By Elder Lonnie Mozingo, Sr.
[From a sermon preached at Ada, Oklahoma on July 6, 1990.]
This afternoon I went in to have supper, now some people call it dinner, but we still have supper in Mississippi. I was in a south bound lane going in and several of us were talking our way along. When we got to the table we met an east bound lane of people coming in. And somehow or other the east bound lane cut the south bound lane off and we were just left there waiting, so I said to one of the sisters I thought I was in the right lane. She said, “Well, Brother Lonnie, by judgment day you better decide which is the right lane.” I want to talk to you about the right lane.
I want to talk to you on the subject “where will you spend eternity”. And now when I announce this subject, if I were of the persuasion of some, I would probably head this question up by pointing out to you that there is a hell and there is a heaven. And we are going to spend eternity in one or the other of these places. Because you see, heaven is a real place, it is not a myth; but also the lake of fire is a real place. It is not a myth either. And just as sure as heaven is a real place, the lake of fire is a real place, and we are going to spend eternity in one or the other. The question is which one of those places would you spend it?
I don’t know if you have ever thought about when this life is over where you are going to spend eternity, but I have. And it seems like the closer I get to being over this life and into eternity, the more that I have begun to think about where I will spend it. If I were like some preachers, I would probably now say, “it is up to you, sinner friend.” And before we leave here tonight, you better decide which line you are in. You better make the right decision. You better accept the Lord as savior. And then you better join the church and be baptized and outrun the devil until you die so you will be sure and go to heaven.”
This is really a subject that we need to understand. If you have never thought about where you will spend eternity, let’s see which lane that we are in. Because I think that I am going to be able to help you to know which lane you are in. Where are you going to spend eternity? I believe tonight, that this Bible teaches us where God’s people are going to spend eternity and where the wicked ones are going to spend eternity.
Sometimes we sing a song “to Canaan’s land I’m on my way, where the soul never dies,” and I have lately wondered why we sing that song. It’s true that the soul will never die in eternity, but the soul is not going to die here either. The soul never dies. It is this body that dies. The Bible says the soul or spirit returns unto God who gave it, and the body returns to the dust from whence it came.
Where will you spend eternity? Tonight, this is worthy of our consideration. Again, if I had to stand here and preach that it is left up to you sinners as to where you will spend it, I would probably have a load that I could hardly bear tonight. But I have a better message for you than that.
There are 3 positions that men usually take upon this subject.
(1) The first position is that all the hell that exists is right here in this world. That, whenever we die, we are like Rover the old dog - we are dead all over never to rise again. That’s it. Well, I am not going to spend any time defending that position. Because you can readily see by reading the 20th chapter of Revelation that there is a hell and there is a lake of fire. We all know that we are not like Rover the old dog, dead all over, never to rise again, that hell is only here upon earth. I believe the wicked one should wish that that was the truth.
(2) The second position that many people take is that after this life is over there is only annihilation. That is, those who are cast into the lake of fire will just burn and burn and burn and burn up. Again, the wicked one should wish that that is true. Do you know why that wouldn’t be hell? Because, if that were true, then the wicked dead – meaning Satan and all of his angels -- would not have to suffer any more than the people that Hitler put in those furnaces that burned and burned till they burned up. Just because a Jew is a Jew naturally, that does not make him a child of God anymore than it makes you and me as Gentiles children of God by nature. But God did have a people among the Jews, and no doubt some if not all of those that Hitler burned up, 5 million or more, would not have suffered a bit more than the most wicked man you ever heard about or lived with in all of your life if final annihilation is true. But you see that position is also wrong.
(3) There is only the third position left. And that is that the righteous are going to hear the Lord saying “come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” and the wicked are going to hear “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. Heaven is a real place. It’s the abode of our God tonight. He is there. We are going there. It not a figment of our imagination, nor is it just a myth, a fairy tale that we tell our children. I am saying tonight that heaven is a real place where somebody is going to live in eternity.
Let’s get rid of the thought “throughout eternity.” I hear people - sometimes song writers - who talk about living through-out eternity. If you live throughout it, it is not eternity. We are going to live in eternity and we will forever be with the Lord.
