God Has Nothing To Hide
FINDING GOD part 4
In an American History discussion group, the professor was trying to explain how societies ideal of beauty changes with time. "For example, he said, "take the 1921 Miss America. She stood five ft tall, weighed 108 pounds and had measurements of 30-25-32. How do you think she’d do in today’s version of the contest?"
The class fell silent for a moment. Then one student piped up, "Not very well."
And the professor asked, "Why is that?"
And the boy said, "Well, she’d be way too old."
While our idea of beauty changes, so do a lot of other things, there are a lot of other things that change. And many think that God has gotten old and he is outdated.
Joshua Ramo, in Time magazine’s December 1996 cover story, suggested that cyberspace will change people’s perception of God, since "technological revolutions…change everything they touch."
William Grassie, professor of religion at Temple University, predicts that the tendency is to view God "as a process evolving with us. If you believe in an eternal, unchanging God, you’ll be in trouble."
Like the Time Magazine article, we think we need a newer model, one that fits what we want, high in grace, low in wrath and throw in some love for good measure.
The only problem is that God’s word stands in direct opposition to that philosophy.
I know what you are thinking. Hey, wait a minute I thought this was a cool church that didn’t talk about outdated theological ideas like God’s Wrath and Hell and things like that. No we are not outdated, but the truth is it is important that you know that we don’t skirt around tough issues. We have two goals here at Mid-Cities Church. One is to help you love people, the other is to help you love God. Now we would not be doing you a favor if we talked about 90% of what God is like. You deserve to know every aspect of who God really is.
Now the first question we need to ask is should we even talk about this at church. I think so… I mean if you one of your kids is about to get run over by a car and you didn’t tell them to get out of the way, then what kind of parent would you be. If channel 5, 8, or 11 knew about a sniper killing people over at Northeast mall and didn’t want to tell people about that story, but instead went right to weather, then they would be considered poor journalist. What about a police officer that saw smoke coming from your house, or burglars breaking in but didn’t do anything to intervene. That police officer would get fired. What would you think about a pastor that just taught on God’s love, forgiveness, and patience, but left out information on His wrath, because it was to uncomfortable to talk about. Well, that pastor would be trying to hide something from you, and would be doing you a disservice.
Some of you are wondering now, that’s all fine and good Clay, but why talk about God’s anger on friend day, when more newcomers will be here. Good point! But I want you guys to know that at Mid-Cities Community Church we are not going to pull a fast one over on you. We are going to be straight up with you. The truth is that God is all loving, patient, and kind, but He is also a God of wrath. I need to share with you Today we are going to talk about four things we need to know about God’s anger.
1. The first thing we need to know about God’s anger is that God’s anger Is Not Hidden!
God is not up in Heaven going, “Oh come on Clay. What are you thinking! This was our secret, I don’t want anybody to know that I get angry. The truth is that God doesn’t hide His anger. His anger is not something that He hasn’t let us know in Scripture. God says this pretty plainly in
Leviticus 26 "’If you still refuse to listen to me and still turn against me, I will show my great anger”
Underline the words I will show. I’m glad that we have a God that is not trying to pull a fast one on us, but that is honest enough with us to let us know about Him. Some of you have not really trusted God or churches because you have felt like they have tried to cover up who they really are. Many of you have this idea that if you scratch under the surface of Christianity that you will find a deep dark secret. You will uncover God’s anger. The truth is God says “Anger, yeah I get angry!” He admits his anger.
Let’s stop for a moment is it okay that God has anger. Yes, Sometimes the most appropriate expression is anger. When you see people being hurt, when you see people taken advantage of, when you see people being cheated, anger is an appropriate response. In fact, if you never get angry it means one thing – you don’t love. Because sometimes the loving thing to do is to get angry.
One of the common misconceptions about God is that in the Old Testament God is this mean tyrant always looking for someone to unleash His scorn upon, and in the New Testament Jesus is this pascifist that never gets mad and Jesus is always trying to show love and mercy that the God of the Old Testament would never show. This is not a new thought!
As a matter of fact in the second century around 144 AD there arose a false teaching, developed by Marcion, the son of a Christian bishop. (Preachers’ kids are always coming up with strange ideas.)
Marcion believed that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament were really two different gods. The Old Testament God—Jehovah—was a jealous, wrathful, unpredictable, vindictive god. Jehovah had created this evil world, either out of ignorance or with evil intent, and placed his human creatures here.
Marcion then believed that God of the New Testament, was a higher God. He was a God of grace and love, and he sent his son Jesus to help us overcome the damage that had been done by the God of the Old Testament. Marcion believed there would be no final judgment because the Supreme God is absolutely loving and will simply forgive us.
