Hey, this is Jim Graham from the Masculine Journey Podcast, where we explore relationship instead of religion every week. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds.
Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.
For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now, let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Romans 10, 13 says, For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be what? Saved. Saved from what? Saved from sin, saved from God's wrath, saved from hell, if you want to get graphic. He's saving us because Jesus knows more about hell than anybody. And by the way, hell was not created for us.
Who was it created for? Satan and all the demons. The problem is, if you don't repent, you're pushing God into a corner when you die because he's a God of justice. And you're saying, God, well, now you've got no choice. And he has no choice at that point. And he's got to send you in there with Satan and all the demons where you'll live for how long? Forever. Imagine that, guys.
I've thought it before about what would it be like if Russ Andrews died and I really somehow had missed it. And I faced an eternity where I can never change that. That's a very scary thought. See, Jesus sets you free from your fear. He gives you blessed assurance. John's message was first and foremost a message of repentance, but it was also a message warning of coming wrath and judgment.
Look at verses 7 through 10. Okay? Y'all with me?
You tracking with me? I think this is interesting. I think I'm interesting. Don't y'all? I'm kidding. Look at verses 7 through 10.
Actually, I don't. I used to read the Bible at night when my kids were in middle school. And Chrissy said I was so boring that she said, would you give me the Bible? Because I was about to fall asleep.
So I hope I don't put you guys to sleep. Luke says, Luke writes, he said, therefore, to the crowd, talking about John the Baptist that came out to be baptized for him. You brood of vipers. How much would it like to go to church and that's the first thing that comes out of the minister's mouth. You brood of vipers.
What were y'all doing last night? Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, we have Abraham as our father. For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now, the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree, therefore, that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. And the crowds ask, guys, remember this question, what then shall we do?
See, they were convicted. See, I'm reminded, too, right here, when they would say, well, we have Abraham as our father. Franklin Graham, well, he could have said, well, Billy Graham's my father, but you know what Billy Graham told him one time, and not out of any kind of pride or error, he said, son, listen, you can't get in on my coattails. This was when he was 22.
He was running around Europe in a TR6 with a fifth of bourbon in his car. He was a rebel. And then God got hold of him after his father had a, you know, a nice little chat with him.
Maybe you need to have a chat with some of your sons. And he became a rebel with a cause. And Franklin is a rebel, that's why I like him. The Jews believed they were God's chosen people, which in one sense they were, but they believed it because they were the physical descendants of Abraham. And they pointed to circumcision as outward proof. Don't we, as Gentiles, do the same thing? What do we point to? Our good moral behavior.
I'm not as bad as that guy on death row. We point to our church membership. We point to our good works.
Don't we do that? But remember what God says, 1 Samuel 16, 7, but remember the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at what?
What does God see when he looks into your heart? You see, the Jews were sinners just like the rest of us. We're all sinners. And this is why John the Baptist baptized both Jews and Gentiles. And the Pharisees were like, you've got to be kidding me. We don't need to be baptized.
We're Abraham's descendants. Now, I want you to notice that John did not mince words, did he? In fact, if he were right, he'd say, Russ, why don't you just step aside? Let me take it from here. But since he's not, I'm going to try not to embarrass myself. So, why did John the Baptist call his audience vipers?
Well, Kent Hughes, who I've referred to a lot this year, he's got that great commentary on Luke, you all should buy it. He writes, he was saying they were like snakes fleeing a brush fire, trying to escape but having no intention of allowing their evil natures to be changed. You see, that's what a lot of men do. I've been observing men. I'm not the judge, by the way, guys. I don't stand in judgment of anyone, but I do discern. I make judgments about what I see.
We're all supposed to do that. And I've been observing men for 40 years who are members of churches and come in and out of Bible studies that I've led and that Johnny Evans has led and that Joe Knott's led. But we've had thousands in Raleigh go through these Bible studies and they say they believe. But their lives do not show evidence of any change. You see, when a man truly repents, that is when he really recognizes the depravity of his heart and he turns away from it, you think people aren't going to notice that? That's why the Bible says that you become a new creation. You see, God has to do an inside job. He's got to change us from the inside out. And the only one who can do that is the Holy Spirit.
