So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.”
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I was told last week that I missed my opportunity to preach hellfire and brimstone. I get that a lot. Here is yet another opportunity. Curious to me that people want to hear a good "sinners in the hands of an angry God" sermon as long as it doesn't get personal. They like the spectacle of it as they appreciate it from the stands of the spectators. The Game of Thrones is a TV program about power and human depravity spectated by millions. It is a fantasy fiction for those who enjoy rubber-necking a train-wreck of human sinfulness removed from their own experience. As long as we are spectating we are not in the arena about to get our heads lopped off. I admit I don't preach fire and brimstone - certainly not as a tool to frighten people into faith in Christ. The toughest words in scripture were most often directed not at people outside the faith but within it. They were people who had missed the point of faithfulness, choosing to be unloving or just giving it lip-service without any true commitment. In order to preach fire and brimstone to the audience at whom tough words are directed, I would have to step down from the pulpit - pour gasoline on my head, invite everyone else to do the same and light a match. Maybe just the suggestion of doing that is enough. Maybe just the suggestion Jesus made about a fire is enough. Certainly got my attention.
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Kindle within me a different kind of fire, Lord, that burns for the sake of your word in the world. Amen.