Thursday, May 29, 2008


Jeremiah 29 HOW TO KNOW GOD

1 This is the text of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exiles, the priests, the prophets, and all the people Nebuchadnezzar had deported from Jerusalem to Babylon.
2 This was after King Jeconiah,the queen mother, the court officials, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metalsmiths had left Jerusalem.
3 The letter was sent by Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah whom Zedekiah king of Judah had sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. The letter stated:
4 This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 “Build houses and live in them . Plant gardens and eat their produce.
6 Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease.
7 Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.”
8 For this is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: “Don’t let your prophets who are among you and your diviners deceive you, and don’t listen to the dreams you elicit from them,
9 for they are prophesying falsely to you in My name. I have not sent them.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
10 For this is what the Lord says: “When 70 years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you to this place.
11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
14 I will be found by you”—the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—the Lord’s declaration. “I will restore you to the place I deported you from.”
15 You have said, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon!”
16  But this is what the Lord says concerning the king sitting on David’s throne and concerning all the people living in this city—that is, concerning your brothers who did not go with you into exile.
17 This is what the Lord of Hosts says: “I am about to send against them sword, famine, and plague and will make them like rotten figs that are inedible because they are so bad.
18 I will pursue them with sword, famine, and plague. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth—a curse and a desolation, an object of scorn and a disgrace among all the nations where I will have banished them.
19 I will do this because they have not listened to My words”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“that I sent to them with My servants the prophets time and time again. And you too have not listened.” This is the Lord’s declaration.

Jeremiah 29 HOW TO KNOW GOD

The people of Israel were in trouble. Deportation to Babylon was God’s punishment for them. Historical Background to Babylonian Captivity

Phase 1: 605 BC, 2 Chronicles 36:6-7 King Jehoiakim in shackles, Daniel and others of noble birth deported to Babylon

Phase 2: 597 BC, 2 Kings 24:10-16 Jehoiachin, Queen mother, other rulers, craftsmen, artisans, king’s army (7,000 strong), all but the poorest people deported to Babylon

Phase 3: 586 BC, 2 Kings 25:1-7 Fall of Jerusalem, temple looted, destroyed, walls pulled down King Zedekiah blinded, deported to Babylon

They thought that God didn’t have a single thought of peace toward them, it looked like that all the thoughts God had toward them were thoughts of evil, thoughts of catastrophe…God had it in for them…and He is punishing them in some way. But God says, “I know what I’m doing! I know the plans that I have for you and they are plans to bring you a future and a hope! I know it looks to you like My thoughts toward you are thoughts of calamity, but I know what I’m doing! And everything I’m doing is to bring you a future and a hope!”
What God was trying to say to you is this… Verse 12 begins with the word “then”…it may not appear that way in your translation, but that’s what it is in the text… “THEN when you’re in captivity and you don’t understand what’s going on with your life, THEN when you call upon Me and you shall pray to Me and I will listen to you and you will seek Me with all your heart.”
What God is saying to His people is, “The reason that I’m bringing about this captivity, the reason that I’m doing all these things in your life is to bring you to a place where you will seek Me.” See, they had become so satisfied and settled in their “religion” that they began to seek after other gods…and they were giving their affection and their attention to other gods, and so God says, “What I’m going to do is I’ve to capture your attention and I’ve got to get to the place where you will turn to Me and seek Me, so all of this that is happening, all of this captivity that is coming up on you is so that you will come to the place THEN, THEN, THEN one of these days you will turn to Me and you will seek Me with all your heart.”
What were they being punished for? Well here the problem and the solution are put in one bundle.

They were not seeking God with their whole heart.

The solution, they should seek God with their whole heart.

It sounds a simplistic issue. But it is no more simplistic in our day as it was in Jeremiah’s day.

Blaise Pascal said, there is a God shaped vacuum in every human heart that only God can fill.

This sort of what God promised the people of God through Jeremiah:

Jer. 29:11-13 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 ‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

"Plans for welfare and not for evil" (ESV).
"Plans to take care of you, not abandon you" (MSG).
"Plans for good and not for disaster" (NLT).
"'Plans for well-being and not for trouble" (NLV).

Blaise Pascal said, there is a God shaped vacuum in every human heart that only God can fill.

Augustine “our hearts are not at rest until they find their rest in Thee.

Here are two statements that call forth a response in our hearts.

Both statements echo in our hearts because both statements recognise the unrest and emptiness, an unfulfilledness of the human heart.

Both statements echo in our hearts because both statements recognise that the solution for the human heart is a personal relationship with God.

But why do these statements echo in our hearts?

1. The Revelations That Sustain The Personal Knowing Of God.

The First Way Of Knowing God Is Through Indirect Communication

The classical apologists looked to present evidence for the existence of God.

They were concerned to present Christianity as a rationally acceptable world view.

The Classical apologists presented Christianity as rational through basically 6arguemtns.

The teleological argument:

The cosmological argument

The ontological argument…

The Moral argument from universal conscience.

The classical apologetic was based upon Romans 1:18-22. For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.

We live in a real world. And the real world indicates some thigns to us.

Psalm 19:1-3 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky  proclaims the work of His hands. 2 Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge.3 There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard. 4 Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the inhabited world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun.

19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.
But there is another way that God is known rather than the logical viewing of creation and logically reasoning from this the possibility of the existence of God.

The second way God is made known is through direct communication.

Romans 1:19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.
May also be understood as “God has made it known in them.”

Rom 1:19 διότι τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ φανερόν ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς· ὁ θεὸς γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσεν.

There is a sense of the Divine that is communicated directly to our hearts through the creation.

Psalm 19:1-3 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky  proclaims the work of His hands.

There is also a sense in which God has put within our human hearts the “primitive knowledge” of Himself.

It is there already. It is just waiting for the assertion of the truth of God so it can echo back to Him the joy in the knowledge of God.

It is waiting to be reawakened.

There is a sense in which it speaks to us every day in the voice of conscience.

Romans 2: 14 So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences testify in support of this, and their competing thoughts either accuse or excuse them..

The law written on our hearts disturbs us as conscience reminds us of our need to know and obey God.

Well all of that is true, but what about us?

The Third Way We know God Is Through Indirect Revelation

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The Fourth Way God may be known Is Through Direct Revelation

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The way that you came to know the Lord

1. I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me. 
It was not I that found, O Savior true; no, I was found of thee. 
2. Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold;  I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea.  'Twas not so much that I on thee took hold,  as thou, dear Lord, on me. 

Seeking the Lord may be something the pagan needs to do, but not me! I’ve already got the Lord…you know, I’m saved…I’ve known the Lord for forty years… Well, Paul said the same thing to the Philippians. He said he knew Him. He said he counted all things loss that he might know Him and he said that he continued to count all things loss that I might know Him. What did Paul mean? Well, there’s knowing Him and then there’s knowing Him.
I remember sitting on a plane hearing some American students talking.

One said, “I have seen everything there is to see in Australia!” I raised my eyebrows.. who was this wonderful person who, with an American accent, had seen all there was to see of Australia? I had lived here 45 years, and I hadn’t seen hardly anything! He went on “I flew into Sydney, next I went to Brisbane, then down to Melbourne, then over to Ayers rock, and then up to Darwin and the parks up there.. and then over to the Great barrier Reef, and onto the islands. Yes I’ve seen everythngi there is to see of Australia!” Another Americn student asked him “Wow how long have you been over here?” “A week.”

I almost laughed aloud. In 1 week he had seen a lot, mark you, but had he really come to know the land of Australia? Had he really come to understand Australians? Had he even really experienced anything significant of the wonderful places he had been?”

See, there’s a difference, isn’t there? See there’s a difference in knowing the Lord and knowing Him. There’s a difference in being in a country and being in a country and knowing all about it.
There is being married and there is having a real marriage.
Some people could say, “Oh yes, I’m saved…” “Well, tell me about it.” “Well, He’s my Saviour.” “Describe Him to me.” “Uh, well….” “Tell me some of the things He’s done for you.” “Uh, well, He saved me…” “Yes, but tell me something else.”
And so, God is saying, “What I want for you is for you to seek Me.” “Lord, we already know You…” “Yes, but you only know the top. You’ve only been in the airport…you don’t know all the glories that I have for you. You don’t know all the beauty that is in the Christian life. You don’t know all the strength and the resources that are there. I want you to know Me!”
There are things God has placed in our lives so that we have the innate knowledge of God, but that is not knowing God.

In fact, that innate knowledge of God, as minimal as it is., can be suppressed.

Romans 1:18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.

2. The Reprehensibles That Suppress The Personal Knowing Of God.

GOD MUST BE FOUND BEFORE BE CAN BE KNOWN AND ENJOYED. “He is not far from each one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Yet this natural nearness of God may be unrecognized by us, and may not be sufficient to bring us into the spiritual communion with him. The God of nature may be “the unknown God,” or he may be recognized and yet not enjoyed as the “Portion” of the soul. Sin hides the vision of God, and drives the soul into remote spiritual banishment from God, even though it cannot affect his physical presence.

The Problem Of Pride

21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools


The Problem of Perversion

23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.24 Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.

