[Matthew 12: 31-32]
“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.  “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.』
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 17th session of Hell sermon series. The night before He took the cross, Jesus said the following in the Last Supper with His disciples.
Mark 14:17-18 says, “When it was evening He came with the twelve. As they were reclining at the table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me one who is eating with Me.”
Who was He talking about? It was Judas Iscariot. Jesus knew in advance that Judas would betray Him.
But Jesus did not give up on Judas until the end. Jesus did not forsake him but tried to make him understand and give him a chance to repent.
Jesus wouldn’t give up on him because Jesus knew what would happen to his soul. Jesus sincerely hoped that Judas would listen to what he had to say, turn back, and escape the eternal punishment. Of course, Jesus knows everything and He knew that Judas wouldn’t change his course.
He spoke so earnestly because He knew very well what would happen to Judas.
Mark 14:21 says, “For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
It is very true. Even if you were to suffer only the least of the punishments of Hell, it would be better if you were not born than to fall into hell.
But to us who are saved and will go to Heaven, our birth itself is a blessing and something to be thankful.
Through this short period of human cultivation, we come to understand the love of God and can live in the eternal kingdom of glory without any tears, sorrow or pain. So, how blessed we are!
The people I am going to talk about today were once among the blessed as we are.
But they left God in the middle and as a result, their souls were cursed and they fell into hell.
Just as Jesus did not let go of Judas Iscariot until the end, God did not let go of them until the end either.
God enlightened them through the Holy Spirit and gave them the grace to turn away.
But in the end they declined the very hand of God.
In this session, I will talk about the punishments that these souls receive, those who went to the Lower Grave because of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
In the name of the Lord I urge you to keep this message firmly in your heart so you will not cause God to feel any sorrow of this nature.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the first case is a person who used to be a pastor but became arrogant and came to stand against God.
He was healed of his diseases in the church and experienced various works of the Holy Spirit.
Since then, he fasted and prayed fervently in an effort to circumcise his heart. He was also faithful in his duties of taking care of and preaching to the souls.
He followed the voice and guidance of the Holy Spirit and bore fruits. He was praised and loved by people and finally became a pastor.
But as he was acknowledged and praised by others, arrogance began to grow in his heart.
He couldn’t really see his condition correctly. He thought he was right all the time and he stopped circumcising his heart.
He still had anger, envy and jealousy in him, but he stopped trying to cast them away.
He even passed judgment and condemnation on those who were righteous. If he didn’t like a person, he harbored hard feelings toward them.
Once a person is captured by arrogance and his evil begins to be revealed, little by little that evil is increasingly displayed.
Finally, he will reach the worst state where he can neither control himself nor listen to anybody else’s advice.
This person also accumulated evil upon evil, and finally was trapped by Satan. When a test came, he was deceived and came to stand against God.
Brothers and sisters, the apostle Paul advises us in Philippians 2:12, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;”
Our salvation is not complete just because we have received the Holy Spirit.
We have to work out and complete our salvation until we reach the kingdom of heaven. Namely, we have to be on alert with fear and trembling until we are completely sanctified.
Some people become pastors or leaders because they experienced God’s grace greatly or they become full of the Spirit. But if they are not completely sanctified yet, it’s like a marathoner who hasn’t reached the finish line yet.
Even though a marathoner runs and comes close to the finish line much faster than others, if he stops in the middle it is the end for him. Being ahead of others does not mean anything.
Just like anyone else who did not participate in the competition, he wouldn’t receive a prize. It’s the same in Christian life.
If you stop circumcising your heart and if your faithfulness cools down, it is difficult to receive salvation just like those who do not believe in God at all.
That is why the apostle Paul tried to be humble always. He was unchangingly faithful with all his life from the moment that he met the Lord.
1 Corinthians 9:27 says, “…but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”
The person illustrated next also thought he was standing firm while he actually had a lot of evil in him and he also finally fell.
Brothers and sisters, we must not be lukewarm in our faith. We have to struggle against sins to the point of shedding blood until we completely cast away all sins and evil from our heart.
