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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, May 6, 2007

“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).

Walt Disney’s body was frozen when he died. His corpse is kept refrigerated in the hope that science will be able to revitalize it some day. Disney put his hope in science and technology. Like him, your parents and grandparents had more faith in science than in God. Most of them

“worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

Many people of the older generation were certain that science held the answer to all of man’s problems.

But I have discovered that many young people today are giving up this idea. Many young people are questioning those values. The materialism and technological advances of the twentieth century did not give us a better world. Instead, you were given an ocean where the fish are rapidly being destroyed. There have been major stories in Time magazine and other news venues in the last few years. The cover of U.S. News and World Report said, “Empty Oceans – Why the World’s Seafood Supply is Disappearing” (June 9, 2003). Think of it – an ocean without fish!

We destroyed the passenger pigeon. We destroyed the buffalo that once roamed the plains in giant herds. And now we are destroying the large species of fish that once flourished in the ocean. Hemingway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Old Man and the Sea, will be virtually incomprehensible to future generations – when the great fish are gone.

Not only that, we are burning off the ozone layer that once protected the earth from ultraviolet rays. That’s one of the main reasons that cancer is more prevalent today. It’s dangerous to go out in the sun for any length of time, because that protective layer is being destroyed by mankind through modern technology.

What has science given you? Many young people today are beginning to realize that there is more to life than video games and computers. All of this technology has left your generation with an empty feeling, “Is that all there is?” You feel lonely because most families are literally dysfunctional. People move all the time. You lose your friends. You feel lonely. You want to know if there is any meaning and purpose to life. Science has not been able to fill the void of an empty life and a meaningless death.

And that’s the way this young man felt. Mark’s gospel tells us that he came running to Jesus. He knelt down and asked Jesus a question,

“Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
      (Luke 18:18).

He was thinking about eternity. Have you ever thought about that? Eternity – endless, everlasting, perpetual, never-ending eternity. This young man was thinking about eternity. And I want you to take a few moments to think about it also.

I. First, think about some of the things that are not eternal.

First, your life on earth is not eternal. You will die. We are reminded of death many times in the Bible. It says,

“There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death”
      (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

The richest man on earth cannot escape death. Walt Disney could freeze his body, but he could not escape from death.

Some time ago I read a biography of Howard Hughes. He was one of the richest men on earth. He owned Hughes Aircraft and a motion picture company. He was a billionaire. He could buy anything he wanted. His power and wealth were enormous. He had sex with countless women – many of them famous movie actresses. He had boats and airplanes and mansions. He had it all! And yet he went insane and died, a drug addict with a long white beard and fingernails that were several inches in length. When Howard Hughes died I thought of a verse of Scripture,

“The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead” (Ecclesiastes 9:3).

Second, money is not eternal. The Bible speaks of “gold that perisheth” (I Peter 1:7). The Bible speaks of “corruptible things, as silver and gold” (I Peter 1:18). Money can purchase many things, but it cannot buy you happiness, and it cannot buy you eternal life. Many of your parents are working night and day to make more and more money. But you know it doesn’t make them happy. The more money they make the more unhappy they are.

You can make perfect grades in college and then get a good job and make lots of money. But that money will do you no good at all when the day of your death arrives. The Bible says,

“The rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:22-23).

What good would it do you to make vast sums of money, and then die and spend eternity in Hell? That’s why Jesus said,

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

I once preached at the funeral of a very rich man. But he lived a sad and lonely life. Money didn’t help him. They found him locked in a bedroom with a pistol under his pillow. He had been there for days, half dead from a stroke. When I went to see him in the hospital he couldn’t talk. He just looked at me and burst into tears. I could say nothing to comfort him. It was horrible to see him lying there in that hospital bed, crying and making a horrible guttural sound. I will never forget that dreadful sound, or the sight of his anguished, hopeless face, as long as I live. The Bible says, 

“The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead” (Ecclesiastes 9:3).

Money is not eternal.

Make time for God now, while you are young! Make time to be in church every Sunday, no matter what comes up. Make friends in the church. They will keep you from being lonely. Make sure you are saved, a real Christian. Why die alone like Howard Hughes or the man that I couldn’t get to stop crying? Don’t do it! That’s the reason we say, “Why be lonely? Come home – to church! Why be lost? Come home – to Jesus Christ and be saved!” As an old hymn puts it,

Coming home, coming home, Never more to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love, Lord, I’m coming home.
   (“Lord, I’m Coming Home” by William J. Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921).

Third, pleasure is not eternal. King Solomon was one of the richest men who ever lived. He tried pleasure, and it failed to bring him true happiness or prepare him for eternity. He said,

“I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts… and whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy… Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me… Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity [this too is meaningless]” (Ecclesiastes 2:8, 10, 15).

He had wine, women, and song – but it was all vanity, it was all meaningless, in the end. And so it will be for you. Making lots of money and experiencing the pleasure of sin will not bring you lasting happiness. The Bible tells us that the pleasures of sin only last for a season (Hebrews 11:25). Sinful pleasures are not eternal. If you go on living for money and pleasure alone God’s Word says that you will

“weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you…[because] ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton” (James 5:1, 5).

Sinful pleasures will soon end – and then God’s judgment will come. Sinful pleasures are not eternal.

II. Second, think about some of the things that are eternal.

God is eternal. The Bible speaks of the “eternal God” (Deuteronomy 33:27). The Bible says,

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2).

Again, the Bible says,

“Thy name, O Lord, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O Lord, throughout all generations” (Psalm 135:13).

A moment ago Mr. Griffith sang one of the great hymns of Dr. Isaac Watts,

O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guide while life shall last, And our eternal home.
   (“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748).

