20 September 2018

IMPORTANT THEOLOGICAL TRUTH PART 2






For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Rom 5:10 

You stand in a courtroom filled with an angry mob of people who are swearing, throwing things and spitting at you. A door opens and the room goes silent as the jury enters the room after spending some time looking over the evidence. The judge says “Has the jury reached a verdict?” the jury says “Yes, we have your honor. We the jury find you, Mike Andrews, guilty of the crimes committed against the traditions of our postmodern world.”  The judge looks down at you in disgust and says, “Michael Andrews, I hereby sentence you to death for the crimes that you have committed against our traditions and our way of life”. You fall to the ground as tears stream down your face, devastated by the events that just took place as they take you back to your cell for the very last time. You begin pacing back and forth in your tiny cell because you know in a few hours you will breathe your last breath. The time arises and you are taken out to meet your executioners. The guards tie you to a pole so that you cannot flee or move out of the way of the bullets that are about leave the barrels of the guard’s guns.  The lead guard in charge asks if you have any last requests. You try to speak but no words come out because you are so terrified about what is going to happen. The guard says “As you wish.” and gives the command for the guards to take aim at your tied, helpless, defenceless body. You are now looking down the barrel of the gun which is about to take your very last breath.  But something extraordinary happens as a voice from the crowd yells out with a big voice “STOP! DO NOT HARM THIS MAN!”  As the people turn to see the person making all this commotion, a man steps out from the crowd and walks toward the men with the rifles and says, “I am going to take this man’s place, because I want to”.

What would be your first response be? You would probably think that this guy is one crazy lunatic who just escaped from the rubber room. So then, what would be your second response to this unprecedented act? Maybe dumbfounded as to why someone would ever put themselves in harm’s way for you or me. This is precisely what Jesus did on the cross at Calvary; He became our ultimate substitute which is defined as “One person put in the place of another to answer the same purpose”. This is what Paul is saying in Rom 5:10 when he uses the phrase “through the death of His Son”. I can remember a friend of mine speaking to a group of men at the Houlton Jail in Maine. This is what he said which really hit home to me:“There is no way I would allow my son to take the place of punishment or death for your crimes, or worse yet, the sins that you have committed against a holy God”. When I listened that night to my friend, I was absolutely stunned by his blunt statement to these inmates. Why? Because he was absolutely right in saying what he did. I myself feel the same way. I would never allow my children to be given nor give my children to anyone for the purpose of taking the place of another so that they could live or go away free.

Isn’t this exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross? Jesus became our substitute, because without His sacrifice, we would die in our sins. Even though this word cannot be found in the New Testament, this is yet another very important word that goes overlooked by so many Christians. It explains what Jesus meant when He said “for God so loved the world, He gave His only Begotten Son” or when Paul said “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE")”Gal 3:13. Albert Barnes said “It was by such substituted sorrows that we are saved; and He consented to die the most shameful and painful death, as if He were the vilest criminal, in order that the most guilty and vile of the human race might be saved”.

So what would be your third response be? Would you respond with thanksgiving, praise, worship, love, and willingness to follow Him because He has allowed you to take that next breath?  You probably think to yourself that this is the same as propitiation, the word I examined earlier. The answer would be NO! Why? Propitiation means to show favour, to show mercy. God still requires justice; God still requires a sacrifice; God still demands payment for sin. We are unable to complete that task because “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” Psalm 51:5. We are all blemished, criminals, broken cisterns. The Bible says, “our righteousness is like filthy rages”, “all have sinned and come short”, “there is none righteous no not one”. We are accursed as Paul puts it which means devoted to destruction, to separate, shut off, detestable, separated from the faithful; cast out of the church; excommunicated. That is why when we read the Book of Romans we see His grace and love for fallen man For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.”

