"Promises and Warnings"
A noted scientist recently died. He professed atheism during his earthly lifetime, but reliable reports from the Other Side confirm he realized his error immediately upon his death. The gentleman often ridiculed any notion of the universe existing as the special creation of God. He knows better now, but how tragically sad that he discovered his error far too late for escape from "the wrath to come" (I Thessalonians 1:10).
The bridge is out, as it were, over the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). The Lord Jesus Christ who alone spans the gulf to enable our passage to Heaven spoke as often about judgment to come as He did about the promise of eternal life. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). Our Lord loved people enough to tell them the full measure of Biblical truth. We must join our Him as heralds who present both the promises and warnings of the Gospel. It is just as loving to warn that the bridge is out as it is to share the Lord Jesus as our only hope of crossing over into eternal redemption rather than everlasting rejection.
There is, however, a caveat regarding our honest declaration of both grace offered and wrath to come.
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth" (II Timothy 2:24-25).
A preacher of old once stated, "No man should preach about judgment to come without a broken heart and tears in his eyes." Indeed, the firmer the message, the gentler must be our attitude as we share it. The truth of God's judgment is more than weighty enough to instill the proper fear in those who hear. The lionkeeper has no need to be angry or harsh as he opens the cage to free the one who will represent himself without need of help. We need not strive because the Holy Spirit and His Truth will apply whatever intensity of application is required to press home the message of coming judgment to human hearts. The Word of God is itself a sword, "the sword of the Spirit" that pierces through all darkness to give Truth its effectual passage into human hearts (Ephesians 6:17). Some will respond well. Others won't. We must accept that fact, and be sure that it does not affect our communication of the Gospel, and of the proper demeanor and attitude as we declare both its promises and its warnings.
"When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."
"Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."
Weekly Memory Verse
Give us help from trouble, for vain is the help of man.