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← Does John 3:16 Amaze You? - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 5 created 04/24/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Turn in your Bibles if you would
  2. to John 3.
  3. You know, balance -
  4. we heard about it in the first hour.
  5. Balance.
  6. You know what we tend to do;
  7. we tend to define balance by ourselves.
  8. Because the truth is,
  9. we do tend to look at
    ourselves as being balanced.
  10. Because the thing is if
    you were really convinced
  11. you were out of balance,
  12. you would move that pendulum
  13. to where you thought it was balanced.
  14. We all have a tendency
    to think we're right.
  15. And because that's the case,
  16. we all tend to evaluate
    balance by ourselves.
  17. And if you've ever said to somebody,
  18. "They're imbalanced,"
  19. what you were doing probably
  20. was you were using yourself
    as a reference point
  21. when you said that
  22. because you were using your own thought
  23. about what balance is.
  24. Now the key, we know that of a truth -
  25. this is balanced.
  26. This really is the only
    infallible reference point
  27. to what balance is.
  28. So what we have to make sure
  29. is that we're constantly fine tuning
  30. our own thinking by this book.
  31. But you know, balance is a funny thing.
  32. For instance, if you listen to Della -
  33. I'm going to put you on the spot -
  34. all she talks about
    is the crisis pregnancy.
  35. I don't hear her talk
    about other ministries.
  36. But then if you hear James
    talk about I'll Be Honest,
  37. it's like, "get balanced, man!"
  38. Why do you not talk like Della talks?
  39. Well, because one of the things
  40. is that we have diversity in the church.
  41. We have diversity of gift
  42. and diversity of strengths
  43. and diversity of personality.
  44. And so we need to be careful
  45. that we don't take this concept of balance
  46. and misapply it.
  47. The other thing is,
  48. balance is something that you see
  49. in the big picture of things.
  50. If you want to ask,
  51. well, is the church balanced?
  52. You don't look just at Della
  53. or just at James,
  54. you look at the big picture.
  55. The same thing could
    be said for preaching.
  56. Can you imagine if you walked
  57. into Jonathan Edwards' church
  58. the day he preached
  59. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"?
  60. Now, maybe you've never read that message,
  61. but if you have, you would say,
  62. this guy's not balanced.
  63. Well, that would be an unfair assessment.
  64. You really need to hear
    Jonathan Edwards preach
  65. for a year probably.
  66. I'm not saying that expositional preaching
  67. is the only way to preach.
  68. I certainly would not say
  69. that a man cannot preach topical messages.
  70. But, expositional preaching does help
  71. to foster balance.
  72. At least, it requires us to not pass over
  73. parts of Scripture.
  74. Now how a man preaches a
    certain portion of Scripture,
  75. that may be right or it may not be right.
  76. It depends on how much he's
    preaching his own opinion
  77. or he's preaching exactly what God intends
  78. to be taught by that passage.
  79. I'm saying all this because
    I'm justifying the fact
  80. that I'm going to preach to you
  81. a very imbalanced message today.
  82. And if I didn't say anything,
  83. after hearing James you'd say,
  84. now that wasn't balanced.
  85. But you see, one of the things is,
  86. it was like Martin Luther actually
  87. made a comment about
  88. you can preach all the truth in the world,
  89. but you know, if you
    neglect that one truth
  90. that's most under attack
    in your generation,
  91. you're being unfaithful.
  92. And the thing is,
  93. if a preacher's being faithful
  94. and he's dealing with the very point
  95. of Satanic attack in his day,
  96. it may seem imbalanced.
  97. Especially if you were to
    read it 100 years from now.
  98. You know sometimes, when we go back
  99. and we read some of the guys from the past
  100. we don't really recognize
  101. why they're emphasizing
    what they're emphasizing.
  102. Now a lot of times it had to do with
    the attacks that they were facing.
  103. And it could seem imbalanced
  104. till you recognized that the
    pendulum in their day
  105. had swung way over here,
  106. and a balanced message was not
  107. what their day needed.
  108. They needed that pendulum hit
  109. with a good crack
  110. to send it back centerward.
  111. Yes, I know, the message
    that I want to bring today
  112. is imbalanced.
  113. But it is because it's
    meant to be corrective.
  114. John 3:16.

  115. Let's look at it.
  116. You see, we live in a day -
  117. I don't know what comes to your mind
  118. when you hear John 3:16.
  119. I can tell you as a young believer,
  120. if I would have sat down and somebody said
  121. please open your Bibles to John 3:16,
  122. I'd think I'm going to get a shallow,
  123. typical evangelistic message today.
  124. I would have cringed if I heard
  125. John 3:16 was the text.
  126. Maybe you don't respond that way.
  127. But it has to do with the way
  128. that I perceive the text is used.
  129. Unquestionably,
  130. this is the most well-known
    biblical passage.
  131. And I don't even mean to spend
  132. the majority of my time here on it,
  133. but let's read it.
  134. "For God so loved the world

  135. that He gave His only-begotten Son
  136. that whoever believes in Him
  137. should not perish,
  138. but have eternal life."
  139. I would challenge you,
  140. go to your colleges;
  141. go to your workplaces;
  142. go up and down your street.
  143. Quote John 3:16 to people.
  144. You know what the truth is?
  145. Most of the world yawns at that text.
  146. I mean, it encapsulates the gospel
  147. and the truth.
  148. If it was even possible
  149. that people in hell could be
  150. partakers of that promise,
  151. and you took that to them right now,
  152. they would find that to be the greatest
  153. imaginable news possible.
  154. God redeeming sinners.

