Date: March 4, 2007
Bible Text: Psalm 90:1 | Roger Voegtlin
Series: Transcribed Sermons
Psalm 90 is the oldest psalm of all 150, and it was written by Moses. Let’s begin reading at verse 1. “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.” He’s talking about death here. “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” Here again, death is pictured as a flood. “Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger?” Again, this is what I want to look at this morning, and I hope that you will allow God to deal with your heart. “Who knoweth the power of thine anger?”
During the 40 years that Moses led this nation of God’s chosen people through the wilderness, He saw people dying everywhere. Moses went through times when people would get out of God’s will and just laugh at him. The resulting anger of God was unbelievable. Moses saw the earth open up and swallow thousands of people. He saw fire fall from heaven and destroy the Levites—250 of them. Moses watched as Pharaoh’s army, the greatest army on the face of this earth, Pharaoh’s army, did a very foolish thing in following the Israelites on that dry land over which they had crossed the Red Sea. He watched as God allowed that sea to collapse over the top of them and wheels and parts of chariots or bodies washed up onto the seashore. Moses became overwhelmed at the power of this divine displeasure against sin. He asked, “Who knoweth the power of thine anger?” He was saying that no one can measure the might and power of God’s wrath.
The Bible says it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. And yet, we go through life as if there is no God. I was reminded again this week at how we as Baptists can espouse a certain doctrine but not believe a thing. We can go through the motions, but not follow the Bible—whether it be children obeying their parents, the man being the head of the home, or the woman being in subjection. We live like heathens, and we wonder why the heathen will not believe. We live like heathens with a set of “doctrines.”
The Bible teaches that there is a literal hell with fire and brimstone. It is a bottomless pit of darkness—a place of wailing, weeping, and gnashing of teeth. People who go there will be there for an eternity. The world laughs at those of us who believe this, but the Scriptures teach that it is impossible to exaggerate the power of God’s wrath against sin. The Bible says of heaven, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” That’s wonderful. Heaven is a wonderful place, and we see it described in the Bible. But the same awe is taught about hell and God’s wrath. No one can conceive the power of His anger in hell. I’ve read where modernists rail against writers such as Bunyan for his vivid imagery of hell. But the truth is there has never been a poet born, no matter how free his imagination runs, who could envision the power of God’s wrath against sin.
Ask Sodom and Gomorrah. The world today says that if you are not for homosexuality, you are a homophobe. Then they are calling my God a homophobe. Because of that hideous wicked sin, God poured fire and brimstone down on Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed every person there. Ask Ananias and Sapphira. All they did was lie, and God struck them dead. Ask Ahab and Jezebel, the most powerful people in the kingdom because they were king and queen. They thought they could flaunt their sin in the face of God. But watch—after Ahab is dead, Jezebel is up in that tower, and they throw her out of that tower—the powerful queen. She splats on the pavement below, and the dogs come and eat her and lick up her blood.
Remember when Korah with his people resisted God’s man? God said, “This is as far as you are going. You are not going any further.” And He opened the earth and it swallowed up Korah and all his followers. Later, fire came from heaven and consumed the 250 Levites. Ask them about God’s wrath. Ask David. We read in the Bible that he was a man after God’s own heart. But sin got into his life, and we know about the immorality and the lying and the murder. Now David is weeping over the casket of his baby. His life is destroyed. Everything that he held dear is gone. Ask David if anyone can measure how great is the power of God’s anger against sin.
You say, “I’m getting by with it. Preacher, you are probably right in what you are saying, but I’m doing okay.” That’s where you are wrong. Ask the neighbors of Noah. He warned them for decades, and they laughed at him. But watch them now as they try to grab the sides of that ark as the water is getting deeper and deeper. Oh, they laughed when he said God would destroy the earth with water. But now they are tearing the flesh off their fingers as they try to climb on board. Ask Pharaoh’s army. Ask those Egyptians sitting there with open sores and boils all over their bodies. Ask those who watched their firstborn males killed. Ask them, “Who can measure the power of God’s anger?” I’m sure their answer would be that we can’t imagine. We’re fools. We think we know more than God. We think we can get by with it. We’re fools! That’s a trick of the devil. We destroy everything we hold dear.
