I have been dealing with the love of God, and why it is sometimes overdone and not clearly explained when presenting the Gospel. I receive messages from a few who ask why I don’t preach on the love of God. They say that all I do is preach on judgment and the wrath of God.
First let me say that this is the message that God has called me to deliver, I was called off the mission field to come back to my home country and warn of God’s judgment. Trust me, there are many other things I would love to preach on. We are in very serious times and many churches are not preaching the full Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are gently exhorting people rather than warning them of the judgment.
We have come to have a political correctness mentality, not only in the political and business worlds, but also in many churches. As a result we are creating false converts. A false convert is someone who believes that they have entered into the gate that leads them to life, but they are entering with their self-righteousness and their good deeds, and they believe they are going to earn God’s favor by being a good person. they believe that they have not offended God with their sin and they are not deserving of God’s wrath.
It was preached by the great preachers of yesterday that people must be brought to an understanding of their horrible condition before God. They must be made aware of how serious their condition is.
Let me explain it this way, if you go to the doctor you don’t want him to sugarcoat the danger that you are in. If yo have a serious condition you would want him to clearly explain how bad your situation is. You need to know the remedy, but before you can understand why the remedy is needed you need to understand the problem.
I would like to remind you of some quotes I gave you yesterday. John Wesley said:
Before I can preach love, joy, and peace, I must preach death, sin, and judgment.
He exhorted the preachers of the Gospel to preach 90% the law, and 10% grace. Spend your time explaining to the lost their sin. Help them realize that there is no hope for them with their self-righteousness, that their righteousnesses are as filthy rages before God (Isaiah 64:6). They need to understand that before God they are not a good person and they are deserving of God’s wrath and judgment.
Once they understand this, they need to be told that there is a remedy for their sinful condition. They are not ready for the remedy until they fully understand their sinful condition.
If I were to go to the doctor, and he told me I had cancer and he was going to rip me open from here to here and do this and that and I have about a 40% chance and he goes right into this without first explaining the problem I will say, wait a minute, I want a second opinion. But if he takes is time to explain that they have run some tests and he has consulted with other doctors, if he shows me the evidence and explains the situation, and says I have a problem, but the good news is we can fix it, he won’t have to spend much time convincing me that I need the remedy.
Charles Finney, the American revival preacher of the 1800’s said:
Evermore the law must prepare the way for the Gospel. To overlook this in instructing souls is almost certain to result in false hope, the introduction of a false standard of Christian experience, and to fill the church with false converts. Time will make this plain.
Martin Luther said:
If you do not use the law in Gospel proclamation, you will fill the church with false converts.
This is why in Matthew Chapter 7 these hard words:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)
Notice that we are dealing with many, not a few. Chapter 7 is a chapter of dichotomies and paradoxes. It starts by talking about a speck of dust in someones eye and comparing it with a beam. It compares bread with stones, sheep with wolves, a wide gate and a narrow gate, good fruit and bad fruit, a rock and sand, a wise and a foolish man.
I want to draw your attention to to verse 13 because I think it holds the explanation of what causes one to become a false convert.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Notice the spelling of the word “strait,” it is not straight like a straight line. It is a nautical term, and it means for a narrow passage like the Bering Straits between Russia and Alaska, the Straits of Dover, the Straits of Gibraltar, and so forth.
The Bible tells us to enter in at the strait gate, because wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction. It tells us that many will go in at the broad gate and follow the wide path. Not many will find the narrow gate that leads to life.
In this passage we have two different gates and two different destinations. We have life, which is Heaven, and destruction, which is Hell. We also have two different quantities, many and few.
Who do you think benefits from the wide gate? It is the Devil. He hates man because man was created in the image of God. He wants us destroyed and he will use deceit to do so.
Do you suppose the Devil has a sign on the wide gate that says “Enter this way and you will find destruction?” Or “Come this way and it will lead you to Hell.” Of course not! The Bible says that he is the deceiver and he is the father of lies. He will tell us that his way is the way to Heaven. He will say we don’t have to give up our good works, our sin, our pleasures, etc. Just come his way and it will be much more enjoyable. He will tell you that his church and his worship is more fun. He will say we don’t have to be like those “holy joes” over there, those Bible thumpers, you can come and have a good time with us.
This gate has many different religions, and we can choose the one we want. Today 1.7 billion Muslims are following the lie of the Devil and are entering a gate that they think will lead them to life and will get them to heaven. There are also many under the name of Christianity, who think they can earn their way with their good works and by being good people, and who don’t think they need to repent and humble themselves before God. They will all enter in at the wide gate thinking it leads to life, but it won’t get them there.
There is an interesting parallel passage in the Gospel of Luke.
Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (Luke 13:24)
I can hear some of our Reformed friends, who believe that some are chosen to salvation and some are chosen to damnation, saying I told you so. I don’t believe this is a biblical teaching because the Bible ells us that God is not willing that any should parish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Also, if man can’t resist the will of God why do we have the following passage?
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37)
You see, we can resist God’s will.
Let me tell you why you must strive to enter in at the strait gate. This means that you have to admit your wretchedness, that you are deserving of God’s wrath, and humble yourselves before God.
When I started changing some of the questions I used in my soul-winning and presenting the law, it changed the results. When I started using the Ten Commandments to show that they are guilty before God people started coming under real conviction. I asked if they had ever lied, ever stolen anything, or ever had an impure thought. I pointed out that if they only did something like this once a day, that would be 365 sins against God a year. If a person is only 20 years old, it would amount to thousands of times they had broken God’s law.
I would ask them if God were to judge you, would he find you guilty of breaking the Ten Commandments? They would admit that He would. I would then ask them if God finds them guilty of breaking the Ten Commandments, would you send you to Hell, or would He let you into Heaven?
Many of those to whom I asked this question, almost 99% of them, would say that God would not send them to Hell. They would say those weren’t sins, they were mistakes.
We have to make people understand how wretched their sin is before a holy God. This is why we preach on judgment and the law. Most people are not ready to learn about the love of God because they don’t understand how serious their situation is before God.
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