  155. It doesn't seem to shock us.
  156. America expects God to be merciful.
  157. Have you ever noticed
  158. when good things happen?
  159. The media is not looking
    for some explanation.
  160. It's when a hurricane comes
  161. and a bunch of people die,
  162. or there's a tsunami in
    another part of the world
  163. and a bunch of people are drowned.
  164. And then it's like the world
  165. wants an explanation.
  166. How could a loving God do this?
  167. How can this be permitted?
  168. This is how our world is.
  169. You know it is.
  170. We expect God to so love the world.
  171. It's expected.
  172. Oh yeah, well, that's nice.
  173. God so loved the world.
  174. But see, that doesn't
    shake anybody's worldview.
  175. Because typically, it's expected.
  176. We're shocked and outraged
  177. when God does the opposite.
  178. And it does - it outrages people.
  179. "How could God let this happen?"
  180. How often do people in this world
  181. talk that way?
  182. What are they saying?
  183. I'll tell you what, that's massive,
  184. massive amounts of ignorance behind that.
  185. I remember telling a family member -

  186. because you know, after I was saved,
  187. I came to recognize my Catholic
  188. (horribly nominal Catholic)
  189. pagan family -
  190. I recognized my family members
  191. who had died,
  192. they perished.
  193. And it's like I had family members say,
  194. "Grandma in hell??"
  195. You can have that God.
  196. My god's not like that.
  197. No, I remember a preacher friend saying
  198. one time he was sitting in a Dairy Queen,
  199. and he got to telling a woman
  200. about the gospel,
  201. and this woman was outraged.
  202. She said, "My god is not like that."
  203. And he said, "You're right, ma'am.
  204. Your god is not like that."
  205. See, that's the problem.
  206. Our world expects John 3:16.
  207. (Incomplete thought)
  208. Listen to what's promised.

  209. Whoever believes in Christ
  210. should not perish, but have eternal life.
  211. Eternal life.
  212. It's precisely because we don't have -
  213. this world around us
    doesn't have eternal life
  214. that's promised in this verse
  215. that they miss it.
  216. You say, what do you mean?
  217. Look, if I took a survey;
  218. if I took a survey here,
  219. passed out a piece of paper -
  220. but more than that,
  221. up and down these streets
  222. throughout San Antonio to take a survey.
  223. Define for me what eternal life is.
  224. Well, many would respond with the obvious.
  225. To live forever.
  226. But perhaps that begs another question.
  227. Let me ask you this.

  228. Do you those in hell live forever?
  229. Sort of.
  230. They exist forever.
  231. They're conscious forever.
  232. But an eternity of destruction,
  233. an eternity of judgment,
  234. an eternity of punishment,
  235. an eternity of fire - all four,
  236. which are plainly stated in Scripture,
  237. eternally are the lot of the damned.
  238. See, that's hardly "life."
  239. The reality is eternal life
    is not just existing
  240. no matter what else is
    true of our existence.
  241. But here's the question,

  242. what is it that really defines life?
  243. What is it that really
    defines eternal life?
  244. And here's the thing,
  245. we know the answer
  246. if we know our Bibles.
  247. But the thing is even knowing it,
  248. because you know John 17:3,
  249. it's incomprehensible
    to the world at large.
  250. You say, what does it say
    over there in John 17:3?
  251. Well, "this is eternal life."
  252. This is eternal life. And what is it?
  253. What is it?
  254. Right.
  255. It is to know You - God is being
    prayed to by His Son.
  256. Christ is looking to His Father,
  257. and He's speaking to Him.
  258. "This is eternal life,
  259. that they know You, the only true God,
  260. and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
  261. But the truth is, think about that.
  262. To the lost world,
    that's incomprehensible.
  263. What?
  264. Knowing God is life?
  265. That's not the way the world thinks.
  266. I mean, look, do you want
  267. a deer in the headlights stare?
  268. Just go up and down the street here
  269. and tell men and women this reality.
  270. Eternal life is knowing God.
  271. It doesn't register.
  272. Would it have registered with
    you when you were lost?
  273. If somebody would have
    come and told you that?
  274. This is what eternal life is all about.
  275. You want to know what it's all about?
  276. It's right here. It's knowing God.
  277. You see what the apostle said?

  278. "Without God in the world..."
  279. Remember that from Ephesus?
  280. We're going to get back to Ephesians
  281. in a few weeks.
  282. "Without God in the world..."
  283. We like that.
  284. You know, the apostle says the same thing
  285. about the Galatians.
  286. "Formerly, when you did not know God."
  287. That's what lost people are like.
  288. But you know what - we like that.
  289. To us, any concept of living
  290. when we're lost -
  291. ah, that's living!
  292. The further we could get away from God.
  293. Which one of you when
    you were lost thought:
  294. "Going to church! Ah, that's living!"
  295. It's like if somebody asked you to go,
  296. it's like ugh... what excuse
    can I come up with?
  297. Because anything is better than that!
  298. That's how we think.
  299. That's how we were.
  300. And you know the thing is,

  301. that's life - knowing God.
  302. Death - it's the opposite.
  303. It's not knowing Him.
    Isn't that interesting?
  304. The apostle says both about
    the condition of the lost.
  305. Formerly when you did not know God;
  306. also formerly, again, the
    letter to the Ephesians,
  307. he said, you were dead
    in trespasses and sins.
  308. This is the thing,
  309. people who have not been saved
  310. by the grace of Christ,
  311. they don't live.
  312. And the issue is they don't know God.
  313. That's it.
  314. Death is not annihilation.
  315. Death is not ceasing to exist.
  316. Death is simply living without God.
  317. That's it.
  318. Without God.
  319. Listen to Paul.