Here's question number two. Why did John proclaim such a foreboding message with so many warnings? Do you know why? Because he loved people and he wanted to tell them the truth. He wanted to save them from an eternity in a place that is without light or joy or God.
And he didn't care what people thought about him. All he cared about was saving souls because John had the heart of God. Do you know what the heart of God is like?
It's a heart full of love. Second Peter 3.9 says he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. When I was back there last night, I go back in this little room before I come out here and I really get on my knees and I say, God, listen, if you don't put some power in this message, it's going to be like empty words on a page. And I thanked him for his patience with me. I became a believer when I was like 10 and I was really growing.
I would call myself a fairly strong believer at age 14, reading the Bible, praying, going to church. And then I went to Carolina and I want to go. And that wasn't the end of it.
I mean, I started doing things I would have never dreamed of doing. And yet, God in His mercy has allowed me to be a preacher of His Word. Do you all not see grace in that?
If you all knew what I know about me, you'd go, man, God really is a God of grace. Charles Spurgeon puts it like this, if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. Also, if they perish, let them perish with their arms about their knees, employing them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions. Let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.
Such was the man, Charles Spurgeon. Oh, if we had preachers like that today. That's what we need in America. Preachers who don't care what anybody thinks, who are willing to preach the good and the bad news.
That's the third question. Why don't we have preachers like that today? Why do we not have preachers warning?
There's something a lot worse in Niagara Falls. It's called hell. So why don't ministers preach the truth of God's Word? Well, first, most ministers, believe it or not, don't really believe in the wrath of God. And the reason they don't believe in the wrath of God is because they really don't believe the Bible.
And if you think I'm making this up, you're kidding yourself. Secondly, these same ministers are more concerned about pleasing man than pleasing God. Thus, their sermons fall right in step with modern culture. Whatever the world says is good, they repeat.
Whatever direction the cultural wind is blowing, they stick their finger up and their church is going in the exact same direction. Welcome to woke America. We need to wake up. We need to wake up that our country is under God's judgment. And if we don't repent as a nation, I told those guys the other day that what we need is a revival.
And revivals typically begin with young people, not with a bunch of old people like you and me. John 12, 43 says, it's talking about the Pharisees of Jesus' day. They love praise from men more than praise from God. That's why they strolled around with their robes and they were dignified and they expected the seats of honor in the public arena. And they love for everybody to come up and call them Father.
Really. Jesus came and looked at them and told them that their father was the devil. And that they were a brood of vipers. And what did they do with him? Crucified him. Do you know if Jesus had waited until 2021 and come, the same crowd would have crucified him? The same religious group that thinks that you get to heaven by joining a church and being a good man?
There are no good men. So when the people listening to John heard this, they were convicted to the core. And they asked a very logical question. What then should we do?
Same question we should ask. And John proceeded to tell them, produce fruits in keeping with repentance. And then he told them in verses 11 through 14, which I'm not going to read because of time.
He's told them some of the good things they should be doing. So what did he mean by produce fruits in keeping with repentance? Let me tell you what he did not mean. He did not mean that salvation comes by you being a good person, by doing a bunch of good deeds. And the Bible makes this very clear. If you don't remember one thing tonight, remember this. Salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to scripture alone.
Did you get that? Salvation comes by faith, not by works. Read Ephesians 2, 8 through 8 and 9.
Good deeds are simply the byproduct of genuine faith. When you repent and turn to the Lord by faith, the Holy Spirit comes in you. He changes your heart.
He changes your desires. And you actually begin to do the good works that God has prepared in advance for you to do. And these good works are the result of repentance.
And this is what John was trying to explain. And then he went on to warn them that if their lives did not reflect good works, that is if their lives did not reflect a changed life, then that meant they had not truly repented. If you've not truly repented, then guess what? Judgment is coming for you from God. Because He will have no choice.
You'll push Him into that corner. And He won't have any choice because He's a God of what? Justice. See right now, the door for mercy and grace are available. But one day that's coming to an end. And that's why I'm preaching this message tonight.
To make sure that if there's a man sitting here who's not prepared for his death, then you better listen carefully to what I'm saying. Look at the strong warning that he gives in verse 9. Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. What fire is he talking about? Well look at verses 15 through 17.
You with me? As the people were in expectation, all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ. John answered them all saying, I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I'm not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and what? Fire.
