OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE
Dr. W. A. Criswell
3-6-60 7:30 p.m.
We turn now to the book of Hebrews. We read two passages: chapter 10 and chapter 12. The title of the sermon is For Our God is a Consuming Fire. That is the text and the title, and the two passages are Hebrews 10:26-31. Let us read that first. Hebrews chapter 10, verses 26 through 31. Now together:
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries.
He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses.
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
For we know Him that hath said, "Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense," saith the Lord. And again, "The Lord shall judge His people."
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" [Hebrews 10:31]. Now, chapter 12, verse 25 to the end. Chapter 12, verses 25 to the end. Now together:
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven,
And Whose voice then shook the earth; but now He hath promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven."
And this word, "Yet once more," signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Wherefore, we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
For our God is a consuming fire.
"For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29].
The revelations of God that are made in this Book are revelations of grace. They are of the kindness of God. I could not think of anything more cruel than to hide away from a lost humanity a judgment and a damnation and a perdition if there is a judgment and a damnation and a perdition. If a man is speeding down a highway at a furious rate, and just beyond the bridge is out, it would be a kindness, if possible, to flag down the car and to warn the man of the awful tragedy that lies ahead. So in the purposes of God, if there is a day of judgment, if there are fires of torment and hell, it is of the kindness and goodness and grace of God that we are warned and told of these things. It’s not kind to a man to hide from him the cruel and awful truth. For a man to face a judgment – to move in the direction of a perdition and not be warned and not speak of it – is not kind to him. It would be one of the cruelest things that mind could imagine.
What we seek for in God is the revelation of the truth. What are these things that we face in our life and what of our souls in the life that is to come? And we ask and expect of God a true and full report.
I think of Joab after he had slain Absalom and had destroyed the rebellion against King David [2 Samuel 18:14-17]. Ahimaaz came and said, "Let me run to tell David the war is over and the rebellion is quenched and Absalom is dead" [2 Kings 18:19]. And Joab said, "No, not you" [2 Samuel 18:20], and he called Cushi and said, "Cushi, run with tidings to the king that Absalom is slain and the rebellion is passed" [2 Kings 18:21]. And after Cushi had sped on his way, Ahimaaz came unto Joab and said, "Joab, let me run also;" and Joab said, "You have no message" [1 Kings 18:22]. And Ahimaaz said, "But I know a shortcut;" so Joab said, "Then run" [1 Kings 18:23], and Ahimaaz came to David first [2 Samuel 18:23].
And David said, "What of the son and what of the war?" [1 Kings 18:29] And Ahimaaz said, "I just saw a tumult, and I knew not what it meant" [1 Kings 18:29], and David said, "And stand aside" [1 Kings 18:30]. But when Cushi came, the king asked concerning the son and concerning the rebellion [1 Kings 18:32], and Cushi told David the son was dead and the rebellion was over [1 Kings 18:31-32]. It’s Cushi, as Joab chose, it is Cushi that we seek and that we look for.
Where is the man that can tell us what of our souls? Not the man to palliate our consciences, not the man to suave over all of the pitfalls that might lie ahead, not a man to speak sweet nothings when damnation lies ahead when the fires of hell are burning. We seek the truth from God.
That is why in the pages of this revelation, you will find the character of God presented. You will find the great judgment day presented. You will find the fires of torment presented not because God delights in the death of the wicked [Ezekiel 18:32, 33:11; Luke 9:51-56; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9], but because these things are everlastingly true. They are real. Sin is real [Matthew 15:18-19; Mark 7:21-23]. Faithlessness is real [Numbers 13:25-14:45; Hebrews 3:12-19, 10:38]. Rejection of Christ is real [Matthew 9:34, 12:22-29, 19:16-26, 27:11-26; Mark 3:22, 6:1-6, 10:17-22, 15:1-21; Luke 4:14-30, 11:15, 18:18-23, 20:17, 23:1-25; John 6:41-42, 10:22-39, 19:1-15] and the judgment of God upon it is real [Matthew 12:30-32, 24:30; Luke 20:18; John 3:36; 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Revelation 1:7, 6:16-17, 11:18, 20:11-15]. And God reveals in His Word these awful hours that lie ahead for the soul without God and without Christ: "For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29].