  320. He says this to the Corinthians.
  321. "Some have no knowledge of God.
  322. I say this to your shame."
  323. And you know what's
    interesting about that?
  324. He's not talking about
    the pagans out there.
  325. He's talking about people in the church,
  326. and he says, "Some of you don't know God."
  327. Now, look, if you would
    have tagged those people
  328. that he's talking about,
  329. they'd have had plenty
    to tell you about God.
  330. You recognize that.
  331. Just because you've got
    a lot to say about God,
  332. doesn't mean that you know God.
  333. I find that, again, take the survey.
  334. Go up and down the streets,
  335. which a lot of us have.
  336. Everybody's got their theories on God,
  337. and that doesn't change in the church.
  338. You've got people thinking
    all sorts of things.
  339. These people that he's talking to -
  340. there's some among you -
  341. they were denying the resurrection.
  342. Very authoritatively could tell you
  343. things about God, but they were wrong.
  344. So the question is this: who is God?
  345. Do we know Him?
  346. I mean, when it says,
    "God so loved the world..."
  347. one of the problems is we
    don't really even know
  348. who that God is.
  349. You know, if you understand
  350. more thoroughly who that God is,
  351. then all of a sudden John 3:16
  352. becomes marvelous.
  353. But the world doesn't know.
  354. And the scary thing is
  355. that we don't know in the church.
  356. You talk about being balanced.
  357. One of the most balanced realities
  358. that we need to have in Scripture,
  359. and I don't know if it's even balance,
  360. is just we need to know God.
  361. That's eternal life. We need to know God.
  362. We need to delve in and dive in.
  363. We need to know Him.
    We need to realize Him.
  364. We need the Spirit of wisdom
  365. and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
  366. We need to grow in that -
  367. this Spirit working in us.
  368. A greater, greater,
    and greater perception.
  369. This is why it's so important

  370. to read all of the Bible.
  371. Listen, if you've been in the Lord
  372. for a number of years and you have not
  373. read this book cover to cover,
  374. no excuse.
  375. Because you know what's going to happen
  376. if you don't read it cover to cover?
  377. It's kind of like if you walk in here
  378. and you listen to one
    sermon that's preached.
  379. And you say, that's imbalanced.
  380. That's right. You're going to end up
  381. with an imbalanced view
  382. of reality, truth, who God is.
  383. Read all of your Bible.
  384. Because it's all speaking to us about Him.
  385. Who is this God?

  386. Man thinks he knows.
  387. You want to know why we need
  388. to be soaked in this Word so much?
  389. Because we have an image
    of God in our minds,
  390. and we need it corrected;
  391. we need to see more accurately
  392. who He is and dispel our own false notions
  393. of who He is.
  394. This is critical. Critical.
  395. Scripture just tears away
  396. these distorted images.
  397. And I'll tell you this,
  398. it reveals a God to us who is very much
  399. bigger and greater and more fearful
  400. than ever imagined.
  401. And kind,
  402. and compassionate.
  403. I can remember one time years ago

  404. reading Charles Spurgeon on John 3:16.
  405. And he said when this verse is taken -
  406. it's kind of like the rainbow,
  407. against the dark storm clouds.
  408. It's very vivid.
  409. He was emphasizing John 3:16
  410. is like that rainbow.
  411. Very beautiful.
  412. But it's when it's viewed
  413. against this dark, stormy backdrop
  414. that it becomes most vivid
  415. and most beautiful.
  416. See, I was all the more reminded of this

  417. just in the last couple of weeks.
  418. I've been moving through the Pentateuch.
  419. I'm in Joshua now,
  420. but just coming through -
  421. especially through the book of Numbers.
  422. That's where the Hebrew children
  423. are in the wilderness.
  424. I want you to turn there.
  425. Numbers 11:1.
  426. "And the people complained
  427. in the hearing of the Lord
  428. about their misfortunes."
  429. I know if you've got the
    King James Version,
  430. it doesn't say "about their misfortunes,"
  431. but I did see that in the Hebrew,
  432. it's actually there.
  433. "The people complained in
    the hearing of the Lord
  434. about their misfortunes."
  435. The New American Standard says,
  436. "about their adversities."
  437. "And when the Lord heard it,
  438. His anger was kindled,
  439. and the fire of the Lord burned among them
  440. and consumed some outlying parts
  441. of the camp."
  442. You know you read,
  443. but sometimes you stop.
  444. Sometimes you read parts of the Bible
  445. and it's like, you know,
    you're taking it in.
  446. You're hearing it.
  447. But then there's other
    times where you stop
  448. and some reality hits you.
  449. And the reality of this hit me.
  450. And I began to think,
  451. what if your tent had been
  452. in the outlying part of the camp?
  453. What was that like?
  454. It says (verse 2), "Then the
    people cried out to Moses,
  455. and Moses prayed to the Lord
  456. and the fire died down.
  457. So the name of that place
  458. was called Taberah,
  459. because the fire of the
    Lord burned among them."
  460. Taberah.