If we circumcise our heart and are ardently faithful, but then stop in the middle, it is easy to be trapped by Satan. The enemy devil and Satan are always prowling around like a roaring lion to find someone to devour.
That is why Revelation 3:16 warns us saying, “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
The soul that is like this who falls into the Lower Grave will receive the torture by a machine in the shape of the messenger of hell.
The size of this machine is many times bigger than actual messenger of hell. The cold feeling of a machine is added to the gruesomeness of the messengers of hell, creating a very frightening feeling.
The hands of this machine have very sharp nails, and they are so long that they are taller than this soul.
This machine will hold the neck of this soul and lift him up with the right hand, and hold his head with the left hand and turn it. At this time, the sharp nails will pierce into his head.
This soul will jerk his body in an effort to get away from this machine because the pain is unbearable.
While he is doing that, a video screen is stretched out in front of him. On that screen, the happiest moments of his earthly life are played so vividly.
When he first received God’s grace and was giving the praises of thanks with a bright face that was full of the Spirit, he was receiving great love of God. He was working hard with the desire to preach the gospel of holiness to the whole world as a pastor. Other moments like these could be seen in his eyes.
He would think, ‘I was a pastor, a servant of the almighty God. I had the hope of dwelling in the glory of New Jerusalem, but now, I am receiving this punishment in Hell.’
The distinct contrast between his past and present, and the happy memories of the past would tear his heart like a sharp dagger.
He will suffer from the mental pain as well as the physical pain.
Being unable to bear with the pain, he would cover his head with his hands, shake his head that is full of sweat and blood having disheveled hair, and he’d scream to stop the torture.
But the pain would only continue. Covering his eyes or ears will not make him unable to see or hear those moments.
After some time, when the torturing machine puts him down on the ground, the messengers of hell that were watching him would gather around.
They would giggle and laugh at him saying, “You were a servant of God? Oh, you were a leader of the church? But you became an apostle of Satan and you’ve become prey of Satan!”
When this soul cries with sorrow hearing them, the right hand of the machine comes down again.
It will again hold his neck with two fingers and pick him up.
When he is lifted to the height of the neck of the machine, it pierces his head with the sharp nails and again shows him the happy moments of his past.
This torture will go on unceasingly until he receives the final judgment and falls into the lake of sulfur in Hell.
The next case I am going to introduce is also the case of a person who was faithful to God but stopped circumcising his heart, and is receiving punishments in the Lower Grave.
He was also a pastor, teaching the church members and having many important positions.
He also tried to fulfill his duties for some time, but at one moment in time he stopped praying and circumcising his heart.
In fact, he had great desire and greed for fame and money in his heart, but he did not realize that he had such evil in his heart.
And he stopped circumcising his heart, and the sinful natures in his heart grew greater and greater like poisonous mushrooms.
Meanwhile, when there was a test for the church, he left the church and members. He just left, though he was in the position to keep the church.
He accepted the works of Satan and disturbed the ministry of the church greatly. As he was a leader of the church, his actions influenced many people.
As a result, he guided some of other church leaders and members to stand against God and disturbed the church. Because of that the punishment for his sins became greater.
When he falls into the Lower Grave in the future, he will be tied to a wooden pole to receive his punishments, which is a little less than hanging on the cross like Judas Iscariot.
He is tied in a way that he cannot even move his hands or feet, and the messenger of hell will show him a video. It is when he was faithful to God on earth, his happiest moments being full of the Spirit.
If he had kept on acting that way, he would have enjoyed great honor and blessings. But he did not cast away his greed and falsehood but committed sins. Thus he lost his precious opportunity.
The reason why the video is shown to him is to remind him of his wretched situation of the present, so his regret about his wrong choices in the past would be the greatest. Namely, they are mentally torturing him.
As each scene of his happy past is played, the messenger of hell would say to him, “Your greed has born this kind of fruit.” Then, a black fruit would fall on him from above.
On the ceiling of the place where he is tied, there are things that look like dark pouches or round fruits hanging.
These fruit like things are the souls that followed this person who is tied to the tree. They participated together with him in standing against God and fell into the Lower Grave along with him.
Their arms and legs and the torsos are all separated from each other, and only their heads are hanging on the ceiling.