God required a sacrifice WITHOUT blemish or spot, and according to the Bible passage we have seen, we cannot fulfill those requirements. Jesus in all His glory said to the Father “I will go down and become like man and humble myself on the cross for them”. Jesus came to the courtroom and said to the judge “Put his sentence on Me because I love him”. Jesus became sin for us! Do we really understand what that really means? Jesus knew no sin, Jesus didn’t know how to sin, and Jesus was incapable of sin. The Bible says of Him "....WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:22-24). We are healed through His death. We are healed and allowed to breathe another day because He came to be our substitute. The unblemished Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world came to save sinners like you and me! As Paul says at the end of verse 10 “having been reconciled (to call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated), we shall be saved by His life”. Our substitute (Jesus) was, and is, the only way to save our lives from that the wrath that is yet to come. For without Him I have already breathed my last breath.

16 September 2018

STANDING IN AWE OF GOD



Hab 3:3-16

What comes to mind when you think of the sovereignty of God as you go through trials, sufferings and this present world system/climate? That everything was planned, purposed and appointed before the foundations of the earth for our good and His glory. That I’m completely vulnerable and not in control of my life or those around me. That there is no trial and hurt that God wastes where He does not get the glory over my life. That there are no such things as chance, luck, or accidents, with God. That I stand in awe of Him as I go through trials and sufferings for the purpose to refine Michael, for eternal glory with Christ our Lord.


J C Ryle said “Just as the telescope and microscope show us that there is order and design in all the works of God’s hand, from the greatest planet down to the least insect, so does the Bible teach us that there is wisdom, order and design in all the events of our daily life. There is no such thing as “chance”, “luck”, or “accident” in the Christian journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God: and all things are working together for the believers good.”
  
For what purpose? “For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:16-18

When you examine your life in the light of this truth you are able to rise and continue in worship of His greatness. When we look at our life through the biblical lens, it changes the perspective of our present circumstances and nothing we go through in this life compares to the eternal weight of glory we will receive on that day of reckoning. Why? God is good and He is sovereign over our lives and the universe and everything, and I mean everythingEverything moves at His command and everything functions according to His perfect will. God is one who is sovereign and we need to rest here. 

I know I do, but do you? 

Sovereign” by definition is…. the right of God to do as He pleases. This implies that there is no external force or power to tell Him otherwise what He can and cannot do. This means that God is sovereign over the affairs of men “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Gen 50:20. This means that God is sovereign over all creation “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matt 10:29-31. This means that God is sovereign over the security of salvation for the believer. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37
Knowing more about God and His character helps us to face whatever comes our way as individuals, as a family, as a church and even as a nation.

To suppress this truth and to deny its authoritative power would be absolutely insanity on our part. God is sovereign over His elect children, just as He is sovereign over the lost rebellious child who suppresses this reality. God is sovereign which makes Him stronger than all the gods of the universe. God is sovereign which makes Him stronger than all the nations of the world. God uses everything for His greatness and purposes to display His mighty power to creation that He has everything under control.

We have seen this truth throughout the scriptures. In the Old Testament we see God restoring and dealing with people through His judgements from the time of Adam to the Nations that fell to their captors….to the rebuilding of the Wall recorded in Nehemiah. In the New Testament we also see God doing the same thing; the only difference is that God poured His judgment upon the only begotten Son of Man, to restore sinful people back into fellowship with a holy God. 

In Habakkuk prayer he is reminded that God retraces the march of His people from Sinai to the Promise Land at the beginning of (v3)Teman….probably represents the entire regions south of the Dead SeaParan…. Lies west of Edom and is between the Sinai Peninsula and Kadesh Barnea. Habakkuk is referring to the exodus event when God delivered His people from Egypt and lead them in Sinai. Another importance to this prayer of Habakkuk is that God comes from unexpected direction to deliver His people. The God, who acted on behalf of the children of Israel in Exodus, would do the same here for the nation of Judah. Two amazing things will happen during this time….glory and terror (v3-16)The Lord will come in great splendor and glory and in great judgment, which will be seen everywhere in Heaven and on earth. The splendor of God’s greatness overcomes darkness and evil and it comes with cosmic effects, not just earthly effects.

This reminds us of the time in Joshua 10:12-14Where the Lord made the sun and moon stand still for an entire day so Joshua and the Israelites could defeat the Lord’s enemies. Joshua 10:13 says “And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies….” Habakkuk knows that God is faithful to deliver His people and defeat His enemies. Same is true for the children of God today as He has done thought-out history. The greatness of God’s will be seen and heard though the universe. We know this from what we read in Habakkuk’s response to a holy God that causes Habakkuk’s heart to fear.

