Men God Counts Worthy

Bible Book: Luke  3 : 8
Subject: Righteousness; Judgment; Death

Luke 3:8

(The outline for this sermon was prepared by the Editor of PastorLife)

Let us look together at Luke, chapter 3, and verse 8. My subject from this passage is "Men Who God Counts Worthy.” We all know of people who are greatly admired, whom men esteem worthy, for some reason or other. But here we read of people on this earth whom GOD counts worthy, worthy of heaven and salvation and eternal life. Now some Christian friends will draw back at this word "worthy." They say grace, grace, grace, grace until they do not recognize by the study of the Word of God that there are people whom God counts WORTHY of certain things - worthy of heaven, worthy of fellowship, worthy of death, worthy of resurrection, worthy of the other world with Him. All of these are Scriptural expressions, and we are going to consider some of them just now. I want to be among that crowd whom God counts worthy of glory, worthy of walking with Him, worthy of being with Him forever worthy, because they turn to Him with their whole heart!

Now one of the "worthies" is in Luke 3, verse 8. Here we have John the Baptist preaching. He is the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is filled with the Holy Spirit and he begins to speak, saying, "Bring forth, therefore, fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham for our Father. For I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

Now John goes out preaching, and what a preacher he is! You will remember that for 400 years  there has been no voice in Israel at all. Since Malachi, for 400 years, there has been a dearth of men with a message from God. No great prophet had arisen. There had been no vision. No prophecy had come to the nation of Israel. Then all of a sudden there came upon the scene this strange man, John the Baptist, who brings to mind thoughts of the great prophet Elijah, because of his manner of dress and food and the places he preaches. He doesn't proclaim his message in the city of Jerusalem and in other large cities. He preaches out in the wilderness. But so tremendous is his message and so powerful the work of the Lord in him, that great crowds of people throng out of the city to hear John  the Baptist, and they confess their sins under this preaching and are baptized. Now John sees a group of insincere religious people there and he knows that they are not genuine in their profession. There will always be some who are like that, merely attracted to a real revival, but in their hearts not meaning business with God. These insincere ones are on the outer edge spiritually. Oh, they are there in the middle of things, perhaps, but their real hearts and souls are not in it.

I. Conversion Means Change

So John the Baptist cries out to them, "You had better bring forth fruit worthy of repentance. You had better show by your life that your have genuinely repented of your sins." Friends, I pause here to say that when a person is really right with God, with genuine heartfelt sorrow over sin, that person's life will be changed. A person will not live on in sin, once he is a child of God. There will be fruits worthy of repentance, actions that indicate that he has really repented. You can tell when a sinner has repented, because there will be fruit in his life. There will be a difference in his life after he has gotten low before God. When a man realizes he is a sinner on his way to Hell, and honestly and earnestly cries to God, "God, be merciful to me a sinner, I want my sins forgiven, I want to come to Heaven," that man's life is going to be different from then on. Everyone will know it.

And if that change hasn't taken place in your heart and life, beloved friends, then you have no right to believe you are saved. Conversion means change, and a truly converted heart is a changed heart, changed toward God, toward sin, toward the world. If you have never had any change in your life toward God and sin and the world, then, beloved, there is something dead wrong. Better search your heart and seek the Lord with all your heart. "Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance." When we really repent of sin, we bring forth fruit. God counts worthy of heaven only those who bring forth fruit that bespeak repentance that is worthy of repentance. If they have sincerely repented of their sins and come to God with real contrition of heart and have beat their breast like the publican, crying out earnestly, "God, be merciful to me a sinner," and have truly received the Lord Jesus, such God  counts of glory.

II. Faith Looks to the Future

The next reference is Luke 20:35. Here we read of those who are worthy to obtain that world to come, and the resurrection of the dead. We read, "But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels and are the children of God." Wonderful statement! Jesus speaks here of the resurrection, for the dead who are "counted worthy." I like that expression. Listen, "those which shall be counted worthy to obtain that world." What world is Jesus talking about? He is not talking about the present world that we know now. He is referring to the other world, with God and the angels and the saints who have gone on before.

A. A Foolish Error

THERE IS ANOTHER WORLD, brother, and a man is a fool to spend all his time on this world and forget the next world. A man is foolish to spend 10, 20. 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 years on this earth and live for it, giving it all his thought and time and effort and labor and investment, and then DIE with nothing whatever for the next world. No preparation, no salvation, no God, no Christ, no hope. I tell you, such   a man is a fool! I didn't say so! God says so. He says so all through this Blessed Book. And yet, there are people every day who ignore God and His world to come. How can any thinking person be interested only in this world?

B. A Faithful Endeavor

How I thank God that by His Grace I am among the few who are living for the OTHER world. I am willing to give up this world if God tells me there is another one. I am willing to give it up if He tells me there is a Christ, a God, a Heaven, an Eternity, another world that this old world knows nothing about. I am willing to sacrifice this world, and by the grace of God I am.

