In the world but not of it

March 23, 2010

Woken up…

Filed under: Uncategorized — In the world but not of it @ 5:00 am

It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31

Jonathan Edwards, the well-known preacher in New England, gave his most famous sermon on July 8, 1741 in a church in Enfield, Connecticut.

Although it was during the time known as The Great Awakening, Enfield was a place that had resisted being woken up. This sermon, which is now so famous, was titled “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”…

The title alone stirs the hair on the back of your neck. You wonder how a group of people so turned off to the truth even came out to hear him but they did. The title of the sermon was probably not in the church bulletin that week otherwise who would show up?

In his lecturer style, Edwards systematically walked through a series of logical arguments concluding that if the blood of Christ that had washed them from their sin was to be rejected then God, in turn, would reject them and the results would not be good. In fact, one quote from his sermon was “The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood”…I’d say that made the point.

We know from history that this sermon had a powerful result. Fear can be a great motivator but when it is presented within the context of love then both become a great decision maker.

Such a message today would be received differently. Our society, sadly including many Christians, is more about tolerance and less about the realities of eternity. We all pray for boldness to share the gospel in our work, with our families and friends and we all look for clever ways to make the point, to drive home the argument, to present the case. But in reality the message is black and white.

Each time I am faced with the opportunity to share the Truth, Paul’s words ring in my ears…”my message and my teaching were very plain. I did not use wise and persuasive speeches, but the Holy Spirit was powerful among you. I did this so that you might trust the power of God rather than human wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)…

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