God’s greatness and sovereignty is on display in His entire splendor (v3-v4) 

“His glory covered the Heavens, and the earth is full of His praise.” (v3) When God came to deliver the Israelites out Egypt, He didn’t leave them as orphans, but went with them as a physical manifestation. We read this in Exodus 40:34-38 “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.”

“His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there He veiled His power.” (v4) God is so glorious; His power is hidden from the amazing rays of His light that emulate from His person. 1 Tim 6:16 says “who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”

For you and me what does this mean? Because God is unapproachable, transcendent and we cannot see God. But we have the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit who guides us in all of life and godliness so that one day we will stand before Him and all His glory. Jesus said these words to comfort the weary disciples "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." John 14:15-21

God’s greatness and sovereignty stands with power and victory. (v5-15)

“He stood”  (v6a) gives His presence and foundation in victory over all enemies. God is so powerful and mighty we see that it shakes the earth like a huge earthquake, everything and everyone will be shaken. (v6-v7) God’s judgment is swift and server to the enemies of God. 

“He looked and shook (startled) the nations”  (v6b) With pure and perfect anger His power caused the nations to tremble with fear. We know this is true by what we read in the encounter with Rehab “Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan,….. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” Josh 2:8-11

This is a great reminder of God’s almighty power as He stands before His people who He calls out of darkness. 
He makes the nations crumble and scatter.
He makes the decisions for the earth.
He is the final Judge and Jury.
He is the one who knows the heart of man.
He is the one who has everything under His perfect control.
He is one whom we must answer to saved and unsaved people.
He is the one whom the Atheist tries to suppress under their prideful rebellion.
He is the all-powerful and might God who is sovereign over everything.

Daniel 4:35 says “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” There is no greater comfort than to know that we are on the winning team and there is nothing can stop or prevent that from happening in the end…not even if youAs the Lord marches ahead of His people out of Egypt and opened the Rea Sea, and opened the Jordan so the Israelites could go into Canaan. The same God will go before Habakkuk! He understands that God will do the same for him and his people. We have to rest here as well…… that God will go ahead of us, though it might be bumpy and rocky at times, but you will get through it none the less, under His sovereign care and greatness. Warren Wiersbe said “He is the God of glory who reveals His glory in creation and in History. He is the living God who makes the dead idols of the nations ridiculous. He is the God of power who can command land and sea, heaven and Earth, and therefore, He is the God of victory who leads His people to triumph.”

For us our victory is found in only place the Cross of Jesus Christ. Death has been swallowed up in victory of the cross…1 Cor 15:55-57. All our praise belongs to Christ and the gospel confession and His sovereign power to keep us and deliver us form this world.
  
There are no limits to God’s rule. This is part of what it means to be God. He is sovereign over the whole world, and everything that happens in it. He is never helpless, never frustrated, never at a loss. And in Christ, God’s awesome, sovereign providence is the place  where…we feel most reverent, most secure, most free. This is what makes Habakkuk’s lip quiver like a child who just got in trouble with his parents. “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (v16) Habakkuk’s response is the appropriate response to give towards a holy God who is sovereign over everything…not just some things, but over everything.

R C Sproul said in his book “The Holiness Of God” …”The response of the prophet was like that of a small child who is scolded by a parent. His heart palpitated and his lips began to quiver. We have all seen small children on the verge of tears. They try to hold back the flood, but the tremor in the lower lip gives them away.”

Think about for a moment! A grown man felt an internal shame and rottenness that entered his bones. The physical bone structure of this man quivered under the weight of God’s greatness and sovereignty over his complaint about a nation that was living disobedient to a holy God.

Where else have we seen this in scripture?

In the Prophet Isaiah“And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for." Isaiah 6:3-7

The Apostle Peter“And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." Luke 5:4-8

The demons“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder!” James 2:19

The true believer“Therefore, my beloved, ….work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Phil 2:12-13

For the true believers who tremble at the thought of God’s greatness, majesty and sovereignty causes their heart to rejoice and fall in fear to knowing that He is in control of your life and my lifeAnd that scares us to death because you truly know that you do not have control over your life. He does, and that should cause your heart to fear and find great rest at the same time.

