this water that the Spirit brings?  It is the shed blood of the Lamb of God who washes a sinner clean by the washing of the water of the Word, the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No matter how sincere the servant is who gives out the word, if there is no application by the Holy Spirit to the heart of the hearer, there will be no impact.  It is for this reason and this reason only that we must humble ourselves and cry out for mercy, for there is no thing that we do or say that can sway the God of Heaven if He chooses not to move.

So why bother you might ask?  Because His word will not return to Him void!  In Isa. 55:11 He declares that:

“….So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it…” [3]

Notice here though – “…in the thing whereto I sent it…” It only works if He sends it.  To whom does He send it?  To those whom He draws nigh, for Messiah says in John 6:44: 

44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. [4]

It was for this reason Messiah Yeshua also said in John 14:6:

“…Jesus said to him, “I am fthe way, gthe truth, and hthe life. iNo one comes to the Father jexcept through Me…” [5]

To come unto Him requires the new birth and this is more than the acknowledgement of Him as Savior, for to believe isn’t quite all there is to the story…. James 2:19 says:

…”You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!…” [6]

Ask yourself, the demons believe, are they saved?

No beloved, what it takes is the new birth, that supernatural operation of God upon a man’s spirit, a transcendent wonder. [7]  A.W. Pink says of it: “…It is a marvel of Divine grace, Divine wisdom, Divine power and Divine beauty.  It is a miracle performed upon and within ourselves, of which we may be personally cognizant…”[8] 

Know this now, that there are only two types of people in God’s sight – those that are dead in their sins and those that walk in the newness of life.  What we need to do is better understand the how and the why of this new birth.

There are two places that are prepared right now for the eternal soul, and both require preparation for entrance.  One is hell, and the preparation to enter into it is the easiest: it only requires that we continue to walk according to our flesh, our desires, our ways, our interpretations, our traditions, our ambitions – anything that opposes the word of God.  This is the easy way, the broad way, but it comes with a heavy price tag; the penalty is death, separation from God.  It just isn’t worth it.  What good comes from, as stated in 2 Tim. 3:2:

“…For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy…” [9]

What besets you so beloved that you might choose to prepare yourself in this fashion? 

Yeshua tells us in Luke 9:23-25:
(see also Matt. 16:24–27; Mark 9:34–38)
23 tThen He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross 2daily, and follow Me. 24 uFor whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 vFor what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? [10]

In the next verse He says:
26 wFor whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be xashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.[11]

The word used in the Greek for “ashamed” is the word “epaischynomai”.  We have translated this word as ashamed, yet our English word does not fully convey the meaning of this word.  Literally it means to come against, or to be disgusted with.  Think about that – when we are ashamed, what feelings do we have?  We are generally coming against the thing that shamed us – whether it was word or deed – and we feel disgusted… This disgust is then either directed toward ourselves, the situation or possibly another person.  Therefore, this is the implication that the Lord is saying:

“If you are disgusted or come against me or my words, then when I come in glory so shall I be the same way to you…”  (paraphrase mine)

So why do we prepare ourselves for this reaction from our King?  We haven’t been born again, that’s why.

Heaven, or a better way to describe it would be the place of rest in the Lord, is a prepared place for a prepared people.  In John 14:2 the Messiah said “…I go to prepare a place for you…”  Whom is He preparing a place for?

Peter gives us the answer in Matt 19:27:

“…Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee…”

These are the whom – those who have forsaken all.

This is the true test of all believers, one that each must take; it is not graded on a curve, your “score” is not affected by how others fair.  This is between you and your Savior.  Will you forsake all to follow Him?  Will you lay down your life?  Ponder this, and next time we meet, we’ll finish our study.  Please though, examine yourselves before you answer: this test truly exists, and it is crucial you know the answer…

Now, we must as Dr. J. Vernon McGee used to say, we must go where “the rubber meets the road.”  Isaiah 64:4 reads:

4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seenb, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. [12]

We have all heard this verse before, but most of us stop at the end of verse four instead of seeing the context in which it is written. Let me give you another rendering of this verse, this one from the Complete Jewish Bible:

“…No one has ever heard, no ear perceived, no eye seen, any God but you. You work for him who waits for you.
You favored those who were glad to do justice, those who remembered you in your ways. When you were angry, we kept sinning; but if we keep your ancient ways, we will be saved.
All of us are like someone unclean, all our righteous deeds like menstrual rags; we wither, all of us, like leaves; and our misdeeds blow us away like the wind.
No one calls on your name or bestirs himself to take hold of you, for you have hidden your face from us and caused our misdeeds to destroy us.
But now, Adonai, you are our father; we are the clay, you are our potter; and we are all the work of your hands.
Do not be so very angry, Adonai! Don't remember crime forever. Look, please, we are all your people…” [13]

Rabi Sha’ul (Paul) said it this way in 1 Cor. 2:9:

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [14]

