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The Parable about
the Fish Net

Matthew 13:47-50

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Service Notes
Sermon by Rev. John Reinke

MATTHEW 13:47-50
    47.  The kingdom of heaven is the same-as a large NET thrown into the lake, catching many various fish.
    48.  The NET was full with fish; the men pulled the NET to dry land.  They sat-down and separated the fish.  The good fish they put into a baskets; the worthless fish they threw-away.
    49.  The same-as will happen at the end of the world; angels will come and separate the bad people and the good people.
    50.  They will throw the bad people into the fire named HELL.  There they will scream and cry with pain.
 


This story is similar to the parable about
    the WHEAT and the WEEDS.

This story forces to look at a question that we previously avoided in other parables. But we can't avoid that question now.

Question:
If God loves all people,
    how can He send people to hell?

You have seen that question already, right?
Maybe that question bothers you, also.

Notice that when people ask this question,
    they are not requesting information. 

No, they use the question for expressing what they believe.

Some Christians don't believe that hell really EXISTS.

Some people say,
    "Only Christians live forever.
        When we die, we go to heaven.
    But people who don't believe in Jesus,
        when they die, they will disappear. 
            Their souls don't live forever."

Other people say,
    "God made hell only temporary -- for a short time.
    When Christ comes again, the world will end,
        and hell will end.
    People in hell will disappear,
        so they don't suffer any more."

Some people say,
    "ALL people will go to heaven.
    People don't need to trust Jesus now.  Why?
    Because after they die, they will believe in Jesus."

If that is true, that is really wonderful!

But is that true?
How can we know?

First, notice that people who don't believe in hell,
    their belief, their opinion,
    doesn't depend on the clear teaching in God's Word. 

No, their belief depends on how they feel about hell. 

The Bible's description about hell is terrible!
Jesus says that hell is a fire that stops,
    and people their continually suffer
        screaming with pain forever.

That's terrible!

So we think,
    (1) "If I were God, I couldn't send anyone there."
And then
    (2) "God must think the same way I do." 

Notice that!
We don't say,
    "I want to understand, and think the same as God thinks."
We say,
    "I want God to think the same as me!"

The Bible says that when first God made us,
    He made us for thinking, acting, and feeling the same as Him.
    He put in His attitude.
    God made us holy and perfect, the same as Him.

The Bible calls that, "the image of God."

But then we rebelled against God.
    We wanted to become gods for ourselves.

And then we try change God
    and make him the same as us,
        with our "image."

That is really foolish!

The Bible says many times and in many ways
    that God does not think like we think.

In ISAIAH, chapter 55, God says:
"My thoughts are not the same-as your thoughts,
    and My ways are different from your ways.
The same-as the sky is high above the earth,
    the same the ways and thoughts of God
        are far above your ways and thoughts."

[Also see christdeaf.org faith sharing resources FAQ #4]

People who truly believe that God thinks like them,
they say that the Bible doesn't mean what it clearly says.
Really? Says who?

God tells us clearly!
    He knows!

He made us.
And He says that He made heaven,
    and He made hell.

He says that hell is waiting for people who reject Him.
And He says that both heaven and hell will continue forever.
And that bothers us.

If God loves all people,
    how can He send people to hell?

The Bible teaches God is holy and JUST. 
    Some people sign that word "God is fair."
    A better translation is: God always does the right thing.
   
JUSTICE requires that when we rebel,
    when we don't obey Him,
        we must have punishment.

WE know that, because do that.
When a police officer catches you speeding,
    what must he do?
Give you ticket.

When you murder someone,
    what must the judge decide?
        Prison.

We understand that.

When we get punished, we can't complain,
    because we deserve it.

What is the proper punishment for a person
    that rejects his Maker?

Yes.... we ALL deserve hell.

But, God truly loves all people.
God feels mercy for everyone.

That is why Christ already suffered for us.

When Jesus suffered there on the cross, He felt hell.
He did that to save us,
    and open heaven to all who will receive His gift. 


Notice that the Bible teaches that God made hell, why?
God made hell for punishing "the devil and his angels,"
    not for punishing people. 

And people who chose to follow the devil
    they will win the devil's reward  (Matt. 25.41; Rev. 20.10). 

The Bible says that God doesn't-want to send anyone to hell. 
He urges everyone to "Repent and live!" (Ezekiel 18.32).  
He wants all people in Heaven with Him. (1 Timothy 2:4). 

So really, God doesn't need to send anyone to hell.
    They voluntarily go there,
        because God gives them an opportunity for heaven.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, that you paid our debt.
You forgive all our sins.
You suffered hell instead of us.
You opened heaven for us.
Help us trust you always.
Amen.

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