What Marcion actually did was he came up with his own Bible. Except any part that would mention God’s anger or wrath, he would just cut that part out. Marcion’s Bible was pocket sized.
Now you need to know that 80% of the time the word wrath appears it’s in the Old Testament, and 80% of the time the word grace appears it’s in the New Testament. But both concepts are in both the Old and New Testaments
Listen to what God says in Malachi 3:6 "I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already completely destroyed."
God says I am not fickle, I don’t change. God says I hated sin in Adam and Eve’s day and I hate sin in your day. But I want you to notice something else here about God’s anger. Underline the word “already”. What God is trying to get across here is that although He does have anger, it takes a lot to get Him mad. Let’s look a little further at this. You see the second thing that we need to know about God’s anger is that
2. God’s Anger Is Not Like Our Anger!
Probably one of the reasons that we don’t like to think about this whole idea of God’s wrath is that we think that god gets angry like we do. God’s anger is quite different than our anger. When we get mad often times we snap and then send forth our fury. Adam Sandler’s character in the waterboy shows us a good example of the kind of anger that we often times have.
Show Waterboy Clip: Start with “medula oblongata”
End with: Adam sandler tackling professor
We often times have short fuses. We are like the household-cleaning product that says “Contents under pressure may explode.” God on the other hand has a very different kind of anger then we do.
He has a patient anger. Check out Nahum 1:3 “The Lord does not become angry quickly, and his power is great. The Lord will not let the guilty go unpunished.”
Circle the words “The Lord does not become angry quickly.” You need to know a little bit behind this verse to better understand how forgiving and patient God’s anger is. Now this passage is written in Nahum. And Nahum was an Old Testament preacher who told the ancient Assyrian civilization that they had better straighten up or God would come down and kick their tails. Now the capital city of Assyria is Ninevah, and if you remember the veggietale movie of Jonah, which of course is a Bible book. Jonah which told Ninevah 100 years earlier to get right with God, or God would blow them off the face of the earth. The whole point here is that God’s anger is not like our anger, He has a patient anger. God sent two prophets and waited over a hundred years before He poured His wrath on Ninevah. He was waiting for them to get right.
They didn’t get right, so that brings us to the next thing that we need to know about God’s wrath:
3. God Gets Fed Up!
Romans 1:28 “Because those people refuse to keep in mind the true knowledge about God, he has given them over to corrupted minds, so that they do the things that they should not do.”
This is a very sad verse. It says that their actually comes a point with God, that He says okay. I’m not begging you or forcing you anymore to do the right thing. You want to do what you want to do. Go ahead. I give up. I’ve tried! I’ll grant your wish. I wanted more for you, but you want to do your own thing, be you r own boss. “I’ll let you.”
This is the saddest place to be, that is away from God. Where He has said fine “Have it your way!”
What in your life are you repeatedly showing or telling God. No I’m going to do things my way. “It’s my life, now or never, I ain’t going to live forever, like frankie said “I did it my way” That is one song that offends God the most. For us to think that we can do a better job with our lives than he can. He is not a tyrant though, if we don’t want to follow His rules, then we can opt out.
Now you may be wondering, has God given up on me. If you are asking that question then the answer is no, because if you have a desire to work on your relationship with God, then He surely hasn’t closed the door on His relationship with you. However, if we reject God over and over and over again then God will say “fine I’m fed up, I’ve tried and tried and they have rejected me so much that their heart is hardened to me.” One of the scariest things about sin, is when it becomes old hat. You know you sin once and it is a big deal, but you sin the same way time after time again, and it doesn’t even phase you. That is when you had better watch out, because it could be God saying okay “I’m fed up do what you want to do, I’ll let you.”
This is the same notion when a teen tells his parents, “ I want out on my own, I want to do my own thing, You can’t tell me what to do anymore!” When they say that and you have tried everything else sometimes you have to let them go, o that they can really see what the cruel, real, cold world is like. God does the same thing with us.
Now who is it that God gets fed up with? Is it one sin and your out: No, listen to the kind of people that He lets go their own way:
Romans 1:29-32 “They are filled with all kinds of wickedness, evil, greed, and vice; they are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deceit, and malice. They gossip and speak evil of one another; they are hateful to God, insolent, proud, and boastful; they think of more ways to do evil; they disobey their parents; they have no conscience; they do not keep their promises, and they show no kindness or pity for others. They know that God’s law says that people who live in this way deserve death. Yet, not only do they continue to do these very things, but they even approve of others who do them."
Yes God is a God of love. But just as much as He is a God of love, He is also a God of justice and purity. He is a God of love! But also a God of hate. He loves us as sinners, but hates our sin.
4. God’s Anger Is For Keeps
Hebrews 9:27 “Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God.”
