Small steps in faith

Monday, April 04, 2011

"John 3:16-21"....and Rob Bell's "Love Wins"

These are my notes from yesterday's sermon on 4/2/11

John 3:16 is one of the most well known verses of the Bible. It's often used out of context.
When we look at the word love, we are looking at God's intensity and how God plays out that intensity

The Extravagant Love of God is displayed by....

1. Sending His best. He gives his only son. The word begotten means unique.
You and I get the love of God when we give others our best....not just our leftover extras

2.Removing present and perishing condemnation
We are already's already been decided.
The good news is in Romans..."Now there is no more condemnation for those in Christ
Hell is eternal existence eternity away from the presence of God that's an eternity of suffering
Many in today's generation want to rebel against the talk of Hell because they felt the talk of Hell,fire , and brimstone was pushed at them...but....Jesus talked about Hell...alot
He talked about it with the topics of anger, misplaced fear,our wrong focus, the pharisees and their evangelism
Sometimes we try to lessen it's horrific nature
Rob Bell wrote a book called "Love Wins" Rob doesn't discourage us from reading it but make sure you have your Bible when you read it.
Rob Bell is a pastor and he talks about hard questions that many pastors deal with.
We get enamored with the questions, but sometimes the answers he provides don't add up.
2Corinthinians 10:5
Teachers and Preachers have a mandate to critique opinions to make sure they are of God.

The Approaches taken to lessen the horrific nature of Hell

1. The approach of language.... "well maybe that word doesn't actually mean that" "Maybe it's nuance of a phrase"
When you take this approach, you are on a slippery slope. An example of this is the serpent in the garden of Eden
"Did God really say that?"
In Hebrew Old Testament , there is one word for Hell ...sheol
In Greek New Testament , there are three words..tartaroo(used by Peter), Hades, and Gahenna

Hades..equivalent to Sheol..pit
Intermediate state...redeemed and unredeemed before Christ comes back
Don't get intermediate state confused with purgatory
In Intermediate State...there is no change in stay reedemed or unreedemed
Gahenna.....Jesus uses the term for the valley in SW Jerusalem...the trash dump..Rob Bell points this out but stops there. He fails to tell you that it was known in 2 Kings as the Valley of Son of Hinnom where children were burned.
Jesus uses that concept to talk about the horrific nature of Hell. It's not just a trash dump
perish- everlasting punishment...on andon or just an age? Context always rules
If you use the word everlasting as just an have to use it in that way for goodness as well
Revelation 14-future judgment ..."the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day or night"

2. The approach of History...(the"Oliver Stone" way)
Giving back and breathing in a new narrative
The Apostolic Fathers..a generation after Christ.
Every generation has heretics and heresy
The Bible recalibrates us when we are abusive in theology

3. The Approach of Universalism- everyone goes to heaven
Christian universalism...Jesus wears different masks.
If Jesus redeems, the words are the same...the message is the same.
If you read the doctrines for Hindu,Buddhist,Muslim,Jehovah's Witness,Mormonism....the message is not the same
Faith...hearing through the word of Christ

4. The Approach of's not an eternal existence
In Philippians tells us that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth, and under the earth.

For the questions by Rob Bell as to whether an unfathomable amount of people will exist in Hell and a small number be saved

1. Jesus said so Himself. Matthew 7:13-14 Christ warned against Hell. He didn't use it as a "scare tactic"

2. I remember God's full justice would allow no one in heaven....none of us deserve heaven..we are all sinners and have created treason

3. God's love can't be separated or elevated above his Holiness...God is love but He is also Holy

4. I remember God's love is not done. Revelation 5:9 "..and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation" The message of the gospel will be made known to all...

5. I remember to get back to the work of the gospel
The greatest heresy isn't Rob's us who sit and do nothing to reach the lost.

6. I remember grace...
"Think lightly of Hell and you will soon think lightly of the cross" Charles Spurgeon


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