The Problem Of Perspective

Our natural limitations of thought and experience surround the idea of the Divine with mystery, and make us feel that though God is partly known there are still ways of God that are far beyond our ken, so that we exclaim in bewilderment and distress, “Verily, thou art a God that hidest thyself!” (Isaiah 45:15).

3. The Restoration That Seeks The Knowing Of God.

Jer. 29:11-13 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 ‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

The purpose of God is not achieved in our lives until we find our everything in Him. To seek and find the Lord is to find in Him our joy, delight, fulfilment and success.

God draws near to those who do not seek him, to urge them to search and find him (Isaiah 65:1). He seeks us before we seek him. Our search is the response of our hearts to his invitation (Psalm 27:8). But this search must be made. The promise of finding is attached to the condition of seeking (Matthew 7:7). The prodigal must return to his father before he can receive the welcome home. Men are waiting for God to visit them, reveal himself to them, do something that will bring them back to him.

They may wait forever, and in vain. God is waiting for us. It is our part to arise and seek him.


Vs. 13 - "You shall seek ME."  They were in captivity but they were not told to seek their freedom, or better conditions.

I really believe one of the problems we’re having in contemporary Christianity is that we’re seeking everything in the name of the Lord, but we’re seeking everything but the Lord. We’re seeking His blessings. We’re seeking His gifts. We’re seeking His miracles. But are we seeking Him?

AB Simpson “ Iwish to speak to you about Jesus, and Jesus only. I often hear people say, "I wish I could get hold of Divine Healing, but I cannot." Sometimes they say, "I have got it." If I ask them, "What have you got?" the answer is sometimes, "I have got the blessing", sometimes it is, "I have got the theory"; sometimes it is, "I have got the healing"; sometimes, "I have got the sanctification." But I thank God we have been taught that it is not the blessing, it is not the healing, it is not the sanctification, it is not the thing, it is not the it that you want, but it is something better. It is "the Christ"; it is Himself.”..

HIMSELF   by A. B. Simpson
Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord; Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.
Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own; Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.

Once 'twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says; Once 'twas constant asking, Now 'tis ceaseless praise.

Once it was my working, His it hence shall be; Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me.
Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One; Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.

Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He's mine; Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.
Seek for nothing more: Col. 2:9,10 For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Sometimes we love God for what He can do for us than just for Himself!
So, we’re to seek God exclusively. We’re not to seek for anything beyond Him because there is nothing beyond Him. Having Him you have everything, don’t you? What more could you have?

Seek for nothing more and Settle for nothing less.


Vs. 13 "With all your heart."  An O.T. phrase meaning "to obey all His Word." The word search is important. It’s not a casual looking about. It is an intense investigation, an intense search. And when you search you shall search with all your heart. That’s important! It’s a Hebrew phrase that means “with determination…with desperation.” It means willing to do whatever is required to find Him. It reminds me of the verse in Hebrews 11: 6… “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

This search must be with all the heart. The reason why we are disappointed of the answers of our prayers is often that our prayers are so insincere, so cold, so half-hearted. It is reasonable to expect God, the allseeing, to answer our prayers, not according to the vigor of the language, but according to the fervency of our desires. If we value the knowledge and communion of God aright, we shall seek him with all the heart: (1) with the heart, i.e. sincerely, spiritually, inwardly, not with mere formal inquiries; and

(2) with the whole heart, i.e. with singleness of purpose, intensity, earnestness.

We Seek the Lord Earnestly Because we are desperate: captivity.

We come to a service and we get inspired to pray more, but it’s a half-hearted search. I tell you this thirst and hunger for God will not be satisfied by a little mid-morning snack. It is something that will be satisfied only in the finding of the Lord and you see, we do this out of desperation. Desperation that whatever God wants me to do I will do…whatever it takes to know Him as much as it is possible for me to know Him I will do. I will do whatever it takes to find Him. Sometimes we seek the Lord out of desperation because we’re in captivity.
They thought they had to have the temple! And so they sought the temple more than they sought the Lord! They valued the temple more than they valued the Lord! That’s why the Lord had the temple destroyed!

We Seek the Lord Earnestly Because we are determined. "With all your heart." I was overwhelmed as a young man to read AW Tozer’s book, The Pursuit of God, (1957). He showed me what it was to seek the determinedly.


Vs. 14. "And I will be found of you." Heb.11:6
1. God will Reveal Himself. Vs 14

2. God will Release us from Captivity. Vs 14
3. God will Restore Lost Possessions. Vs. 14

Monday, May 26, 2008


2 Corinthians 6:11-7:2 Which Way Are You Moving?


We have spoken openly to you, Corinthians; our heart has been opened wide.
12 You are not limited by us, but you are limited by your own affections.
13 Now in like response—I speak as to children—you also should be open to us.

14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?
15 What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
16 And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.
17 Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you.
18 I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.

1 Therefore dear friends, since we have such promises, we should wash ourselves clean from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, making our sanctification complete in the fear of God.

2 Take us into your hearts. We have wronged no one, corrupted no one, defrauded no one.




Though he knew their struggles, their weaknesses, their heartaches, their failures and their resistance, still he loved them. The problem was that they were not loving him in return. This is the problem in churches, in individual lives, in homes, in families and in marriages today. It is a failure to understand the reciprocal nature of love. Love is a two-way street. It always is; it is inherently so. Love requires a response. Paul was loving them, but they were not loving him back. They were closed; they were unresponsive; they were coldly self-contained toward him. And the result? Paul puts it in one word: They were "restricted."

C. S. Lewis said a wonderful word, which is helpful at this point:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will continually be wrung, and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your own selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell.

Victor Hugo said “Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced that we are loved.”

The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It stems from an important observation: We often make the same mistakes we complain about in other people. The Lord Jesus said, "The greatest commandment of all is 'Thou shalt love the Lord, Thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength,'" Matt 22:36-38

7:2 Take us into your hearts. We have wronged no one, corrupted no one, defrauded no one.

Paul’s issue here is his relationship with the Christians in Corinth. The root of the unrighteousness and idolatry in Corinth was the fact that Paul was being sidelined and other voices were being heard.

We're familiar with that idea that nature abhors a vacuum. And super-nature, spiritually speaking, abhors a vacuum too. If the Corinthians silenced the true voice of God, they would inevitably end up listening to false voices. It will be one or the other for us as well. Do you get Paul's flow, then? `Do find a place for us in your heart, and don't be yoked together with false teachers, because just as surely as behind me stands Christ, so behind them in the end are the forces of unbelief, unrighteousness and idolatry'.

This section is a unit. As you open yourselves up to the Word of god, there are some voices you can’t afford to listen to because they will take you away from God’s Word, and away from true holiness. There are other voices you must listen to because they will take you to God’s Word and true holiness.

Here is an echo of the words of Deuteronomy 22:10: "Do not plough with an ox and a donkey yoked together." Paul is not exhorting us to have nothing to do with sinners, but he is saying, "Don't accept the outlook and values and purpose of life of someone who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ."

The image of the yoke comes from earlier in the Bible. In the Old Testament law, you weren't allowed to plough a field, using an ox in the same harness as a donkey. One animal was clean and the other was unclean, and it was meant to be a little reminder that Israel was to be distinctive, not blur the distinctions between clean and unclean. And Paul borrows the analogy here: `Look,' he says, `don't team up with something that will take you in completely the wrong direction. Don't surrender your independence of movement to these other teachers'.


“The princes came to me," Ezra records, "saying, "The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand often princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonished" (Ezra 9: 1-:') Every form of worldliness and wickedness, carnality and corruption and reli­gious abomination was represented by those nations. It was compromise with them and their religious practices which had, within recent times, occasioned God's judgment, and the subsequent Babylonian captivity. Ezra wasted no time. He poured out his heart to God, confessing the sin of the people as though it were his very own. Then he demanded that, at whatever cost, on pain of excommunication, a rigid separation be enforced.

The principle that salvation from sin is to be followed by separation from the world is taught throughout Scripture, both in plain statement, and in type and shadow.

When God called Abraham, He first revealed Himself to him and then de­manded separation from the old way of life (Gen. 12;1-3; Heb. 11:8-10). Lot lost both his fortune and his family in Sodom because he ignored the principle of separation (Gen. 13:5-12; 19:1-38). When God redeemed Israel, He first put them under the blood, then separated them from Egypt, which represented the world and the old way of life, by bringing them through the water and causing the Red Sea to be a permanent barrier between their new walk of faith and their old life of bondage (Exod. 12: 1-13; 14; 13-31). And so it went on. It was a sad day for Israel when Joshua failed to exterminate the Canaanites.

Some open hearts need to be closed a little because the wind is blowing through them

I think this principle could be applied when you enter into a binding relationship with someone that encourages you to accept the other partners’ goals and values.

In the early morning hours of April 26, 1986 a reactor at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Russia overheated and exploded. The initial explosion was only a fraction of the size of the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan at the end of WWII, but the amount of radiation released was 400 times greater than that released by the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. At Chernobyl, 31 people died immediately from the explosion and acute radiation poisoning. But the explosion created a cloud of radioactive particles that spread eastward across Europe reaching as far as Sweden and the U.K. Since that time, it is estimated an additional 93,000 people have died from cancer and other illnesses due to the residual effects of the radioactive explosion at Chernobyl. Radiation poisoning is dangerous because it’s invisible and works silently, but it’s still deadly. Radioactive relationships can be harmful as well.

