Friday, July 30, 2010

Your Friday Phil

Spurgeon: Read fewer blogs, more Scripture
posted by Phil Johnson
5-31-08


The following excerpt is from "How to Read the Bible," a sermon published in 1879.


Need I suggest the question as to whether you do read your Bibles or not? I am afraid that this is a magazine-reading age, a newspaper-reading age, a periodical-reading age, but not so much a Bible-reading age as it ought to be.

In the old Puritanic times men used to have a scant supply of other literature, but they found a library enough in the one book, the Bible. And how they did read the Bible! How little of Scripture there is in modern sermons compared with the sermons of those masters of theology, the Puritanic divines! Almost every sentence of theirs seems to cast sidelights upon a text of Scripture; not only the one they are preaching about, but many others as well are set in a new light as the discourse proceeds. They introduce blended lights from other passages, which are parallel or semi-parallel thereunto, and thus they educate their readers to compare spiritual things with spiritual.

I would to God that we ministers kept more closely to the grand old book. We should be instructive preachers if we did so, even if we were ignorant of "modern thought," and were not "abreast of the times." I warrant you we should be leagues ahead of our times if we kept closely to the word of God.

As for you, my brothers and sisters, who have not to preach, the best food for you is the word of God itself. Sermons and books are well enough, but streams that run for a long distance above ground gradually gather for themselves somewhat of the soil through which they flow, and they lose the cool freshness with which they started from the spring head. Truth is sweetest where it breaks from the smitten Rock, for at its first gush it has lost none of its heavenliness and vitality. It is always best to drink at the well and not from the tank. You shall find that reading the word of God for yourselves, reading it rather than notes upon it, is the surest way of growing in grace. Drink of the unadulterated milk of the word of God, and not of the skim milk, or the milk and water of man's word.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Terminology - Leaven



As you may suspect half of the staff here at The Old Dead Guys, likes to garden.  But you most likely do not know she also likes to bake, especially bread.  Whether it is muffins, or wheat bread, or even that white stuff that is full of gluten goodness it makes little difference.  She will go to great lengths to try and make a different type or improve one already delicious by adding a fruit or spice of some sort.  But one thing that is always included without hesitation is leaven or yeast. 

The Scriptures use leaven frequently, and most often we think of leaven as a bad thing.  However, you will recall the Scriptures never say yeast is bad only the effects (seen in analogy) of leaven is and it is used usually as an object lesson.  

Webster’s 1828 states of leaven

As a noun leaven is
1. A mass of sour dough, which, mixed with a larger quantity of dough or paste, produces fermentation in it and renders it light.
2. Any thing which makes a general change in the mass. It generally means something which corrupts or depraves that with which it is mixed.

And as a transitive verb
1. To excite fermentation [growth] in.
2. to taint; to imbue.

Its usage in Scripture is first mention is in Gen 19:3 and displays haste, in this case baking bread by Lot for the two angels.  This idea of haste is also seen in God’s instructions for the Passover (Ex 12:15) as a memorial.  It is also seen in the NT as something to avoid as in the “leaven of the Pharisees” (Mt 16:6-12) and speaks of avoiding bad doctrine.

Conversely we are also shown that the Kingdom of Heaven is likened to leaven in that it will start out small but grow until it growing time is completed (Lk 13:21).  In the parable it is represented by all three lumps being leavened.

Lastly we see leaven likened to sin in our lives and are told to be on guard against and to put it away from us for a “little leaven leavens the whole” (1 Cor 5:8; Gal 5:9).

So remember leaven in Scripture is used as an object lesson in what it does i.e. grows.  Whether it is representing good or bad is determined by the context. 

Context is King!

SDG



Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Observations from the Garden


I love the outdoors and try to spend as much time as possible enjoying it.  Even under the curse where all of creation is groaning and waiting for redemption (Rom 8:18-23), there is much beauty to behold.  In my spiritual walk over the years I have learned to take time and observe the workings of nature around me.  God’s glory, majesty and power are all displayed if we care to pay attention. 

Paul speaks of this general revelation when he says that the invisible things of God, even his eternal power and deity are understood through the created order (Rom 1: 20).  I like how the Westminster Confession of Faith puts it:

Sec. 1.  Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation.

I also like to garden.  Christ used horticulture/agriculture many times in His parables to teach valuable kingdom truths (Mt 13:3-9; 13:31; 17:20; Jn 15:1-5).  It is my belief that we can still learn lessons by observing the created order around us, especially by watching things grow.  I have a yellow knockout rose bush that has a wonderful smell and beautiful yellow blooms that appear all summer long.  I have been observing its growth/bloom cycle carefully since this is my first year growing this particular rose.  

It struck me the other day how its cycle could give me a lesson in my Christian walk.   I noticed that it did not bloom continually but took rests in-between.  During this time it sends out a lot of new robust growth and then new buds appear for the next bloom cycle.  It repeats this process all summer long until it goes into dormancy for the winter.

In our Christian walk we also have growth/bloom cycles.  We need those times where we really need to focus on our growth, renewing our mind, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in order for our fruit (blooms) to be abundant.  If my rose bush had beautiful foliage but never produced any blooms it would give me cause for concern.  Likewise, if we grow abundantly in the knowledge of God yet never produce any fruit (blooms) for the advancement of the kingdom we should also have cause for concern.  The same is true if we bloom continually without having the proper growth to support that blooming, we will soon become weak and mal-nourished which will cause reduced fruit (bloom) production.  Proper balance is key as with all things.