  461. You have a place called Taberah.
  462. Can you imagine?
  463. You're driving down the interstate,
  464. there's the sign: Taberah, next exit.
  465. Dad, what's that mean?
  466. Burning.
  467. It was Calvin or Gill - one of them -
  468. it means combustion.
  469. Yeah, children, that's combustion.
  470. Why?
  471. Well, here's why.
  472. Spontaneous combustion.
  473. Now think about that.
  474. Why?
  475. They were complaining.
  476. We'll talk more about that in a second.
  477. You know, it doesn't say,
  478. "the fire of the Lord fell."
  479. It says that in some places.
  480. At Sodom and Gomorrah,
  481. fire fell from heaven.
  482. It doesn't say lightning,
  483. thunderbolt.
  484. Just spontaneous combustion.
  485. Sinners exploded in flames.
  486. And you know, here's the thing,
  487. God's anger -
  488. we don't sense it.
  489. We don't feel it.
  490. Do you know
  491. men and women and children in this room
  492. who have heard the truth of the gospel
  493. and still are not bowing
    the knee to the Lord -
  494. have not repented -
  495. do you know God's anger with you is such
  496. that Scripture specifically says
  497. it's going to be more tolerable
    for Sodom and Gomorrah
  498. in the day of judgment than for you?
  499. His anger burns against you
  500. greater than it burned against them.
  501. But you know what? We don't feel it.
  502. There's no low rumble of thunder.
  503. We don't feel it.
  504. I mean, it's like that wind
    isn't blowing in here.
  505. There's no wind of vengeance.
  506. I can't feel it.
  507. I can't hear it.
  508. And you know, because people don't,
  509. and because they sin,
  510. and the sentence against that sin
  511. is not exacted immediately,
  512. they just become real confident.
  513. You know, there's a verse in the Bible
  514. that says that?
  515. Ecclesiastes 8.
  516. The sentence is not
    carried out immediately
  517. against people's sin,
  518. and what do they do?
  519. They become all the more confident.
  520. There's no sense of this judgment;
  521. this anger, this wrath.
  522. But you know what?

  523. Here's a glimpse at a time
  524. when sinners are doing what sinners do.
  525. They weren't raping and killing children.
  526. They weren't cannibals.
  527. You know what they were doing?
  528. Murmuring.
  529. They weren't even
    complaining directly to God.
  530. Listen to how it reads:
  531. It says, "the people complained
  532. in the hearing of the Lord."
  533. Complaining. What's that?
  534. Certainly a small sin.
  535. Not murder, not rape, not kidnapping.
  536. None of that stuff.
  537. What was causing the complaining?
  538. We're told: misfortunes.
  539. Their adversities.
  540. Things didn't go just the way
  541. that they wanted them to go.
  542. After all, I mean, living
    in that wilderness -
  543. listen, living out in the wilderness
  544. would not be nice.
  545. No water.
  546. I mean, the idea I get
    about that wilderness
  547. is that it was pretty much desert.
  548. You're out there for 40 years,
  549. you're probably not going
    to be overly happy.
  550. Didn't they have some
    things to complain about?
  551. God was listening,
  552. and He incinerated a number of them
  553. on the spot.
  554. Can you imagine?

  555. A sinner just exploding in flames.
  556. You can't.
  557. And because the reality of that
  558. is so far removed from us,
  559. and because sinners get
    away with sinning so often
  560. and they don't burst into flames,
  561. we can get very casual about sin.
  562. We can get very casual about grace.
  563. We can get very casual about John 3:16.
  564. But I'll tell you what you
    get a glimpse of here.
  565. You get a glimpse of the way
  566. God feels towards sinners.
  567. And it bursts forth.
  568. They were dead on the spot.
  569. Do you know the God of Scripture?

  570. Do you really know Him?
  571. Do you know that God is like this?
  572. You say, like what? Like this!
  573. Like we find here in this passage.
  574. Provoked, angry, and ready
  575. to break forth against sinners.
  576. Do you know?
  577. You can come across these things
  578. in the New Testament.
  579. You just kind of pass over them.
  580. Like, "storing up wrath
  581. for the day of wrath."
  582. Do you recognize that
    that's what's happening?
  583. God is getting angrier and angrier
  584. and His wrath is storing, it's building,
  585. it's becoming greater.
  586. That's what's happening to sinners.
  587. That's what's happening
  588. to men and women and children
  589. who do not surrender to Christ.
  590. It's just increasing.
  591. It's getting bigger.
  592. We find this very truth in John 3
  593. where John 3:16 is.
  594. You find this reality.
  595. That "those who believe in the Son
  596. have eternal life," but
    if you do not believe
  597. or you do not obey the Son,
  598. "you shall not see life,
  599. but the wrath of God remains on you."
  600. It's on you!
  601. If you're not saved here, it's on you.
  602. The only thing that prevents you
  603. from exploding into
    flames like these people
  604. is nothing other than God's kindness.
  605. That's it.
  606. Your sins deserve every bit and more
  607. what happened to them.
  608. And you think about this.

  609. Just stop and think.
  610. Because if you really
    take yourself back there,
  611. these were real people.
  612. They had names.
  613. They had faces.
  614. They had feelings.
  615. They had emotions.
  616. They had families.
  617. I mean, you get the feeling,
  618. they burst into flames right along with
  619. the rest of their family.
  620. You can't do anything.
  621. You burst into flames -
  622. your husband, your
    wife bursts into flame;
  623. your children bursts into flame -
  624. you can't protect them.
  625. Have you ever seen
    anything thrown in a fire?
  626. It's not thinking about protecting
  627. anything else in the fire.
  628. It just yields to it.
  629. It's gone.
  630. Fire.
  631. And I don't know where I saw it,
  632. but some news clip or YouTube clip
  633. or something -
  634. some guy accidentally got fire on himself.
  635. When you get fire on yourself,
  636. you don't think about other things.
  637. It's not: oh, I need to mow the lawn.
  638. You've got fire on your leg!
  639. Using starter fluid on the motor
  640. and all of a sudden "poof!"
  641. And your pants are on fire.
  642. You're not thinking about lunch.
  643. You don't think about anything else.
  644. These are real people.

