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Sermon #2138                                 Miscellaneous Sermons


      Title:                     “Eternal!”


      Text:                      2 Corinthians 4:18

      Subject:   Eternity

      Date:                    Sunday Evening — February 16, 2014

      Readings:           Merle Hart and Cody Henson



I want you to open your Bibles with me to 2nd Corinthians chapter four. We will begin reading at verse seventeen. — 2nd Corinthians 4:17.


(2 Corinthians 4:17-5:11) “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”


5:1 ¶  For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3  If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-5:11)


Now, go back to the last verse of chapter four. — 2 Corinthians 4:18.


(2 Corinthians 4:18) We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”


The things which are not seen are eternal.” — “Eternal!” That is my subject. I want us to try, for the next few minutes, to focus our hearts and minds on that one word. — “Eternal!” — What a heavy, heavy word that is! We all tend to treat the material, sensible things of time as realities and eternal things as fables. We ought to reverse our thinking. That which is temporal is insignificant, compared with that which is eternal. Eternity is reality! We deal with reality only when we deal with eternity! All the arrangements and attainments, relationships and experiences, joys and sorrows, successes and disappointments, hopes and fears of life in this world are without meaning, unless they are seen and measured in the light of eternity.


Proposition: Soon, we must leave this world where all things are temporal and enter into that world where all things are eternal.


When I think about these things, I realize that you, like myself, have family and friends, people we dearly loved, who are now either in heaven or in hell. We have many others, very dear to us, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and neighbors, many very dear to us who will very soon be in heaven or hell. Soon, very soon, we will all be in heaven or in hell.


Three Statements


Let me make three statements that I hope, by the blessing of God, will be helpful to you. Here are three things I know. These three things sustain and strengthen me in life, in the sick room, and in the funeral parlor.


1.    Whatever God does is right, and will be alright with me.


My family and yours, my friends and yours, my life and yours, all are in the hands of our great God, our heavenly Father, who is too wise to err, too strong to fail, and too good to do wrong. Whatever he does is just, right, and good. Whatever he does with you, whatever he does with me, whatever he does with my wife and children, whatever he does with your wife and children, whatever he does with my brothers and sisters, whatever he does with your brothers and sisters, whatever he has done with my parents, whatever he does with your parents, —— Whatever he does is just, right, and good.


Nothing is of greater comfort to my heart, nothing gives me greater satisfaction and strength than the blessed knowledge of God’s sovereign goodness.

·      God is sovereign.

·      God is good.

·      God has done that which is right.

·      God has done that which is good.


2.    This is shocking to most people; but it must be said. If I am faithful to your soul, it must be said. —— You fully deserve to suffer the wrath of God forever in hell, because you are a sinner, a sinful, abominably wicked, God hating rebel.


That is true of you and of me, of mine and of yours. Let that sink in. Like all other sons and daughters of Adam, you were “shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin” (Psalm 51:5). Like all others, you were born with a deceitful and desperately wicked heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Yes, you fully deserve to suffer the unmitigated wrath of God in hell; and you know it. You don’t like to be told about it. You don’t like to think about it. But you know it!

·      You’ve never done anything good!

·      You drink iniquity like water!

·      You only do evil continually!

·      You know that I speak the truth!

·      Romans 3:10-19

·      Romans 5:12

·      Romans 6:23


3.    If you are saved, if I am saved, if any of us are saved, we must be saved by the free and sovereign grace of God in Christ.


We have no other hope! There is no hope for any sinner, but the grace of God flowing to us through the sin-atoning blood of Christ. — “Salvation is of the Lord!” (It is the work of God alone (Romans 9:16). The will of man, the work of man, the worth of man has nothing to do with salvation. Salvation comes to poor, lost, ruined sinners by the will of God, because of the worth of Christ, and by the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Timothy 1:9-10).


(Ephesians 2:8-10) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”


(2 Timothy 1:9-10) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”


If you are saved, if any sinner is saved, it is the result of God’s work.

·      Sovereign, Eternal, Unconditional Election and Predestination (John 15:16; Ephesians 1:4-6)

·      Particular, Effectual, Accomplished Redemption (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13-14; 1 Peter 2:24)

·      Omnipotent Mercy and Irresistible Grace (John 6:63; Ephesians 2:1-5)


In the light of these facts, facts plainly revealed in Holy Scripture, will you give me your attention, while I try to talk to you about that which is “eternal”? Eternal! — That is a subject about which the wisest of men can only know very little! We have no eyes to see it fully, no rule by which to measure it, no mind to grasp it. Yet, consider it we must. Lost or saved, blessed or cursed, justified or condemned, every one of us is living upon the brink of eternity right now! There is but a breath between you and eternity! There is but a breath between me and eternity! Let me show you four things from the Word of God about that which is “eternal” and I will send you home, or (perhaps) to eternity!


1.    We live in a world where all things are temporal and passing away.


Nothing here lasts very long. Even a blind man must see that. Everything around us is decaying, dying, and coming to an end. The only thing you have here that you will carry with you into eternity is your undying soul (Mark 8:36-37).


