God’s Love And His Anger

On July 8, 1741, Jonathan Edwards delivered his famous sermon entitled, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God.” The message was given in Enfield, Connecticut at the height of the Great Awakening. The powerful imagery of hell invoked fear.

The text was Deuteronomy 32:35, “Their foot shall slip in due time.” God was angry with the Israelites who had forsaken Him and provoked Him to anger with their worship of demons and other gods. Over and over He had been their Rock, their provider and their deliverer but they turned away from His love and now He was angry with their rebellion.

The message was meant to make people think seriously about their eternal destination. He wanted sinners to realize that someday they will be judged by God, whose judgement will be more fearful and painful than they can comprehend. Graphic descriptions and vivid imagery enhanced the themes presented. A short summary of some of the main points were;

1. Unrepentant sinners face a fearful judgement from which there is no escape
2. Time is short for the unrepentant; God’s wrath will come suddenly and unexpectedly
3. It is only God’s free choice that extends the ‘day of mercy’ and provides another opportunity to respond to His call.
4. Although there are not visible means of death before them at the moment the wicked should not feel secure.
5. All that wicked men may do to save themselves will not save them from the pain of hell if they reject Christ.
6. God has never promised to save anyone from hell, except for the provision of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross.

His words were meant to condemn the sin in those who were unrepentant and to shake the “fence sitters” out of their complacency. People responded in various ways. Many times the sermon was interrupted as listeners were moaning and crying out, “What must I do to be saved?” Some fled the church and others screamed and nearly fainted! He scared the hell out of a lot of people!! Some repented, believed and received Christ.

Most of the time we want to think of God as all loving, giving and kind. And He is! Scripture says God is Love, that’s His very nature, but He created us with a will, we are not robots. We can exercise our will to love Him and live a life pleasing to Him or we can turn our backs on Him and follow everything that is pleasing to us. We always have a choice.

When we choose our way, He still shows us His love and stands with arms extended, calling us back to Him as He did with Israel. Unfortunately many people reject His call and decide to go their own way. They think they can do it their way and it will be accepted. God says our righteousness is like filthy rags. We can never be good enough or do enough good deeds to cover our sins.

God created us as eternal beings which means, each person will live forever. We were made with a body, soul and spirit. Our body of flesh and blood will die but our soul and spirit will always live somewhere in eternity! God has provided two places for us to live; heaven or hell. There is no third choice! There is no waiting place where we can buy more time to be made ready for heaven!

Two choices;  #1. Heaven, in the place Jesus has prepared for us, to be with Him forever, in the presence of our Father and His angels,  and #2. Hell (the lake of fire) which is prepared for the devil and his demons but where unrepentant sinners will be sent after they face Almighty God! In his book,”Beyond the Cosmos” Hugh Ross says, “The lake of fire is a place where people and demons get what they want above anything else: freedom from the will and rule of God and freedom from the restraints of conscience.”

Jesus told the disciples, don’t worry about the persecution you will encounter as you witness for Me. “Don’t fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;…” Proverbs 1:7 “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.”

Hell is a real place! It’s a place of torment from which there is no escape once you are there! In parables and stories Jesus spoke of people being  sent to a place of outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The book of Revelation speaks of fire and brimstone as the final end of those who refuse God’s offer of salvation. Those who accept the world’s system will be tormented with fire and brimstone with the smoke of their torment ascending forever. Revelation 14:9-11

Today is the day of salvation! James 4:13-14 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will…’  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.” Hebrews 2 (paraphrased) “We must pay attention to what we’ve heard. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Jesus came to deliver us.” Hebrews 3 and 4, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Jesus, the sinless Son of God, came from heaven to earth, took on human flesh, lived as a man, was crucified as the Lamb, sacrificed for the sins of all mankind. The blood of Jesus, now cleanses from sin and saves all who receive Him as their Savior. Romans 10:9-13 (paraphrased) “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart… the word of faith…  if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you shall be saved.”

“For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation… Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed… Whoever will call upon the Name of Jesus will be saved.” John 3:16 “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

My friend, what about your soul? Will you spend eternity in heaven or hell? The decision is yours! Do not wait, you may not have another time! Christ stands at the door of your heart but you must open the door! Can you say the words from the hymn by Horatio G Spafford, “It is well with my soul!  – My sin – oh, the bliss of this glorious thought – my sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.”