So, I hope you enjoyed our time spent in the garden.  My rose bush is very healthy and doing well by the way.  I hope you will take time every single day to stop and smell the roses.  God’s wonderful creation can teach us much if only we will take the time to observe.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Foundational Truths – God – Just/Justice


I am always amazed at the names that we use to give our children or leaders.  During biblical times name carried an idea as to the character of the individual such as James and John being the “Sons of Thunder.”  Of course this means their dad was Thunder.  What a nickname.  I can hear it now “don’t look now boys but here comes Thunder” or “I hope Thunder don’t find out.”  It sounds more like a wrasslin name (that’s wrestling before it went Hollywood).  Anyway we are never told why he was called Thunder; was it his commanding voice or his loud raucous laughter or maybe even a violent temperament we will never know. 



Then we have Edward Longshanks better known today as the antagonist or visa versa of William Wallace (think Brave Heart).  (It’s sorta like the war of northern aggression… it depends on which side of the fence your on but I digress).  Anyway, it seems he was called Longshanks due to his unusual height.  Yet when we think of God we rarely think of Him or call Him “God the Just” but that is exactly who He is, Just.  We may in a study of “the names of God” give this a glancing look but not much more.



Webster’s 1828 states of Just:

      The virtue which consists in giving to every one what is his due; Impartiality or Equity [and carries the idea of] Vindictive retribution or merited punishment.

Now we have to acknowledge that this is the unpleasant side of God if I can put it that way.  Especially since we most often think of God as a benevolent father type and it is certainly accurate to ascribe this trait to Him as well but that view is only part of who He actually is. 

Justice in terms of God is His fair and impartial treatment of all people.  The justice of God is a necessary result of His holiness or moral excellence. Since God is infinitely and eternally perfect, He must be impartial in His judgments and always treat His creatures with equity.  Or as Abraham stated... Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you!  Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Ge 18:25).

Of necessity for God to be Just He must also be omniscient or all knowing.  He must not only know what we did but also the intent of why we did what we did… and He does 1 Chron 28:9; Heb 4:12.  And while many may say they want justice from God they do so from an inflated ego not knowing their true self (Jer 17:9).  Of this position James Boice states:

Mercy or Justice - It has always been my experience that those who have not yet believed in Christ react in one of two ways at the thought of God's judgment. Some simply refuse to believe it. They think quite wrongly, I believe, that judgment is inconsistent with God's character. "God is love," they argue; "how can a loving God condemn anyone?" The answer to this view is that God's love is not inconsistent with his judgment and that, whatever we may think about the matter, the Bible quite obviously speaks of these two themes as compatible.

The other objection is more dangerous. These persons believe that it is somehow ignoble of themselves to receive salvation through Christ. To receive salvation in this way is to depend on God's mercy or grace, and they would far rather deal with God's justice. "I don't want mercy from God," they will say. "All I want is a fair shake. I just want justice."

I pity the person who wants nothing from God but justice. The justice of God? The justice of God will send a person to hell; the justice of God will never save him. Justice condemns! It is only the grace of God in Jesus Christ that pardons and makes alive.

But God’s justice is not set aside for the believer; His justice must be satisfied and it is only through the work and person of Jesus Christ.  Christ expiates (atones) our sin and guilt in that our guilt is imputed to His account.  As a result God is propitious toward us having had His wrath appeased and Christ’s righteousness is imputed to our account.  Therefore we are justified before God not on account of our own merit but upon His, The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29).



Monday, July 26, 2010

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Pt 8

Well here it is.  I know many did not think this would ever come but yes it’s here.  Why it seems as if it was only last month when we began our series on Jonathan Edwards’ work Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God but the end is here.  Yes this is the last installment of his work and next week unless something else should interfere we will begin a new work.  If you have a favorite let me know and I will work him in.  So without any further delay and with limited commercial interruption we present this final installment of Jonathan Edward’s Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God


And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has flung the door of mercy wide open, and stands in the door calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God; many are daily coming from the east, west, north and south; many that were very lately in the same miserable condition that you are in, are now in a happy state, with their hearts filled with love to him that has loved them and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. How awful is it to be left behind at such a day! To see so many others feasting, while you are pining and perishing! To see so many rejoicing and singing for joy of heart, while you have cause to mourn for sorrow of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit! How can you rest one moment in such a condition? Are not your souls as precious as the souls of the people at Suffield, where they are flocking from day to day to Christ?

Are there not many here that have lived long in the world, that are not to this day born again, and so are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and have done nothing ever since they have lived, but treasure up wrath against the day of wrath? Oh sirs, your case in an especial manner is extremely dangerous; your guilt and hardness of heart is extremely great. Don’t you see how generally persons of your years are passed over and left, in the present remarkable and wonderful dispensation of God's mercy? You had need to consider yourselves, and wake thoroughly out of sleep; you cannot bear the fierceness and wrath of the infinite God.

And you that are young men, and young women, will you neglect this precious season that you now enjoy, when so many others of your age are renouncing all youthful vanities, and flocking to Christ? You especially have now an extraordinary opportunity; but if you neglect it, it will soon be with you as it is with those persons that spent away all the precious days of youth in sin, and are now come to such a dreadful pass in blindness and hardness.

And you children that are unconverted, don’t you know that you are going down to hell, to bear the dreadful wrath of that God that is now angry with you every day, and every night? Will you be content to be the children of the devil, when so many other children in the land are converted, and are become the holy and happy children of the King of kings?

