Dead Men Walking

Posted: September 29, 2018 by keystoneyouth in Strange Encounters Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Pet Peeves – Things that Make You Irrationally Angry

 Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 7.25.11 PMIntroduction:

  • There are certain passages in the Old Testament that people may point to in order to show a problem with God.
  • They are passages where we encounter God’s anger. On the surface, it might seem like God gets irrationally angry and does horrible things.
  • I want to take a look at a couple of these encounters tonight to see if that’s true, or to see if there’s something else they might be teaching us.

Big Idea: We don’t appreciate God’s grace until we appreciate His anger.

Main Points:

  • God’s anger is aimed at sin.
  • We assume God’s grace is ordinary.
  •  Jesus gets what we deserve, and we get what we don’t deserve.

  • Read Leviticus 10:1-2
    • Wait a second? Did you just read what I read? God just killed two men.
    • And why did he kill them? Because they offered unauthorized incense on a fire. What does that mean?? All we can be sure of is that they did something God had earlier commanded them not to.
    • So he killed them on the spot?? It’s not like they’re serial killers or child abusers. They just offered an incense they weren’t supposed to… and God burned them to death?
  • Read 2 Samuel 6:5-9
    • Hold on! This wasn’t even offering the wrong incense. This is a man trying to keep this precious symbol of God’s presence from hitting the ground and getting muddy…and God simply kills him on the spot.
    • Sure, Uzzah knew that he shouldn’t touch the Ark, but did he deserve to die?
  • Is this really what God is like? Is he a monster? How do we make sense of these passages?
  • I think we need to look at these passages and ask a couple basic questions: What do they teach us about God? What do they teach us about ourselves? And what do they teach us about God’s plans?
    • By the way, these are always three good questions to ask when we read the Bible.

God’s anger is aimed at sin.

  • We can’t ignore the fact that wrath is a characteristic of God. The Bible simply won’t let us paint the picture of a God who pats us on the back and says, “You just be you and do whatever feels good.”
  • God’s anger is aimed at sin. He is like an expert hunter who has sin in his crosshairs. And that leaves us in an unsettling position as sinners.
  • But, God’s anger is not a fickle. He is not prone to throw temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. His anger is different than ours.
    • If you want to see me get really angry… give me a piece of Ikea furniture to put together. I know, it’s ridiculous. But I hate Ikea furniture. Because it always ends up taking longer than it should for me to put it together. And I always mess something us. Just ask my wife, I’ve been known to grumble, complain, and even throw screwdrivers across the room when putting Ikea furniture together (Sorry if you thought your youth pastor is perfect. I’m not).
    • See my anger can be very fickle. I get angry when I don’t get my way or something doesn’t go how I planned it to.
    • Some of you have perhaps experienced that type of anger from someone close to you and so the idea that God gets angry is immediately offensive to you because you associate it with that.
  • But that’s not what God’s anger is like. His anger is permanently directed against sin because sin represents all that is wrong with this world.
  • It is actually good news that God gets angry. He gets angry with everything that creates a mess of his world.
    • How many of you play sports? What would it be like to play a game against your biggest rival without any referee?
    • If you play soccer (or any sport) you expect the referee to “punish” any foul in the game because fouls are not the way the game is supposed to be played. Referees are supposed to be opposed to all that is not good in the game (dangerous tackles, shoving, hair pulling, biting, etc) And we expect the referee to be fair.
  • But here is our complaint, and our problem. We look at these stories and other examples (the flood, Jericho, etc) and say, “That’s not fair!” How could God kill someone for such a minor offense.
  • And the very fact that this is our reaction shows that we have taken God’s grace for granted.

We assume God’s grace is ordinary.

  • Let’s define God’s grace as anything he gives to us that we don’t deserve.
  • If we are become so used to getting what we don’t deserve from God, then we get shocked when he actually gives people what they deserve.
  • I want you to picture a scenario with me.
    • Picture will me that your parents give you a cellphone, tablet, or computer. And they tell you from the start, you can’t take this into your room when you go to bed. And if you do, we are going to take it from you for a week.
    • Instead, the first night you have your new piece of technology, you try to sneak it into your room as you are going to bed. You see that your parents were watching you but you’re not sure if they noticed this or not. They don’t say anything to you.
    • So, you keep doing this night after night. And in fact, you get bolder in doing it. You no longer try to hide that you are taking your phone into your bedroom. You know your parents see it, but you are convinced they will never do anything.
    • Then one night after you have laid down on your bed and starting looking at your phone, your parents open the door and simply say, “Give us your phone. We’re taking it away for a week.”
    • What’s your response? “That’s NOT fair! I’ve had my phone in here all the time, and you’ve never done anything about it.
    • Are your parents really being unfair in that case? NO, they are being 100% fair to what they said they would do. They have just been incredibly generous up till this point in not taking your phone away.
  • Let me ask you guys the question, “What do you think we deserve from God? What does he owe us?
  • God says from the start of the Bible that the punishment for sin would is death. And yet from the start he is incredibly slow and patient in actually carrying out that punishment.
  • So, we begin to assume that we no longer deserve death. We begin to assume that our sin isn’t really a big deal and God isn’t ever going to do something about it.
  • These stories in the Bible are there to wake us up to how bad our sin is and to how incredible God’s grace is.
    • They are like being woken up to a loud alarm clock that we have never heard before.
  • See we deserve death because of our sin. And so anything we get apart from death is an act of God’s grace.
    • “That I am drawing breath this morning is an act of divine mercy. God owes me nothing. I owe Him everything. If He allows a tower to fall on my head this afternoon, I cannot claim injustice.” –R.C. Sproul
  • See the question should not be, why would God kill these men? The question should be, why would God ever choose to save anyone? How can God be angry at sin and yet show grace to us, sinners?
  • Isaiah tells us how when he tells us what will happen to Jesus…
  • Isaiah 53:10 – But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants.
  • God planned from the start to crush Jesus – to direct the anger we deserve towards Jesus on the cross.
  • From the start, Jesus was a dead man walking. And he willingly took every step to his death on the cross.

 Jesus gets what we deserve, and we get what we don’t deserve.

  • And as we look to Him in faith, we get to know the incredible God who makes a way for us to be saved.
  • That’s what life is all about – knowing this God who should’ve wiped us out and instead choose to save us.

 So What?

  • Doubt your instincts about God. If we are prone to think, “God must not be like that.” OR “He must be like this.” But we often just make God out to be what we want him to be. Trust what the Bible says about Him, not your instincts.
  • We have a tendency to complain because we think we deserve more. We complain that our parents haven’t given us a phone because everyone else has one, so we clearly deserve one. We complain when we don’t get the spot on a sports team we wanted, because we are convinced we deserve it. We complain things don’t go our way because we are so convinced we deserve to have them go our way. But if we truly believe the gospel, it should kill our continual tendency to complain about what we don’t have. The gospel tells us what we truly deserve, and yet tells us we are given SO much that we don’t deserve in Jesus. Next time you find yourself tempted to complain, consider that.
  • God’s anger is aimed at those who reject Jesus, but his grace is poured out on those who put their faith in Jesus.

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