The preaching of this generation has become soft; allowing saints and the lost alike to bask in a pool of warm fuzzy sermons where they can swim comfortably around without being challenged to examine themselves in the light of Holy Scripture. Everywhere we go we can hear sermons on the love and the mercy of God, while the attributes of God that are deemed negative are shunned as though they did not exist. A term that more than adequately describes this distorted presentation is "sloppy agape!"
It is noteworthy that the Bible has a balanced proportion of the negative and positive characteristics, traits and attributes of God with promises of love and mercy to the sinner as well as the judgment and punishment that will fall on those who refuse God's great giftof forgiveness and eternal life for which His Only Son paid such a horrible price physically, mentally and spiritually.
I was reading the beginning chapters of Matthew early this morning and was once again reminded of how three powerful ministers of God opened their earthly ministries. I will take them one at a time to emphasize the vast difference between the preaching of this day
and that of the first men of God who came to spread the good news of the gospel.
Hear John the Baptist speaking to the religious leaders of his day who were called the Pharisees and the Saducees as he tells them, "O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for REPENTANCE." Matthew 3:7-8. Prior to that he went through the countryside preaching and saying, "REPENT YE, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." -- Matthew 3:2 Please note that
his message is a warning to flee from the wrath of God.
Hear the greatest preacher that ever lived as Christ began his earthly ministry after undergoing 40 days of temptation. Matthew 4:17 -- "From that time Jesus began to PREACH and say, REPENT; for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." These are the first recorded words of our Lord immediately upon returning from being tempted of Satan in
Hear Peter on the day of Pentecost after the upper room experience where the disciples were baptized in the Holy Spirit -- Acts 2:36 & 38 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus whom you have crucified both Lord and Christ." Then Peter said unto them, REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
In this generation Christians have become accustomed to hearing only the sweets of God's word. His negative attributes such as his judgment and wrath and anger are forgotten and outright ignored. We somehow have fallen into a pattern that surely is abominable to the Lord God Almighty. There are verses of scripture that the church would do well to paste over its doors and then in the hearts of its people -- Jude 22 and 23 -- "And of some have compassion, making a difference, AND OTHERS SAVE WITH FEAR, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." -- Paul tells us "Therefore knowing the TERROR of the Lord we persuade men." -- II Corinthians 5:11 and later in Hebrews 12:29 Paul writes, "For our God is a consuming fire."
We have forgotten the examples of Ananias and Saphira who lied to the Holy Spirit and were immediately struck dead and of the time Paul spoke to a "Son of Satan" who was immediately struck blind. We ignore the warnings of scripture that tells us over and over that the unrighteous shall be doomed to eternal punishment, and unrepentant sinners will perish and be forever cast into a lake of fire.
It is far past time that prophets of God (not those promising more coats and boats) but the Elijahs and Elishas of old stand in our midst and declare the Holiness of God in all His manifold attributes and His intolerance toward those who spit upon His gift of grace. We need to proclaim once again that there is a time when those who shut God out of their lives will pass the point of no return as those who hardened themselves and did not
like to retain the knowledge of God as preached in Romans 1:28.
Yes God is love, and those who have received His pardon should never forget that it is His love and mercy that kept us from the wrath we should have justly experienced. Yes
it is God's love and mercy that are renewed to us every morning as told in the book of
Lamentations 3:22 and 23, and we should be eternally grateful for His never-ending faithfulness. --BUT-- God is much more than love and mercy and grace. WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT WE ARE TO TEACH "THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD" not just the parts that we like or that we feel are palatable to those around us in this age of the seeker-friendly church.
Let's get back to preaching the whole Bible - not the fragmented Bible taught in most evangelical circles today! While some will respond to the Love of God, I remember one person who spoke with me years ago who told me this -- "A friend of mine tried to tell me of the Love of God shown through Jesus for 20 years, and I just ignored him and laughed at him. One day in frustration he said to me, if you don't get right with God
before you die you will split Hell wide open! When I realized that I was headed to Hell forever I prayed to received Christ as my Savior." We must remember - "Some save
with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."
There should be a balanced preaching of God's word to this generation - they should
be able to hear of God's love AND God's wrath. We stand guilty of robbing people of what they have the right to hear and what the church has a responsibility to preach.
LET'S CHANGE THE MODERN DAY PREACHING TO BIBLICAL PREACHING! (For
the sake of all who hear). We will have no excuse on the day of judgment if we withhold God's Word from those who need to hear it as it is written!