When we evangelize somebody, we bear the fruit of evangelism. In the same way, this soul who is tied to the tree has born the fruits of the souls who fall into hell with him.
He followed his greed, deceived those souls to follow him, and led them to come to hell with him doing evil with him.
When the messenger of hell says, “Your greed has born this fruit,” it is like a signal.
As soon as this word is spoken, the pouch like thing would burst and a head would fall from it.
In some movies or dramas we see those who are beheaded after being tortured very much. They sometimes hang those heads on the gate of the city wall.
Their hair is disheveled; their faces full of blood, their lips blistered, and some of them have their eyes open wide with pain.
Like those heads, the heads that fall on this soul who is tied up look so miserable.
When the heads fall from the ceiling, they don’t just roll down. They stick to the soul who is tied up.
The first head to fall will bite his leg. Then, the next head will bite his arm very hard.
Whenever different scenes are shown on the video screen and the messenger of hell speaks, one head falls each time.
Later, the heads will stick on his arms, legs, and all over his body.
This soul will then look like a tree bearing many fruits.
When the heads bite him, strong poisonous energy will come out from the sharp teeth and it will penetrate into his bones.
The part that is bitten will be hardened and turn into bluish black color.
The poison is so strong that it cannot be compared with any poisonous snake or insect.
The heads that bite this soul will complain about others even though they were the ones who stood against God.
They will have resentment against the one who is tied to the tree thinking that they came to the Lower Grave because of him.
How deep their resentment would be! And how great the pain of their bodies being torn apart to have only the head remaining!
They bite this soul with the poison that comes from their pain and resentment, and so, this poison is very strong.
The soul that is tied to the tree knows very well that those souls and he are receiving such terrible punishment because of his greed.
But he doesn’t regret or repent of it. He rather complains against the good God with his evil, because of the pain of the sufferings. He also curses those heads that bite him.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when the early church was having a great revival, there was a married couple whose names were Ananias and Sapphira.
One day, Ananias sold his property and took it to the apostles. At first he said he was going to give everything but he changed his mind and hid some of it.
At this time, Peter was receiving clear inspiration of the Holy Spirit and said the following in Acts 5:3, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?”
The latter half of Acts 5:4 says, “Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Upon hearing this Ananias fell and gave up his ghost. To cheat the apostles was not just to cheat a man but to cheat the Holy Spirit, which is a grave sin. That he gave up his ghost means he was not saved.
About three hours later, Ananias’ wife Sapphira also went before the apostles, and she also faced a miserable death for she also cheated the Holy Spirit like her husband.
Ananias and Sapphira must have been faithful workers who were working hard being full of the Spirit. We can infer that from the fact that they sold their property to serve the church.
But the problem is that their fullness of Spirit cooled down. As they lost the fullness of the Holy Spirit they had growing greed in their hearts.
Their hearts became bold enough to sin, even to lie to the apostles.
The fact that they were cursed and died immediately tells us that they had been accumulating sins by cheating the Holy Spirit many times.
Finally, they reached a state where the Holy Spirit in them was quenched.
Brothers and sisters, anybody can work hard to serve God when he is full of the Holy Spirit.
But if you do not circumcise your heart, it is easy for the first enthusiasm to change and the fullness to become cooled down.
If you take the worldly things, and at one point if you accept the temptation of Satan, you may even turn into an evil person who stands against God.
Finally, the Holy Spirit may be quenched, and you may even lose salvation.
Therefore, the most important thing is to circumcise our heart. We have to cast away greed, envy, jealousy, and all evil, and have true heart and perfect faith.
Otherwise, even though one may be very faithful now, he can change any time. Thus, he cannot really please God.
But the faithfulness of those who are holy and completely sanctified and those who are truly trying to be perfect, this faithfulness is truthful and becomes a beautiful aroma to God.
I hope you will check your inner heart at this moment.
Please check not your position or title or duty that you are performing but check the extent to which your heart resembles God’s heart.
I hope you will have firm determination and cut off the dirty skin off your heart that is stained with filthy sins.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be able to boldly be at the side of the Lord, even if the trumpet signaling the Lord’s coming sounds right now.