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Only One Thing Is Wrong

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
April 22, 2021 9:00 am

Only One Thing Is Wrong

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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April 22, 2021 9:00 am

Why would a loving God let so many bad things happen? Pastor J.D. flips that question on its head, challenging us to consider the possibility that the trials we face might actually proof of God’s love.

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Jeannie Greer, how does the love of God.

How does that square with the threats of judgment we see in places like Joan. This is how any experience of the painful consequences of our sin before it is too late. Is God in mercy and love.

Trying to wake you up.

He's not trying to pay you back for your sin is trying to bring you back from your gospel centered Bible teaching ministry Jeannie Greer, pastor of the Summit church in Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina. I'm your host Molly benefits okay so I think is a question nearly everyone wrestles with from time to time, even Bible believing Christians. The question is this why would a loving God.

Let so many bad things happen in the world today. Pastor Jenny is flipping that question on it. He's asking us to consider what if the hard things I'm facing are because God loves me. It's part of our study in the minor prophets titled come back to me and Pastor Jenny titled this message. Only one thing is wrong. Grab your Bible and can dive right in right after the book of Hosea we are in a series on the minor prophets which is a set of books that most people skip right over in the Bible.

These 12 books are short but the really important because they describe how life in Israel went so wrong and what they could do to bring about restoration after the gone wrong naturally good news for us because there some of us in our lives are gone wrong answer.

These books give us instructions about how it got that way and what we can do.

Now the rim condition. Joel's book is the second in the minor prophets. You may not realize this but Joel was actually one of the earliest recorded prophets. Most people miss that because Joel's book come so late in the Old Testament, but your Old Testament is not arranged strictly chronologically. It's arranged by different schemes. Joel lived and prophesied very early in Israel's history little bit after Solomon but before the exile. Joel was probably they say a student of Elijah and Elisha got know where they go in the biblical story. Joel's book was written during the time. A lot of things are going wrong in Israel. They just had a slew of really bad leaders in the supper doing national plaid which I will talk about with you here in a moment there was civil unrest or economic problems. Their stock market was down foreign trade was low national confidence was nonexistent.

Their FBI director had just gotten fired almost everybody believed the country was headed in the wrong direction and so Joel wrote rights to diagnose the problem and he tells them there's only one real problem they feel like a bunch of things wrong but Joel says actually. There's just one thing that is wrong back the book of Joel reminds me of the story I heard about the guy who went to the doctor and complained that everything on his body hurt. The doctor said well you show me what you're talking about. So the got pictures finger. He points to his head. He said her try here they take. His voice was shoulder. He says that her try here points to his legs is in her try here. The doctor said you idiot you have a dislocated factor. That's why her dinner where you touch now because is in a long bear some longing. One place missing many times in our lives. We thought a host of things are wrong when it's actually only one thing that is wrong. This book is really short. It's only three chapters and working to go through the entire book here in our time together. Joel opens the book in chapter 1 with a description about gigantic locust plague that is just occurred. It isn't verse four Joel one.

What the cutting locus is left, the swarming locust has eaten what the swarming locust is laptop and focuses eaten what the hobby locus as well. The destroying locust as he now most of you probably single locus before they look like, supercharged grasshoppers about 3 inches long heavily armed grasshoppers, but thankfully none of us, at least in the United States have ever seen the kind of plague that he is talking about here we have a record of a modern locust flag that occurred in the region of Palestine around 1950. Observers of that event said that in March of that year, swarms of locusts just appeared in the sky they came from the Northeast and clouds so thick that they obscure the son immediately. These locust begin to dig holes in the soil about 4 inches deep and about 1/2 inch wide depositing into each hole more than 100 eggs. These holes were literally everywhere across the landscape of Israel after a few weeks the young locust patch when they did they resembled large ants, had formed wings yet so they would just hop around the ground like fleas they would cover between four and 600 feet a day as they did devouring any and all vegetation in their path as they grew, they would develop the ability to jump what which point they are there range got higher and they would scour the trees and the vines in a few weeks later they would develop wings at which point they would swarm over the areas that they had already devoured to destroy any plant life lap within the sound of their swarms. They said is terrified.

Witnesses said that within a few days. There was literally nothing living plant wise left in the region as they get more desperate for sustenance. They swarm into houses eating food in closing fabric and would like middle school boys and a pizza party date. Leave nothing by literally everything is gone.

Joel uses this locust flag is open illustration of Israel sin as well as a warning about God's future judgment on their sin when we talked for a few minutes here about the illustration aspect like the locust flag the devastating power of sin Joel explains is total and it gradually destroys everything in its path progressively the laws of got God gave to us our life. His commandments and his role in our lives lead to our flourishing. We probably see this best illustrated in the creation account itself in Genesis 1. When God created the earth.