(Mark 8:36-37) For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (37) Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”


The things which are seen are temporal!” — “The fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Corinthians 7:31). We live in a world where all things are temporal and passing away. In the light of this fact, let me give you some words of counsel.


Cherish every blessing and privilege God gives you in this world and take advantage of it while you have it. I am thinking particularly about relationships that we often neglect and abuse.

·      Children!

·      Husbands and Wives!

·      Friends!

·      Brothers and Sisters!

·      Widows, Sick, Needy!


Set your heart on Christ and heaven (Matthew 6:19-21, 33; Colossians 3:1-3). Seek Christ and his will. Seek the glory of God. Let nothing come between you and your Savior.


See that you value nothing in this world more highly than you will value it when you are about to leave this world. I urge you, “Love not the world” (1 John 2:15-17). If you do, it will cost you and cost you dear. Hold everything here with a loose hand. Be prepared, at a moment’s notice, to leave it.


2.    We live in a world where all things are temporal. Second, we are going to a world where everything is eternal.


I know we do not half believe this; but it is true. That great, unseen world that lies beyond the grave is eternal. Whether it is a world of happiness or a world of misery, a world of light and joy or a world of darkness and sorrow, it is forever! — “The things which are not seen are eternal!

·      Lazarus, as soon as he died, was carried to Paradise, for eternity!

·      The rich man, as soon as he died, woke up in hell, for eternity!


The future happiness, bliss, and glory of God’s saints in heaven is eternal (Psalm 16:11; 1 Peter 1:4; 5:4).


(Psalm 16:11) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.


(1 Peter 1:4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.


(1 Peter 5:4) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.


You who are saved by the grace of God live in hope of eternal life, eternal glory, and eternal bliss; and your hope shall not be disappointed. It is “a good hope through grace.” We are going to a home that will never be broken up, a family gathering that will never end, a day of joy that will never be followed by a night of weeping. — Heaven is eternal!


The future misery and torment of the lost in hell is also eternal (Matthew 25:46).


(Matthew 25:46) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


·      There is a place of torment called hell!

·      It is a place of torment, a place where justice is executed but never satisfied!

·      It is eternal.

·      There is “a worm that dieth not!” — Your Conscience!

·      There is “a fire that is not quenched!” — Guilt!


3.    What we are here we will be forever in eternity.


It is a common delusion that death changes things. It does not. Many foolishly imagine that a person may live in wickedness and yet rise in righteousness, that you may live without Christ here and then rise to be with Christ hereafter, that you may live in sin on the earth and then rise to be a saint in heaven. But that is a vain delusion. — This is the day of grace. There will be no other (Revelation 22:11).


(Revelation 22:11) He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.


Here is a weighty, tremendous thought, one that should cause us to sit up and pay attention. — Though our life in this world is very brief, our eternal destiny depends upon what we are here.


I know that God’s purpose will not fail, or be altered in any way. Those he has chosen and predestinated shall be saved. Christ’s redeemed ones will be with him in glory. Those, only those and all those, who are called and saved by the Spirit’s almighty call will enter into heaven. But no child of Adam will enter into heaven unless he experiences the regenerating, transforming, sanctifying work of God the Holy Ghost in regeneration called “the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:6; John 3:3-7; 2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2).


(Revelation 20:6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.


(John 3:3) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (4) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? (5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.


(2 Corinthians 5:17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (6:1) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (2) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)


Thomas Brooks wrote, “The great weight of eternity hangs upon the small wire of time.” I repeat — This is the day of grace. There will be no other! You must enter into the ark before the door is shut. If you would be saved, you must be saved now!

·      You must be reconciled to God now!

·      You must bathe your soul in the blood of Christ now!

·      You must be robed in his righteousness now!

·      You must trust the Son of God now!


4.    Blessed is that sinner who can, in the face of eternity, truthfully say, “I trust Christ.” That person has eternal life, and shall never die (John 11:25; Revelation 20:6).


(John 11:25) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.


(Revelation 20:6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.


The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world, lived, died, and rose again as the sinner’s Substitute to save his people from their sins. He came to give hope and peace while we live in this world and glory and blessedness in the world to come. He came to “bring life and immortality to light by the gospel,” and to “deliver those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:15).


The Lord Jesus Christ purchased and obtained eternal redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life for all his people by his death upon the cursed tree as our Substitute (Hebrews 9:12; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 3:18).


(Hebrews 9:12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.


(Ephesians 1:7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.


(1 Peter 3:18) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.


The Son of God gives eternal life freely to all who trust him (Matthew 11:28-30; John 6:37; 7:37; 8:12; Isaiah 45:22).


(Matthew 11:28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


(John 6:37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.


(John 7:37) In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.


(Isaiah 45:22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.


If you die without Christ, if you perish under the wrath of God, the fault will be yours alone (Romans 6:23; John 5:40).


(Romans 6:23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


(John 5:40) And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.




·      We live in a world where all things are temporal.

·      We are going to a world where all things are eternal.

·      What we are here we will be forever in that eternal world.

·      Blessed is that person who can truthfully say, “I trust Christ.”

·      Where will you spend eternity?


Illustration: The Robins’ Egg Shells





Don Fortner








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