I have made some strong statements tonight, and I am now going to now give you a lesson. It’s going to be from the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, you may not believe me, but you must believe our Lord. We will now go to the 25th chapter of Matthew. I have heard preachers that I respect who would teach me that this chapter is talking about the kingdom here in this world and they talk about a lot of what I agree with. But a lot of it I don’t agree with. In the beginning of the 25th chapter of Matthew you will find that Jesus is speaking a parable about ten virgins. I agree that these ten virgins, no doubt, are not about eternal heaven. But this is certain: they were all virgins. I want you to keep that in mind, because sometimes some make five of them foolish and five of them wise, five of them saved and five of them not. That is not correct.
Listen as we read. Jesus begins by talking about ten virgins, and then immediately he begins to say (in the 14th verse) that the kingdom of heaven is like the traveling man. Going ahead and teaching some natural lessons concerning service to our Lord while we live here in the world, and there is one thing that God has called us into and that is service, not salvation. Salvation is all of the Lord, who has called all whom He has saved to serve Him. We do not save ourselves. It is God who saves us and calls us with the holy calling. So there is a difference in service to God and in salvation. When he said choose you this day whom you will serve, he didn’t say choose you this day whom you will save. He said serve. We have been called into service while we live here in the world because we have been born again of the spirit of God.
Now then, let us notice that after Jesus spoke this, the subject immediately changes completely. In verse 31, Jesus spoke of when the son of man shall come in His glory. This is not talking about the church now; this is talking about the second coming of Christ. The Lord is coming again. Well, there are some people in this world who don’t know that yet. They are still looking for him to come the first time. Many of those people are called Jews. And sometimes we Gentiles like to be hard on a Jew because we say the Jew doesn’t believe that Jesus has come yet and we say but we Gentiles know that he has already come.
I want us to reason together for a moment to see who has the worst dilemma. Here is the Jew who says the Christ hasn’t come yet. But this Jew will say that he believes when He does come, that He is going to save all of His people from their sins and not lose a one. The Gentile comes along and says that he believes the Christ has come. But he doesn’t believe He has saved His people for whom He came. He only gave them a chance, so He didn’t save anybody. Which one of these dilemmas, which one of these horns of a dilemma would you take? I’ll say to you that those who say that Christ has come, but couldn’t save His people, are about the same as those who say He hasn’t come yet, but when He does come He will save His people. I say one dilemma is just as bad as the other. So let us not be too hard.
But then it says the son of man is coming in His glory. Now do you know why it said in His glory? Because, in the 17th chapter of John, we find where Jesus prayed unto the Father to give Him back His glory that He had with God from the foundation of the world. Why did Jesus ask for His Glory back? Because when He came into this world He set aside His glory, took upon himself the form of a man - made under the law to redeem us from under the curse of that law. When He finished the work. He said, “Father, I have finished the work, I want My glory back now that I had with Thee from the foundation of the world.” I ask you, do you not believe that God gave His glory back? He is sitting on the right hand of the Father with His glory. Right now. And He said I am coming back and I am coming back in my glory. The next time He will not set aside His glory, the next time He is coming back with His glory. I ask you tonight why is Jesus coming again? Coming back over to Jerusalem, to set up a kingdom that He might reign a thousand years on this earth? That there might be men who will be sitting on those thrones over there?
There were some Jews who thought that, too. They wondered who was going to be the greatest in that kingdom. Jesus told them, whoever of you who want to be the greatest, be the servant. Those Jews thought like folks do today, but Jesus pointed out that they were wrong, and I point out to you tonight that we are wrong. When Jesus comes again, he is not coming back to set up a kingdom. Why would he come back and set up a kingdom? He already has a kingdom and he is reigning in it now - it is his church. He’s not coming back to set up a kingdom to reign a thousand years on this earth. He is coming back for a specific purpose. That purpose is not to put away sin; He is coming back without sin unto salvation. So, if he is not coming back to put away sin, why is he coming back? If it is not to set up a kingdom, why is he coming back? There is but one reason that our Lord will come back to this world again. The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel; those in Christ shall rise first, and we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Remember, when we die, our spirit, our soul returns unto God who gave it and the body back to dust from which it came. If our spirits and souls are at home with the Lord, why would the Lord come back here? Only for one reason, and that is for the resurrection morning to raise these vile bodies of ours and fashion them like his own glorious body, to bring our souls back to these bodies for reuniting with these glorified bodies to take body, soul and spirit to heaven to live with Him forever. That is why he is coming again.