Again, if you were to ask David at that funeral, he might have become hysterical. The baby died, and then his daughter was raped by his son. Another son killed that son. And that same son decided to take over the kingdom. And now David weeps as that boy is lying there dying by so many darts. He cries out, “I wish I could take your place. I wish it were me.” I’m sure he would have cried out, “There is no way to understand the power of God’s anger against sin.” Preachers in days gone by used to illustrate this with a true story of a man whose daughter died. He became infuriated. So many times God deals with us because of our sin and wickedness, and we become infuriated. “How can God do this to me? Me?” This man ran outside and shook his fist at God, and called Him every dirty name in the book. He was standing next to a pile of sticks and picked up a stick and shook it in the face of God and said, “If you’re such a big God, why don’t you just kill me?” There was a little black widow spider on that stick, and it crawled down onto his hand and bit him, and he died. I would guess he is burning in hell right now with millions of others who had no idea of the power of God’s anger towards sin.
I heard another true story about a pastor who came to a new ministry, and he was wicked. He did immoral things. The deacons came to him and told him that he needed to resign. He got mad and said, “Just keep your noses out of my personal life. I’ll do what I want to do. The only way I’ll leave here is feet first.” Of course, the very next Sunday he got up to preach, had a heart attack, and as a 40-year-old, died in the pulpit. The best of God’s servants have fallen short in their fear of God. We just don’t have any idea. We think we are getting by with it.
Someone asked, “What man is there that fears Him as He ought to be feared? What man so quakes at His anger as he should? What man is so afraid of sin as he ought to be?” Moses’ prayer was that the Israelites would be able to know. But no man can know. We won’t know in this life. Read the book of Revelation. Chapter after chapter pictures God’s wrath in the future in detail, how He will come down and how He will destroy and purge this world of sin once and for all. I believe Moses was saying that even our worst fears cannot exaggerate the power of His anger. Liberals would say, “He’s not that kind of God.” My answer is, “Read His Word.” They claim that He doesn’t look at every sin in our lives. Moses said that in your wildest imagination you cannot realize how powerful his wrath is against sin. You could not exaggerate it. I don’t think any preacher can preach against sin and paint a true picture. And I think part of our problem as Christians is that because of the grace and mercy of God, some of us lose sight of His wrath completely because He doesn’t squish us immediately. What about faith? What about belief? We say we are Christians. But no matter how we reason, it is worse than we can imagine. Sometimes Christians make light of sin. They paint it different shades, different colors. They water it down, they joke. We’re all guilty of sin, but sin is not a joking matter. People like this don’t know the power of God’s anger.
We ought to pray for our political leaders. But when a man casts a vote for homosexuality, when a man casts a vote for pornography, when a man casts a vote to legalize abortion, when educators stand up in the classroom and tell impressionable boys and girls that God did not create them, that there was an explosion and—boom!—here we were, when they stand in the classroom and tell our teens that there is no such thing as absolute truth, when they say the Bible is okay, but it isn’t inspired— they have no idea of the power of His anger. Men thumb their noses at the virgin birth of Christ. They thumb their noses at the efficiency of His blood or the inerrancy of His Word. They have no idea of the power of His anger. They take little pen knives and cut out what they don’t like in the Bible. They don’t want to offend anyone. But it’s only because of His grace and mercy that God has not destroyed the world already. Don’t get confused.
Again, I have been reminded recently of how Christians can sin the most wicked sins. You can just go shack up with someone who is divorced. Preachers can just have sex with different women, and everything is okay—God forgives. It is my opinion that there are not many Christians who believe what they say they believe. You say, “You should not be judgmental.” I can’t help but see what I see with my eyes. People go through the motions of so-called believing, but with their lives they are wicked, and they hate anybody who tries not to be wicked. They despise people who stand for what is right. I say it’s only because of God’s grace and mercy that He has not destroyed the world already, and it’s only because of His grace and mercy that we breathe. God is good, but He is not stupid, and He is not blind, and He is not a liar. We will be judged.