We need to understand that God’s anger towards sin is eternal. If you are not ready to die then you are not ready to live. Now this isn’t a Hell, fire, and brimstone message. I’m not a shouter. But please know that we are going to be judged one day by God! And we are going to be found guilty, because none of us match up to God’s standard of perfection. We don’t even match up to our own standards much less God’s. Now we may not like this whole idea, or we may like to think that God is unreasonable here. But the truth is it really doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree with God judging us. Because last time I checked He didn’t ask for our approval. We need to not worry ourselves about complaining about God’s system of judgement. We had better make sure that we are not about to face God’s wrath. Let’s look more at this whole idea of God judging us after we die. Where do those that get the bad verdict go? Hell!
Someone once said “Preacher, I don’t believe in that Hell concept. I mean even if it is real, I want to go there and be bad with all of my friends and party like Hell with them.” I told him, do me a favor go home and turn your burner on your stove. When it gets real hot sit on the burner and then see if you are still in the partying mood.
Revelation 20:15 tells us more about this place called Hell
“Those who did not have their name written in the book of the living were thrown into the lake of fire.”
Circle the words lake of fire. The Bible also says that this lake of fire never consumes those that have been thrown into it. They have the feeling of being burnt, but do not get the satisfaction of instant death. The Bible says that all of us will have eternal life. We must choose however, if our eternity is going to be smoking or non-smoking. Now some of you are thinking, I sure am getting a head-ache. I would rather you have a head-ache now, then a hell-ache later. And the truth is so would God.
Some people think that God can’t be a good God if He judges for people to go to Hell. Well just listen to this verse, and you will see who Jesus wants to go to Hell:
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.”
He doesn’t want anyone to experience Hell. As a matter of fact, He didn’t want anyone to experience Hell so much that He showed us that He loved us. Please check this out:
Romans 5:8-9 “But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners. So through Christ we will surely be saved from God’s anger” God poured out all of His anger for sin onto Jesus. Because He loves me, and He loves you so much that He killed His Son so that we would be saved from God’s anger!
Listen to this bit of history as we talk about the pardon from Hell that God gives to us:
In 1829, a Philadelphia man named George Wilson robbed the U.S. mail and killed someone in the process. Wilson was arrested, brought to trial, convicted, and sentenced to death. Some friends intervened on his behalf and were finally able to obtain a pardon from President Andrew Jackson. But when they informed Wilson, he refused to accept the pardon. The sheriff was unwilling to carry out the sentence. How could he hang a pardoned man? An appeal was sent to President Jackson. Jackson, not knowing what to do, turned to the Supreme Court decide the case. Chief Justice John Marsha;; ruled that a pardon rejected is no pardon at all. George Wilson would have to face his sentence. Wilson was hanged, although his pardon lay on the sheriff’s desk.
I sure hope that God will never say “a pardon rejected is no pardon at all” to us or anyone we know!
Here is the outline:
God Has Nothing To Hide
FINDING GOD part 4
4 Things we need to know about God’s anger:
1. God’s Anger Is Not Hidden!
"’If you still refuse to listen to me and still turn against me, I will show my great anger; Leviticus 26:27-28b (NCV)
"I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already completely destroyed.
Malachi 3:6 (NLT)
2. God’s Anger Is Not Like Our Anger!
“If you think you can judge others, you are wrong. When you judge them, you are really judging yourself guilty, because you do the same things they do. God judges those who do wrong things, and we know that his judging is right.” Romans 2:1-2 (NCV)
“The Lord does not become angry quickly, and his power is great. The Lord will not let the guilty go unpunished.” Nahum 1:3 (NCV)
3. God Gets Fed Up!
“Because those people refuse to keep in mind the true knowledge about God, he has given them over to corrupted minds, so that they do the things that they should not do.” Romans 1:28 (GNT)
“They are filled with all kinds of wickedness, evil, greed, and vice; they are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deceit, and malice. They gossip and speak evil of one another; they are hateful to God, insolent, proud, and boastful; they think of more ways to do evil; they disobey their parents; they have no conscience; they do not keep their promises, and they show no kindness or pity for others. They know that God’s law says that people who live in this way deserve death. Yet, not only do they continue to do these very things, but they even approve of others who do them. Romans 1:29-32
4. God’s Anger Is For Keeps
“Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God.” Hebrews 9:27 (GNT)
“Those who did not have their name written in the book of the living were thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15 (GNT)
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)
“But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners. So through Christ we will surely be saved from God’s anger” Romans 5:8-9 (NCV)
(Please use all or any part of this message in your local church. Nothing is new under the sun. Some of the thoughts, outlines, illustrations, or text in this message may be bought, borrowed, or "stolen" from some one else. I just want to be effective not original.)