His winnowing fork is in His hand. It's already in the hand of Jesus. To clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with what kind of fire?
Unquenchable. Real quickly guys, there are two baptisms mentioned here. John's baptism was simply an outward baptism by water. It was only symbolic of a man sitting out there who said, Yes, I want to repent.
I want to turn away from God. So John would baptize them, but it didn't carry the power of real baptism. And guys, I'm not talking about water baptism. There's a baptism behind that screen right there. I'm talking about baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus' baptism was an internal baptism of the heart by the Holy Spirit, and it came with the same resurrection power that raised Him from the dead. Verse 16 says, He that is Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. And this fire here has two meanings.
I think first it means that when the Holy Spirit comes in you, He begins to burn away the sinful desires of your heart. It's like a silversmith heating up silver and the impurities rise to the top. That's called the dross.
And the silversmith takes the dross out until that silver becomes more and more what? Pure. Pure. And he does it until he sees whose reflection? His.
His. See, that's what God is doing with us. He will heat you up sometimes with some circumstances you don't like. And it's just His way of putting you in His workshop. And He's heating up the fire to purge the sin out of your lives.
Why? Because He hates you now? Because He loves you. He wants you to be like the man that He created you to be. Like His son Jesus. Acts 2, 38.
Excuse me. By the way, this baptism by the Spirit occurs at the moment a man is what? What's the two words I'm looking for? John 3. Born again. I heard a minister.
I told you this before, but it just reminded me of it. Who said that Jesus never said you had to be born again. See, that's what's coming out of some pulpits here in Raleigh. This church is popular with young people.
I want to go down there with my winnow and fork and take Him out. But I'm sorry, I know that's not a Christian-like attitude, but that's just the way I feel. In Acts 2, 38, Peter said, Repent and be baptized, every one of you.
That's what I would say to you tonight. In the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. When God sees that you believe in His Son, He sends the Holy Spirit into you immediately.
And it's like His second ring. And He's taken His Spirit and it's a deposit in you, guaranteeing your what? Salvation.
So that you don't have to fear the coming wrath. In closing, you all ready for me to close? I'm sorry I'm going along tonight, but it's too important to cut it short.
I want to conclude, since I haven't been very serious tonight with warnings, I want to conclude with a very serious warning. There's a second fire that John was referring to, and it's reserved for the end of the world. It will be the fire of God's final judgment against all evil. God is going to bring evil to an end one day, as I've already said. And those who've never appended and turned to Jesus by faith will face God's wrath. Look at verse 17 again. John says, He's talking about Jesus. His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn. But the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.
See, here's what's going to happen guys, and I believe it as sure as I'm standing here. When the Lord returns, He's coming back. Remember that sword He's bringing to divide the nations?
It's a time of great separation. Jesus said, I did not come to bring peace to the world, but to what? A sword. And you bring a sword down on a loaf of bread and it divides it. And that's what He's going to do with His winnowing fork. He's going to take the wheat and separate it from the chaff. He's going to take the sheep and separate them from the goats.
He's going to take unbelievers and separate them from believers. Two weekends ago, my wife and I traveled up to Charlottesville where my son Rushman lives. Rushman, I hope, Cabell, I hope you're listening. I'm getting ready to talk about you.
And you know, I've got my two oldest grandsons, one is Smith who was born to my son Smith, and one is Cabell who was born to Rushman and Neil. And I challenged them. I said, guys, if y'all will read the New Testament, then Big Pop will take you on a very special trip. We're going to go right down Niagara Falls. No, I'm kidding. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm going to do something special.
And so, when I was up there, we went up like, again, this was like two Thursdays ago, so we were up there Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. And Cabell has been, what he's doing is reading the Bible out loud to my son Rushman. And Rushman looked at me and said, Dad, don't you find it interesting that God is using my children to draw me closer to Jesus? So I never could get Rushman to read the Bible. So God's got His son reading it to him. And so anyway, he said, Dad, why don't you read the Bible with capital I? Let him read it to you. So we sat in the living room Thursday night and Friday night, and he was reading from Acts. And then Saturday night, it's like around 8 o'clock, Crecy and Rushman and Neil were putting the other two boys, Thomas and Cross, to bed. And Rushman said, Dad, why don't you see if Cabell is ready to pray and ask Jesus to come into his heart?