And let everyone that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the pit of hell, whether they be old men and women, or middle aged, or young people, or little children, now harken to the loud calls of God's word and providence. This acceptable year of the Lord, that is a day of such great favor to some, will doubtless be a day of as remarkable vengeance to others. Men's hearts harden, and their guilt increases apace at such a day as this, if they neglect their souls: and never was there so great danger of such persons being given up to hardness of heart, and blindness of mind. God seems now to be hastily gathering in his elect in all parts of the land; and probably the bigger part of adult persons that ever shall be saved, will be brought in now in a little time, and that it will be as it was on that great outpouring of the Spirit upon the Jews in the apostles' days, the election will obtain, and the rest will be blinded. If this should be the case with you, you will eternally curse this day, and will curse the day that ever you was born, to see such a season of the pouring out of God's Spirit, and will wish that you had died and gone to hell before you had seen it. Now undoubtedly it is, as it was in the days of John the Baptist, the ax is in an extraordinary manner laid at the root of the trees, that every tree which brings not forth good fruit, may be hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Therefore let everyone that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come. The wrath of almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over great part of this congregation: let everyone fly out of Sodom. Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed [Gen. 12:17].

Friday, July 23, 2010

A taste of Turk




by Frank Turk
12-27-06

I just realized it was Wednesday, which is unofficially my day for occupying this space, and I realized I hadn't been preparing for it. I have been so engrossed by my Belkin TuneBase over the last two days, I'll be honest: I forgot about blogging. You can't imagine how entraced you can get listening to every frequency on the FM dial trying to find one with the appropriate level of stationlessness in order to broadcast a puny little peep from your iPod so you can listen to John Piper, Third Day and James White's rather hardscrabble free MP3s.




Anyway, as I found that 88.9 FM is the best for my little device, I was listening to Dr. Piper describe Christians as "task oriented" folk who frankly have let the arts slip through our fingers. There are a lot of reasons for that -- each could probably make a very keen blog post in and of itself -- but let me suggest one which Dr. Piper did not say in particular.

As a people, we Christians have adopted one of the worst attributes of the anabaptist tradition, and that is a rather sincere disdain for things which are true and beautiful. Here's what I mean by that: we have set up a false dichotomy between "true" and "beautiful" so that anything which is "true" must be plain or otherwise homely, and everything which is "beautiful" must be the work of the devil because it appeals to our eyes and ears. And we have also let the world dictate to us what is "beautiful" so that we don't even know it when we see it anymore.

So what we wind up with, for example, is the ocean of vacuous "worship" music in Christian bookstores which is neither true nor beautiful; we wind up with Christian "art" which is hardly suited for comic books let alone the walls of our homes; we wind up with t-shirts being the high fashion statement of our subculture; we wind up with literature-ignorant and theology-vacant "poetry" that neither moves emotionally or inspires intellectually.


And with these things, we want to have a culture war with New York, Los Angeles and Hollywood. Good grief, people: we might as well be sending weiner dogs out to defend us against an army of machette-weilding Haitian voodoo zombies. At least the weiner dogs would be able to smell the dead meat and run away from it, and we could follow them.

So what to do? I mean, isn't the right answer to study the culture and then try to co-opt its methods because obviously those methods are working on those people who we say we want to reach? It's that the missional thing to do -- especially in the arts?

Does that sound like a TeamPyro post to you?

Let me suggest something instead which I think many people probably have heard but no one has bothered to apply to this problem: all great art demonstrates the tension between love and death. That's not a Biblical proverb per se, but it is, in fact, true. All great poetry is about the tension between love and death -- even if it's not the love of another person or the death of a particular person. And one of the great failings of modern culture is its shallow vision of love (which is explicitly and almost exclusively sexual and sensual) and its obsession with death (either by avoidance in worshipping youth, or its glamorization of suicide).

Listen: if there's anything on Earth (or in the Heavens) which we Christians ought to know something about, it's Love and Death. In fact, we should be the ones who are exclaiming the fact of Love inDeath. We shouldn't be establishing a suicide cult but extolling the fantastic fact that Christ died for our sins because God Loved, andChrist was resurrected in order that death would be destroyed.

There's more art to be made in that one sentence than all the movies Hollywod has ever turned out, and more than either NYC or LA could turn out in music and TV in 10,000 years. Why? Because there is Truth and Beauty in that statement, and it doesn't force us to make false moral choices or reduce our expressions to some gloomy, dismal, atonal text.

The great topic of art belongs to us. The great purpose of art is not, as someone once said, to frame a lie which seems pleasant, but to frame truth by analogy -- and the greatest truth-by-analogy of all time is the Bible.

So as we close out the season of meditation on that the incarnation of Christ means (or ought to mean) to us, the Christians, let us also think about how we tell others about this great gift. It's not enough to get it right in theory: we must also get it right in practice, which is to say, in the full-contact sport of real life.


Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.


Let us find her, and let us tell everyone how precious and rich she is indeed.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Terminology - Apocrypha


I must apologize for being so sporadic of late; it seems circumstances have conspired to prevent any real consistency; nevertheless let’s take a quick stab at it.


Many have heard of the Apocrypha and may have even seen bibles that contain these mysterious books; however you may not  know how they came to be or why they not recognized in the Protestant bible but are recognized by the Roman Catholic church.  So today we want to give a brief look at this subject.





Apocrypha (a-pa-cra-fa)

Webster’s 1828 states:
Literally such things as are not published; but in an appropriate sense, books whose authors are not known; whose authenticity, as inspired writings, is not admitted, and which are therefore not considered a part of the sacred canon of the scripture.

So the issue is one of verifiable authenticity or knowing who wrote them.  Most commonly the Apocrypha is comprised of 14 books more or less depending upon the bible edition used; and are noted to be:

1 Esdras 
2 Esdras 
Tobit
Judith
Rest of Esther 
Wisdom
Ecclesiasticus aka. Sirach
Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremy 
Song of the Three Children 
Story of Susanna 
The Idol Bel and the Dragon 
Prayer of Manasses
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees

As far as Protestants are concerned though Luther c. 1534, published a German translation from the Vulgate leaving the apocryphal books in a section between the OT and NT as many do today.  It was Luther’s conviction that since the Masoretic Text of Judaism did not include these they did not therefore rise to the level of being canon and should not be included.  But he could not bring himself to remove them completely.

