Weeping And Gnashing Of Teeth

Matthew 8:5-13

(BASED UPON SERMON BY BATSELL BARRET BAXTER)

 

 On four occasions  as recorded in the gospel of Matthew,  Jesus uttered the expression  " there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

 

The first of these occasions read a moment ago, Matthew chapter 8, chosen text. in the story of the centurion who came to tell Jesus : “6And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.   This centurion displays a magnificent faith by saying:

     8Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

 

Jesus marvels at the faith of this centurion  and states:

10Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

This a tragic situation for us to contemplate being in on the last day.  We all know what weeping is, we know how disturbing it can be for a child to continually  cry and fret. It is heart rending to see an adult weep.  Think what it must be like when the weeping is so bitter, that it is accompanied by the grinding of teeth.

12But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 This is Jesus' way of expressing how terrible indeed it will be to be lost on the last great day, when we shall stand before the great King of Kings.

 

The second time this expression appears in Mathew is found in chapter 22.   The chapter begins:  Matthew 22:1-3

1And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.       The verses that follow tell about the feast that was prepared the urgency which the guests were invited, and the negative answers that came in response to that invitation. The king then sent them out into the highways, and the byways  and brought in as many as was found.

 

The parable concludes speaking of a man who came in without a wedding garment. He was a man who failed to have the characteristics or virtues that God's people must have.  And to all this morning, who have responded to the King's invitation, obeyed the  blessed gospel,  this question      "Are you properly attired to attend the wedding feast?"

 

Hear the conclusion  of the parable—  Matthew 22:11-13

 

11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

Turn with me over two chapters to Matthew 24:48 - And our third occurrence of this expression is found.  This time Jesus describes a faithful servant showing the blessing to be bestowed.   But notice the words spoken to the unfaithful servant on this occasion —  48But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

 

The final occurrence is in Matthew 25,  There Jesus told the familiar story of the ten virgins.  You remember, Five were wise,  because they had properly prepared when the Bride groom was gone. But five were foolish not properly  prepared..   He had also told the story of the talents, with its two faithful servants contrasted with its one unfaithful servant. At the end of the story we read: “30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:30

 

 I read those passages because their words are not from men but from the Lord.  They are words not for someone else, but for us.    There are those of you in the audience today for whom these words will eventually be very real. We often preach so politely and casually  that those who are without hope, those who are living in sin, and lost go away having felt no prick in their hearts.     I trust this shall not be the case today.    

 

 Someday I, too must stand before the judgment bar of the Living God, and receive judgment for the things I have said and failed  to say. When that time comes my salvation will depend not only on obeying the commandments to become a Christian, but also on whether I have fully preached the gospel of Christ so that no man can fail to feel the terror of being lost and the wonder of being saved.

 

The apostle Paul conscience of these very facts writes in    2 Corinthians 5:9-11

9Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.  10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men

 

As I studied and prepared for this sermon this past week,   I contemplated who might be here, and some of you came to mind and I thought, "oh, if time goes on and if you do not become a Christian, you will stand before God, and be judged having rejected Christ on that day.    Then I thought that I if I fail to tell you of your lost condition, if I fail to warn you,  YOU will have to answer, but I too will have to answer,  It is a terrible thing to be lost. Man has been lulled into thinking that it is unimportant.  He has been led to think causally of his lost condition. But that is not the way Jesus viewed being lost…

 

48But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49And shall begin … to eat and drink with the drunken; 50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Matt 24:48-50

 

The Hebrew writer reminds us: 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.   Hebrews 10:31 and again 

27And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:  Hebrews 9:27

 

 And when our time is up, there is no second chance.  As we died, we shall stand before God in judgment.  In the same chapter from which I was reading a moment ago, I find this description of the judgment.

31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:      . .  41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  Matthew 25:31,32…41

 

 Our Lord wasn't mincing words; He was simply saying that if you are not a Christian that one of these days, when your life is over and the world cease to be, you are going to hear these terrible words, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: “   And the tragic, realistic fact is that some of you here are going to hear these words. You are lost until you become a Christian. Until you confess your faith in Christ and give your life to Christ you have no hope of eternal life. 