  645. And the wilderness was
    not a very friendly place.
  646. They were unhappy. They voiced it.
  647. They died.
  648. It wasn't a peaceful passing.
  649. Fire.
  650. We don't live in the days of Smithsfield
  651. when they burned Christians at the stake.
  652. Can you imagine watching a person burn?
  653. You know what happens.
  654. It burns their hair off.
  655. Burns their flesh.
    Burns their clothing off.
  656. God did this to sinners. Why?
  657. Righteous judgment.
  658. Righteous judgment.
  659. This is not God overreacting.
  660. These people were not innocent.
  661. You know what they were doing?
  662. They were openly manifesting
  663. their hatred for God.
  664. And you know what?
    We don't want to admit it,

  665. because if we admit that's
    what they were doing,
  666. we have to admit our own complaining
  667. is just as wicked.
  668. And it is.
  669. Because when you complain,
  670. you're saying to this God of Scripture -
  671. who is holy, who is perfect,
  672. who is righteous, who is good -
  673. you're saying to Him,
  674. "I want my own way!"
  675. "I don't like Your ways!"
  676. "And I don't like what You're doing!"
  677. And you know you get somebody that says,
  678. "I don't like how you act
  679. and I don't like what you do
  680. and I don't like your laws."
  681. You know what you're basically saying,
  682. "I don't like you."
  683. And that's what they're saying.
  684. And more than that,
  685. if there was ever a
    people not to complain,
  686. here God comes along
  687. and He's done so many kindnesses for them,
  688. so many miracles on their behalf.
  689. He's delivered them.
  690. Listen, God is holy,
  691. and there is nothing strange
  692. about Him punishing sinners for their sin.
  693. Nothing is strange about that.
  694. But the reality is, what shocks
  695. and offends us is the suddenness
  696. and the violence of it.
  697. We don't like it.
  698. We don't like it.
  699. And when we find these
    kind of things in Scripture,
  700. you know - people are always
    looking for an explanation:
  701. "Oh, that's the God of the Old Testament."
  702. Listen, the God of the Old Testament
  703. is the God of John 3:16.
  704. It is the God who so loved the world.
  705. It's the same God.
  706. Sodom and Gomorrah.

  707. Let's think about Sodom and Gomorrah.
  708. Okay, that's Old Testament.
  709. Yes, it is.
  710. It is precisely that.
  711. You know what we read?
  712. You don't need to turn here.
  713. It says, "The Lord rained
    on Sodom and Gomorrah
  714. sulfur and fire...
  715. from the Lord out of Heaven."
  716. It says this, "Abraham went
    early in the morning
  717. to the place where he had
    stood before the Lord..."
  718. Where he had pleaded with the Lord
  719. not to destroy them
  720. if righteous could be found there.
  721. "And he looked down towards
    Sodom and Gomorrah
  722. and toward all the land of the valley,
  723. and he looked and behold,
  724. the smoke of the land went up
  725. like the smoke of a furnace."
  726. Again, this is not fiction.
  727. Oh, the world would have us think so.
  728. It's not a fairy tale.
  729. And let me tell you something,

  730. we have this idea:
  731. oh, they're super sinners.
  732. Yeah, you just remember what Jesus said.
  733. He said if you heard this gospel -
  734. my disciples go out,
  735. they proclaim this gospel to you
  736. and you refuse to hear it,
  737. more tolerable for Sodom in that day
  738. than for you.
  739. Super sinners?
  740. You know what Scripture says as well
  741. in the New Testament?
  742. You've got it in 2 Peter
  743. and you've also got it in Jude.
  744. You've got this reality.
  745. "God by turning the cities of
    Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes,
  746. He condemned them to extinction."
  747. Now listen to this:
  748. "...Making them an example
  749. of what is going to
    happen to the ungodly."
  750. Do you realize

  751. you can go to a hospital -
  752. it might seem relatively quiet.
  753. Our brother Kenny Lee might -
  754. you work as a nurse?
  755. People die.
  756. It may be peaceful.
  757. That body is now still.
  758. No more heavy breathing;
    labored breathing.
  759. No more groans.
  760. No more sighs.
  761. From our vantage point,
  762. the moment they pass away,
  763. there's silence.
  764. If you were in their shoes,
  765. the moment they pass away,
  766. they're met by the same thing
  767. Sodom and Gomorrah
    were met with in this life:
  768. fire and brimstone.
  769. It just bursts forth on them.
  770. You see, when God brings
    it this side of death
  771. so that the fire actually falls
  772. or the vengeance falls here,
  773. we want an explanation.
  774. Explain that hurricane!
  775. Explain that earthquake that
    took those people out!
  776. We want God to explain Himself!
  777. How could He be so brutal?
  778. Listen, all God is doing in those cases
  779. is He's backing this thing up
  780. into this world
  781. by just a few moments.
  782. Because this is precisely what's happening
  783. to the wicked the moment
    they pass out of this world.
  784. And it's what will happen to you
  785. if you pass out of this world
  786. without embracing
    the reality of John 3:16.
  787. Listen, the God of Scripture does not

  788. mess around with unrepentant sinners.
  789. There may be kindness.
  790. Your death sentence
    might be stayed for a time.
  791. but your wrath is building up.
  792. Do you know it is the New Testament,
  793. not the Old Testament,
  794. that says it is a fearful thing
  795. to fall into the hands of the living God?
  796. It is the New Testament, not the Old,
  797. that says our God is a consuming fire.
  798. Beware of the God of Scripture.
  799. You do not want to play with Scripture
  800. and get to the place where you can
  801. yawn at John 3:16.
  802. You do so to your own peril.
  803. You do well to remember
  804. that the term "perish"
  805. is found in that verse.
  806. (incomplete thought)
  807. Listen, brethren, I can still remember