Today is the day! There is no guarantee of tomorrow!

 

 

 

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THE REASON FOR MY HOPE

1 Peter 3:15 “- be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you -”

To begin with I must define  what is meant by the word “hope.” It is not talking about some wish for something which may or may not be a reality. It is not an unknown hope in an unknown future. The word used here means “a desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it.” I am expecting the good I hope for.

The first reason for my hope is that God is real. He is the creator of the Universe, the heavens above and the earth beneath. “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood  through what has been made-,” Rom 1:20

I believe that God made human beings, animals and every form of life. Without God, no living creature exists. Nothing just happened to come into existence by itself. God, the Master Designer created the world and now sustains the world. He keeps the sun and moon in their places and provides the air we breathe.

The second reason for my hope is that God speaks to people. He has always spoken since time began, in various ways. He spoke directly to people like Adam, Moses and Abraham as well as others. He also spoke indirectly through His prophets and others.

He also speaks through the Bible, written by men, at different times in history, who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The Bible is the living Word of God. The message in it’s pages is the good news of our deliverance from the slavery of sin.

The Bible is reliable because of prophecies that have been fulfilled, the unity of the message and the many historical facts that are correct. The Scriptures answer the questions: “Why are we here? Where are we going? What’s the purpose of life? ” And most important of all it changes lives.

Some years ago I heard an interesting story that was told by Barry Buzza. There was a missionary in Africa who was preaching the Word and giving out Bibles free to anyone who wanted one. He offered one to a rather inebriated young man who said, “No, I don’t want one!”

The missionary said, “Well take a Bible, it will really help you. This is God’s Word to you!” The man said “No, I’m not interested in having a Bible.” As the missionary kept insisting he should take it, the man said, “Preacher, if I took that Bible I would rip out the pages and use them to wrap my cigarettes in.”

The missionary said, “OK, you can do that but you’ve got to make me a promise that every page that you use for a cigarette wrapper, you’ve got to read it before you wrap your cigarette.” The guy thought that’s a fair deal so he took the Bible and walked away.

About 25 years later the missionary came back for a retirement celebration. A young, black man was preaching up on the platform. After the service the young man came up to the missionary and asked him, “Do you know who I am?” The missionary said, “No.”

He said, “I am the young guy you gave a Bible to years ago and I said I would smoke it.” The missionary said, “Yes, I remember that.” The young man said, “Well, I smoked through Matthew, I smoked through Mark and I smoked through Luke.”

“I was smoking my way through John and I got to John 3:16 where it said,  ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believeth in Him would not perish but would have eternal life.’ I knelt down and accepted Jesus as my Savior.”

Hebrew 1:1 says “In these last days God has spoken through His Son.” God spoke when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to show us the Father and make it possible for us to know Him. He came to reconcile mankind to our heavenly Father.

When man chose his own way instead of God’s it caused us to be estranged from Him. That sin carried the penalty of death. Jesus came to earth and paid that penalty for us when He died a cruel death on a Roman cross. But His death was not the end.

He did not stay in the tomb. Three days later He was resurrected. Everyone who believes that Jesus paid the penalty for their sins receives forgiveness and begins a new, changed life with a desire to know and please God.

Everyone who trusts in Jesus as their Savior has the hope, the certain expectation of a resurrection and eternal life with Him.  I have the hope of fellowship with my heavenly Father in the life I live here on earth and for the life I will live with Him in eternity.

I could not hope to keep the law or do enough good deeds to make it to heaven. The hymn writer put it this way, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” My hope is in the salvation He has made possible for me.

Heb 6:19 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil (the holy of holies in heaven) where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us.” This hope is my sure anchor!

K. Wuest, said this, “This life is the sea; the soul, a ship; the hidden bottom of the sea, the hidden reality of the heavenly word. The soul is seen as storm tossed on the troubled sea of life. The soul of the believer, as a tempest tossed ship is held by the anchor within the veil, fastened by faith to the blessed reality within the veil.”

But what about those who do not choose to put their hope and trust in Jesus? We are eternal beings and will live forever somewhere, either in heaven with God or in hell without God. Hell gives people the right to live apart from God! We have a choice!

I choose to live with and for Jesus Christ. My hope is in Him! Where is your hope?