Sinners in the hands of an angry God!
This is the sermon title of perhaps the most famous sermon ever preached, at least since New Testament times. This was that famous sermon preached by Jonathon Edwards, which sermon God used to start one of the greatest revival fires in the history of America. I have read the sermon by Jonathon Edwards on occasion, and it truly contains some most dreadful and fearful thoughts for all men; whether professing believers or lost heathens.
We are not going to preach Mr. Edwardís sermon this morning, but we will use His text and his sermon title. May God be pleased to use this sermon to start a revival fire here at Calvary Baptist Church, and in the Ashland community, and in the whole state of Kentucky, and even the whole country if it pleases Him to do so!!!
First, I want to just speak a moment about the power of God and the subject of revival. One of the signs of the last days will be, that religious people will deny the power of God. Yes, beloved, how the power of God is denied in many if not most churches today. Preachers donít preach with fire and zeal, and with expectation that God Almighty will do a great work. Preachers donít expect to see sinners repent of their sins to God, and by faith turn their lives and their souls over to Jesus! We donít expect to see men and women come forth weeping over their sins and there sinful lives, and confessing faith in the gospel of the Son of God. We donít expect to see backslidden souls convicted of their backslidings, and come forth repenting of their backslidden conditions, and getting their lives right with the Lord.
Many church members donít look for the power of God to be displayed in our midst. They donít pray with all-prayer, and prepare their hearts with expectation of going to the house of God, to HEAR GOD ALL-MIGHTY SPEAK TO US FROM HEAVEN, and work miracles in the lives of the saved, and work miracles in the lives of lost sinners. We donít believe that the God of Jonathan Edwards can convert whole congregations, and even whole cities to Christ! Well, beloved, you may laugh at this old preacher, and call me a dreamer, but I really do believe that God can and yet will do such great works, even at Calvary Baptist Church, if it so pleases Him to do so.
Maybe, today will be the day. Maybe God will pour out His Spirit upon us today, and anoint our services, and anoint this preacher afresh, and anoint this congregation afresh, and anoint backslidden Christians afresh, and anoint lost sinners with the Spirit in regeneration and conversion, and grant repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!!!
This morning we want to notice four points from our text in Hebrews Chapter 10, which are: ††1) The apostateís dreadful state and certain doom; 2) The apostateís doom is just and righteous; 3) Sinners in the hands of an angry God; 4) Good news for backslidden saints and needy lost sinners; and then finally we want to have a special call to repentance.
1. First we want to notice the apostateís dreadful state and certain doom:
Hebrews 10:26-28 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Mosesí law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
What is an apostate?
It is one who sins willfully after that he is saved. What it means to sin willfully is to totally and completely abandon the faith of Christianity.
An apostate is one:
-who once professed to fear the Lord.
-who once professed faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
-who once professed to be sanctified by the blood of Jesus.
-who followed the Lord in scriptural baptism and church membership.
-who once loved Jesus and served Him faithfully in His church.
-who once confessed Jesus before the world.
-who once studied their Bible every day.
-who once prayed unto the Lord every day in their prayer closet.
-who once lived, and walked, and talked like a Christian should.
But now they have cast off their faith in Jesus, and their love for Jesus. They donít trust Him anymore for the salvation of their soul. They care nothing for the blood of the covenant whereby they were sanctified. They donít confess Jesus anymore before men. They donít pray anymore. They donít want Jesus, or feel their need for Him anymore. They donít read His Word anymore, and they donít go to church anymore. They donít fear God anymore, and they donít live a godly Christian life anymore.
That is what an apostate Christian is. It is one who utterly forsakes the faith. Beloved, it is a fearful thing for the apostate believer to fall into the hands of an angry God!
-They have no more sacrifice for their sins. They have rejected and despised the only true sacrifice that can take away their sins, which is the Lord Jesus Christ.
-All they have left now is a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and the fiery indignation of God, which shall devour the adversaries!