He is also coming for another reason. Our text says that the holy angels are going to come with Him. I don’t know how many angels there will be with Him; there are millions and millions of angels in heaven. Somebody asked how I know that. Well, I read where Jesus while he was here upon this earth said he could call twelve legions of them down if he wanted to and that still wouldn’t have been all of them. He said there are going to be angels with him. And he shall sit upon His throne of glory. This is not the church we are talking about. This is the second coming of Christ when he comes back to this earth, and his is coming back to sit upon his throne of glory.
Let’s go to the book of Acts, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Acts 17:29-31.
Now God has given the judgment of this world into the hand of His son, Jesus Christ, and Jesus is coming back to this earth to execute that judgment when He comes again. And here is what He is going to do. In the 25th chapter of Matthew, it is written that before Him shall be gathered all nations. Now this all nations means exactly what it says. All nations are going to be brought before him. Whether it be Gentile nations or Jewish nations. All folks are going to be brought forth before God on this judgment day. And He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. His sheep from the goats. That is very important.
Notice this said there will be a separation. He called somebody sheep and he called somebody goats. Now I hope it hasn’t reached Oklahoma yet. But down in Mississippi, some of our brethren have seemed to have lost their patience. They have these goats as disobedient children of God and these sheep as obedient children of God. I promise you, there is not a word of truth in that.
God has never referred to his people as goats in any place. He didn’t say, Peter, feed my sheep and feed my goats. He said feed my sheep and feed my lambs. A lamb is not a goat. The goats represent the wicked ones, the non-elect, and this is why this scripture says his sheep from the goats. The verse uses the personal pronoun “his” and the definite article “the;” “his” sheep from “the” goats denotes ownership. These are His sheep. The 10th chapter of John states that we are the sheep and that He is the shepherd; that he knows his sheep, calls them by name, and they follow him.
I will promise you that when Jesus comes again He is the one who is going to divide the sheep from the goats. He never did give us preachers any such power. I do not have the power tonight to say who is a sheep and who is a goat, but my Lord Jesus Christ knows, and on judgment day He is going to make the separation. Then shall the King say to those on the right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Now He gives the characteristics of a sheep, and the characteristics of a goat. He said, I was hungry and you gave me meat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; Naked and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came unto me. Then the righteous shall answer him and say: Lord, when saw we thee hungry and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked and clothed the? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say. Inasmuch as you have done it unto these my little ones, you have done it unto me.
They had visited those who were in prison, and remember, when the Bible speaks of a prison it doesn’t necessarily mean where iron bars have a man locked in. There are many of God’s children in this world tonight whose minds are in prison. This world has gotten so rotten and wicked that it has about run some of God’s children completely crazy. They are in prison, if you please, in their own minds. They are cast down in their own minds.
And Jesus had said the mark of His sheep is that whenever they see someone who is hungry they will give them something to eat. Again, this does not necessarily mean that we have to be hungry from a natural standpoint. Perhaps there will be some who are hungry spiritually and you can encourage them, if you please, and this is the mark of a child of God who is always wanting to help someone. Maybe you have been especially blessed in the goods of this world and can use some of those to help someone. The distinction is going to be that you as a child of God will do it from a good and honest heart, for Christ’s sake, because you love the brethren. You are not going to do it in order to be seen of men. You are not going to do it in order to get a reward.
You are not going to expect that if you give something to someone God will bless you for it. To give in order to get is not the mark of the sheep; rather such a selfish purpose is the mark of the wicked one. That is, such is the mark of the goat, which I will prove shortly. But, that which comes from a good honest heart in helping someone, whether feeding them, giving them water, giving them clothes or visiting them when they are in prison, is the mark of a child of God, but is not that which makes him a child of God.
In the 23rd Psalm, David teaches that everything that God does for you and me, as the sheep of his pasture, he does for Christ’s sake, and you reap the benefits for Christ’s sake. Now everything that we do for God’s children while we live here in the world we also ought to do it for Christ’s sake. David wrote: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, he maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters, he restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Why does God do this for you David? For His name’s sake. And, that is why David received this righteousness, that is why he was led by the still waters and that is why he would lie down in green pastures - for his name’s sake.
