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I want to begin by asking you to imagine that I offered you a choice of four gifts:

  • The first is, the original Mona Lisa, an invaluable piece of art
  • The second, the keys to a brand-new Lamborghini
  • Third, a million dollars in cash
  • And fourth, a parachute

Now, here’s the deal: You can pick only one. I wonder which you will choose? Now, before you decide which of the four gifts you will choose, I want to give you some further information that will help you to make the wisest choice: 

In about 20 minutes from now, you will have to jump 10,000 feet out of an airplane.

Let me ask you: Does that help you to connect the dots and make up your mind? Well, I would hope it would, because obviously, you are going to need the parachute. It’s the only one of the four gifts that will help you with the situation you are about to face. Now, admittedly the other gifts do have some value, but speaking frankly, they are going to be useless when it comes to facing the law of gravity in a 10,000-foot fall. The knowledge that you will have to jump should produce a healthy fear in you—and that kind of fear is good because it can save your life. 

Now, instead of the choice between four gifts, I want you to think of the four major religions:

  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism
  • Islam
  • Christianity

Which one should you choose? Before you decide, here’s some information that will help you determine which one is the wisest choice: the truth is, all of humanity stands on the edge of eternityWe are all going to dieWe will all have to pass through the door of death. It could happen to us in twenty years, or in six months…or even today. For most of humanity, death is a huge and terrifying plummet into the unknown. 

So what should we do? Well, do you remember a moment ago how it was your knowledge of the 10,000 ft. jump that produced a kind of healthy fear within you? And do you remember how that fear helped you to make the right choice about the four gifts? Well, of course, you were helped by your fear — you know what the law of gravity can do to you! 

Well, in the same way, we are going to look at another law, and hopefully your knowledge of what IT can do to you will help you make the right choice about life’s greatest issue. Let’s start with the first point this morning…

1. EVERYONE IS SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH

My friends, after we die, we have to face what is called “the law of sin and death.”The Apostle Paul describes the law of sin and death in this way in Romans 8:2,

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” — Romans 8:2 (ESV)

My friends, you actually know about the law of sin and death – it’s what we call the Ten Commandments, which is an important summary of the laws God has given us and wants all of us to keep. And this is importantThese are the laws to which we will be held accountable when we die. The Law, the Ten Commandments, is as certain to have an effect upon you spiritually as the law of gravity has had upon you physically. 

So let’s look at that Law and see how you will do when you face it on Judgment Day. And to do this, I need to ask you some questions about how well you have kept God’s law.

Have you loved God above all else? Is He first in your life? The Bible says that He should be. He’s given you your life and everything that is dear to you. Do you love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength? That’s the requirement of the First Commandment. 

Or have you broken the Second Commandment by making a god in your mind that you’re comfortable with—where you say, “My god is a loving and merciful god who would never send anyone to Hell”? My friend, the truth is, that“god” does not exist; he’s a figment of the human imagination. To create a god in your mind, that is, to create your own image of God, that is something that the Bible calls “idolatry.” The Bible says that idolaters will not enter Heaven.

Let’s continue. Have you ever used God’s name in vain, as a cuss word to express disgust? You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? You’ve used Jesus Christ’s name as an expletive. Or you said the “GD” word, or “OMG” which is very common today. My friends, that’s called “blasphemy,” and it’s a very serious sin in God’s sight. This is breaking the Third Commandment, and the Bible says that God will declare ‘guilty’ those who take His name in vain.

Or further, I wonder if you have kept God’s fourth and fifth commandments perfectly? Have you always honored your parents implicitly, and kept the Sabbath (the Lord’s Day) holy? If not, you have broken the Fourth and Fifth Commandments. 

Now let me ask you if you have you ever hated someone? The Bible says, 

Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer.” — 1 John 3:15 (ESV)

Though you may not think of yourself as a murderer, if you have hated another person in your heart, Jesus says it is as ifyou are a murderer, and you are guilty of breaking the sixth commandment.

Or have you ever lusted after another person in your heart? The Seventh Commandment says “You shall not commit adultery,” but Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28, “Whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” It’s important to realize too that the Seventh Commandment prohibits sex before marriage. Have you ever looked with lust upon another person or had sex outside of marriage? If you have, you’ve violated God’s seventh commandment.

Or have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything, regardless of value? If you have, you’ve broken the eighth and ninth Commandments, and by definition, you are a liar and a thief. The Bible tells us Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,” because He is a God of truth and holiness. 

Finally, have you coveted or jealously desired other people’s possessions? This is a violation of the Tenth Commandment.

So friends, how did you do? Are you a lawbreaker? I suspect by now that you realize that you have broken many of God’s laws repeatedly! Well, this brings us to my second point this morning…

2. GOD IS NOT INDIFFERENT TO THE BREAKING OF HIS LAW

My friends, we will each face God on the Judgment Day and we will be accountable to God’s moral Law. Did you know that? And if you have not obeyed the Law perfectly, you will be without excuse when you stand before God because He gave us our consciences to know right from wrong. Each time we lie, steal, lust, look at pornography, commit adultery, murder by hating in our hearts, and so on, we know that it’s wrong. 