 

Right now you are lost and unless something happens to change your course in life.  You are going to hear these words, not someone else but you, yourself shall hear — “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” 

 

There is a passage of scripture in the last book of the Bible, dictated by the Lord to the apostle John which describes that last great scene.   Revelation 20:11-15

11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.    

 

The other day, I was rushing to mow my lawn.  We'd had so much rain, my grass was tremendously high, with rain moving in.

I had missed a chance or two, with my wife telling me "you better get the yards mowed, we are going to have rain coming in."  But I had put it off, the rains came in,  I don't like to mow my yards when the grass is wet. I was rushing to get my lawn mowed before the rain, I realized that if it rained again before I could mow, my yard was going to be out of hand.  And I couldn't help but think about how that is the way men put off their obedience to their God. They are busy about doing this or that, just as I was, when Joy was telling me "you better get the grass cut". The things that I had been doing was alright, it needed to be done, but I had neglected something more important at the time.

 

I have seen many of you busy doing things "that need to be done" but neglecting, and jeopardizing your eternal salvation. You just must change because you don't want to be lost and hear those words “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: “   It is a terrible thing to be lost. "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."  Not for a hour, not for a day, but throughout eternity.

 

A number of years ago, I was in Los Angeles California, several of us guys, had heard about the Art Linkletter show, it was something we wanted to see, We had sent off for tickets,  but on the bottom of the ticket was this notation "Doors will be closed at such and such a time."  We parked and ran up the steps of that studio,  only to find the doors had been closed. The show was underway,  the TV cameras were running, and the doors stayed closed.   It was a very sad and strange feeling going back to the car with tickets in our pocket  to a show, we wanted to see very badly…… And that is the way, some of you are going to feel at the judgment..   31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.   "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

 

There is a story in the Bible that I would read to you. It is told by inspiration, therefore it must be important.   It is about a man named Felix, along with his wife Drusila, She wasn't really his wife, but belonged to a man by the name of Aziz King of an insignificant province. She was an opportunist who saw gain in adultery.  But this proud man and his adulterous wife sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith.  This is inspirations account of Felix and Drusilla's hearing the gospel..

Acts 24:24-25

24And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

 

It was here that Felix made the biggest mistake in his life. He no doubt had made many, but none as big as this one.  In that moment when he was terrified, when he had been moved by the Word of God, to obey,  he weakly stated: “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”

 

If Felix could come back now and sit in your seat, if he could remake his decision, Felix would be a Christian.  Twenty Centuries of regret are a long time, but remember his sentence has only begun. There will be an eternity for Felix to regret his decision.  Felix can never change his destiny now.  You and I can change our destiny, life is not yet over for us, we can change our  eternal destiny now. 

 

There are some in the audience who became members some time back, but it was careless,  and not meaningful,  you didn't hold out and now you are just paying lip service to the Lord.  You know whether that describes you or not.  It would be a terrible thing to become a Christian and then be lost because of CARELESSNESS or lack of concern for God and His word.

 

 There are some here who need to come back to the Lord and say, "Lord I've sinned by neglecting to give you my best, but that is all past, I repent of that sin".   There are others here who need to heart the words Peter spoke on Pentecost day,  those who are outside of Christ, outside salvation….  men and women who were so pricked in their hearts by the Word of God they cried out “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”  The words came echoing back

38Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2:38

 

 You need to hear those words of Paul when he spoke at Athens

 

30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.    Acts 17:30-31

 

You need to hear the words Paul wrote to the Romans, Romans 10:9-10

 

9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  

 

 Beloved there isn't any salvation until you obey like Saul of Tarsus

16And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. 

Acts 22;16

 

Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth

 

Will you not respond and change your destiny Now?  

 

contact:: Ron Cope minister

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658