Shock, Awe, Fear, and Tears

tears-down-face

The title of this post, displays mixed but somewhat related behaviors or actions of my soul. It all started yesterday (Thursday, Jan. 23), I was attending the college ministry at Travis Avenue Baptist Church. It was the 1st sermon of the semester by Matt Geddie, it was a little different than his usual sermons, which tend to be more expository and exegetical. It was more topical but also a painting of the vision he has for our community along with some warnings of what we should not be or become as believers.

His message talked about our focus on Missional living.

Jesus was on mission when He came.

He commissioned us to GO out on Mission. (Matt. 28:18-20).

But were we living out this mission as a group?

One of the many things Matt asked us to chew on was our presentation of the gospel to people and our understanding of biblical evangelism. Evangelism is more than just sharing your faith, but it carries with it the responsibility and vulnerability that entails discipleship. Therefore when we want to teach someone or disciple into them the truths from God’s word, we cannot compromise on sharing the rougher passages of Scripture.

Why?

Because that isn’t the full counsel of God, when we just say,

“Jesus loves you.”

“You must be born again.”

“Jesus Saves”

We have to be straightforward, just as our Savior was straightforward. Jesus spoke on Hell far more than He spoke on heaven.

Why is it such a difficult thing to share?

Well . . .

  • the objections seem so gargantuan
  • The message is tough to share when it comes to God’s wrath in our humanistic culture.
  • Because objections like, “How could a loving God send people to hell?”
  • And maybe because our own hearts are hard and not soft to the fact that it is a real place.

So that last bullet point, that was me.

I realized last night, “Man, I keep getting in this rut of doctrine being so right and point on, I really need to be reminded of it’s reality.”

Tears began to well up in my eyes as I thought of the many people I personally know that could spend eternity there:

  • Friends at work
  • Family around the US
  • Friends from High School
  • The people I drive by in traffic everyday
  • People at Church depending on their good works.

I began to feel overwhelmed.

And I think God was really preparing my heart for this through my studies at SWBTS.

I am currently reading Dante’s Inferno for my Senior thesis, and although I do not agree with Dante theologically, it is nonetheless a very vivid and imaginary image of suffering in hell. I began to think, “Hell must be much worse than even Dante could attempt to portray it. You are absent from an intimate relationship with God.

I couldn’t imagine not knowing Jesus because my life has been radically changed since I met Him.

I was very moved to decide to read Erasing Hell by Francis Chan. Because I know his approach to this subject he took with great caution, reverence, and with tears. God is working in me to take Him seriously when He speaks of His judgement. To not back down in sharing it but how I share it is rather of utmost importance. For there are a variety of ways I could share it:

  • Shouting and screaming the judgement of God is coming, with little compassion and with a sign in my hands that says, “The End is near, Repent and Believe”
  • With a notional knowledge of assenting to the doctrine and apathetically sharing it as if there wasn’t any weight to it. like: “Oh yeah sure Hell is a place, some go some don’t, I’m not and that’s what matters.” Yeah that is an awful perspective.
  • or… I could share it with tears in my eyes. With true love for God and for my neighbor. That I truly would be utterly broken over their state and at the same time reminded of my previous state, that if it wasn’t for the kindness and mercy of my Savior Jesus Christ, I WOULD BE GOING WITH THEM. But the Way, the ONLY WAY, has been revealed to me, by the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, so I plead with real tears, I cry and look like a fool for the sake of Christ.

I pray that I will be so rattled to the core that Hell is real.

I pray that you will be shaken up at the thought of spending an ETERNITY there!

FOREVER……..

and ever and ever..

Just the thought, gives me chills. As I type this I am shaking, and feeling queezy. Because I can’t handle the heavy punishment of the wrath of God. It is so vengeful and so just. So Righteous and Absolutely True. I

It isn’t unjust

It isn’t wrong

It isn’t done joyfully.

How can as God who claims to be Just and Good not deal with sin?! It must be punished. The opposite of love isn’t hatred. It is fear! God doesn’t hatefully damn someone to hell. He does it out of justice because we have broken His Law. We have rebelled against His name and His Truth.

You don’t have to fear any longer of going to Hell.

why?

Because of the power of God in Jesus!

Jesus suffered the wrath of God on the cross! Crucified hand and foot, beaten with the cat-of-nine-tails, that had glass and rock and metal in it. It tore his flesh to pieces! He didn’t even resemble a HUMAN! He looked disgusting, Blood drained from his body. I bet I wouldn’t even be able to look. OR maybe be so shocked that I couldn’t look away. I don’t know.

But all I know is that Jesus went there for you. He went there for me. That I couldn’t do ANYTHING to appease the wrath of God. It takes faith in Christ to be saved, the Bible says that justice was dealt at the cross. Justice and Mercy meet at the cross. God’s justice for sin poured out on His Son, instead of us. And in that act of Justice was mercy, a withholding of God’s wrath on us.

But only if you and I transfer out object of trust. Jesus needs to be the One, the only One in whom we trust. For without His sacrifice and His blood being applied to our account, we would be in debt to the God of Justice and suffer the punishment due for our crimes against the Creator.

In tears I am broken for the lost who will spend an eternity in hell, and, in tears, I am in wonder of the love of God displayed in Christ Jesus for us on the cross to die in our place.

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