This is the sermon for Sunday, September 4th, 2011.
Bless God part 6.
The Lord gives, the Lord takes; blessed be the name of the Lord.
This is the sixth sermon in our topical series entitled, “Bless God: God, hell, heaven, and the chief end of man.”
This sermon is going to be dealing with the topic of suffering and comfort, by introducing the concept of both eternal reward and eternal punishment, using the book of Job as a guide.
Suffering is not a delightful subject to deal with. The fact is, none of us like to suffer. Some well meaning, though deceived Christians believe that it is wrong for Christians to suffer in this life; and if you do, it is because of some present sin in your life or a lack of faith. While others focus on an overemphasis of suffering in the life of a believer; they believe it is the only way to really experience the presence of God and His favor in your life if you suffer greatly for His name.
This sermon is not about the suffering we endure and the comfort we can experience in this life, but the next.
As we will be dealing with Heaven and Hell in this series – these actually fall along this category of suffering and comfort. Later we will be dealing with each subject more specifically, but for now I want to just introduce two concepts to build a foundation for us for when we deal with the questions that are related to heaven and hell.
First, I want us to look into the life of Job. Let’s look at him and then we will unpack this idea of suffering being a foundation to the doctrines of heaven and hell.
Job – the man.
Scripture reveals to us that Job was a godly man.
Job 1:1 ESV – There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
I don’t think that Scripture could say anything more positive about someone other than what it reveals about Job here.
First it says He was blameless: This doesn’t mean he lived in absolute perfection before God, but that he was consistent in his walk before Him. Notice a couple of OT passages.
Job 9:20 ESV – Though I am in the right, my own mouth would condemn me; though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 ESV – Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
Though Job, compared with other people may have appeared to be blameless in all his ways; before a holy God however, he was a sinner. While this is true, Job still loved God.
Next we see that he feared God and kept away from evil: Job wasn’t one who pursued sinned and lived as he pleased, but pursued God in order to please Him.
Job was a man who loved his children and interceded for them.
Job 1:5 ESV – And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
It is God who introduces Job before Satan and allows Satan to test Him (verses 8-12).
Then, finally, we see Job lose it all (verses 13-19).
It is here, we see that Job refuses to curse God, but instead submits to His lordship and says something powerful.
Job 1:20-21 ESV – 20Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
When reading this, it can seem so unfair for God to allow this to happen. But in reality, God was being both just and later gracious in His dealings with Job. Why can I say this? Well notice what the book of Job says much later.
First, Job repented before God.
Job 42:5-6 ESV – 5I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
God restored to Job a double portion of everything he lost.
Job 42:10 ESV – And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
In all that Job both lost and had restored, God’s name was to be blessed.
So as we consider the doctrines of heaven and hell within this series, I want to build on these truths discovered in the book of Job as a foundation when we endeavor to look into those subjects.
God’s name is blessed in the salvation of the repentant.
There is an important truth that Scripture reveals about why Jesus came.
This truth is revealed in Luke 19 whenever Jesus has an encounter with the tax collector Zacchaeus.
Luke 19:10 ESV – For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
When Jesus came, the first message He proclaimed after His baptism and temptation was one of repentance.
Matthew 4:17 ESV – From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
This also was the message that Jesus told His disciples to proclaim as well.
Luke 24:46-48 ESV – 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
The fact is, it glorifies the name of the Lord for sinners to repent and receive the forgiveness of their sins.
It is such a joyous thing to see when people are converted by the power of the Gospel being preached.
But there is another truth as well.
God’s name is blessed in the punishment of the non-repentant.
Because God is just and holy, He will rightly judge and eternally punish those who refuse to repent of their sins and wickedness.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 ESV – 8 …in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might…
Hebrews 10:26-31 ESV – 26For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
God judging sinners in their unrepentant sin brings Him glory, it shows the triumph of Christ over Satan and mankind’s fallen nature.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who gives mercy, salvation, and grace; it is also the Lord Jesus Christ who will punish all the unrepentant with the awesome terror of His coming. May His named be forever praised.