Think of it on the larger denominational scale. A trend begins to gather some momentum - socialism, nationalism, all of those contain some important truths - but the professing church yokes itself to them in an awkward way and so the very gospel is changed. This happened in Nazi Germany where the church as a whole supported a nationalism that was clearly ungodly. How did they do this? Piece by piece. The church lost its moorings in Scripture, doubting the authenticity of parts of God’s Word. Soon the authority of Scripture was overruled all together by the experts. And the church found itself supporting an replacement god, the Nazi machine.

Ray Stedman wrote: “It is a cruel thing to yoke together two things of incompatible natures. There are certain associations that Christians have with unbelievers that constitute a yoke, and these associations are a certain cause for misery and shame in a Christian's life. We are to avoid them. They will hinder us, limit us, bind us and keep us from enjoying the fullness God has in mind for us. They are like trying to mix oil and water.” What does it mean to be “unequally yoked?”

1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”

"If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything" (Matt. 5:13).

This can happen on the church level. When a church ceases to listen to God’s Word, and begins to adopt the culture of the day. The Lord warned a church in Asia (Revelation) about that. Revelation 2 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: “The Son of God, the One whose eyes are like a fiery flame, and whose feet are like fine bronze says: 19 I know your works—your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your last works are greater than the first. 20 But I have this against you: you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Look! I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her practices. 23 I will kill her children with the plague. Then all the churches will know that I am the One who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

There was an occasion once when the preacher John Stott was at a big international consultation, and Desmond Tutu who went on to be Archbishop of Capetown was there. He was Dean of Johannesburg at the time and he spoke out against Paul's teaching, I think on sexual behaviour: `Paul was confused,' Tutu said, `he was a creature of his own culture, and sometimes didn't know what he was talking about. I don't agree with him.' John Stott confessed in his account of the incident that his blood reached boiling point and he simply blurted out: `If I had to choose between the blessed Apostle Paul and the Dean of Johannesburg, I would have no difficulty in deciding which to follow'. He was quite clear that he could not simultaneously accept both Paul and Tutu. Because Paul is Christ's messenger there could be no contest, no compromise. No divided loyalties between God's spokesman, Paul, and the voice of the world, even if it is dressed up in ecclesiastical clothing.

Here is the Message of Revelation against Relativism.

But not only is it important on the denominational level, and on the local church level, its also important on the individual level. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful" (Psa. 1:1). There is a sense of progress in these verses: he will not choose to walk along with the ungodly crowd and listen to their specious counsels: he won't stand and be identified with the sinners' way of life: he certainly won't sit down and relax with those who scorn the Lord and his free salvation. He has better things to do, and finer wisdom to teach him how he should live - "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night" (Psa. 1:2).

Have you heard of a popular activity called missionary dating? “I’m dating a non-Christian because I want to lead him or her to the Lord.” Let me just tell you that in 25 years of preaching, I have found that in 99% of the cases, missionary dating doesn’t work. When you throw in hormones, romance, and a bunch of other stuff, what usually happens is the Christian gets pulled down to the level of the unbeliever. The reason for that is what I call “the gravity of depravity.”

Five times he presses home the need of separation by asking a question the answer to which is 'none' or 'nothing.'

Paul begins by talking about a partnership. Two people must hold important things in common for there to be a partnership. There are some things which might appear to have a lot in common, but it is disastrous if you try to mix them.

2 Cor 6:14  Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?

Righteousness Demands Separation

There are some things which might appear to have a lot in common, but it is disastrous if you try to mix them. I was once getting some petrol in the local garage and I noticed that the petrol I was putting in the tank had a strange smell. I had just filled my tank with diesel instead of petrol! It all had to be pumped out. There does not seem much difference between diesel and petrol, both are inflammable, and both are automobile fuels, but the difference is enough to ruin your can if you try to drive on the wrong fuel. Paul starts these questions by contrasting two extremes who exist in their hatred for one another, righteousness and wickedness.

What do these total opposites have in common? Nothing! You must learn to say. “I have nothing in common with you,"

Paul goes on to speak of fellowship, all the experiences we have in common.

Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?

Relationship Demands Separation

Competing interests. Sometimes you can get away with trying to juggle two or more of them.

Reality Demands Separation

The third image Paul speaks of is harmony, or it is actually the Greek word from which we get our word 'symphony'. Orchestras tuning sound horrendous, until they are pulled together under their director.

15 What agreement does Christ have with Belial?

Redemption Demands Separation

The twilight zone..usually at the end of each show the main character would awake to reality/

The beauty of harmony is marvellously seen in the Trinity. Father loves Son, and Son loves Father, and both love the Spirit, and he, in turn loves each of them. They will one will. But between Jesus and the old Serpent, Satan, the Devil how is their relationship?

Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Reason Demands Separation

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together without agreeing to meet?

The fourth image Paul uses is of personal compatibility.

They do not share a common foundation, one is building on the rock, while the other builds on the sand. They do not possess a common conviction of sin, and a common treasure. One is storing up treasures on earth while the other is storing up treasures in heaven. Their hearts are in different places - for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

16 And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols?

Religion Demands Separation

The fifth image Paul uses is of worship. The Lord Jesus says that no one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money.

In early Church a man's Christianity often meant that he had to quit his job.

Time and again in the early Church the choice came to a man between the security of his job and his loyalty to Jesus Christ. It is told that a man came to Tertullian. He told him his problem and then he said, "But after all I must live." "Must you?" said Tertullian.

“To sum up, the Christian's vocation is to be in the world, but not of it; to represent Christ in it and to intercede on its behalf because it is under judgment (this is the Christian's priesthood), to identify himself with its sufferings but not with its attitudes, to bring his influence to bear upon the world's life without being corrupted by the world's ways; to stand on the frontier, holding forth the Word of Life, and so to love and obey that Word that he has been delivered from the evil one and sanctified in the truth. Such a calling involves a cross. The man who separates himself from the world and seeks to escape it does not know the cross. The man who submits to the world's pressures and loses his distinctiveness as a Christian does not know that cross. The man who seeks to be in the world, as our Lord was in it, but shows that he is not of it because he is a Christian and in Christ; that man will find his cross. It's only the disciple who follows Christ in both these respects who has a cross to take up.” Author unknown.

Revelation Demands Separation



You Have An Indwelling

16 And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.

You Have An Invitation

17 Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you.
18 I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.

1 Therefore dear friends, since we have such promises, we should wash ourselves clean from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, making our sanctification complete in the fear of God.

And what if you're not yet a Christian? How might this talk of divided loyalties apply to you? Can I suggest one simple conclusion? That for you to become a Christian won't mean building a little extra room onto your life, like an extension, and allowing Jesus to move in there. But if you're asked: who is your life's authority? For all of us, it is all or nothing. He is all or nothing. You can't board two trains at once.


The Showdown Over The Yoke Jeremiah 27 and 28


Although he was a qualified meteorologist, Hopkins ran up a terrible record of forecasting for the TV news program. He became something of a local joke when a newspaper began keeping a record of his predictions and showed that he'd been wrong almost three hundred times in a single year. That kind of notoriety was enough to get him fired. He moved to another part of the country and applied for a similar job. One blank on the job application called for the reason for leaving his previous position. Hopkins wrote, "The climate didn't agree with me."

Who wants to be foretold the weather its bad enough when it comes let alone to be told before hand.

We feel an affection for the man who prophecies good weather.

But for the man who prophecies bad weather we feel bad towards him, and even worse if the weather turns out bad because we somehow thinks its his fault in some way

We decide how to live and what to believe by choosing to listen to what we want to hear and what we find reassuring and nice.

Chapters 27 and 28 are about 2 things.. the people of God should submit to the yoke of Babylon, and the showdown between 2 prophets.

Both prophets spoke in the name of the Lord. Both prophets were very dramatic ion their presentations. Both prophets used a yoke as their example.

1. There was the Public Proclamation. Jeremiah 27

Jeremiah said three times that there needed to be submission to the yoke of Babylon.

He told the ambassadors of the nations around about.

He told King Zedekiah.

He told the people of Judah, God’s people tat they should submit to this yoke.

This was not good news to these folks.

Zedekiah and the ambassadors and kings of the surrounding nations were in a war conference. They had learnt that there had been an uprising in Babylon, and they were hopeful of shaking off the rule of Babylon over them. They were ready to rebel. Now was the time! It was time for a change. Time for freedom. "It's Time" is arguably the most famous political slogan in Australian political history.

The slogan encapsulated the political mood of 1972, even amongst non-Labor supporters. "It's time for a change" seemed to be the prevailing mood after 23 years of coalition government which began in 1949 under Robert Menzies.

It’s time for freedom, It’s time for moving, It’s time to begin, Yes It’s time It’s time Australia,
It’s time for moving, It’s time for proving, Yes It’s time

That’s what Zedekiah was singing. Its time for rebellion, its time for freedom, its time for a solidarity with our Arabic neighbours. And at just that time, as the campaign was hitting full steam, jeremiah turns up and says.. yep..submit to the yoke of Babylon. Jeremiah is saying “You have a bigger problem than the Babylonians your real problem is with God! Submit to Him by submitting to Babylon!”