So here is the crucial question: On Judgment Day, when God judges you, will you be found innocent or guilty of breaking His Law? Now, think before you answer. Will you go to Heaven or Hell? The Bible warns us…

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”— Revelation 21:8 (ESV)

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” — 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV)

So where does that leave you when you die?

Now I know for some, that the thought of going to Hell doesn’t scare you, because you don’t believe in it. My friend, just for a moment consider, that this is like standing in the open door of a plane 10,000 feet off the ground and saying, “I don’t believe there will be any consequences if I jump out of this plane without a parachute.”

To say that there will be no consequences for breaking God’s Law is to say that God is unjust, that He is evil. Deep down, we know that God is just and will punish wickedness; in fact —in the end —we hope that He will! To convince you of this, consider the following true story:

On February 24, 2005, nine-year-old Jessica Marie Lunsford was reported missing from her home in Homosassa, Florida. This nine-year-old little girl was missing for an excruciating three weeks. At the end of this time, the police discovered her body and their investigations showed that she had been kidnapped, brutally raped, and then buried alive. Little Jessica Lunsford was found tied up, in a kneeling position, clutching a stuffed toy in a shallow grave under the man’s porch who killed her.

We know the man who did it. His name is John Couey. How do you feel toward the man who murdered that helpless little girl in such an unspeakably cruel way? Are you angered? I hope so. I hope you are outraged. If you were completely indifferent to her fate, it would reveal something horrible about your character.

So let me ask: Do you think that God is indifferent to such acts of evil? You can bet your precious soul He is not. He is outraged by them.

You see, the fury of Almighty God against evil is evidence of His goodness. If He wasn’t angered, He wouldn’t be good. You see, we cannot separate God’s goodness from His anger. Again, if God is good by nature, He must be unspeakably angry at wickedness.

But what you must understand is that His goodness is so great that His anger isn’t confined to just the evils of rape and murder. Nothing is hidden from His pure and holy eyes. He is outraged by torture, terrorism, abortion, theft, lying, adultery, fornication, pedophilia, homosexuality, and blasphemy. He also sees our thought-life, and He will judge us for the hidden sins of our hearts: for lust, hatred, rebellion, greed, unclean imaginations, ingratitude, selfishness, jealousy, pride, envy, deceit, etc. In fact, Jesus warned, 

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” — Matthew 12:36 (ESV)

The Bible says that God’s wrath “abides” on each of us, and that every time we sin, we’re “storing up wrath” that will be revealed on Judgment Day.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” — John 3:36 (ESV)

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” — Romans 2:5 (ESV)

The Bible also tells us that we are “by nature the children of wrath.” In other words, sinning against God comes naturally to us—and we naturally earn His anger by our sins.

You know, many people believe that God is good in a strange way. They say that God will forgive everyone and let all sinners into Heaven one day. But my friends, those who say such things misunderstand the goodness of God. When Moses once asked to see God’s glory, God told him that he couldn’t see Him and live. Moses would instantly die if he looked upon God. Consider this:

“[God] said, I will make all my goodness pass before you…And it shall come to pass, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by.” — Exodus 33:18,22 (ESV)

Notice that all of God’s glory was displayed in His “goodness.” In other words, it was the goodness of God that would have killed Moses instantly because of Moses’ personal sinfulness

Again, your knowledge of God’s Law should help you to see that you have a life-threatening dilemma: a huge problem of God’s wrath (His justifiable anger) against your personal sins. The just penalty for sin—breaking even one Law—is death, and eternity in Hell. But you haven’t broken just one Law. Like the rest of us, you’ve no doubt broken all these laws, countless times each. What kind of anger do you think a judge is justified in having toward a criminal guilty of breaking the law thousands of times? Well, now we begin to understand that as human beings, as lawbreakers, we really do have a profound problem that we cannot solve ourselves. Which brings me to a final point this morning…

3. WHY CHRISTIANITY?

To answer this question, let’s look at those four major religions to see if they can help you with your predicament.

Hinduism

The religion of Hinduism says that if you’ve been bad, you may come back as a rat or some other animal. If you’ve been good, you might come back as a prince. But that’s like someone saying, “When you jump out of the plane, you’ll get sucked back in as another passenger. If you’ve been bad, you go down to the Economy Class; if you’ve been good, you go up to First Class.” It’s an interesting concept, but it doesn’t really deal with your REAL problem of having sinned against God and the reality of Hell.

Buddhism

Amazingly, the religion of Buddhism denies that God even exist! It teaches that life and death are sort of an illusion. My friends, with Buddhism, it’s like standing at the door of the plane and saying, “I’m not really here, and there’s no such thing as the law of gravity, and no ground that I’m going to hit.” That may temporarily help you deal with your fears, but it doesn’t deal with your real problem of having sinned against God and the reality of Hell.