2. The apostateís doom is just and righteous:
Hebrews 10:29 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?
What should an apostate Christian expect from God? This verse is clear that apostates should consider themselves worthy of Godís most severe punishment. The reasonís why they are worthy of Godís punishment include the three following reasons given in our text:
1) First, they have trodden under foot the Son of God.
Think of what apostasy does to Jesus and His glorious Name. Apostasy says that Jesus is no Savior; that Jesus is not the all-sufficient Savior; that Jesus is not able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him; that Jesus and His death, burial, & resurrection were in vain. Yes, apostasy tramples upon that precious and worthy Name of Jesus. Should not all such people count themselves worthy of Godís just and righteous judgment?
2) Secondly, they have counted the blood of the covenant is an unholy thing.
Apostasy tells the whole world that Jesusí blood was worthless. Not only worthless, but unholy and unclean, and therefore has no power to cleanse and to save sinners. Apostasy is a testimony to the world that the blood of Jesus cannot wash away their sins, and absolve lost sinners of their guilt before God. Again, shouldnít apostates count themselves worthy of Godís just and righteous judgment and punishment?
3) And thirdly, they have done despite to the Spirit of grace.
This is perhaps the most fearful thing of all. We know what the unpardonable sin is- it is blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. We remember why Ananias and Sapphira fell down dead at Peterís feet- yes, it was for lying to the Holy Spirit. Apostasy, beloved, is to do despite to the Spirit of grace; that is, to spitefully treat the Holy Spirit of God, and to despise Him in our lives. Oh, what dangerous ground to be on my friends! Does God still take peopleís lives in His anger. More plainly we ask you this morning, does God still kill people for lying, and blaspheming, and doing despite to His Holy Spirit of grace? I want you to know and be certain that He does! My friends, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God!!!
Therefore the apostateís doom is just and righteous. It is the suitable and fitting punishment for their crimes against the blessed Savior, and His precious blood, and the blessed Holy Spirit.
3. Thirdly, we want to notice ďSinners in the hands of an angry GodĒ:
Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Iíve seen a great evil and dangerous thing today in our world; and that is, people donít fear God anymore. The life of every lost sinner is dangling by a thread, as it were, over the pit of hell, which is about to snap at any instant, and plunge the sinner into the eternal flames of hell below. Yet, even with the wrath of God above them, and the flames of hell beneath them, licking at their feet, they still have no fear of God! The big theme among teenagers in the past few years has been; NO FEAR! So men today that HAVE NO FEAR OF GOD, pronounce their own sentence of judgment upon their own souls! Why do many professed Christians today walk, and talk, and live like the devil and like the world, which is in direct violation of Godís revealed will? Because they donít fear God! One of the greatest indictments that God has made against lost mankind is; ďThere is no fear of God before there eyes.Ē (Romans 3:18). If you donít fear God my beloved friend, you need to wake up; for ďIt is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.Ē
Everyone will fall, as it were, into the hands of the living God. God holds the life of every person in His mighty hands. And it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment! (Hebrews 9:27). Every one will fall into His great hands in death. The question is, how will you find Him when you fall?
Will you find Him in peace as your Savior, or will you find Him angry and your enemy when you wake up in the torments of eternal hell. We all will at last fall into Godís hands. How will it be for you? The Bible says that God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11), and that the wrath of God abides on everyone that believeth not in Jesus (John 3:36). How will you find God when you fall into His hands? Will you be a sinner in the hands of an angry God?
4. Good news for backslidden saints and needy lost sinners:
Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
First, we want to give some very good news to any backslidden saints of God. Beloved, the just shall live by faith. The apostate Christian that weíve described this morning does not really exist. There is no such thing as a true believer apostatizing from the faith. We have merely presented a hypothetical situation. No true believer can draw back unto perdition, or willfully sin so as to become an apostate Christian. A true believer in the Lord Jesus as their Savior, will believe unto the saving of the soul. A child of God who has once feared God, will fear God still. A child of God who has ever loved God, will love God still. A child of God who was sanctified in the blood of Jesus is still sanctified in His blood.