Jer 27:5 By My great strength and outstretched arm, I made the earth, and the people, and animals on the face of the earth. I give it to anyone I please. 6 So now I have placed all these lands under the authority of My servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. I have even given him the wild animals to serve him.

God Controls History! Babylon doesn’t rule the world by chance but only because God allows it.

God plans to get rid of Babylon before too long too ..God is using them to bring about Judgment.

Now who did Zedekiah, the other ambassadors and the people want to listen to?

Jeremiah with his doom and gloom message, or the choir of voices and prophets singing “Its time!”

“Time for better, Come together, It’s time to move, Yes It’s time

Time to stand up, Time to shout it, Time, Time, Time,
Yes It’s time Time to move on, Time to stand up, time to say ‘yes’, Yes It’s time”

SO the bottom line was .. who are the people going to listen to?

2. And then there was the Public Confrontation vs 1-11.

Hananiah stands up, and proclaims that Jeremiah has got the timing wrong. 2This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: ‘I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 Within two years I will restore to this place all the articles of the Lord’s temple

God is going to deliver the Jews from the Babylonians and he’s going to do it within two years! The message was contradictory to Jeremiah’s. In a way, its clear, Jeremiah hoped Jeremiah was wrong, and that perhaps Hananiah might be right!

5 The prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the temple of the Lord. 6 The prophet Jeremiah said, “• Amen! May the Lord do so. May the Lord make the words you have prophesied come true and may He restore the articles of the Lord’s temple and all the exiles from Babylon to this place!

Good news is good news… you can’t beat it. But…

7 Only listen to this message I am speaking in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8 The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, disaster, and plague against many lands and great kingdoms. 9 As for the prophet who prophesies peace—only when the word of the prophet comes true will the prophet be recognized as one whom the Lord has truly sent.”

It leaves us with a need to decide who is right and wrong. We can tell from here..We know the end of the story. The book of Jeremiah appears in our Bible’s not the book of Hananiah. .. But back then it may not have been so obvious. Hindsight is 20/20.

So Hananiah is described as a prophet. He had good credentials, he came from a priestly family, he came from a priestly city. He claims to speak for God. Hananiah : “the Lord shows favour”

But Hananiah contradicts Jeremiah. Hananiah casts doubt on this whole yoke thing.

Hananiah says no no no. this business with the yoke.. it won’t happen. 28:3 Within two years I will restore to this place all the articles of the Lord’s temple

And then Hananiah gets physical. And then he gets hold of the yoke around Jeremiah’s neck and he breaks it off!

Jer 28: 10 The prophet Hananiah then took the yoke bar from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet and broke it. 11 In the presence of all the people Hananiah proclaimed, “This is what the Lord says: ‘In this way, within two years I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, from the neck of all the nations.’ ” Jeremiah the prophet then went on his way.

And it’s all done in the public eye. Vs 1, 5, 7,

3. And Now There Is The Personal Evaluation

a. The Personal Evaluation Involves The Need To Decide

Which is true.. is God going to punish us or reward us?

Should we submit to the yoke of Babylon or resist the yoke?

There they were, standing on the brink of fate, and whatever they decided would have massive ramifications for them If they rebelled against Babylon and Jeremiah was speaking the truth, then they were sunk as a nation, and most of them would be wiped off the face of the earth. On the other hand, if they listened to Hananiah and Hananiah was right, and they did rebel, then in 2 years time everything would be absolutely honky dory! But if they listened to Jeremiah and didn’t rebel, then they’d be under the yoke for a long, long time, in slavery and agony.

They needed to make a decision, and it was time. It was time to decide. What were they going to do?

How could they know who was the true Prophet!

Have you ever been in that sort of fix? Whatever you decide will take you down a path, and that path could end in disaster or relief. Which will it be?

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t run off madly in both directions at once. You have to make a decision.

You can’t be like the politician who “nailed his colours firmly to the fence.”

The people were faced with a problem. They had a need to decide.

You likewise have a need to decide.

If you have not yet yielded your life to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, you have some things to settle. Is Jesus God’s Son our Saviour or not? Is this God’s book or not? You are frequently faced with those who strenuously object to Christianity, particularly those who have no idea what true Christianity is about. They call it superstitious nonsense. Sometimes they will make outright brazen statements like Hananiah did. I have heard people say in this last month, “We have to get rid of Christianity. We have to remove every vestige of it from our Australian society. It is anti women. It is about use of power and manipulation.” I am sure Hananiah thought he was right.

I am sure people who say such things about Christianity think that what they are saying is right.

You need to decide. You need to decide whether this is God’s Word, and Jesus is God’s Saviour. And if you are already a believer, you have to decide as well. There are so many people claiming to preach God’s Word today. And yet some are so contradictory. One fellow says Jesus Is the only way to heaven. Another says there are many paths to heaven. Which is right? How do you know? Could one of these be a false teacher? And if so which one? How can you know whether it is God speaking to you or not. Sometimes we hear of people offering “Words of Wisdom”. These people claim their word of wisdom or word of knowledge is from God. Its God speaking through them. How do you know? These Words of knowledge may direct someone to marry someone. I remember hearing of a guy who had a word of knowledge that of he marched around a certain girl in his church 7 times, like Joshua marched around the city of Jericho, and the walls fell, she would fall in love with him and they would marry. He did this. She wasn’t impressed at all. So he figured next time he would blow trumpets as well!

There is a word for this.. nuts!!

But how can you know whether something is a word from God or not?

b. The Personal Evaluation Involves The Means or The “Know-How” To Decide

5 The prophet Jeremiah replied to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the temple of the Lord. 6 The prophet Jeremiah said, “ Amen! May the Lord do so. May the Lord make the words you have prophesied come true and may He restore the articles of the Lord’s temple and all the exiles from Babylon to this place! 7 Only listen to this message I am speaking in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people.

2 tests to assess. There are two things here that can help you decide.

We Can Judge What IS True By The test of Scripture… 8 The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, disaster, and plague against many lands and great kingdoms. 9 As for the prophet who prophesies peace—only when the word of the prophet comes true will the prophet be recognized as one whom the Lord has truly sent.”

For centuries the thrust of the prophets is to wake people up.. now Hananiah says something different. Do you think Hananiah is the first one to say something different? Do you think the other prophets were wrong? Jeremiah has immediately in mind to Deut. 18:18-19, God’s word in the mouth of a prophet is truly God’s word, with the full authority of God’s word:

I will raise up for them a prophet like you [like Moses, from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.

There is one message the same from beginning to end. Man’s sin, God’s wrath against sin, God’s rescue plan. It all leads up to Jesus.

You and I need a revelation from God about many things in our lives. Many decisions that come upon us need wise thinking, governed by God’s Word.

Jesus answers all the questions and is the culmination of everything. It reads as one book. It’s all integrated together. If something contradicts it.. its contrary to God’s revelation in Scripture.

As for the prophet who prophesies peace—only when the word of the prophet comes true will the prophet be recognized as one whom the Lord has truly sent.”

Deut 18: 20 But the prophet who dares to speak in My name a message I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet must die.’ 21 You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a message the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the Lord’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

We Can Judge What IS True By The Reasonableness of the Facts.

Vs 11 he quietly leaves. He knows that the Lord is in control and he can let things quietly take their course. Jeremiah reasons that if the Lord is doing something different to what He had told Jeremiah, Jeremiah should go away and sort through the issues. He does. And the Lord speaks to Him again.

There are reasonable things that Jeremiah expects from God. If God is sovereign, and if God has directed him this way, Jeremiah should expect God to work in a direct manner on this matter.

11… Jeremiah the prophet then went on his way. 12 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke bar from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet: 13 “Go say to Hananiah: This is what the Lord says: You broke a wooden yoke bar, but in its place you will make an iron yoke bar. 16 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to send you off the face of the earth. You will die this year because you have spoken rebellion against the Lord.’ ” 17 And the prophet Hananiah died that year in the seventh month.

Jeremiah expected some sort of clarity on the issue.

We ought to expect God to give clarity on the issues for us as well. Has God spoken through his Word? Then this is our primary means of understanding His will for us.

Expect God to make it plain to you.

HM WARNER 1927 Who wants to hear actors talk anyway.”

“Drill into the ground and try and find oil?? You’re crazy..”1859.

Only one command in the whole chapter.. 9, 10 , 14, 15, 16, 17

“Do not listen! To those who tell you what you want to hear!”

We Can Judge What IS True By Its Accord With Conscience.

Scripture also teaches this fact by its identification of God as light: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Note also the many applications to Jesus of the metaphor of light (Matt. 4:16, Luke 1:79, 2:32, John 1:4-9, 3:19-21, 8:12, 9:5, 12:46, 1 John 2:8, Rev. 21:23). When people see God, they see a great light, often described as the glory. That glory also radiates from Jesus on the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17:2). 1 John 1:5 associates that physical light with God’s moral purity.

But light does not only refer to God’s moral excellence, but also to the communication of that excellence, the revelation of it, to human beings. The light of God’s essence is a light that we are to walk in: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). The light is our ethical guide: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). The light reveals good and evil (John 3:19-21). So we should not walk in darkness (Matt. 6:22-23, John 8:12, 12:46, Rom. 13:12, 1 Cor. 4:5, 2 Cor. 6:14). To dwell in the light is to dwell with God; to dwell in darkness is to be apart from him. Indeed, we are to be the light (Matt. 5:14, Eph. 5:8).