His position was/is not without biblical merit though since Jesus in teaching His disciples and in rebuking the Pharisees did so on many grounds pertaining to the Law (OT canon) (Mt 7:12; 12:5; 22:36-40; 23:23; Jn 7:19; 8:17; 10:34), but never for not having a complete work or for having added to it.  So today the apocryphal books are received by the church of Rome as canonical, but not by Protestants.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God pt 7

Well as we consider part 7 of Johnathan Edwards work Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God it has become clear that the average "christian" would not have the stomach for such a sermon nor the necessary seat to withstand its delivery.  Many it seems can barely stand (sit) for a 30 minute "God loves you" message without thinking the preacher is getting to long winded and interfering with their Sunday afternoon.  Anyway I digress.  Parts 1 - 6 may be reviewed here.  Enjoy as it seems we have only one more part to consider.


Thus it will be with you that are in an unconverted state, if you continue in it; the infinite might, and majesty and terribleness of the omnipotent God shall be magnified upon you, in the ineffable strength of your torments: you shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and when you shall be in this state of suffering, the glorious inhabitants of heaven shall go forth and look on the awful spectacle, that they may see what the wrath and fierceness of the Almighty is, and when they have seen it, they will fall down and adore that great power and majesty. Is. 66:23-24, "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."

Tis everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity: there will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long forever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all; you will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh who can express what the state of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble faint representation of it; ’tis inexpressible and inconceivable: for "who knows the power of God's anger?" [Ps. 90:11].

How dreadful is the state of those that are daily and hourly in danger of this great wrath, and infinite misery! But this is the dismal case of every soul in this congregation, that has not been born again, however moral and strict, sober and religious they may otherwise be. Oh that you would consider it, whether you be young or old. There is reason to think, that there are many in this congregation now hearing this discourse, that will actually be the subjects of this very misery to all eternity. We know not who they are, or in what seats they sit, or what thoughts they now have: it may be they are now at ease, and hear all these things without much disturbance, and are now flattering themselves that they are not the persons, promising themselves that they shall escape. If we knew that there was one person, and but one, in the whole congregation that was to be the subject of this misery, what an awful thing would it be to think of! If we knew who it was, what an awful sight would it be to see such a person!

How might all the rest of the congregation lift up a lamentable and bitter cry over him! But alas! instead of one, how many is it likely will remember this discourse in hell? And it would be a wonder if some that are now present, should not be in hell in a very short time, before this year is out. And it would be no wonder if some person that now sits here in some seat of this meeting house in health, and quiet and secure, should be there before tomorrow morning. Those of you that finally continue in a natural condition, that shall keep out of hell longest, will be there in a little time! your damnation don’t slumber; it will come swiftly, and in all probability very suddenly upon many of you. 

You have reason to wonder, that you are not already in hell. ’Tis doubtless the case of some that heretofore you have seen and known, that never deserved hell more than you, and that heretofore appeared as likely to have been now alive as you: their case is past all hope; they are crying in extreme misery and perfect despair; but here you are in the land of the living, and in the house of God, and have an opportunity to obtain salvation. What would not those poor damned, hopeless souls give for one day's opportunity such as you now enjoy!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Your Friday Phil or not

Well I am sure you all came here expecting to read something deep and profound from the team (Dan, Frank, and Phil) over at Pyro, it is Friday Phil Friday after all.  However today we at The Old Dead Guys thought we would use this day to hopefully get to know you a little better.  


So with that in mind, before you leave would you post a comment and briefly introduce yourself?  Do not be to revealing but we would like to know stuff like: a little about your self (nothing revealing or very personal), how you found us, what you like or dislike, or any topics you would like to see covered.  


So let me be the first:


As you may know I am Jamie, I am currently 9 credits from graduation from LRU (Luther Rice) and find it ironic that he would not be allowed to teach at the school that bears his name being a believer in the Doctrines of Grace.  My profile pretty much states my biblical position.  I am married (28 yrs) to the most wonderful and patient woman (yep sorry I got her) who was my High School sweetie.  We live in the Charlotte NC area and although we are Reformed Baptists we attend an SBC church that is not (go figure - bet you did not see that coming).

So there, I got it started - don't leave me alone.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Terminology – Eschatology

Today’s definition of Eschatology will be short since there really is not much that can be said outside of the definition itself.  My Homiletics  seminary professor always said “don’t be to geeky greeky.”  His point of course was that the average church member really doesn’t care about the technical qualities of various Greek words and syntax.  So I try not to be to boring at least beyond what is necessary. 

Wouldn’t you know it though eschatology is not in Webster’s 1828 nor is it a biblical word, strictly speaking;  however, like the Trinity or the rapture its principle is.  So..

Princeton.edu states of eschatoloy:

Eschatology - The branch of theology that is concerned with such final things as death and Last Judgment; Heaven and Hell; the ultimate destiny of humankind.


Eschatology deals with three categories – The individual in regards to death and the afterlife, Redemption through the coming , course, and consummation of Christ’s kingdom i.e. the millennium.  And the world in regard to Christ’s return, the resurrection, final judgment , and the eternal state whether heaven or the lake of fire.

So when your pastor goes all geeky greeky on you and drops the eschatology bomb just remember he is speaking on final judgment and the context will tell you which category he is in.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Connection Between Interpretation and Application

In a Sunday School class (yes I know it is now Bible Study) I have attended, I and in fact the entire staff here at The Old Dead Guys, are usually frustrated by the eagerness at which the class moves into application spending very little time on completely understanding the text through solid interpretation.  I know this is not anything any of you experience but it usually drives us nuts.  But I suspect that your class may be similar. Maybe not seen from the teacher but some in the class seem to always want to immediately move to “how will this help my marriage or my mortgage” before they find out what God is telling them. 

