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The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.

 

30 January, 2000

 

Dear Children,

 

Today Iím going to ask a question that I feel should be one of the single most important questions on the face of this earth. I mean everybody whoís an anybody should have the overwhelming desire to know the answer to this one. And of course seeing how this little letter is mainly for instructional purposes, Iíll not only ask this very important question but Iíll also give you my answer straight from the Word of God.

 

So just what is this question, you might ask? Can I have a drum roll please? One of the single most important questions on the face of this earth is Whoís Gonna Be In Hell? And why do you figure that I feel this questionís so important? Well the best way to handle that one is by relating to you just another one of my real life stories.

 


- The Hell Of Hell -
(Download MP3)

 

You see it wasnít too long ago that I ran across an article in the Guidepost Magazine that kinda like set my mind to wondering. And just in case you arenít too familiar with this publication, let me give you the low-down on how they best describe themselves: "GUIDEPOST magazine, A Practical Guide to Successful Living, is a monthly inspirational, interfaith, nonprofit publication written by people from all walks of life. Itís articles present tested methods for developing courage, strength and positive attitudes through faith in God." Now to put that in plain and simple language, Guidepost is a monthly magazine which contains a dozen or so short stories written by real people about real life. And even though these stories are "intended" to develop a relationship with God, itís only after reading many of them that you canít help but wonder what god theyíre serving.

 

But anyway, letís get back to the part about "it wasnít too long ago that I ran across an article in the Guidepost Magazine that kinda like set my mind to wondering." Because it was in this one particular story that a dear sweet church going lady, who after many years of severe depression, finally gave up the good fight of faith by taking her own life. And believe you me, this was one more sad story... but sad in more than one way! You see even though I felt great sorrow over this Christian losing her life, my greatest sorrow was over the way the writer dealt with the subject of Christian suicide. Because the Guidepost "faith building message" I received from this article was none other than a Christian can terminate their life and still receive the rewards of Heaven. Thatís the message I got, but was that the message intended?

 

Well with that one question in mind I started my search for the answer. I first of all traced down the church of the departed dear sweet lady, and then I contacted the pastor. And it was my first E-mail to him that went something like this: "...I feel great sorrow at the thought of someone taking their own life, because it seems to me they have actually murdered their own self. And seeing how the sin of murder carries the punishment of everlasting damnation, there seems to be no possible way for this lady to be forgiven for the terrible sin she committed against her own self. Can you please help me understand the truth? What do you feel the Holy Bible teaches on this matter?"

 

That was my question to the pastor, and he was ever so kind to give me his answer. In fact up until now Iíve not only received an audio tape of the ladyís funeral service, but also an audio taped sermon and three E-mails directed at the subject of "why suicide wonít take Christianís to Hell." So after having seriously considered what the pastor has to say on this subject, it has become painfully obvious to me why the article was written the way it was. The suicide lady is now in Heaven because thatís what her pastor taught.

 

But is it really true? Is this Christian lady who took her own life by murdering her own self now in Heaven with Jesus? Well even though God is the only One truly capable of answering that question, the following is what I believe to be the truth based on the Word of God: I believe that, unless the lady was mentally incapable of choosing right from wrong at the time of her death, or unless she sincerely repented of this sin just before her death, she is now in Hell. And thatís exactly why I feel this Guidepost article was so damaging to itís readers. It can lead people into a false belief which can resultantly lead them straight on into Hell. And regardless of how much this dear sweet ladyís pastor might preach that sheís not in Hell, the bottom line consequences for her actions rest in the Hands of God Almighty. Itís only what He says that counts! And that my friends, is exactly why itís so everlasting important that we not only know the Truth of God but also believe it and do it.

 

So with that one little story in mind, I hope you can all understand the very serious nature of picking and choosing what to believe in. And of course even though the example I just gave was specifically directed at suicide, letís turn to Revelation 21 and see what the Word of God has to say in general about Whoís Gonna Be In Hell: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

 

Now I donít know about you, but all that sounds pretty good to me. Thatís what God promises everyone qualifying to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. I mean the words "fabulously fantastic" donít even come close to describing what Heavenís going to be like. Itís going to be the most incredible "high" you could never imagine; living in a perfect world! Just think about it! In Heaven youíll never have to lose another friend or loved one, never again have to shed tears of sorrow and pain, and never again have to deal with that final moment in this life called death. Itíll all be left behind, never to be experienced again.