So, by his very nature, God is not only ethically pure, but he inevitably reveals that moral purity to human beings, calling them to live in accord with it. When sinners see God in Scripture, they are often filled with a sense of moral guilt (Isa. 6:5, Luke 5:8). God’s very being is ethically normative.

In every form of revelation, God reveals himself. All revelation bears the lordship attribute of presence. So in every form of revelation, God reveals his ethically normative being. God’s word is always one with God himself. All revelations of God manifest his presence, as well as his authority and controlling power. The speech of God, his word, has divine attributes, attributes of righteousness (Ps. 119:7), faithfulness (verse 86), wonderfulness (verse 142), truth (same verse, and John 17:17), eternity (Ps. 119:89, 160), omnipotence (Gen. 18:14, Luke 1:37, Isa. 55:11), and perfection (Ps. 19:7-11). It is an object of worship (Ps. 56:4, 10, 119:120, 161-62, Isa. 66:5). And indeed, God’s word is God (John 1:1).

The people of God should have known to listen to Jeremiah because his reproofs were based upon the very character of God. It was inconceivable that God would not punish His people’s sins. Their own conscience’s should have informed them.

So it is today.

4. Then There Is The Divine Conclusion vs 12

12 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke bar from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet: 13 “Go say to Hananiah: This is what the Lord says: You broke a wooden yoke bar, but in its place you will make an iron yoke bar. 14 For this is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: I have put an iron yoke on the neck of all these nations that they might serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they will serve him. I have also put the wild animals under him.” 15 The prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you, but you have led these people to trust in a lie. 16 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to send you off the face of the earth. You will die this year because you have spoken rebellion against the Lord.’ ” 17 And the prophet Hananiah died that year in the seventh month.

There is a Chinese saying, “The success or failure of a man cannot be determined until the coffin lid is laid.” So does the Apostle to the Hebrews say of leaders, “Whose faith follow, (but) consider the end of their conversation (conduct)”. Hananiah’s abrupt end is a warning to every leader good or bad.

For Hanaiah Death Was Inevitable

It was the fulfillment of the Lord's promise in Deuteronomy 18.  

Hananiah said 2 years.. and everything will be right. 2 months and he was dead.

Jeremiah said, Thou shalt die." That is a statement of actuality and reality. That statement reminds us of a fact that unavoidable and undeniable: WE SHALL DIE! (Cp. Heb.9:27) In Genesis, God had told Adam and Eve that if they ate of a cerain tree they would die. After they disobeyed God, history's first murder occured when Cain slew his brother Abel. When his blood stained the ground the actuality and reality of death came home to our first parents. Eventually Adam and Eve died. In the genealogy that followed we read with almost endless monotony, that so and so begat so and so and he died. The funeral bell has never ceased to ring.

George Bernard Shaw wryly wrote: "The statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of one people die."

Over 400 years ago the English author John Heywood noted: "Death makes equal the high and low."

One of the Greek proverbs says: "But learn that to die is a debt that we all must pay."

Death has often come in strange ways and in unusual fashions. Asechylus was killed by the fall of a turtle on his bald heed, dropped from the claws of an eagle in the air. Agathocles, tyrant of Sicily, was killed by a toothpick. Bassus died from the pick of a needle in his left thumb. Chalchas, the soothsayer, died of laughter at the thought of having out-predicted the hour of his death. Marquitte died of laughter on seeing a monkey trying to pull on a pair of boots. Charles VIII was conducting his queen into a tennis court, struck his head against the lintel, causing his death. Fabius the Roman Praetor was choked to death by a single goat hair in the milk he was drinking. La Belle Gabrielle, mistress of Henry IV, died from eating an orange. Cornelius died while kissing the hand of his wife. Qunitas Lepidus, going out of his house struck his big toe against the threshold and died. Louis VI met his death from a pig running under his horse, causing the animal to stumble. Otway the poet in a starving condition had a guinea given to him, with which he bought a loaf of bread and died while swallowing the first mouthful. William III died from a horse stumbling over a mole-hill. Regardless of how death comes, the simple fact is that death is coming.

Jeremiah not only told Hananiah that he would die, but also that "This year thou shalt die." As I previously stated, Hananiah died 2 months later. I know we don't like to think about it, but there is the possibility that we could die within this coming year. James said, "Go to now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow, for what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a short time and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live and do this, or that" (James 4:13-15).

For Hananiah was ACCOUNTABLE!

If we knew that we only had a year to live what would we do? How would our conduct be affected? This actuality coupled with this possibility presses upon us a sense of accountability.

In the first place, if I were not saved, I would settle the matter today.

In the second place, if I was saved, I would make sure that my spiritual life was pleasing to God.

I would also make sure that all my relationships were what they should be.

I would live each day as if it were my last and that I could be meeting God at any moment.

The reality of hell is not decided by a majority vote.

God is not asking for our votes or our support, but we need His

For you too its time to decide. Its time for you to decide about letting Jesus Christ be your Saviour and Lord. Will you follow Him in everything He commands you, or will you try and run it your way without Him.

Friday, May 23, 2008





FAITH is a resource to help you create a culture of evangelism in your church.

Teaching FAITH to your church is easy because FAITH is

• Short—takes only 12 sessions to complete

• Flexible—works in Sunday School, Bible studies, and small groups

Conversational—makes sharing the gospel more natural

• Cultural—builds disciples who train others to share

Spark Evangelism Through Your Church!

FAITH Evangelism Equipper Training.

These days provide us God size opportunities to prepare ourselves for carrying out the Great Commission. You can be

equipped to go and teach others.

Our desire is to provide you with the tools for you to be prepared to go wherever God sends you to teach, tell, and mobilize people to go, tell, and teach all the things of Jesus.

What Is FAITH?

F Is for Forgiveness Romans 3:23

A Is For Available john 3:16

I Is For Impossible Ephesians 2:8,8

T Is for Turn Luke 13:3

H Is for Heaven John 14:1-3

How? For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.



FAITH is an important programme utilised by more than 10,000 churches worldwide.

Barry Cosper, our instructor comes to us from Alabama and the Southern Baptist Convention.


Where Is FAITH?

Belmont Baptist Church, just off the Pacific Highway,

Thursday October 16th 9:30 am –4:00pm

And 17th 9:30am-12.


Registration:  ring 49278378

Saturday, May 17, 2008


2 Corinthians 6:1-13 Enduring The Agonies Of Ministry


1 Working together with Him, we also appeal to you: “Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.”
2 For He says: In an acceptable time, I heard you, and in the day of salvation, I helped you. Look, now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation.

3 We give no opportunity for stumbling to anyone, so that the ministry will not be blamed.
4 But in everything, as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves: by great endurance, by afflictions, by hardship, by pressures,
5 by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by labours, by sleepless nights, by times of hunger,
6 by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,
7 by the message of truth, by the power of God; through weapons of righteousness on the right hand and the left,
8 through glory and dishonour, through slander and good report; as deceivers yet true;
9 as unknown yet recognized; as dying and look—we live; as being chastened yet not killed;
10 as grieving yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing yet possessing everything.
11 We have spoken openly to you, Corinthians; our heart has been opened wide.
12 You are not limited by us, but you are limited by your own affections.
13 Now in like response—I speak as to children—you also should be open to us.

How do you become authentic in ministry? When you sacrificially lay aside the glories of leadership and adopt the towel of a servant. Ministry is servanthood. Paul know what it was to minister as a servant. It meant laying aside his rights, his luxuries, his enjoyments for the sake of others. It meant walking into hardship and pain for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, and for others’ sakes. Authenticity. Chuck Swindoll wrote of it when he talked about a children’s book about a rabbit toy, beaten and mashed.. and becoming real. Authentic, through the bruisings and misusings. You can escape pain if you do not love. You8 can't escape pain if you do love.

You can escape from this if you live a moderate religious life and sit under moderate ministry, but such a life is impossible to the true Christian. "This one thing I do." He claims, "For to me to live is Christ." All such must enter the kingdom of God through many hardships. Paul has been pleading with his hearers not to receive the grace of God in vain, and here he shows that he himself had not received it in vain. The way of life described here is the proof of that. Paul had a divinely authenticated and credible ministry. It gets tough. And there is a sense of fellowship with other brothers who are pastors who have borne the tough.

The task of the ministry Is a mighty task.

The dignity of the task.. we are workers together with God.

The Urgency of the task, now is the day of salvation.

The Gravity of our task. Giving no offence in anything.

The Agony of the Task Pain and pleasure agonia.. a contest for victory

Aspects of our task produce both pleasure and pain.

There are three sets of experiences that Paul speaks of here. He is speaking of agony of our tribulations, the agony of our obligations and the agony of our contradictions.

This is not rhetoric, but an unveiling of the heart of ministry.

The Agony of our tribulations Vs 4. In much patience, endurance. This is the key word in this autobiographical passage. Everything finds its root in this word.