I bring out the context for you to understand that the Father works for those who forsake all.  These readings appear different, Sha’ul’s being taken from the Septuagint, which renders “wait” as mercy, confirmed in Vincent’s Word Studies:

“…The Hebrew reads: “From of old men have not heard, not perceived with the ear, eye has not seen a God beside Thee who does (gloriously) for him who waits on Him.” Septuagint, “From of old we have not heard, nor have our eyes seen a God beside Thee, and Thy works which Thou wilt do for those who wait for mercy…” [15] 

The words may be different, but the concept remains true: if we as God’s people “keep…His…ancient ways” and love Him, His mercy comes through and He works to prepare a place for us.  If you love God, then you must love the things of God.  And what things are these?  Those that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue and praise (see Phil. 4:8).  Paul counts all the former things of his life as dung so that he may receive those that we just mentioned (Phil. 3:8).  To love God is to prepare yourself to die to self, to deny all your ways for His.  You must love His ways, for if you truly do, and truly obey Him, then here is the proof of regeneration, of the working of the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh in your life, the proof that you are born from above.

                This is the spiritual man within you then.  On the other hand is the natural man, the one we fight with every day.  He knows not the things of God, thinks of them being foolish at the worst (1 Cor. 2:14), or holds onto them intellectually yet never brings or bows his heart near to God’s (Matt. 15:8-9).  He is wretched indeed who prepares himself this way (Rev. 3:14-17).  This is one prepared for Hell, for there is no change in his life; to be prepared for Heaven, the man or woman must be changed.

                Col. 1:12 tells us that:

”…the Father… hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light…” [16]

*      The natural man is unholy, therefore unfit for the inheritance of the saint…
*      None are made meet while under the power of darkness for this inheritance is of light…
*      Messiah Himself had to rise from the dead to gain the back the glory He had with the Father; so must we be resurrected from the bondage of sin to attain the glory prepared for us. 

We have a mistaken notion that Messiah came to save us in our sin – nay, I say, He came to save us from it.  God cannot walk with a sinner – it violates who He is and what His Holy Torah instructs.  There IS no communion between Messiah and Be’lial (2 Cor. 6:15).  Darkness flees from the light (Gen. 1:2; Job 38:19-20; Ps. 82:5; Pro. 4:19; Isa. 5:20; Matt. 6:23; Luke 11:34-35; John 3:17-19) so how can the two travel side by side?  Without the regeneration of the heart and of the spirit of a man by the Ruach Elohim (the Spirit of God) none, and I say it again, none will see heaven and none will see God.

So what is heaven?  I answered this before, but let me make it clear to you:  Heaven is the place where there is the FULL manifestation of Him who is “glorious in Holiness (Ex. 15:11)” – that holiness which the wicked, while presumptuously hoping to go to heaven, despise and hate here on earth…”[17]  This holiness of the Most High is obtainable but only if our inner being as well as our outer life have undergone a radical, revolutionizing supernatural change. 

                Be ye warned: be not fooled.  If Messiah is not first in your life, if you have not forsaken all and placed your life on His altar of sacrifice, then how do you expect to be received into a place prepared for those who have given all to Him?  Holiness and the happiness of the saint walk side by side, just as sin and  the wretchedness of the ungodly do: they cannot be separated.  We think that nothing but the merits of Messiah are needed to qualify us for heaven – but in this you are mistaken.  Yes we need these merits, for it is He who stands in the gap for us, but none may receive remission of sin through the shed blood of Mashiach Yeshua who are not first “turned from the power of satan unto God (Acts 26:18)”, and this is but by the will of Him who sent us the Savior – no amount of well wishing or decision making on our part will transform our lives – only the power of God in the work of the Ruach HaKodesh and the atoning death of Messiah Yeshua are we allowed to be born again.

So what does this mean for us?

*      First: we have to believe (remember curious, convinced and committed?)
o   Heb. 11:6 says:
“…And without trusting (faith KJV), it is impossible to be well pleasing to God, because whoever approaches him must trust that he does exist and that he becomes a Rewarder to those who seek him out…”[18]

*      Faith and belief are equal to trust, yet we must need to go further – and this is the hard part…

o   Repentance.  Call it what you will, brokenness, humbleness, crushed before the presence of All Mighty Yahveh.  Coupled with trust or faith, it is here we begin the journey of regeneration, of holiness.  It is in this broken state that the process begins of being born from above, of being born again (see Eph. 4:1-7).

Repentance was the first and continuous call from our Savior – see Matt 4:16; Mark 1:14 and Luke 13:1-5.  Repentance isn’t taught much, for it makes people uncomfortable; it requires them to yield to the Spirit of God and change.  Without it though, without the conviction that brings it about in godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10-11), there is no salvation for there is no working of the Spirit upon your life and all you profess is in vain. 