There are two sides to God. There are two sides to the Bible. There are two sides to you. There are two sides to this great judgment day that is yet to come, and there are two sides to that eternal destiny into which all of us are inexorably moving. Day by day, step by step, moment by moment, we are passing toward, moving toward, marching toward, living toward that great final day of the Lord; and in all of these there are two sides: "For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29] as well as a God of infinite love and forgiveness and mercy [Psalm 103:11; Malachi 3:6-7; Luke 15:11-32, 23:39-43; Romans 5:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 1 Timothy 1:12-17].
God is like fire. He spoke to Moses out of the flaming burning bush [Exodus 3:1-22]. God answered Elijah’s prayer on Mount Carmel by fire [1 Kings 18:20-40]. God came down in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in cloven tongues of fire [Acts 2:1-4]. God is like fire. God is also like the fires of judgment that burn [Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43-; Luke 6:19-31; Revelation 14:10-11, 19:20, 20:15]. God is like the fire and brimstone that fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah [Genesis 13:13, 18:20-19:29]. God is like the fire called down from Heaven by Elijah that burned up his enemies [2 Kings 1:12], and God is like that fire that shall destroy forever and forever them that in the great final judgment day fall into the lake of an eternal burning [Revelation 14:10-11, 19:20, 20:15]. "For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29].
God is like his laws. They who obey them are beautifully and wonderfully blessed: Abraham, the friend of God [Genesis 15:1-21, 17:19-21, 21:1-8; 2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23]; Moses, the man of God [Exodus 33:12-23; Matthew 17:1-3; Deuteronomy 33:1; Joshua 14:6; 1 Chronicles 23:14]; Daniel, the beloved of God [Daniel 10:11-12, 10:19, 12:13 ]; John, the precious one among the disciples [John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20; Revelation 1:9-20]. But to those who disobey those laws, God is a fury and a wrath [Matthew 7:21-23; Romans 1:18, 2:1-16; 1 Corinthians 11:26-34; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, 2:11-12]. The fire and the judgment of God came upon Israel in their sins: "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin [Judges 4:1-2] . . . And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Midianites" [Judges 6:1]. The judgment of God is against those who disobey His laws. God is like his laws. When a man is obedient and submissive, the friendship and the love of God is his [John 14:15, 14:21, 15:10]. When a man violently turns aside in unrepentance, the wrath of God is upon him [Numbers 20:8-12; Deuteronomy 32:48-52; Acts 5:1-11; 1 John 5:13-17].
When Manasseh the king of Israel, the son of Hezekiah, built on one side of the temple houses of sodomy, consecrated men, and on the other side of the temple houses of prostitution, consecrated women, the wrath of God came down; and God said, "I will not forgive Israel for the sake of the sins of Manasseh," and He destroyed the holy city, and He destroyed the temple of God, and He destroyed the nation and sold it into captivity [2 Kings 21:10-16]. God is like his laws: "For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29].
Our God is like his Book, and the hands of the Lord in mercy, and in grace, and in forgiveness are outstretched:
"As I live," saith the Lord, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?"
"Come now," saith the Lord, "and let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever trusts in Him should never perish but have everlasting life.
God is like that. God’s like His Book: "Whosoever will may come" [Revelation 22:17]; and Naaman washed, and he was clean [2 Kings 5:1-14]; and Zaccheus trusted Jesus, and he was saved [Luke 19:1-10]; and the Philippian jailer repented of his sins and took the Lord as his Savior and was enrolled in the family of God [Acts 16:22-34]. God is like His Book in grace and forgiveness and mercy. God is like his Book in damnation and in judgment upon those who heed not His cry and turn aside from His overtures of mercy and of grace.
And Elijah said unto Ahab, "In the place where Naboth’s blood is shed, there shall the dogs lick up thy blood."
[1 Kings 21:19]
And the hand of God fell upon Jezebel, his wicked wife, and they threw her down from the heights of the temple wall, and there she was trodden under foot, and the dogs ate her up according to the saying of the man of God [1 Kings 21:23; 2 Kings 9:10, 9:33-37]; and because Herod gave not glory to God, worms ate him up [Acts 12:20-23]; and in the last chapters of the book of the Bible, you have that Great White Throne before which the lost of the world are gathered, and they are consigned to an eternal damnation in a fire that is never quenched [Revelation 20:11-15]. That’s God: "For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29]. God is like his Book.
