Not too many years ago our churches had yearly scheduled events and we called them ‘Revivals,’ but today they are called ‘irrelevant’ and do not have them on our schedules. I am not sure as to why not, but I think it may be because of the fact that some are afraid of ‘numbers’ that result and large numbers cause people concern. And the reason that is true is ‘many of those in the number statistics really are not saved. Most likely that is the case, but a few of them will go to Heaven.
The sad reverse of that is fewer people are hearing the Gospel than ever before and far fewer people are entering the waters of baptism than ever before as well. Not doing revivals every year because of a fear of large numbers is a poor excuse for not participating. What we do know is that Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many powerful deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!” Matthew 7:21-23. What we are doing is abominable for we are ‘throwing the baby out with the dirty water.’
There may be something else going on, too, and I fear that this is true as well. The question can be asked, “How long has it been since we have heard regular sermons that can be considered “Hell-fire and Damnation” kinds of sermons? I know, I know, this will tell my age, perhaps, but Baptists were once known for preachers who screamed and hollered and sweated a bit when they preached, and they ‘stepped on my toes.’ If a preacher does that today the words ‘intolerant’ or ‘hurt feelings’ are heard, and “we cannot do that because people will be offended and stop coming.”
The Call of the Fires of Hell Need to Feared Once Again
Famed preacher Jonathan Edwards once preached a sermon entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” which is regarded by many as the most famous sermon in American history. He delivered this epic sermon on July 8, 1741 during the Great Awakening. The sermon caused such a panic among the congregation that many screamed and wept uncontrollably. Some grabbed pews, and were convinced that Hell would open causing them to fall into the fire below. His sermon is regarded by many as the very essence of “fire and brimstone” preaching. I would suggest we need more of this and scheduled revival meetings in order to cause people to understand that God sometimes grows impatient with stubborn people, “You forgot the Rock who fathered you, and put out of mind the God who gave you birth. 19 But the Lord took note and despised them because his sons and daughters enraged him. 20 He said, “I will reject them. I will see what will happen to them; for they are a perverse generation, children who show no loyalty. 21 They have made me jealous with false gods, enraging me with their worthless gods; so I will make them jealous with a people they do not recognize, with a nation slow to learn I will enrage them. 22 For a fire has been kindled by my anger, and it burns to lowest Sheol; it consumes the earth and its produce, and ignites the foundations of the mountains. 23 I will increase their disasters; I will use up my arrows on them. 24 They will be starved by famine, eaten by plague, and bitterly stung; I will send the teeth of wild animals against them, along with the poison of creatures that crawl in the dust. 25 The sword will make people childless outside, and terror will do so inside; they will destroy both the young man and the virgin, the infant and the gray-haired man.” Deuteronomy 32:18-25.
If anyone doubts the anger of God against evil and evil-doers, sin and sinners, alike; they must be taught to think about Him again in those terms. We need to fear God in those terms. Yes, He is a God of love, but in love He does bring His justice and His judgment upon those who disobey Him. Hell is a real place that burns with eternal damnation for it is not a place of vacation. And the reality is simple, “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14,15.
Jesus is Lord.