Oh, how we should thank the Lord that He has called us out of this world! It is passing away with the lusts thereof. "But he that doest the will of God abideth forever." This world is passing away. Why spend time and effort on something that is passing away? The next world is the one that counts!

Spiritual things are the only abiding things. Spiritual realities are the eternal realities. If you are spending all your time on this world and what it has to offer you'd better look out after your soul, beloved. Your body is going to die, your brain will rot in the earth, but that SOUL of yours will LIVE ON, forever!

If you are wise, you will make some investment in the other world. Start now to live for Eternity instead of Time, and for God rather than for Satan and self.

C. A Failed Expenditure

Some people are already in their graves. Some of them lived only for this world. If so, they are lost souls. They have lost the other world. There are other people, praise God, who is now sleeping in cemeteries, who will be "counted worthy" by God to obtain unto that resurrection and the other world.  I believe my mother will be in that group. I believe my father will be in that group. I thank God for the confidence that they will be "counted worthy." They loved God in this life. They loved the Bible and the things of God and went regularly to the House of God. But think about the multitudes that die, having made no preparation! Listen, there is coming a resurrection and Jesus said some would be counted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead.

In the first resurrection, the saved shall stand up out of their graves and go to meet God and leave all the unsaved remaining in their graves. A thousand years later will be the second resurrection unto damnation, when all that rejected God and lived only for this world and were interested only in stocks and bonds and houses and lands and the pleasures of the present time with lust and shame the chief joy of this world, will be raised in that day and realize to their terror that they have LOST the  REAL values! They have lost Eternity with God! They sacrificed Eternity for Time. They traded Heaven for this poor passing world down here. It is going to be too late, then. You choose your eternal destiny while you are still here. Now is the time of preparation.

III. Trust Avoids the Tribulation

Now the next passage about those whom God deems worthy is found in Luke 21:36. This verse has to do with the coming Great Tribulation. Jesus says, "Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of man." This tells how to escape the Tribulation Period, that great time of trouble that is coming upon the world. This world is going to get darker and darker, Jesus said, and night is coming on apace. Here he tells how to escape the awful judgment. He tells also about signs that will take  place. "Signs in the sun, the moon and the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts filling them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth: for the powers of Heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming." Then Jesus says in verse 34, "Take heed to yourself lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and the cares of this life." Oh, how many people (even Christians) let the cares of this life keep them from getting ready for God and Eternity. Not great, deep sins, but just the cares of this life. They neglected prayer and the Bible.

A. Perilous Times Ahead

Now listen, "And so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth.” Yonder is a hunter. He is very clever as he tries to trap that wild animal. He sets a steel trap, with its awful teeth, and he covers it over so that it seems not to be there. The animal comes down the path and lays its paw down and suddenly it is trapped! Caught in the snare! That is the way the Tribulation is going to come upon the world. Brother, I don't want to be here! The church is going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, thank God. How can we know we will be in the rapture? Here it is: "Watch ye therefore." Watch what? Watch your own heart and life amid the cares of this life and the sin that abounds.

B. Prayerful Time Needed

"Watch and pray always." Constant prayer is the only way to be ready for the rapture. No man can say he is ready to meet the Lord in the rapture if he is not praying. "Watch ye, therefore, and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man..” Someday, Hell is going to break loose on this earth, but there are some people down here that God counts worthy of escaping that Hell on earth, the Tribulation. Those are the ones who obey Jesus as He says, "Watch and pray."

C. Passing Away Deserved

Next there are those whom God counts worthy of death. Romans 1:32, "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." Here is a catalogue of things God hates and He says if you are doing these things He counts you worthy of the second death, which is eternal Hell. "Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant  breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. God says that such He counts worthy of death. Brother, you better come to Christ for the forgiveness of those sins and get rid of them, rather than have the death sentence from God carried out!

Then in Hebrews 10:29, "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the son of God, and ' hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified and unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace? For we know Him that said Vengeance belongeth to me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again the Lord shall judge His people... It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." God says plainly that the man who rejects the Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of sorer punishment.


Then in Revelation 3:4, “Thou hast a few names, even in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy." Jesus looked on the city of Sardis and He found the people just the same as you find them today living in sin. They had their great amphitheaters and their stage stars putting on their shows and multitudes in the city flocked to see them. But in that great city was a little handful that had not defiled their garments, a little group who loved God and Christ, and Jesus said, "They shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy." Isn't that wonderful?

Listen, in Atlanta, Georgia, today, our Lord looks down on masses of people who go on heedless of Him. They do not go to church. Many who go to church keep on living in sin, living careless lives, neglecting the Bible and prayer and the things of God. But Jesus is also looking down on a little handful that do love God. And He says to them, "You will walk with me in white." They have given up their sins at the foot of the Cross. They have accepted Him as their personal Savior. They are going to walk with Him in white!

Beloved, listen to me today. I'd rather have the Lord Jesus and someday walk with Him in white than to walk in sin in this old world! What have you done with Jesus? Will God account you worthy of Heaven or Hell? Bow your head where you are and accept Jesus. Will you do it?