 

Those are the promises of God... and thatís the good part. Because by reading on down just a little further we get into the part about whoís gonna get those unbelievable promises and who ainít: "And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

 

So there you have it! Godís complete list of "Whoís Gonna Be In Heaven" and "Whoís Gonna Be In Hell". And just in case youíre one of those folks who really gets into the math problems, youíll notice that even though God uses a total of eight words to describe "Whoís Gonna Be In Hell", He only uses the one word "overcometh" to describe "Whoís Gonna Be In Heaven" . I mean donít it kinda make you wonder why God went into soooo much detail concerning the everlasting fires of Hell... and whoís going to be there? Well without a shadow of a doubt, God did it to help folks understand ahead-of-time those who would not be getting the everlasting peace, joy, and happiness of living in a sinless body in Heaven for ever and ever and ever. Heís given us all the information we need... but weíve gotta believe Him!

 

And even though the information is all there, the most critical part of being able to use it in our lives is that we must first understand it. So what better time than now to just jump right on into the middle of things? Well maybe not the middle. Letís pick it up on the positive side of things first; "overcoming". Just what do you figure it takes to be an overcomer? Well a pretty good definition of "doing whatís required by God to get into Heaven" goes something like this:

Overcomer- someone (a Christian; follower of Jesus Christ) who holds tight to their faith (salvation through the Precious Blood of Jesus) against all opposition of the enemy (Satanís temptations and persecutions) even to the point of death.

 

Well... is that one clear enough for you? Probably not. You see even though it seems to have all the right words, the question still remains: do we really understand the true meaning of all the words? I mean take for instance that one word "salvation". I can guarantee you many are in Hell right now because they did not understand itís true meaning. In fact it was just the other morning that the Lord kinda like opened it up to me in a verse that puts it all into proper perspective. Because what He gave me was Psalm 54:1, and in it we find David crying out to God in desperation: "Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength."

 

Now thatís what the Lord told me to read, and thatís what I did, but the rest was left up to Him. I did the reading but He turned on the light. I mean youíll just have to believe me that the Lordís given me that verse many times before, but it wasnít until just the other day that I was ever able to understand it. But now I do, and itís a really neat thing, because it kinda like puts the word "salvation" into one simple little package. So now that I understand it (better anyway), let me see if I can help you do the same.

 

OK, so by focusing on the four key phrases in Davidís prayer I hope to show you what the Lord has showed me. But to start things off, letís focus on the first two phrases (Save me and by thy name) by reading from Matthew 1:21: "AND she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."(Matthew 1:21)

 

So have you ever heard the expression "whatís in a name?" Well when you talk about names, the Name of Jesus Christ is not what you would consider a typical ordinary name. There is only One Man who carries that name, and thereís only One Man who possesses the Power behind that name... and His name is Jesus. And it was this Jesus as the Word, the Second Person in the Trinity, Who not only had no beginning but Who will likewise have no ending. Jesus not only created the universe (which even includes us), but He also became a flesh and blood person in order to die for us. And it is only through His death on the cross that any of us have the opportunity of being admitted into the Kingdom of God (Heaven). Our salvation is in the name of Jesus!

 

Got it? Well let me make sure. You see it was a long time ago that the first perfect man Adam blew it in the Garden of Eden, thus making this thing about salvation necessary in the first place. In the beginning Adam was made without sin to be a walking talking temple for Godís Holy Spirit. And even though Adam was made perfect without sin (he was saved) he was also made with the ability to sin. In other words it was left up to Adam to make the choice of whether to sin or not... but he certainly didnít have to sin. So thatís the way God designed man, and the Holy Spirit was in him... until that infamous day when Adam took a great big bite of sin. And of course seeing how God is All Goodness, His Holy Spirit could no longer live in the temple called Adam because of the sin that had just all-of-the-sudden made him bad.

