Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fire and Brimstone

Today is a busy and long day and so today's post will necessarily be short.  I just want to continue on yesterday's theme of those times where we ignore the Word of God thinking that somehow someway we know better.  Today that subject will be in preaching and sharing the Gospel.  There is much said today against teaching fire and brimstone.  I am not saying we should all walk around threatening people with Hell, but to only discuss the love of God and not also the judgement of God gives an incomplete picture.  Some say that we should be teaching Jesus from every Scripture.  Surely every Scripture does speak to Jesus, but we also need to remember that Jesus is not only our Savior, but He is also Judge.  He will judge our works, He will judge unbelievers, and He will determine what rewards we receive and do not receive in eternity.  Not only that, but by neglecting the mention of "fire and brimstone" teaching, you are leaving people out of hearing the Gospel message.  Here is the Scripture for today:
And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. Jude 1:22-23 NKJV
The fact is that some will respond to the grace message, but others need to fear judgement before desiring to hear about grace.  Some will be compelled by the love of Christ as Savior, some will turn to Christ as Savior after being compelled by the fear of Hell.  We think we know better many times and want to only share the message of grace and love, but not sharing God's hatred of sin, many will not even understand why they need a savior.  Thinking that there is no need to speak about fire and brimstone denies Scripture that some need to hear that message and it also denies history.  The Great Awakening in America was a fire largely kindled by a sermon entitled "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."  Jesus also often spoke of Hell and spoke of it as a horrible place. 

That said, just as the message of grace is incomplete without the message of judgement, so is the message of judgement without the message of grace.  If you do speak on Hell, you need to speak of Jesus paying the price so one does not have to go to Hell.  If you speak of impending judgement, you need to speak of Jesus dying to save one from that judgement.   The message of grace is pointless without teaching why grace is necessary and the consequences of not accepting that grace.  The message of judgement is pointless without the message of salvation.  I will end with a beautiful and complete presentation of the Gospel as presented by the One who is the Gospel. 
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  John 3:16-18 NKJV

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