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June 3, 2022 7:00 am
Now I'm going to begin the day by making one of the most unpopular statements in all of modern-day Christianity and here it is God is a God of judgment. You see, in our 21st-century brand of Christianity. The predominant theme we hear everywhere today is that God is the God of love, a God of mercy, a God of forgiveness, the God of leniency, a God of understanding and you know what all of that's true, but the Bible also teaches without equivocation that our God is a God of justice and he is a God of holiness and he is the God of righteousness and he is the God of judgment, and the Bible teaches that anyone anyone who ignores or minimizes this asked act of God's character does so at their own severe peril. Now listen to what the word of God says about all this. Hebrews 12 verse 23 you have come to God. The Bible says the judge of all men. Hebrews chapter 10 verse 30 for we know him who said, vengeance is mine, I will repay, and again the Lord will judge a his people. Hebrews 1031. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. And this is why the Bible warns us to approach God.
Hebrews 1228 with reverence and all for our God is a consuming fire today.
This is what we want to talk about because as we continue in our verse by verse study of the book of Genesis where in Genesis chapter 19 where the people of Sodom and Gomorrah learn this lesson the hard way. We want to go back and see what happened there and then we want to bring all that forward and talk about okay so like what difference does that make to me here in the 21st century.
So are you ready are you ready okay.
Let's begin now to begin, let's say this that the Bible repeatedly reminds us that our God, the God of this universe is a righteous God, Daniel nine verse seven says righteousness belongs to you oh Lord. Psalm 36 verse six is your righteousness God is like a mighty mountain.
Psalm 89 verse 14 says righteousness and justice, Lord, are the foundation of your throne and finally Psalm 33 verse five says the Lord loves righteousness and justice. But what exactly does it mean to say that God is righteous. Well, it means two things. Number one, it means that God always draws that which is ethically right that which is morally pure and that which is utterly virtuous and that he is incapable of ever doing anything different but it means the second thing it also means that not only is God himself righteous, but also that he deeply cares about his creation operating righteously. Isaiah chapter 1 verse 11. The multitude of your sacrifices. God says what are they to me, says the Lord. I hate your festival and your fees. I am weary of bearing them. They have become a burden to me, Lord, if you don't want us to bring you sacrifices and you don't want to celebrate the feast you told us about. What do you want us to do. Stop doing wrong, God says, and learn to do right seek justice, care for the oppressed defendant, the fatherless clean the case of the widow.
The point is that God cares about people treating people righteously, and because he is a just God and because he's a holy God.
He is committed to repaying every on righteous deed ever done here on this earth listen. Ask 17 verse 31, for God has set a day of the Bible says when he will judge the world with justice by the man he is appointed and he is given proof of this to all men by raising that man the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.
This is God's promise that there will be a day when every human deed will be settled up with absolute and utter justice in the Lord Jesus said that himself. Matthew 16 verse 27 Jesus said, for the Son of Man will return in the glory of his father and with his angels talking about the second coming and then he will repay every person according to what they have done. By the way, nobody is going to pulling the wool over this judges eyes nobodies going to trick him or get by with something with him. Listen, Jesus said, Luke 12 to 4. There's nothing covered, that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known. What you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light and what you have whispered in secret shall be shouted from the rooftops army were talking about the ultimate judge Judy meeting right here. Yes, there are several honest great but are you telling me I have to wait till the second coming of Jesus before I see any kind of justice here on the earth or unrighteousness to spend on no no no no no, nothing that no God. Certainly judges here and now, right here on earth on righteous deeds as well as doing so when he comes back.
Listen, Psalm seven verse 14 says he who conceives evil will fall into the pit, which he is dog and the mischief he planned shall return on his own head.
Proverbs 522 his own evil deeds shall capture the wicked, and he will be ensnared with the cords of his own sin. Numbers 32 verse 23. Be sure God says your sin will find you out now.
All of these verses are talking about God judging people for unrighteous behavior. Right here on this earth. Now, but perhaps the most comprehensive verse dealing with God. Judging people here and now for unrighteous behavior comes out of the New Testament, Galatians chapter 6 verse seven.
It begins by saying do not be deceived. When the Bible says do not be deceived. It's about to tell us something really important.
Do not be deceived. Nobody makes a fool out of God for what ever a person's knows the that is precisely what they will reap you know when my boys were younger. Every spring, my wife, Brenda would make me go out in the front yard and chill up a bunch of the front flower bed and plant a garden and I do want to really do this, but she said I had to. She made me and she said I think it's really awesome want to do this is that's really important that our children see where tomatoes come from well you see that one a problem for me.
I mean I'm Jewish. And when you Jewish you know exactly where tomatoes come from. They come from the supermarket.
That's where tomatoes come from right Jewish people don't farm our use areas. We don't grow vegetables in our front yard. Are you serious, I've never done this in my life I've never planted anything. So Brenda came out and helped and I learned some things about farming. I learned that if you so green beans you're going to get green beans not going to get broccoli in your noggin get carrots and you not going to get Brussels sprouts and you not going to get eggplant if you so rutabagas you're going to get rutabagas now all of us understand that when it comes to the world of farming, but would Galatians 67 is telling us is that that very same truth applies to human behavior because don't miss this now because in his massive justice, God sees to it that it happens, you say well but wait a minute.
