“FIRE, BRIMSTONE, TENDER GRACE AND WEALTHY REWARDS”

“AGAIN, TRULY I TELL YOU THAT IF TWO OF YOU ON EARTH AGREE ABOUT ANYTHING THEY ASK FOR, IT WILL BE DONE FOR THEM BY MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE GATHER IN MY NAME, THERE AM I WITH THEM.” MATTHEW 18: 19-20 NIV READ EPHESIANS 4:11-25 AND 1JOHN 4:7-12 DOCTRINE DEFINES OUR FAITH. WE ARE USUALLY FIRM IN OUR BELIEFS AND CAN EASILY FIT INTO A SET OF VALUED DOCTRINES. WHEN WE WORSHIP WITH OTHERS OF SIMILAR DOCTRINE, WE CAN SETTLE INTO A COMFORT ZONE. DOCTRINE ALSO DIVIDES US. WHEN GOD CREATED US, HE DID NOT CREATE THE DIFFERENCES IN OUR FAITH. WITH DENOMINATIONS BY THE HUNDREDS, WE ALLOW EVEN THE SLIGHTEST DIFFERENCES TO CREATE ADVERSITY. I HAVE WITNESSED MANY TYPES OF WORSHIP, CONGREGATIONS,MINISTERS AND THEIR MESSAGES. THESE HAVE BECOME EVEN MORE APPARENT OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS WHILE VISITING SCORES OF CHURCHES IN THIS MINISTRY. WHILE ALL HAVE VERY LOYAL CONGREGATIONS, I FIND FOUR BASIC CHURCH CHARACTERISTICS. THE FIRST ARE THE FIRE AND BRIMSTONE CONGREGATIONS. THEY ARE FEWER IN NUMBER THAN IN YEARS PAST, BUT STILL VERY STRONG IN THEIR GODLY FAITH. WHILE GRACE IS NOT FORGOTTEN, MESSAGES ARE GENERALLY OF GOD’S LAWS. MOST WOULD CONSIDER THEMSELVES BELIEVERS IN THE WORD AND FIRM IN THEIR FAITH OF DOING EXACTLY WHAT GOD HAS TOLD US TO DO IN THE SCRIPTURES. THEY BELIEVE IN AND HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN HOW GOD WILL NOT TOLERATE SINFUL MAN AND WILL PUNISH THOSE WHO WORK AGAINST GOD’S WILL. HELL IS A REAL PLACE AND THEY MAKE NO EFFORT TO HIDE THE FACT THAT MANY WILL FIND THEMSELVES IN HELL FOR...

“XXX”

SIN SOMETIMES TRIES TO HIDE ITSELF…OR SHOULD I SAY WE SOMETIMES TRY TO HIDE OUR SIN. ON INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS OUTSIDE MANY MAJOR CITIES ARE SEXUAL AND PORNOGRAPHIC BUILDINGS CLEARLY MARKED WITH TRIPLE X SIGNS. I AM TOLD; THEY LOCATE OUTSIDE THE CITIES TO AVOID ORDINANCES THAT PREVENT THEM FROM DOING BUSINESS IN THE CITIES. DID YOU EVER NOTICE THERE ARE NO CARS OR TRUCKS USUALLY VISIBLE AROUND THESE BUILDINGS? I WAS ALSO TOLD; THESE BARN LIKE BUILDINGS HAVE PARKING BEHIND THE BUILDINGS AND UNDER ROOF TO HIDE THE VEHICLES FROM PUBLIC VIEW. HIDING FROM OTHERS DOES NOT CHANGE THE SIN. THEIR ‘CUSTOMERS’ CANNOT HIDE FROM GOD. HOW ABOUT YOU? HOPEFULLY, YOU DON’T VISIT THESE SINFUL PLACES. BUT, ARE YOU HIDING YOUR SINS FROM OTHERS? ADAM AND EVE ATTEMPTED TO HIDE THEMSELVES FROM GOD AFTER LISTENING TO THE EVIL ONE AND EATING THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT. ARE YOU HIDING SIN TO AVOID BEING CRITICIZED OR CONDEMNED? DO YOU HAVE THOSE LITTLE VICES WHICH LEAD YOU FROM GOD? IS SATAN WINNING A BATTLE WITH ‘EVERYONE ELSE DOES IT, SO IT MUST BE O.K.’? WHAT IS YOUR ‘XXX’? IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PORNOGRAPHY TO BE ‘XXX’. ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH TEMPTATIONS? IS YOUR ‘XXX’ LUST, GREED, POWER, FOOD, ALCOHOL OR CURSING? OR PERHAPS, YOUR ‘XXX’ IS FEAR, LAZINESS, MISTRUST, PRIDE, DEPRESSION OR FEELINGS OF LITTLE SELF WORTH. GOD CAN REMOVE ANY AND ALL OF THESE SINS FROM YOUR LIFE. YOU MAY KEEP YOUR SECRETS FROM YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND CO-WORKERS, BUT YOU CANNOT KEEP SECRETS FROM GOD. YOU MAY HIDE YOUR CAR BEHIND A BUILDING IN ORDER TO KEEP FROM BEING...