How Will You Die? - A Sermon by Rosco Brong

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How Will You Die?
By Rosco Brong

Refusal to Submit to the Rule of Christ Means Eternal Death in Lake of Fire

"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." (Luke 19:27.)

The question, "How will you die?" may bring to your mind any number of ways or circumstances in which you may come to the end of your present physical life, but that is not what I mean. That is not very important in comparison with the issue of eternal life or eternal death. In Bible language, right now you are either dead in sin and dead to God, or you are dead to sin and alive in and to God. And after your physical death you will continue in spiritual death suffering the torments of hades and gehenna, or you will continue in spiritual life rejoicing in the presence of your risen Lord and Savior. Which will it be? How will you die - spiritually dead and destined to eternal torment or spiritually alive and destined to eternal bliss?

In the parable of the pounds, Jesus told of "a certain nobleman" who "went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return." (Luke 19:12.) "But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us." Nevertheless, the nobleman received his kingdom and upon his return first called his servants before him for rewards according to their faithfulness in his service during his absence. Then he spoke the words of my text.

Of course, the nobleman in the parable represents Christ, Who has gone to heaven to get His kingdom, and the primary application is to His being rejected by the Jews. He spoke the parable "because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear." (Luke 19:11) But there are lessons here for us all.

"THOSE MINE ENEMIES"
The Jews were not and are not alone in hating Christ. It was their deep-rooted rebellion against God that made them hate His Son, and so it has ever been around the world. Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. In their natural sinful state they hate the light and will not come to the light, because they know that the light will show up their ugly deeds. (John 3:19-21.)

Enmity against God is not only characteristic of exceedingly wicked men: it is the universal heritage of the human race. Both Jews and Gentiles "are all under sin." (Romans 3:9.) Even we that are now "the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26) are reminded by the word of God that before we were saved we "were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." (Ephesians 2:3.)

Do not think that you can be neutral in the conflict between God and Satan. There are no "unaligned" souls in this war. You may try to straddle the fence, but God knows which side you are on, even if you do not. In the judgment of Jesus, "He that is not with me is against me." (Matthew 12:30.)

Now, "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8.) But the poet who thought that hell has no fury like a woman scorned was ignorant of the wrath of God that abides on sinners who reject His manifestation of love in Christ if you will not have His love, you must suffer His hate. There is no middle ground.

"THEY WOULD NOT"
"Mine enemies, which would not" - that is, who were not willing. Do not blame God, or His elective grace, if you continue in the broad road to everlasting destruction. It is, your own choice, your own stubborn, sinful will, that keeps you in rebellion against God.

Only depraved and sinful minds try to use the Bible doctrines of foreordination, predestination, and election as an excuse for evasion of human responsibility. The Biblical use of these Biblical doctrines is to humble us before God and make us willing and eager to know His will in order to do it. To pretend to believe in divine sovereignty while seeking excuses to disobey the Sovereign is rank hypocrisy.

The truth about God's grace is that none of us deserves it and that not one soul could or would be saved without it. We are not saved by accident but on purpose - God's purpose. The truth about God's wrath, is that all of us deserve it and that every soul refusing the love of the truth must suffer it. (II Thesalonians 1:10.)

"Whosoever will" is invited to "take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17.) Whosoever won't can go on to hell, and he does so of his own free will. Of course, he does not consciously choose to go to hell, but he does choose to disbelieve and disobey God, and so there is no other place for him but hell. If he believed God, he would get on the road to heaven.

"We will not have this man to reign over us." (Luke 19:14.) Here is the essence of all sin: the refusal of self-will (miscalled free will) to submit to the rule of God. The puny and silly creature dares to oppose his wicked will to the beneficent will of the all-wise and all-powerful Creator.

In the parable, of course, the nobleman is only a man, and sometimes men can gain, retain, or regain freedom from rule by other men in this world. But this nobleman received his kingdom, established hia government, and slew, his enemies.

Likewise Christ, the God-man, will not fail to obtain that kingdom which shall appear. He will return from that heavenly country, and will reign in manifest glory here on earth, as He now rules from His Father's throne in heaven.

"This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstools." (Hebrews 10:12, 13.) "For HE MUST REIGN, till he hath put all enemies under his feet" (I Corinthians 15:25.)

He must reign! Hallelujah! All the hateful citizens, all the rebellious sinners, all the atheists and infidels, all the demons in hell, all the principalities and powers of darkness, cannot prevent it! He must reign!

"BRING HITHER"
"Those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither." Ah, they were bold enough before He appeared in His kingdom, but now they would flee from His presence, and have to be dragged before the throne. Their sins at last have found them out; they are not prepared to meet God, but meet Him they must. No longer is there any way of escape.

He Who once hung upon a cross, smitten of God, and afflicted, now occupies a throne of judgment. The lowly Nazarene, despised and rejected of men, is now manifested as the Lord of glory. The suffering Servant has become the mighty King.

They did not want to be ruled over by Him; they would not recognize Him as their King: but now He rules, and He recognizes them as His enemies. They must be brought before Him for judgment.

"God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11.)

Oh, if only they had believed in their hearts and confessed with their months in the accepted time, in the day of salvation, when they might still have obtained forgiveness and entered upon the service of the best and greatest of kings! But this is the day of judgment, too late for mercy, and so they bow before Him to receive their just punishment.

"SLAY THEM"
In the parable, the nobleman, become king commanded that his enemies be slain. That is as far as human power can go in punishment. There is here no sloppy guff in opposition to capital punishment. These criminals were not put in prison a few years and then turned loose, to commit more crimes. No: "Slay them before me."

ETERNAL DEATH
But God's power to punish is not limited to the killing of the body: in fact, it hardly begins with that. So in another connection Jesus warns:

"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, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him." (Luke 12:4, 5.)

The punishment of lost souls is everlasting (Matthew 25:46); it is "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" (II Thessalonians 1:9); it is eternal death in which worshipers of false gods "shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night" (Revelation 14:10, 11.)

ETERNAL LIFE
Naturally, guilty sinners do not like the truth about hell, but human unwillingness to believe God's truth cannot change that truth. It is in the faithfulness of love that our Lord sets before us in His word the fearful and eternal consequences of rejecting that love.

Eternal life is the glorious alternative to eternal death. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth hi him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16.)

How will you die - eternally dead with no future but the second death, or eternally alive as an heir to new heavens and a new earth? If you are still dead, begin to live - now! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." (Acts 16:31.)
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[From Ashland Avenue Baptist newspaper, February 13, 1970. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]



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