I said, sure, I'll be glad to do that. So Cabell read his two lessons to me from Acts, and then I said, Cabell, and Cabell, he's a good reader. He's a bright young man. You know, an 8-year-old can understand the Gospel, guys.
An 8-year-old can understand it. So I explained the Gospel to him clearly. I talked about how that you know, that when you send Cabell by disobeying your parents or being ugly to your brothers or telling a lie, that's a sin. I said, do you recognize your sin? He said, yeah, I do, Big Pop. And so by this time, I said, Cabell, would you like to pray and invite the Lord into your heart tonight?
He said, yeah, big smile on his face. So by this time, Rushman and Neal and Crease have come back into the living room, so they're sitting there, and again, I've explained the Gospel to them. I said, Cabell, do you want to pray right here with your mom and dad in CC here, or do you want to go back into your dad's study with Big Pop? He said, Big Pop, let's you and me go back into the study, just the two of us.
How good is that? So we went back into the study, and we got down on all fours, and his face is right here on the floor, and he's got this huge smile on his face. And so I said, Cabell, look, I'm going to pray. This is the prayer I'm going to pray. And I explained, so in the prayer, I talked about repentance, and asking God to forgive you, and then asking Jesus to come into your heart, and then wanting to live for him. And I said, Cabell, does that express the desire of your heart?
And he said, yes, it does. I said, all right, well, let's just close that, and you pray. And we got through the prayer. And about halfway through, he giggled at something I said. And when we got through, he said, Big Bob, was it okay that I laughed during the prayer? Has God mad at me for doing that? I said, no, because He could tell you were just full of joy. And so my eight-year-old son invited Jesus into his heart. And I don't know who was more excited, Rushman or Cabell, or me.
But I mean, it was just incredible. So the next morning, when he got up, I said, Cabell, now I want to explain to you how good that you have invited Jesus into your heart. I said, let me ask you something. One day, Jesus is coming back to separate the sheep from the goats. Would you rather be a sheep or goat?
He said, Big Bob, I'd rather be a goat. I said, well, wait a minute. Let me explain it to you.
Then you can. So, I asked Him, we went into the living room again, and I sat down, and I opened up to Matthew 25. And I'd like for y'all to open up to Matthew 25.
I'm going to end with this. And I want to show you that Jesus is holding the winnowing fork. He's coming back to separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff, believers and unbelievers. And so, Luke, actually, Jesus is speaking here in Matthew 25. And He's talking about the second coming men.
And guys, that's going to happen at some point. I don't know when. It could be tomorrow. And here's what Matthew writes. When the Son of Man, who is that? Jesus comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. I believe it will be a throne down here on earth in Jerusalem. All the nations will be gathered before Him.
I have no idea how that's going to happen, but that's what it says. And He will separate the people, one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. Verse 34. Then the king, that is Jesus, will say to those on His right, Come, you who are blessed by My Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since when?
The creation of the world. Now skip down to verse 41. Then He will say to those on His left, Depart from Me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire, prepared for who?
The devil and his angels. Because these in your Bible, if you have a Bible with letters in red, these are Jesus' words. Not that they're any more important than Paul's, but they're Jesus' words. And then verse 46, Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but they're righteous to eternal life. You see why this is so important? So why does the church not declare this truth every Sunday?
It's like standing by Niagara Falls and saying, Hey, y'all have a great time. God loves you. Here's what I want you to know. Heaven is real, and hell is real. Jesus is the only way to heaven. In order to be saved from the coming wrath of God, you must come to Jesus while the door to heaven remains open. Romans 5-9 says, Since we've been justified by His blood, if you're in Christ, if you're saved, it's because Jesus shed His blood for you. And that means you've been justified before God. He has declared you righteous in His sight.
It's a legal declaration that can never be changed if you're in Christ. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him? The Bible says Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath. When you run to the cross, you're standing where the wrath has already been. And you just go underneath the shelter of the cross. And Jesus shields you from His Father's wrath.
Why? Because He bore God's wrath for you and me. That's what the Gospel is all about. Now what question should you ask?
Russ, what then should we do? Repent. Turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send to Christ to live in your heart. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local triangle men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net. This is the Truth Network.
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