And God is like his Son – the blessed, holy, precious, lovely, gentle Lord Jesus – forgiving [Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20, 7:28, 23:34; John 8:1-11], blessing [Mark 10:16; Luke 24:50-51], taking little children in His arms [Matthew 18:10; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-16], dying for our sins on the cross [John 10:17-18; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-10; Galatians 3:14; 1 Peter 2:24].
But oh, the severity of the Son of God. It is Jesus who told us about the torments of hell. And Dives lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and cried that Lazarus might come and dip his finger in water and cool his tongue [Luke 16:23-24]. Jesus is the one that spake that [Luke 16:1]. Jesus is the one that uttered the most scathing words of denunciation to be found in any literature in all the world. There’s not anything in Roman, Greek, Latin, modern, ancient literature like the terrible, caustic denunciation of the Scribes and the Pharisees to be found in the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Matthew: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, heirs of damnation and of hell, whited sepulchre: on the outside clean but on the inside filled with all kinds of extortion and excess and dead men’s bones" [Matthew 23:27]. Jesus said that [Matthew 23:1-2].
The gentle, blessed Lord Jesus said, "I am come not to send peace on the earth, but a sword" [Matthew 10:34]. It was the gentle Lord Jesus who said, "I am come to kindle a fire in the earth; and what will I, if it be already started and kindled?" [Luke 12:] "For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29].
One of the most strange contradictory expressions in the Bible is this:
The wrath of the Lamb. "And hide us," they cry for the mountains and the rocks to fall on them. "Hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His judgment has come, and who shall be able to stand?"
"For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29]. "Be not deceived, God is not mocked" [Galatians 6:7].
God is gentle, and gracious, and kind, and loving to those who turn in faith and in trust to Him; but God is a God of judgment and perdition and damnation upon those who turn aside from the invitation of love and grace and persist in faithlessness and in unbelief [John 3:18]. "For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29].
This revelation of God reaches down into our souls [Hebrews 4:12], and it reaches out into our destinies, and it speaks to us of this life and of that life that is to come [John 15:5-15; 2 Timothy 3:14-17]. And there’s no equivocation about the revelation of the Word of God regarding our destiny in that world and in that life that is yet to come.
There are two aberrations that I find in the theological world about our destiny out there in the world that is to come. There are those who say everybody’s going to be saved. They preach the doctrine of universal salvation. Whether a man accepts Jesus or not, whether he repents and turns to Christ or not, makes no difference to these theologians – all of us are going to be saved. That’s a doctrine rampant and increasing in all of the denominations of our modern time. There is no figment of a suggestion of such a thing as that in the Word of God. There is no such a thing in God’s Book as all mankind being saved. If a man rejects God, and if a man rejects Christ, and if a man does despite to the Spirit of grace, and if a man trods underfoot the blood of the covenant wherewith Jesus was sanctified [Hebrews 10:29], that man is damned says God, and that man shall spend an eternity in hell, says God [1 Thessalonians 2:15-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10]. There’s no such a thing in the Book as all mankind being saved. Only those are saved who trust in Jesus as a personal Savior [John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:11-12].
This thing of death does not change a man’s character. As it says in the book of Ecclesiastes: "As a tree falls, so shall it lie" [Ecclesiastes 11:3]. And if a man dies in unrepentance and in rejection and without faith, he dies forever and forever and forever [Matthew 25:41, 45-46; Hebrews 9:27]. If the blood of Christ cannot change a man’s life and character in this world, then the fires of hell don’t change it in the world that is to come. In that story that Jesus told about Dives, when he cried that his brethren be warned [Luke 16:26-27], that Lazarus be raised from the dead, Abraham said, "Son, they have Moses and the prophets. They have the Book. Let them hear them" [Matthew 16:29]. If a man won’t be changed by the preaching of the gospel, by the appeal of the Book of God, then a man wouldn’t be changed though he entered hell or entered heaven [Luke 16:31], however it is. The only thing that can change a man’s heart and change a man’s character is the gospel of the Son of God [Romans 1:16], the testimony of the apostles and the prophets; and if a man turns aside from that, our God is a consuming fire [Hebrews 12:29].