I know people who don't really unrighteous things and you know they never reaped anything for all that unrighteous behavior. I mean, it looks to me like they gotten away with it. It looks to me like they beaten Galatians 67. All my friends. Now that's just a mirage is not so you know if anyone ever beat this rule that what a person sows that's what they read, they would've made a fool out of God. In this verse says that's not going to happen. Listen to me, my friends, it may take more time in some people's cases in order to see Galatians 67 fulfilled, but you can take it to the bank. Galatians 67 water person sows they're going to read will always be fulfilled. Always now.
This brings us to Genesis 19 enter the people of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 13.
The Bible says. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, sitting greatly against the Lord.
So in keeping with Galatians 67. The two angels that God sent to Sodom told lot.
We are going to destroy this place, because the outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy.
That's interesting. This outcry against the people of Sodom. It's interesting that God mentioned this very same thing to Abraham in the chapter before chapter 18 verse 20 God said to Abraham, the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin is so grievous that I will go down and see what they have done is as bad as the outcry against them. So here's the question, who was making all this outcry against the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Well, I can't tell you for sure but I think that it's probably the angels in heaven that were doing this. I think they were saying hey Lord, you are holy God.
You are a righteous God.
The sin of Sodom is abominable. It's like over the top and you have been long-suffering with these people and long-suffering with these people but Lord, how can you keep tolerating sin like this without judging it. I believe the outcry was coming from the angels and finally the Lord said okay okay were going to unleash Galatians 67 on the people of Sodom. But you know what is mercy before God did that.
He gave these people one final chance to escape one more chance to avoid his judgment. Genesis 19 verse 12, right after dinner the night before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The angel said the lot you have any other people here in the city people you love people you care about is so get them out of here because we are about to destroy this place a lot went out and spoke to his son-in-law's and said hurry get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy this place, but his son-in-law's body was joking back my friends. I think there is strong implication in the Bible that Locke spent the entire night frantically walking the streets and warding every body he met in Sodom to take God's threats seriously, repent of their sin and get out of God's there where you get that from well think about it now. The angels told lot the night before a dinner that they were going to destroy the city.
Now the next morning verse 15, chapter 19, with the coming of dawn, when Lon hesitated to leave the city. The angels had to grab lots hand and had to literally pull him out of the city. I think a strong implication here that lot had never even gone to bed that night, but that he had been out trying to persuade the people of Sodom to escape to repent and that the reason he hesitated and resisted when it was still Dawn is because he wanted to keep on trying to reach some of these people a but as we all know, despite all of lots attempts whether he stayed up all night whether he didn't stay up all night regardless the people of Sodom totally ignored and so to summarize, and say that the people of Sodom had a really bad habit and that is they regarded their sin as a trivial thing in the sight of God. They minimize God's holiness and they minimize his outrage at their sin and they had no fear of God. They had no fear of the judgment of God, and they paid a terrible price for now that's the stars were going to go in our passage because we want to stop now and ask our most important question of the day so all of you at Prince William and all of you Bethesda and everybody loud and down in the edge and around the world and here we ready sure, come on now, here we go. All of us here we go want to pray that we use a lawn. So what say I don't really know. Vlad stayed up all night party didn't really stay up all night but I will presented to me in my world today. You know I'd I don't see any connection here, let's talk about you know the Bible actually mentions the phrase the fear of God, nearly 100 times and a lot of commentators have tried to soften that phrase and they redefined it in the called it the reverential all of God because their opinion is hey our God is a loving God and therefore we should not he doesn't want us to be afraid of him will friends even though they've tried to redefine this is the reverential all of God is simply not true. The words it's translated fear in this phrase in Hebrew. In the Old Testament and the word is translated fear in this phrase in Greek in the New Testament. They both mean the same thing it means to be afraid. It means fear and you know what the fear of the Lord is a healthy thing. Yes, God is a loving God, but fearing him at the same time for his justice and his holiness and his righteousness is a healthy thing.
Deuteronomy chapter 5 verse 29, oh God says that they are the Israelites hearts would be inclined to watch, say, a fear me why God what he wanted to fear you so that they would keep my commandments. So that it might go well with them and their children forever. God understands who we are as human beings.
God understands that when we fear God, it forms an impetus for us to obey God. And when we obey God.
It accomplishes the blessing of God in our life and that's what he says here. This is why Saul 19 verse nine says the fear of the Lord is pure, and why Psalm 111 verse six of verse 10 says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. You know I gotta tell you I been walking with Jesus, over 40 years now in my life I've been a pastor for over 35 years. I'm born again. I know I'm born again. I know I'm going to heaven.
I know my sins are forgiven. I know I belong to Jesus. I know I'm a child of God.
Let me tell you something. There are number of things in life.
I don't do for one simple reason. And that is I am's dared to death what God would do to me if I didn't.