Islam

Interestingly, Islam acknowledges the reality of sin and Hell, and the justice of God, but the hope it offers is that sinners can escape God’s justice if they do religious works. Islam argues that God will see these good works, and because of them, hopefully He will show mercy—but you cannot know for sure. Islam says that each person’s works will be weighed on the Day of Judgment and it will then be decided who is saved and who is not—based on whether a person followed Islam, was sincere in repentance, and performed enough righteous deeds to outweigh their bad ones.

So Islam believes you can earn God’s mercy by your own efforts. That’s like jumping out of the plane, and believing that flapping your arms is going to counter the law of gravity and save you from a 10,000-foot drop.

And there’s something else to consider. The Law of God shows us that the best of us is nothing but a law-breaking criminal, standing guilty and condemned before the throne of a perfect and holy Judge. My friends, when you understand that you are nothing more than a lawbreaker standing before an All-Holy God, then you’ll realize that your “righteous deeds” are actually seen as an attempt to bribe the Judge of the Universe! 

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD…” — Proverbs 15:8 (ESV)

“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” — Isaiah 64:6 (ESV)

Dear friends, the Bible says that because of our guilt, anything we offer God for our justification (our acquittal from His courtroom) is an abomination to Him, and only adds to our crimes.

Islam, like the other religions, doesn’t solve your problem of having sinned against God and the reality of Hell. The reality is, all false religions are systems of human achievement. By contrast, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of divine accomplishment.

Christianity

So why is Christianity different? Aren’t all religions basically the same? Well, let’s see. When we look to Christianity, we find that God Himself provided a “parachute” for us, and His Word says regarding the Savior, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, just as a parachute would solve your dilemma with the law of gravity and its consequences, so the Savior Jesus Christ perfectly solves your dilemma with the Law of God and its consequences! It is the missing puzzle piece that you need.

So, how did God solve our dilemma? Simply put, Jesus Christ satisfied God’s wrath by becoming a human being and taking our punishment upon Himself. The Scriptures tell us that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. The reality is, Christianity provides the only parachute to save us from the consequences of the Law we have broken.

Now to illustrate this more clearly, let’s go back to that plane for a moment. Remember, you are standing on the edge of a 10,000-foot drop. You have to jump. Your heart is thumping in your chest. Why? Well, because of fear. You know that the law of gravity will kill you when you jump.

Someone offers you the original Mona Lisa. You push it aside.

Another person passes you the keys to a brand-new Lamborghini. You let those keys drop to the floor; they’re worthless to you.

Someone else tries to put a million dollars into your hands. You push the person’s hand away, and stand there in horror at your impending fate.

Suddenly, you hear a voice say, “Here’s a parachute!”

Which one of those four people is going to hold the most credibility in your eyes? It’s the one who held up the parachute! Again, it is your fear of the jump that turns you toward the good news of the parachute.

In the same way, knowledge of what God’s Law will do to you produces a fear that makes the news of a Savior unspeakably good news! It solves your predicament of God’s wrath. God loves you so much that He became a sinless human being in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus died an excruciating death on the cross, taking your punishment (the death penalty) upon Himself. The demands of eternal justice were satisfied the moment He cried, “It is finished!”

The lightning of God’s wrath was stopped and the thunder of His indignation was silenced at Calvary’s bloodied cross: 

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” — Galatians 3:13 (ESV)

In other words, WE broke the Law, but JESUS became a man to pay our penalty in His life’s blood. Then Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death. That means that God will now forgive every sin you have ever committed and commute your death sentence. 

So you no longer need to be tormented by the fear of death, and you don’t need to look any further for ways to deal with the dilemma of sin and God’s wrath. The Savior is God’s gift to you. The gospel is unspeakably good news for the entire, sinful human race!

God Himself will “justify” you. He will cleanse you, and He give you the “righteousness” of Christ. He will make you pure in heart by washing away your sins. He can shelter you from His fierce wrath, in the Rock of Ages that He has cleft for you. The Bible tells us that only Jesus can save you from death and Hell, something that you could never earn or deserve.

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” — Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

CONCLUSION

My friend, to receive the gift of eternal life, you must repent of your sins, you must turn from your careless law-breaking, and you must put on the Lord Jesus Christ as you would put on a parachute—trusting in Him alone for your salvation. That means you forsake your own good works as a means of trying to please God, you stop trying to bribe God with your own “good works” and instead you trust only in what Jesus has done for you. Simply throw yourself on the mercy of the Judge. The Bible says that He’s rich in mercy to all who call upon Him, so call upon Him right now with all of your might. He will hear you if you approach Him with a humble and sorrowful heart. You can make profess your repentance and faith this morning by being baptized into a new Christian life in the name of God.

I want you to come to Christ Jesus, right now, because you don’t know when you will take that leap through the door of death. Confess your sins to God, put your trust in Jesus to save you, and you will pass from death to life. You have God’s promise on it.