A Sanctuary for Saints and Sinners in Need of a Saviour. Luke 18:9-14
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Based on Jonathan Edwards sermon, "Sinners in the hands of an Angry God"
Click on the PDF below to read the original message from July 8th, 1741
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This is the audio of the message read by Max McLean. There are images that may not be appropriate for young children.
This week, we watched the video, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, starting at the 39:22-minute mark thru to the end of the video, or if you’re reading the message, from the end of the first paragraph on page 10 to the end of the message.
Heresy is listed as one of the sins of the flesh that are against your neighbour or brother or sister in the Lord. It’s a stumbling block for the sinner and the saint alike. Galatians 5:20 says; “idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies.”
Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines heresy as this; “from a Greek word signifying (1) a choice, (2) the opinion chosen, and (3) the sect holding the opinion. In the Acts of the Apostles ( 5:17 ; 15:5 ; Isaiah 24:5 Isaiah 24:14 ; 26:5 ) it denotes a sect, without reference to its character. Elsewhere, however, in the New Testament it has a different meaning attached to it. Paul ranks "heresies" with crimes and seditions ( Galatians 5:20 ). This word also denotes divisions or schisms in the church ( 1 Corinthians 11:19 ). In Titus 3:10 a "heretical person" is one who follows his own self-willed "questions," and who is to be avoided. Heresies thus came to signify self-chosen doctrines not emanating from God ( 2 Peter 2:1) .”
The Apostle Peter says this about destructive doctrines and heresies in 2 Peter 2:1-10; “2 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction [a]does not slumber. 4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to [b]hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of [c]dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.”
Some key words here today are destruction, lawlessness, presumptuous and self-willed and there is nothing good about them, especially in the church. Heresy is a destroyer of the church. It’s a self-willed gospel that comes from the heart of man and not from the Bible doctrines of the Apostles. We read that there is also doom for those who preach heresy. How many times have you seen in the church in general, men and women rising up with destructive heresies, despising the church authority, being presumptuous and self-will with doctrines of vain imagination birthed in the flesh?
We are taught to admonish those who are teaching heresy, and if they don’t repent, we are to reject them as brothers or sisters in the Lord. Titus 3:9-11 says to do this; “9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.”
The Apostle John also says in 2 John 7-11; “7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that [a]we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 9 Whoever [b]transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”
This is very serious! You’re not even to greet them nor let them into your house. The very clear reason as to why is that you’ll share in their evil deeds! Not even an ‘hello’ or ‘how are you today?’ greeting. How many Christians today are disobeying God on Sunday by not being in a local church, but are attending the Church of me, myself and I at home, more than willing to tune into the radio, TV or internet and listen to some false teacher promising them eternal security? They’re forsaking the assembling of themselves together with the saints, yet they’ll listen to lies and heresies.
The doctrine of eternal security is just one of the many heresies that are presently being taught in Christian churches, but the list of heresies being preached today is numerous.
Peter warns about the deceptions of false teachers in 2 Peter 2:18-19; “18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who [a]have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of [b]corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into [c]bondage.”
What one would think is liberty when listening to heretical teachers, is actually bondage. The doctrine of eternal security, “once saved always saved” is a good example of heresy that is to be rejected.
So the next time you turn the Christian Radio on and a preacher comes on that is an eternal security teacher, you’re supposed to not allow it into your home or your body, turn it off and don’t listen to it. It doesn’t matter the other good things they may be preaching, if they’re preaching eternal security, turn them off.
In 2 Peter 2:20-22, Peter continues saying this; “20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
This clearly deals with those who have been born again and then have been snared, trapped and overcome by the world again and do not repent; their latter end is worse. This is for a Christian in a backslidden state as well as for those who’ve fallen out of fellowship with the saints in church, but swallow the deceptions of media based heretical preachers instead. Peter gives a very vivid picture of how they are seen by God’s eyes; as a dog returning to its vomit and a pig back in the muck and mire.
You see, Jesus cleaned you, filled you with His Holy Spirit, you’re born again, living a sanctified life and resisting the sins of the flesh. But when the devil lures you to start listening to an eternal security preacher, you cast off restraint to where daily sanctification is not adhered too and engaging in the sins of the flesh doesn’t bring conviction as it used to. You give up working out your salvation, because according to the preacher, it doesn’t matter if you backslide or not, you’re saved. It’s heresy. Faith without works is dead, you’re to work out your salvation with fear and trembling and you’re to be and live holy as God is holy.