“He begins with one triumphant word of the Christian life--endurance (hupomone). It is untranslatable. It does not describe the frame of mind which can sit down with folded hands and bowed head and let a torrent of troubles sweep over it in passive resignation. It describes the ability to bear things in such a triumphant way that it transfigures them. Chrysostom has a great panegyric on this hupomone . He calls it "the root of all goods, the mother of piety, the fruit that never withers, a fortress that is never taken, a harbour that knows no storms" and "the queen of virtues, the foundation of right actions, peace in war, calm in tempest, security in plots." It is the courageous and triumphant ability to pass the breaking-point and not to break and always to greet the unseen with a cheer. It is the alchemy which transmutes tribulation into strength and glory. “ Barclay

Endurance is the title of the book that speaks of the heroic endurance of the men who, attempting to reach the South pole before the first world war, became shipwrecked on the coast of the South Pole. Earnest Shackleton’s ship was named the endurance, and his crew survived on Endurance from October 23rd 1914 until August 30 1915 in the worst of possible situations living on frozen ice flows, and a frozen beach. Endurance is a quality neglected tody.

J Hudson Taylor Keswick convention, talking top yp about mission field He was accustomed to say three qualities for the missionary task the first is patience the second is patience the third is patience.

Patience, endurance, Reliability dependability, Without that all falls to pieces. This is the cohesive element of ministry.

1. A MINISTRY KNOWN BY ITS MANNER The Agony Of Circumspection

God's servants put no stumbling blocks in anyone's path.

Paul is saying we must not cause anyone to stumble into sin by our actions or teaching. We think of how David abused his authority as king in his relationship with Bathsheba. He put a stumbling block in her path, in the path of her husband, and even in the path of his own servants when he told them to put Uriah in the thick of the battle and desert him. David was discredited by his action.

We think of the woman who was troubling the Thyatira church who was called 'Jezebel' and claimed to be a prophetess - people like that spent their lives putting stumbling blocks in the paths of Christians.

Remember the words of the Lord Christ: "If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea" (Matt. 17:18). He claims that his is a credible ministry because he had not tempted others to commit sin.

God's servants commended the ministry in every positive way, especially that a minister endures. "Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance;" (v.4).

Now there are Christians who have been let down by a number of preachers, and that can result in the very ministry itself being discredited in their eyes. If you have read the 19th century novels of Jane Austin, or Trollop, or George Elliot you meet in their pages vicars and Methodists who are all effete amateur scholars, huntsmen, gourmets, poets, fanatics, ranters, bigots and hypocrites - anything but sensible biblical preachers and pastors. It is no wonder that as a result of the abundance of such men for an earnest evangelical vicar of the Victorian period like J.N.Darby the very concept of the ministry itself became discredited. Darby was one of the men who started the group which became known as 'Plymouth Brethren.' They claim that no man has a call from God to enter the preaching ministry.

The one outstanding mark of the ministry is this, "great endurance." You see that this has pride of place in this list; it is basically the heading for all that follows.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones you will be struck by such similar notes at the end of his life, a sense of wonder that he has endured to the end, he didn't lose his way, he never fell into great sin, he never got involved in stunts, he stuck to the message of the gospel to the very end. Dr Ernest Kevan spoke to us of the last words of his own father. He said to his son, "The great truths of the gospel I have believed all my life. I believe them yet." He had endured keeping the faith until his deathbed. Every trial Christians pass through is also a testing of our faith. God is saying to the minister, "Do you still believe that I am your loving Father, and working everything together for your good, and that I will supply all your need, and that I have brought you at this stage of your ministry into this testing time?"

"The picture of a very grave person ... and this was the fashion of it: it had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, the law of truth was written upon his lips, the world was behind its back; it stood as if it pleaded with men, and a crown of glory did hang over its head" (John Bunyan, Pilgrims Progress).

2. A MINISTRY KNOWN BY ITS MARKS The Agony of Tribulations

"in troubles, hardships and distresses" (v.4)

Troubles are inner pressures, that sense of internal oppression of spirit that conflict creates. Paul talks elsewhere of 'fears within', that spirit of heaviness and tension that a Christian knows. There were days when Paul was pressed down beyond measure. It almost brought him to despair.

'hardships' "If anyone would follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." There are hardships that come crashing into our lives which we would never have experienced if we had not set out following Christ.

'distresses', and this word means 'constraints' - There were times in Paul's life when he was caught up by forces over which he had no control - the great whirling wheel of the Roman Empire crushed him. They arrested him, and kept him in chains in prison, and locked him up in a jail in Rome where he languished for years. Think of John Bunyan twelve years in jail with his wife having to look after their young family including a blind daughter.

"in beatings, imprisonments and riots;" (v.5).

beatings' and Paul later in this letter tells us that on five occasions he received the thirty-nine lashes, and the Roman beating with rods three times. The executioner would work his way up and down Paul's body, one stroke after another, like a line of fire on his back, from his neck to his knees so that the pain was excruciating. The after-effects would have lasted months if not for the rest of his life.

'imprisonments' think of the brutality and disease and the unsanitary conditions and the rotten meat and decaying vegetables that the convicts would have been given to eat there. Shame. I think that is the worst of it. That people regard you as shameful. Even though you may be in prion for a right cause, the very fact that you are in prison, and that most see you as a criminal, brings its own incredible burden of shame.

'riots.' We see on TV news pictures of riots, crowds of angry stone throwers whose venom would tear a man up limb from limb with their bare hands if they could get to him, and a thin line of soldiers or police protecting those men. From reading the Acts of the Apostles it seems that almost everywhere the apostle Paul went his ministry created social upheaval which was caused by Jews or by priests from a pagan temple challenged by the gospel of Jesus. Sometimes he escaped by the arrival of soldiers or by being let down in a basket from a window in the city wall. He was the object of mass hatred, and he often left in the night after the riot so that the Christians could lick their wounds, regroup quietly and know some peace. So there was physical violence and threat which Paul knew.

John Wesley tells us of what happened to him in Wednesbury when the mob came "pouring down like a flood." "To attempt speaking was vain; for the noise on every side was like the roaring of the sea. So they dragged me along till we came to the town; when, seeing the door of a large house open, I attempted to go in; but a man, catching me by the hair, pulled me back into the middle of the crowd. They made no more stop till they had carried me through the main street, from one end of the town to the other." George Foxe tells us of what happened to him at Tickhill. "I found the priest and most of the chief of the parish together in the chancel. So I went up to them and began to speak, but immediately they fell upon me; the clerk took up the Bible as I was speaking, and struck me on the face with it, so that it gushed out with blood, and I bled exceedingly in the steeple-house. Then the people cried, 'Let us have him out of the Church'; and when they had got me out they beat me exceedingly, and threw me down, and over a hedge; and afterwards they dragged me through a house into the street, stoning an beating me as they drew me along, so that I was besmeared all over with blood and dirt.... Yet when I was got upon my legs again I declared to them the word of life and shewed them the fruits of their teachers, how they dishonoured Christianity." Less than a hundred years ago the same violence was exerted against Salvationists in the salvation army when they stood on street corners to preach. Barclay Let’s be glad for our liberties which we enjoy today, but lets not forget at what cost they came.

"in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger" (v.5)

'hard work.' He would have to purchase the cow skins, carry them to his rented rooms, cut them and sew them together.

'sleepless nights.' Grief over others attitude towards him. Grief over the malice and meanness of men.

'hunger.' That is something we know nothing about, wondering how and where we will eat again. The Lord who did not spare him from the 39 lashes did not exempt Paul from days when he had nothing to eat.

ministry affects your body and mind as your words stir up such venom from the world. For the apostle Paul as he struck hard at the kingdom of Satan we see how hard Beelzebub struck back.

Are we going to be prepared to hang in there, not rebelling nor moaning at the cup he has given to us to drink? Endurance is required.

3. A MINISTRY KNOWN BY ITS MOTIVES The Agonies Of Obligations

"in purity, understanding, patience and kindness:"

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Matt. 5:8).

Understanding towards people. Patient.

How do we react under provocation? God himself is slow to anger. The Lord Jesus calls us to be fishers of men. Have you ever met a successful fisherman who was an impatient man? "Love is patient,"

Kindness. is the positive side of patience. It is the kindness of God to sinners that leads them to repentance. Kindness is the wonderful context in which the words of evangelism can be set. How hard to resist a kind and loving man.

'In the Holy Spirit,' "Who has done this?" people would ask as they visited Corinth and were introduced to this large congregation of loving holy people. "The Spirit of Christ," they would readily answer. It was no secret. The ministry of the Spirit was absolutely fundamental for his fruit of love, joy and peace that made them the same, and for the Spirit's gifts which made them different.

'Sincere love,' Not 'pretend' love with sickly smiles, but love that does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres (I Cor. 13:4-7).

'Truthful speech,' "I am the truth." Christ is the light of the world. Genuine love and truthful speech is a rare but priceless combination.

'In the power of God,' Paul's enemies looked at his little man and disdained him. They said, "in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing" but his letters, they reluctantly conceded, "are weighty and forceful" (2 Cors. 10:10). James Denney says about Paul, "Of all men in the world he was the weakest to look at, the most battered, burdened, and depressed, yet no one else had in him such a fountain as he of the most powerful and gracious life." What could explain the apostle Paul? The power of God.

4. A MINISTRY KNOW BY ITS MEASURE The Agony Of Contradictions

"with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonour, bad report and good report" (vv. 7 & 8).

