INTRO.- ILL.- The divinity student talked to a boy on the street. The little boy was holding his Sunday School papers. The student said, "Did you go to Sunday School ?" "Yes," he replied.
Thinking he would have some fun with the little boy, he said, "Tell me where God is, and I’ll give you an apple."
The boy looked at the student and said, "I will give you a whole barrel of apples if you tell me where God isn’t." Smart kid.
True. God is everywhere. He is not "in" everything, that is, trees, grass, rocks, etc., etc. like the pantheist believes, but God is everywhere. How do we know this? We take it by faith but we believe the message of scripture that God is omni-present, meaning He is everywhere present. HE IS GOD! He can do anything and everything good. If not, He is not God.
ILL.- Astronaut James A. McDivitt, who orbited the earth 62 times with Edward H. White II aboard Gemini 4, said in a talk at the Foreign Press Club in Rome: “I did not see God looking into my space-cabin window, as I do not see God looking into my car’s windshield on earth. But I could recognize His work in the stars as well as when walking among flowers in a garden. If you can be with God on earth, you can be with God in space as well.”
ILL.- Dwight D. Eisenhower said: It takes no brains to be an atheist. Any stupid person can deny the existence of a supernatural power because man’s physical senses cannot detect it. But there cannot be ignored the influence of conscience, the respect we feel for moral law, the mystery of first life...or the marvelous order in which the universe moves about us on this earth. All these are evidences of the handiwork of the beneficent Deity. For my part that Deity is the God of the Bible and of Jesus Christ, His Son.
ILL.- Many years ago I saw a picture of a common sewing needle and a small fish bone the size of a needle magnified many times over. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT SHOWED? It showed many flaws, many pits in the sewing needle and a perfectly smooth fish bone. THE CONCLUSION? One was the creation of man and the other was the creation of God.
Brothers and sisters, there should be NO question in our minds as to the existence of God! God is! He always has been and always shall be! And there is plenty of evidence to prove His existence and beyond that, we must walk by faith!
Everyone on God’s green earth lives by faith, but we live by faith IN HIM! And that’s the big difference and that makes a difference!
Now, what about God being right and just? Well, I believe it. I believe He is both right about everything and He is a just God.
Even though I think God is right about everything that doesn’t mean that I always do everything right. We humans are fallible and subject to failure, mistakes and sin. God is in infallible and incapable of doing wrong or of making a wrong decision.
God is also just. This is something, of course, that at times we must take by faith, because we may think, "Why did God do that? Or why did God allow that?" We must assume and trust that He did what was just and right.
PROP.- Let’s consider what our text says about God’s judgment and God’s vengeance.
1- God’s judgment is right
2- God’s vengeance is just
I. GOD’S JUDGMENT IS RIGHT
5All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
ILL.- Headline: College student swindler sentenced to 5 years. By AP writer Maryclaire Dale – Fri Oct 17, 2008. PHILADELPHIA – A college student who with her boyfriend stole the identities of friends and neighbors was sentenced Friday to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $100,000 in restitution.
Jocelyn Kirsch, a former Drexel University student, and then-boyfriend Edward Anderton used the money for expensive salon visits, exotic vacations and fancy dinners.
Federal guidelines called for a prison sentence of 70 months, but U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno credited Kirsch for her apparent remorse and for her July 14 guilty plea to aggravated identity theft and other counts.
Kirsch, 23, and Anderton acknowledged stealing the identities of friends and neighbors in the Philadelphia area in 2006 and 2007 to net more than $116,000 in goods and services.
The scheme unraveled when an employee at an upscale salon told police that a check for Kirsch’s $2,250 hair extension job had bounced. About the same time, a neighbor of the couple told police a package she did not order had been sent to her.
Police released photos showing the two posing in matching red swimsuits by a luxury hotel pool and kissing near the Eiffel Tower. Anderton, a 25-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate originally from Everett, Wash., is to be sentenced Tuesday.
WAS THIS JUDGMENT RIGHT? If you and I had our identity stolen by this gal and guy we would certainly think this judgment was perfectly right and probably would have wanted our money back as well!
ILL.- This story was told by the late preacher, George W. Truett. A young lady was brought before the church for discipline because of a violation of the church covenant.
It was suggested that she be dropped from the roll of the church. As the debate developed the preacher said, “Let us also call the church treasurer and have him read the record of the giving of every member, and let us vote to drop everyone who has violated God’s law against covetousness.”
That bombshell cleared the air of all accusers, as did the reminder of Jesus: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
Many times we humans are wrong when it comes to making judgments about certain things or people. We have often misjudged people, only to find out later one that they were entirely different from what we assumed. We humans are subject to wrong thinking, wrong ideas, and wrong reasoning.