Habakkuk understands the history of God’s dealing with His people. And this causes Habakkuk to have a great fear that could not be contained or hidden evened if he wanted it to. He was a real person just like us and so the reality of the coming Babylonian judgment caused him to tremble. There are times in our life when we tremble, when we are so weak, we feel we might faint from fear or despair. And yet Habakkuk was to experience what Paul later described declaring "When I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor 12:9

This is all possible because we rest in the greatness of God who is sovereign over the circumstances of my life. Not only our circumstances, but that God never wastes a hurt, a trial, a suffering! He allows and leads me through by His sovereign grace to find rest in Him, no matter what happened behind me, presently, or what lies before meGod is doing a great work refining us for that eternal weight of glory that we will receive on that day, when we stand before Him in all His glory. God is so good and sovereign…..the bible reminds that He is one who will bring us into His glorious holy presence one day…not you or by your efforts to please Him! As the Apostle Paul said “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6

How is that possible? He is sovereign and I am not!

12 September 2018

IMPORTANT THEOLOGICAL TRUTH PART 1



“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world”
 1 John 2:2

    I read an e-mail recently that I had received and it really made me think about how easily we overlook the importance of certain words used in scripture. For example: propitiation, election, substitution, imputation, reconciliation, sovereignty, grace, and baptism, just to name a few. I would like to take the time to address each subject with humility and grace with the help of our Lord because it’s only through Him that we find wisdom. So let’s go to the scriptures to find the answer to these very important words.
    
Propitiation, do we really understand the implication and meaning of this word?  What is John saying? He is saying that without Jesus we are one breath away from facing the wrath of a holy God; all because of this word propitiation. The word is translated from the Greek (hilasterion), meaning "that which expiates or propitiates" or "the gift which procures propitiation". “To make peace; to appease one offended and render him favourable”, the Vines dictionary defines it in this way: “It is God who is "propitiated" by the vindication of His holy and righteous character, whereby, through the provision He has made in the vicarious and expiatory sacrifice of Christ, He has so dealt with sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt and the remission of his sins.  God must punish sin because He hates sin. Someone has to die! In the Old Testament, the high priest had to bring a sacrifice to the Tabernacle for the atonement of sins for the nation of Israel once a year. This required the high priest (a Levite) to go into the holy of holies and perform this ritual before God, many examples can be found in the book of Leviticus (e.g. Lev 16:14-19). We have to understand that in the Old Testament times this was only a temporary fix until the Messiah came, because Jesus Christ is “the propitiation” as John says. He is the propitiation “for the whole world”

The sacrifice that Aaron made was only for the Israelites, no one else. Jesus is the only sacrifice the Father will accept on our behalf.  Remember what it says in Isaiah, that it “pleased Yahweh to crush Him” (Isa 53). Jesus is my and He is your propitiation. Not one created thing or person was or is good enough to appease the wrath of God when it comes to the issue of sin. The New Testament says that Jesus was sacrificed according to the will of God, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU DID NOT DESIRE, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME. IN BURNT OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES FOR SIN YOU HAD NO PLEASURE. THEN I SAID, 'BEHOLD, I HAVE COME IN THE VOLUME OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.” (Heb 10:4-7). Jesus Christ came to this earth to perform one task and that was to render me favourable before a holy and just God.  
   
Think about it for a moment. The Bible declares that we are wicked; condemned; lost; lovers of self; haters of God; depraved; insolent; accursed. The Bible says we deserve death; judgement; eternal punishment; the wrath of God (Rom 3; Jer 17:9; Rev 16:1).  This is why this word “propitiation” is so important not only for believers, but also for those who have not heard the good news. You don’t have to face the wrath of God if you have repented and put your faith in Jesus for what He has done on the cross for you! We know this because the Hebrew writer goes on to say “we have been sanctified (set apart) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, (Heb 10:9-12). Jesus has completed, fulfilled and borne the wrath for all humanity by becoming our propitiation.
   