The other theological aberration that is so rampant nowadays – first, universal salvation, and then second, annihilation: that if a man dies, he’s dead like a dog; he’s dead like an animal; there’s no life to come. And then there are some who say, "And that’s true especially of the wicked. A good man might have an immortality – a repentant man, a Christian man, a man who’s trusted in the Lord – he might have a life that is to come; but all of the wicked and all the unbelieving, they’re going to be annihilated. There’ll be no life for them beyond the grave."
Again, there is no suggestion, there is no hint of that in the Word of God. It says here in the twelfth chapter of the book of Daniel, and in the second verse, it speaks of those that sleep in the dust of the ground: some shall be raised to everlasting life and some to everlasting damnation and shame and contempt [Daniel 12:2]. There’s going to be two resurrections: there will be a resurrection of the just, of God’s sainted people [1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; Revelation 20:5-6], and there is to be a resurrection of damnation [Revelation 20:11-15]. There is to be a resurrection of those who have done despite to the Spirit of grace, and say "no" to the appeal of the preacher when he pleads in the name of Christ that men come and accept Him as Lord and as Savior. "For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29]. There’s no annihilation beyond this life and in that grave. Dives was as alive as Lazarus was alive [Luke 16:19-21], and as Lazarus was comforted in Heaven [Luke 16:22, 25], Dives was tormented in hell [Luke 16:22-25]; and he cried out in the agony of his life [Luke 16:23-24]. Forever and forever and forever and forever: "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment" [Matthew 25:46]. "For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29].
And then there are two aberrations. There are two deviations that I find in the world of philosophy and ideology, and the first one is reincarnation – that in this life we live and then according to how we live in this life, we’re reincarnated in a life that is yet to come. Over there in India, there are thousands and millions and millions and all over the Orient who believe that – the doctrine of [reincarnation]: "If I am good in this life, I’ll be reborn in a higher life; but if I’m vile in this life, I’ll be reborn in a lower life." So they’ve got all the animal kingdom reincarnate, and all the different strata of society reincarnate, and all the cast system reincarnate, and in endless, endless reincarnation over and over, over and over again.
That’s one of the most peculiar religious and philosophical doctrines I ever ran into in my life. When I was over there in India, I saw towns over there that were filled with monkeys from one side to the other. Monkeys everywhere: monkeys, monkeys – you couldn’t get along shoving the monkeys away. And I said to the people, "Why in the world don’t you put them in cages, or why don’t you do something about the monkeys?" "Oh," they said, "We couldn’t do anything about the monkeys. These are our ancestors reincarnate."
Isn’t that an amazing doctrine? Isn’t that an amazing thing? If you were in India and you lived in India, and when you’re home a big black spider were to roll across the floor, you wouldn’t dare step on that big black spider; you might be stepping on your grandmomma. You wouldn’t know. You wouldn’t know. Beats anything you ever saw in your life this doctrine of reincarnation. Not a syllable of that in the Book. Not a word of that but comes out of the ingenious fancy of men.
Then that other doctrine: the doctrine of purgatory. Isn’t that an unusual thing? The doctrine of purgatory – that we’ll have a second chance; that when men die in this life, we’re going to enter into some kind of a trial in another world, and there the fires of purgation will purge out of us all of the villainy and the wickedness and the vileness and the sin and all of the unbelief that we’ve had in this life; and then purged and purified, we will enter into the glorious heaven that is prepared for those whom God loves. That’s a fiction. That is a baseless fiction. There is not the slightest hint of any such thing as a purgatory in the Word of God: not in the apostles, not in the prophets, and not in the sayings and in the ministry of Jesus Christ – the great revelation of the life that is to come. No purgatory in the Bible and no second chance [Hebrews 9:27].