The writer of Hebrews is also very clear when he says in Hebrews 6:4-6; “4 For it is impossiblefor those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 [a]ifthey fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”
Very grave and sombre words to those who backslide into false doctrines and to those who teach heresyfrom their own self-will and don’t agree with what the Bible clearly says. That’s why it’s so important to not allow your ears to be tickled with false doctrine teachers in the media, but to stay in church where you’ll fellowship with brothers and sisters, you’ll sit under the anointing of God’s word being preached, you’ll have the gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation and you’ll be built up and edified.
Jesus taught this about the wheat and tares in Matthew 13:24-30; “24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Tares resemble wheat. Jesus is saying that there are those who ‘look like’ Christians in the church, but are not.
Jesus explains this parable in Matthew 13:36-43; “36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
This is so easy now to understand how someone who has tasted and seen the things of the Lord, observed the working of the Holy Spirit etc., and then start listening to some ‘tare’ teaching false doctrines from their own vain imaginations so that it’s end will lead you down a road of destruction and ultimately separate you from God for eternity.
When you listen to heresy and participate in it, when you’re not even to greet a heretic let alone embrace their teaching and by it share in their evil deeds; there is severe judgment that ensues. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. All it takes is the ear gate to open a little for some juicy morsel of heresy teaching to enter that will entice you and put a hook in your jaw. The doctrines of truth that you once clung to you’re now rejecting, becoming deaf to them because of your backslidden state.
That’s why Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23; “21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary says the following about this scripture; “Those that go no further in Christ’s service than a bare profession, he does not accept, nor will he own them in the great day. See from what a height of hope men may fall into the depth of misery! How they may go to hell, by the gates of heaven! This should be an awakening word to all Christians. If a preacher, one that cast out devils, and wrought miracles, be disowned of Christ for working iniquity; what will become of us, if we be found such? And if we be such, we shall certainly be found such. At God’s bar, a profession of religion will not bear out any man in the practice and indulgence of sin; therefore let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from all iniquity.”
How many who have preached eternal security, having deceived countless thousands in every continent in the world, will receive this judgment from Jesus when they die when He says; ‘I never knew you’! They are preachers of lawlessness which is heresy.
Take heed today, that you do not listen to or participate with those who teach heresy.
This week, we watched the video, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, starting at the 32:30-minute mark and ending at the 39:22-minute mark, or if you’re reading the message, read up to the end of the first paragraph on page 10.
We’ve dubbed this message before, ‘Christian Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’, because it’s meant to take a sobering look at the sins of the flesh that many Christians still continue to live in, even after being born again and even filled with the Holy Spirit. We must remember that the Apostle Paul is writing this to the churches of Galatia, not to the Gentile or heathen people. The word ‘practice’ is significant in these verses because it implies repetitive actions, habits, routines or ways that if they are not repented of, those who practice them will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Let’s ponder this scripture again from Galatians 5:19-21; “19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]adultery, [b]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [c]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
In previous messages, it’s been preached about the sins against the 7th Commandment from the 10 Commandments which says; “You shall not commit adultery”, these sins are mentioned above in Galatians as; adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness (lewdness).
We’ve also preached about the sins against the 1st and 2nd Commandments which says; “3You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor [b]serve them.” Those are also mentioned above in Galatians as; idolatry and sorcery.
Last weeks message was about the sin of hatred of our fellow Christians which is one of sins against our neighbours which Jesus summarizes in Mark 12:30-31 by saying; “30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”
The sins of the flesh that can lead to murder in action or by gossip are hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies and envy.
Galatians 5:13-15 says; “13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”
Hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies and envy, are sins of the flesh, that if willfully practiced as a Christian, will keep you out of heaven. To some that may sound legalistic, but is it? The reason why it’s so serious, is that they all lead to murder, either by mouth or by deed. You can slander a brother or sister in the Lord and destroy their name and reputation thru these listed sins of the flesh without actually murdering them. That’s why it’s so serious a matter that if practiced, it will lead to what the scripture says, “that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”.
The sins of the flesh are just normal for the non-Christian as they’re behaving like their father the devil, and that’s why they are under Gods wrath already. But when you become a Christian, you can no longer practice the sins of the flesh, you’ve come out of the kingdom of darkness, the devil is no longer your father, and it’s unacceptable to continue to behave like him.
That’s why practicing these sins of the flesh against your Christian brother or sister are so serious a matter, it’s because you are behaving like non-Christians who are under God’s wrath. All of us were under God’s wrath until we became born again where Jesus came into our heart by the Holy Spirit, taking Lordship of our life. But now, we must crucify the flesh and its passions and desires.