Again, do we really understand what John is proclaiming in that small epistle? As I read verse 2 of 1 John, I see my shame, my death, and my sin. But most important of all, I see my new life placed upon the Son of God. Put in simpler terms, Jesus said ‘I will die for Mike Andrews even though he is a hater of God and a sinner who deserves death, but I, God of all creation, will have favour and mercy on him. But not only him; I will be the propitiation for every wicked person, every ethnic background, every false cult, every atheist, our Prime Minister of Canada, the President of the U.S.A., my family, your family; I will be the whole world’s propitiation because I love them and I came to drink their cup of wrath. I do this because I know my Father requires Me to do that for them.’  John the Baptist said "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). Jesus takes away our sin punishment. Jesus is the only way to be reconciled back to the Father, and he has accomplished this by being the propitiation for the whole world for in whom He died for.
   Now doesn’t that word begin to mean something to you when you look at it a little deeper?  But remember, there are two sides to every coin. On the other side of the coin there is still the wrath of God abiding on those who surpress the truth and those who deny Jesus is Lord. What I mean is, yes Jesus is the propitiation for the whole world but He is not the Savior to everyone. There are, and will be many people who will still face the wrath of an almighty God because they don’t believe in who Jesus was and why He came. 

We read John 3:16 and say “what a loving Savior we have”, but we forget to read the verses that follow, because they say “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned (destined, damned), already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”  (John 3:17-19).
   
Does that concern you? Because it concerns me deeply that many: seniors, adults, young children are still going to fall under the wrath of God. Paul Washer says they will be like “a wax figurine in front of a blast furnace”. All because they chose not to believe, or worse yet, they do not want Jesus to be their substitution because they don’t care about their own sin. This should make our hearts grieve for the lost and have even more of a desire to share the good news of the Gospel; because many will follow the broad road of destruction; many will fall into a ditch. Many will say “did we not... in your name..?”, and He (Jesus) will say “depart from Me, you workers of iniquity”.  ‘Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe,’ as the hymn writer put it. Jesus has become the substitute for you and me. 

So next time you read scripture and you come across the word propitiation, stop and ponder what this word means,  what Jesus Christ  has done for you, and what He can still do for those who don’t care about that word or the Savior. Maybe, just maybe, this will motivate you to share your faith with someone else today, because He has unselfishly faced the fire and wrath on your behalf to satisfy the debt you owe.    

09 September 2018

IN WRATH REMEMBER MERCY



Hab 3:2

“There is a story about a group of pioneers who were traveling in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and the progress was very slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them. One man only seemed to have understanding as to what could be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. Then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved back upon it. As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, "Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?" The leader replied, "My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been!"

Isn’t this a picture of the believer, who is safe in Christ?

On Jesus, the full force of God’s anger was placed on the Son for our wickedness and sinfilled behavior. Almighty vengeance fell on Him, sparing the wrath we deserve and the eternal state of Hell. He bore it for a chosen race, and this is and has become our Hiding Place as we wait eternity. The fires of God's judgment burned themselves out on Christ, and all who are in Christ, are safe forever. For the child of God is now standing where the fire has beenFor the unsaved it’s a scary thing to fall into the hands of an angry God who is the sovereign Creator of the entire universe. Habakkuk is stunned with fear as he comes to the throne of grace in his closing answer of prayer. Habakkuk is beginning to understand what he already knew that God is going to do something unimaginable and horrific with the Babylonian tyrants. Habakkuk is beginning to understanding that God truly hates the wickedness of mankind and He will deal with it swiftly.

Again! We need to understand that God is holy and He will judge this earth and everyone on it according to His perfect Law and there is nothing that you or myself can do to stop Him. We really need to take this seriously and stop sweeping it under the rug as if God is complacent with the sins of man. God hates and He has a flaming angry against the wickedness of man every day. It’s the sin that violates God’s perfect and holy Law and His holy standards; but it’s His anger and wrath that are against the rebellious image bearer of God.

