Following the great message of hope in verse 16, we are presented with this incredible message of condemnation. The message of condemnation is not a popular message. Most religions deny condemnation or explain it away.
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses say there is no hell. - Far eastern religions and the new age movement teach reincarnation instead of judgment. - Roman religions teach a period of suffering followed by release from purgatory. - The Humanist has rationalized that God would not send anyone to an eternal everlasting place called hell, with real fire.
Man inherently knows the crime must be paid for, but he wants to compromise. He wants to make no choice, but that is impossible - to not accept is to reject!
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isa 53:6)
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" (Rom 3:10) "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Rom 3:23)
God sent His Son into the world to save the world, but this does not mean that everyone is automatically saved. In fact, some are condemned and doomed. Jesus reveals man’s condemnation in our text this morning.
I. Who is Condemned?
A. Not the believer.
1. The person who believes on Christ...
a. Is acquitted as though he never sinned.
b. Is released.
c. Is not to be captivated again by guilt, fear, bondage, or shame.
d. Is not to be condemned or judged.
2. He is as guilty as the unbeliever, but the difference is that the believer has committed his life to Him.
3. The believer is released from condemnation because he believes on Christ.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but it passed from death unto life." (John 5:24)
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Rom 8:1)
B. It is the Unbeliever that is con- demned already.
1. Note who the unbeliever is.
a. He is the person who has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
b. God has only one begotten Son.
c. The man who has not already believed on God’s Son is the unbeliever.
d. It does not matter who the man is or where he is; he is an unbeliever if he has not already believed on the only begotten Son of God.
2. Note what it means to be condemned or judged.
a. It means to "perish".
b. The word ‘perish’ means to be lost, to destroy, to be cut off, or to be spiritually destitute.
c. It means to be separated from God for an eternity.
II. When is the unbeliever condemned?
A. ‘Already’, right now.
1. It is not that he is to be condemned...
2. He is already condemned!
B. At least three things are meant by being ‘condemned already’.
1. Condemnation is a sure fact.
a. The unbeliever’s judgment is sure, so sure it is as though he has already been condemned.
b. Nothing can change or stop the judgment from coming upon the unbeliever.
c. Ignoring, denying, and struggling against the great day of judgment will not change one detail of the day.
d. It is coming, and every single unbeliever will be judged.
2. The unbeliever is already under the present curse of sin.
a. He is without Christ.
b. He is a stranger to the promises of God.
c. He is without hope, and without God in the world.
"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:" (Eph 2:12)
3. The unbeliever already stands guilty of all the sins he has ever committed.
a. Every time a man breaks the law of God, he immediately becomes guilty and is condemned.
b. The judgment is already pronounced.
c. The unbeliever must pay the penalty for every trans- gression of God’s law.
"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." (Gal 3:10)
III. Why is the unbeliever condemned?
A. The unbeliever has not believed.
1. The great sin of unbelief is that it neglects, ignores, denies, and rejects God’s Son.
2. The truth and goodness of God’s Son is not embraced.
3. Christ is the great remedy for man’s sins: Therefore, unbelief - rejecting and refusing to believe Him - is a great and damning sin.
B. The unbeliever is condemned because Light has come into the world.
1. The Light came into the world to:
a. Give light to men.
b. To enable men to walk out of the darkness of a sinful and perishing world.
c. To show men the way, the truth, and the life:
2. The Light shows man the way God intends for him to live.
3. The Light shows man the truth of life.
4. The point is this:
a. The life of Jesus Christ now stands in the world to give Light.
b. Any man who does not turn and walk in the Light is naturally in the dark.
c. He is condemned to the darkness and to all that happens to those who walk in the darkness.
C. The unbeliever is condemned because he loves darkness.
1. Why would he love darkness?
a. Because his deeds are evil and to turn and walk in the Light would expose his evil deeds for what they are: immoral, unrighteous, and disobedient to God.
b. The unbeliever loves his sin and does not want to turn and face the conviction of the Light.
c. If he turned to the Light, He would have to give up his sin, and he loves it all too much to give it up.
2. The unbeliever is full of pride.
a. He does not want to confess his sin, the fact that he is in darkness and short of what God demands.
b. He denies he is in darkness, refusing to turn to the Light (Christ).
3. The unbeliever is enslaved, in bondage to sin and gripped by the darkness.
a. He has been in darkness so long that he does not have the strength to break the enslavement.
b. The unbeliever fears the shame, embarrassment, and consequence of his sin.
c. In some cases he would like to confess his evil and correct it, but fear keeps him from coming out and facing the Light (Christ).
"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:" (1 John 1:6)
D. The unbeliever is condemned because he does not come to the Light.
1. Whatever his reasons, the believer refuses to come to the Light; therefore, he is condemned.
2. The unbeliever is uncomfort- able in the Light. Therefore, he shuns everything that presents the Light to him:
a. The local church.
b. Believers who witness.
c. The Word of God, the Bible.
d. Prayer and spiritual conversation.
3. The unbeliever hates the Light.
a. They ignore, reject, deny, and fight the Light.
b. They speak and write against it, ridicule and curse it, persecute and seek to stamp it out.
During the early days of his ministry, D.L. Moody had launched a series of meetings in Chicago. He spoke on the life of Christ. The text placed Christ before Pilate. Mt. 27:22 "What shall I do then with Jesus, who is called Christ?" Moody concluded by saying: "I want you to take this text home with you and turn it over in your minds during the week, and next week come to Calvary and the cross and decide what to do with Jesus.
The date was Oct. 8, 1871. Later Moody would call this invitation the greatest mistake of his life. Because, unknown to them, even while Ira Sankey was singing a final hymn, fire engines began to sound in response to the beginning of the blaze that would be known as the Great Chicago Fire. Over 1,000 died in this fire. Some of them were in that service.
Come to Jesus today! Do not put it off ... "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)