He looks at the whole Ephesian congregation and he says to them, "Therefore, put on the full armour of God!" To the 1 Thessalonians 5 he says

He begins with in honour and in dishonour. The word he uses for dishonour is normally used in Greek for loss of rights as a citizen (atimia). There are some days when men speak ill of us - "he splits churches, he has not had a happy history" - then there are other days when we are the flavour of the month and we are wanted everywhere. There are days when men glory in our gifts and other days when they dishonour us by cruel criticisms. We stand and fall as those who must give an account and receive a judgment from the Lord himself. Let us go through the little times when men might glory in us, and through the times when they dishonour us, and through the times of bad report and the times of good report.

"Genuine, yet regarded as impostors;

known, yet regarded as unknown; Paul was dismissed as a nobody.

dying, and yet we live on; The reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. In the eyes of the world his was a miserable life going from one encounter with death after another,

beaten, and yet not killed;

sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; This word 'sorrowful' is found eighteen times in this letter. Paul was certainly following the man of sorrows.

poor, yet making many rich; Paul wouldn't peddle the gospel for gain. He dressed poorly. He carried all he owned in a little bag. He had nowhere to lay his head. Yet how he enriched Philippi, and Thessalonica, and Corinth, and the prison at Rome by his presence and all he gave to the people he met. They became blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus when they believed the message.

having nothing, and yet possessing everything" (vv. 8-10)

Every day I thank the Lord for His mercy to me in allowing me to share the wonderful goodnews of His grace to us in Christ Jesus. Paul called it Ephesians 3:8 This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints!—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah...

I don't care whether I have much or have nothing.  I am rich if I have the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am inexpressibly rich if I am allowed to proclaim Him.  How rich are you?

Will you join me in this inexpressibly wonderful task of proclaiming Christ, no matter what the agonies God calls you to endure for His sake?


Jeremiah 25 God’s Wrath


Nahum 1:2-7. The Lord is a jealous God and avenging,
the Lord is avenging and wrathful;
the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.
The Lord is slow to anger and of great might,
and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.

His way is in whirlwind and storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes the sea and makes it dry,
he dries up all the rivers;
Bashan and Carmel wither,
the bloom of Lebanon fades.
The mountains quake before him, the hills melt;
the earth is laid waste before him,
the world and all that dwell therein.

Who can stand before his indignation?
Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire,
and the rocks are broken asunder by him.

7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in a day of distress;

He cares for those who take refuge in Him.

Jeremiah 25:8 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, 9 I am going to send for all the families of the north’—this is the Lord’s declaration—‘and send for My servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will bring them against this land, against its residents, and against all these surrounding nations, and I will completely destroy them and make them a desolation, a derision, and ruins forever.

15 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. 16  They will drink, stagger, and go out of their minds because of the sword I am sending among them.” 17 So I took the cup from the Lord’s hand and made all the nations drink [from it], everyone the Lord sent me to. 18 These included: Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah, its kings and its officials, to make them a desolate ruin, an object of scorn and cursing—as it is today;

29 For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts

1. God’s Wrath is Righteous Wrath

2. God’s Wrath is Holy Wrath

3. God’s Wrath is Ironic Wrath

4. God’s Wrath is Patient Wrath

5. God’s Wrath is Earnest Wrath

6. God’s Wrath is Unpopular Wrath




Dr Leon Morris says of the Old Testament in his The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross: ‘There are more than 20 words used to express the wrath conception as it applies to Jehovah’ and ‘these are used so frequently that there are over 580 occurrences to be taken into consideration’ [p 131]. He adds that this conception ‘cannot be eradicated from the Old Testament without irreparable loss’ [p 156]. So the Old Testament is full of the concept of the wrath of God.

The wine with which the cup is filled is the wrath of God. The figure is not an infrequent one with the prophets and the psalmists

Jeremiah 49:12 For thus saith the LORD; Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken; and art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished? thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it; 51:7Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.;

Isaiah 51:17Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.

Ezekiel 23. 31-34Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister; therefore will I give her cup into thine hand.

32 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much.33 Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria.34 Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it , saith the Lord GOD.

Psalm 60:33 Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.; 75:8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them

Rev 14: 6 Then I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having the eternal gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 He spoke with a loud voice: “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” 8 A second angel followed, saying: “It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, who made all nations drink the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath.”9 And a third angel followed them and spoke with a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is mixed full strength in the cup of His anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb, 11 and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or anyone who receives the mark of his name.

The centrepiece of Jeremiah’s preaching is divine wrath against sin and the impending doom of those who do not believed his Word.

1. God’s Wrath is Righteous Wrath

Like the other great prophets, Jeremiah makes no apologies for the fact, or the ferocity, or the intractability of divine wrath. It is the just desert of those who rebel against God and spurn his kindness and mercy and who make a life of selfish and sensual pursuits.

2. God’s Wrath is Holy Wrath

A. W. Pink “The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin. It is the moving cause of that just sentence which He passes upon evil-doers. God is angry against sin because it is a rebelling against His authority, a wrong done to His inviolable sovereignty. Insurrectionists against God’s government shall be made to know that God is the Lord. They shall be made to feel how great that Majesty is which they despise, and how dreadful is that threatened wrath which they so little regarded. Not that God’s anger is a malignant and malicious retaliation, inflicting injury for the sake of it, or in return for injury received. No; while God will vindicate His dominion as the Governor of the universe, He will not be vindictive.” "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven" (Rom. 1:18). Robert Haldane comments on this verse as follows: It was revealed when the sentence of death was first pronounced, the earth cursed, and man driven out of the earthly paradise; and afterwards by such examples of punishment as those of the Deluge and the destruction of the Cities of the Plain by fire from heaven; but especially by the reign of death throughout the world. It was proclaimed in the curse of the law on every transgression, and was intimated in the institution of sacrifice. In the 8th of Romans, the apostle calls the attention of believers to the fact that the whole creation has become subject to vanity, and groaneth and travaileth together in pain. The same creation which declares that there is a God, and publishes His glory, also proclaims that He is the Enemy of sin and the Avenger of the crimes of men . . . But above all, the wrath of God was revealed from heaven when the Son of God came down to manifest the Divine character, and when that wrath was displayed in His sufferings and death, in a manner more awful than by all the tokens God had before given of His displeasure against sin. Besides this, the future and eternal punishment of the wicked is now declared in terms more solemn and explicit than formerly. Under the new dispensation there are two revelations given from heaven, one of wrath, the other of grace.

3. God’s Wrath is Ironic Wrath


a. It is powerful. The wine is strong drink. We are too ready to close our eyes to this aspect of the Divine nature. The love of God is so treated by some that it leaves no room for anger. But God is not weakly indulgent; if he were so, even his love would be found wanting, for there is no wrath more terrible than that of outraged love.

b. The anger of God produces terrible effects. The wine intoxicates. It cannot be a matter of no concern to us to know how God feels towards us. All affections tend to actions. The anger of a man is not likely to waste itself in aimless fury; it will flow out in deeds. God is a King whose wrath will find expression in acts of sovereignty, a Father whose anger must necessarily affect his treatment, of his children. If there are men at whose anger we may smile, there are others who cannot be safely despised. But who dare disregard the wrath of God? Once it is outpoured it must be overwhelming, must take possession of men.

c. It will not only produce outward distress, but inward confusion and helplessness, so” that they shall reel to and fro, and behave themselves madly.” Therefore the man who is smitten by Divine wrath has not those internal sources of comfort and strength with which we try to hear up under outward calamity.

Churchill expressed the certainty of God's retributive justice when, speaking of Mussolini, he said.

Mussolini is swept into the maelstrom of his own making. The flames of war he kindled burn himself. He and his people are taking the stinging lash of the whip they applied to Ethiopia and Albania. They pay for Fascist sins with defeat, despair, death. Mussolini's promise of life like a lion turns into the existence of a beaten cur!

Years before the statesman, Winston Churchill, spoke these words, Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his Compensation wrote: Crime and punishment grow out of one stem. Punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of the pleasure that concealed it. Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, can rot be severed, for the effect already blooms in the cause. The end pre-exists in the means -- the fruit in the seed.

Paul Lawrence Dunbar showed wisdom as great as the wisdom of Churchill and a knowledge of Nature's laws as great as Emerson's knowledge when he wrote the autobiography of many individual sinners in these poetic and potent words:

This is the price I pay -- Just for one riotous day --

Years of regret and of grief, And sorrow without relief.

Suffer it I will, my friend, Suffer it until the end,

Until the grave shall give relief. Small was the thing I bought,

Small was the thing at best, Small was the debt, I thought, But, O God! -- the interest.

All these statements are but verification of Bible truth:

• Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him (Prov. 26:27).

• Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them (Prov. 1:31,32).

• Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same (Job 4:8).

• For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind (Hos. 8:7).

4. God’s Wrath is Patient Wrath

“God’s mill goes slow, but grinds small; the more admirable His patience and bounty now is, the more dreadful and unsupportable will that fury be which ariseth out of His abused goodness. Nothing smoother than the sea, yet when stirred into a tempest, nothing rageth more. Nothing so sweet as the patience and goodness of God, and nothing so terrible as His wrath when it takes fire” (William Gurnall, 1660).

5. God’s Wrath is Earnest Wrath

It is against unbelief. The centrepiece of Jeremiah’s preaching is divine wrath against sin and the impending doom of those who do not believed his Word.

