Weekly Devotional 7-31-23 Fire and Brimstone
Years ago, I overheard a conversation about television preachers and Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power was mentioned. One of the group said that out of the many television preachers that he has heard on television he preferred Mr. Schuller above most of them. Another of the group said, “Ah yes, he is not one of these fire and brimstone preachers.” Immediately I thought of Jesus words recorded in Mathew 16:26, “26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Many people today are like my friend mentioned above, they would prefer a message that soothes their conscience or builds them up psychologically rather than a message that speaks of their plight; that man without God is lost and headed toward eternal separation from Him. Now, I am not ridiculing Mr. Schuller since I don’t know what he was doing behind the scenes. He may very well have been ministering to people’s spiritual needs, serving the Lord in a way that was pleasing to Him. However, in the weekly broadcast of the Hour of Power there was a great potential for many to be misled into thinking that they were right with God. People need to know that because of sin they are separated from God and will be cast forever out of His presence unless God’s judgment against that sin is satisfied. Schuller’s broadcasted messages centered on God’s love, seldom on His holiness which demands that sin be paid for. Back in Genesis, God warned Adam that if he disobeyed His command he would on that very day, at that very moment, die toward Him. The record tells us that Adam did disobey, and that he did die spiritually toward God at that very moment. The record reports that Adam, and his wife Eve, having disobeyed God tried to hide themselves from Him. They were not only separated from their creator because of their disobedience but wanted to be. Mr. Schuller seldom dealt with that truth in his sermons. While one may have felt good about himself after listening to Mr. Schuller, the content of his sermons did not lead one to an understanding of his sin and the need of forgiveness; of his need of being made right before Holy God, his creator. Paul in his letter to the Romans testifies that…… “ 10There is none righteous, no, not one;11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12) People need to know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and that “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). They also need to be told that by their own efforts they cannot measure up to God’s demand of holiness, only Jesus can accomplish that for them. Paul writing of this in his letter to the Ephesians, wrote; “8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
With this same truth in mind the writer of Hebrews wrote, “9:28 So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. 5Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.’ 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’ 8Previously saying, ‘Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them’(which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 9:28-10:14).
This is the message that all preachers and teachers of God’s word must proclaim. This is the only message that will deliver men from spiritual death.
Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of Man