So that brings us to the question “what is the connection between interpretation and application”?

As I am sure you know, being some of the smartest readers of the blogosphere, everything in life centers on a proper interpretation of that around us.  This is true for everything not just the Scriptures.  Therefore, interpretation carries the idea of reading or observing and giving meaning to the text or situation.  This process is necessary for daily life as without it communication with others or vice versa is impossible. 

Application on the other hand is applying that which has been learned through interpretation.  This application can be proper or improper; therefore the connection between interpretation and correct application is not severable.  It is however vitally important to recognize that just as interpretation precedes application (or at least should), interpretation without application becomes just an academic exercise.  But the academic exercise is still vitally necessary.

Your method of approach to interpretation is likewise vitally important and the reason I believe the Scriptures be interpreted literally; that is, taken in there usual, customary, and grammatical meaning unless context or some other clearly observable trait dictates otherwise. 

Biblically for application to be correct and therefore effective, the Bible must be interpreted accurately using sound systematic methods.  These methods must include recognition of who is being addressed and the limitations, if any, that are to be applied.  

So application is easy but if it is not founded on solid exegesis it is greatly subject to flaw.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Foundational Truths – God – Jealous(y)

As you will remember when we began this study it was in connection with a study of the Godhead with the goal of looking at the duties if you will of each member. First though we thought it most advantageous to look at some (since an infinite God most certainly has infinite attributes) of the attributes each share and in fact every attribute is shared equally among each member of the Godhead. If this were not the case then the unity of the trinity (Godhead) would be broken which is an impossible.

So today we will look at the Jealous God. The thought of God being jealous to many is unthinkable, usually because in their minds they ascribe the human sinful nature of jealousy to God which is not what the Scriptures have in mind at all. And while the definition of jealous(y) certainly does include that our purpose will be to look at God’s jealousy and only look at the sinful type only as a contrast. So lets dig in.


Webster’s 1828 states of Jealous

Jealous - adv

- Solicitous to defend the honor of; concerned for the character of.

- Suspiciously vigilant; anxiously careful and concerned for.

Or as a noun -

- Indignation. (Righteous)

Human jealousy describes the hostility one has toward a rival or one believed to enjoy some advantage over us. It should be emphasized that not all human jealousy is sinful though as seen in the prophet Elijah's reaction in 1 Kings 19:9-10 (God asks) “What are you doing here, Elijah? He said, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” So let’s be clear not all human jealousy is sinful

However, jealousy is an emotion we most often describe as seen between lovers; and yet God communicates His Jealousy with Israel as a husband would a wife (or visa versa) (Jer 31:32; cf. Ho 2:19, Isa 54:5, Jer 2:2) and because of His love for His people He jealously acts to maintain their fidelity. Divine jealously is not the petty emotion so often seen in fallen men and women, but describes God's justifiable intolerance to any and every rival (i.e. idols, gods). Jealousy is God's rightful demand for our exclusive affection in light of His provision for us.

In short, God's kind of jealousy is appropriate and good, for He is defending His word and His Holy honor as well as that of His chosen elect. He makes a strong, exclusive demand on those who are His. As such, we must treat only the Lord as God to the exclusion of all other people and created things!

The Scriptures are replete with references to God’s godly jealously over His, dare I say property (people). For you are not your own you know, you have been bought off the slave market at great price (1 Cor 6:19b-20). Consider a few others:

Josh 24:19; Ezek 16:38; Ps 79:5; Ex 34:13, 14; Deut 4:23; Deut 5:9;


So in light of this let us examine our life style honestly and prayerfully.

Have other persons, places, or things assumed a more prominent status or role in our lives than our relationship with the Lord God Almighty, the eternal, immutable lover of our soul? If so, take some decisive and concrete steps to cast out and destroy the "idols" in our life and give to Him the high and lofty position He alone deserves. Our daily choices will demonstrate whether He is truly Lord or if we have given Him only lip service!

And let us not forsake the spiritual welfare of other believers; are we as jealous for their spiritual welfare as we should? This is at the very heart of Gal 6:1 and the demonstration of Paul in 2 Cor11:2-ff.


Think about it…






Monday, July 12, 2010

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God pt 6

Today we continue in our look at  Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God perhaps the most famous work of Johnathan Edwards.  As he continues in the application portion of his sermon he asks that the unregenerate consider their fate at the hands of God.

As this thread has grown in becomes impractical to summarize all the prior posts; however you can read them here Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4, Pt 5.  Part 5 contains a summary of each section till now.

Consider this, you that are here present, that yet remain in an unregenerate state. That God will execute the fierceness of his anger, implies, that he will inflict wrath without any pity. When God beholds the ineffable extremity of your case, and sees your torment to be so vastly disproportioned to your strength, and sees how your poor soul is crushed, and sinks down, as it were, into an infinite gloom; he will have no compassion upon you, he will not forbear the executions of his wrath, or in the least lighten his hand; there shall be no moderation or mercy, nor will God then at all stay his rough wind; he will have no regard to your welfare, nor be at all careful lest you should suffer too much in any other sense, than only that you shall not suffer beyond what strict justice requires. Nothing shall be withheld, because it is so hard for you to bear. Ezek. viii. 18. "Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity; and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet I will not hear them." Now God stands ready to pity you; this is a day of mercy; you may cry now with some encouragement of obtaining mercy. But when once the day of mercy is past, your most lamentable and dolorous cries and shrieks will be in vain; you will be wholly lost and thrown away of God, as to any regard to your welfare. God will have no other use to put you to, but to suffer misery; you shall be continued in being to no other end; for you will be a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction; and there will be no other use of this vessel, but to be filled full of wrath. God will be so far from pitying you when you cry to him, that it is said he will only "laugh and mock," Prov. 1:25, 26, &c.