Psalm 5:6 says “the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”
  
Psalm 11:5 says “The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
  
Psalm 106:40 says “Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage;”
  
Psalm 145:20 says “The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.”

Jesus said “…but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3
The bible is very clear and specific about God’s judgements against the sins of man.

We have seen this in the….. 

Judgement of the globe flood…… “For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.” (Gen 6:17)

Destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah…… when brimstone and fire came and consumed thousands of people who loved their sin and hated God. (Gen 19:24)

Korah & his followers…… Num 16:33-35 says “and fire came out of the LORD and consumed 250 men offering the incense.”

Eli for allowing corruption in the house of God due to his own sons…… I Sam 3:13 it says “For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.” In 1 Sam 4:18 we see God’s judgement fulfilled.

Jezebel….. who was found with missing parts…..2 King 9:35
Ananias & Sapphira for lying…… (Acts 5:1-10)

All living generations…… apart from the gospel will come face to face with a holy God who is angry with sinners. Matt 25:41 we read these chilling words from Jesus "Then He will say to those on His left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Let me ask you! Does God’s wrath and judgement concern you?

You might say no… because Jesus died for me, ok that’s great…but what about someone you know who doesn’t? This definitely concerned Habakkuk because it says “I have heard the report….do I fear.” (v2)
The bible says Habakkuk was “afraid” which can be translated as “fear”, “reverence” or “to tremble”.

To be in Habakkuk’s position would have been jam-packed with mixed emotions from relief, happiness and good dose of fear.

It’s like riding a roller coaster you’re fearful on one hand, but awestruck with the other. ( I know this is not a great analogy) but it’s a fear and excitement to see God vindicated for His glory and separateness through His judgements.

Habakkuk has something that the church needs to have more of.

That is a fear of a holy God who is transcendent (otherness) and separate from His creation.

Realizing who is in complete control of my life and your life….and that we were created for Him, not the other way around.

This is something that has been instilled in all of God’s image bears as it relates to God’s awesomeness.

Adam in the garden….. “I heard your voice in the garden, and was afraid” Gen 3:10

Moses….. “Trembled” at Mt Sinai when God gave the Law. (Heb 12:18-21)

Joshua….. fell on his face when he was in the presence of God’s holiness….(Josh 5:13-15)

The disciples…. in the boat when Jesus calmed the weather and the sea “

Mark 4:41 says “And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

The Apostle John…… when he was in the presence of God “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.” Rev 1:17 The body of Christ & the local church…… Acts 9:31 says “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” This is why Proverb 1:7 makes sense “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The body of Christ needs to submit to this truth and live! Under the grace He gives to His children, who fear Him, because He is transcendent and holy and who is separate, but personal with creation. But in this separateness…. He invites us into His fellowship through the perfect sacrifice of His Son in the gospel. We as God’s children recognize this truth that God is above everything and He is doing His prefect will.

We as God’s children know and walk by faith that He gives us to rest in this truth that God will one day get rid of sinful mankind. Paul Washer says “I have good news and bad news, the good news God is here, the bad news is that God is here.” Exciting for us who are saved by grace through the gospel confession, but a terrifying time for the unsaved who mock and curse His holy name. There is coming a day when God will get rid of sinners for good, and the smoke of their pain will be forever and ever. Rev 14:11 says “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night…” This is why Habakkuk is fearful because He knows who God is in light of who we are. Sinners in desperate of grace. Habakkuk says “O LORD, I have heard your report of you, and your work” (v2) What have we learned about God through history? That God will deal with each generation in the same way according to His perfect Law. There is no hiding or stopping thisit’s not out of control, it’s in perfect control, this is how God deals with each individual thought every generation. From the past to the present and into the future. 

Habakkuk understands this and submits to how God deals with sinners. Unfortunately God’s justice must be executed and this displays God’s wrath for His holy standard. And Habakkuk prays with this request knowing who God is and His justice for holiness, he says “In wrath remember mercy.” (v2) The prophet agreed that the people of Judah needed discipline for their actions and wickedness, but Habakkuk pleads with God that while doing this… God’s heart would reveal His love and mercyLet me ask you! Where have we seen God’s wrath displayed and His mercy displayed at the same time?

