This is a sermon I gave once in Antwerp, Belgium.

Good News For One and All

I was watching a film a couple of years ago called "It came from Space".

It was an corny piece of science fiction about a flying saucer which lands in Washington.

Then a 7 foot silver robot gets out and announces he has a message for all mankind.

His message is just another one of those "Mankind is destroying itself" type speeches.

He warns that wars and pollution will eventually kill every living thing.

Of course everyone world-wide is glued to the television or radio looking worried and shocked, as if they have never heard someone ever say that before.

And there are shots of people panicking and running around streets aimlessly shouting and freaking out.

The robot tells everyone that he has the solution to the worldís problems.

He tells everyone to destroy their weapons and nuclear power stations and so on.

Of course one country doesn't, and the robot has to get tough with it's wicked leaders!.

Then he heads off into space after everyone has eventually complied with his orders.

And a deep voice over at the end of the film tell the audience that everyone lived together in peace and harmony ever after.

It was a nice film, but unfortunately it didnít go deep enough.

The problem with the world today isnít weapons, it isnít pollution, itís what is behind them.

Thatís a problem that has been in this world right from the very beginning, and it will be with us right until the very end.

Itís called greed!.

Thatís what the whole film missed out on.

We may get rid of all the weapons in the world, and all the factories that pollute the air and water.

But that doesnít stop people from making more weapons secretly, or lying about what fumes come from their factories.

I mean, sure this is happening today anyway, businesses constantly falsify reports of accidents and spillageís.

It only happens because someone somewhere wants to make money from the whole operation.

And that problem unfortunately is the driving force in many peoples lives.

We may not see someone as being greedy, just a ruthless achiever with high goals.

Or as someone who gets what they want.

The real problem is, we will never get all that we want anyway, we will never be satisfied.

In the world of high finances and stockbroking, you wheel and deal, and backstab to get what you want as fast as you can.

You make friends to get information from them,

then you betray their trust and use that information to make more money.

It all sounds like some television programme doesnít it, like Dynasty or Dallas or the Bold and the Beautiful.

These programmes and that kind of lifestyle can be summed up in two words:

WANT and GET.

Simple really isnít it, this person wants that persons husband, so they try to get him and cause trouble.

That person wants to get their own back on another person, and keeps trying.

Itís just a vicious circle, and unfortunately the same is true for real life.

In Godís Word we see how greed first came about.

In Genesis 3 where the devil tells Eve all she has to do to become great, like God, is to go against what God said and take the fruit of the tree.

Mankindís very first sins, greed and disobedience.

They were happy in the garden, no problems, no hunger or sickness no need for money, fast cars, video recorders, expensive computer stuff, CD players, Nintendo games or whatever!.

But greed was found in the hearts of Eve and Adam.

They wouldnít have disobeyed God if greed wasnít there in their hearts.

The devil didnít put greed in their hearts, he drew it out of them.

And through their disobedience and greed, man is separated from God in his sinful state.

Man was created for a purpose, and that was to have fellowship with God.

Man knows in his inner being, his heart, his soul that he has a higher purpose, and he should seek it out.

God put that desire in man, it says in Eccleasties 3:11

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Man has an eternal void in his heart, an enormous spiritual hole!.

Now how do you get rid of a hole, fill it of course!.

How do you fill an eternal hole? Thatís a difficult question.

You see eternity is hard to grasp, it more than enormous, itís beyond measure itís endless.

And like a special keyhole, only one special key will fit it.

And thatís an eternal key, a God shaped key.

Only something eternal will fill an eternal void.

Only God can fill that emptiness in our hearts.

But man denies God, and tries to occupy his time with greedily fulfilling his material desires.

Man tries to work hard to achieve his goals, his target that will give him happiness.

But chasing after happiness is like chasing after a rainbow or the wind.

It is futile, true happiness cannot be found in material objects.

In a cynical piece of wisdom that is found also in Eccleasties, the wise teacher tells us of the futility of those who chase after wealth, because of greed, and the empty hope of self fulfillment

Eccleasties 4:1-8

Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed--and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors--and they have no comforter. And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun. And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. The fool folds his hands and ruins himself. Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless--a miserable business!

It all sounds so hopeless doesnít it, misery, futility, emptiness, oppression, nothing new under the sun.

It was like the robotís message, beware, your money making is killing the poor and weak, destroying the planet.

True, this world will eventually be destroyed if we keep on treating it badly, and we will come to everlasting destruction if we continue to behave badly.

We, each and every one of us will stand before God and answer for what we have done.

The same book of Eccleasties says at the very end 12:13-14

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Thereís nothing hidden from God, everything we have ever done will have to be answered for.

We will stand before Godís judgment throne, with all the nations looking on, and all our life will be seen and answered for.

Think of it, every little bad thing we thought we got away with,

whether it was in doing or thinking, our hearts will be exposed to all as God sees them even now.

If we pretended to be nice to someone in order to get something, that will be exposed.

If we were unfaithful to our husbands or wives, that will be shown.

If we secretly stole, lied, cheated, killed, hurt, read pornographic magazines or whatever, they will all be seen by all.

And we will have to answer for them.

Whoa is me!!!!!!

What will I do?

Some when they realize how bad they have been change into very religious people.

They try to make themselves as good and holy as possible.

They go to church or synagogue or temple or shrine or whatever religion they follow.

They try to do good works which they believe will earn them some merit with God.

They think that their works will earn them a place in heaven or Valhalla or paradise or oneness with Brahmin.

But again such a futile idea will never get us to heaven.

What would happen if we were one more good work short of getting into heaven and we died?

Didnít make it in the end did we?

Oh well, off to hell for all eternity then, too bad!.

That is the futility of manís trying to reach God by manís means.