How awful are those words, Isa. 63:3, which are the words of the great God. "I will tread them in mine anger, and will trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment." It is perhaps impossible to conceive of words that carry in them greater manifestations of these three things, vis. contempt, and hatred, and fierceness of indignation. If you cry to God to pity you, he will be so far from pitying you in your doleful case, or showing you the least regard or favour, that instead of that, he will only tread you under foot. And though he will know that you cannot bear the weight of omnipotence treading upon you, yet he will not regard that, but he will crush you under his feet without mercy; he will crush out your blood, and make it fly, and it shall be sprinkled on his garments, so as to stain all his raiment. He will not only hate you, but he will have you, in the utmost contempt: no place shall be thought fit for you, but under his feet to be trodden down as the mire of the streets.

The misery you are exposed to is that which God will inflict to that end, that he might show what that wrath of Jehovah is. God hath had it on his heart to show to angels and men, both how excellent his love is, and also how terrible his wrath is. Sometimes earthly kings have a mind to show how terrible their wrath is, by the extreme punishments they would execute on those that would provoke them. Nebuchadnezzar, that mighty and haughty monarch of the Chaldean empire, was willing to show his wrath when enraged with Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego; and accordingly gave orders that the burning fiery furnace should be heated seven times hotter than it was before; doubtless, it was raised to the utmost degree of fierceness that human art could raise it. But the great God is also willing to show his wrath, and magnify his awful majesty and mighty power in the extreme sufferings of his enemies. Rom. 9:22. "What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endure with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction?" And seeing this is his design, and what he has determined, even to show how terrible the unrestrained wrath, the fury and fierceness of Jehovah is, he will do it to effect. There will be something accomplished and brought to pass that will be dreadful with a witness. When the great and angry God hath risen up and executed his awful vengeance on the poor sinner, and the wretch is actually suffering the infinite weight and power of his indignation, then will God call upon the whole universe to behold that awful majesty and mighty power that is to be seen in it. Isa. 33:12-14. "And the people shall be as the burnings of lime, as thorns cut up shall they be burnt in the fire. Hear ye that are far off, what I have done; and ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites," &c

Friday, July 9, 2010

Your Friday Phil

Gospel Lite
Tastes Great; Less Filling

by Phil Johnson
Originally posted 3-3-08



The defining principle of historic evangelicalism was an unwavering devotion to the gospel. But the broad movement that calls itself "evangelical" today no longer stands for any clear point of view and can't seem to find consensus on even the most basic of gospel truths. How did that happen?

The word evangelical used to be a good one. The term dates back at least to William Tyndale, and it refers to the belief that the gospel message—the evangel—is the vital heart of all Christian truth. To a real evangelical, everything that is of primary importance in Christianity is embodied and summarized in the gospel, and any belief system based on an aberrant gospel is not authentically Christian.

Evangelicals' passion for keeping the gospel at the center explains why historic evangelicalism has always been theologically conservative, biblically based, warm-heartedly evangelistic, and dynamically experiential.

But the contemporary evangelical movement has become something completely different. Evangelicals can't even seem to agree among themselves anymore about what the gospel is or whether the factual and doctrinal details of our message are really even all that important.

Practically every trend in the evangelical movement today attempts to redefine the very points of gospel truth earlier evangelicals had universally deemed essential. That's true of the New Perspective on Paul, for instance, which proposes a wholesale redefinition of what Paul meant by "justification." It's true of Open Theism, which redefines God Himself (denying His sovereignty and His foreknowledge) and then relentlessly shaves the hard edges off every doctrine thought to make Him seem "too harsh"—starting with substitutionary atonement. It's especially true of postmodern and Emergent approaches to Christianity, where almost anything goes and every truth of Scripture, including the gospel, is reimagined daily.

Yet postmodernism, Open Theism, and the New Perspective (along with several other similar aberrant ways of thinking) have managed to make themselves quite at home under the broad tent of the contemporary evangelical movement. Read any recent issue of Christianity Today if you doubt this.

How did it come to this?

For the past fifty years or more, people calling themselves "evangelical" have been systematically watering down the gospel; filtering out the hard parts; and trying every way they can think of to tone down the offense of the cross. They have been serving up "gospel lite"—a pale imitation of the true gospel, specially distilled to taste good and go down easy. As more and more "refinements" have been made to the recipe, few people in the movement seem to be asking whether the message we're now collectively proclaiming to the world even has enough gospel left in it to be considered authentically evangelical. (It's my conviction that the correct answer to that question is no.)

The problem can be traced, I think, to a craving for academic respectability and worldly admiration. In the middle of the 20th century, several leading evangelicals proposed a whole new kind of evangelicalism—less militant, more tolerant, and (above all) shrewd and market-savvy about public relations. The neo-evangelicals seemed to operate on the assumption that the way to win the world is by making the evangelical movement and its message as appealing as possible to worldly people. In other words, let's "sell" Christianity the way Budweiser sells beer.

Why not? If they like us, surely they'll like Jesus, too.

The early compromises were subtle—just a shading of the message here and there to make it sound more positive and winsome. Instead of starting with sin, the way Romans 1 does, evangelicals decided that God's love made a more harmonious opening note for our gospel presentation: "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life."

By the 1970s, evangelical preachers seemed to have little to say about sin and human depravity. And the wrath of God was hardly mentioned even in a whisper. The problem of sin was never actually denied, mind you—it was merely shifted more and more into the background. The gospel's call to repentance was dropped in favor of urging people to seek personal fulfillment and "a personal relationship with God."

