R.T. Kendall thinks believers should aspire to two things: becoming popular in heaven and becoming famous in hell.
That might sound like chasing fame. But Kendall told Charisma Media's Dr. Steve Greene it has nothing to do with earthly popularity. In fact, he muses, being famous among people on earth often is the opposite of popularity in heaven.
"If I want to be popular with people, I have to kiss popularity in heaven goodbye," Kendall says. "Can't have it both ways. ... Can you imagine after Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, [if] he called Peter over and said, 'Hey Peter, how did I do?' We tend to want approval from one another. What I've sought to do is eschew that and say, 'God, what did you think?'"
He defines popularity in heaven as being in accord with God, the angels and the "sainted dead."
Meanwhile, he uses the story of the sons of Sceva in Acts 19 as his benchmark for fame—or perhaps infamy—in hell. In the story, Jewish men attempted to drive out an evil spirit by invoking, as Kendall says, "the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches."
The demon replied, "I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?" (Acts 19:15b).
"To be famous in hell is to be a soul-winner," Kendall says. "I don't think the devil wants soul-winners."
Kendall says great evangelists become famous in hell for ripping souls out of the clutches of the enemy. He says it's a distinction he can only hope to have.
"What greater thing can be said about you to think that you're famous in hell?" Kendall says. "And you know, I don't think I'm famous in hell at all. That worries me. I want to be. I want to be. I would love to think I'm a threat to the devil. What an honor if I thought the devil was threatened by me."
Kendall's new book Popular in Heaven, Famous in Hell is now available wherever books are sold.
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