  808. my own experience
  809. as a young Christian,
  810. first time through the Old Testament.
  811. I came across such things
  812. as I did not expect to find.
  813. I came face to face
  814. with the God I had not
    known prior to that,
  815. and I'll tell you, I was shaken.
  816. I remember it still vividly.
  817. I was in awe.
  818. I kept asking:
  819. Who is this God?
  820. He was not what I expected.
  821. Look, I'm not saying it was a bad thing.
  822. I'm just saying it rocked my little world.
  823. It rocked my small views of God.
  824. God's bigness, His terribleness,
  825. His holiness.
  826. It broke forth in the pages of Scripture.
  827. I was filled with fear.
  828. The thing was, I wasn't repulsed;
  829. I wasn't turned away.
  830. I was drawn to it.
  831. It made me afraid.
  832. But you know what?
  833. Over and over and over again,
  834. I found that the God of Scripture -
  835. this holy, holy, holy God of Scripture -
  836. He does violent things to sinful men.
  837. Violent things.
  838. And it doesn't change today.
  839. He has not changed today.
  840. He is the same God.
  841. Think of the flood.

  842. Just think of the flood.
  843. Again, we can get to
    almost fairy tale status
  844. on this thing.
  845. God looked at mankind.
  846. He saw that every imagination
  847. of the thoughts of their hearts
  848. is only evil continuously.
  849. Now let me just remind you of something.
  850. That is exactly the way He sees
    unbelievers today as well.
  851. Dead in trespasses and sins.
  852. There is nothing in man
    to comply with God's law.
  853. He is just as embittered against God
  854. and hostile to God
  855. and fighting against God -
  856. not the god of his imagination.
  857. All you have to do -
  858. go up and down the street again.
  859. Describe the God of Scripture.
  860. Describe what I'm saying to you.
  861. See how well it's received.
  862. People hate this God of Scripture.
  863. They hate it.
  864. They hate that there is a God
  865. that is going to hold them
    accountable for their sins.
  866. The flood.

  867. God sees the condition of man
  868. and He says, "I'm grieved."
  869. It says, "The Lord regretted
  870. that He had made man on the earth.
  871. It grieved Him to His heart.
  872. So the Lord said,
  873. 'I will blot out man who I have created
  874. from the face of the land.'"
  875. All those people.
  876. What about their feelings?
  877. Do you realize if you wipe that family out
  878. the children will not graduate
  879. from high school and college?
  880. They'll never get to be married?
  881. I'm never going to get
    to enjoy my grandkids.
  882. See, that's how we think,
  883. like we're entitled to these things.
  884. And when God doesn't
    let us have those things,
  885. it's like, "Explain Yourself, God!"
  886. "I want an explanation!"
  887. There is such an entitlement mindset
  888. in this country.
  889. We think we are entitled to everything.
  890. The flood.
  891. You know, man just imagines,

  892. God just wants me to be happy.
  893. He'd never cast me in hell.
  894. One of my close family
    members told me that recently.
  895. I told him,
  896. you do not have the biblical grounds
  897. to divorce your wife.
  898. He said, "Tim, I think God just
    wants me to be happy."
  899. Do you know, we like to ignore

  900. certain verses in Scripture.
  901. But mark this:
  902. those aren't my words;
  903. those are God's words:
  904. "Mark this,
  905. you who forget God,
  906. lest I tear you apart."
  907. Wow.
  908. God speaks like that?
  909. Yeah. Psalm 50.
  910. You want something from the New Testament?
  911. Luke 19: "But as for
    these enemies of mine
  912. who did not want
    Me to reign over them,
  913. bring them here and
    slaughter them before Me."
  914. I can remember my first time

  915. going through the Old Testament,
  916. it's like you're going along,
  917. and it's all new.
  918. Here's Aaron.
  919. God's got all the garments
  920. and their vesture.
  921. The sons - they have their assignments
  922. and the offerings they need to make.
  923. And they're going along and whoof!
  924. Fire comes out,
  925. and Aaron's two oldest sons are gone.
  926. Can you imagine?
  927. Can you imagine if you're Aaron
  928. and you're looking
  929. at what probably his two sons looked like?
  930. I mean, you imagine enough fire
  931. to come out from God to kill them.
  932. How much fire does
    it take to kill a person?
  933. They got that dose and probably more.
  934. And that's what they looked like.
  935. Have you ever seen somebody burned?
  936. Not just anybody.
  937. This isn't a paramedic showing up
  938. at a car accident.
  939. These are your two oldest sons.
  940. Do you know what it says?
  941. It says that Aaron held his peace.
  942. Why?
  943. Because His sons were not innocent,
  944. and that's the problem.
  945. None of the sons of Adam ever are.
  946. We act as though we have
    a right to something.
  947. Do we not remember?
  948. "The soul that sinneth must die."
  949. The first time we sinned,
  950. we lost the right to everything.
  951. We lost rights to mercy,
  952. to grace,
  953. to compassion,
  954. to God's kindness.
  955. We forfeited it all.
  956. And yet we forget that.
  957. And so when violent things happen;
  958. when God breaks out;
  959. when His providence takes -
  960. we get shocked!
  961. And sinners get offended.
  962. That's what happens.
  963. Do you know what Nadab and Abihu did?