Soon evangelicals weren't mentioning sin at all anymore. It was as if they suddenly forgot that the human dilemma is all about eternal and spiritual matters. Instead, by the mid 1980s, the issues that dominated evangelical pulpits were temporal and psychological: low self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, a sense of purpose in life, a feeling of belonging, and (of course) how to be happy, healthy, wealthy, successful, and full of self-esteem. Evangelicals portrayed "the gospel" as a quick 'n' easy answer to those questions, and little else.

By the 1990s, some evangelicals were making scarcely any reference to the gospel at all. They were so bent on winning the world's admiration that their "outreach" strategy was reduced to trivial attempts to put some kind of spiritual-sounding spin on virtually every kind of worldly entertainment. And if they couldn't make something sound spiritual, they would sometimes do it anyway—just to entertain.

During the heyday of the seeker-sensitive movement in the early 90s, someone showed me a video featuring one megachurch's idea of how evangelism ought to be done. It was a 90-minute variety show, featuring comedy, drama, and dancing. Not one mention was made of the gospel and not one verse of Scripture was ever cited during the entire parade of acts. It was sheer entertainment. But then at the very end, an "invitation" was given, encouraging those who wanted their lives to be more meaningful to "accept Christ." Nothing in the entire presentation had given viewers any clue about who Christ is, what He did, why we need Him, or what it means to believe in Him. In other words, the gospel was totally missing.

I remember thinking even then that the quest for milder-than-ever flavors of Gospel Lite had already destroyed the evangelical movement.

Now, after several years of that kind of gospel-deficient ministry, multitudes of people who think of themselves as "evangelicals" are suffering from severe spiritual malnutrition. If trees may be known by their fruits (and if the latest Barna polls give any indication of what the evangelical movement is truly like today) it seems fair to assume that multitudes who call themselves evangelicals have never really been converted at all. And without any clear concept of the gospel to guide them, they are gullible, naïve, and susceptible to whatever false doctrine or spiritual ambiguity happens to be currently in vogue.

There's no denying that the evangelical movement has utterly lost its way. If that fact weren't already sufficiently clear, the point has now been punctuated emphatically—twice in the past year—with the resignations of top leaders from the movement's two most important umbrella organizations.

First it was the president of America's flagship evangelical society, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). Exposed in a sordid scandal involving repeated instances of infidelity, homosexuality, and drug trafficking, he admitted that he was a "deceiver and liar"—and that he had been so "for all of my adult life."

Fewer than six months after that story broke, it was revealed that the president of the movement's largest and most important academic fraternity, the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), had quietly converted to Roman Catholicism. He eventually resigned from ETS—even though (judging from various evangelical op-ed pieces and discussions on the Internet) he might well have been able to hang onto his post as ETS president if he had so desired. Majority opinion within the organization appeared to be in favor of keeping him in office. It seemed as if no one could think of any fundamental difference remaining between evangelicals and Roman Catholics.

When the NAE president disqualified himself, evangelicalism's house organ, Christianity Today, was having its 50th anniversary celebration. The magazine had marked the half-century mark by sponsoring a series of articles about the future of evangelicalism. In the first of those articles, CT's editors more or less admitted even they aren't really sure what a correct definition ofevangelicalism would be nowadays. But their working description of the movement began with the observation that evangelicals are now amazingly broad, diverse, and ecumenical. Those, of course, used to be the primary badges of liberal Christianity.

It's crucial to understand that the demise of the contemporary evangelical movement does not stem merely (or even primarily) from a failure of leadership. It is mainly owing to the whole movement's chronic neglect of the gospel as it is presented in Scripture. All those attempts to tone down and tame the gospel have changed the fundamental character of evangelicalism's message. By systematically doing away with all the hard parts of the message, evangelicals have essentially done away with the gospel itself.

It is not now and never has been a valid goal to make our gospel message more winsome, more politically correct, more sophisticated-sounding, or simpler than it already is. Since Scripture recognizes and makes no apology for the fact that the message of the cross is itself a stumbling block and mere foolishness to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 1:23-25), Christians who are determined to devise a smart-sounding or inoffensive message are not being faithful ambassadors for Christ. He has commanded what our message should be. Our only duty is to deliver it without altering the sense of it.

Evangelicals for the past half-century have done a miserably poor job at that task, and it's time to take our calling more seriously.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Foundational Truths – God - Foreknows

Possibly one of the most contentious topics of discussion among reasonably educated believers is the foreknowledge of God.  Discussion of this usually within the context of predestination or election generates more heat than light but your view on this topic will determine your salvic world view as well as the roll God has in the salvation of his Church.  Now we will avoid getting involved in the discussion of predestination since admittedly this short post could not add much if anything substantive to the debate which has not be stated prior by those better equipped than I. But, as you will remember, when we began to look at some of God’s attributes, we framed the series as offering “enough of a foundation from which to operate.”  So with this as our backdrop we begin.

Webster’s 1828 states:

ForeknowsTo have previous knowledge of; to foresee

Foreknowledge – Knowledge of a thing before it happens; prescience

Foreknowledge then describes God’s knowledge of future events, including future free human choices.  In His omniscience (something we will deal with at a later time) God knows what the future holds both for individuals and for nations.  He knows and sees everything in advance and His will is carried out in accord with His plans and purposes providentially.  Foreknowledge does not just mean that God knew something would happen before it happened (although it is true) but that He also gave prior consent to the happening. 