James 3:13-18 is a scripture we’ve used a lot but the Lord keeps on directing us to preach it as it talks about heavenly versus demonic wisdom; “13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and [a]self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Galatians 5:22-26 talks about this heavenly wisdom as the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life; “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [a]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
So the next time you’re tempted to gossip about your Christian brother or sister, with hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy and murders; take the way of escape found in the Bible, and quote the scriptures to the devil that is tempting you to murder with your mouth.
You do have the authority as a Christian to resist the devil and his temptations. As Jesus said when he was tempted; ‘it is written…”, so you’re to do the same when you’re tempted by the devil. The word of God, the Bible, is your sword. You submit to God and His word and you resist the devil by quoting Bible verses that pertain to the temptations.
James 1:21-26 talks about being doers of the word and not hearers only; “21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and [a]overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone [b]among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”
There is protocol in the Christian life to be blessed and the Apostle James made it very clear. When you’re a doer of the perfect law of liberty, you’re blessed! But your religion is useless if you cannot bridle your tongue and by it deceive your heart. If you continue to walk in and practice the sins of the flesh toward your Christian brothers and sisters, your religion is useless because you’re a hearer only of God’s word but not a doer of it. It doesn’t matter if you go to church, tithe faithfully, participate in prayer meetings and outreaches, give to missions etc.; if you don’t bridle your tongue and continue gossiping, slandering and murdering your fellow Christians with your mouth, your religion and all you do in the name of religion or Christianity amounts to zero, it’s useless. It will do nothing for you on judgment day. You will not inherit the kingdom of God.
That’s why the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 5:1-7 to walk in love; “5 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For [a]this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.”
He’s talking to Christians when he says to not partake with the sons of disobedience who are under God’s wrath, because those under his wrath are those who practice the sins of the flesh. It’s pretty clear that bearing the name Christian, means that we are to be Christlike in all our thoughts and actions.
The church in general today has become so lukewarm that it looks extreme and legalistic to act and look like what the Bible says here. But is it? When you hold up the word of God and mirror it to your heart, is it extreme and legalistic? I think not. What’s being preached today in this message is liberty in Christ. It’s not legalism. This is the liberty that Jesus promised to you. But this liberty the devil will pervert and twist to make it look legalistic. What’s being preached today is the liberty and authority of the believer in Christ to abstain from vices of the flesh, but the devil will pervert it to sound like legalism in Christ. Keeping and obeying the word, preaching about the wages of sin and the eternal judgment of wrath on it, some Christians will call legalistic. Men and women in the pulpit are saying it’s legalistic, but when in reality it’s exactly the opposite, it’s true liberty and authority in Christ as a believer.
1 John 3:10-15 talks about the imperative of love; “10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love [a]his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
How many Christians are murdering their fellow believers with their mouths, for the same reason that Cain murdered Able, being their works are unrighteous and their fellow believers are righteous? The world or unbelievers, will hate you as a Christian and that’s just normal. They’re acting like their father the devil because they’re in his kingdom. But as a Christian it’s abnormal for you to hate your fellow brother or sister in Christ.
The sign today that you’ve passed from death to life is that you love your brothers and sisters in the Lord. You don’t act out any of the sins of the flesh toward them because you love them in Christ. You pray for them, even in their short comings. You abide in death if you do not love your fellow Christian and in Jesus’ eyes are considered a murderer. There is no eternal life for you.
Have you been practicing any of the following sins of the flesh towards your brother or sister in Christ that we’ve talked about? If so, you need to repent of them today and receive forgiveness. It’s asking Jesus to forgive you of the thoughts, for saying what you said in private or to them personally and for carrying it in your heart. These sins lead to murder committed with your mouth and can ruin your fellow Christians reputation and destroy their lives.
1 John 1:8-9 says this; “8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This is what’s available to anyone who confesses their sins to Jesus. Forgiveness. The blood that He shed covers a multitude of sins. He removes them from us as far as the east is from the west. But you have to confess them and not continue to practice them. We see the judgment that comes on Christians who continue in practicing the deeds of the flesh.
The devil is not going relent in tempting you with these sins until you go on to be with the Lord. They’ll want to divide you and the body of Christ, to get you divided with your brother and sister in the Lord. But you must resist the temptations every time they come. The devil’s plan is to rob, steal and destroy. Jesus’ plan is to give you life and life more abundantly.
We say this repetitively; it’s not God’s will that anyone perish and spend eternity separated from Him, but if you’re behaving like you’re under the wrath of God by acting and practicing the sins of the flesh, God has no choice but to send you to hell for eternity.
Remember what James says in James 1:21-26; “21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and [a]overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone [b]among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”
God is righteous, just and holy.