Has God been dealing with you? Kids, has God been dealing with you about being right toward your parents and authority and God? Wife, has God been dealing with you as far as being a Christian wife? That’s what is wrong with going to work with the heathen. They affect us a lot more than we would like to think. Are you the Christian husband you should be? Has God been dealing with you about a sin in your heart, but you refuse to repent and confess? Has Satan deluded you to the point where you continue to sin because God has not struck you dead yet? That was Israel’s problem. They didn’t seem to see their sin, or at least the seriousness of it. The Bible was written as a warning. We ought to be warned. Nobody ever gets by with sin. God is loving. God is merciful. But you never get by with sin.
We seem to get burdened down with problems and heartaches and a lack of peace. But we never look at our sin. We are so used to making excuses for our sin. We are so used to, from a child up, hiding our sin. We are so used to lying about our sin. We believe our own lies. There are those of us who, like Israel, know sin is there, and refuse to really look at it and acknowledge it before God. Realize that even death is a testimony of God’s anger against sin. If it were not for sin, we would live forever. Moses knew that little babies died because of their parents’ sin. He witnessed the earth opening up and swallowing his neighbors. He watched fire come down and consume the Levites. He watched the soldiers of Egypt drowning. He pled with the Israelites to confess their sins to God.
And this morning, I plead with you, confess your sins. Acknowledge them. Don’t just say, “Well, I know I’ve got problems.” Do you love your children? Do you love God? Do you believe in God? Face and acknowledge your sin. You have no idea of the consequences that sin will ultimately bring into your life. You say, “Well, I’ve got my health. I’ve got my family. I’ve got my job. I’m secure.” You are content in your sin. But you need to understand the power of God’s anger against sin. One day He will bring His wrath and express His anger against sin, and your life will never be the same. You won’t even want to be alive. That’s why you hear me say the one thing that I have not liked about pastoring one church for 35 years—and it’s only one thing—is that I have to wait and watch and know that God’s wrath is coming. It never fails. I must wait for God’s judgment to fall on blind sinners. The worst thing that you can imagine not only could happen, but more. Don’t wait for God to show His wrath before getting right. Get right with God. Practice what you say you believe.
I say again, do you really love your children? You’ll get right with God. Do you really believe in God? You will get right with Him. And if you are here and you have never accepted Christ as your personal Savior, I didn’t preach to you this morning, but I will just say God’s wrath is real. And He has promised, no matter what happens here on earth, for His wrath to be seen by us. Again, I’m just so reminded lately of how we can pretend. Oh, you are such a “good father.” Are your children living for God? If not, you are a rotten father. We pretend, we play games, we lie to each other. Quit lying to yourself. If your kids don’t turn out right, you can lie all you want, but you will be miserable because you know it is because of you.
I preached to Christians, and Christians will not get by with their sin as much as they think they may. People who are uplifted as good Christians often talk to me and say, “I’m miserable. My kids are rotten because of me. My grandkids are going to the devil because of me. My marriage is worthless. I’m miserable!” They walk away and people say, “Isn’t he (or she) a good Christian?” It doesn’t matter what everybody says. What is reality? Unsaved person, there is only one major judgment that I see in the Bible for you. You may go through life being rich, so-called successful, but you are going to go to hell. And it doesn’t matter what the professors say, only what the Bible says. You are going to go to hell. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, if you haven’t said, “Yes, I’m a sinner,” repented of that sin, and turned to Christ, you are going to go to hell. And I beg of you, come and get things right and then live a right life. And, Christian, I beg of you, don’t play games. Oh, we wear our feelings on our sleeves. Stop playing games. Stop making excuses. It is you who will reap.