Believers can backslide out of fellowship with the Lord, and draw back into their old sins. We can ruin our testimonies of Jesus because of our sinful lifestyles that we go back to. At times in our lives we can draw back into our sinful ways, but one thing is for certain, all true believers who backslide will be chastised of the Lord. This is taught in this same book in Hebrews Chapter 12:5-9. The chastisement of the Lord is no easy thing, but is described in Hebrews 12 as a grievous thing. Those of us who have been saved very long understand what the chastening of the Lord is about, because we all are partakers of His chastisement.
In chastisement God will whip us good. He will bring us down to where we are at the very end of our rope, so to speak. But then, when He has brought us down to repentance of our wicked ways, and to sorrow with a godly sorrow for the sins weíve committed against Him, then He will restore us again to our rightful place in His fold. But I must warn all who have made a profession of faith, but have never known the chastisement of God for your sins. If this is your case, then you were never really saved. You probably made a profession of faith, but never really knew what it meant to believe the gospel of Jesus for salvation. I am not anyoneís judge this morning, but I tell you the truth because I love you and I love your soul. If this is your case, then please listen closely to what I am going to say; I have good news for you as well!
If you made a profession of faith, yet were never truly saved, you still can be saved! Many, many, people make professions of faith, and then come to see later that they were never truly saved. Well, thanks be to God, he saves many such people! I have known several people over the years; Iíve even known of preachers and Pastors that God saved! So if you have come to see that you were never really saved then I will tell you, along with all other lost sinners who are yet unsaved; repent, and believe in Jesus now as your Savior. Repent means to change your mind and heart about your miserable lost condition. See yourself as God sees you; a sinner in the hands of an angry God! See yourself worthy of His eternal judgment. To believe in Jesus means to believe in Him as the virgin born Son of God, Who became the suffering sacrifice on the cross of Calvary for your sins; believe that He died on the cross for your sins, was buried in the tomb, and rose again the third day for your justification and eternal life, because He ever lives for you!
In conclusion: We want to make a special call to repentance:
We began our message by saying that many preachers donít preach with fire and zeal, and with expectation that God Almighty will do a great work. We said that preachers donít expect to see sinners repent of their sins to God, and by faith turn their lives and their souls over to Jesus! We said that we donít expect to see men and women come forth weeping over their sins and there sinful lives, and confessing faith in the gospel of the Son of God. We said that we donít expect to see backslidden souls convicted of their backslidings, and come forth repenting of their backslidden conditions, and getting their lives right with the Lord.
Beloved, I want to appeal the more earnestly to you this morning. If you are a back-slidden Christian, then it is my desire to ďsave you with fear, pulling [you] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.Ē Return to the house of bread, my dear Naomi, return to the land of blessings and find forgiveness for your sins, and rest for your weary soul. Oh, my prodigal brother, come home to your Heavenly Father; He will give you a ring for your finger, and his best robe, and He will put new shoes on your feet, and will kill the fatted calf for you! Oh my prodigal friend, will you now at this time come home to your gracious Heavenly Father?
My lost sinner friend, are you weary and heavy laden with the guilt of your sins? Come to Jesus, for He is meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your soul. Come by faith, believing that Jesus is able to save you, and save you this very moment. I implore you, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!
Maybe, today will be the day. Maybe God will pour out His Spirit upon us today, and anoint our services, and anoint this message, and anoint this congregation, and anoint the backslidden Christian, and anoint lost sinners with the Spirit in regeneration and conversion, and grant repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!!!
Has the Lord spoken to your heart this morning? Has He given you repentance and faith in Jesus today? Is the Holy Spirit speaking to you, telling you to confess Jesus now? My beloved friend, if this is the case with you, then I exhort you on the authority of the Word of God to obey His voice today, as we sing an invitation hymn!!!
(Preached by Pastor Christopher W. Burke on Sunday Morning, September 1, 2002)