  964. They offered strange fire
    in their censers.
  965. Unauthorized.
  966. They just simply offered something
  967. that God hadn't told them to offer.
  968. You say, ah, they were young,
  969. they were being creative.
  970. It's not like they were sacrificing
  971. humans on the altar or anything.
  972. You know what?
  973. You know what the problem with sin is?
  974. It falls short of the glory of God.
  975. And what God said there
  976. was, "I will be honored."
  977. You see, sin dishonors Him.
  978. Because sin says, "No, God! No!"
  979. "It doesn't matter that You told me
  980. that I should love my wife
  981. and that I should not separate
  982. what God has joined together.
  983. You know what?
  984. I want a God that I think just
    wants me to be happy.
  985. And I really don't care that God told me
  986. that He hates divorce."
  987. See, that's how man is.
  988. You just create this god -
  989. create this god...
  990. God says, "I will be honored."
  991. Such a measure of punishment -
  992. it shakes us!
  993. Really? God killed them?
  994. God killed them on the spot!
  995. But the case was clear,
  996. and that's why Aaron was silent.
  997. And I'll tell you,
  998. I cannot tell you how many times
  999. going door to door,
  1000. evangelizing on the streets,
  1001. probably even sometimes
    people who visit this church -
  1002. they so boldly say,
  1003. "Well, when I stand before
    God on judgment day,
  1004. I'm going to tell Him..."
  1005. Yeah.
  1006. All you have to do go read these accounts
  1007. and you know that's not going to happen.
  1008. They're going to be just like Aaron.
  1009. Because they're going to know.
  1010. That's judgment day.
  1011. Silence.
  1012. All these braggarts and boastfuls
  1013. who think they're going to talk.
  1014. They don't know.
  1015. Sinners are not going to have an answer.
  1016. You remember Korah?

  1017. Korah.
  1018. He had Dathan and Abiram.
  1019. Remember the 250 people?
  1020. 250 men.
  1021. Prominent men.
  1022. They're saying, "Moses, Aaron,
  1023. who are you guys?"
  1024. These guys were of the Levitical line
  1025. saying, "We're holy too."
  1026. The ground opened up and
    swallowed some of them.
  1027. Fire came out and consumed 250 of them.
  1028. But you know what, more than that?
  1029. You know what God said?
  1030. God said, "Moses, Aaron,
  1031. step aside from the whole congregation.
  1032. I'm taking them all out."
  1033. Have you ever noticed how many times
  1034. in Exodus and Numbers especially,
  1035. that God said, "Moses, aside.
  1036. I'm taking out all of them."
  1037. Moses played the intercessor.
  1038. Of course, there's Uzzah.

  1039. I know about Uzzah now.
  1040. Of course, I read R.C. Sproul's book
  1041. on the holiness of God
    and he talks all about that.
  1042. But the first time I was
    reading through my Bible,
  1043. I didn't know about Sproul's book.
  1044. I didn't know about that account.
  1045. And you're reading along -
    everything's great!
  1046. They're bringing the ark back in
  1047. and David is coming to the throne.
  1048. The ark has been recovered,
  1049. and everything is good.
  1050. They're dancing and they're playing
  1051. all the instruments.
  1052. What happened?
  1053. I'll tell you what happened,
  1054. that ark was on an ox cart
  1055. and the ox stumbled.
  1056. The Ark of the Covenant
  1057. was in danger of coming off
  1058. or upsetting.
  1059. Something.
  1060. Something that caused
    a knee-jerk reaction
  1061. on the part of Uzzah.
  1062. He put out his hand
  1063. and steadied the ark,
  1064. and God killed him on the spot.
  1065. What do you think? Overreaction?
  1066. The reality was
  1067. it was a death penalty
  1068. to even look upon the ark.
  1069. The ark was never supposed to be
  1070. transported uncovered.
  1071. It was never supposed to be transported
  1072. in an ox cart - only by hand
  1073. with poles through the rings.
  1074. The real miracle is
  1075. that God did not kill them all.
  1076. Because they all were guilty
  1077. of capital crimes.
  1078. But you see, it's Uzzah

  1079. that gets our attention.
  1080. That's how it is.
  1081. We read: "Jacob have I loved,
  1082. Esau have I hated."
  1083. "Ahh! God hates Esau!
  1084. I'm offended!
  1085. How could He do that?"
  1086. That's how we are.
  1087. It doesn't blow us away
  1088. that God would actually love a sinner.
  1089. If you really start thinking what sin is -
  1090. the crime that it is,
  1091. the wickedness that it is,
  1092. and how it insults this holy God.
  1093. Listen, God is not in debt to us.
  1094. Not to a single one of us.
  1095. Our right to life was forfeited
  1096. the moment we sinned.
  1097. We have a right to one thing: fire.
  1098. Destruction.
  1099. That's our right.
  1100. You see, the problem is,

  1101. we live in a climate today
  1102. where people demand a god
  1103. who is all love and all kindness.
  1104. That's the truth. You know it is.
  1105. And it affects us too in the church.
  1106. Now, the glory is
  1107. this God -
  1108. He does have such a love
  1109. that He would look at
    the plight of sinners
  1110. and say, "I'm willing
  1111. at the price and the cost of My own Son
  1112. to save sinners."
  1113. But you see, that becomes so precious
  1114. against this black backdrop
  1115. of these storm clouds.
  1116. If you've ever taken a hose

  1117. and you know you spray it in the air
  1118. and you get the rainbow...
  1119. that's a clear blue sky.
  1120. And you try to look at that
  1121. against that backdrop.
  1122. It's not as impressive.
  1123. There's beauty there.
  1124. But when you look up
  1125. and the sky is black,
  1126. and there's this rainbow.
  1127. See, the beauty just becomes so vivid.
  1128. God killed Nadab.

  1129. He killed Abihu.
  1130. He killed Uzzah.
  1131. He killed Sodom. He killed Gomorrah.
  1132. He killed those people
    in the outlying parts.
  1133. When they didn't trust Him,
  1134. He said every one of you,
  1135. 20 years old and up
  1136. except Caleb and Joshua,
  1137. you're dead.
  1138. Your bodies are going to
    fall dead in this wilderness.
  1139. And they did.
  1140. They did.
  1141. God punishes sin.
  1142. We are on death row.