And I gotta tell you in my life. This is a healthy thing in my life. I'm so prone to self-destruction that I need to be afraid of the consequences God might lay on me because it keeps me where I belong. McKey three on the straight and narrow and you know what the fear of God is a good thing in your life to because if you are afraid. What God might do to you if you do some things you won't do, and as a result, you'll avoid some really nasty consequences, and instead get the blessing of God. The fear of the Lord is pure now let me go from preaching the Medlin Tele and say that his followers of Christ.
There are many of us here today I believe, who were not involved in any egregious sin were not involved in murder or adultery or embezzlement, or kidnapping, but were dabbling with sin were playing with sin, you know, just a little pornography on the computer just a little fudging on our taxes just a little flirting at work just a little plagiarism or cheating just a little stealing from the office just a little lying to our spouse just a little misuse of funds or little bit of inappropriate sexual behavior with our boyfriend or girlfriend.
And because God hasn't judged us yet because God hasn't dropped the boom on this yet. We have been long old into a false sense of safety saying we can get away with this stuff and because God is a God of love and mercy will never do anything, my friends, listen when we act like this. We are acting like the people of Sodom acted were ignoring God's righteousness and ignoring God's holiness just like they did were presuming on God's mercy, just like they did were trivializing our sin and minimizing God's outrage at our sin. Just like they did.
We are dismissing God's command that we be zealous about living lives of personal holiness and daily repentance. Just like they did. And lastly, we are not living in the fear of God and we are pushing God's patience to the limit just like they did as followers of Christ. I want to issued to you and to me astern warning today. Remember what the word of God says.
Hebrews 10 verse 30 we know him who said the Lord will judge.
What's the next word here is people's followers of Christ.
He's going to judge his people.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. So let us approach him with reverence and all for our God is a consuming fire friends. We must take God's holiness. Seriously, we must take God's righteousness seriously. We must take the fear of God seriously, we must take our personal holiness seriously and we must not trifle with God, or the consequences, even for us as followers of Christ can be and often are catastrophic is a belong of us without sin. I mean none of us can get it right all the time and we all fall short of matter how hard we try. All absolutely and that's why God put some good news for us in the Bible about all of this, he said.
Psalm 103 verse 11 for as far as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his mercy to those who why say it fear him. It was at me. It means that when we are authentically trying to live our lives in the fear of God and when we are authentically repenting from the heart when ever we fall short.
God says I will treat those failures with mercy.
I will meet those failures with mercy, abundant mercy overruling mercy.
All cleansing mercy when your heart is right in the fear of God in repentance before God and that's how you live in. Don't worry about it when you fall short. All give you all the mercy of the that's where I want your heart.
That's the deal. So what's the bottom line for the day. The bottom line for today is that yes we thank God deeply from our hearts for his mercy but my friends as followers of Christ. We dare not presume on it. Personal holiness and obedience to God in Christlike behavior and godly character and cleanliness of heart and purity of motive and honesty of speech. God takes these things seriously and we have to take him seriously to the way we all are.
You speak for me. I unraveled so quickly scary me. I can be right where I need to be with the Lord and 20 seconds later can be totally unraveled and need to repent and and get back. I mean, and it doesn't take much really got I believe there's a lot of us here were just like me. And if we don't deal with that immediately right then what happens is spiritual sloppiness builds into our life and friends.
The bottom line here is we have to deal with. We got a cleanup that spiritual sloppiness and return to living in the true fear of God, so let me say in closing, but as I was working on this message. This week, man I gotta tell you, the Holy Spirit was just, would beat me up and I kept saying you know what Lord I need a serious examination of mylar. I need a serious conversation with you and and and and my conversation was Psalm hundred and 39 like David prayed search me oh God, and know my heart and's see if there be any wicked way in me, show me Lord, where I've gotten sloppy. Show me where I need to repent. Show me where I need to tighten up my game and get the fear of God back on the top wrong of my life and I believe there's a lot of us here who need that same conversation with God is good conversation. It's good conversation because that conversation when we are really seeking to repent before God is dripping dripping oozing with the mercy of God such a good conversation and I hope that our message today will drive you to have one of these conversations with God often just like you drove me spray for Jesus. We are reminded that you once said, this is a hard say in who can hear it well. I believe our message today is been a hard saying, but I believe that a disciple can hear it because a disciple welcomes your admonishment disciple welcomes your corrections in your rebuke. A disciple welcomes a call to repentance in his or her heart because disciples have hearts that want to be aligned with God's holiness and disciples rejoice when the Holy Spirit exercises his convicting ministry in our heart to get us so Lord help us respond today to this message like disciples, we ask you to be pleased with our response today. Lord forgive us for fraying at the edges so quickly so easily help us live in the fear of God were we repent for that, not weekly or monthly moment by moment, day by day and try to stay with the fear of God at the top wrong of our letter. Lord you love us yet we need to fear your righteousness and holiness and only a disciple gets that. But that balance is pure to accomplish it in our lives. We pray in Jesus name. What are God's people say amen