Then go to Psalm 25:11, where David wrote: “For thy name’s sake, 0 Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.” Why could David plead his cause? For the name’s sake. I am not his namesake tonight, you are not his namesake tonight. It is Jesus Christ who is his namesake and this is why we can plead as David pleads for his namesake. In Psalms 31:3, David said: “For thou art my rock and my fortress: therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” Notice, he did not say for my sake lead me; rather, for Christ’s he asked God to lead me and direct me.
In Psalms 109:21, we hear David again as he begins to plead the righteousness of Christ and for Christ’s sake. He said, “But do thou for me, 0 God the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.”
Now you may say, what does that have to do with our text? Simply this. That our God has said of those who gave food, who gave water, who visited, who gave clothes, who gave in any manner unto one of his little ones, he said they have done it unto Him. And whatever we do let’s do it for Christ’s sake and we’ll receive the blessing because this is why we get the blessing from God - for Christ’s sake and Christ’s sake alone. God does not bless me tonight and I don’t think he blesses you tonight outside of the Lord Jesus Christ for His sake. And so, consequently, he could say this is the mark of His sheep.
Well, there will be those then who will be over here on the left hand whom he called the goats. Now notice, he said: “then shall he say to them on the left hand depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Turn to the 20th chapter of Revelation. You will find that everlasting fire, you will find where this is not a myth. This is a real thing. He said blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection from such the second death shall have no power. What is the second death? Well, maybe you have wondered, and I am going to tell you tonight, what the second death is.
In Revelation 21:8, he tells us what the second death is. The fearful and unbelieving, the abominable and the murderers, these are the goats we are talking about. Notice that he said the unbelieving, the murderers, the abominable, the wicked, the murderers, the whoremongers, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire which burns with fire and brimstone and this is the second death. We don’t have to wonder what the second death is. The second death is that lake of fire that burns with fire and brimstone. And this is where the wicked dead will be cast. This is where the unbeliever will be cast. This is where the murderers, whoremongers and the idolater and all liars will be cast. All into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
But he said blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection. From such the second death shall have no power. What is the first resurrection? I imagine in Oklahoma it is the same as in Mississippi. We both have an article of faith stating that the final preservation and eternal happiness of all the elect is of God by grace. The resurrection of the dead and the joy of the righteous will be eternal and the punishment of the wicked will be everlasting.
We believe in a general judgment and a general resurrection, not two resurrections. Jesus Christ is coming back, and there is going to be a resurrection. And the just and the unjust are both coming out of the grave when Jesus comes again. This is one resurrection. He said that the devil was going to be cast into the lake of fire. Now then, what is the first resurrection? Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection from such the second death shall have no power.
I believe that Ephesians 2:1, tells us what the first resurrection is. Ephesians chapter 2:1 states: “You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and in sin.” If we were dead in trespasses and in sin, and if we have been brought out of a dead state in sin to a life in the Lord Jesus Christ, if we have been brought from death to life, that is a resurrection isn’t it? And he said blessed and holy is he that has part in that first resurrection for on such the second death is not going to have any power.
This is simply saying, in elementary terms, that all that are born of the spirit of God, all that God gave the Son in the covenant of grace from the foundation of the world, all that the Holy Spirit causes to be born again - all of these are in the first resurrection. The second death shall have no power over them because they had part in the first resurrection. Those who haven’t had part in the first resurrection will be cast into the lake of fire.
It seems to me that there is a difference in the lake of fire and hell. The 20th chapter of Revelation says that death and hell shall be cast into the lake of fire and that this is the second death. Then hell and eternal fire do not appear to be the same thing. Perhaps you have thought of hell as being a final resting place.
Once on a preaching trip I traveled by airplane to a distant state, and several people picked me up at the airport to drive me to my appointment. A woman passenger in the car turned to me and said, aren’t you a preacher? When I affirmed that I was, she said she wanted to know something. “Is there such a thing as a lake of fire?” she asked. I said yes, the Bible says there is. She said good, I know someone I want to go there. That’s what she said.
There is a lake of fire, and there is also a hell. Now I know that a child of God can be disobedient. And that he can make what we call a hell for himself right here on earth. I think Jonah made himself one by trying to run from the Lord. That’s what he called it in Jonah 2:2. It was real with Jonah. And I think I have seen some of God’s disobedient children in this world who are in that condition now. I am talking about a hell here on earth that they have made for themselves.