When Jesus spoke of the life to come, He spoke of the fixity and the fixedness of the choices that we make here and now [Luke 16:19-31]. And when Paul spake of the life to come, he spake of the great day in which God shall judge the world [Romans 2:5, 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Hebrews 6:2, 9:27, 10:26-27]. And when Simon Peter spake of the life to come, he spoke of that awful perdition that comes upon ungodly and sinful and unbelieving men [1 Peter 4:17-18; 2 Peter 2:1-22, 3:3-13]. And when John delivered his great visions from the hands of Jesus on the isle of Patmos [Revelation 1:9], they were forever and ever these with Christ in glory [Revelation 21:1-22:21], and these with the devil and his angels in hell [Revelation 20:7-15]: "For our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29].
This is a realistic message. It is a realistic Book. It is a realistic revelation. It is a realistic God. It is a realistic Savior; and the prophets and the apostles all face these truths and these facts as they really are – not romantically, not fictionally – but actually and really. Your life and mine – all of us damned sinners [Romans 3:23]. All of us lost in perdition and judgment [Romans 6:23a]. All of us facing an eternity without God, but He never left it that way [Romans 5:8, 6:23b]. That’s why the gospel is called "the evangel." This is the "good news."
Listen ye isles of the sea, and ye ends of the earth, for the Lord God has spoken and His word is a word of reconciliation [2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:22]; His word is a word of forgiveness [Matthew 26:28; Luke 24:44-47], of redemption [Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30], of love [Matthew 5:43-44, 22:37]; and grace [John 1:16-17], and invitation [Matthew 4:19, 9:9].
"We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you . . . be ye reconciled to God" [2 Corinthians 5:20]. He gave Christ to be sin for us, Him who knew no sin, that we might be the righteousness of God in Him [2 Corinthians 5:21].
And the salvation is as real as the damnation. And the great heaven of heavens, the heaven of God, is as real as the fires and torments of hell. Turn and be saved. These are the real truths of life and of time and of destiny. Our God is a real God; He’s not a principle. Our Christ is a real Christ; He’s not a legendary name. The Holy Spirit is a real Holy Spirit who pleads with you tonight; He’s not just an influence. Heaven and hell are real; they’re not just fictions. And the atonement of Christ for our sins is a real atonement. In the blood of Jesus, our souls are washed clean and white of their stains in the blood of the cross and of the Lamb [1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 9:14, 10:1-23; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5, 7:14]. These are real, genuine, great truths in the revelation of God. Turn and be saved [Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 8:22, 17:30, 26:20].
God never, never, never, ever, ever, and ever made it so that a man had to live in darkness or had to live in damnation or had to live in unbelief [Acts 17:15-31; Romans 1:18-20]. Wherever a man is lost or entangled or enmeshed, God points a way out [1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9]; and if a man is a sinner – and we are [Romans 3:10-23] – God shows us a way whereby a man can be saved [Acts 10:1-48]. If there’s a fire, call the fire department. If there’s a ship sinking, where are the life boats? If there’s a man ill, where’s the physician that can heal? And if there is a man who is lost in his sins, where is the Savior? God’s love and grace to help a man out of the death of this life into the life that never ends? Where is the provision of God for a man who’s lost? There it is. There it is: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up," that whosoever looks to Him, "that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" [John 3:14-15]. Look, my brother, look. Look and live.
Have you ever sinned in your life? Then we are lost sinners. Have you come short of the glory of God? Then we face the judgment day. We need a Savior [Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11], an Advocate [1 John 2:1], a Lord [Matthew 26:69-75; Luke 22:54-62], a Redeemer [Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:7].
Look to Him, look and live, my brother, live.
‘Tis recorded in his word, hallelujah!
It’s only that you look and live, look and live.
[From "Look and Live," by William A. Ogden, 1887]
Look to Jesus in faith, in contrition, in repentance, in turning [Numbers 21:7-9; John 3:14-15]. "Here I am, Lord." Look. Look and live. Like Naaman, wash and be clean. And he turned from the preacher’s message, and he turned from the prophet’s appeal, and went away in a rage. And his servants came to him and said, "Master, if the prophet had bid thee do some great and mighty thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much rather then, when the great prophet of God says, ‘Wash and be clean?’" And he turned and went down to the muddy [banks] of the Jordan River, and he dipped himself seven times. And when he came up the seventh time, his flesh came back again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean [2 Kings 5:11-14].