That is my best definition of religion, you can quote me on that one years from now!.

Man cannot reach God by his own means, man is separated by his own sinfulness.

No matter how good you may believe yourself to be, you have sinned, and cannot help sinning.

Itís useless denying it, itís the pattern of this world, itís called survival by some.

But the truth of the matter is that we are separated by a gulf that no one can cross.

We cannot make our way to God, Godís own words say this.

In Isaiah 59:2 it says

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

How can we say sorry to God?, how can he hear us, how can we cross over that great division between us and God if we are so sinful and we cannot get rid of our sins ourselves?

There must be a way, there has to be a way, we cannot all be going to hell can we?.

If there wasnít a way, would I write this message?

Gladly I can tell you there is a way, and God made that way possible.

God loves man, read it for yourselves in John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, and that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life

God sacrificed His own Son for us, thatís how much He loves us.

Jesus died a very painful death for us, because He was God, and is God and knows each of us.

He knew our failings, our weaknesses and our sins.

He took them all upon Himself when He died on the cross for us.

His eternally pure blood washes the sins from all who believe in Him.

We can know what He did was real, and is true to Godís plan for us.

Because He proved to us He was God.

Instead of being a far away God that has to be reached by manís achievements,

God came to us, taught us the way to Him, and them made that way possible through the cross.

Jesus said most explicitly in John 14:6 a very important truth:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.

There is no other way to God except through putting our faith in Jesusí nail pierced hands.

We cannot please God enough to make ourselves worthy to receive pardon for our sins.

We cannot choose to ignore what Jesus has done for us.

It breaks Godís heart when we choose to ignore what He has done for us.

It's like the story of a man who was sitting on a bridge with his kid, his only son. His job was to raise the bridge when boats went under it, and to lower it for trains to cross it. One day he was having his lunch with his son sitting near the mechanism for moving the bridge. He realized he would have to lower the bridge in a few minutes, so he went to the controls in his office which overlooked the bridge. When he looked out the window of his office he could see the train in the distance rushing towards the bridge. So he started to lower the bridge, when suddenly he saw his son had fallen into the mechanism for lowering the bridge. He looked down at his son struggling to try to get out from the oily jagged gears, but he had to lower the bridge to let the train cross safely. If he didn't hundreds would die as the train plunged into the icy waters below. If he did his son would die. He had to make a terrible decision, his only son or all the people on the train. He made the decision, his poor son had to die. He pulled the lever just in time for the train to cross. But as he looked out the window, tears in his eyes he banged on the windows crying "My son died for you". But the people on the train didn't notice, they were too busy with their own interests.

The world is like that today, oblivious to Jesus' sacrifice, not caring what he did but what they are doing.

As they speed down that track that leads to a lost eternity.

It is Godís will though that none should perish, so He gives man free will to choose.

He is a loving Father so he gave us the freedom to make our own choices,

and He would want us to bring glory to Him by our choice, not compulsion but by thankfulness.

We were created for fellowship with God, that is our purpose in life.

God has a far greater future for those who will come to Him through Jesus His Son.

Will you today, turn to Jesus?

Will you go away from this page with your sins forgiven?

Will you go away from here knowing your future is secure in Christ Jesusí hands?

Or will you go away from here and choose your own way which is futile.

This could be your last chance to turn to Him.

A few years ago I was preaching the Good News at a rock festival.

There were many young people there getting high and drunk.

Iím sure they were having a whale of a time, and the thoughts of their future never entered their heads.

Many of them mocked and jeered us, some were very vocal or physical in their abuse.

But we knew we were to continue bringing the great news to them.

One girl stood in front of us screaming her lungs out "Shut up shut up shut up".

She shouted it with such force her face was going red and tears were streaming from her eyes.

She didnít want to hear the good news, or didnít want anyone else to as well.

She eventually turned and walked away.

She hardly went 10 meters when she fell down and died on the spot.

I believe she had a heart attack.

Because of the crowds there it took about a half an hour for an ambulance to get to her.

By that time she was well and truly dead.

Think of it, she had a last chance to repent of her sins, God ensured we were just there at the right time.

But she chose to mock God.

I wouldnít like to be her a few minutes later standing before the Judgment seat looking into Jesusí eyes.

Because she would have known that she had one last choice, and blew it for all eternity.

Do you know there is a parallel of this story in the Bible?.

When Jesus was dying on the cross there were criminals dying on both sides of Him.

One mocked Him, the other didnít.

Luke 29:39-43

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Can you just imagine how that criminal who mocked Jesus feels now?

Heís in hell, heís been there in pain and agony for nearly 2000 years.

Every moment is torture and pain, he feels every second pass.

He probably wishes he could be unconscious, but that wonít happen.

He can never rest.

He will NEVER get out, never ever Öever Ö.ever

Eternity is beyond time as we understand it, it never stops.

He wishes it would, but it wonít.

But the criminal who put his trust in Jesus is happy.

Heís been having a ball for the last 2000 years, and heís hardly noticed it

There are two ways you can choose, make the smart choice!.

Maybe you could pray this prayer:

Father God,

I know I am a sinner and my greed has caused you displeasure as well as causing others problems. I know now I was very wrong and I realize I was always responsible for my actions. I beg you Lord forgive me. Forgive me for all my wrong doings throughout my life. For all the hurt, sadness and loss I caused others. I know now that the Blood of your Son Jesus Christ which was shed for me on the cross will cleanse me of my sins. I ask you Lord to apply that Blood to the record of my past. Help me to walk in your ways and know you more every day. Please Lord send your Holy Spirit to lead me in your paths of righteousness, to make your will known to me. Father God I thank you for your love and mercy. I pray that your Name will be lifted high in my life that Jesus will be my Lord now and forever. Amen.


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