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Monday, February 24, 2014

Conestoga River
Our friend Mike Book took this photo of a bridge over the Conestoga River in eastern Lancaster County.
We have had several days of warmer weather with a blessed melting of the snow but we are supposed to get more snow this week!

"The Wrath Of God"

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"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse"  (Romans 1:18-20).

If I were to consider a message title and text to quickly get a message deleted today's might be it! After all who wants to read about such a topic in a message series titled daily encouragement?

Many years ago I heard an expression that describes the balance in Christian preaching and pastoral care as a need to both "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable". As you can well imagine it more pleasurable to prepare sermons and daily encouragement messages that comfort the afflicted. After all there are many people undergoing affliction of one kind or another at any time they receive our messages.

Jesus spoke of His Father's goodness not only to the righteous but even the unrighteous, "
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:44,45). In other words God's goodness is seen by those who believe and to those who do not believe, to those who are good and those who are evil. All are equally recipients of God's goodness. 

The early verses of Romans 1 are a greeting and assurance from Paul of his love for the Roman believers followed by his grand statement, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:16,17).

In the next portion we have a panoramic view of man's fallen condition. It can be hard reading and hard preaching but is essential to an understanding of why things are the way they are. The transition begins in verse 18 with the sobering statement, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men" (Romans 1:18). We need to study and be exposed to the truth of all aspects of God's character including those aspects which may make us uncomfortable such as the Biblical doctrine of His wrath.

A. W. Pink, a British theologian who died two years before I was born writes in chapter on the Wrath of God, "It is sad to find so many professing Christians who appear to regard the wrath of God as something for which they need to make an apology, or at least they wish there were no such thing. While some would not go so far as to openly admit that they consider it a blemish on the Divine character, yet they are far from regarding it with delight, they like not to think about it, and they rarely hear it mentioned without a secret resentment rising up in their hearts against it. Even with those who are more sober in their judgment, not a few seem to imagine that there is a severity about the Divine wrath which is too terrifying to form a theme for profitable contemplation. Others harbor the delusion that God’s wrath is not consistent with His goodness, and so seek to banish it from their thoughts." (a link to this entire chapter is below)

The present tense indicates that God's wrath is continually being (passive voice) revealed. This verse is more accurately rendered "is constantly being revealed." Bible commentator HCG Moule commenting on the present tense says "This "revelation" is a standing one, for all places and all times, and ever repeated to individual consciences."

Over the next several days we want to explore this concept of the wrath of God being revealed and progression into depravity as described in Romans 1 and 2. These verses describe man's attitude toward the truth. It is written concerning the human race, that "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (1:18), "exchanged the truth of God for the lie" (1:25) and "are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness" (2:8).

It is hard preparing these messages and conveying these truths and for many it may also be hard reading, but we urge you to study the full counsel of God. Isaiah 45:19 is a majestic statement from the one true God. Although written in Scripture some 2,700 years ago it is always a present tense statement, for God does not change: "I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right."  

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, though we deserve Your full wrath we are recipients of Your goodness and mercy in that You sent Your one and only Son, Jesus, into the world to die for our sins so that if we believe in Him we will not perish but have eternal life. Though we're born with a sin problem You made provision for us to be forgiven, to walk in newness of life and to experience abundant life here below. Help us to be willing to forsake the affections of this world and its conflicting philosophies of the truth You prescribe in Scripture. You are the author and the very Personification of truth. We come to the Father in prayer through Jesus; the Way, the Truth and the Life. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Preacher Tell Me Like It Is"  Video 
Greater Vision

"The Wrath Of God"  Chapter in book "The Attributes Of God" by A. W Pink

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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