ETERNITY – WHERE WILL YOU SPEND IT?

For over twenty five years, from 1930 to 1956, the people of Sydney woke up each day to a one-word sermon—”Eternity”—handwritten in white chalk or yellow crayon (when raining) on footpaths, train station platforms, and perimeter walls lining the city’s many walkways and streets. Each day a fresh batch of graffiti rendered in beautiful copperplate lettering style  would appear at places where there weren’t any the previous night. Somehow, for twenty five years, a mysterious figure had managed to sneak into the city every night and leave his presence on the city’s walls and sidewalks. It attracted the ire of Sydney City Council at first, but as the weeks become months, and the months became years, the “Eternity” graffiti became an iconic symbol of the city. Pedestrians stepped around and over the words, and street sweepers and cleaners left the elegant writings untouched. This is some way explains why the “Eternity” graffiti illuminated on the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of new year’s eve celebration in 2000. The real explanation, God orchestrated it so that many worldwide would be impacted by the “Eternity” message. Arthur Stace was illiterate so it was obvious, certainly to Arthur, that God had initiated it. “I couldn’t understand it, and I still can’t,” Arthur later told in an interview.. But Arthur did know that God had asked him to do it. Arthur was obedient to go out on the streets of Sydney everyday, rain or shine, until the day before he died.

eternity-sydney-1
The “Eternity” graffiti illuminated on the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of new year’s eve celebration in 2000. Photo credit: National Geographic

The mysterious figure behind the phenomenon, who was to become the most famous graffiti artist in Australia’s history, managed to keep his identity a secret until one morning in June 1956, when he was caught in the act. That morning, Reverend Lisle M. Thompson, who preached at the Burton Street Baptist Church, saw a church cleaner sneak out a piece of chalk from his pocket and write the word on the footpath.

Rev. Thompson approached the cleaner and asked, “Are you Mr. Eternity?”, to which the cleaner replied, “Guilty, your honour.” Soon after that encounter, the Sunday Telegraph published an interview with the artist and the mystery that had baffled Sydney for over 25 years was finally revealed. The cleaner’s name was Arthur Malcolm Stace.

arthur-stace-1
A rare photo of Arthur Stace – “Mr. Eternity”.

Born in 1885 in Redfern, Stace’s childhood and much of his adulthood was marked by abject poverty. His parents were alcoholics, and his sisters ran a brothel. In order to survive, he resorted to stealing bread and milk and searching for scraps of food in bins. At the age of 12, Stace became a ward of the state and worked briefly in a coal mine. As a teenager, he became an alcoholic and was subsequently sent to jail at 15 for drunkenness. His twenties were spent running liquor between pubs and brothels, and working as a lookout for gambling dens. During the First World War, Stace found work as a laborer with the Australian Imperial Force, but his recurring bouts of bronchitis and pleurisy led him to be discharged.

Stace finally found his calling in November 1932, when he went to listen to a Baptist preacher named John Ridley give a sermon. In a homily titled “Echoes of Eternity“, Ridley declared: “Eternity, Eternity, I wish that I could sound or shout that word to everyone in the streets of Sydney. You’ve got to meet it, where will you spend Eternity?“. The words so captivated Stace that at that very moment, Stace pulled a piece of chalk he had in his pocket, bent down and wrote the word “Eternity” on the church floor.

Even though he was illiterate and could hardly write his own name legibly, the word ‘Eternity‘ came out smoothly, in a beautiful copperplate script. Arthur had to ask the person next to him what he had written.

God has a calling for each one of us, what is yours? Don’t know, then get into prayer until you do. Also, will you be obedient as Arthur was to carry it out regardless of the cost?

The story of Arthur Stace (Acorn Press, 2017)

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

Colossians is a great book for helping us to live eternally now. Paul instructs us to concentrate on the eternal realities of heaven. “Set your minds on things above” The Greek verb for set emphasizes an ongoing decision. Christians must continually discipline themselves to focus on eternal realities instead of the temporal realities of this earth.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” Colossians 3:1-11

Use of old self and new self. These two terms do not refer to the Christian’s fleshly and spiritual natures. Instead, Paul describes our former unredeemed life as the old self and our life as God’s child as the new self. The new self has the image of the new creation in Christ, just as the old self bears the image of our fallen nature. The old self is under an old master, Satan, while the new self has a new master, the Holy Spirit of God living within.

available on Amazon as eBook

WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT OF THE DEAD, SMALL AND GREAT.

