Saturday, September 29, 2007

Is hell separation from God?

Read this, from the Desiring God Blog.

Regarding hell, consider what is recorded in Revelation 14:9-10:

“And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.’”

Those in hell, who worshiped the beast, are “tormented…in the presence of the Lamb.” Doesn’t this suggest that, in some way, God is present even in hell? Certainly this view would accord with the testimony of David, who wrote in Psalm 139:7-8,

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!”

Consider, also, these verses of Scripture:

Deuteronomy 4:24, “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”

Isaiah 33:14, “The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: ‘Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?’”

Hebrews 12:29, “…our God is a consuming fire.”

These and other Scriptures suggest to me that one great reason hell is the place of torment that it is to the lost sinner is because God is there. How grateful we should be, who have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus bore the wrath of God on the cross, we shall spend eternity in the presence of God without ever seeing His wrath. We shall never experience the “everlasting burnings”.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Words spoken at a granddaughter’s funeral

Pastor John Piper’s daughter-in-law and son, Abraham, recently lost their baby girl who was stillborn at full term. I encourage you to please pray for the parents and family as they deal with this very sad loss. I also encourage you to read these words that Pastor John spoke at his granddaughter’s funeral. Seldom have I read such moving words.

“Emergent” heresy?

Let me confess from the outset that I don’t know a whole lot about “Emergent” or the “Emerging Church” movement. However, what I do know or have heard is not encouraging. This movement’s desire to take a fresh look at what Jesus taught and to present to the world “a new kind of Christian” seems to me to be nothing more than a foolish and misguided quest which will ultimately lead away from the saving message of the gospel and the truth embodied in Jesus Christ. Yet, there are many who seem to be quite taken with what the Emergent movement offers.

Master blogger, Tim Challies, has taken the time to read the latest book by Brian McLaren, an “elder statesman” in the Emergent movement, and write a review. Whether or not McLaren’s views accurately reflect the views of the movement, I do know that his writings are influential. I encourage you to read Challies’ review. If his reading of McLaren is accurate, I think McLaren is a writer Christians would do well to avoid.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

To preachers: Know what you’re preaching about, or sit down

Here’s something for preachers…and any professing Christian who would tell others of Christ. I found it while browsing blogs just a while ago. It is a quote from Charles Spurgeon:

“A man ought to know what he is preaching about, or else let him sit down. If I had any doubt about the matters I preach from this pulpit, I should be ashamed to remain the pastor of this church; but I preach what I do know, and testify what I have seen. If I am mistaken, I am heartily and intensely mistaken; and I risk my soul and all its eternal interests upon the truth of what I preach. If the gospel which I preach does not save me, I shall never be saved, for what I proclaim to others is my own personal ground of trust. I have no private lifeboat; the ark to which I invite others holds myself and all I have.”

—Charles Spurgeon, The Soul Winner, p. 173

(HT: Justin Buzzard)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Leaning on the Lord

Sometimes, I wish God had other ways and means of producing endurance and furthering sanctification than the offensive or frustrating actions of other people. But, if these people are God’s means of making me better, then thank God for them! God can use people to help you and me be more patient, more gentle, more quick to listen and less quick to speak. He can use people to cause us to pray with a greater sense of need and urgency. That’s good. Needy is a good state to be in when what you need is God. “Apart from me you can do nothing,” said Jesus (John 15:5)—and that’s true. We can do nothing of eternal significance, nothing which will please God, apart from the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

I encourage you, as I encourage myself this Sunday night, to thank God for those people and situations that irritate and aggravate and try your patience and elevate your stress. Since God is sovereign, we know these things would not happen if God did not permit them. This means God has provided you and me with a special opportunity to lean and depend upon Him. Run to Jesus and demonstrate to your antagonists that “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). When others act like the devil, pray for the grace to act like Christ. Lean upon the Lord, humble yourself before Him, admit your powerlessness and depend upon His strength. And stay right there: helpless, humble and depending upon God.

I’m a witness: God will help you. He has helped me.