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Weekly Lesson

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Pastor: Bro. Bobby Clark

Faith Baptist Church

92 Walker St. POB 462
Crossville, TN. 38557
Ph. 931 707-0799

None, independent
and self-governing

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Visitors are always welcome and appreciated!

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So Close To Hell

Many years ago as I was traveling back home I came to a railroad crossing which I usually never stop at, just slow down and look. That night it was raining and foggy so I stopped and as I did a train came by at that instant. Had I not stopped I would no doubt been hit and probably been killed by the fast moving train. As I pondered on that event several times in my life I came to the conclusion had I not stopped I would have surely awakened in Hell because at the time I was not saved. So close to Hell but God put it in my heart to stop and look. I see a man in Luke 23 that was also very close to Hell and He too avoided it. He was a malefactor, a criminal, a thief worthy of death for his crimes and he was hanging on a cross at the side of Jesus as another malefactor was hanging at the other side of Jesus. One of the criminals railed at or reproached Jesus saying “If thou be the Christ save thyself and us”. This criminal only desired to be saved in this life. He only wanted to be removed from the cross and live out the rest of his earthly existence. He had no desire to be saved eternally, only temporarily. Then the other malefactor rebuked his criminal friend as he asked “Do you not fear God, seeing you are condemned to die with this man? And we indeed deserve to die for we are guilty of our crimes but this man hath done nothing amiss or out of place. Then he looks at Jesus and says “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom”. Remember, he is dying so Jesus’ kingdom must be one beyond the grave. He didn’t expect Jesus to come down from the cross and set up His kingdom then. He had to be referring to a future kingdom where Jesus would reign supreme. He said, remember me, I know I don’t deserve it but remember me; the one who hung beside of you, and had faith in you. I was the one on the road to Hell and barely avoided it because I was hung on the cross next to you. After his confession Jesus said unto him, today shalt thou be with me in Paradise. I want to look at the thought this week so close to Hell. As I look back on that night I shudder to think what would have happened had I not stopped at that crossing. I was so close to Hell; oh the thought of that today! As I look at this man on the cross I think of him being so close to Hell as he cried out for salvation from He who gives it so abundantly. I want to look at some more people in the Bible who were close to Hell but avoided it by God’s grace and mercy.

The first one we want to look at is the maniac who lived in the tombs. Here is a man who had no hope, no friends and no future until Jesus came to where he was. He lived in the tombs as a mad man. He lived naked and screaming as society tried to tame him with ropes and chains and he broke those with his strength. Surely society failed him but Jesus wouldn’t fail him. He came and fell before Jesus and Jesus cast the demons out of him and made him a new man. He was so close to Hell until Jesus came to where he was. He then went and told his friends and family the great things Jesus did for him.

Next I want you to look at the man named Zacchaeus found in Luke 19. He was a short man and a despised tax collector. It was Jesus’ last trip through Jericho on His way to Jerusalem and on to Calvary. Zacchaeus had heard of Jesus no doubt, maybe even by Matthew himself who used to be a tax collector. One day out in the street a commotion was happening and he possibly asked what is going on? The people around said Jesus is passing by and he wanted to see Jesus for himself. As he went to the street he was too small to see over the crowd and he had no way to see Him until he looked up the street and there was a tree. He ran to it and climbed the tree and crawled out on a limb as Jesus passed under him. Jesus stopped and looked up and said Zacchaeus, come down for today I must abide at thy house. That day salvation came to his house on Jesus’ last trip through Jericho; Zacchaeus was so close to Hell.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, I must needs go through Samaria. He had a meeting He had to keep at Jacob’s well with a fallen woman. She didn’t know about the meeting but He knew about it. She came with her water pot at mid day to draw water so she would not have to deal with the other women who rebuked her for her lifestyle. Jesus was sitting on the well and asked her for a drink of water. She said you are a Jew and I am a Samaritan and you ask me for a drink. The Jews have no dealing with the Samaritans. He told her if you knew who I was I could give you water to drink where you would never thirst again. She said give me this water so I don’t have to come and draw from this well again. She didn’t understand the spiritual from the physical. Jesus told her about the life giving water only He could supply and she was saved that day and ran in to the town crying come see a man who told me all I ever did is not this the Christ? I don’t know how much longer she would have lived but she too was close to Hell before she met the Lord.

Another man who was close to Hell was the palsied man in Mark 2. Jesus was in a house speaking and this man couldn’t get to Him but he had four friends who came and carried him to the house where Jesus was. They could not get to Him and went to the roof and lifted up some roof tiles and lowered him down and Jesus healed him and saved him due to his friend’s faith. They knew if they could get him to Jesus he could be made whole and he was. Are we willing to go out of our way to get our friends to Jesus? No doubt he was close to Hell; in bad health with no one to make him any better but Jesus made him whole, not just physically but spiritually as well and his friends carried him to the One who could help him.

We saw four who were close to Hell but circumstances arose in their lives and they were saved at perhaps their last opportunity. But I want to look at two others quickly who were not so fortunate. First look at the rich young ruler in Mark 10 who came running to Jesus and asked what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus gave him some of the commandments and he told Jesus he had done those from his youth up and possibly did. He then said go and sell all you have and give to the poor and you can be saved. This act wouldn’t save the young man but Jesus knew his heart and knew his riches were his god and he had to get rid of that god before he could receive Jesus as Savior. This man was so close to Heaven yet he went away very sorrowful and lost. Then you see Judas Iscariot who led the soldiers to Jesus after selling Him out and kissed the very Door of Heaven and died and went to Hell. He was so close to Heaven yet went to Hell.

What about you? Are you close to Hell and possibly don’t even realize it? You are only one heartbeat away from death and if you are lost you will spend eternity in Hell. Please trust Jesus as your Savior. Remember the malefactors on the cross; one was saved so all may have hope but only one lest any take it for granted.   

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