Genesis 12 says that God first created the world is a a a a kind of formless dark chaotic mass and then into that dark, chaotic, disorganized mass, God spoke his word and out of that dark chaotic masking life and beauty in order and design and all the other complexities of creation and the reason I got dinner. That way he could've created it all perfect. In the beginning but he did it that way because he was trying to illustrate for us what God's word coming into our lives would be like in the dark, chaotic, disorganized chaos of our lives. God's word speaks not of it comes light in life in order and beauty sin. By contrast, unravels creation and plunges our lives back into darkness. And God's judgments throughout Scripture often illustrate that you might see God's judgments in Scripture is just zapping down lightning from heaven, but that's not usually what they are usually his judgments are illustrations of the natural consequences of sin on the best illustrations of this is what happened in the 10 plagues here a few years ago what the temp wags what we saw been 10 plagues were not like God's ultimate book of practical jokes against Egypt, people think is that God was just a inflicting these these clever, or he was just trying to demonstrate to Pharaoh who was really in charge. You never explain to you that that's all that I will try to show he could had Moses walk in and like you turn some of Pharaoh soldiers in the grasshoppers and match a few of them are, but the Darth Vader chokehold on Pharaoh or levitate in front of the older single to convince Pharaoh that Moses had God's power, but that's not all guy was trying to illustrate, he was trying to demonstrate the Pharaoh went to Egypt what their rebellion was doing to themselves and to the creation and so what you see in the plagues is a systematic, unraveling of creation, the now turns a blind was because of the problems come out for altering the mathematical and the disease disease rings the boils board when the death and darkness and is just illustrating for you.

Creation literally unlock unraveling to see that same kind of picture again here with the locus creation our lives, unravel, and they going to chaos and their progressively destroyed as we pursue this type of self centered, self focused lifestyle. You might think the pornography you might think the flirtation you might think doing things your weight is not really causing that much harm that it is numbing your soul to the devastating effects that sin is going to happen. You cannot for this locust plague is an illustration up the consuming destructive power of sin is not just an illustration though. It's also for Joel, a warning about a coming judgment one that Joel says is good be much more terrible than the locus.

Joel says that unless Israel wakes up, God is going to send in the armies of Babylon in the Israel life a horde of locusts you notice it for the next two chapters describe this coming invasion about a lot of Israel didn't change their ways to describe it in terms of the locus for watchdog are shaded for nations come up against my land.

That's prophecy about Babylon powerful beyond number like locus.

It's either light lime seat like locus. It is laid waste my behind and splintered my fig tree is stripped off their bark is thrown it down there branches are made white. The fields are destroyed before them. The ground mourns the land is like the Garden of Eden before they get there in the behind.

It was a desperate wilderness that's just like the locust flag nothing escapes them. As with the rumbling of chariots that the sound of the swarms they leap on the tops of mountains like the crackling of a flame devouring the stubble.

What you're seeing there is God saying your sin, because this kind of instruction in your life possible. Locus is an illustration of that and if you don't wake up to be in worse when it comes the armies of Babylon. What you're seeing there.

Watch this little nerd moment what you're seeing there is an illustration of what theologians call the passive and the active dimensions of the wrath of God and you're seeing how they work together. Here's your definition, the passive wrath of God is God simply allowing us to suffer the natural consequences of our sin is okay. That's what you chose.

I'll let you experience that the active wrath of God is the lightning bolt of judgment from heaven, and what you see in stories like this one.

Listen, is that the passive and active wrath of God work together in the active wrath of God is usually Justin affirmation of or an extension of his passive wrath is God simply affirming to you the choice that you've already made for yourself. If you a few quick examples on this Genesis chapter 3 Adam and Eve in the garden sin and God cast them out of his presence, but what Adam and Eve. It already done that hid themselves from God's presence. So God's active wrath testing them out of his presence was simply an affirmation of ability chosen for themselves or to go back to the plagues for a minute. Scripture says that God's judgment on Pharaoh was to harden his heart so that he would not believe. But that was only after it says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

Several times Caesar what God was doing was, he was affirming and solidifying the choice that Pharaoh would already made it back the way that Jesus describes hell itself.

Hell, which is of course the ultimate display of the wrath of God shows held to be just an extension of his passive wrath, and sometimes we can miss that because the Jewish metaphors that Jesus uses to describe help to be unfamiliar to no messing things are only metaphors but you can see in them the metaphor of what he trying to describe. For example, he says that hell will be a place where the worm does not die. The maggot does not die. That is an image of a conscience.

