Fire: God So Far by James Merritt

Fire: God So Far
James Merritt
01-07-07
Isaiah 6:1-9


INTRODUCTION

1. ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO THERE WAS A FASCINATING SURVEY THAT TOOK PLACE WITH SEVEN LEADING THEOLOGICAL SEMINARIES IN AMERICA. THOUSANDS OF THEOLOGICAL STUDENTS, TRAINING FOR THE MINISTRY, WERE SURVEYED TO FIND OUT WHAT DID THESE FUTURE PASTORS, PROFESSORS AND PREACHERS BELIEVE ABOUT GOD, ABOUT JESUS AND ABOUT THE BIBLE? THE SURVEY BEGAN WITH THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL FOUNDATIONAL QUESTION ABOUT THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL FOUNDATIONAL SUBJECT - GOD HIMSELF.

2. BOTH THE QUESTIONS AND THE ANSWERS WERE EXTREMELY REVEALING. THE SEMINARIANS WERE GIVEN A CHOICE BETWEEN TWO STATEMENTS ABOUT GOD.
(1) "GOD'S LOVE INCLUDES ALL PEOPLE; HIS DESIRE IS THAT ALL SHOULD KNOW HIM."
(2) "GOD IS HOLY; EVIL WILL NOT TRIUMPH."
WHEN ASKED WHICH STATEMENT THEY PREFERRED AS THEIR FOUNDATIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF GOD, 80.3% OF THE SEMINARIANS PREFERRED STATEMENT NUMBER ONE. ONLY 18.5% INDICATED A PREFERENCE FOR STATEMENT FOR NUMBER TWO.

3. SEVERAL STUDENTS WROTE THEY DIDN'T LIKE HAVING TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE TWO STATEMENTS SINCE THEY BELIEVED BOTH WERE TRUE, BUT THE QUESTION WAS DESIGNED TO INVESTIGATE THEIR FOUNDATIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF GOD AND BY 4-TO-1 THEY CHOSE THE GOD OF LOVE OVER THE GOD OF HOLINESS.

4. WE ARE BEGINNING A TWO PART SERIES ON GOD THAT I AM GOING TO CALL, "FIRE AND ICE." FIRE REPRESENTS THE GOD WHO IS HOLY AND ICE REPRESENTS THE GOD WHO IS LOVE, BUT I WANT YOU TO NOTICE THE ORDER IN WHICH THESE MESSAGES ARE GOING TO BE DELIVERED. I AM GOING TO TALK FIRST ABOUT THE HOLINESS OF GOD BECAUSE I BELIEVE THE BIBLE CLEARLY TEACHES THAT IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL OTHER BELIEF ABOUT GOD.

5. FRANKLY, THE 21ST CENTURY PREDOMINANT VIEW OF GOD WOULD ONLY PREACH A ONE-PART MESSAGE. THAT VIEW WOULD ALLOW FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, BUT IT WOULD IGNORE THE HOLINESS OF GOD. WE ARE LIVING IN A DAY WHEN THE CULTURE WANTS TO BRING GOD DOWN TO ITS LEVEL, SO WE TALK ABOUT A HAPPY GOD, WHO TOLERATES ALL SIN AND I ...


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