But you may cry foul as your conception of free will exercises its right to choose; but God’s foreknowledge does not eradicate our freely choosing one thing over another on the contrary it (our free will) validates his foreknowledge in that all things work for our good (Ro 8:28).  But if God did not providentially foreknow then He becomes reactionary something the Scriptures never even hint at.

However and ultimately, we do eventually get around to Ro 8:29 where God tells us that He has “predestined [us] to be conformed to the image of his Son” and this based upon His having “foreknown” us.  Yet His foreknowledge is not based upon the common misconception that God knew beforehand who would believe on His Son (by looking down the corridors of time) and then predestined those individuals for salvation; especially since repentance and faith are never presented in Scripture as being foreknown of God but are on the contrary seen as a result of God having first sought the recipient of said faith and repentance.  For to hold to that view one would, to be consistent, also have to apply this view to 1 Peter 1:20 to say that God looked down the corridors of time and then (foreknow) predestine Christ to be manifest “in the last times for [our] sake” because Christ would choose to.  I do not know anyone who would hold to this view.

So we see that God foreknows all simply because He either causes all things through the instigation of His hands or though the passive (from our view) allowance of evil (as we perceive it).  But ultimately God knows all because in His sovereignty He causes all things so as not to become the author of evil or to excuse the free will rebellion of those who freely choose to disobey and reject Him and His Lordship.  This tension is only resolved in the mind of God and I am content to leave it there.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God pt 5

It’s Monday the 4th of July and we here at The Old Dead Guys wish to apologize for being late with our next installment of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by the old dead guy, Jonathan Edwards.  Where we last left off  Edwards asserted “You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.”  Today we continue the application section of his work with part 5 as he asks the reader to consider this more closely. 

A brief review of what he has asserted thus far:


Deuteronomy 32:35, "Their foot shall slide in due time."

In part one we read:

In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, … The expression I have chosen for my text, Their foot shall slide in due time, seems to imply the following doings, relating to the punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were exposed.

1. That they were always exposed to destruction;

2. It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall,

3. Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down.

4. That the reason why they are not fallen already, and do not fall now, is only that God's appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide.

The observation from the words that I would now insist upon is this. "There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God."

He continued in part 2:

The truth of this observation may appear by the following considerations.

1. There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment.

2. They deserve to be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in the way, it makes no objection against God's using his power at any moment to destroy them.

3. They are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell.

4. They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God, that is expressed in the torments of hell.

5. The devil stands ready to fall upon them, and seize them as his own, at what moment God shall permit him.

And in part 3:

6. There are in the souls of wicked men those hellish principles reigning, that would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire, if it were not for God's restraints.

7. It is no security to wicked men for one moment, that there are no visible means of death at hand.

8. Natural men's prudence and care to preserve their own lives, or the care of others to preserve them, do not secure them a moment.

9. All wicked men's pains and contrivance which they use to escape hell, while they continue to reject Christ, and so remain wicked men, do not secure them from hell one moment.

But the foolish children of men miserably delude themselves in their own schemes, and in confidence in their own strength and wisdom; they trust to nothing but a shadow.

10. God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of hell one moment.  


APPLICATION 

In part 4 we read:

The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted persons in this congregation.  This that you have heard is the case of every one of you that are out of Christ.-That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you.  There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell's wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any thing to take hold of, there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.

You probably are not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of hell, but do not see the hand of God in it; but look at other things, as the good state of your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the means you use for your own preservation.  But indeed these things are nothing; if God should withdraw his band, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin air to hold up a person that is suspended in it.

Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock. 

The wrath of God is like great waters that are dammed for the present; they increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given; and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course, when once it is let loose. 

The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. 

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. 

O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. 

And we continue with Part 5

And consider here more particularly

1.  Whose wrath it is: it is the wrath of the infinite God.  If it were only the wrath of man, though it were of the most potent prince, it would be comparatively little to be regarded.  The wrath of kings is very much dreaded, especially of absolute monarchs, who have the possessions and lives of their subjects wholly in their power, to be disposed of at their mere will.  Prov.  20:2.  "The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: Whoso provoketh him to anger, sinneth against his own soul." The subject that very much enrages an arbitrary prince, is liable to suffer the most extreme torments that human art can invent, or human power can inflict.  But the greatest earthly potentates in their greatest majesty and strength, and when clothed in their greatest terrors, are but feeble, despicable worms of the dust, in comparison of the great and almighty Creator and King of heaven and earth.  It is but little that they can do, when most enraged, and when they have exerted the utmost of their fury.  All the kings of the earth, before God, are as grasshoppers; they are nothing, and less than nothing: both their love and their hatred is to be despised.  The wrath of the great King of kings, is as much more terrible than theirs, as his majesty is greater.  Luke 12:4, 5.  "And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that, have no more that they can do.  But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: fear him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, Fear him."

2.  It is the fierceness of his wrath that you are exposed to.  We often read of the fury of God; as in Isaiah lix.  18.  "According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay fury to his adversaries." So Isaiah 66:15.  "For behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire." And in many other places.  So, Rev.  19:15, we read of "the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." The words are exceeding terrible.  If it had only been said, "the wrath of God," the words would have implied that which is infinitely dreadful: but it is "the fierceness and wrath of God." The fury of God! the fierceness of Jehovah! Oh, how dreadful must that be! Who can utter or conceive what such expressions carry in them! But it is also "the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." As though there would be a very great manifestation of his almighty power in what the fierceness of his wrath should inflict, as though omnipotence should be as it were enraged, and exerted, as men are wont to exert their strength in the fierceness of their wrath.  Oh! then, what will be the consequence! What will become of the poor worms that shall suffer it! Whose hands can be strong? And whose heart can endure? To what a dreadful, inexpressible, inconceivable depth of misery must the poor creature be sunk who shall be the subject of this!