Let’s go back to the chapters of Genesis 6,7,8,9 & 10.

Noah was declared a righteous man chosen by God to build an Ark that was three football fields long, three stories high. This took 120 years in the making to hold and preserve mankind and two of each kind of animal. During those long 120 years besides building the Ark! What did Noah do? Noah would preach to the people…..of God’s coming judgement and His mercy to flee the wrath that is to come to those who will not fear and submit to instructions of the LORD. 2 Peter 2:5 says this about Noah “he was a herald of righteousness.” Proclaiming to the people before it was too late and sadly it was for millions of people who refused to enter in God’s rest. Only 8 people entered into an Ark that was the size of three football fields; where God sealed the door shut. Gen 7:16 says “And the LORD shut him in.” 8 people who received mercy from God, despite knowing they deserved His wrath. 8 people who would hear the excruciating cries and the clawing at the walls of the Ark because it was too late for lost sinners. Lost sinners who were condemned and now facing the wrath of God because they had no fear of a holy God who was displaying mercy for 120 years. Let’s fast forward to the New Testament. Where have we seen God’s wrath displayed and God’s mercy displayed at the same time? At the precious Cross of Christ, our Lord. At the Cross we see God’s flaming anger towards sinners, and at the Cross we see God’s loving mercy on display saving sinners through the sacrifice of His perfect Son. God’s perfect hatred and perfect love was poured out on His Son…that’s mercy displaying grace to sinners who don’t deserve it.

Mercy for ……
Every click of the mouse or webpage visited.
Every bitter thought or deed
Every foul word I’ve ever spoken
Every impure thought
Every gossiping conversation
Every wicked act
Every evil deed
Every act of disobedience
Every covetous desire
Every sexual immoral act ever committed
Every murderous thought or deed done
Every baby slaughtered in the womb

Everything you I have done and though we have not been crushed for it, is an act of God’s mercy. Everything that the justice of God requires was poured out on the only begotten Son of God, because God is angry at sinners. Rom 5:8 says “but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The cross reminds us of God’s anger and His mercy for sinners like you and me. As for the time of Noah and for our generation through the gospel this message still falls on deaf ears. We know this to be true “But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising His words and scoffing at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD rose against His people, until there was no remedy.”2 Chron 36:16. Habakkuk pleads with God over his people but also for the Babylonians as well. Never assume you are more important than someone else despite their level of wickedness. The Babylonians needed forgiveness and salvation like your neighbor, or the worst harden criminals or your relative who shakes their fist at God and says “It’s my life and I will do as I please”.

Habakkuk prayers and pleads on behalf of sinners who desperately need God’s mercy. Without mercy, God’s wrath would completely destroy God’s people. Without mercy there would be no opportunity for sinners to receive grace. Mercy tempers justice and the prayer for mercy is appropriate for Christians to pray today for the church and the world. Have you ever done that? Pleading to God in the midst of judgement, and pleading for His mercy to be revealed in your life and in someone else’s life. Again it’s a scary reality to fall into the hands of an angry perfect and holy just God. “In wrath remember mercy”

Let me ask you as we close!

Does God still display judgement and mercy today?

That’s an easy one to answer! Yes…. because we are still aliveGod desires that no one perishes; now this doesn’t mean that everyone will be saved. It means that His grace is overflowing and He desires that people would repent and believe the gospel message. Did God give enough time for the people to enter the Ark? Yes 
Is God calling out into the streets to come to Him today though the gospel? Yes
God’s mercy is overflowing with love and concern for every image bear. But there is coming a day that the door will be shut and He will judge the earth according to His perfections. 

John 3:36 says “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God remains him.” If Christ were to show up this morning…. every person we know and love who deny the gospel because they love their sin will be subject to God’s holy wrath. 

God has been displaying mercy ever since the Garden, but there is coming a day when His anger will once again be released. Sadly, this time it will be placed on the sinner, not Christ. We need to be pleading to a holy God today and with every breath for those who are perishing apart from Christ and the gospel
  
Why?

In Your judgement, remember mercy LORD for ______________ !

You fill in the blank of someone you know who is facing this day.