Preaching the Hell Sermon

Screenshot 2015-10-08 at 1.39.55 PMI have been the pastor of Unity Baptist Church for one year. (We have an anniversary luncheon coming up this Sunday as a matter of fact.) I have preached 51 of the past 52 consecutive Sunday services without preaching a sermon on hell. It may have come up but was never the subject. The Master’s Table has been online since 2008 and there is not a post with hell in the title. And when I did finally preach that sermon (link here for those interested) it was a message about heaven, hell and an exhortation to share the Gospel. Continue reading

Advertisements

Should “Love Your Neighbor” Be Subject to Interpretation?

God, hell, sign Take at look at this church sign. This was posted in front of a small church in Norfolk (England, not Virginia). Would you be offended? Even if you were not a believer, would you consider taking action against the church? A passerby was offended but then it gets really weird. Robert Gladwin, age 20, called the police to complain:

“It is my basic understanding that Christianity is inclusive and loving in nature. The message being displayed outside of the church could not be further from the often uttered phrase ‘love thy neighbour’.” Continue reading

Three Scriptures on the Incarnation

Four verses from Philippians, two from Hebrews.  Each describe the voluntary act of Jesus humbling himself to the Father’s will.  Each describe him as smaller, weaker or lower than his original state, and each ends in death.  But as far as we are concerned, his death was his greatest moment.  He tasted death so that none of us have to.  Death that is separation from the body maybe, but not the death that is total separation from God.  And he defeated the one with the power of death, that is the devil.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
(Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
(Hebrews 2:9 ESV)

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
(Hebrews 2:14 ESV)

Continue reading

The Illusion

I grew up in the 80’s.  Before David Blaine and Chris Angel there was David Copperfield.  Over the course of several prime time specials he made the Statue of Liberty disappear, walked through the Great Wall of China and escaped from Alcatraz.  Part of his appeal came from his sense of humor and showmanship on stage, but people tuned in to see the “magic.”  The magic of course was really illusion; he wasn’t really sawed in half on stage.  But you know what they say – Seeing is believing.

It is so easy to believe what we see.  Illusion, special effects and camouflage all depend on it.  That very fact can also get us into trouble at times.  We had to see bacteria with a microscope before germ theory really caught on, and there’s an ever-present warning in your side mirror not to believe exactly what you see (objects are closer than they appear).  We all know there is more going on than can be seen. Wind, gravity, magnetism, microbes, radiation, DNA and so on cannot be seen, but we either perceive their effects through other senses or else detect them with scientific devices.  The earth appears flat, and the sun seems to move across the sky from east to west.  Our understanding is no longer limited to what we can see with our eyes; but the tendency to do so will always be there. Continue reading

The Read and Share File

It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to share.  Here’s what this writer has been reading:

9 Marks offers tips on leading the church in a healthy direction.  Read them here.

Tim Challies is doing a series on the holiness of God.

Ray Ortland suggests that small talk has a place in ministry.  While I agree, I’m not totally sure that’s what happened in Acts 10:27.  Read The Astonishing Amiability and see what you think.

Continue reading

The Importance of the Resurrection

Jesus, resurrectionThere was a time I wondered why so much emphasis was placed on the resurrection.  Jesus died on the cross as the all-sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world.  Even if there had been no resurrection, his sacrificial death would have brought salvation; what could be more important than that?

The blood of Jesus was a more excellent sacrifice than that of bulls, sheep and birds.  His death on the cross brought an end to the temple sacrifice system.  The entire Gospel pivots around the cross.  It is the universal symbol of Christianity.  But the implications of resurrection are equally powerful, a fact that I can now appreciate as well.  Continue reading

Tough questions

Some questions I know are going to come up, so I’m prepared to answer. “How do we the Bible is true?” “Does the Bible contradict itself?” “Was the world created in seven days?” I know these are coming, I’ve answered them before, someone will ask them again in the future. But last night some church youth caught me off guard. At first I was stumped because I couldn’t believe high school kids sat around and thought about stuff like this. The question was about the Apostle’s Creed, specifically about Jesus descending into hell. Church youth in a Baptist church ask me if that was true. When I came to, I gave a very political answer that allowed me to avoid saying yes or no. But let’s unpack this issue. Continue reading