  1143. Our time here - short.
  1144. What you need to remember is this:
  1145. The very fact you can sin
  1146. and you're not consumed by a ball of fire,
  1147. it's God's kindness.
  1148. But you need to read that kindness right.
  1149. That kindness is not meant to tell you
  1150. that God has forgotten your sin.
  1151. Or that He doesn't mean to deal with it.
  1152. That kindness is for one reason.
  1153. It is meant to lead you to repentance.
  1154. It is meant for you to look and say:
  1155. "Oh... God has spared me
  1156. when I don't deserve to be spared.
  1157. That is a good indication
  1158. that He will receive me
  1159. and forgive all of my sin
  1160. if I embrace this Christ - His own Son,
  1161. the Son of God, who He didn't spare,
  1162. but He offered Him up."
  1163. Listen,

  1164. God did it.
  1165. God killed these people.
  1166. And God will kill us.
  1167. We look at ourselves and we feel like -
  1168. we love ourselves.
  1169. We want to preserve ourselves.
  1170. We want to protect ourselves.
  1171. We don't like to imagine
  1172. that God is going to do
    terrible harm to us.
  1173. We tend to like to imagine that He won't.
  1174. Somehow He must like us.
  1175. There's only one way
    of acceptance with God,
  1176. and that is under the blood
  1177. of His Son Jesus Christ.
  1178. It's embracing Christ.
  1179. No confidence in anything else.
  1180. It's embracing Him.
  1181. God so loved... but listen.
  1182. Perishing is in that verse.
  1183. And if you do not believe in Jesus Christ,
  1184. you perish.
  1185. That's the reality.
  1186. There's one way of escape.
  1187. Only one.
  1188. I'll tell you, grace should surprise us.
  1189. And one of the things,
  1190. when we think about the wrath of God,
  1191. the fury of God just exploding,
  1192. don't miss it
  1193. that there at the cross,
  1194. we see the most violent expression
  1195. of God's fury ever known.
  1196. Listen, it shouldn't stagger us
  1197. that Uzzah reaches out, touches that ark,
  1198. and drops dead.
  1199. What should stagger us
  1200. is that an innocent Man -
  1201. do you know what happened with Him?
  1202. God's wrath exploded on Him.
  1203. An innocent Man.
  1204. He was accursed
  1205. because He became sin;
  1206. because He became sin.
  1207. Sin. Sin. Think with me.
  1208. It causes God to incinerate sinners
  1209. on the spot.
  1210. What do you think happens to Christ
  1211. when He becomes sin?
  1212. God incinerated Him on the spot.
  1213. You read Psalm 22.
  1214. He melted. Melted.
  1215. Isaiah 53.
  1216. God laid into Him. Struck Him.
  1217. Smote Him.
  1218. An innocent Man. Why?
  1219. God's justice must be satisfied.
  1220. There was no mercy on the cross.
  1221. No mercy.
  1222. That's how hell is.
  1223. There is no mercy.
  1224. That's what sin deserves.
  1225. Hell is going to be a brutal awakening
  1226. for millions and millions
  1227. of human beings
  1228. who are going to be
    unspeakably wretched forever.
  1229. Hell - we are so humanistic;
  1230. so man-centered.
  1231. Hell tells us there is a holy God
  1232. in whose eyes we are dreadfully guilty.
  1233. And we do forget.
  1234. We so easily forget
  1235. that when we committed our first sin,
  1236. we just forfeited every right to anything.
  1237. Listen.

  1238. God is saying to us:
  1239. "Don't take My grace for granted.
  1240. Don't take My Son for granted.
  1241. I have such a love
  1242. that I crushed My own Son.
  1243. I was willing to do that for sinners.
  1244. But if you despise Him,
  1245. oh, it will not go well with you."
  1246. Listen.
  1247. "God so loved the world
  1248. that He gave His only begotten Son,
  1249. that whoever believes in
    Him should not perish,
  1250. but have eternal life."
  1251. Just cast yourself wholly on Christ.
  1252. If you're not saved,
  1253. this verse - this whole book is a lie
  1254. and God is a liar.
  1255. But that can never be.
  1256. God is no liar.
  1257. The reality is God is kind
  1258. and He is willing to save.
  1259. He is willing to not spare His own Son.
  1260. This is the sort of God that we have.
  1261. This is the sort of God
  1262. who though His anger burns
  1263. ever so fiercely,
  1264. there's also a love that designs
  1265. a way for that wrath to be satisfied
  1266. in just fashion.
  1267. For God to be just and yet justify you.
  1268. And everything is good.
  1269. Whoever. That's what it says.
  1270. Whoever believes.
  1271. You can't be too old.
    You can't be too young.
  1272. You can't be too wretched.
    You can't be too sinful.
  1273. You can't have sinned for too long.
  1274. Whoever believes
  1275. should not perish.
  1276. It's all gone.
  1277. But, have eternal life.
  1278. Not just to live forever,
  1279. it's to be swept into
  1280. the very intimacy of God.
  1281. Knowing God.
  1282. Beholding His face.
  1283. All the tears wiped away.
  1284. All the sins wiped away.
  1285. And coming to know Him
  1286. through all these coming ages.
  1287. You think about it.
  1288. That truth there.
  1289. Do you remember it?
  1290. Ephesians 1.
  1291. "That through all the coming ages,
  1292. He might show
  1293. the unsearchable riches of His grace
  1294. in kindness to those in Christ Jesus."
  1295. Father, that You would do
    such a thing for sinners.
  1296. Just think with the songwriter,
  1297. what language shall we borrow
  1298. to thank Thee dearest Friend.
  1299. Thank You.
  1300. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  1301. we thank You. Amen.