That's continually being eaten away by guilt and regret and shame is a place of outer darkness. Darkness to Jewish people represented the total absence of God in all of his goodness. It is a place of the gnashing of teeth. That was a Jewish image that meant self-condemnation and self-loathing. It is a place of fire, fire represented the agony of God's displeasure. Hell is in many ways the full fruition of us telling God get out of our life and God said okay if like CS Lewis used to say is like in the end will either say to God die will be done or got a look at us and say, thy will be done. Nobody has help me get my mind around the wrath of God as much a set CS Lewis one of things he explains that sin is like a cancer is what hinders it never stopped growing. It just keeps multiplying growing as long as you're alive until you kill it, it will just keep growing until it consumes the host sin is like that.

He said, so there's a lot of things in your soul that probably would need to worry about. If you only were around for 70 or 80 years, but Scripture says God created you to live forever either in heaven or hell.

This is so, what is it like when selfishness, jealousy, unchecked lost materialism cowardice.

One of those things look like when they've grown unchecked in you for a million years.

He said hell is exactly the technical term for what that state would be. In other words, God doesn't destroy. Sin destroys and when you understand that lesson, you'll start to see earthly experiences of God's judgment like this plague of locusts, will start to see them as expressions of God's mercy because God is trying to let you see were sin is taking you before it is too late for you to return. You see a lot of Bible readers wonder how the threats of judgment we encounter in the minor prophets could be consistent with God's love.

Write me into you when we start with Hosea, which is the most mind blowing illustration of the love of God how God comes after his people like a husband comes back to a cheating wife who scorns his love again and again and again and he says come never given up on you. People see that image of love and likewise I love them and it in the matter private and we fast-forward to Jesus all meek and mild and comes to Atlanta. Looking pensively often is something I want How does the love of God. We see Hosea. How does that square with the threats of judgment we see in places like Joe. This is how I'm explaining to you how any experience of the painful consequences of our sin before it is too late.

Is God in mercy and love.

Trying to wake you up. He's not trying to pay you back for your sin. He's trying to bring you back from your sin was gripping illustrations I've ever heard of this was from a Christian leader I knew of who got caught up exposed in this Ashley Madison scandal couple years ago member that come Ashley Madison was his website that facilitated adulterous relationships and when that you got email things broken and it came out all these people that these identities were longer hidden on this is one is a national leader of a national ministry was publicly humiliated and his board asked him to step down, removed him from ministry and six months later. Read this article and what he said the articles he said you know when this thing happened. He said ends.

I was exposed he said about the judgment of God against me was unusually harsh. He said because he says here's a thing I never was one night. I just signed up and he said it was it was a I've never acted on it. Nobody recontacted me I never contacted anybody never met anybody assert whenever I'm followed there with the adultery was just a moment of weakness where I was gonna live in out this fantasy and he said that was it and then now I get publicly exposed, humiliated, lose my ministry.

He said, so I thought of it as an unusually harsh demonstration of God's judgment. He said now I am here. Five. Six months later not seen as one of the greatest acts of God's mercy is ever given to me. He said because here's what would happen.

Had it not gone down that way. He said I would've done what I always tend to do and that is I wouldn't really have seriously dealt with this and how to set a quick prayer of repentance and just swept it under the rug.

You see what God does in his mercy as he allows you to taste some of these consequences of sin and it painfully feels like a locust God in mercy is trying to wake you up.

Let me ask you is something like that happening in your life right now. But, for example, many are trying to save money. But God just keep letting stop break down and I can't God were trying now were trying to get back on our feet, you let R a car break down your air-conditioner go out, come on little help here earlier, you're trying to be better in your marriage with new issues of conflict keep cropping up.

You can try new strategies to be happy that work for a while, but there like pseudo-happiness. No make you happy. Hey cannot say something if you had to spend money every single day to keep yourself happy you're not really happy you're constantly having to find an escape from real life. In order to be happy. What about the TV show or porn or shopping or a hobby or drinking or something like that.

That means that you are rotten on the inside, and God's trying to wake you up and easily keep frustrating their strategies. No new strategies gonna fix you and that's because the source of your problem hidden horizontal the source of your problem is vertical.

There's not a lot of things wrong.

There's one thing that's wrong is good news, bad news. God has more locust than you got solutions so you need to quit pursuing the solutions and deal with the one thing that's actually wrong. In order for God to bring you to your senses has to bring you to the end of yourself missing for some of you. He's been calling out to you for years, but you haven't yet been ready to listen because you haven't come to the end of yourself. Yet we see in order for God to make you new he's gonna rip out the old meat is gonna tear you down, so do not be surprised when your world is crumbling, then CS Lewis if you let me quote him or Donna's book mere Christianity is that many people come to God as if I think of it like at their house is broken down and they know they need help fixing our house.