8 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, 9 I am going to send for all the families of the north’

Jeremiah 26:4 You are to say to them: This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to Me by living according to My law that I set before you 5 and by listening to the words of My servants the prophets I have been sending you time and time again, though you did not listen, 6 I will make this temple like Shiloh. I will make this city an object of cursing for all the nations of the earth.”

If our age has taught us anything of human nature, it has taught us that all mankind is constitutionally inclined to disbelieve what is unwelcome; that even very clever people will refuse to believe what they do not wnat to be true, however strong the evidence may be.

In reading Richard Rhoade's history of 20th century physics, THE MAKING OF THE ATOMIC BOMB, I have been struck by how many brilliant Jewish physicists and chemists nearly lost their lives, because they could not bring themselves to believe that the Nazi government of Adolph Hitler would really do what it threatened to do

On April 16, 1991, several tornadoes tore through the town of Andover, Kansas, and 13 people lost their lives. The sad thing is that at least some of these deaths could have been prevented. Many people didn't heed the warnings to take cover. A newspaper account of the tragedy said, "When police and fire officials, TV forecasters, and the weather service began telling people to take cover, some waited too long to respond. Others apparently ignored the warnings. At the Golden Spur Mobile Home Park, where more than 225 trailers were destroyed, many people never even left their homes. Only about 200 of the park's 700 residents headed into its storm shelter. All 13 victims were killed at the trailer park. For 40 years, Andover has warned its residents of tornadoes by sending police and fire vehicles into the streets, lights flashing and sirens wailing. This time the vehicles were out even before the weather service told people to take cover (about 20 minutes before the twister hit). Despite the warnings, many people were still casually walking along the street. The man in charge of the National Weather Service office in Wichita commented, `Researchers and sociologists have told us people don't do a thing when they hear a warning. They don't do anything until they perceive they are at risk.'"

6. God’s Wrath is Unpopular Wrath

The message of God’s wrath was not popular for Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 26:  The priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the temple of the Lord. 8 He finished the address the Lord had commanded him to deliver to all the people. Then the priests, the prophets, and all the people took hold of him, yelling, “You must surely die! 9 How dare you prophesy in the name of the Lord, ‘This temple will become like Shiloh and this city will become an uninhabited ruin’!” Then all the people assembled against Jeremiah at the Lord’s temple. 10 When the officials of Judah heard these things, they went up from the king’s palace to the Lord’s temple and sat at the entrance of the New Gate. 11 Then the priests and prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man deserves the death sentence because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.” 12 Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and the people, “The Lord sent me to prophesy all the words that you have heard against this temple and city. 13 So now, correct your ways and deeds and obey the voice of the Lord your God so that He might relent concerning the disaster that He warned about. 14 As for me, here I am in your hands; do to me what you think is good and right. 15 But know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves, on this city, and on its residents, for it is certain the Lord has sent me to speak all these things directly to you.”

A.W. Pink wrote ‘While some would not go so far as to openly admit that they consider it a blemish on the Divine character, yet they are far from regarding it with delight, they like not to think about it, and they rarely hear it mentioned without a secret resentment rising up in their hearts against it. Even with those who are more sober in their judgment, not a few seem to imagine that there is a severity about the Divine wrath which is too terrifying to form a theme for profitable contemplation. Others harbor the delusion that God’s wrath is not consistent with His goodness, and so seek to banish it from their thoughts.”

Today there is a rejection of the belief n God’s wrath amongst some theologians and preachers.

For example, Clark Pinnock, wrote in 1990,

I was led to question the traditional belief in everlasting conscious torment because of moral revulsion and broader theological considerations, not first of all on scriptural grounds. It just does not make any sense to say that a God of love will torture people forever for sins done in the context of a finite life . . . It's time for evangelicals to come out and say that the biblical and morally appropriate doctrine of hell is annihilation, not everlasting torment. Clark Pinnock and Delwin Brown, Theological Crossfire: An Evangelical/Liberal Dialogue, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), pp. 226-7.

This is the classical process for how a person moves from being orthodox to unorthodox. Personal emotions and desires combine with speculative reasonings about general ideas, and they take precedence over specific Biblical texts and teachings. You can see the process at work leading people to abandon other Biblical teachings that from time to time don't fit the spirit of the age--and seem unacceptable to enlightened modern people.

A few years ago John Stott wrote, Emotionally, I find the concept [of eternal conscious torment] intolerable and do not understand how people can live with it without either cauterizing their feelings or cracking under the strain . . . Scripture points in the direction of annihilation. David Edwards, Evangelical essentials, with a Response from John Stott, (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1988), pp. 314-320.

But the main problem with the view that unbelievers simply go out of existence is that the Bible teaches that those who do not trust in Christ will be punished with eternal suffering. In other words, annihilation leads the church away from Biblical truth. And that always hurts people and dishonours God. Piper

When the Bible says, "Behold the severity of God," we should do that. And the severity of God includes the truth about hell as endless suffering.

We can scarcely surpass the horrid images Jesus used. "Weeping and gnashing of teeth,"4 "their worm shall not die" (Mark 9:48); "unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12; Mark 9:43); "eternal fire" (Matthew 25:41); "the hell of fire" (Matthew 18:9); "eternal punishment" (Matthew 25:46); "anguish in the flame" (Luke 16:24). The point of all these is that we are meant to shudder. We are meant to tremble and feel dread. We are meant to recoil from the reality. Not by denying it but by fleeing from it into the arms of Jesus, who died to save us from it.

Revelation 14:11 is probably the most graphic New Testament statement of the eternal suffering of the unrepentant. "The smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day or night." Torment for ever and ever. The endless suffering of unrepentant sinners is a reality taught in Scripture and therefore good for us to know about.

Preachers who talk about hell are often termed old fashioned, sadistic or cruel. But “Is it cruel to tell a man the truth? Is it cruel to arouse sleeping people whose house is on fire? Is it cruel to jerk a blind man away from a rattle snake? Is it cruel to declare to people the deadlines of their disease and to tell them which medicine to take? I had rather be called cruel for being kind, than kind for being cruel.” R.G.Lee. You can scoff at hell. You can laugh at it. You can even laugh your way into hell. But you cannot laugh your way out of it. -Adrian Rogers.

Daniel 12:2; Matthew 3:12 (Luke 3:17); Mark 9:43-48; Matthew 18:8; Matthew 10:28 (Luke 12:4-5); Matthew 25:41,46; Matthew 26:24; Mark 3:29 and Matthew 12:32; Luke 16:26; Romans 2:6-8; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 6:1-2; Jude 12-13; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 19:3; Revelation 20:10.

Matthew 8:12;13:42; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30.

The forerunner of Christ warned his hearers to "flee from the wrath to come" (Matthew 3:7). The Savior bade His auditors, "Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him" (Luke 12:5). Paul said, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (2 Cor. 5:11).

But why do we and why did the Jews of Jeremiah’s day, minimise God’s Wrath?


Vice is a monster of so frightful a mien, That to be trusted needs but to be seen.

Yet, seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

And so it has been in our society and even in the church of God. We have become so used to sin, that we cannot any longer see it for what it is, as the abominable thing which God hates! And as soon as sin becomes a light thing in our minds, the very idea of divine wrath and judgment must give way, for no one can believe in a God who flies into great rage over nothing.


There is a trivialization of Christian thought and ministry, by which things of little importance have wholly displaced things of massive and all consuming importance. The church clearly seems to be more interested today in whether a person is finding self-fulfillment or has a healthy self- image, than whether he or she will fall forever under the punishing and unrelenting judgments of the Almighty. We seem to be in the Church too much today as the driver of a car who worries about his passenger spilling coffee as the car plunges through a guardrail and hurtles over the edge of a high cliff toward the rocks below. We are preparing a race of people who will, like the character in Robert Louis Stevenson's story, be nursing a toothache on the judgement day.

Now the Lord obviously wants us to know these things; to believe them and to attend to them in our thinking and our living. They are part of that sound doctrine, that is, that life-giving, healthy doctrine of which the Scripture is full. The prophets of the Old Testament had to contend in their day, just as we must in ours, with many whose message was all sweetness and light. Micah in his prophecy says: 'If a liar and a deceiver comes and says, "I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer," he would be just the prophet for this people.' (2:11) Today this prophet would have a TV program and it would be popular! But the end of that kind of thinking and preaching, which denies the wrath of God, is not happiness and salvation, but judgment and destruction. So say Micah and all of the prophets!

The fear of hell is a good and useful thing. Jesus said, "Do not fear those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear. Fear him who, after he has killed has the power to cast into hell" (Luke 12:4-5). In other words, fear the judgment of God.

Richard Baxter put it this way: 'Seriousness is the very thing wherein consists our sincerity. If thou art not serious, thou art not a Christian. It is not only a high degree in Christianity, but the very life and essence of it. As fencers on a stage differ from soldiers fighting for their lives, so hypocrites differ from serious Christians.'

Does the peril, the impending doom of people round about us really touch us? Does it drive us to warn them and call upon them to believe in Christ that they may be saved from the very real wrath to come? Are we constrained by the knowledge of what will befall those who are outside of Christ to say that we are a debtor to all men, and 'Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.'

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