The remains of the 2,411 unborn infants found in Illinois following the death of abortionist Ulrich Klopfer have been laid to rest. Klopfer was described by one local newspaper, The Journal Gazette, as “Indiana’s most prolific abortion doctor,” noting his record of performing tens of thousands of abortion procedures over the course of his career.

Seeking to honor the infant lives horrifically lost and unceremoniously maintained, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill held a mass burial service at a cemetery in South Bend on Wednesday.

Their lives were memorialised with a shared headstone:

View image on Twitter

Ulrich Klopfer will have to account for his life’s work when he appears before Jesus Christ at the White Throne judgement.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.Revelation 20:11-15

.

JOEL ON THE TRADITIONAL VIEW OF HELL

As followers of this website will know, on a recent post “Why Hell is Not Eternal Torment” I supported the Conditional Immortality (Lake of Fire – a Fire that Consumes) view. Joel Richardson in the video below supports the Traditional Eternal Torment view.

This video is the second in a series of three on Hell. In the first video, Joel interviewed a representative of   www.rethinkinghell.com who presented the Conditional Immortality view so I would suggest you start there.

For different reasons, Joel and I believe this is an important subject, and as I value his opinion and the work he is doing on the “end times”, I want you to hear him out. However, you need to ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding of the truth, in respect to God’s justice, and to what God has in store for unbelievers after the white throne judgement.

I have comments I would like to make on this presentation but I would prefer to wait to hear what Joel has to say about the N.T scriptures and then I will respond as I hope you will too.

 

DO YOU HAVE A HEALTHY FEAR OF GOD?

Jesus expected the church to remain in a state of fear of the Lord:

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).

But I will warn you whom you shall fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell. Yes, I say to you, fear Him” (Luke 12:5).

“Fear came to every soul. And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43).

Related image

In the Hebrew, there are two types of fear: one is to revere, and implies a state of fear. The other indicates sudden alarm, or being afraid which is a temporary condition.

In the Greek, just one word is used—to frighten, alarm, or be in awe.

The fear of the Lord referenced in the church in Acts was indicative of a continuing “state of” fear, i.e. being in awe of the Lord, rather than a temporary condition.

A brief survey of the rest of the New Testament reflects this theme of the fear of the Lord in the early church:

On hearing these words, Ananias fell down and died. And great fear came on all those who heard these things. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter said to her, ‘Tell me whether you sold the land for this amount?’ She said, ‘Yes, for that much.’ Peter said to her, ‘How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.’ At once she fell down at his feet and died. Upon entering, the young men found her dead and carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear came on the entire church and on all those who heard these things. Many signs and wonders were performed among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Porch” (Acts 5:5-12).

Also see: Acts 9:31, 13:16, 19:17-19, 2 Cor 7:1,11, Eph 5:21, Eph 6:5, Phil 2:12, 1Tim 5:20; Heb 4:1, 12:28; 1 Pet 2:17, 3:2,3:15

Most importantly, the fear of the Lord always results in one key behavior found in 1 Peter 4:1:

“Therefore, since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (1 Pet. 4:1).

Living in the fear of the Lord always results in the cessation of sin. Proverbs 28:14 shows the contrast between living in fear of the Lord and otherwise: “Happy is the man who always fears, but he who hardens his heart will fall into mischief.”

The fear of the Lord is seen to come upon the church in two ways throughout the New Testament:

External Pressure: God moves supernaturally to respond to sin/evil (Acts 15 and 19) and the people understand and experience the fear of God. This is a reactive response of the church to judgement of sin.

Internal Submission: Believers cease sinning because of fear/awe toward God. This is a proactive response of the church.

Actually, it is the spirit of fear of the Lord that rises up in the heart:

“The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. He shall delight in the fear of the Lord, and he shall not judge by what his eyes see, nor reprove by what his ears hear” (Isa. 11:2-3).

The spirit of fear of the Lord is one of the seven spirits of God (Rev. 1:4).

The fear of the Lord is a spirit sent by God (Rev. 5:6), which rests upon us (Isa. 11:2).

So then, the answer to the question of how the church can rise to this level of unity is: by living in the fear of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord may come in either of two ways to the church:

  1. It comes sovereignly as God exposes and judges sin in the church (Acts 5:5, 19:17; 2 Cor. 7:11).
  2. It comes as believers forsake sin and submit to the Holy Spirit (to convict of sin and convince to righteousness and concerning judgment, 1 Peter 4:1). 

Extract from article by Louis Posthauer is the executive director of Hunters of the Harvest Ministry.