Summary: This sermon was inspired by Jonathan Edward’s In the Hands of the Angry God; it gives an urgent warning to the lost to run into the arms of God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

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“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?’” Matthew 3:7.

John reveals here two very important and clear truths in his rhetorical question to the Pharisees and Sadducees who wondered about his baptisms. And those same truths can be applied to unsaved men today. 1) There is a coming wrath and 2) unsaved men should flee from it.

Who are you? I don’t want to know your name, your title at work, your educational background, nor your accomplishments in the world. I don‘t want to know that you are the father of three children, nor if you have a wife or not. I don’t want to know your favorite food or favorite color. This question is a very difficult one for the natural man to answer when stripped of all his worldly (natural) identifications. The answer to the question, “Who are you?” is ultimately internal and spiritual in nature and, though he is a spiritual being, the natural man has no understanding of his spiritual nature. He has no point of reference, he doesn’t know who he really is because he doesn’t know or accept who his Creator is. Yet he longs and struggles constantly to define himself in the world, often with external attributes and pursuits that only appeal to his natural and worldly tendencies.

Hundreds of colleges around the world offer courses that attempt to answer the mystery of who man is while volumes of books have been written chasing after this same pursuit. Philosophers, educators, and scientists have looked under every stone of explanation and opinion while being certain to avoid looking to the Rock of Ages for the answer. Man has the mental capacity to split the atom, develop superconductors, send men into outer space, and to construct devices that can destroy the earth a hundred times over, but the quest to know himself remains a mystery by the unsaved man. The educated may flock to Sigmund Freud for an answer. The simple may careen to psychics, shrinks, spiritists, and soothsayers, but those who are wise, humbly go directly to the source of man, the Creator of man, the Word of God. Philosophies, false doctrines, trendy opinions, ideologies come and go like people, but the Word of God stands forever.

Many unsaved men define themselves around the false promise that success and happiness can be attained by working hard to buy the right kind of house, drive the right kind of car, or to retire comfortably in some tropical vacation spot. This thinking is directed towards the external and temporary nature of man while the internal man is neglected and masked by the preoccupation with the external. This promise is one of the devil’s greatest and most successful lies because a great many people are deceived by it as they work out the meaning of their lives. These labor and toil all their lives to find out this harsh truth too late. Many people climb the ladder of success and worldly happiness only to find that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.

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