We’re all in the judging business. It should be the discerning business rather than the judging business. There appears to be a difference. Discerning - YES. Judging or judgment - NO.
ILL.- H. L. Mencken, agnostic editor, formerly of The American Mercury, died an unbeliever. At his funeral, following his request, there was neither song nor sermon.
During his life Mencken admitted he might be wrong in his views about God and the immortality of the soul. “But,” he explained, “if I am wrong I will square myself when confronted in after life by the apostles with the simple apology: ‘Gentlemen, I was wrong.’ ” NO, MENCKEN WAS WRONG. His judgment, thinking or whatever you call it was wrong.
How do we know this? Because we know the Word of God. We know that God’s Word teaches that a person must decide in the "here and now" and not in the "there and then" if they are going to be saved, forgiven and go to heaven.
We have only one life and only one chance to accept God’s will for eternal salvation and it’s right now!
25"But Abraham replied, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
In other words, "Your eternity is a done deal, sealed in this life."
I conclude that in regard to eternity that God’s judgment is right. I conclude that in all things God’s judgment is right.
II. GOD’S VENGEANCE IS JUST
6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
ILL.- A pious but cranky old lady was greatly annoyed because her neighbors forgot to ask her to go on their picnic. On the morning of the event they suddenly realized they forget her and sent a little boy to ask her to come along.
“It’s too late now,” she snapped. “I’ve already prayed for rain.”
ILL.- Fort Worth, Texas —Bill Miller decided a train was taking altogether too long to cross a street as he waited 15 minutes in a line of traffic. So, after the train passed, he drove his pickup truck onto the track, locked the doors and walked the rest of the way to work. Cars could get by, but trains could not.
A crewman from a halted freight train telephoned police and complained the truck was blocking their path. Police traced Miller through the pickup’s license number and convinced him to move his truck after the train had to wait 20 minutes. Police declined to give Miller a ticket.
That is what you called stupidity or stupid vengeance. And it’s a wonder that some train didn’t just demolish his truck on the tracks. And if that were to happen today the police WOULD have given that man a ticket or perhaps put him in jail.
ILL.- Passersby called police when they saw a man drive his new automobile into the fenders of a parked car. He explained that both cars belonged to him—that he was having revenge on the old car for giving him so much trouble.
Another case of stupid vengeance. And that’s at least one problem with seeking vengeance. It’s often stupid. It does no good and only makes things worse. That man would now have to repair both of his cars. DUMB!
Prov. 11:17 "A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself."
Cruelty in any form or for any reason will come back to bite you. Vengeance is not the way to get back at people.
Romans 12:17-21 "17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. 20On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Now what about God’s vengeance? Is it ever justified?
6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.
God will pay back those who have troubled you in this life. Wow! How much so? And to whom? I’m not sure what kind of trouble Paul is talking about. It must have been pretty extreme, however. I would say that petty in-differences or confrontations at work don’t count.
But here’s a deal that is completely different.
ILL.- Do you remember this man? VIENNA, Austria — Josef Fritzl, the Austrian builder who locked his daughter in a cellar and fathered seven children with her. Now he sees himself as a born rapist, a victim of his own tyrannical mother. He said, “I have realized that I had a mean streak. For someone who was born to be a rapist, I have managed to contain myself for a relatively long period."
Fritzl, 73, is awaiting trial for sexually abusing and incarcerating Elisabeth, 42, in a purpose-built dungeon beneath his house in the town of Amstetten. He fathered seven children by her, one of whom died shortly after birth and Fritzl burnt his body in an oven.
That man was/is horrible. I would be tempted to say that he ought to be taken out and shot. And I wonder what his daughter thinks of him? God have mercy on that woman and her children!
Can you imagine the pay-back that man is going to get in eternity? I think we all would agree that in his case God’s vengeance will be perfectly just.
6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.
I realize this is a hard scripture. God will punish those who do not know Him or those who do not obey the gospel of Christ. WOW! Woe is me! Woe is somebody!
All we can do is trust that the Lord’s vengeance is just and right. And be thankful that we are not doing the judging and taking vengeance on people in this world, because we would wrong in some cases and perhaps in many. Only God knows and sees all and makes the right judgment.
This is a tough text to deal with, think about, talk about, let alone come to some conclusion.
I think our best is conclusion is to live by faith in God and His Word and trust Him to make the right decisions in all things. And trust His judgment when it comes to demonstrating vengeance. After all, what can you or I change anyway?
And again, we’re in sales, not management.
Lord God, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven! Your judgment is right and your vengeance is/will be just.