They have a leaky roof and mildew in the walls and the paint falling off the wall and so they come to God I got. My house is a mess. Help me pieces at first what God does in their hearts make sense to them because God's fixing the roof not paying the walls in the mildew out, he says, but then all of a sudden God invariably starts to do things that don't make sense to them will start to rip out all will start to rip up the carpet will start you like. I wonder what what are you doing nice is because it hurts. It hurts abominably and you suddenly look at God and say what you doing I came to you for helping your given events. This is that they was doing declinations that he's really quite a different house from the one you thought of erecting a new wing here is when an extra floor there run-up towers making courtyards you thought you were be made into a decent little cottage. He's built a palace, one intends he intends to come in and live in himself. You might be happy with little changes to that little cottage of your life. God I got a little cottage I wanted, I will live in a palace. And that's what I want to turn you into you might be just fine with that shack carpet in the living room and Jesus and I live in, and that we are about that shack carpet dogs I got.

I don't like Jaguar but will get rid of that shy garb.

Well, he certainly only sends you he has so much more for you than you ever had for yourself in order to give you that he's got the symbol locust into your life, even it out and wake you up to where is this happening for you. Is there something in your life that maybe you been asking God to take away humans and God fix this repair. This, but instead you need to realize that God is trying through it to send a warning to you to wake you up. That's what God was doing with Israel. With this locust way. So what is it that God says to them what is you want from in chapter 2 verse 12. Yet even now declares the Lord returned to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and mourning in wind that means tear tear your hearts and not your garments. The thing to notice here is that what he's describing is a repentance that grows out of love. That's the key thing is not talking about changing your baby. He's talking about a repentance to grows out of a broken heart to the words that all your heart, fasting, weeping morning tearing your hearts.

He's describing repentance that comes from a broken heart, not just the bent will, but a heart that is heartbroken over what it sin did to God because that's the only kind of repentance that actually works and I think that knowledge on Scripture, and whatever my own life but feel something about me. What bothers me about my sin is that it caused some painful circumstance or cause me to be embarrassed or I feel guilty or ashamed like I went to great Christian.

What a very good pastor and then I make a change. When that's the source of my repentance. My resolutions to change are always really short-lived. They don't go that deep discarded you for like smacking a balloon without you knowing when to keep a balloon afloat of its fill with your breath is to continually smack my diss of the relationship. A lot of us have with God is a God has to smack us from time to time to get us to act right and so you come to church and that's what I do is I smack you about something and you change your behavior but never last.

You got a hover for little bit.

Richie sat back down.

Got got somebody else smack you again not told you that that's not a fun way to God and like you like there's another way to keep a balloon afloat is better for everybody and that is filled with helium and floats on its own, not smacking required what God wants to do is you want to change of heart that leads to a heartbroken repentance in those areas where my heart has been broken over how my sin. God how my sin drove out his presence from my life and those of the areas of that really changed me through a repentance thing was out of her hand. Since you can't repeat effectively. It's most likely because you don't really love God a hard reality today on Senate life with pastor JD Greer the message in our new teaching series come come back to me to listen again or to catch up on previous messages got a JD Jenny we often hear you say that we cannot earn God's favor and there's nothing we can do to become more accepted in God's sight they say are right way to work for God. Emollient assessment question that could take literally hours to answer and I covered a book on this whole gospel.

It was brought on the wrong ways to work for God. The right way to work for God, but first you should be sure of this, God doesn't need you and your work does not make him love you anymore then he does and anything you failed to do this make him love you less.

The gospel is a gift. It's a free gift that he offers, but the flipside of that is this even though God doesn't need us. And even though our work for him doesn't make him love us more as recipients of his grace, were compelled to get back to him as an act of worship. We want to love others a way that he's loved us our greatest joy we find comes when we are giving away ourselves in service to him, not because were working overtime to impress them, not because you live up to a certain standard to earn his love, but because we have such gratitude and devotion and joy in the one who saved us, that we just want other people to know them and want to do things at delight his heart over the little devotional but what is the gospel 20 day devotional and I want you to see in that that there's a difference in working to impress God and working because you love God in response to his love for you.

It's a difference in weariness and religion in joy and freedom of the Christian life. I would love to give you a copy of that if you go to JD and find out you can become a gospel partner with us and access. A lot of these resources including this 20 day devotional. What is the gospel that will take you more into the wonder of the free gift that God gave you what it means to be liberated from religion and freedom of son or daughter of God, showing 20 day devotional from pastor JD for small additional donation of $10.

Scripture know you work through today becoming a partner with your one time 335835 working online monthly benefits join us Friday. Joan Senate life

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