Wash and be clean [2 Kings 5:10]. Believe and be saved [Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9]. Trust and your name’s written in the Lamb’s Book of Life [Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:15, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 20:15, 21:27, 22:19]. Turn and Jesus is there.
Down one of these stairwells from this balcony, into the lower floor, and down here to the front to the Pastor: "Preacher, I give you my hand tonight. Tonight, I give my heart in turning and in repentance to Jesus my Savior." He is a God of judgment. He’s a God of perdition. He’s a God who shall some day look in to our souls; and if we have there unforgiven sin, and we have no Advocate and no Savior, we die in our unforgiven sins. But if a man will trust, turn, look in faith to Jesus, "Such as I am, here I am," God’s whole battlements of Heaven and all the hosts of glory are for that man and for that man’s soul [Luke 15:10; John 6:37].
And the soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I’ll never, no never forsake to expose;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake
[From "How Firm a Foundation," author unknown, circa 1780]
It’s an everlasting life [John 3:16]. It’s an everlasting salvation [Hebrews 10:14], and it is ours for the having and for the asking [John 1:12]. "Here Lord, here I am, and here I come."
Would you make it tonight? Somebody, you, while we sing this song of invitation, while our people prayerfully enter into the spirit of this Word and this appeal – fleeing the wrath to come, facing to the glorious salvation that is in Jesus our Lord: "Here I am, and here I come." Is there a man tonight who’ll stand by my side and say, "Preacher, tonight, I have given my heart in faith and in trust to Jesus." Will you come and stand by me? Is there a youth, is there a child, is there a family to come tonight placing your life in the fellowship of this glorious church to pray with us and to work with us in this ministry of the gospel of the Son of God? Is there anybody, you, that’ll listen to the Word of the Holy Spirit? This is the good news: a man can be saved by looking to Jesus, by trusting in Jesus, by giving his heart and his soul and his life in faith to Jesus. "Tonight, by His grace, I look to him. In old age, I look to Him. And when I die, Preacher, if you’re by my bedside, I’ll still be trusting Him. In this world, in the world that is to come; in this life, in the life that is to come; in this moment, when I rise in the morning, in the daytime, in the nighttime, forever time, I’m looking to Jesus. I take Him as my Savior now, and here I am; here I come." Would you make it on the first note of the first stanza? Down one of these stairways or into the aisle wherever you are. "Preacher, tonight, I take Jesus as my Savior. Here I am, and here I come. I give you my hand, Pastor. I give my heart to God. So help me, I trust Him in life and in death as my Savior. Here I am, Preacher, and here I come." Will you make it tonight while we stand and while we sing?
OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE
Dr. W. A. Criswell
A. Revelations of Scripture are of grace, kindness, love
B. We seek in God the revelation of truth, ask a full report(2 Samuel 18:19-32)
II. There are two sides to God
A. God is like fire
1. Spoke to Moses, answered prayer at Mt. Carmel, baptism at Pentecost
2. Also like the fires of judgment that burn – Sodom and Gomorrah, enemies of Elijah, evil of the world
B. God is like His laws
1. They who obey are beautifully blessed
2. To those who disobey a fury and a wrath(Judges 4, 6, 2 Kings 24:3)
C. God is like His Book
1. Pleading, rewarding (Ezekiel 33:11, Isaiah 1:18, John 3:16, Revelation 22:17, 2 Kings 5:14, Luke 19:1-10, Acts 16)
2. Damning, judging those who heed not His cry(2 Kings 9:30-37, Acts 12:23, Revelation 20:1-15)
D. God is like His Son
1. Loving, forgiving, caring, blessing
2. Severe words, judgments(Luke 12:, 16:23, Matthew 10:34, 23:27, Revelation 6:16-17, Galatians 6:7)
III. Two deviations in Christian theology
A. Universal salvation (Ecclesiastes 11:3, Luke 16:29, 31)
B. Annihilation, conditional immortality(Daniel 12:2, Luke 16:19)
IV. Two theories found in philosophy and ideology
B. Purgatory – a second chance
V. A realistic message
A. The facts of sin, suffering, death here; judgment, penalty there
B. Good news of redemption(1 Corinthians 5:20-21, John 3:13, 2 Kings 5:10-14)