 

Now even though it was only a bite that made Adam bad (and everyone else in the human race for that matter), it was going to take a whole lot more than just a bite to get things back to where they were in the beginning. In fact this "bad" was so bad that The Second Person of The Trinity (God; The Word) had to not only become The Sinless Man, but also live The Sinless Life and die The Unmercifully Cruel Death on the cross just so that all sinners (which includes every man, woman, and child) could be forgiven their sin. Thatís what Jesus needed to do, and thatís what He did. And now that itís been done, do you figure we can get back to square one (become good like the original perfect Adam) by accepting Jesusí death on the cross?

 

Well that would be nice, but Iím afraid it just ainít so. You see even though we can be made "sinless" by the blood of Jesus (He saves us through His blood), and even though the Holy Spirit can once again use us as walking talking temples of God, our bodies still have to die (Adam was made never to die) because of Adamís original sin. So you see with the exception of our bodies being doomed to die and become the dust they were made from, you can say that after we accept Jesus death on the cross weíre kinda like back on track where Adam left off. From that point on weíre Blood Washed sinless temples for the Holy Spirit, who just like Adam must choose not to sin. Understand?

 

Well thatís the way it is!!! Jesus death on the cross doesnít make anybody invincible. Salvation will only save us if we let it! And thatís where the rest of this Psalm comes into play: "Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength." You see after we accept the blood of Jesus in payment for our sins, and after we receive His Holy Spirit in us to make us walking talking temples of God, we have everything we need to do what weíve been put here to do. But... it is very likely and much so possible to fall right back into the same sin mess if we so choose. And itís right about here where we get into the part about "judge me by thy strength."

 

Now as much as I would like to go into all the details about Godís Strength (The Holy Spirit), there just ainít enough paper left to do it. Youíll just have to believe me when I say that God is All Powerful, and His Power is available to us through His Holy Spirit living inside of us. And itís because of this same Awesome Power thatís created everything thatís ever been created, that there just ainít nothing we (those who are saved) canít do if God tells us to do it. We have everything needed to do the job... and thatís right about where the part about The Judge comes into play.

 

You see once us poor old sinful humans accept Jesusí Perfect Blood Sacrifice, and welcome His Holy Spirit to live inside us, weíre primed, ready and able to do what weíve been put here to do; Obey God!!! But, even though we might have everything needed to do the job, weíve still got that one remaining obstacle to deal with called SELF. I mean even after weíve been blessed by Godís Holy Ghost Anointing, to do what Heís called us to do, there are plenty more opportunities along the pathway of life... to stop and take a bite of Satanís ever so tempting sin... which if not corrected... can result in the following: "Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."(Matthew 7:21-23)

 

So what we have here is the down and dirty nitty gritty of what happens to an overcomer (someone saved by the name of Jesus) who doesnít use the Power of the Holy Spirit (strength) to carry out the orders of The Commander And Chief (God the Father). In other words the overcomer didnít overcome because he (or she) chose not to. And likewise, because they were capable of overcoming (they had The Strength; The Holy Spirit) but yet they did not overcome, The Judge of all judges will pronounce them "guilty" (not saved) come check-out time. Itís called being equipped to fight the battle but ducking out before the battle is over. And even though many preachers wonít agree with my understanding of this Scripture, this is the way the Lord has showed it to me.

 

Now the Greek word that Jesus used for "knowing" in the part about "I never knew you" goes a whole lot deeper than any of us could ever imagine. Because there is one more big difference when it comes to us knowing someone and Jesus knowing us. You see even though these folks crying "Lord, Lord" had know Jesus long enough to be "saved" and filled with His miracle working power of the Holy Spirit, it was later on in their lives when they stopped knowing Him as their Lord. And even though their lifelong salvation journey started out pleasing only Him (Lord, Lord), it was their condition at check-out time that made the difference.

 

Because you see Jesus is a bookkeeper, and the book that He keeps is called "The Book Of Life". And for each and every individual whoís nameís written in this Book at the time of their death, they will become an everlasting permanent resident of Heaven. Itís what you might call a done deal! However, even though each name is written down only after each person has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior (saved by His name), The Bookkeeper does have full legal rights (up until the time of their death) to erase any names not measuring up to His standards (judged by His strength). And of course seeing how this Book is The Final Authority when it comes to those Jesus "knew" in a saving way, it only makes good sense that Jesus never "knew" anyone whoís not in it.

