Tuesday, December 18, 2007

After Life (23) - Eternal Death and the Gospel

Knowledge of eternal death should be a great spur to the preaching of the gospel. If all men and women are to be saved eventually, it does not really matter if they hear the gospel. Unfortunately, this is not what the Bible teaches. Since we know that those who reject the gospel are destined to eternal destruction, we should be proclaiming the gospel with great urgency. However, preaching the gospel is best motivated by love. We have a great salvation to offer, so we should want every person on earth to experience it.

Jesus did not command us centre our preaching of the gospel around the second death. His comments in the parables of Lazarus and the Rich Man, suggest that he though it would be a waste of time.

He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment'...... Abraham said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead' (Luke 16:27,31).
When Jesus sent out his disciples to preach the gospel, he told them what to say and do.
As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give (Matt 10:7-8).
Jesus’ message centred on the glory and wonder of the kingdom. Their actions were intended to demonstrate that wonder. He did not tell them to warn people about death after death. Our focus should be the same. We should answer people who ask, but our presentation of the gospel should not be based round pain and finality of “eternal death”. We should focus on the glory of the kingdom and what Jesus has done.

The full series on hell can be found here.

The full series on the After Life is here.

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