Sunday, April 06, 2008

New Hope @ Worship 040608

This morning we tackled the topic of eternal punishment and specifically hell head on, so trying to choose music to reinforce the topic was out. What we could do is to try to balance a message that weighed in on the law side with abundant grace. What we could do is focus on Jesus. So that's where we went.

Come, Now Is the Time To Worship
Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord
Holy Is the Lord
Heart of Worship

and Softly and Tenderly

Beginning in Matthew 25, the "sheep and the goats" passage, I tried to lay out what our culture has impressed upon us about hell. Then what the culture understood of hell in Jesus' day. And then how the Bible translators colored both and where we need to come down.

New Hope sermon page with audio

Checking with some of the people who won't just give me a "good sermon" pat on the back seemed to reveal I had opened a conversation about the afterlife and exploded some myths. That's great, but what I really hope is that we need to make our way to those headed to hell and pray for the Holy Spirit to persuade them to turn aside and follow Jesus with us.

I used a clip from Seinfeld to set the tone. In it Elaine's boyfriend David Puddy is asked if he believes in God. He responds in the affirmative. Elaine presses to ask if it bothers him that she doesn't believe. He says "It's not my problem, you're the one who is going to hell."

In a later clip, after Elaine is tempted to take her neighbor's newspaper when her's is missing, Puddy says "why not, you're going to hell anyway."

She says this, "Well, if I'm going to hell, you ought to care."

Yes. Yes we should.

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