Monday, November 06, 2006

"Hell is real and wrath is awful and Christ is glorious"

I was listening to John Piper recently and he was preaching about the exclusivity of the gospel and of Christ, something that all Christians should be passionate about. Actually, perhaps one of the ways to find out if someone truly understands the gospel is to proclaim the exclusivity of Christ and then deal with their reaction. If they hesitate and argue that there are other ways to God, then this person doesn’t understand the gospel and most likely isn’t saved. I say this, and it’s true, because the “Jesus” that saves someone alongside a Judaism that saves, a Hinduism that saves, or an Islam that saves is not the Jesus of the Bible and therefore he has no power to save that person…because he isn’t real!

The real Jesus, the only Jesus of the Bible, is exclusive in His saving work. He does it through Himself alone. Faith in any other system or faith in a Jesus who is not totally exclusive in Salvation is not saving faith.

“so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” - John 5:23

“Here’s a paraphrase of that: If you do not worship Jesus, you do not worship God. That sentence will get you killed in some countries today; and in this city it will get you scorned, big-time. Because there are tens of thousands of Jews and tens of thousands of Muslims, and none of them honor the Son. You see when you really say the text for what it says, we’re in trouble. Do we realize (this is a mission driven church!), do you realize how offensive missions is?

What is missions if worship is this: If you do not worship Jesus, you do not worship God! Call Him Elohim; call Him Adonai; call Him Allah; call Him Gott; call Him Deos; call Him God; call Him what you will. If you don’t worship Jesus, you don’t worship God.

He who does not honor the son, does not honor the Father. Or in 1 John 2:23, He who has the Son has the Father. He who has not the Son has not the Father. Jesus said it right out to the Pharisees who knew the whole Old Testament by heart and went to the temple worshiping every day. ‘They don’t know Him,’ He said. So what should we say today in Guinea? What should we say today in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Tunesia, Japan, North Korea, China, South Vietnam, Indonesia? What do we say? ‘Oh, you know God. You all know God. You’re all getting to Him in various ways.’ Well let’s just close up shop at Bethlehem if that’s what we’re going to say. What we’re going to say is ‘Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief, and I would like to share the best news in the world with you because there is no other escape from the wrath of God. Trust His Son, Jesus, who died that you might live. And if you don’t trust Him, you perish.

That made some people very angry here a few weeks ago. And it will make them more angry in the years to come because pluralism is going to get more and more the norm. Tolerance will become the law, and anybody who not only refuses to act in a tolerant way but speak in a tolerant way will be accused of hate mongering which leads to violence which puts you in jail.

So just decide, you can jump ship right now if you want to be a pluralist and say that ‘all religions are equal and we’re all on our way to God through various “saviours,”’ because when the pressure comes, you’re going to jump ship, if that’s your mind. You may as well jump now, and keep the church more pure. How many of you are spending your life doing something that counts. [There are] a lot of students in this room, you haven’t made up your mind yet, and I want to say [this] to even those who have made up their mind: If your job is letting you down in terms of significance… change it! There are ten thousand jobs available that are significant. Now, I don’t think that everybody should be a missionary, I’ve made that plain. But if you’re job makes you feel useless – day in and day out – change it! Come on, take some risk with your life, for goodness sake. You only have a few seconds left on this earth. And you students, you aren’t stuck anywhere yet. Dream a dream that counts, don’t dream about the American dream. Don’t dream about the house in the suburbs and the wife and the kids and the cars and the computers and the retirement and the vacations and all the accruements of refrigeration and electricity and heat and 911. Dream a real dream! Because Hell is real and wrath is awful and Christ is glorious. And one soul saved, as C.S. Lewis said, is worth more than the preservation of every classic that has ever been written.”1

1 “Much More Shall We Be Saved By His Life” a sermon by John Piper originally delivered on December 12, 1999 on Romans 5:9-11.


St. Michael the Archangel said...

I agree, Hell is aweful, many of the great saints have had ghastly visions of hell and its occupants. I wonder where old Ted Haggerty will go when he dies... oh wait... he's already saved so I guess it doesn't matter what he did, he's not going to hell.

EJ said...

God is a forgiving God who reconciles sinners to Himself. Whether Haggerty is saved or not, I don't know. But he can be saved from his sin and perversion...just like Anthony Mercieca, the Roman Catholic priest who molested Mark Foley and other little boys...right Michael? May God be glorified in bringing these men to salvation and making them new creations.

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