 

And all that takes us right back to this thing about "overcoming". Because not only did Jesus say "Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven", but He also said in Revelation 3:5 "He that overcometh... I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and his angels." So once again, even though we might be saved, itís only through the process of overcoming that we make it into Heaven. "Overcoming" = Heaven, "not overcoming" = Hell.

 

So... seeing how God the Father doesnít want any of his children not overcoming and ending up in Hell, Heís given us eight (8) very good examples of seductive sins that Satan uses to seduce Godís overcomers. But in order to help us understand the full meaning of each sin, Iíll go ahead and give you a short definition to go along with it:

Fearful- someone (anyone) who refuses (out of fear) to boldly follow the example of Christ and the leading of Christ (through the Holy Spirit) even to the point of death.

 

OK, now Satanís strategy is very straightforward when it comes to fear. All he has to do is get us to fear him (which includes everything under his power; the world) more than we fear God. And thus by our fearing him we no longer obey God. Simple! In fact thereís a very good example of Jesus using the same word "fearful" in Matthew 8:23-27: "And when he (Jesus) was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!"

 

Would you have ever imagined Jesusí disciples committing such a dreadful sin? Well even though this happened before Jesus paid the price on the cross, and the Spirit of God was not in them the way He can be in us, Jesus still came down on them pretty hard... and all for a very good reason. You see even though the Power of the Universe (God In The Flesh; Jesus) was sitting right there in the boat with them, they still feared Satanís fury in the storm. And if they feared Satan while Jesus was right there with them, what were they going to do after His resurrection?

 

Well speaking of after His resurrection, we have one more real good example of Satanís "sin of fear" in the apostle Paulís warning of II Timothy 1:6-8: "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God..."

 

So there you have it. When it comes to the word "fearful", youíve got the fear of embarrassment on the one end of the spectrum and the fear of death on the other. Two of Satanís finest fearful reasons not to obey Father God.

 

And that takes us right on into Satanís #2 seductively seducing sin of unbelief:

Unbelieving- someone (anyone) who refuses to believe that God Almighty is the All Powerful, All Knowing, Ever Present Three In One God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit), Whoís Scriptures, as found in the Holy Bible, are The Word of God and All Truth.

 

So howís that for a definition? Well even though it does do a pretty fair job, a picture is always worth a thousand words... and hereís the picture: "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."(Matthew 17:14-21)

 

There you have it. Just another very frightening picture of Jesus correcting His disciples for something (unbelief; faithless) that could have, if not repented of, taken them right on into the burning fires of hell. And just to make sure youíve got a good understanding of unbelief, letís pick up the story in Mark 16:9-14 after Jesusí resurrection: "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not... Afterward he (Jesus) appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen."

 

Well are you starting to get the picture? All these seemingly innocent sins can be sins unto death. And seeing how weíre running out of paper, Iíll run through the rest real quick:

Abominable- someone (anyone) who claims to be a follower of Christ but yet refuse to serve Him with their life through their actions. God says they stink!

Murderers- someone (anyone) who selfishly takes the life of a human being (kills), which can even include themselves (suicide).

Whoremongers- a man (any man) who prostitutes his body to anotherís lust for hire, a male prostitute (a homosexual), or a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse in any capacity (a fornicator).

Sorcerer- someone (anyone) who prepares or uses magical potents (drugs), whether simple or potent, which are generally accompanied by incantations and appeals to occult powers. In other words anyone practicing witchcraft.

Idolaters- someone (anyone) giving divine honor to created things, which can include the worship of stones, trees, rivers, animals, sun, moon, stars, air, fire, deceased ancestors, idealism, abstractions or mental qualities, Jehovah or other gods under image or symbol, or just the symbol itself.

Liars- someone (anyone) who says that something is true even though they know it to be untrue.

 

OK, so now do you understand why I cringe at preachers preaching "suicide wonít keep a Christian out of Heaven?" The Blood of Jesus will save each and every individual whoís willing to trust in Him and let Him be their Lord. The life of a Christian belongs totally and completely to God the Father. Any Christian taking matters in their own hands by taking their own life has denied Him the rights of being the Lord of their life.

 

Sooo... stay in the Book, and stay out of Hell, by Keeping The Faith In Jesus!!!

 

Love,

 

Dad (Bruce Hallman)

 

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