My wife and I stood beside Dr. Watts’ tomb in Bunhill Fields Cemetery in London. And the words of his great hymn flooded through my mind,

A thousand ages in Thy sight, Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night Before the rising sun.

O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.
   (Dr. Isaac Watts, ibid.).

God is eternal.

Second, the Bible is eternal. The prophet Isaiah said,

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8).

God’s Word, the Bible, has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Dictators like Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, and Ho Chi Minh have challenged and belittled the Bible – but they are now dead – and the Bible lives on – for all time, and for all eternity! Your college professor may attack the Bible – but long after his bones have turned to dust the Bible will still be read and respected throughout the world!

I attended a liberal seminary for three years. The professors maligned and criticized the Bible on a daily basis in our classes. But now all of them are gone. They have been replaced by conservative professors. Those who attacked the Bible are gone. The last one died a few years ago – and went to his reward. The liberals who assaulted the Bible are gone. But the Bible itself remains untouched, unblemished, and unharmed. Jesus said,

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

The old denominations of Europe and America turned away from the Bible. Western civilization crumbled. Over 150 million children were killed in the Abortion Holocaust in the West. The white man’s nations fell into decadence, and then into oblivion. The white man’s churches grew grey, and old, and decayed. They became museums. Even those who called themselves “conservative” closed their doors on Sunday night. The fire went out and the churches died.

But God is raising up a new people in the most unlikely places. In the jungles of Viet Nam revival has broken out. Under severe persecution thousands are becoming Christians throughout Southeast Asia. In the People’s Republic of China millions are coming to Christ, and are willing to die for their faith. In Africa, in the Sudan, in Indonesia, under severe persecution from the Muslims, Christianity is exploding! The Bible is more popular than ever in these nations that are arising to replace Western culture!

“For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven”
      (Psalm 119:89).

“The word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever”
      (I Peter 1:23).

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

Third, your soul and spirit are eternal. Job is the oldest book in the Bible. Job said,

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27).

The prophet Isaiah said,

“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead”
      (Isaiah 26:19).

Your soul and spirit will live forever. You have a body with bones and flesh. But your personality, your intelligence, your consciousness, and your memory - your very soul - will live forever. This is your human spirit and soul, and according to the Bible, it will never die. And some day your soul will be reunited with your resurrected body. The Bible teaches that your soul is eternal.

Fourth, the Bible teaches that Hell is eternal. The Bible speaks of

“the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).

When you die, your soul goes directly to Heaven or to Hell – to await Resurrection and the Last Judgment. And Hell is spoken of throughout the Bible. The prophet Isaiah said,

“The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
      (Isaiah 33:14).

The Bible speaks of those who will be surprised to find themselves in

“shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).

“Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:15).

“The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me” (II Samuel 22:6).

“The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow” (Psalm 116:3).

And Jesus spoke of the

“danger of eternal damnation” (Mark 3:29).

You cannot extinguish yourself. In an actual sense, you cannot really kill yourself. Your conscious soul will live on – in Hell! And that’s why you need to receive Christ now, while you can still do it. It’s too late to get saved after you die – according to the Bible. Life is like preparing for a final exam. When the final examination comes, you can’t prepare any more. It’s too late. Death is like a final exam. You are either prepared, or you are not prepared. Two thousand seven hundred years ago, the prophet Amos said,

“Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12).

Are you prepared? Are you ready for the final examination of life? Are you ready to meet God when you die? If you have not been cleansed by the Blood of Christ, you will go into everlasting punishment. Yes, the Bible teaches that Hell is eternal.

But fifthly, the Scriptures tell us that salvation is eternal. The Bible says that Christ is

“the author of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9).

Christ purchased your eternal redemption on the Cross. Philip P. Bliss said,

I will sing of my Redeemer, And His wondrous love to me,
On the cruel Cross He suffered, From the curse to set me free.
On the Cross He sealed my pardon, Paid the debt and set me free.
   (“My Redeemer” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

Christ paid for your sin on the Cross so you will not have to pay for your sin in Hell. If you come to Christ, His death on the Cross is payment in full for every sin you have ever committed. And when you come to Christ, His Blood washes all your sin away, past, present, and future – the moment you come to Christ. His Blood cleanses your sin when you come to Him by faith.

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12).

“Eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9). “Eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12). Christ will save you for all eternity if you will come to Him in a definite act of faith.

This takes us back to that young man who ran up to Jesus, and fell down at His feet, and asked Him,

“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).

Jesus did not answer him directly, but asked a series of questions to test his sincerity. I am going to do the same thing, but in a different order. The question he asked was, 

“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).

Here is Christ’s answer:

“He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47).

That is the answer! Do you sincerely want eternal life? If you do, turn from your sinful way of living, and believe on Jesus! Throw yourself on the Son of God!

Now, for the test of your sincerity. Will you come back to church next Sunday? That requires a definite turning that the Bible calls “repentance.” I encourage you to do it. Christ will make you a winner – and forgive your sins, and give you eternal life! “Why be lonely? Come home – to church! Why be lost? Come home – to Jesus Christ!”

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 18:18-27.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” (by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).

(Romans 1:25)

I.   Some of the things that are not eternal, Ecclesiastes 8:8; 9:3;
I Peter 1:7, 18; Luke 16:22-23; Matthew 6:19-21;
Ecclesiastes 2:8, 10, 15; James 5:1, 5.

II.  Some of the things that are eternal, Deuteronomy 33:27;
Psalm 90:2; Psalm 135:13; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35;
Psalm 119:89, I Peter 1:23; Job 19:25-27; Isaiah 26:19;
Jude 7; Isaiah 33:14; Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 14:15;
II Samuel 22:6; Psalm 116:3; Mark 3:29; Amos 4:12;
Hebrews 5:9; 9:12; John 6:47.