Our scripture says that death and hell shall be cast into a lake of fire. Now somebody may say, that simply means death and the grave. They may say that we’ve read about sheol in the old Bible and about Hades; and we’ve read about hell over in the new testament. All of these simply refer to the grave. Please consider this when the Lord gets through with this earth, why would he cast this earth into the lake of fire? Since a grave is in this earth, do you mean that death and this earth are going to be cast into the lake of fire? No, this earth is going to be burned up, according to 2 Peter 3:10, with fire when the Lord comes again.
I don’t think he is talking about the literal grave. If the spirits of God’s people return unto him at death to await the resurrection morning, where do the wicked who haven’t received the spirit from him return to? Do the wicked dead die just like we do? Do all spirits go to heaven at death to await there until the resurrection morning, and then all come back to be separated after which the wicked spirits are cast into the lake of fire? That can’t be right, the wicked spirits do go somewhere when they die. They go to hell. It is just as simple as that. They go to hell, and the spirits of God’s people go to heaven.
When Jesus comes again to separate the sheep from the goats, I think he is going to bring the spirits and souls of his people back out of heaven, fashion these bodies like unto his own glorious body, join the bodies of the souls and spirits together, and carry them all into heaven without the loss of one. He will also reunite the wicked spirits with their bodies and cast them all into the lake of fire. That’s why Revelation 20:6 says blessed and holy is he that has a part in the first resurrection for on such the second death shall have no power.
We are going to spend eternity somewhere. It will either be in heaven or it will be in the lake of fire. The good news is that all that the Father gave the Son in the covenant of grace before the foundation of the world, all that God purposed and marked out before the foundation of the world and wrote their names in the Lambs Book of Life from the foundation of the world, every one of these are his sheep. He died for His sheep, and everything that Christ did for the sheep, his bride, will be as though his bride did it themselves.
All the righteousness that I possess has been imputed to me from the Lord Jesus Christ. All the good works that I have are in the Lord Jesus Christ and given to me as part of the bride. And this is why that you and I who confess that we love God, who truly love God, will never have to worry about burning in the lake of fire because He came and saved his people and He will never lose a one. They will never change to goats; they will always be sheep because only Christ can make sheep. It is only God who has life to give. And it is the Lord Jesus Christ who came into this world and became the shepherd of his sheep.
The sheep are the elect, and the elect are the sheep. Their names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the world, and this same Revelation letter says that whosever’s name was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
What a blessed privilege it is that God has given unto us the light and the knowledge that we do not have to worry about where we will spend eternity or where our children will spend eternity. If God loves you and Christ died for you, you are saved and he is not trying to get you to be saved. If God loves you and Christ died for you, you are saved and he is not trying to get to be saved. If God loves you and Christ died for you and you are still not saved, then we better get busy and do something that he couldn’t do. God loves you, Christ died for you, the Holy Spirit has now born you again. You are his by covenant relationship. You are his and nothing, nothing can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:20, 29 and 30.
Sometimes there will be a person who has a loved one or a friend who has taken his or her life. And somebody will say that a person who takes his or her life cannot be a child of God. I deny that. The first king that God ever gave Israel took his life. And I expect to see Saul one of these days in heaven. Sampson took his life. And Sampson will be there. I could name over and over but this is the point. God said neither death nor life nor height nor principalities. He didn’t limit this to what kind of death you die. He just said even death can’t separate us from the love of God. In Matthew 25 he said there would be those who would come to him and he didn’t leave anything unanswered. He said those on the left will come and say, “Lord, when saw we see thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
Don’t try to make anything different out of everlasting punishment and life eternal. The wicked will suffer just as long in eternity in the lake of fire as the righteous will enjoy eternity with the Lord. The duration is the same. This will apply to all of those who think that it is just going burn, burn and burn up. Or that there is no such a thing as the lake of fire. No, the third position is right. There is a heaven and there is a lake of fire. There are those who will live in heaven, and the number is known only to God: they are known as His elect, as His sheep, as His lambs, as His chosen, as His redeemed, as His justified, as His glorified. What shall we say to these things then, if God be for us who can be against us? May the Lord bless you is my prayer.