All throughout the Scriptures we see the importance of this work of regeneration, of being born again, for in Scripture, the first born rarely received the promise:

*      Adam, the first perfect man, lost his birthright to disobedience (Gen 3:9-24); Yeshua, the second perfect man, gained all through His obedience unto death…
*      Cain, first born of Adam (Gen 4:1), had his offering rejected for the hardness of his heart, Abel’s was accepted (Gen. 4:4).
*      Ishmael, first born of Abraham, born of the bond woman was not heir to the promise that God had given Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3, 7); the second born, Isaac, born of the free inherited the promise (Gen. 17:15-20).
*      Esau, the first born of Isaac, sold his birthright for a bowl of stew (Gen. 25:29-34); Jacob, the second born, would go on to receive the full blessing of God, and have his name changed to Yisra’el, through repentance and change.
*      The people of God were released from the bondage of Egypt but due to their disbelief in the Word of God, died in the wilderness (Num. 13:26-14:35); the second generation entered into the promised land (Joshua 1:1-9).

Over and over, the first became last, and the last became first.  So it must be with us.  Being born again has nothing to do with us, but everything with the will and plan of God – we cannot make it happen.  To achieve it, we must be born of water and of the Spirit:

*      The water isn’t natural birth as some interpret but is the washing of our souls by the power of God word and the living water, His Son, Yeshua Ha’Machiach (John 4:7-14; Eph. 5:25-27; Heb. 10:22; 1 John 5:1-12).
*      The water is the Word, the Word shed His blood.  This is the true baptism, the blood.  This is the pure water that washes our bodies and spirit.  This is the new birth.

Only through this can we know.  It is a reality that we can feel.  When it happens, we don’t lay on our beds at night, hot tears running down our cheeks because of the emptiness of our souls – no, if there are tears it is of joy because we know that a change has come.  We know that our natural man has stooped low and prostrated himself before a thrice Holy God, cried out for mercy and was heard.  None in the natural will seek this mercy, will seek this forgiveness – none in the natural will feel this change.  Only those touched by the Spirit of God and made alive will encounter this miracle of new birth – the soul cleansing of the water and the blood.

Do you feel Him today?  If not, don’t despair for you are here so that He can make Himself known to you, but it takes a willingness on your part to be broken – to be crushed under the weight of a Holy conviction so that you can be led to repentance and salvation.

Repentance isn’t just a word we toss casually about.  It is a piercing sword, it is a gut-wrenching tearing apart of the wall of enmity that sin has built between us and God.  Under the sway of the Holy Spirit those undergoing true regeneration will feel the weight of their sin, will come to be ashamed of this sin – remember what the definition of ashamed is – and will be disgusted at what they were and will cry out for the newness of life found only in the shed blood and the born again experience.

What happens next?  That crushing weight – becomes light.  The darkness rolls back from your soul as a scroll – and the light comes in.  The heaviness of sin gives way to the yoke of Messiah, light and freeing.

It can’t be done if you hold onto your life, the one anchored in this world; it can only can only be done in a heart prepared for Heaven, a heart


The line between Heaven and Hell comes through regeneration…
- Regeneration through the Shed Blood of Messiah –
- Obedience to the Master through the revealed Word –

Today, here His voice and harden not your heart as in the day of provocation…
Stand today on the right side of the line.

…May the Lord richly bless you my beloved…

g  Ps. 135:7; Eccl. 11:5; Ezek. 37:9; 1 Cor. 2:11
[1]  The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.
[2]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995.

[3]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995.
[4]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995.
f  [John 10:9; Rom. 5:2; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 9:8; 10:19, 20]
g  [John 1:14, 17; 8:32; 18:37]
h  [John 11:25]
i  1 Tim. 2:5
j  [John 10:7–9; Acts 4:12]
[5]  The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.
[6]  The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.
[7] A.W. Pink – “Regeneration” booklet re-published by Chapel Library, A Ministry of Mt. Zion Bible Church pg 5.
[8] Ibid…
[9]  The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.
t  Matt. 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 14:27
2  M omits daily
u  Matt. 10:39; Luke 17:33; [John 12:25]
v  Matt. 16:26; Mark 8:36; [Luke 16:19–31]; Acts 1:18, 25
[10]  The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.
w  [Rom. 1:16]
x  Matt. 10:33; Mark 8:38; Luke 12:9; 2 Tim. 2:12
[11]  The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.

b  seen...: or, seen a God beside thee, which doeth so for him, etc
[12]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995.
[13] The Complete Jewish Bible, by David H. Stern, ©1998 by David H. Stern, published by the Jewish New Testament Publications Inc. (electronic edition e-sword® version 9.5.1 ©2000-2009 Rick Myers)
[14]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995.

[15] Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, by Marvin Vincent ©Henderickson’s Publishers, 1889

[16]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995.

[17] A.W. Pink – “Regeneration” booklet re-published by Chapel Library, A Ministry of Mt. Zion Bible Church pg 12.
[18] The Complete Jewish Bible, by David H. Stern, ©1998 by David H. Stern, published by the Jewish New Testament Publications Inc. (electronic edition e-sword® version 9.5.1 ©2000-2009 Rick Myers)

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