THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR ACTIONS! by Earl Sutton

 

In 1996 a grain ship, “Bright Field,” was heading down the Mississippi River near New Orleans, when it lost control, veered toward the shore and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. The impact demolished parts of the wharf and injured 116 people. According to the Coast Guard investigation, the ship’s owner and crew had failed to repair long-standing engine problems. This is a clear example of not doing what you should do and receiving the consequences of bad decisions.

            The Devil deceived Eve into thinking that there would be no consequences for eating the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:1-7). God said, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, ye shall not eat of it lest ye die” (v.3) The Devil said, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) Eve dilly-dallied with the temptation and contemplated the possibilities that the Devil had suggested and threw away all restrain and ate the fruit!  Why?  The Devil deceived her into thinking that there would be no consequences for sin.

            The Devil continues to lie to us today and tells our society that a little sin won’t hurt, a little indulgence is not a problem, a little transgression will never hurt anybody! The Devil tells us that we are only human and go ahead and enjoy sin. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” ( Prov. 13:15)

            Our society believes that it can live in disobedience to God’s will by practicing homosexuality and never suffer the consequences. The scriptures teach that there will be consequences for our actions. “Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth unto the spirit shall of the spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8) This basic principle applies to the physical world and spiritual realm as well. The word, “mocked” is a Greek word (mukterizete:) which means to turn one’s nose up at God. The point is that if a person sows to the flesh (homosexuality and sinful living) and turns up his nose at God, he shall go the way of all flesh, -- die and face the judgment of God where there will be consequences. (reap destruction – Gal. 6:8)

The scriptures emphasize the consequences of sin in other verses. Ezekiel said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ez. 18:4) Paul said, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23)  Over and over, again and again, the Bible under all circumstances, emphasizes that we reap what we sow and that sin is always followed by consequences.

            There is rebellion in the hearts and in the behavior of many people in our society today. In view of the fact that sin will always have consequences, what can we predict for the future? According to the basic law of sowing and reaping, the answer can best be given in the words of the prophet Hosea, “They sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hos. 8:7) There is one time of sowing (while alive), and there will be two times of reaping. We reap in this life and also reap beyond this life in the hereafter. Sin brings forth its consequences both here and hereafter.

            People may do things without realizing the consequences of their actions, but one day there is going to be an accounting! (Rev. 21:8)                                                                                                                                                                                           

WHERE IS HEAVEN GOING TO BE? by Earl Sutton

 

The Apostle said, “I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I know not, or whether out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up even to the third heaven” (II Cor. 12:2). Strangely, the man of whom he speaks in this verse is identified as himself in verse 7. This vision happened to Paul fourteen years previously. This epistle was written near the close of the year 57 AD, and fourteen years ago would place this vision about the time he and Barnabas were sent fourth from Antioch on the first tour among the Gentiles, AD 40-41 (Acts 13-14).

          When Paul went to Lystra and Derbe, some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and stirred up the people. The same group who had wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas as gods now agreed to their being stoned. “They stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead” (Acts 14:19).

          Was Paul really dead, and did the Lord bring him back to life? The very next day, Paul who had been at death’s door, started a 60-mile trip. This may have been the time when Paul was “caught up to the third heaven.” Paul does not know if he literally went to the third heaven or went in the spirit. He does know that it was the third heaven.

          The Bible speaks of three different heavens. The first heaven is where the birds fly and where the clouds are (Gen. 1:6-8). The second heaven is where the sun, moon and stars are (Gen. 1:14-18; Matt. 24:29). The third heaven is the habitation of God --  Matthew 5:16, 45, “Your Father which is in heaven.”

          Some in the church are teaching a theory that God will leave His throne in heaven and come down to live with the redeemed on a refurbished earth. The false premillennialists doctrine teaches that they will live and reign on the earth for a thousand years. The false Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that eternal life will be on earth where the saved will live on a refurbished earth for eternity. There is absolutely no scripture that teaches the idea that eternal life for the redeemed will be on this earth! To the contrary, Peter wrote that this world, including everything in it, will be burned up with fervent heat (II Peter 3:10).

          Paul went on to say that the third heaven where God is, is called paradise. “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter (II Cor. 12:4). This means that Paul saw and heard things which he was not allowed to reveal; in other words, he saw the future glory for Christians, and it was not on this earth!

          The meaning of the word “paradise” is not a common word in the New Testament, found only here and in Luke 23:43 and Revelation 2:7. The Greek word is “paradeisos” meaning a park and place of future happiness. It originally meant a pleasure park and used in Genesis 2:8 for the Garden of Eden. Later, it was applied to the abode of the righteous after death. In II Corinthians 12:2, it is regarded as the same as the third heaven.

          The Apostle Paul relates his experience of being caught up into the third heaven, paradise, the abode of the righteous after death which was certainly not on this earth. He did not know whether or not he was in the body, transfigured, or in the spirit without the transfigured body.

          Paul says he was caught up into paradise, the same place the thief on the cross when to (Luke 23:43), the same place that Lazarus went to (Luke 16:23), same place where the Tree of Life is said to be (Rev. 2:7). Paul saw the future glory for Christians, and it was not on this earth!